Ernest J. Gaines, "Turtles"

First the dads take the boys fishing, then it’s off to the whore house!

(from Mozart and Leadbelly)

Yeah so it’s just boys fishing and, besides their utterly repulsive habit of killing the turtles they accidentally catch, this starts off like one of those little harmless rural nostalgia trip stories you read whilst eating Pepperidge Farms cookies and sipping Country Time Lemonade mixed with Bartles and James. They all the sudden it’s like ok, kid time’s up, boys. Get in there and become a man. It seems sudden and preposterous to the reader, but it’s that way for the boys, too, so I’m not calling shenanigans. It all rings true and sad and funny and all the simple adjectives a story like this is supposed to ring.

Leadbelly, “The Gallows Pole”

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