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Total 3 stories and each story write one full page of literary analysis. Please follow the instruction below:

1. All six literary elements are covered.

2. Description and analysis of each literary element is developed with specific examples.

3. This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeUses quotes from the text and explains what it reflects about each literary element.

4. Remember that a theme consists of a topic the story is addressing and what the story is saying about that topic. 

There are three short stories “Tell the Women We’re Going”, “So Much Water, So Close to Home”, and “”from the collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver.  You’ll focus on six elements, and for each one, write a 5-7 sentence analysis. 

Below is a list of the elements along with suggestions of what to cover for each element:

a) Plot/Structure –    Describe the plot of the story. Avoid making comments or interpretations about behavior and actions by the characters, just stick with describing what happens in the story. Are there other stories you know of that are similar to the plot of this story?

b) Point of View –     Who is telling this story, a first person or third person narrator? How would you characterize this narrator?

c) Characters –      List and describe the primary characters of the story. Focus on specific details about each character, such as certain behaviors and/or things they say.

d) Setting –      What did you find unique or interesting about the setting of this story? What caught your attention?  How does the setting add to the story?

e) Imagery –     Were there images or symbols in the story that appears repeatedly? Do you think there is any significance or importance to the repeated image?

f) Theme –     With regards to the topic of love and relationships, what do you think this story is saying about love and relationships?

Tell The Women We’re Going
Raymond Carver (1982)

Bill Jamison had always been best friends with Jerry Roberts. The two grew up in the south area, near
the old fairgrounds, went through grade school and junior high together, and then on to Eisenhower,
where they took as many of the same teachers as they could manage, wore each other’s shirts and
sweaters and pegged pants, and dated and banged the same girls-whichever came up as a matter of
course.
Summers they took jobs together-swamping peaches, picking cherries, stringing hops, anything they
could do that paid a little and where there was no boss to get on your ass. And then they bought a car
together. The summer before their senior year, they chipped in and bought a red ’54 Plymouth for 325
dollars.
They shared it. It worked out fine.
But Jerry got married before the end of the first semester and dropped out of school to work steady at
Robby’s Mart.
As for Bill, he’d dated the girl too. Carol was her name, and she went just fine with Jerry, and Bill went
over there every chance he got. It made him feel older, having married friends. He’d go over there for
lunch or for supper, and they’d listen to Elvis or to Bill Haley and the Comets.
But sometimes Carol and Jerry would start making out right with Bill still there, and he’d have to get up
and excuse himself and take a walk to Dezorn’s Service Station to get some Coke because there was
only one bed in the apartment, a hide-away that came down in the living room. Or sometimes Jerry
and Carol would head off to the bathroom, and Bill would have to move to the kitchen and pretend to
be interested in the cupboards and the refrigerator and not trying to listen.
So he stopped going over so much; and then June he graduated, took a job at the Darigold plant, and
joined the National Guard. In a year he had a milk route of his own and was going steady with Linda.
So Bill and Linda would go over to Jerry and Carol’s, drink beer, and listen to records.
Carol and Linda got along fine, and Bill was flattered when Carol said that, confidentially, Linda was “a
real person.”
Jerry liked Linda too. “She’s great,” Jerry said.
When Bill and Linda got married, Jerry was best man. The reception, of course, was at the Donnelly
Hotel, Jerry and Bill cutting up together and linking arms and tossing off glasses of spiked punch. But
once, in the middle of all this happiness, Bill looked at Jerry and thought how much older Jerry looked,
a lot older than twenty-two. By then Jerry was the happy father of two kids and had moved up to
assistant manager at Robby’s, and Carol had one in the oven again.
They saw each other every Saturday and Sunday, sometimes oftener if it was a holiday. If the weather
was good, they’d be over at Jerry’s to barbecue hot dogs and turn the kids loose in the wading pool
Jerry had got for next to nothing, like a lot of other things he got from the Mart.
Jerry had a nice house. It was up on a hill overlooking the Naches. There were other houses around,
but not too close. Jerry was doing all right. When Bill and Linda and Jerry and Carol got together, it
was always at Jerry’s place because Jerry had the barbecue and the records and too many kids to
drag around.
It was a Sunday at Jerry’s place the time it happened.
The women were in the kitchen straightening up. Jerry’s girls were out in the yard throwing a plastic
ball into the wading pool, yelling, and splashing after it.
Jerry and Bill were sitting in the reclining chairs on the patio, drinking beer and just relaxing.
Bill was doing most of the talking -things about people they knew, about Darigold, about the four-door
Pontiac Catalina he was thinking of buying.
Jerry was staring at the clothesline, or at the ’68 Chevy hardtop that stood in the garage. Bill was
thinking how Jerry was getting to be deep, the way he stared all the time and hardly did any talking at
all.
Bill moved in his chair and lighted a cigarette:
He said, “Anything wrong, man? I mean, you know.”
Jerry finished his beer and then mashed the can. He shrugged.
“You know,” he said.
Bill nodded.
Then Jerry said, “How about a little run?”
“Sounds good to me,” Bill said. “I’ll tell the women we’re going.”

