A Short Story For Saturday

The opening lines of Chris Offutt’s “Mr. Cartoon“:

We got one channel that came over the mountains from West Virginia, and bad weather just about ruined that. On stormy winter nights Papaw went outside to turn the antenna while my big brother, Wendell, stayed in front of the TV, watching for the picture to get better. I stood in the doorway and yelled back and forth between them.

Papaw twisted the pole and hollered, “What now?”

“What now?” I said to Wendell.

“Nothing yet,” Wendell said.

“Nothing,” I yelled to Papaw.

He moved the antenna some more. When the picture got good, Wendell said, “Stop!” and I said, “Stop!” but usually Papaw was done past the stopping place and the picture went bad again.

Read the rest here. For more, check out Offutt’s collection Out of the Woods: Stories.