Sandlot, by John Hough

The ball field was an approximate rectangle, deep in left field, short in right, with a yellow marsh beyond left and a private road, seldom-used and crumbling, bordering right field. Railroad tracks crossed the marsh on a cinder causeway. Beyond the causeway, a pond spread itself in an embrace of woods, and beyond that, silver-blue in the distance, lay the ocean.

Home plate was a ragged square of plywood, and the bases varied from year to year and sometimes from game to game: scraps of wood, a broken flagstone, a rolled-up jacket. Someone had found an old wooden storm door in his cellar, and we propped it against Mrs. Beardsley’’s hedge for a backstop. The bases and pitcher’s mound had been sited unscientifically, rough guesses that became binding as the grass around them wore away to tear-shaped patches of hard-packed black earth.

We needed at least three to a team to make a game—pitcher, first baseman, fielder—and the larger the teams, the better the game. And so everyone was welcome: the slow-footed fat boy, the hood with the ducktail, the geek who had never heard of Ted Williams or Mel Parnell. If you showed up, you fielded a position, you took your cuts, you heard the age-old hortative chatter. Two outs, Sammy, run on anything. Only takes one, Jack, only takes one. No one was denigrated for his weak swing, or for throwing like a girl. Everyone was a ballplayer, some better than others, but so what?.

At the end of these long afternoons of baseball we lounged in the grass along the first base line and talked about Maverick and Rawhide, swapped dirty jokes, opined on cars and girls. Trans am, four on the floor, the girls who put out and the ones who didn’t, the girls who wore falsies. The older boys pontificated, affecting a laconic wisdom in these matters. A train might go by, the silver-sided commuter from Boston scurrying to its final stop in Quick’s Hole, an orange and black New Haven Railroad diesel moving leisurely, pulling several boxcars. Wearily, we would pick ourselves up, mount our bikes and pedal home, hungry for supper and replete with exercise and the fresh sweet air of that long ago.

 

Ernie Stunkel showed up in April, a stranger in a town where every kid knew every other kid’s face, if not his name. It was a mild blue day with the grass greening and leaves budding in the woods along third base. Ernie came down the potholed road on his bike, glove hung on the handlebar, braked and dismounted and walked the bike to where ours lay sprawled every which way by Mrs. Beardsley’s hedge.

The game went on. Ernie bent and got his glove. He came closer and stood watching us from under the bill of a collapsed and color-bled Red Sox hat, hands stuffed in the pockets of a black and yellow DeMolay jacket, glove clamped under his arm. He was slender, not tall. I was playing first base—I was twelve that year, not fast enough to roam the outfield, not reliable enough for short or second–so I could see Ernie pretty well as he stood there watching us. Gray eyes set deep in a face so pale I wondered if he’d been sick. His jeans were worn at the knees, and the fake-silk jacket was shiny with age and wear. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to join the game, studying us and looking unimpressed with what he saw.

Billy Davis hit one back to the pitcher, Buddy Barrows, who tossed him out at first, Billy cussing as he ran. Spike Baylor dropped a short fly ball into center, scoring Eric Edwards, while their captain, Junie Creighton, crowed the score, four to one, them. Art Fay lined one toward left center, and our captain, Pete Shimkus, glided over, took it one-handed and circled in, third out.

Junie’s team picked up their gloves and began scattering onto the field as Shimkus walked up to the new kid. We assumed Pete was going to invite the kid into the game, but Shimkus didn’t like the way Ernie Stunkel was looking past him, like he might want to play, and then again he might not, and either way Pete didn’t much interest him. Junie’s team had halted on their way out, turning to watch.

“I guess you’re new in town,” Shimkus said.

“Yes sir,” Ernie said.

Yes sir? We all looked at each other. Ernie’s voice was slow, dry, inflectionless. It was careful, as if he weighed out every word.

“How come we never saw you before?” Shimkus said.

Ernie looked at him now for the first time. “I only moved here last week.”

“Yeah, but you go to school,” Pete said.

“Not yet I ain’t.”

“Why the hell not?’

Junie’s team had crept back in, and we were all coming closer, till it looked like Ernie was facing a posse.

“I just ain’t,” he said.