They took the Naches River highway out to Gleed, Jerry driving.
The day was sunny and warm, and air blew through the car.
“Where we headed?” Bill said.
“Let’s shoot a few balls.”
“Fine with me,” Bill said. He felt a whole lot better just seeing Jerry brighten up.
“Guy’s got to get out,” Jerry said. He looked at Bill. “You know what I mean?”
Bill understood. He liked to get out with the guys from the plant for the Friday-night bowling league. He
liked to stop off twice a week after work to have a few beers with Jack Broderick. He knew a guy’s got
to get out.
“Still standing,” Jerry said, as they pulled up onto the gravel in front of the Rec Center.
They went inside, Bill holding the door for Jerry, Jerry punching Bill lightly in the stomach as he went
on by.
“Hey there!”
It was Riley.
“Hey, how you boys keeping?”
It was Riley coming around from behind the counter, grinning. He was a heavy man. He had on a
short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt that hung outside his jeans. Riley said, “So how you boys been keeping?”
“Ah, dry up and give us a couple of Olys,” Jerry said, winking at Bill. “So how you been, Riley?” Jerry
said.
Riley said, “So how are you boys doing? Where you been keeping yourselves? You boys getting any
on the side? Jerry, the last time I saw you, your old lady was six months gone.”
Jerry stood a minute and blinked his eyes.
“So how about the Olys?” Bill said.
They took stools near the window. Jerry said, “What kind of place is this, Riley, that it don’t have any
girls on a Sunday afternoon?”
Riley laughed. He said, “I guess they’re all in church praying for it.”
They each had five cans of beer and took two hours to play three racks of rotation and two racks of
snooker, Riley sitting on a stool and talking and watching them play, Bill always looking at his watch
and then looking at Jerry.
Bill said, “So what do you think, Jerry? I mean, what do you think?” Bill said.
Jerry drained his can, mashed it, then stood for a time turning the can in his hand.

Back on the highway, Jerry opened it up-little jumps of eighty-five and ninety. They’d just passed an
old pickup loaded with furniture when they saw the two girls.
“Look at that!” Jerry said, slowing. “I could use some of that.”
Jerry drove another mile or so and then pulled off the road.
“Let’s go back,” Jerry said.
“Let’s try it.”
“Jesus,” Bill said. “I don’t know.”
“I could use some,” Jerry said.
Bill said, “Yeah, but I don’t know.”
“For Christ’s sake,” Jerry said.
Bil lanced at his watch and then looked all around. He said, ‘You do the talking. I’m rusty.”
Jerry hoote and parked the car around.
He slowed when he came nearly even with the girls. He pulled the Chevy onto the shoulder across
from them. The girls kept on going on their bicycles, but they looked at each other and laughed. The
one on the inside was darkhaired, tall, and willowy. The other was light-haired and smaller. They both
wore shorts and halters.
“Bitches,” Jerry said.
He waited for the cars to pass so he could pull a U.
”I’ll take the brunette,” he said. “The little one’s yours.”
Bill moved his back against the front seat and touched the bridge of his sunglasses.
“They’re not going to do anything,” Bill said.
“They’re going to be on your side,” Jerry said.
He pulled across the road and drove back. “Get ready,” Jerry said.
“Hi,” Bill said as the girls bicycled up. “My name’s Bill,” Bill said.
“That’s nice,” the brunette said.
“Where are you going?” Bill said.

The girls didn’t answer. The little one laughed. They kept bicycling and Jerry kept driving.

