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Huck Fryman: Incorrigible

September 28th, 2019 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, are we destined to be who we are regardless of where that might lead us?

I explored this question in my story Incorrigible – one of 16 stories in my short story collection Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage. Huck remains my favourite character from the stories. I am uncommonly fond of him and wish I could have given him a less tragic ending. But he would not let me stray from the incorrigible character he was born to be.

What follows is an excerpt from the story as it reaches its defining moment.

The door to the shed creaked open. Huck crossed his arms and hunkered down in his chair.

“I swear, every time I come here this damn aisle gets narrower. Do you ever sell any of these, Dad?”

“You looking to buy?”

Another wave of pain shot up Huck’s leg all the way from the ankle to the hip this time. He closed his eyes to fight it off.

“That leg gets worse every time I see you. I don’t suppose you’d let me take you to the doctor?”

“I’ve made it through 80 years without seeing a doctor. I’m not about to start now.”

“You’re 85, Dad. You don’t even know how old you are.”

“You come all the way out here to tell me my memory is bad? I could have saved you the trouble.”

“Jack Willis called me. He said you pointed a shotgun at him. You can’t do stuff like that, Dad.”

“Why the hell not? It’s my place.”

“You just can’t. There are laws and they apply to you just like everyone else.”

Kevin’s eyes swept the shed again.

“This has to end, Dad. Enough is enough.”

“My place. My rules.”

“No, I’m not taking that crap anymore. I have your power of attorney, Dad. Don’t make me use it.”

“Power what?”

“Power of attorney. It means I can make your decisions for you.”

“The hell you can.”

“What do I have to do to get through to you? You can’t be on your own anymore.”

Huck took another long puff on his cigar and fixed his stare on the wall behind Kevin.

“For Christ’s sake, Dad, put that cigar out. One spark and this whole place will go up.”

“Ain’t happened yet. I expect no one will much care if it does.”

“You’re not leaving me any choice. I’ll do what I have to do. I’m the only one of your sons who still cares enough to do it.”

Huck shifted his gaze to the ceiling. Kevin shook his head and started for the door.

“Go in and see your mother before you go. She’ll blame me if you don’t.”

Kevin stopped in his tracks. Sadness ebbed from his eyes as he turned to face Huck again.

“Mom’s gone, Dad. She died a year ago. You know that. You didn’t say a word for a month after the funeral. She’s gone, Dad.”

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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