Winter 1999 • Vol. XXI No. 1 Kenyon Review New VoicesJanuary 1, 1999 |

The Smallest People Alive

1 Phyllis made liver and onions the first night I was there, with peas and microwaved hash browns. Ben, her son and my used-to-be best friend, ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal as an act of defiance. "Yummy yummy," Phyllis whispered loudly, chewing and smiling, as if it were a commercial for the Liver and Onions Council. Chuck, Ben's dad, just laughed at his end of the table. He had on his greasy Armco cap, his face pale and in need of a shave. Phyllis, by the way, was barefoot, in a pair of red sweats pulled up to her knees with one of Chuck' s old flannel shirts on, her dyed-black hair ponytailed with a rubber band. Ben sat above his bowl of cereal, not furious, just resolute. He was skinny, his face drawn in, the tracheotomy scar glowing pink above the neckline of a faded Hootie and the Blowfish T. With that, he wore acid-washed jeans and hiking boots with sweat socks. Resting his left arm on the dinette table, the arm that didn't work that well, he spooned cere

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1 Phyllis made liver and onions the first night I was there, with peas and microwaved hash browns. Ben, her son and my used-to-be best friend, ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch […]

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1 Phyllis made liver and onions the first night I was there, with peas and microwaved hash browns. Ben, her son and my used-to-be best friend, ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch […]

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