“Oh, come on now. Where you going?” Bill said.
“No place,” the little one said.
“Where’s no place?” Bill said.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” the little one said.
“I told you my name,” Bill said. “What’s yours? My friend’s Jerry,” Bill said.
The girls looked at each other and laughed.
A car came up from behind. The driver hit his horn.
“Cram it!” Jerry shouted.
He pulled off a little and let the car go around. Then he pulled back up alongside the girls.
Bill said, “We’ll give you a lift. We’ll take you where you want. That’s a promise. You must be tired
riding those bicycles. You look tired. Too much exercise isn’t good for a person. Especially for girls.”
The girls laughed.
“You see?” Bill said. “Now tell us your names.”
“I’m Barbara, she’s Sharon,” the little one said.
“All right!” Jerry said. “Now find out where they’re going.”
“Where you girls going?” Bill said. “Barb?”
She laughed. “No place,” she said. “Just down the road.”
“Where down the road?”
“Do you want me to tell them?” she said to the other girl.
“I don’t care,” the other girl said. “It doesn’t make any difference,” she said. “I’m not going to go
anyplace with anybody anyway,” the one named Sharon said.
“Where you going?” Bill said. “Are you going to Picture Rock?”
The girls laughed. “That’s where they’re going,” Jerry said.
He fed the Chevy gas and pulled up off onto the shoulder so that the girls had to come by on his side.
“Don’t be that way,” Jerry said. He said, “Come on.” He said, “We’re all introduced.”
The girls just rode all by.
“I won’t bite you!” Jerry shouted.
The brunette glanced back. It seemed to Jerry she was looking at him in the right kind of way. But with
a girl you could never be sure.
Jerry gunned it back onto the highway, dirt and pebbles flying from under the tires.
“We’ll be seeing you!” Bill called as they went speeding by.
“It’s in the bag,” Jerry said. “You see the look that cunt gave me?”
“I don’t know,” Bill said. “Maybe we should cut for home.”
“We got it made!” Jerry said.

He pulled off the road under some trees. The highway forked here at Picture Rock, one road going on
to Yakima, the other heading for Naches, Enumclaw, the Chinook Pass, Seattle.
A hundred yards off the road was a high, sloping, black mound of rock, part of a low range of hills,
honeycombed with footpaths and small caves, Indian sign-painting here and there on the cave walls.
The cliff side of the rock faced the highway and all over it there were things like this: NACHES 67-
GLEED WILDCATS-JESUS SAVES-BEAT YAKIMA -REPENT NOW.
They sat in the car, smoking cigarettes. Mosquitoes came in and tried to get at their hands.
“Wish we had a beer now,” Jerry said. “I sure could go for a beer,” he said. Bill said, “Me too,” and
looked at his watch.

When the girls came into view, Jerry and Bill got out of the car. They leaned against the fender in
front.
“Remember,” Jerry said, starting away from the car, “the dark one’s mine. You got the other one.”

The girls dropped their bicycles and started up one of the paths. They disappeared around a bend and
then reappeared again, a little higher up. They were standing there and looking down.
“What’re you guys following us for?” the brunette called down.
Jerry just started up the path.
The girls turned away and went off again at a trot.
Jerry and Bill kept climbing at a walking pace.
Bill was smoking a cigarette, stopping every so often to get a good drag. When the path turned, he
looked back and caught a glimpse of the car.

“Move it!” Jerry said.
“I’m coming,” Bill said.
They kept climbing. But then Bill had to catch his breath.
He couldn’t see the car now. He couldn’t see the highway, either. To his left and all the way down, he
could see a strip of the Naches like a strip of aluminium foil. Jerry said, “You go right and I’ll go
straight. We’ll cut the cockteasers off.”
Bill nodded. He was too winded to speak.
He went higher for a while, and then the path began to drop, turning toward the valley. He looked and
saw the girls. He saw them crouched behind an outcrop. Maybe they were smiling.
Bill took out a cigarette. But he could not get it lit. Then Jerry showed up. It did not matter after that.
Bill had just wanted to fuck. Or even to see them naked. On the other hand, it was okay with him if it
didn’t work out.
He never knew what Jerry wanted. But it started and ended with a rock. Jerry used the same rock on
both girls, first on the girl called Sharon and then on the one that was supposed to be Bill’s.

