Alethea Black, “The Only Way Out Is Through”

10292397Fetterman takes his teenage son on a camping trip.

(from I Knew You’d be Lovely)

“Jesus!” said Fetterman, swerving just in time. A deer was standing in the middle of the road. In the backseat, Derek remained unfazed. They rounded a curve and passed a deer warning sign. “Little late now,” Fetterman muttered. He’d always thought deer warning signs had a lot more artistry than other road signs; the deer were rendered in much greater detail than humans. Derek took off his headphones, and Fetterman seized the opportunity to ask him a question. “Do you know why deer graze so close to the road?”

I really like this story, which revolves around this father-and-son pair attempting to bond on a camping trip. Fetterman is in way over his head, has no idea what he’s doing, in terms of camping or how to father his recalcitrant son. I love all of the facts that are woven throughout, like the answer to the above question. Do you know what it is–why deer graze so close to the road? “Because the grass is saltiest there, especially in winter.”

Who knew? Good to know.

“The Only Way Out Is Through” originally appeared in Narrative Magazine. Read it here. I think you have to create an account, but unless something has changed, it’s free.


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