Читать онлайн «High Hunt»
“MAN!” Jack said when I got back down to camp,…
SLOANE was much worse the next morning. Much as he…
I got up at the usual time the next morning…
“DAN,” Sloan gasped when I got up to him, “I’m…
IT drizzled rain all the next day. Miller had told…
AFTER he got back from taking Jack and Lou up…
AT lunchtime I rode up the ridge to pick up…
CLINT woke me the next morning, and I rolled out…
I went straight on down into the ravine, leaving Jack…
I don’t think either Jack or Lou said more than…
“I don’t know how the hell we’re gonna get all…
AFTER she left for class the next morning I called…
I didn’t see Stan until the next weekend. I’m not…
ON the first of October I moved to Seattle and…
I write a lousy letter. I always have. I knew…
AND so, after the holidays, Clydine Stewart, the terror of…
IT was a Thursday morning several weeks after Mother’s visit…
About the Author
Other Books by David Eddings
About the Publisher
WHEN we were boys, before we lost him and before my brother and I turned away from each other, my father once told us a story about our grandfather and a dog. We were living in Tacoma then, in one of the battered, sagging, rented houses that stretch back in my memory and mark the outlines of a childhood spent unknowingly on the bare upper edge of poverty. Jack and I knew that we weren’t rich, but it didn’t really bother us all that much. Dad worked in a lumber mill and just couldn’t seem to get ahead of the bills. And, of course, Mom being the way she was didn’t help much either.
It had been a raw, blustery Saturday, and Jack and I had spent the day outside. Mom was off someplace as usual, and Dad was supposed to be watching us. About all he’d done had been to feed us and tell us to stay the hell out of trouble or he’d bite off our ears. He always said stuff like that, but we were pretty sure he didn’t really mean it.
The yard around our house was cluttered with a lot of old junk abandoned by previous tenants—rusty car bodies and discarded appliances and the like—but it was a good place to play. Jack and I were involved in one of the unending, structureless games of his invention that filled the days of our boyhood. My brother—even then thin, dark, quick, and nervous—was a natural ringleader who settled for directing my activities when he couldn’t round up a gang of neighborhood kids. I went along with him most of the time—to some extent because he was older, but even more, I suppose, because even then I really didn’t much give a damn, and I knew that he did.
After supper it was too dark to go back outside, and the radio was on the blink, so we started tearing around the house. We got to playing tag in the living room, ducking back and forth around the big old wood-burning heating stove, giggling and yelling, our feet clattering on the worn linoleum. The Old Man was trying to read the paper, squinting through the dime-store glasses that didn’t seem to help much and made him look like a total stranger—to me at least.
He’d glance up at us from time to time, scowling in irritation. “Keep it down, you two,” he finally said. We looked quickly at him to see if he really meant it. Then we went on back out to the kitchen.
“Hey, Dan, I betcha I can hold my breath longer’n you can,” Jack challenged me. So we tried that a while, but we both got dizzy, and pretty soon we were running and yelling again. The Old Man hollered at us a couple times and finally came out to the kitchen and gave us both a few whacks on the fanny to show us that he meant business. Jack wouldn’t cry—he was ten. I was only eight, so I did. Then the Old Man made us go into the living room and sit on the couch. I kept sniffling loudly to make him feel sorry for me, but it didn’t work.
“Use your handkerchief” was all he said.
I sat and counted the flowers on the stained wallpaper. There were twelve rows on the left side of the brown water-splotch that dribbled down the wall and seventeen on the right side.
Then I decided to try another tactic on the Old Man. “Dad, I have to go.”
“You know where it is.”
When I came back, I went over and leaned my head against his shoulder and looked at the newspaper with him to let him know I didn’t hold any grudges. Jack fidgeted on the couch. Any kind of enforced nonactivity was sheer torture to Jack. He’d take ten spankings in preference to fifteen minutes of sitting in a corner. School was hell for Jack. The hours of sitting still were almost more than he could stand.
Finally, he couldn’t take anymore. “Tell us a story, Dad.”
The Old Man looked at him for a moment over the top of his newspaper. I don’t think the Old Man really understood my brother and his desperate need for diversion. Jack lived with his veins, like Mom did. Dad just kind of did what he had to and let it go at that. He was pretty easygoing—I guess he had to be, married to Mom and all like he was. I never really figured out where I fit in. Maybe I didn’t, even then.
“What kind of a story?” he finally asked.
“Cowboys?” I said hopefully.
“Naw,” Jack vetoed, “that’s kid stuff. Tell us about deer hunting or something.”
“Couldn’t you maybe put a couple cowboys in it?” I insisted, still not willing to give up.
Dad laid his newspaper aside and took off his glasses. “So you want me to tell you a story, huh?”
“With cowboys,” I said again. “Be sure you don’t forget the cowboys.”
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