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There was to be a wedding at the old Bethel Church, which seemed peculiar.  As far as Edith knew, nothing happened there these days except club meetings or funerals for families with plots in the church’s ancient cemetery.  Then came a jolt, the bride’s maiden name—Cotterill.

Edith spread the paper, The Sour Springs Record, on her kitchen table, so a strip of sunlight fell over a picture of the bride, shown standing alongside a horse.  A handsome girl with a self-assured smile, dark hair that disappeared behind her shoulders.  Raised in Houston, the article said, her father in investments, her mother some sort of artist who ran a gallery.  A grandfather, Eldon Cotterill, now of Beaumont, had grown up in the Sour Springs community.  No mention of the man’s wife, but there was timberland and an old homestead on a lake in the Thickets.  Among the bride’s passions was historical preservation, and thus her fascination with the little church, which her grandfather’s father had helped build “the way they did in those days.”

Adjusting her glasses, Edith tried to finish the article even as her mind clung to the name back up there, Eldon Cotterill—the Eldon Cotterill of fifty some-odd years ago, a lean, long-jawed, dark-haired, arrogant boy on a horse, a dark-faced sorrel he would ride to school like a cowboy, along with some of the other high school boys.  At once, her breath gave out, a taste of bitterness.  She shoved the paper aside, crumpling it into a fat ball.

Breakfast done, she heaved herself up and began to clear the table, but hadn’t the will for it right then.  She took a Coca-Cola from the refrigerator and, in her bedroom, cigarettes and a book of matches from a drawer in the bedside table.

It was the first week of June, warm with crystal sparks of dew in the yard grass.  She sat on the front porch and smoked a stale Winston and drank from an iced tea glass, concentrating on her Boer goats—twenty-seven of them now—grazing in the pasture that sloped down toward the country road out in front of the house.  Six months after Harlan died, she had cleared the place of farm animals, went through a period of depressed boredom and finally accepted a neighbor’s offer to go into the goat business with him.  It’s one of those health things, a lot better for you than beef, Max Kembro said, excited about the prospects.  He swore that in a few years everybody was going to be eating goat meat.  The ranch and farm magazines and a man he knew at the Extension Service were saying it.

Edith put up half the money and the pasture.  Max and his teenage son took on most of the work.  It kept the weeds and briers down and, after a time, she realized, offered company.  Goats were clean, cheaper than cattle to raise, and liked people, at least they liked to nuzzle her.  In their voices—bleating people mistakenly called it—she detected a human sound, especially the youngsters.  Sometimes at night, if they were riled by something, she would lie in bed and listen to the kids and grown-ups jabbering at one another, spreading rumors, perhaps calling out to her.

In a while, Edith stubbed out the cigarette and went out among them, spreading vitamin-laced feed from a burlap bag.  The babies curled in behind their mothers, and some of the nannies came up to her, shoving, baring denture-looking teeth stained green from clover, asking to nibble from her hand.  Sometimes she would grip a pair of spiked horns and wrestle for a minute with one of the young ones who especially liked jostling with her.  Their gentle, submissive faces and smooth coats, musty and warm under the sun, offered a simple pleasure.

There was a slight breeze.  Edith emptied the bag, flapping the last of the grain from it. She tied her moss-gray hair back and then, in a fit of distraction, undid the top buttons of her blouse and slipped it free to let the sun burnish her shoulders, which were sloped and hulking now, the loose skin slightly tanned and freckled.  As a girl she’d shot up before the others her age, a beanpole by the time she was twelve or thirteen, and then with little warning her figure took shape, breasts appeared, an embarrassment.  The junior high boys seemed indifferent, but over in the high school next door they noticed.  For a while it confused and distracted her.  Around Christmas there was a school play where she and another girl danced and sang a song that was popular then—“Blue Skies”…Blue skies shining at me; nothing but blue skies do I see…Bluebirds…—and while they were performing in blue satin dresses and stockings, boys began to whistle.  Seared into her mind, later on, would be the notion that Eldon Cotterill was one of them, sitting near the front of the auditorium with the high school seniors.

In any case, eventually Eldon Cotterill did notice her.  There was a certain day she was walking along the road in front of the school and heard a horse coming up behind her, the leather saddle creaking.  “Hey.  Hey, girl,” was how he started out and then asked if she wouldn’t like to climb up.  “I’ll trot her for you” are words she thought she remembered.  Most likely she didn’t answer.  But it sent a chill through her, a sense of wonder.  She hurried on.

