Thad Rutkowski's short story "The Mountain Man" is featured today in the New York Times
Here's the opening of the story. The entire piece is available by clicking here
THE MOUNTAIN MAN
I walkedto the post office to pick up my family’s mail. When I opened the swingingdoors, I saw that the dusty room was empty. Presently, the postmistress cameout of her living area and stepped behind the counter.
While shechecked a pigeonhole for mail, I looked at the “wanted” posters on the wall.They showed fugitives’ faces and described their crimes. Some of the men were“armed and dangerous”; others were “extremely dangerous.” I tried to memorizewhat they looked like, in case I saw one of them. If I did see one there wasn’tmuch I could do, because I had no weapon. I would just have to run as fast as Icould in the opposite direction.
Thepostmistress handed me a roll of mail, and I went out through the heavy woodendoors.
On my wayhome, I saw a couple of hunters outside the hotel bar. They were wearing plaidwool coats and fleece-lined boots. As I walked past, I saw a dead deer in theback of their pickup truck. The deer had no antlers — it looked like an illegalkill.
In thetruck cab, a gun rack held two rifles. Both of the guns had scopes and shoulderstraps. I could imagine the hunters marching through the woods like soldiers,guns slung over their shoulders, barrels pointing into the air.
One of the men noticed me and asked, “Doing any hunting this season?”
I shook myhead no and walked on.___________
Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of the novels Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse. He works as a copy editor, adjunct lecturer and fiction-writing instructor. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter.
"Pan Taddeus," a chapter of Rutkowski's novel Haywire, was featured last year at Writing the Polish Diaspora. Click here to read it.