Pete Shimkus twisted around, squinched up his face like we had a mental case on our hands. Pete was fourrteen. His father had been an airman out at the Base and had died a few years ago when he crashed his fighter plane in a training flight. Pete was the only child, and without a father he ran pretty wild, shooting out street lights with his BB gun, soaping windows on Halloweeen, and so on. He and Junie and Inch Williams used to play chicken on the train tracks, sit on a rail as the commuter approached. Pete was famous for never losing, and one time he actually stopped the train, sitting with his wrists on his knees, hands dangling, watching the train out of the tail of his eye. The Buddcar slowed, ground to a halt.The conductor got down but Pete was gone, shinning across the Baileys‘ yard and down Oak Street, the rest of us pelting after him.

“It’s a law says you got to go to school,” Pete said.

Ernie was again looking past him, at no one special, hands still in his pockets. “What’s it to you, I go to school or I don’t go?” he says.

Shimkus spat on the ground, said, “Stay home, go to school, I don’t give a fuck.”

“Hell,” Junie said, “we going to play or what?’

“Yeah, shit, let’s go,” someone said.

“Who gets the new kid?” Billy Davis said,

“We do,” Junie said, “we’re short one.”

Ernie nodded–to himself, I thought–and stripped his jacket and tossed it toward the hedge. He put on his glove and socked his fist into it.

“Where’d you get that glove, the Salvation Army?” Shimkus said.

It was worn and cracked and faded to a milky cocoa-brown. “I got it at the gettin place,” Ernie said, and socked it again.

Shimkus looked back at us. Smirked. Mental case.

“What’s your name?” he said to Ernie.

“Stunkel.”

“Stunkel?” Pete said. “Stunkel?”

“Ernie Stunkel,” Ernie said. “So what?’

“Can we fuckin play ball?” Junie said.

Shimkus was grinning. “Oinkie,” he said. “Oinkie Stunkel.”

Ernie smiled a quiet smile, looking into the distance.

“Go on play shortstop, Oinky,” Junie said, and Ernie nodded and headed out there.

 

He was good. He was damn good. We’d figured as much, in spite of his smallish size and pallor, reading it in the sure, easy way he moved, in his studious appraisal of us as he stood watching with his glove under his arm. We found out, in time, that Ernie lived in a crummy rental house by the railroad tracks on the other side of the crossing, down a shaded dead end dirt lane. He had a couple of sisters in the high school—big good-looking girls who wore leather jackets to school and chewed gum all the time and went with grown men from the Base and the Coast Guard Station. The father was a handyman and also did some house painting, but I don’t think he worked much, because the mother, who looked worn-out and graying, though she’d clearly been pretty, waited tables long hours at the Oar and Anchor.

Ernie went out to shortstop with his jaw set and his eyes narrowed, and that bothered us. We played to win, sure—played hard sometimes–but there was cussing and joking and the general irreverence and unconstraint that were our right with no adults around. Ernie’s lightless blue-gray squint seemed obdurate and judgmental, as if he played by a higher set of rules than ours, and we cheapened ourselves with our easygoing approach to the game.

We put two runners on, me on second, Buddy Barrows on first, and up came Shimkus. Billy Davis threw him an outside pitch, and instead of doing the smart thing, hit it to right behind the runners, Pete pulled it on the ground to the right of Ernie Stunkel. I was running, naturally. Ernie spun, gloved the short hop backhand across his body, planted his right foot, tagged me with a deft swipe that I barely felt, and snapped a perfect throw to first, double play.

Shimkus, not halfway down the line, put his hands to his hips, looked skyward, swore under his breath. No one spoke, either team. Spike Baylor, their first baseman, looked at the ball, frowning, as if he suspected some trick on Ernie’s part, like maybe Ernie had put a spell on the ball. Ernie socked his glove and went back to his position, maybe hearing the silence around him and maybe not. Who knew? Shimkus squatted by the hedge and chewed a blade of grass, thinking things over. Paul Porter hit a fly ball to Junie, third out, and now we were going to see what kind of hitter Ernie was.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Shimkus was our best ballplayer and a daredevil to boot, and I think of him now as the prince of the sandlot, our leader and the lodestar around which the rest of us willingly placed ourselves. It was a given that he’d be a captain, play left field and bat third, and that the rest of us would be disposed accordingly. He alone among us could slug a ball into the marsh, and he seemed to fly across the spacious lawn of the outfield, one-handing line drives, snaring fly balls over his shoulder.

