BOMBlog’s Word Choice features original works of poetry, fiction, and art. This edition of Word Choice, selected by Peter Moysaenko, features fiction—text and read aloud—by Scott McClanahan and art by Steven Brahms.
My grandmother ruined my birthday when she got breast cancer. I was at home that day when the phone rang and it was Ruby on the other line. I picked up the phone and she started shouting, “O lordie.”
Then she started going on about how the doctor at Beckley said she had breast cancer and was going to die if she didn’t have her breast removed.
My dad came home from work that evening, and I told him Grandma had cancer and was dying.
He whispered, “Shit,” beneath his breath and called the doctor up and it turned out she didn’t have breast cancer but a benign growth that could possibly be cancerous.
The doctor said it could be treated with a cream.
She wanted everybody to think she had breast cancer though.
Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read an excerpt from Scott McClanahan’s So I Went Away.
I went away from this place and I lived somewhere else. Years passed. When I came back, it was all the same. It had been years, but the place was the same. I started teaching at the school I went to as a boy. It was a substitute gig. The original teacher needed surgery and she would be out for three weeks. There was a little girl there in the 5th grade class and she was so shy she could barely speak. The other 5th grade teacher told me that the little girl’s mother was on drugs. She told me not to get close to the kids like that because they never made it through the school year. They always ended up moving or just disappearing. She told me that she had been to a funeral just a few weeks earlier for a student’s mother who had overdosed.
I discovered a few days into teaching that the little girl couldn’t read. I stayed after school and tried to teach her. I told myself I was helping her, but who knows. Then I went home in the evenings and waited for the next day to come.
I tried looking for Bill, but I couldn’t find him. I asked around but nobody seemed to know. I drove by Ruby’s a time or two, but the house was falling in now and it usually just made me sad.