So Much Water So Close To Home

By Raymond Carver

My husband eats with a good appetite. But I don’t think he’s really hungry. He chews,

arms on the table, and stares at something across the room. He looks at me and looks away. He

wipes his mouth on the napkin. He shrugs, and goes on eating.

“What are you staring at me for?” he says. “What is it?” he says and lays down his fork.

“Was I staring?” I say, and shake my head. The telephone rings.

“Don’t answer it,” he says.

“It might be your mother,” I say.

“Watch and see,” he says.

I pick up the receiver and listen. My husband stops eating.

“What did I tell you?” he says when I hang up. He starts to eat again. Then throws his

napkin on his plate. He says, “Goddamn it, why can’t people mind their own business? Tell me

what I did wrong and I’ll listen! I wasn’t the only man there. We talked it over and we all

decided. We couldn’t just turn around. We were five miles from the car. I won’t have you

passing judgment. Do you hear?”

“You know,” I say.

He says, “What do I know, Claire? Tell me what I’m supposed to know. I don’t know

anything except one thing?’ He gives me what he thinks is a meaningful look. “She was dead,”

he says. “And I’m as sorry as anyone else. But she was dead.”

“That’s the point,” I say.

He raises his hands. He pushes his chair away from the table. He takes out his cigarettes

and goes out to the back with a can of beer. ~ see him sit in the lawn chair and pick up the

newspaper again.

His name is in there on the first page. Along with the names of his friends. I close my

eyes and hold on to the sink. Then I rake my arm across the drainboard and send the dishes to the

floor. He doesn’t move. I know he’s heard. He lifts his head as if still listening. But he doesn’t

move otherwise. He doesn’t turn around.

He and Gordon Johnson and Mel Dorn and Vern Williams, they play poker and bowl and

fish. They fish every spring and early summer before visiting relatives can get in the way. They

are decent men, family men, men who take care of their jobs. They have sons and daughters who

go to school with our son, Dean.

Last Friday these family men left for the Naches River. They parked the car in the

mountains and hiked to where they wanted to fish. They carried their bedrolls, their food, their

playing cards, their whiskey. They saw the girl before they set up camp. Mel Dorn found her. No

clothes on her at all. She was wedged into some branches that stuck out over the water.

He called the others and they came to look. They talked about what to do. One of the men-my

Stuart didn’t say which-said they should start back at once. The others stirred the sand with their

shoes, said they didn’t feel inclined that way. They pleaded fatigue, the late hour, the fact that the

girl wasn’t going anywhere.

In the end they went ahead and set up the camp. They built a fire and drank their

whiskey. When the moon came up, they talked about the girl. Someone said they should -keep

the body from drifting away. They took their flashlights and went back to the river. One of the

men-it might have been Stuart-waded in and got her. He took her by the fingers and pulled her

into shore. He got some nylon cord and tied it to her wrist and then looped the rest around a tree.

The next morning they cooked breakfast, drank coffee, and drank whiskey, and then split up to

fish.

That night they cooked fish, cooked potatoes, drank coffee, drank whiskey, then took

their cooking things and eating things back down to the river and washed them where the girl

was.

They played some cards later on. Maybe they played until they couldn’t see them

anymore. Vern Williams went to sleep. But the others told stories. Gordon Johnson said the trout

they’d caught were hard because of the terrible coldness of the water.

The next morning they got up late, drank whiskey, fished a little, took down their tents,

rolled their sleeping bags, gathered their stuff, and hiked out. They drove until they got to a

telephone. It was Stuart who made the call while the others stood around in the sun and listened.

He gave the sheriff their names. They had nothing to hide. They weren’t ashamed. They said

they’d wait until someone could come for better directions and take down their statements.

I was asleep when he got home. But I woke up when I heard him in the kitchen. I found

him leaning against the refrigerator with a can of beer. He put his heavy arms around me and

rubbed his big hands on my back. In bed he put his hands on me again and then waited as if

thinking of something else. I turned and opened my legs. Afterwards, I think he stayed awake.

He was up that morning before I could get out of bed. To see if there was something in the paper,

I suppose.

The telephone began ringing right after eight.

“Go to hell!” I heard him shout. The telephone rang right again. “I have nothing to add to

what sherirn…”

He slammed the receiver down.

“What is going on?” I said.

It was then that he told me what I just told you.