The next time was different.  She was with some other girls and, out of something, a faked brazenness or disappointment with herself over the last time, she didn’t refuse.  Eldon Cotterill leaned out of the saddle, grasped an arm and lifted her flying up behind him.  There was cheering from her friends.  They galloped a quarter of a mile to where the road parted around a big hickory on the edge of downtown and then trotted back, ending up beside the high school in a growth of trees where the boys tied their horses.  She slid down.  “Now once you’re grow up don’t forget to come see me,” Eldon Cotterill called after her, showing off for the popular crowd, boys and their girlfriends, who were gathered there.  Was he kidding?  Was he mocking?  She wasn’t sure but knew that she would go with him again anytime.

He was strong is what had finally stuck with her—and jerky, unpredictable with the reins in a way that seemed to confuse the horse as well as force her to grasp his waist to keep her balance.  It was a big horse, a long way to the ground.

Once the nannies and kids were fed and she had filled the water trough, Edith went out to the back pasture where Max had isolated two of the billies, an old one and a young buck.  They would both get ornery from time to time, especially when there were little ones that stuck close to their mothers.  If you didn’t watch they’d move in and try to keep the kids from sucking, and butt and pester when they began graze.  Max had decided to wether the old one to quiet him down and fatten him up for the packing house.   He was already plenty stout, with a long back, horns that curved to a wicked point, a brown-splotched face and beard as ragged as an old hermit’s.

The two bucks stood at a distance and pepped up only when she came in the pen with the feed buckets that Edith set well apart, so there’d be no fighting over who got what.  Then as she went to work spreading hay, a car pulled up in front of the house.  She heard it on the gravel drive.  My god, she thought, last thing I want is company.  But then it was Willa Starnes, who came striding across the backyard in a flowing skirt, waving her sunhat. A thought flashed in Edith’s mind that over coffee, which was surely what Willa had come for, she would spread out the newspaper and find a way to confide in her—and perhaps in the telling of it release some of the poison that had begun to circulate in her blood that morning.  Willa was her best friend, or at least one of the few left that she cared to be around anymore.

“I caught you goatin’ again,” Willa said, still moving toward her.  “I thought you were the foreman and Max was supposed to do the work.”

“Well, I get bored.”

“I brought sweet corn muffins,” Willa announced.  She had them on a covered plate.

Willa was something like seven years younger, sixty-two, though still girlish at times. Her hair was cut fashionably with red highlights and her person on the plump side, but that plump that struck you as warm and inviting.  She admired herself a little too much, Edith sometimes thought, but who ever had a friend they couldn’t complain about.  “You want to hear something I ought not to say,” she had told Edith a month or so after Harlan’s funeral.  “I’m envious, flat jealous of you living on your own.  No one to have to tend to.  You know what I want more than anything?  To have a date.  I want to go out with a man I hardly know and hear him say something I didn’t expect him to say.”

Edith cleared the table of the breakfast things, put coffee on and retrieved the newspaper from the trash can under the sink where she’d finally stuffed it.  It was wrinkled, damp with food stains.

“You got a cigarette,” Willa said, twitching her fingers.  She didn’t smoke but when they were together.  Edith struck a match for Willa’s cigarette and then used the flame to light one for herself.  She set out the corn muffins and poured coffee and laid the filthy paper folded on a corner of the table.

“I have lost fourteen pounds almost,” Willa exclaimed, without glancing at the paper.  “Does it show?”

“You look good.”

“Actually, my life’s falling apart,” she blurted, deep wrinkles appearing.


“I mean it.  Dear God, it’s true.  I’m having an affair,” she said.  “With a man, not an old man either.”  She exhaled smoke, coughing a cough that quickly turned to harsh laughter.  Her cheeks bunched up and then a crystal glaze appeared, brightening her eyes.  She started in:  He was a man from Port Arthur who came through from time to time inspecting oil field rigs and drilling sites for a state agency.  Willa had met him at the Valero gas station, standing out by their cars, pumping gas side by side.  An hour later he came to her table at Burl’s Cafe.

“That’s all it took,” Willa said.  “He sat down.  He’s not completely handsome, a little over weight too, but my god, gentle and the cleanest fingernails.  All my life I’ve been sitting down to supper with a man with fingernails I can’t stand to look at.”

