My Attempt at a Best American Short Stories 2017-Worthy Piece

Me and my buddy raised steer.

Well, we tried to. Most of the calves escaped like greased up pigs through a hole in my war veteran grandaddy’s old whitewashed fence. We were poor folks, honest and salt of the earth, and our land was barren and devoid of the towering, phallic trees we imagined climbing in our boyhood dreams. We couldn’t patch that fence because of it.

So it sat there, in the blazing Montana heat, the hole gaping and fearsome and V-shaped, with a bit of underbrush growing beneath it. We hadn’t ever seen a vag before, but we reckoned it was something a lot like that fence. Massive and hungry and incapable of being plugged. And a thing that all the cow you bought would escape through.

My buddy and I scrounged up all the money we could, working our bodies raw at the stables. I still remember my buddy’s shoulders heaving in the sun. But, every calf that we purchased with that hard-earned money just crawled out the fence and escaped. Time and again we bought’m, time and again they fled. We never knew where’n they went. Seemed to be karma for trying to own’m and eat’m. Man can’t control nature like that.

One time we bought a mighty fine gelding from a racist old man up the road, who was probably a thinly veiled allegory for the post-war generation we otherwise idolized. His daughter watched us do our man’s business from the porch. She was barefoot and her hair was greasy and crumbs stuck to her soles when she walked around their elegantly derelict apartment, but, what can I say my dude, she was hot.

My buddy porked her a few times. I was jealous but I can’t say of who. Jk, jk, I’m straight of course. I wanted to pork that dirty girl with the Frito crumbs on her heels, not my buddo. No way did I wanna bang him. Nope’m.I just wanted more of his time…I wanted those days of flipping hay bales shirtless in the sun to never end. I loved the sight of manure smeared across his flank. I mean, his back.

Anyway on our last day of high school we sold that gelding for a mighty fine penny, so’s we bought a car. I got a hand job in that there vehicle right outside a Wendy’s, and my grandad died.

My friend stayed in town for the rest of his life and died of early onset alcoholism. He and that dirty-footed gal had about nineteen hundred dishwater-haired babies. I, of course, became a McArthur Genius Award-winning fiction writer. Fucking duh. But yeah I will never forget that summer when I became a man, the end.

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