He looked like a cartoon of a person laughing, except that his eyes watched the man on the seat beside him. “You ought to see yourself,” the driver said. “He looks just like a beach ball with a hat on, doesn’t he? Doesn’t he, Frank?” The man beside him smiled and looked off.
They started off across the field. Tub had trouble getting through the fences. Frank and Kenny could have helped him; they could have lifted up on the top wire and stepped on the bottom wire, but they didn’t. They stood and watched him. There were a lot of fences and Tub was puffing when they reached the woods.
The snow was light but the drifts were deep and hard to move through. Wherever Tub looked the surface was smooth, undisturbed, and after a time he lost interest. He stopped looking for tracks and just tried to keep up with Frank and Kenny on the other side.
The snow was shaded and had a glaze on it. It held up Kenny and Frank but Tub kept falling through. As he kicked forward, the edge of the crust bruised his shins.
“I came out here to get me a deer, not listen to a bunch of hippie bullshit. And if it hadn’t been for dimples here I would have, too. […] And you—you’re so busy thinking about that little jailbait of yours you wouldn’t know a deer if you saw one.”
“I hate that post,” he said. He raised his rifle and fired. It sounded like a dry branch cracking. […] “I hate that tree,” he said, and fired again. […] “I hate that dog.” […] Kenny fired. The bullet went in between the dog’s eyes. […] Kenny turned to Tub. “I hate you.”
“You get anything?” he asked.
“No,” Frank said.
“I knew you wouldn’t. That’s what I told the other fellow.”
“We’ve had an accident.”
[…] “Shot your friend, did you?”
“I did,” Tub said.
“I suppose you want to use the phone.”
“If it’s okay.”
“You asked him to?” Tub said. “You asked him to shoot your dog?”
“He was old and sick. Couldn’t chew his food anymore. I would have done it myself but I don’t have a gun.”
“You fat moron,” Frank said. “You aren’t good for diddly.”
Tub grabbed Frank by the collar and backed him hard up against the fence. […] “What do you know about fat,” Tub said. “What do you know about glands.” As he spoke he kept shaking Frank. “What do you know about me.”
“Tub, don’t you see how you’re dividing people up into categories? He’s an executive, she’s a secretary, he’s a truck driver, she’s fifteen years old. Tub, this so-called babysitter, this so-called fifteen-year-old has more in her little finger than most of us have in our entire bodies. I can tell you this little lady is something special.”
“Nobody knows. That’s the worst of it, Frank. Not the being fat […] but the lying. Having to lead a double life like a spy or a hit man. This sounds strange but I feel sorry for those guys, I really do. I know what they go through. Always having to think about what you say and do. Always feeling like people are watching you, trying to catch you at something. Never able to just be yourself.”
“No wiping,” he said. Tub kept at it. The syrup covered his chin; it dripped to a point like a goatee. […] Tub took the fork in his left hand and lowered his head and started really chowing down. “Clean your plate,” Frank said when the pancakes were gone, and Tub lifted each of the four plates and licked it clean. He sat back, trying to catch his breath.
“Beautiful,” Frank said. “Are you full?”
“I’m full,” Tub said. “I’ve never been so full.”
Right overhead was the Big Dipper, and behind, hanging between Kenny’s toes in the direction of the hospital, was the North Star, Pole Star, Help to Sailors. As the truck twisted through the gentle hills the star went back and forth between Kenny’s boots, staying always in his sight. “I’m going to the hospital,” Kenny said. But he was wrong. They had taken a different turn a long way back.