I first wrote Man and Boy sometime in the early 1990s, possibly late 1980s. I remember reading publicly and the next reader, a published author, making a derogatory comment about the story’s tone and subject matter.
I’ve kept it on a backburner ever since, sometimes taking it out, sending it out to a few places then putting it back. I’ve always felt there’s something here. Maybe it needs to be longer, a full story and not a flash piece.
Last week’s The Shackled Man had been in my head for a while and I wrote it up for a flash/slam fiction class I took. I decided Man and Boy might also be a good candidate, so dusted it off and revised if from the previous version. You can get an idea of the revisions by comparing the two. Basically I cut out everything that wasn’t “in the moment” of the story, which I originally wrote as an exercise in dialogue (still think it’s a great example of dialogue carrying a story).
So, as always, enjoy and let me know what you think.
“He’s a dead man, Pa. I pulled me up a dead black man.”
“First time we go fishing in a week and you snag your line on a boy’s been dead in the water who knows how long?”
“We going to get in trouble, Pa?”
“Don’t know that until we know who he is. Help me get him in the boat. God, this one’s heavy. Ain’t swelled, though.
“Look at his face, Pa.”
“Somebody didn’t take a liking to it, that’s for sure. And look at them clothes. You ever seen clothes like that, son?”
“Them’s city clothes, Pa.”
“What do you know about city clothes?”
“I seen them in the catalogue at Mr. Howard’s store.”
“What you doing down at Mr. Howard’s store?”
“I run errands for Mr. Howard sometimes and he gives me a penny so I can buy some candy.”
“You think them’s city clothes?”
“I know I’m right.”
“So this here’s a city-boy, huh? Somebody killed themselves a city-boy.”
“What we going to do, Pa?
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