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"To the Wrist," short story excerpt

Saturday 1/28/23

Perry didn’t seem old enough to Martin to have a grandkid, but he did.

Martin was envious of the boy, but the feeling seemed harmless enough. Whole life ahead of him. Youth and all of that. A surplus.

He was an amazing football player. Already the scouts from the big programs had come by the middle school. Then he took a knee and all of someone’s weight to a vertebrae and the vertebrae cracked in three places and some nerves came through the cracks and got cut in half by the sharp edges.

He couldn’t move his legs. Two years later he got some feeling back, and then maybe six months after that he could walk, but it would take a long time before he could move normally. Sports were done. But he could piss again, piss as you’re supposed to, and that was something.

Perry had been a doctor for a long time.

“Don’t take pissing for granted,” was something he used to say, back when it was a joke that was also true, but it wasn’t a joke anymore.

Perry’s annual Super Bowl party had been on hiatus since the injury. He used to have big bashes, but then he stopped. This was the first one in a few years. His grandson wanted to come so Perry decided to have everyone over again.

“I don’t want to watch this fucking game,” Perry told Martin early in the day, hours before the party started, when Martin was helping set up. “I don’t want to watch it with him.”

He felt bad for saying it.

“No, I understand,” Martin said. “It’ll be okay.”

They drank a second shot of whiskey. It was one of those winter days where one doesn’t expect to see the sun a single time but then it comes out and it’s like there are two days inside of one.

“Want to throw the ball around in the back?” Martin asked.

“Yeah, all right,” Perry said, “If I can find it.”


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