Who’s to say what Ernie’s idea of Pete Shimkus was? Who’s to say if he was oblivious of Pete’s status, or thought it was undeserved? His pale face remained knitted in concentration, and now, while his team batted, he watched the game with astute absorption, he followed the ball wherever it went, sitting with his knees drawn up, his legs skinny and supple in those time and washer-bleached jeans.

“You’re up, Oinky,” Junie said.

It was Ernie’s last chance to quash it, The name’s Ernie, got that?  Junie was an amiable kid, not too bright, and he’d have grinned and said I got it, Ernie, no problem, man. But Ernie said nothing, only nodded in that way he had, more to himself than to Junie, and pushed himself up, deliberate, and went to choose a bat. There were three or four of them lying in the grass. Ernie considered them, leaning over with his hands on his knees, and chose Spike’s brand-new Adirondack George Kell model.

“You break that, your ass is grass,” Spike said.

“I don’t break bats,” Ernie said, moving plateward, his eyes on Barrows, the pitcher.

There were two outs at this point, slow-moving Rich Turner on second. Ernie dug in, crowding the plate. He held his hands low, the bat a perfect vertical, his feet well apart, the stance of a right-handed Ted Williams. Shimkus, in left, came in a few steps, assessing Ernie as a singles hitter, in spite of his home run stance. I saw Ernie look at him, look again, and I knew what was going to happen.

It took four pitches. Buddy was pitching Ernie outside, and Ernie was letting them go by. There was no catcher, and the grass-stained hardball thumped the storm door and popped back onto the bare ground at Ernie’s feet. Ernie scooped it up patiently each time, and tossed it back to Buddy for another try.

“Christ sake swing at one, Oinkie,” Junie said.

“Swing, Oinkie,” Inch Williams yelled from shortstop. “Swing, batter!”

Inch’s taunt had barely died away when Ernie did swing, Buddy feeding him the inside pitch he’d been waiting for, Ernie stepping into it, smooth as butter, the ball leaping off his bat, high and deep, shrinking into the distance above Shimkus, a miniscule blur as it vanished somewhere in the marsh.

We were dumbfounded. No one moved, spoke. Ernie Stunkel was quick, we’d seen that, but he was too small, too pale, too enigmatic, too strange, to hit a ball that far. He dropped the bat, lowered his head and jogged the bases through another grudging silence. He stepped on the plywood plate and went over to the hedge and sat down, alone. His teammates looked at him, looked at Junie.

“Nice shot, Oinkie,” Junie said.

The boys smiled, relaxed. Junie had shown them how to deal with this.

“Slugger Oinkie,” someone said.

“Oinkie Williams. Oinkie Mantle.”

“Oinkie Ruth.”

Ernie didn’t seem to hear them. He was gazing out toward the ocean. He spat past his knee.

“What’s that boy’s name in left field?” he said.

Boy?  His teammates all looked at each other. I could hear it all from first base.

“Pete,” Junie said. “Get the wax out of your ears.”

“He oughtn’t to of played me so shallow,” Ernie said. “I think he learned a lesson, there.”

“His name’s Pete,” Junie said.

“I heard you the first time,” Ernie said.

Meanwhile Shimkus had put his glove down and gone into the marsh, which is soggy this time of year. He was slogging around down there, parting the grasses, hunting the baseball. You could hear him say shit and goddamn it. Finally Inch Williams drifted out to help him, but Shimkus had found the ball now and was coming back with it. He threw it to Inch.

“See any frogs out there, Pete?” Inch said, grinning.

“Fuck you too,” Shimkus said.

 

It was as if Ernie could will the ball in his direction and had decided to exercise the power. Grounders, popups, line drives. It had been a mistake, putting him at shortstop; if Ernie had been in right field, say, the ball wouldn’t have found him anywhere nearly as often, and he wouldn’t have stood out so. boldly. But Ernie was gobbling up ground balls to his left and right, making good throws. Someone lifted a fly ball out past third, and Ernie whirled and sprinted, eyeing the ball over his shoulder, turned, and was waiting for it when it came down.

Shimkus played near the edge of the marsh the next two times Ernie hit, and Ernie, instead of going deep, placed two line drives in front of him, clean sharp singles which Pete might have caught if he’d played in a few steps. Ernie was outsmarting him, and everyone saw it. Ernie had wiped the smile off Pete’s face, and maybe Ernie noticed and maybe he didn’t.

