my old man
16 years old during the depression I'd come home drunk and all my clothing- shorts, shirts, stockings- suitcase, and pages of short stories would be thrown out on the front lawn and about the street. my mother would be waiting behind a tree: "Henry, Henry, don't go in. . .he'll kill you, he's read your stories. . ." "I can whip his ass. . ." "Henry, please take this. . .and find yourself a room." but it worried him that I might not finish high school so I'd be back again. one evening he walked in with pages of one of my short stories (which I had never submitted to him) and he said, "this is a great short story." I said, "o.k.," and he handed it to me and I read it. it was a story about a rich man who had a fight with his wife and had gone out into the night for a cup of coffee and had observed the waitress and the spoons and forks and the salt and pepper shakers and the neon sign in the window and then had gone back to his stable to see and touch his favorite horse who then kicked him in the head and killed him. somehow the story held meaning for him though when I had written it I had no idea of what I was writing about. so I told him, "o.k., old man, you can have it." and he took it and walked out and closed the door. I guess that's as close as we ever got.