By Robert Winship
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The deer hunt. Every year after the last regularly scheduled game Mase Mason had gone deer hunting. It had always been a celebration. In the old days most of the athletic staff had gone with him; then, after he had stepped down, only Jergens and one or two of the assistant coaches had gone. He remembered the contortions which he had gone through to keep from inviting Charlie in recent years. And now Jergens was reminding him that he had not been invited. Mason sighed. He leaned forward suddenly and picked up his thin plastic coffee cup, tossing it off, sucking it dry by a quick and grand inhalation, then he threw the cup into the waste basket.
Martha was his wife, and she had once been very beautiful but now was too heavy and had lines around her mouth which prompted the nervous habit of moving her mouth around in an effort to take up the slack. He found her at Gate Four. They started back upstairs. "I don't know why you insist on sitting outside today," she said. He could not tell her that it was because he wanted to be sure nobody watched his face during the game. "And the Goodsons. They wondered why you weren't at their buffet just now and I didn't know what to tell them except that you Page 6 said you had to be at the stadium early, and they practically insisted that we sit in their box and all I could say was that you had said we couldn't.
He settled, breathing hard. The field spread far below in the sun like a grilled pool table, and the goal posts, pepperminted now with red and gray on the right and blue and gold on the left, held the streamer-ends of their crepe wrappings out in the breeze: skinny, licking flags, rattling and popping like tiny artillery in the empty stadium. He shivered a little in the thin sunlight and then got out his field glasses and began to glass the field. "Hello, Mr. " He took the glasses away and looked to his left, where a tall young man was climbing.
Every Man Also by Robert Winship