by Ray Succre
With my father's eightieth birthday came a responsibility on his part to wither. That his body had yet to degrade in an acceptable manner was upsetting to my brothers and I, and it was expected, on this even decade celebration, that he would at last become old as ruins. To expediate this natural metamorphosis from stubborn physique to shambling codger, I presented him with a new, sturdier cane. I had felt he might come to rely on it more if it offered him a steadier bracing, and that his body and back would have no choice but to adapt to it, and begin fitting the appropriate mold of eighty years. The birthday cane was a signal so obvious I felt he shouldn't have a way around it. He would have to become old, adopt a feline, and stop eating spicy food, right then and there in front of us.
Ray Succre, author of The Knickknack Boy, currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and baby son. He has been published in Aesthetica, Small Spiral Notebook, and Coconut, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. He tries hard.