She wouldn’t touch a muffin, but reached out for Edith’s hand, and sniffled and opened her mouth again and didn’t close it for the next half-hour.

In the pasture under a blue sky hung with sheer white clouds, Edith led the nannie who they called Freya up onto the milking platform and coaxed her head into the stanchion and clamped the bar shut over her neck.  Max or his son, Evan, usually did the milking, but this evening they had gone straight to the back pasture with the equipment to finish making a wether of the old billie they’d banded some days ago, and Edith had offered to milk.  With cows, milking could be a chore, but she didn’t mind the nannies.  Give them something to munch on and they would relax and chew their cuds.  You could hear their teeth clicking as milk shot into the pail.  And they enjoyed conversation—a little soothing talk would settle them into a near reverie.

Which was a comfort after having killed the morning with Willa.  Once Willa left, the wrinkled newspaper had traveled from the breakfast table, to a far corner of the kitchen counter and finally the top of the refrigerator.  Now, squeezing milk from Freya, speaking gently to her, the picture of the bride swept into Edith’s head and she thought of the Bethel church.  An old relic kept up all these years by the community, it had a deep green lawn, cherry laurel lining the walkways, and a brass bell in a little steeple on the roof peak—for at one time the building was both a church and one-room school house.  It was there she and her younger brother attended grade school, until the bus started running into Sour Springs.

She couldn’t deny she’d been taken with of Eldon Cotterill.  The thrill and pleasant redolence of the horse, the sensation of her hands on the boy’s sharp ribs, had remained, and she looked for every chance to be noticed again.  He would appear across the school yard full of energy, trading punches with boys, flirting with girls, smoothing his hair back over his head, about the most popular boy there.  It took nearly a month, Easter time.  She had stayed late to help decorate the hallways and auditorium, so she missed the bus home and started into town to try to catch a ride with somebody going out her way.  Walking past the high school, the tall, narrow windows glazed by sunlight, a stroke of luck.  There was Eldon Cotterill back under the trees.  He was saddling up, the sorrel horse throwing its head.  Edith hid her face with a book, imagining how to close the distance between them without looking eager and silly, what to say if he noticed her.  Then a boy appeared from the back of the school.  He was running hard with his head down toward Eldon Cotterill.  She knew him, that boy, not his name, but who he was.  His mother worked in the cafeteria, ladling out food, checking as you washed your tray, and often, in the afternoon, she cleaned the girls bathroom in Edith’s building.  Her son was a third-grader with a rough haircut and, as he ran, a cotton shirt that bellowed up on his back.

She watched Eldon Cotterill smooth the boy’s yellow hair with a hand and then a comb from his back pocket.  He lifted the boy into the saddle, swung up behind him and trotted off.  Edith caught her breath and, in a moment of bravery, set out after them across the ball field toward the woods beyond the school.  It was simple, she’d find a way to intercept them, appearing as if she had just happened along, a girl at ease in the woods.  It would impress Eldon Cotterill.  He’d invite her up as before, and they’d ride beneath the trees, the three of them scrunched together on the horse, and then eventually out of the shadows and on into the heart of town, the start of something.

The thing was they quickly vanished into the trees and bush.  She hurried.  There was a path, but she skirted it, moved on into the thickets and then beneath hardwoods, using her books to fight choked undergrowth when it rose up to block the way.  Feeble sunlight fluttered thorough the trees.  There was an armadillo’s ravaged shell, a squirrel on the move overhead, an unnerving silence.  Edith got lost.  She waited briefly, went on, and then, hearing the horse snort once and then again, followed the sound.  At last, through the foliage she spotted the horse and further on there was Eldon Cotterill and the boy in a stippled clearing.  Nervous as to what to do, Edith moved as close as she dared, raised her skirt and on her knees inched on through leaf mold into a tangle of vines.  What she witnessed from there was more like fleeting images than reality.  The boy lay flat on his back shirtless and Eldon Cotterill stripping him of his jeans, then working off his own boots and trousers.  She would remember the boy’s skin white as a blanched chicken and Eldon Cotterill’s voice drifting in the utter quiet…and being at a loss, confused as to what was happening until things went on, more than she could have ever imagined.  Edith grew tense as a stick, a hand pressed tight to her mouth.  Full of shame and witness to a nameless crime.  She might’ve screamed, or ran to stop it, or backed out of her little burrow and left.  She didn’t.

