Old Man

Kenny stood atop the tallest hill in all of Beaver Mountain. As a child, Kenny called it Old Man. His grandpa once told him nothing escaped its gaze. This idea always made Kenny feel uneasy. No matter what he did, Old Man was watching.

His grandpa was right. Kenny could see everything from up here. From the foot of the hill, a canyon wound its way through the northern pasture. In this canyon was a damp cave, and in this cave Kenny had hidden from his abusive father on drunken Saturday nights.

He killed his first deer from the branches of a gnarled Oak tree just east of the canyon. Kenny tracked the blood trail late into the night. The buck finally collapsed in a rocky stream two miles away. He would never forget the way he found it lying in the stream, waiting for death. He could still see the swirls of dark blood wrapping around his camouflage boots as he crouched down to finish the beast.

To the west, Kenny could see the fish-shaped pond he swam in with his best friend Scotty. When a cottonmouth bite nearly killed Scotty, they abandoned their hobby and became fishermen. The murky water was home to the biggest snapper turtle they had ever seen. He was a relentless bait thief, and Kenny shot him on three occasions with his twenty-two. The snapper wouldn’t die. Turtle Hell had no vacancy.

From the back side of Old Man, he could see the cows grazing in the southern pasture. It was there he lost his virginity on a bed of sunflowers to a fiery redhead named Susie O’Claire. Kenny was only 14 and uneducated, but Susie knew what she was doing. Kenny chuckled when he remembered they weren’t alone. Old Man had always been watching. He watched a child become a man. That was more than his father could ever say.

Published in: on October 22, 2007 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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