Rust and Bone

Rust and Bone by Craig Davidson Read Free Book Online

Book: Rust and Bone by Craig Davidson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Craig Davidson
Tags: Fiction, General, Literary Criticism, Short Stories, Canadian
proteins? The food pyramid and … oh god, the wheat grass ? Don’t be an idiot. This is just the start. You’re gonna want to hold off for the best offer—and hey, might even want to declare straight out of high school.”
    â€œDeclare for what?”
    â€œDeclare for what, he says—the draft, dopey. The NBA draft.”
    Jason shakes his head and for a split second I want to reach over and haul off on him. Instead I finish my beer and when Lola comes out with the sandwich order another.
    â€œHow’s your ma doing?”
    â€œFine.” Jason takes a bite of grilled cheese. “She’s fine.”
    â€œMust be weird,” I say hopefully, “the two of you roaming around that big ole house all by your lonesome.”
    â€œNot really.”
    Jason’s mother and I are experiencing marital difficulties. The crux of the problem seems to lie in the admission I may’ve married her with an eye towards certain features—her articulate fingers, coltish legs, strong calves—that, united with my own physical makeup, laid the genetic groundwork for a truly spectacular ball player. She claims our entire relationship is “false-bottomed,” that I ought to be ashamed for aspiring to create some “Franken-son” with little or no regard for her “feelings.” She refuses to accept my apology, despite my being tanked and overly lugubrious at the time of admission. I feel this not only petty of her but verging on un-motherly, what with our boy at such a crucial juncture in his development.
    â€œWho’s gonna string up the Christmas lights this year, huh?” I ask, despite having gone derelict on this particular household duty for years. “You’ll be away at school.”
    â€œDo it before I go, Mom asks me to.”
    Lola arrives with another beer. “Well, anyway, this’ll all come out in the wash. Me and your ma just need some time apart. Lots of couples go through it, don’t worry.”
    â€œI’m not worried.”
    Something in his tone gets my dander up: it’s the tone of a truth-hoarder, a secret-keeper and now I really am going to smack the taste out of his mouth but my hand’s arrested by the arrival of a pretty young thing who strikes up a conversation with Jason. Short but amply endowed— built like a brick shithouse, my old TRW crony Ted Russell would say—leaning over the patio rail in lavender tubetop, cheeks dusted with sparkling glitter, she says, “Hey there, cutie,” in a high breathy voice. My son smiles as they ease into typical adolescent conversation: what so-and-so said about so-and-so, so-and-so’s having a bush party tonight, so-and-so’s an angel, so-and-so’s a creep but drives a Corvette and all the while I’m staring—say “staring,” but I suppose “leering” is more apt—at the girl, picturing her a few years down the road, that knockout body grinding up and down a brass pole or something. Leering at a ditzy cocktease no older than your son, a man is forced into one of two admissions: either ( a ) your son is more or less grown up, or ( b ) you’re a lecherous perv.
    â€œLook at my boy,” I say, brimming with drunken pride. “All grown up and talking to girls.”
    â€œC’mon, Dad,” Jason says nervously, as though addressing the drunken uncle gearing up to spoil a wedding. The girl, who up ’til now has treated me with the brusque inattention reserved for houseplants, seems baffled and somewhat sickened to learn Jason is the fruit of my loins: like discovering the Mona Lisa was painted by a mongoloid.
    â€œGot to see a man about a horse.” Swaying to my feet, I add, “Forgot to hit the bank. Spot your old man a few shekels, wouldya?”
    Jason sighs in a manner that suggests he’d been expecting this all along. Reaching into his duffel, he lays a twenty on the table.

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