Ben Ehrenreich, "What You Eat"

If you kill something you have to eat it, dad says. Why can’t this kid stop killing?

(from The Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2004)

What a crazy, sicko little story. Fun in a way. I mean, this is really just a long extension of a joke, taking an inane saying to a nearly-logical conclusion. It’s funny seeing this kid’s whole life edited down to just the parts where he’s killing animals and bugs (accidentally only sometimes) and then being forced to eat them. The dad is also a puzzling, intriguing character, always digging and looming.

Makes me think of a joke which can be traced back to funnyman Bob McCormick, about Ted Nugent taking on Predator. And when ol’ Ted wins, as per his oath, he’s got to eat his alien foe. It would probably take awhile.

Sometimes I Google phrases from the short stories I read, in an attempt to find you, my two loyal readers, a free copy of the story to read. I just looked for “My eyes closed to slits” but Google only came up with porn. Sorry, readers.

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