Anyway, the fun had gone out of the game, the wisecracks and the cussing, and I do blame Ernie for this. He could have at least tried to blend in. Ask us our names, explain why he hadn’t been to school yet, smile at our jokes, treat Shimkus with some respect. Instead, he never left off judging us, we felt—our lack of seriousness, the quality of our play. His own avidity, his incredible skill, were a reproach, a negation of the premise of our being here. We were rabble, anarchists, clowns.

The game wore on, so quiet old Mrs. Beardsley must have thought she’d finally gone deaf, until Shimkus looked at his wristwatch and said he had to go home. Nobody protested, though the sun was still high above the water.

“You got a big date, Pete?” someone said.

“I might,” Shimkus said.

“In your dreams,” Spike said, though Shimkus had a girl, Sandra Silvia, whose precocious bust was the talk of the eighth grade.

Junie’s team came in, and we began gathering our gloves, bats—all but Ernie, who had stopped at about the first line, watching the game break up.

“Why are we quittin?” he said.

“Pete has to go home,” Junie said.

“So what?” Ernie said.

No one bothered to answer him.  We went on picking up our things, moving toward our bikes. Ernie stood with his hands on his hips, watching us.

“Start a new game,” he said. “Come on, you guys.”

You start one,” Inch Williams said. “Play against yourself. Pocket pool.”

Laughter; acidic, mean. Shimkus was smiling again.

“Play right ball, left ball,” Spike said. “You can be the prick in the middle.”

“Play with your nuts,” Inch said.

Ernie stood with his hands on his hips, a knee canted, the way a big leaguer does, relaxing while a new pitcher warms up. He was squinting at Mrs. Beardsley’s big house uphill from the hedge, as if the insults were aimed at someone else and none of his concern. Shimkus had put on his brown-leather flier’s jacket with the fur collar. He’d put his glove on and was slapping a baseball into it, digging the ball out, slapping it in again, over and over, glancing at Ernie. The whap of the ball sounded restive and a little bit threatening. The rest of us stopped to watch him.

“Game’s over, Oinkie,” he said.

“Bunch of party poopers, ain’t you,” Ernie said.

It was the mildest of epithets, something a girl would say, almost comical, but it was, technically, an epithet. Maybe its mildnesswasthe irritant, one more refusal to play by our rules. Ernie might have been better off cussing us.

“Fuck you,” Shimkus said.

Ernie’s narrowed gaze, ice-gray, swung over to him. He looked suddenly very wise, he looked grown up. He contemplated Pete Shimkus, looked around at the rest of us.

“You all ain’t worth botherin about,” he said, and let his hands fall from his hips, the one with the old glove still on it, and went slowly toward his bike.

Shimkus turned, his face now lit with a devil-smirk I’d seen before. “Let’s de-pants him,” he said.

 

Ernie was halfway to his bike when they got to him. He went down in an avalanche of bodies and Shimkus and Baylor pinned his shoulders while other hands unbuckled his belt, unzipped his bluejeans, yanked his sneakers off and began dragging off the jeans. You couldn’t see Ernie under the pile, but it was clear he wasn’t fighting back. He’d lost his glove, which lay apart in the soft spring grass like something antiquated and abandoned.

They pulled Ernie’s jeans off and sprang up and moved back from him, watching to see what he’d do. Shimkus had the jeans, held aloft like a prize. Ernie got up, slow. His skinny legs were white as marble. His shirttail hung down, concealing his underpants, and I was glad of that. He’d lost his hat, of course, and he looked around for it and bent down and grabbed it and, absurdly, put it on and stood up. He extended his hand.

“My pants, please,” he said.

“Come get them,” Shimkus said.

“I don’t go chasing after idiots,” Ernie said.

“Idiots?”

“There ain’t no other word for it.”

“You little pussy,” Shimkus said.

But Ernie was turning away already, gathering up his glove, his sneakers. He carried them to his sprawled bike, which looked as old and decrepit as his glove, dropped the glove and sneakers and picked up his jacket. He put the jacket on and sat down with his knees drawn up. His socks were white and bunched down around his ankles. The afternoon had begun to cool, and he sat huddled in his jacket, and I knew his legs were cold.

“I’m waitin,” he said.

We looked at each other. Now what? Shimkus smiled, “He really thinks that’ll work,” he said. Then, to Ernie: “Tell you what. Take it back you called us idiots, and you can have your ratty pants.”

“I’m waitin,” Ernie said.

