“Even working in microcosm, Janice Daugharty is a writer who thinks big.” New York Times Book Review
a short story by
Published by Janice Daugharty
Copyright Janice Daugharty
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Rick was awake but not dressed when he heard Country gearing down his old pickup to turn in the drive and the penned dogs breaking the quiet with their fevered baleful barking.
“What the…!” Nathan, lying next to Rick on the bed, jacked his curly head to make the point that he’d been shocked out of sleep, sinned against, at some ungodly hour. Then he socked his pillow and burrowed into it, unfinished exclamation dissolving into oblivion.
Somehow, the night before, Rick had convinced his older brother to let him sleep with him, his bedroom being on front of the two-story gabled house. From there Rick could better hear Country coming after him to go on the cat hunt with him and his buddy Stub; Rick could get up, get dressed and be out there before the new step-grandfather got riled from having to wait. Nobody made Country Pearson wait.
Nathan’s room smelled of Zest soap and menthol cough drops, neither of which suggested a seventeen-year-old, boy-wonder quarterback and Star student—Nathan. Both scents better than incense or those vanilla room deodorizers for camouflaging cigarette smoke, Nathan believed. But cigarette smoke was steeped into the heavy rose brocade drapes, the looped weave of the Williamsburg-blue carpet, the bedding and every thread of Nathan’s Abercrombie & Fitch clothes upholstering the two wing chairs beneath the east span of mullions.