Bud Smith: F 250

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Bud Smith F 250
  • Название:
    F 250
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Piscataway House
  • Жанр:
    Современная проза / на английском языке
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    4 / 5
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F 250: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Lee Casey plays guitar in a noise band called Ottermeat, about to leave NJ, to try and make it in Los Angeles. For now, he's squatting in a collapsing house, working as a stone mason, driving a jacked up pickup truck that he crashes into everything. As a close friend Ods in his sleep, Lee falls into a three-way relationship with two college girls, June Doom and K Neon. F250 is a novel equal parts about growing up, and being torn apart.

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Bud Smith

F 250

“Sometimes the love you have for somebody

can fill a fifty-five gallon drum, but the love

they have for you can’t even fill a teacup.”

— Pat Armstrong

“Stay true to the dreams of your youth.”

— a fortune cookie I had yesterday


Right before the kid with the bloody face appears, a glass smashes in the kitchen. Someone shouts. I do nothing. I barely live here. My things are still in the pickup. Seth is trashed. I’m still horribly sober.

This is my first day back. There’s a purple Post-it note lying dusty on Seth’s coffee table. The note is dated months earlier, when I was probably in Idaho or Utah or Arizona or on the moon. It says, simply, “Call Natalie.”

Sure. That’s exactly what I want to do with my life, call Natalie. But here I am, on the back deck, alone, in-between calling her and not calling her — a state of telephone limbo. I should be getting trashed with everyone else at the party at this dilapidated house.

I have a handwritten letter from long lost mom in Florida that says she’s still not dead. She’s feeling better all the time. “Come visit. Ha, blue water and long legged white birds, come, come.” Signed: Mom. But I don’t read that one anymore. I keep that one folded in my wallet. I hide that behind her photo.

Instead, I just stare at the lagoon, all green and uninviting. No blue water here. No long-legged white birds here. The sun is smothering things out. The biting flies are circling.

Inside the house, someone is fucking with the stereo and having trouble. I ignore their trouble. I ignore the yells from down the hall. I can’t believe I’m gonna live here now. Somebody else staggers into the kitchen and checks an empty pizza box again.

Seth calls my name, “Lee! Get in here!” I fold the note about Natalie into a tiny paper airplane and toss it into the brackish water. It floats off. Purple. Floating. Leaving. Ducks weave between the floating bits of trash. One duck eats my purple Post-it note airplane. That duck is my favorite.

Seth sticks his head out the sliding glass door, “What you doing out here? Come on in. Gonna hit some shit.”

“Not in the mood to hit any …”

A scream claws up the side of the house. Screams always interest me. A girl. A car door slamming. I hop off the deck and trudge through the stones to look.

The kid with the bloody face falls against the screen door. His girl isn’t far behind. His suit is bloody too, around the collar mostly. She’s wearing a puffy black dress. I know her. Damn.

“Trish,” I say. But she yells, and he falls. Comically drunk. I haven’t seen Trish in ten years. He gets up. “Tim,” she yells, “wait!”

He rips the screen door open, practically off the hinges, and collapses inside the house. People, strangers, stagger off the front lawn, where they are smoking cigarettes. They gawk in Trish’s direction.

“Go home! Go home! Party’s over!”

No-one budges. She kicks the recycling can over. Her high heel snaps. She falls to one knee.


I go around the back again and up on the deck. In the house, I can see the kid on the tile floor. More blood coming. Goddamn.

Everyone at the party is off the couch now and standing in the living room doorway looking into the small kitchen. I stand with them for a minute, with my mouth half open. The kid groans.

Seth staggers out of the room. “Fucking Feral, you alright?”

The kid pukes on the floor.

“Everyone out,” Trish screams.

I don’t move.

“Everyone!” She starts throwing things, whatever is around, things off the shelf of no value. Books. Movies. Toys. A girl narrowly dodges a trophy.


People in the house scatter, pushing towards me at the back door.

“What happened?”

“Same thing that always happens, Seth,” Trish says. “I’m done …”

Someone falls off the back deck, laughing. I say, “Come on, get going.”

The smokers, finishing their beers, ignore me.

“Take that beer for the road,” I say. “Cops are on the way. Paddy wagon. We’re all going if we don’t clear out.”

The cops aren’t coming.

I walk into the kitchen. The kid is unconscious now.

“I SAID EVERYBODY OUT,” Trish screams at me. But she blinks and realizes who I am.

“Lee,” she mutters.

I’m a magic trick. I’ve materialized out of nothing. Where have I been? What am I doing here?

“I live here now,” I say.

“Oh thank god. Help me get him into the bath tub.”

The tiles are slick from the kid’s blood and puke but he looks heavier. Seth is terrible with blood, shrinks from it like so many people I’ve known in my life.


I drove a heavy duty f-250 pickup truck. 1990. Blue. 92,000 hard miles. Loose, ineffective brakes.

There were a lot of crashes — into people, places, things, whatever was around. The truck was too heavy, I was weighed down, springs sagged, hills were too steep, roads were too slick — I couldn’t control it.

The first time I crashed, it was into a woman on Route 9 in front of a gas station. The glove box flew open; Natalie’s abandoned lipstick and mascara spilled on the floor. So did a mixtape she’d made with songs I used to love but couldn’t play anymore.

The woman I rear-ended was at a red light in a minivan with personalized plates: CATLUVR. It was 8 a.m. The world was diabolical with black ice. My brakes did nothing.

The impact jarred her three feet into the intersection. I jumped out of my truck to see if she was okay. She cranked her window down and pegged me in the chest with a large styrofoam cup of coffee.

“Fuck off,” she said.

I backed away, sticky with sugar. She dialed the police on a tiny flip phone. In the cab of the truck, I spit on my palms, rubbed my shirt, and waited.

The police showed up. I knew the one cop, Jay. We went to high school together. He had a funny mustache now.

“Did they make you grow that for the job?”

“Ah shit, look at you. Why you all wet?”

“Coffee,” I said pointing at the minivan. The styrofoam cup skidded across the ice. Erratic wind.

He scratched his mustache. “Checks out.” He didn’t bother to ask me for any of my information. I was grateful. “Where’ve you been? Haven’t seen you at the bars.”

“California mostly,” I said. “Just got back. Was gone a while.”

“Well, welcome the fuck back. That lady was at a dead stop at the light?”

“Damn right.”

“You sober? Never mind. Doesn’t matter.”

“It’s 8 a.m. I’m sober.”

“Sober enough to solve a Rubik’s Cube? I have one in the car. Hold on, I’ll get it.”

“I don’t drink, remember?”

“Sure. Straight edge in school. But you’re not still, are you?”

I shrugged. “Yeah, guess so. Despite my environment.”

“Tell me about it.”

An ambulance came. Its lights flashing. A plump EMT popped the back door. Without saying a peep to the cops, CATLUVR climbed inside, laid herself horizontal on a stretcher, and clutched her calico cat. She was driven away — wordlessly.

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