“Do you believe this shit?” Shimkus said.

“Make him fight you, Pete,” Spike said.

“He won’t fight me,” Shimkus said.

“Make him,” Spike said.

“You want to fight me, Oinkie?” Shimkus said.

“Are you a man or a mouse, Oinkie?” Inch Said. “Squeak up.”

“Fight me,” Shimkus said.

“I’m waitin,” Ernie said.

“Shit, I’ll fight him,” Junie said, surprising me. He’d never been in a fight that I knew of.

“Let’s see if we can make a man out of him,” Shimkus said, moving toward Ernie, Spike and Junie and Inch all following him, and that is when Mr. Barrows, Buddy’s father, came down the road beside right field in his pickup truck, a big gray Chevrolet with a concrete block painted on the door. Mr. Barrows owned Lymington Cement.

Shimkus stopped, halfway to Ernie with Ernie’s bluejeans in his hand. Mr. Barrows got out of the truck and slammed the door. Ernie watched him from under the brim of his hat, hugging his knees, shivering now. Mr. Barrows wore a pale-yellow golf windbreaker and khaki pants. He was a handsome sporty man with jetblack hair, and we all liked him. He looked at us, looked at Ernie, and came forward. Mrs. Beardsley had called him, we found out later. She’d seen the whole thing from her kitchen window.

“Buddy,” Mr. Barrows said, “get in the truck.”

“It wasn’t my idea,” Buddy said.

“Get in the damn truck,” Mr. Barrows said.

Buddy sighed and shuffled off with his glove. He was my age, an easygoing kid with a natural lopsided grin who never hurt anybody.

“Pete Shimkus,” Mr. Barrows said, “give that boy his pants.”

Shimkus nodded slowly, as if, upon consideration, he found the order reasonable, and moved slowly toward Ernie. Ernie didn’t watch him come, only stared into the distance with those narrow cold eyes. When Pete got near he reached up without looking to receive the jeans, and it was then that I noticed how beautiful his hands were, big-veined and strong, the sculpted hands of a surgeon or cabinet maker. Shimkus put the jeans in Ernie’s hand and turned and came back, and there was the ghost of that smirk on his face.

“You boys are expecting a lecture,” Mr. Barrows said, “but you aren’t going to get one. I just want you to know something.”

Ernie had gotten up was pulling on his pants, white leg flashing as he lifted a knee. Mr. Barrows rammed his hands into his hip pockets and let his gaze pan us. His eyebrows were the jetblack of his hair and his eyes dark and intelligent.

“I’m going to tell Buddy,” he said, “that if anything like this happens again, he’s going to speak up. He’s going to say, This is wrong. He’s too young to stop it by himself, I know that, but he’s going to try. And if you guys don’t listen to him, he’s going to walk away, and he’s going to stay away.”

Silence. Mr. Barrows looked over at Ernie, who had sat down to pull on his sneakers.

“Are you all right?” he said.

“Yes sir,” Ernie said. “Thank you, sir.”

Mr. Barrows watched him a moment, then turned without looking at us again, without speaking, and walked back to his truck. We could see Buddy in the passenger window, glum, waiting to catch hell.

Ernie walked his bike to the road, and I pulled my bike up and hung my glove and followed him. The others, I imagined, were staring after me, wondering what I thought I was doing, but no one said anything.

Ernie turned right on Oak Road and I went after him, standing up on the pedals till I could feel the wind on my face, the coasted and caught up with him by the Barrows’ big white-shingle house with its circular driveway and the apple orchard running out beside it. The gray pickup stood in the circular driveway.

“Ernie,” I said.

He was crying. The day was dying now and his wet cheeks shone in the softening light.

“Ernie,” I said again.

He shook his head as if in refusal and wiped his nose with the back of his wrist. We rode slowly under the budding oaks, still side by side.

“Where do you live?” I said.

“What do you care?” he said.

We passed my house, which was covered in weathered shingles and had a greenhouse off one side. My mother was in her flower garden, planting, while my baby sister stood watching her in a pair of red rubber boots. They didn’t see us go by.

“Were you in DeMolay?” I said.

It was hard to imagine. Ernie wiped his nose with the back of his hand. “What do you care?” he said.

“I’m just trying to be friendly,” I said.

“You should of tried earlier,” Ernie said.

“I didn’t agree with what they did,” I said.

“I bet,” Ernie said.