I sweep up the broken dishes and go outside. He is lying on his back on the grass now, the

newspaper and can of beer within reach.

“Stuart, could we go for a drive?” I say.

He rolls over and looks at me. “We’ll pick up some beer,” he says. He gets to his feet and

touches me on the hip as he goes past. “Give me a minute,” he says.

We drive through town without speaking. He stops at a roadside market for beer. I notice

a great stack ofpapersjust inside the door. On the top step a fat woman in a print dress holds out a

licorice stick to a little girl. Later on, we cross Everson Creek and turn into the picnic grounds.

The creek runs under the bridge and into a large pond a few hundred yards away. I can see the

men out there. I can see them out there fishing.

So much water so close to home I say, “Why did you have to go miles away?”

“Don’t rile me,” he says.

We sit on a bench in the sun. He opens us cans of beer. He says, “Relax, Claire.”

“They said they were innocent. They said they were crazy.”

He says, “Who?” He says, “What are you talking about?”

“The Maddox brothers. They killed a girl named Arlene Hubly where I grew up. They cut

off her head and threw her into the Cle Elum River. It happened when I was a girl.”

“You’re going to get me riled,” he says.

I look at the creek. I’m right in it, eyes open, face down, staring at the moss on the

bottom, dead.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” he says on the way home. “You’re getting me

more riled by the minute.”

There is nothing I can say to him. He tries to concentrate on the road. But he keeps

looking into the rear-view mirror. He knows.

Stuart believes he is letting me sleep this morning. But I was awake long before the alarm went

off. I was thinking, lying on the far side of the bed away from his hairy legs.

He gets Dean off for school, and then he shaves, dresses, and leaves for work. Twice he

looks in and clears his throat. But I keep my eyes closed.

In the kitchen I find a note from him. It’s signed “Love.” I sit in the breakfast nook and

drink coffee and leave a ring on the note. I look at the newspaper and turn it this way and that on

the table. Then I skid it close and read what it says. The body has been identified, claimed. But it

took some examining it, some putting things into it, some cutting, some weighing, some

measuring, some putting things back again and sewing them in. I sit for a long time holding the

newspaper and thinking. Then I call up to get a chair at the hairdresser’s.

I sit under the dryer with a magazine on my lap and let Marnie do my nails.

“I am going to a funeral tomorrow,” I say. “I’m sorry to hear that,” Marnie says. “It was a

murder,” I say.

“That’s the worst kind,” Marnie says.

“We weren’t all that close,” I say. “But you know?’

“We’ll get you fixed up for it,” Marnie says.

That night I make my bed on the sofa, and in the morning I get up first. I put on coffee

and fix breakfast while he shaves. He appears in the kitchen doorway, towel over his bare

shoulder, appraising.

“Here’s coffee,” I say. “Eggs’ll be ready in a minute?’

I wake Dean, and the three of us eat. Whenever Stuart looks at me, I ask Dean if he wants

more milk, more toast, etc.

“I’ll call you today,” Stuart says as he opens the door.

I say, “I don’t think I’ll be home today.”

“All right,” he says. “Sure.”

I dress carefully. I try on a hat and look at myself in the mirror. I write out a note for

Dean.

Honey, Mommy has things to do this afternoon, but will be back later. You stay in or be in the

backyard until one of us comes home.

Love, Mommy

I look at the word Love and then I underline it. Then I see the word backyard. Is it one word or

two?

I drive through farm country, through fields of oats and sugar beets and past apple

orchards, cattle grazing in pastures. Then everything changes, more like shacks than farmhouses

and stands of timber instead of orchards. Then mountains, and on the right, far below, I

sometimes see the Naches River. A green pickup comes up behind me and stays behind me for

miles. I keep slowing at the wrong times, hoping he will pass. Then I speed up. But this is at the

wrong times, too. I grip the wheel until my fingers hurt.

On a long clear stretch he goes past. But he drives along beside for a bit, a crewcut man

in a blue workshirt. We look each other over. Then he waves, toots his horn, and pulls on up

ahead. I slow down and find a place. I pull over and shut off the motor. I can hear the river down

below the trees. Then I hear the pickup coming back.

I lock the doors and roll up the windows.

“You all right?” the man says. He raps on the glass. “You okay?” He leans his arms on

the door and brings his face to the window.

I stare at him. I can’t think what else to do.