After Freya, Edith milked three more nannies, enough to fill two small pails.  She carried the milk to the house and placed it in the refrigerator for Max to pick-up, all but some she would keep back for coffee.  While squeezing lemons, she heard them on the front porch. 

“We’re too filthy to come in the house,” Max said, accepting a glass of lemonade; his billed cap was pushed back on his head.  There was blood dried on his fingers and work shirt and drops in a pattern on Evan’s face.  Edith came back with a warm cloth and held the boy’s chin and scrubbed his cheeks and forehead.

“He was kicking,” Evan said, his eyes squeezed shut as she worked on him.

“Don’t give me any details,” Edith said.

Max was lean, work-muscled, caring, as good a man as she had ever known.  He and her own son had been friends all their lives.  She had sort of hoped that her daughter would take up with Max, but Denise had ambitions that didn’t include country life.  She married on a beach near Corpus Christi and was soon divorced and moved into a new existence down there.  Edith’s son ended up over in Louisiana, Lake Charles, working in city government.

As he was leaving, Max asked her to go out in an hour or two to get the old billie up and get him walking.  Be sure he was taking water.  “He’ll be a little testy,” he warned her.

At last she was alone and she ate alone, fresh tomatoes and a stew with pork simmering in it.  She wouldn’t touch goat meat—had never taken a bite of it—though Max kept offering, swore it was delicious hickory-barbequed.  There was no excuse she could give.  She and Harlan had slaughtered cattle and hogs and squirrels and deer and about every other wild creature, but now, maybe it was her tender old age, she wouldn’t raise her own hand, much less a knife, against one of the goats.  When Max sold one or took a load to the packing house, she stayed out of sight.

Edith got to bed early, woke at three, again at four, audibly grinding her teeth.  The dentist had made a plastic guard for them, but she had never gotten used to the thing, afraid she might choke on it in her sleep.  At seven, Max came to check on the billie, and Janine, his wife in her tight jeans and hippy sandals, went down to the pasture to do the milking.  The morning was bright, the air drier than usual, a high blue sky.

“That old buck’ll be happier now he doesn’t have females on the brain,” Janine said to Edith, as they walked up to the pen where Max was bathing the goat’s wound with disinfectant.  Janine yelled out to the ruined buck, “Just wallow in your leisure, hear.  You’ll get plenty of apple cores to grow nice and fat on.”

They were drinking coffee Janine had brought in a thermos jug, the expensive kind you grind at home, which was, in fact, a little burnt tasting to Edith’s mind.  Max had found his wife at a community college in the suburbs of Houston, a city girl who had taken to country life.

“Come over and we’ll go to the river,” she said now, clutching Edith’s arm.  “I know where there’s a ton of berries along the bank.”

“I can’t.”  Edith paused to catch up her breath.  “I’m going to the beauty shop in a little while and this afternoon to a wedding.”

That decision had been made sometime in the early morning, as the light of dawn forced the shadows from the corners of her bedroom.  It was not what she wanted to do.  It scared her to think about it.  But the opportunity had presented itself and she was caught up in it—a chance to judge how the years might have scarred him, Eldon Cotterill, whose presence had worked itself as deep into her memory as a death.  

In the beginning, back then, she had been too stunned, defeated to deal with what she had witnessed, do what should have been done.  Pictures stamped in her head, but no words fit to utter to her best friend, much less her mother or the boy’s mother or anyone in authority who might do something about it.  Without words, the anguish, a kind of self-condemnation, stirred in her.  She crept about the school in an altered state, hiding her face when the yellow-haired boy—he was called Buster, she learned—appeared, or she glimpsed Eldon Cotterill going about his business, untroubled.

Then she saw them together once again, a few days or maybe a week later, the flow of time would escape her.  The boy was brushing Eldon Cotterill’s big brown horse, a soda pop in one hand.  There were other high school boys lounging around under the trees.  Edith rushed away, but was soon drawn back to the front of the high school to check once more, and this time Eldon Cotterill and the boy were gone.  A saddle lay under the trees, so they must have ridden away bareback.

