08 August 2006

Poachers

During my plane ride back from a vacation in Jackson, I finished Tom Franklin's book of short stories Poachers. Tom's Southern background is the source of his stories, which is a subject I love to read about. Larry Brown, from Mississippi, is one of my favorite authors and he writes about people that are really down on their luck. Anyway, this book is a quick read, but as always seems to be the case for me, I spaced out my reading sessions for times when there was not much else to do like when traveling.

There were several humorous spots in the stories, but the one that gave me the biggest chuckle was in "introduction • hunting years." Tom tells of how his family loved to hunt and how he felt out of place because he didn't want to kill things. He seemed to have quite a complex because of all the pressure his father put on him to be more manly.

Once, when I was newly fifteen in Kmart with ten birthday dollars to spend, Dad came up beside me.

"You could buy a hunting knife," he whispered.

"Gerald..." my mother warned.

He let go of my shoulders, put his hands in his pockets.

"He wants to get a new outfit for his G.I. Joe," Mom said to Dad.

I'd never felt more like a pussy.


Tom then walked straight over to the outdoors section and searched for the sharpest knife in the store. This made his father proud and he even contributed five more dollars for his son to buy the hunting knife.

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