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Bud Grossmann’s
Words of the Week
for the Week of
January 28, 2018
Previously unpublished fiction.
© 2018 by Bud Grossmann.
All Rights Reserved.

Hunter (2006)
  Hunter (2006)
© 2006 by Bud Grossmann


I was a sophomore in January of ’65, a lad of fifteen, when a story made the rounds at the high school here in Fjord, a story I found amusing and worthy of repetition several times in the succeeding years. I myself was not a witness to the incident portrayed. So if you know more than I and wish to suggest amendments, I will gladly listen. My one attempt to verify the cast of characters was met with a denial, but still.

Seems some boys from our school, athletes, juniors and seniors all, drove up to Green Bay for fun on Christmas break and visited the newly opened ShopKo store. They elected one boy to make a purchase at the pharmacy, to buy something that could be had at the Rexall here in Fjord, but which, for good reasons, was better purchased far from home. Though it was not a prescription product, it was kept, in those days, for what seemed good reasons then, out of view behind the counter. Proof of age could be required. In those days in this state we could drink three-two beer at age eighteen, but three-two beer was not the subject of this story, and these boys were none of them more than seventeen.

While his pals hung back, pretending to consider items on the shelves nearby, the fellow with the money strode up to the counter and boldly told the white-coated pharmacist what he wished to buy. He, the boy, was tall but beardless, and he was, well, boyish looking, and so the pharmacist leaned toward him and softly said, “You have to be eighteen to purchase those. May I see your driver’s license?”

“I don’t drive,” said the boy.

“Wisconsin ID?” asked the pharmacist.

“I don’t drink,” the boy replied.

“A hunting license, then?” the pharmacist suggested.

“I don’t hunt,” the boy declared. But he was, as I said, only seventeen, so he confessed defeat. He fairly shouted so that half the store could hear: “I DON’T DRIVE, I DON’T DRINK, I DON’T HUNT! ALL I DO IS —!” and he sprinted through the ShopKo store and out the front doors to the parking lot. His pals soon joined him there.

– • –

When I moved back to Fjord a few years ago, I happened to meet, on the street, the fellow who was the star of this story. He was still two years older than I and still looked younger than his age or mine. “I’ve been telling a story,” I said, “and I’d like to hear from you whether I have it essentially right.”

“Okay,” he said.

And so I told it pretty much as I have told it now to you, but without the annotations or the one omission. The man smiled and shook his head from side to side. “Nope,” he said. “It wasn’t me.”

I was disappointed. “Hmm,” I said, giving him a chance to tell me more.

“Couldn’t have been me,” he said again. “I have always hunted.”

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© 2018 by Bud Grossmann