Excerpt of the week: Walking with Great Uncle

Two versions of my short story “Walking with Great Uncle” have been published to date, one in the Summer 2009 edition of The First Line (my very first publication credit) and one in the We Belong 2013 anthology published by the Friends of Longmont Library in April 2013.

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Here are the respective openings.  Note the subtle and not-so-subtle  differences.

From The First Line:

Walking with Great Uncle

By C.R. Hodges

For two weeks now, I’ve been trying to figure out if people are laughing with me or at me. That’s how long I’ve had my great uncle, Enomoto-san, living with me. He’s only 9-years-old, so we have lots of fun when I took him to the park or to my college. He doesn’t laugh, never has, so I do it for him.

Enomoto-san had a difficult and foreshortened life. He and my grandfather, Ojiisan, were interred in Camp Amache here in Colorado during World War II. I’ve been to the ruins of Camp Amache: it doesn’t seem like it would have been a fun place for a boy to grow up. Not safe either. Enomoto-san, an American citizen, had a weak constitution and died two weeks after he was forced to move there. Put in a concentration camp by his own country while his father volunteered to fight for that same country. No wonder he doesn’t laugh—he’s a ghost.

From We Belong 2013:

Walking with Great Uncle

By C.R. Hodges

I skip down the driveway toward my dirt-brown Volkswagen, then cringe when I realize that someone might see me. It’s been years since I’ve skipped, but I’m excited. My great uncle, Enomoto-san will be staying with me for a week. He’s only nine years old, so we always have lots of fun together. He doesn’t laugh much, never has, so I laugh for him. Sometimes other people look at me and laugh too. Sometimes they just look at me.

Enomoto-san had a difficult and foreshortened life. He and my grandfather, Ojiisan, were interred in Camp Amache here in Colorado during World War II. It would not have been a fun place for a boy to grow up. Nor safe. Enomoto-san, an American citizen, had a weak constitution and died two weeks after he was relocated there. Interred in a concentration camp by his own country while his father volunteered to fight for that same country. No wonder he never laughs—he’s a ghost.

CR Hodges

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