Stone in the Bone

By Larry Smith

They said Mary Modesto was pregnant sometime in 1955, I think it was sometime around June, they being Dr. Heath and the nurse and an obstetrician who stops by from Glens Falls on a regular basis. Mary did not have a husband but we didn’t hold that against her, we being me and most of the people in town that I know. Unlike what a lot of people say, people in towns like ours can be pretty fair-minded, and we hold our judgment and we who are not without sin do not throw first stones, especially when we like you, and everybody likes Mary or at least there’s no reason not to. She’s regular people, she treats those around her pretty good for the most part, and she doesn’t put on airs or act in strange or defiant ways because her parents came from someplace else, not New York City in her case but some place like that where the people who come over from the old country are all looking to start up their lives fresh in order for their children to find a better life in America. When Mary said she didn’t know who the father was, we just kind of glanced at each other but we held our peace. We tried not to pass judgment. Somebody, I recall it might have been Toby McFalls, said it was likely Gil Berry, who was always, even when he was thirteen and fourteen, kind of a tomcat. Then, when we heard that Mary told her best friend Amy Kuhn that she was still a virgin, we still didn’t say much. But you could tell people might now be thinking there was something odd about Mary. But like I say, even then we didn’t say much.

All kinds of people have passed through our town over the years. There’s good hunting here, deer and pheasants, and good fishing too in the many streams that float along just outside the town limits. But just as much as that, we’re on a pretty direct line with Cornell University to the west and Skidmore east and a little more north. Also, people come over from High Falls and Woodstock, just poking around for the most part but sometimes they’ll stay a few weeks, they rent rooms in the old dormitory from the McPhersons, and they stay awhile often for the relaxation you can get here and the peacefulness and the opportunity to do their work, art work and photography and poetry too, without their ever being disturbed in the nice bright warm sunshine.

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Larry Smith

Larry Smith / About Author

Larry Smith’s novella, Patrick Fitzmike and Mike Fitzpatrick, was published in 2016 by Outpost 19. His story, “Tight Like That” appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (print edition), #27. “The Shield of Paris,” published in Low Rent, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. “Woman, My Come Is Time,” won Judge’s Choice as highest-rated short story for Issue One of Heart and Mind Zine. Other stories were published in Exquisite Corpse, The Collagist, Curbside Splendor, Prick of the Spindle, PANK, and numerous others. His poetry was in Descant (Canada) and Elimae, among others, and his articles and essays in Modern Fiction Studies, Social Text, The Boston Phoenix, and others. Visit Larrysmithfiction.com.

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