In this short story by the masterful Tobias Wolff, a teenageboy learns the joys—and struggles—of adult life.
Eager for independence and adult-like freedom, a teenage boytakes a summer job baling hay on a rural farm. Savoring the farm wife’sattention and the extra change in his pocket, the boy feels like a grown man.The fellow hands give him a sense of camaraderie—Clemson, a fastidious boy whoattends the same high school; Eduardo, a talkative Mexican seasonal worker; andMiguel, a quiet man and Eduardo’s brother.
One night, after working the fields from dawn until dusk,Clemson and the boy drop the two brothers off at the decrepit hotel they liveat during the summers. Eduardo invites the men in for a drink and they allaccept. But the room is filthy and reeking of mildew, and as angry words leadto dangerous actions, the boy must face the reality of his situation.
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