“Is everything all right in there? How come you’re all locked up?”

I shake my head.

“Roll down your window?’ He shakes his head and looks at the highway and then back at

me. “Roll it down now.”

“Please,” I say, “I have to go.”

“Open the door,” he says as if he isn’t listening. “You’re going to choke in there.”

He looks at my breasts, my legs. I can tell that’s what he’s doing.

“Hey, sugar,” he says. “I’m just here to help is all.”

The casket is closed and covered with floral sprays. The organ starts up the minute I take

a seat. People are coming in and finding chairs. There’s a boy in flared pants and a yellow short-

sleeved shirt. A door opens and the family comes in in a group and moves over to a curtained

place off to one side. Chairs creak as everybody gets settled. Directly, a nice blond man in a nice

dark suit stands and asks us to bow our heads. He says a prayer for us, the living, and when he

finishes, he says a prayer for the soul of the departed.

Along with the others I go past the casket. Then I move out onto the front steps and into

the afternoon light. There’s a woman who limps as she goes down the stairs ahead of me. On the

sidewalk she looks around.

“Well, they got him,” she says. “If that’s any consolation. They arrested him this

morning. I heard it on the radio before I come. A boy right here in town.”

We move a few steps down the hot sidewalk. People are starting cars. I put out my hand

and hold on to a parking meter. Polished hoods and polished fenders. My head swims.

I say, “They have friends, these killers. You can’t tell.”

“I have known that child since she was a little girl,” the woman says. “She used to come

over and I’d bake cookies for her and let her eat them in front of the TV.”

Back home, Stuart sits at the table with a drink of whiskey in front of him. For a crazy instant I

think something’s happened to Dean.

“Where is he?” I say. “Where is Dean?”

“Outside,” my husband says.

He drains his glass and stands up. He says, “I think I know what you need.” He reaches

an arm around my waist and with his other hand he begins to unbutton my jacket and then he

goes on to the buttons of my blouse.

“First things first,” he says.

He says something else. But I don’t need to listen. I can’t hear a thing with so much water going.

“That’s right,” I say, finishing the buttons myself, “Before Dean comes. Hurry?”

So Much Water So Close To Home

By Raymond Carver

My husband eats with a good appetite. But I don’t think he’s really hungry. He chews,

arms on the table, and stares at something across the room. He looks at me and looks away. He

wipes his mouth on the napkin. He shrugs, and goes on eating.

“What are you staring at me for?” he says. “What is it?” he says and lays down his fork.

“Was I staring?” I say, and shake my head. The telephone rings.

“Don’t answer it,” he says.

“It might be your mother,” I say.

“Watch and see,” he says.

I pick up the receiver and listen. My husband stops eating.

“What did I tell you?” he says when I hang up. He starts to eat again. Then throws his

napkin on his plate. He says, “Goddamn it, why can’t people mind their own business? Tell me

what I did wrong and I’ll listen! I wasn’t the only man there. We talked it over and we all

decided. We couldn’t just turn around. We were five miles from the car. I won’t have you

passing judgment. Do you hear?”

“You know,” I say.

He says, “What do I know, Claire? Tell me what I’m supposed to know. I don’t know

anything except one thing?’ He gives me what he thinks is a meaningful look. “She was dead,”

he says. “And I’m as sorry as anyone else. But she was dead.”

“That’s the point,” I say.

He raises his hands. He pushes his chair away from the table. He takes out his cigarettes

and goes out to the back with a can of beer. ~ see him sit in the lawn chair and pick up the

newspaper again.

His name is in there on the first page. Along with the names of his friends. I close my

eyes and hold on to the sink. Then I rake my arm across the drainboard and send the dishes to the

floor. He doesn’t move. I know he’s heard. He lifts his head as if still listening. But he doesn’t

move otherwise. He doesn’t turn around.

He and Gordon Johnson and Mel Dorn and Vern Williams, they play poker and bowl and

fish. They fish every spring and early summer before visiting relatives can get in the way. They

are decent men, family men, men who take care of their jobs. They have sons and daughters who

go to school with our son, Dean.

Last Friday these family men left for the Naches River. They parked the car in the

mountains and hiked to where they wanted to fish. They carried their bedrolls, their food, their

playing cards, their whiskey. They saw the girl before they set up camp. Mel Dorn found her. No

clothes on her at all. She was wedged into some branches that stuck out over the water.

