The University of Iowa

JIMMY LEE, WI., The Wrong Fang

August 3, 2020

IOWA PRISON WRITING PROJECT

 

The Wrong Fang

JIMMY LEE, WI


 

When I turned twelve years old, my dad Mark gave me a dog. It was the best gift of my life, and his name was Razz. He was my best friend. At my dad’s insistence, I trained Razz to be a hunter. It took me three months to train him, and then deer hunting season was upon us. He turned out to be a natural. He always knew where to be and at the right time. Our first season got us a six-point buck. Our second season got us a doe and a four-point buck. The third season, I wish that I could turn back time.

It happened so. My little brother Rothway, our mom Lesa, our dad Mark, and I were gathered in the living room, celebrating Rothway’s twelfth birthday. My dad gave Rothway a very special gift: a knife. It had been passed down throughout the ages. It was the most beautiful knife in the world. I was jealous. The giving of this knife signified my brother’s step into manhood. Rothway thought the world of it.

The day after Rothway’s birthday, I went into town to get foodstuffs for hunting. I usually took Razz with me, but this time I left him in the care of Rothway. This being sort of a gift to say that I trusted him. Rothway was excited.

When I got home with supplies, I called out to Razz and Rothway but neither came. I finally found Rothway crying in the treehouse. I asked him where Razz was, but he kept repeating, “Gone, I’m sorry.” I went back inside the house and searched quite thoroughly through every room. When I got to Rothway’s room I spotted the knife. I took it and hid it outside under a rock. I spent the whole day looking for Razz but to no avail.

When I thought that everyone was asleep, I slipped away to check the knife. It was as if it called out to me. In my jealousy I reached out to it. I brought my hand back as if burned. I suddenly knew this knife was special and that it was truly meant to be Rothway’s. Only evil would come about if I stole it for myself. I replaced the rock and went back to bed. I would never forgive my brother for losing Razz, and would never reveal the knife.

In the morning, Rothway, Mark, and I headed to our hunting destination. I should have been excited at my brother’s first hunt, but my loss was too fresh. Hunting wouldn’t be the same without Razz. To make things worse, I was put on brother duty. I was to teach him the ways of the hunt. Deep in the woods I purposely lost him. I found me a spot and waited. Nothing came that whole day and darkness was closing in. I decided to call it quits and went in search of my brother.

What I found made me sick. My brother had blood gushing from his neck. I dropped my gear and held him in my arms. He pushed something into my hand and whispered that the knife was now mine. I had so much to say but it was too late, he was dead. I cried until I could cry no more. I swore to his soul that I would find the beast and kill it with the knife.

I walked until I could walk no further. I was exhausted and lost. I sat down and was fast asleep. When I woke up I was paralyzed, consumed by fear. The wolf bared its canines at me. What happened next was so fast as to be a blur. Two wolves were fighting each other. I got my wits

back and ran as fast as I could. I decided to play it safe and climbed a tree. When I woke, the sun was just peeking through the forest. I climbed down and to my amazement there was a dead rabbit close by. I cut it up and ate the meat. I didn’t stick around for too long. Something might come back for the rabbit. I decided to be like Razz and become the tracker.

The markings that I followed turned out to be a blessing because they led me to a stream. I was able to quench my thirst and eat some fish. Something downstream caught my eye. Something was reflecting the sun so I decided to check it out. It seemed to be moving downstream as I moved downstream. I finally put it off as an illusion. Looking around, I found a cave, and it was empty. I needed warmth and safety, so I huddled in the cave.

I was startled awake by a wolf. It did not move, so I did. It was so dark in the cave that I could barely see it. I could feel something around its neck. It was a collar and tag. I wondered if the wolf could be somebody’s pet. And could this be the killer of my little brother. I stood up and went outside to get a closer look. The tag read: “Razz.” I laughed, and then cried, as I hugged him to me. He must have been protecting me, leading me to civilization.

True enough, I could hear my father’s voice. When I caught sight of him I began to run. Razz was close behind me. I saw my dad pull up his gun and fire. I heard a yelp and turned around to see Razz on the ground. I held him close as he went limp and died. Everything went blank. I could no longer bear the pain.

It took a week before I came to my senses. I went to the rock where I had hidden the knife. In its place was a note. It read: “I forgive you for your jealousy, for I was once jealous too, when you got Razz.” After reading this, I went to where I last saw Razz and found a grave marker there. I said my goodbyes and was about to leave when I had a vision of Razz and Rothway. Behind them was a cave. I remembered the cave and went to it. Inside I found the knife. I saw it as a sign of forgiveness. I was then able to find the manhood deep within me. It was a life-altering experience. This knife had a story to tell and it would take me on an adventure to find its origin and where I fit into its future. For now, I would visit my little brother’s plot and take time to mourn. God bless Razz and Rothway.

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