4♠ 4♠ 4♠ 4♠ 4♠ 4♠ 4♠ 4♠
When I think about it, I realize that Dad and the Mayor could have been big buddies before the Mayor’s great planet of hubris and masculinity caught my mother in its gravitational pull and jerked her out of our orbit.
Jarrid Deaton’s short story “Gravity” combines two story types that I don’t think I’ve seen together before. It’s a coming of age story as well as a revenge story – and the combination is brilliant.
Devon tells his story as well as the story of his Mom, his Dad and the Mayor of Given, Kentucky. We get Devon when he was three, six, eleven, eighteen and on into adulthood. The Mayor is there the whole time destroying his parents’ marriage and planting a larger seed of bitterness in Devon’s Dad and ultimately Devon, himself.
This is one of those stories in which I have a tough time deciding what quotation to use. Each sentence rings with humor and sarcasm as well as ringing true. I admit the revenge aspect doesn’t play out as I thought it might but I think the title, while showing up in the quotation I used above, might actually stand for natural consequences as opposed to taking matters into one’s own hands.
I read this story when I selected the Four of Spades for Week 13 of my Deal Me In 2017 short story project. It is included in my copy of Degrees of Elevation: Short Stories of Contemporary Appalachia edited by Charles Dodd White and Page Seay. My Deal Me In List can be found here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.