Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

From “Sea Oak”

From “Sea Oak”

Photograph via Flickr by shutterhacks

George Saunders, “Sea Oak”

“‘Come here,’ the head says to me, and I squat down. ‘That’s it for me. I’m fucked. As per usual. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Although come to think of it I was never even the freaking bridesmaid. Look, show your cock. It’s the shortest line between two points. The world ain’t giving away nice lives. You got a trust fund? You a genius? Show your cock. It’s what you got. And remember: Troy in September. On his trike. One leg twisted. Don’t forget. And also. Don’t remember me like this. Remember me like how I was that night we all went to Red Lobster and I had that new perm. Ah Christ. At least buy me a stone.’”

I teach this story to my students and they love it, yet I always use Aunt Bernie’s line on them when they complain about the workload: “The world ain’t giving away nice lives.”