Thursday, June 29, 2017

"The Outer Cape"

Patrick Dacey holds an MFA from Syracuse University. He has taught English at several universities in the U.S. and Mexico, and has worked as a reporter, landscaper, door-to-door salesman, and most recently on the overnight staff at a homeless shelter and detox center. His stories have been featured in The Paris Review, Zoetrope All-Story,Guernica, Bomb magazine, and Salt Hill among other publications. Dacey is the author of The Outer Cape and We've Already Gone This Far.

He applied the Page 69 Test to The Outer Cape and reported the following:
The scene that begins on page 69 is one of my favorites. I hope it showcases how difficult it is to be a father, as well as how difficult it is for a kid to understand what your father is thinking and feeling. Basically, here, Robert wants to have a moment with his kids, Nathan and Andrew. He brings them down to a spot under a short bridge where he used to sit when he was a kid and tells them how much he loves them, but the kids are cold and hungry and confused.
They sit under the bridge with their backs against a slab of sloped stone. It’s cold, still spring, and Andrew shivers with his knees pressed up against his chest. Nathan squats by the mouth of the river, looking like a hunchback, flicking broken bits of gravel into the water. Robert smokes and the smoke drifts over the river like a fog.

“What’re we don’t down here?” Andrew asks.

“Taking some time,” Robert says. “When do I get the two of you to myself for longer than ten minutes?”

“I don’t know.”

Nathan, come over here. Sit beside your brother.”

Nathan lumbers over, cavemen-like, and leans back against the stone. In a few years he’ll be as tall as Robert, maybe taller. He’ll have to get used to dipping his head down in public places.

“I have something I want to say to the two of you.”

“What is it, Dad?” Andrew asks.

“It’s a delicate issue.”
So Robert starts to resent them, feels as though the kids don’t appreciate him, and he walks back up to the road and takes the youngest, Andrew, and hangs him over the bridge rail. If they won’t understand how much he loves them, they’ll understand how much they need him.
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--Marshal Zeringue