Two excerpts from the novel THE SPUD

 

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you plucked all your eyelashes off, huh.
well just the right eye. i didn’t mean to.
does it hurt, or what’s the blinking like.
this eye versus the other one?
yeah, is there a difference.
probably. i don’t feel it.

 

 

COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN IDAHO

the town of hailey has the sawtooth national forest, red devil peak (6594 ft), della (6729 ft), the rotarun ski area, two bmx parks, and a sun valley polo club building. a golden eagle with his hands on his hips on the sign, the bird wearing a big t-shirt reading CSI.

anthony paxton was an orphan, the dean says into a microphone, standing in front of a crowd in the university auditorium. he had no support here. no allegiances. kp looks at the faces in the chairs, some nodding, but most still, like cardboard circles of faces glued onto couch pillows, the pillows molded into shapes of torsos, arms and necks. kp recognizes one of the cardboards as a mother. he’s seen her twice since the shooting. she’s always soft and purple. once she looked at him and blinked, like she was going to sleep in the street, and he ought to leave her alone, to rest.

jd’s hair flies around the window as they pass the college campus, gun clenched in her right hand near the door handle. he had no support. no allegiances, the dean says at the podium a couple weeks after the bakery. kp pulls his cap further down on his face, doesn’t want eyes to meet eyes. he wants to leave, but the people will see him and they’ll think he’s awful. for leaving, for coming, for listening, for not asking his brother about it, for not making him lose his keys in the morning, for not having smart, beautiful, meaningful things to say to him over dinner. kp closes his eyes beneath the cap, above the wheel. in the dark, he sees himself walking up to the mom after the speech. he’s tall, she’s soft. neither of them speak. he holds her, and the other people walk out. 

 

 


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