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13. Don’t Shoot the Deer in the Ass

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Thirteen

Dont Shoot the Deer in the Ass

The hunter is not least a subject of song, who brings peace to our pastures and feasts us with every sort of meat.

Synesisus of Cyrene, Letter 148, 1st century AD

It is 5 A.M., and John is getting ready to go deer hunting. Outside, its twenty-three degrees in the disappearing dark, and the fields are frozen. By the time I turn over, a shy mist is rising from the land, blending earth and sky. John is using my half of the bed to offload and organize his gear. I am pretending to be asleep.

I open one eye, and see orange. Theres a fluorescent puffy vest layered on top of me.

To keep you warm, baby, he says primly, and tucks it in around me.

Mmmph, I thank him, and disappear under the quilt.

He tugs on long johns and heads upstairs for food.

Brzzzzzip! goes the coffee bean grinder.

Thump! go the logs in the stove.

Argh! I mutter, pulling his pillow over my head. Something soft lands on me. Its a balled-up sock. I sneeze and count my blessings. This time, the sock is clean.

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Prologue

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Prologue

Keaton always said, I dont believe in God, but Im afraid of him. Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Big Bird.

Verbal Kint, in The Usual Suspects, 1995

Parishioners believed he could heal them with his hands. As a kid, I knew my father was different, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he was a preacher. His legs were shriveled down to bone and he walked funny, sometimes with a cane. His face beamed. He forgot to eat. He liked Maine, because the rocky terrain reminded him of home. He and my mother came to the U.S. from Korea after the war. At first, there were four of us, and then there were five: my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, and me in the middle. My older brother and I fought mean and hard, locked in a death match from the day I was born. Oblivious to the slugfest, my baby sister sat back and let the adults admire her. She was the pretty one, and could never figure out why I was so furious all the time. She was born with grace. Predictably, her Korean name, Young-Mi, means flower. Mine is Young-Nan. It means egg.

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10. Coyote Mobile

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Ten

Coyote Mobile

The loudest duck gets shot.

Chinese proverb

Im going to kill the chicken, Don announces without preamble. You want to help?

Uh... sure, I reply uncertainly. I feel obliged to witness its death since Im responsible for pointing out its scabrous condition. A little while ago I went out to the henhouse to say hello to the chickens. Hello, chickens! I said. Right away they lined up, pressing forward to see if I brought food. They all came over to greet me except for one, the one with the weird walk and the bloated stomach. She looked really bad. Chunks of feathers on her back were gone, and her demeanor was sullen. Worse, she was huddled in the corner where the first bird had croaked. She couldnt smell death, because death smelled like her.

Shes eating, Don remarked, when I returned to the human house and tattled on her. Its probably not a disease. Dourly, he scratched his chin. He was not particularly interested in deciphering the clues.

The feathers on her back are funny, I insisted. Either shes picking them out, or the other birds are pecking her.

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3. A Liver with Onions

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Three

A Liver with Onions

Lord, confound this surly sister

Blight her brow with blotch and blister,

Cramp her larynx, lung and liver

In her guts a galling give her.

J.M. Synge

At this point in a proper romance, the heroine should find herself facing a large obstacle challenging her bliss, such as a rival in stilettos, or an inconvenient war. Since the nineteenth century, the conventions of the genre have been consistent: the heroine runs away from marriage, a clever suitor figures out how to win her, the heroine finally relents, they tie the knot and live happily ever after. From Jane Austen to that Mormon lady who wrote Twilight, authors always make the heroine marry Mr. Right in the end. If he wasnt Mr. Right, the heroine would not have married him.

When the woman ends up with Mr. Wrong, she isnt the heroine but the sidekick. She is there to make the heroine look thin. I didnt want to be heroine or sidekick. I wanted to be Tolstoy, so I started writing about John and turned him into the heroine. Turnabout is fair play. Besides which, he was the one who always wanted to talk about The Relationship, asking me awful things like, How do you feel about us? Where do you see this relationship going? What relationship? Id reply in astonishment. Were living together! hed bellow in disbelief. So? Id retort, and refuse to speak to him until he apologized for being so mean to me.

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1. A Kormic Explanation

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

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