He called the others and they came to look. They talked about what to do. One of the men-my

Stuart didn’t say which-said they should start back at once. The others stirred the sand with their

shoes, said they didn’t feel inclined that way. They pleaded fatigue, the late hour, the fact that the

girl wasn’t going anywhere.

In the end they went ahead and set up the camp. They built a fire and drank their

whiskey. When the moon came up, they talked about the girl. Someone said they should -keep

the body from drifting away. They took their flashlights and went back to the river. One of the

men-it might have been Stuart-waded in and got her. He took her by the fingers and pulled her

into shore. He got some nylon cord and tied it to her wrist and then looped the rest around a tree.

The next morning they cooked breakfast, drank coffee, and drank whiskey, and then split up to

fish.

That night they cooked fish, cooked potatoes, drank coffee, drank whiskey, then took

their cooking things and eating things back down to the river and washed them where the girl

was.

They played some cards later on. Maybe they played until they couldn’t see them

anymore. Vern Williams went to sleep. But the others told stories. Gordon Johnson said the trout

they’d caught were hard because of the terrible coldness of the water.

The next morning they got up late, drank whiskey, fished a little, took down their tents,

rolled their sleeping bags, gathered their stuff, and hiked out. They drove until they got to a

telephone. It was Stuart who made the call while the others stood around in the sun and listened.

He gave the sheriff their names. They had nothing to hide. They weren’t ashamed. They said

they’d wait until someone could come for better directions and take down their statements.

I was asleep when he got home. But I woke up when I heard him in the kitchen. I found

him leaning against the refrigerator with a can of beer. He put his heavy arms around me and

rubbed his big hands on my back. In bed he put his hands on me again and then waited as if

thinking of something else. I turned and opened my legs. Afterwards, I think he stayed awake.

He was up that morning before I could get out of bed. To see if there was something in the paper,

I suppose.

The telephone began ringing right after eight.

“Go to hell!” I heard him shout. The telephone rang right again. “I have nothing to add to

what sherirn…”

He slammed the receiver down.

“What is going on?” I said.

It was then that he told me what I just told you.

I sweep up the broken dishes and go outside. He is lying on his back on the grass now, the

newspaper and can of beer within reach.

“Stuart, could we go for a drive?” I say.

He rolls over and looks at me. “We’ll pick up some beer,” he says. He gets to his feet and

touches me on the hip as he goes past. “Give me a minute,” he says.

We drive through town without speaking. He stops at a roadside market for beer. I notice

a great stack ofpapersjust inside the door. On the top step a fat woman in a print dress holds out a

licorice stick to a little girl. Later on, we cross Everson Creek and turn into the picnic grounds.

The creek runs under the bridge and into a large pond a few hundred yards away. I can see the

men out there. I can see them out there fishing.

So much water so close to home I say, “Why did you have to go miles away?”

“Don’t rile me,” he says.

We sit on a bench in the sun. He opens us cans of beer. He says, “Relax, Claire.”

“They said they were innocent. They said they were crazy.”

He says, “Who?” He says, “What are you talking about?”

“The Maddox brothers. They killed a girl named Arlene Hubly where I grew up. They cut

off her head and threw her into the Cle Elum River. It happened when I was a girl.”

“You’re going to get me riled,” he says.

I look at the creek. I’m right in it, eyes open, face down, staring at the moss on the

bottom, dead.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” he says on the way home. “You’re getting me

more riled by the minute.”

There is nothing I can say to him. He tries to concentrate on the road. But he keeps

looking into the rear-view mirror. He knows.

Stuart believes he is letting me sleep this morning. But I was awake long before the alarm went

off. I was thinking, lying on the far side of the bed away from his hairy legs.

He gets Dean off for school, and then he shaves, dresses, and leaves for work. Twice he

looks in and clears his throat. But I keep my eyes closed.

In the kitchen I find a note from him. It’s signed “Love.” I sit in the breakfast nook and

drink coffee and leave a ring on the note. I look at the newspaper and turn it this way and that on

the table. Then I skid it close and read what it says. The body has been identified, claimed. But it

took some examining it, some putting things into it, some cutting, some weighing, some

measuring, some putting things back again and sewing them in. I sit for a long time holding the

newspaper and thinking. Then I call up to get a chair at the hairdresser’s.