Her first thought was of the boy’s mother, but then found herself heading for the grade school building, rushing, as if the structure might vanish before she got there.  Through a side door, down the plank hallway with familiar smells of floor wax and unclean little bodies, past the open doors of empty classrooms.  Lingering in the hallway a moment, she imagined herself entering Mrs. Pernell’s room, her former fourth-grade teacher, the one she trusted most.  She saw herself sit down and explain what she had witnessed, and Mrs. Pernell’s sudden alarm and then Mr. Terrance, the principal, and others rushing into the woods to get their hands on Eldon Cotterill.  That’s what she imagined, but not what happened.  Mrs. Pernell was there all right, working at her desk.  But, at the doorway, Edith’s throat clogged like there was a pit caught in it, her courage began to quake and she backed off.  Then came the forethought that even if they believed what she said about Eldon Cotterill, she might be the one accused:  “You lay there watching that? What were you doing in the woods anyway?  You’ve been keeping this secret how long?”

Thank God above that he graduated in May, went off to college they said, and she never saw him again.  Buster she was forced to see on occasion all through her years in high school; from afar, she watched him taking on the features of youth and wondered at the dark thoughts and feelings that might affect his growing up—and his mother, a small, tight-lipped woman in a hairnet, she encountered practically every day.

It changed her, those few minutes in the woods, or at least that’s what she came to believe.  At the worst, a guilt bordering on self-hatred, as if she had played a part in it, welled up sometimes, expanding inside her not to be released.  She never spoke a word to anyone.  In high school she was careful with boys, suspicious, avoiding sex or anything close to it, and she developed an absolute hatred for the memory of Eldon Cotterill, and a hope that in the natural scheme of things, he would be punished.

A year after graduating, about the time she was thinking of going off on her own, maybe to San Antonio where she had a girlfriend, she met Harlan Caldwell, who was nine years older.  She fell in love with him, a growing, attentive sort of love, the place they finally bought, the two good children they had, and was never sorry about any of it.

Edith wore a pale floral dress with a small jacket and black, low-heeled shoes, her hair in a bun at the nape of her neck.  She carried white cotton gloves in her fist.  It was five miles along country roads to the church.  At first she drove on past, observing the crowd out front, and then a mile up got the nerve to turn around.  She parked along with other cars on the roadside pointed toward home, gathered herself, and walked up the freshly cut embankment to the lawn and into the crowd.  There were more dressed-up people and agitated kids in ties and frilly dresses than surely the little church could hold.  All strangers, prosperous, it seemed, and chatty, voices carrying on the air.  She approached a man standing a little apart, smoking.

“Are you bride or groom?” she asked him, keeping up appearances.

He glanced up and coughed into his fist and said groom, he supposed, though it was his wife that had dragged him here.  He had a hesitant voice and splotched-red face, an alcoholic’s face, which made her, in her nervousness, want to reach out and take his arm, but instead, she chatted, told him about the old church building, that she had gone to school here.  She pointed out the bell on the rooftop.   After a minute she asked if he happen to know of the bride’s grandfather, “Eldon Cotterill it would be.”

“Mr. Cotterill?  Over that way.”  The man raised his cigarette.  “The one with the cane.”

The man’s back was turned.   Edith made her way around huddled groups toward him.  At a distance, she saw a tall old man in a blue suit, sloped shoulders, with an abundance of fleecy white hair.  A shock:  he was deeply aged, but to a degree, sill recognizable.  At an angle, she studied his face, the long jaw, sharp bones beneath his eyes, a man who might have once been in politics or overseen an estate.  As the man beside him spoke, this Eldon Cotterill gripped the cane, which seemed in his red fist as much a weapon as anything else.  An eight or nine-year-old girl came up and took his free hand.  A woman came too, middle-aged, in an electric wheelchair.  She was gaunt in a pastel dress, sparse brown hair, barely able to hold her head up.  With a noticeable tremor, Cotterill leaned down to kiss her cheek.  Edith watched, feeling terribly disappointed.

Music rose from inside the church and people began to fall into place to go in.  She glanced around at confident faces, fine clothes and jewelry, the women’s hats…a scent of perfume that reminded her of lantana.  The music, something classical that seemed familiar, came from two young women, one playing a flute, the other a guitar.  Ushers, young boys wearing cloth gloves, coaxed her into a pew halfway down the aisle and she found herself at the very end, against the wall between a grim-faced woman with heavy shoulders and a huge arrangement of delphiniums.  The little church was overrun with them, delphiniums, calla lilies, other white and blue flowers.