“Well, I didn’t.”

Ernie wiped his nose again. He sniffed. He’d stopped crying.

“You should come back tomorrow,” I said. “I’ll talk to them.”

“You should of done already,” he said.

“I know,” I said, “but it’s hard.”

“No it ain’t.”

“They’re older than me,” I said.

“Well, you didn’t have to help them,” he said.

“I didn’t,” I said.

“You watched it. Same thing.”

The Buddcar was blowing its horn for the crossing. We passed Mickey Bailey’s house and Johnny Parent’s, and got over on the sidewalk where Oak Road emptied onto Carriage Street near the crossing. The gate arm had fallen and the red lights were flashing, and Ernie and I braked and stood straddling our bikes while the Buddcar snarled by. You could feel the air and noise hit your face, and smell cinders in all the turbulence. Then it was gone, sucking its brazen racket in behind itself, and the flashing stopped, and the gate arm rose. I thought Ernie would ride on immediately, but he stood with a leg on either side of his bike, the bike leaning a little, staring ahead in that odd distant way he had.

“They don’t hurt me,” he said.

I looked at him. “They didn’t want to hurt you,” I said.

“Oh yes they did. They’d of killed me if they could.”

“No,” I said. “Jesus.”

“It didn’t work,” he said. “They want me to be like them, but I won’t be. I won’ ever be.”

“I won’t either,” I said.

“You better work on that,” he said.

He pushed off, found the pedals with his sneakered feet.

“I’m sorry,” I called, but he made no answer.

I watched him bump across the tracks and drift on, weaving slightly, past the little park with the Mariners Monument and on down Carriage Street under the big trees. It was the last time he ever spoke to me.

 

I thought I’d pay a price for riding away with him, get grilled about it, get mocked, even ostracized, but no one ever mentioned it. They didn’t talk much about Ernie, either. Junie brought him up a couple of times, “Oinkie,” when we were lolling in the grass at the end of the day. Ernie had come to school—he was in ninth grade, like Shimkus and Spike Baylor and Junie and Inch–and Junie reported that he ate by himself in the cafeteria and never spoke in science class or ancient history. Buddy Barrows and I looked at each other and didn’t say anything. The older boys smiled briefly, shrugged, gazed out at the ocean, and that was all, till Junie finally figured out that no one wanted to talk about Ernie Stunkel.

The following spring Ernie disappeared. He and his lazy father and haggard mother and trampy sisters. They’d moved to New Hampshire, Inch said, but I also heard Vermont. Ernie and his sisters were in school one day and gone the next, Junie said. He didn’t think they’d even turned in their books.

Pete Shimkus abandoned the sandlot that same spring, drawn away by school ball and Pony League, by girls, by the car his mother bought him. Pretty soon Junie drifted away, and Inch, and Spike. New kids came to play, boys ten and eleven and twelve. I was a team captain now, hitting third, playing left field. I could jack a ball into the marsh and had begun to feel a vague sweet longing for Tammy Smith, who sat behind me in French class. The trains were no longer running; the rails had rusted, the ties were rotting. Mrs. Beardsley had died.

I don’t remember how old I was when I played my last game on the field by the marsh. I don’t remember the game, or the time of year. September, probably. before the cold weather set in. High blue sky, I imagine, the grass lying over thick and matted and dark-green. Afterwards we lay around and told our jokes, our stories. We talked, kidded one another, laughed. The sun fell toward the ocean and we picked ourselves up, righted our bikes, hung our gloves, and went our several ways. I pedaled home in the cooling golden afternoon of another fall, never doubting I’d be back, or that life would roll on exempt from sorrow and regret, as it always had.

***

John Hough, Jr. grew up on Cape Cod and now lives on Martha’s Vineyard, where he teaches creative writing. His most recent novel, Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg, received the 2010 W. Y. Boyd Award from the American Library Association for “Excellence in Military Fiction.” His story, The Evil Eye, was a runner-up in the 2012 Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Contest. His novel, Little Bighorn, will be published in June.

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Comments

  1. Powerful story, John. It opens the doors to a lot of memories of how we treated one another in our youth.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Poulter, and Marcin Majkowski. Fiction by Claire Ibarra, Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, Jeremy Townley, John Hough Jr.,  Justine Manzano, Matthew Dennis, Teresa Milbrodt, and Valerie Valdes, Nonfiction by J. Michael […]

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