I sit under the dryer with a magazine on my lap and let Marnie do my nails.

“I am going to a funeral tomorrow,” I say. “I’m sorry to hear that,” Marnie says. “It was a

murder,” I say.

“That’s the worst kind,” Marnie says.

“We weren’t all that close,” I say. “But you know?’

“We’ll get you fixed up for it,” Marnie says.

That night I make my bed on the sofa, and in the morning I get up first. I put on coffee

and fix breakfast while he shaves. He appears in the kitchen doorway, towel over his bare

shoulder, appraising.

“Here’s coffee,” I say. “Eggs’ll be ready in a minute?’

I wake Dean, and the three of us eat. Whenever Stuart looks at me, I ask Dean if he wants

more milk, more toast, etc.

“I’ll call you today,” Stuart says as he opens the door.

I say, “I don’t think I’ll be home today.”

“All right,” he says. “Sure.”

I dress carefully. I try on a hat and look at myself in the mirror. I write out a note for

Dean.

Honey, Mommy has things to do this afternoon, but will be back later. You stay in or be in the

backyard until one of us comes home.

Love, Mommy

I look at the word Love and then I underline it. Then I see the word backyard. Is it one word or

two?

I drive through farm country, through fields of oats and sugar beets and past apple

orchards, cattle grazing in pastures. Then everything changes, more like shacks than farmhouses

and stands of timber instead of orchards. Then mountains, and on the right, far below, I

sometimes see the Naches River. A green pickup comes up behind me and stays behind me for

miles. I keep slowing at the wrong times, hoping he will pass. Then I speed up. But this is at the

wrong times, too. I grip the wheel until my fingers hurt.

On a long clear stretch he goes past. But he drives along beside for a bit, a crewcut man

in a blue workshirt. We look each other over. Then he waves, toots his horn, and pulls on up

ahead. I slow down and find a place. I pull over and shut off the motor. I can hear the river down

below the trees. Then I hear the pickup coming back.

I lock the doors and roll up the windows.

“You all right?” the man says. He raps on the glass. “You okay?” He leans his arms on

the door and brings his face to the window.

I stare at him. I can’t think what else to do.

“Is everything all right in there? How come you’re all locked up?”

I shake my head.

“Roll down your window?’ He shakes his head and looks at the highway and then back at

me. “Roll it down now.”

“Please,” I say, “I have to go.”

“Open the door,” he says as if he isn’t listening. “You’re going to choke in there.”

He looks at my breasts, my legs. I can tell that’s what he’s doing.

“Hey, sugar,” he says. “I’m just here to help is all.”

The casket is closed and covered with floral sprays. The organ starts up the minute I take

a seat. People are coming in and finding chairs. There’s a boy in flared pants and a yellow short-

sleeved shirt. A door opens and the family comes in in a group and moves over to a curtained

place off to one side. Chairs creak as everybody gets settled. Directly, a nice blond man in a nice

dark suit stands and asks us to bow our heads. He says a prayer for us, the living, and when he

finishes, he says a prayer for the soul of the departed.

Along with the others I go past the casket. Then I move out onto the front steps and into

the afternoon light. There’s a woman who limps as she goes down the stairs ahead of me. On the

sidewalk she looks around.

“Well, they got him,” she says. “If that’s any consolation. They arrested him this

morning. I heard it on the radio before I come. A boy right here in town.”

We move a few steps down the hot sidewalk. People are starting cars. I put out my hand

and hold on to a parking meter. Polished hoods and polished fenders. My head swims.

I say, “They have friends, these killers. You can’t tell.”

“I have known that child since she was a little girl,” the woman says. “She used to come

over and I’d bake cookies for her and let her eat them in front of the TV.”

Back home, Stuart sits at the table with a drink of whiskey in front of him. For a crazy instant I

think something’s happened to Dean.

“Where is he?” I say. “Where is Dean?”

“Outside,” my husband says.

He drains his glass and stands up. He says, “I think I know what you need.” He reaches

an arm around my waist and with his other hand he begins to unbutton my jacket and then he

goes on to the buttons of my blouse.

“First things first,” he says.

He says something else. But I don’t need to listen. I can’t hear a thing with so much water going.

“That’s right,” I say, finishing the buttons myself, “Before Dean comes. Hurry?”

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