Edith pulled on her gloves and closed her eyes, absorbing the music. As the wedding march started, she grasped the pew in front of her and stood with the others, recalling those few years of school here, how the furniture had been arranged, two students to a desk, a young teacher named Miss Devane she could not quite visualize except she had bobbed hair.  The minister wore a black and scarlet robe.  They came together and said their vows, the enviable couple, a stout young man, a tall, slim girl barely recognized as the one in the newspaper.  There was an unnecessarily long, passionate kiss and music again.  The bride lifted her dress with two hands and came down from the platform to Eldon Cotterill, as he rose from his place to receive her.  The whole thing was an intimate spectacle, a bright jewel of a wedding.  It doesn’t matter, Edith told herself, but, of course, it did.

Outside, feathered clouds and bright sunlight blessed the gathering crowd.  The bride and groom came hurrying through grains of rice to a chauffeured car, and the big black Buick pulled away, down the drive, out onto the country road heading god knows where.  Edith watched all this, and then, somewhat numb, backed away to circle the crowd, thinking it was over now, that was that.  She longed to go home, felt the need of it in her limbs and started for the car down a clay path lined with laurel hedges where the man she had spoken to earlier stood alone, fidgeting as he lit a cigarette.  The sight of him slouched over complicit in his own destruction provoked her.  She drew herself up, turned and made her way back to the crowd, then on to a circle of men, five or six of them, where stood Eldon Cotterill.  Unnoticed, and without waiting to be acknowledged, she stepped forward and broke into the conversation.

“I believe I knew you,” Edith said, the strain in her voice unfamiliar to her own ears.

The small circle opened up.  The man raised his damp eyes on her.

She said, “I knew you in high school, at Sour Springs High School a long time ago.”

“Oh…?”  The voice was phlegmy.

“It’s true,” Edith went on.  “We had a friend in common, a young boy, a lot younger than we were.  You might remember his mother, she worked in the cafeteria there.  His name was Buster.  Buster.  You were acquainted with him back then, I happen to know that.”

The old man studied her, dropped a fist over the one grasping the cane.  “What do you mean?”

“He was a good boy.”  Edith’s breath stopped short.  “Eight-years-old, don’t tell me you don’t remember him.”

“Lady, I never saw you in my life.”  Eldon Cotterill glanced around at the others.  “Anybody know her?”

“You have seen me alright.” Edith was trembling now.  “You used that child!”  And with no thought of dignity or anything else, she pushed forward and struck him, a flashing, open-handed blow across the jaw, stinging her own palm.  At once, someone was on her.  Others joined in.  She jerked, slapping at whatever she could reach, as they forced her back.  “Don’t dare touch me,” she let out, twisting away from them.  There was a brief standoff.  She gathered herself, started out across the grass—fast walking and then almost running…running, loping, in those damn new shoes.

She drove home at a speed far faster than she should have on the country road, feverish.  Feverish still, when she reached the house, when she sat in a slip before her dresser mirror scrubbing makeup from her face with tissue and cold cream, revealing familiar fissures and soft wrinkles, wondering at this woman before her with locks of ash-gray hair and fitful eyes.

At some point the phone rang, and as Edith let it ring, she felt all those other eyes on her, bewildered, ignorant men in white collars and ties.  They would remember her, she thought, the momentary power she wielded, and this Eldon Cotterill, with those small concentrated eyes, would remember her as well.  Not from back then but from this moment on.  Would he recall the boy?  Were there others?  If there was no triumph, at least she felt some precious space, the dark haired boy she had known hushed from her mind, replaced by an impotent old man reduced to a cane.

When the phone rang again sometime later, it was Max asking her to go out to the pen and check on the old billie.  He ought to be up and getting around, he said.  There shouldn’t be any bleeding.  It was twilight when she finally went out there in her night gown, barefoot on the prickly grass and thistles.  The air was damp and fresh, shades of pink and violet fading into the distance woods.  On seeing her, the old billie hefted himself onto his four feet and stood stark still in his corner taking her in.  She grasped the fence rail as she had the pew in the old church and rested her chin on her hands and, with a touch of pity, watched him in his misery.  He was stumbling some and, as the young buck rose up across the corral, started to bawl.

Jerry Whitus has had stories published by Ploughshares, Chicago Quarterly Review, Manoa (a “distinguished story” in Best American Short Stories), The Literary Review, Nimrod, Potomac Review, Jabberwock Review, and other journals. He studied fiction writing in the graduate program at the University of Texas and for a number of years made a living as a freelance writer specializing in film and video for education, industry and entertainment, with a large number of national awards. He has also been an administrator, teacher and teacher-trainer in universities in the USA, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam (on a USAID grant), and Colombia.

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