Short Story #262: Adams by George Saunders

Title:  Adams 

Author:  George Saunders

Summary

Photo of George Saunders. Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/George_Saunders_by_David_Shankbone.jpg
Roger explains that he's never liked Adams, especially after Adams was found in his kitchen in his underwear facing the Roger's kids' room.  He knocked Adams out and tossed him out.  The event shakes up Roger and his wife.  After thinking about it, he goes over to Adams house.  He goes up to Adams again and knocks him down and tells him never to enter his house.  Adams says they are even because here Roger has entered into his house without permission.  Adams further states that he is what he is, which Roger takes as a confession.  He continues to hit Adams until Adams' wife comes in.  She gets in between and Roger pushes her down, which enrages Adams.  He knocks Adams down and then the wife comes at him and he knocks her down again.  At this point, their children come in and Roger tries to escape but has to assault the kids in order to get out.  When he leaves, he walks the block realizing this is the beginning of a feud between the two and the kids are likely to see him as the bad guy.  He comes up with flyers that explain what Adams did and shares this around the neighborhood.  He gets all sorts of calls and support from his neighbors.  At a later point, he goes out for a smoke and finds Adams staring at Roger's house.  Again, Adams states that he is what he is, Roger goes after him but he runs inside.  The tension between Adams and Roger continues to rise and Roger wonders what happens next.  He realizes that there could be increasing violence so he comes home early one day and enters Adams' house, taking any and all weapons that he finds.  Later that night, when sleeping, he awakes in fear wondering how Adams would react to such an invasion of his home.  He thinks about all the chemicals and poisons that could be used to hurt his family.  He breaks back into Adams house.  He gathers up all the harmful chemicals but as he finishes, the entire family attacks him.  He fights back, which includes hurting the children and then sets the chemicals on fire and flees.  

Reflection

This is a curious story indeed.  Roger's increasingly violence could be construed as a mania and it raises the question of whether Adams ever did what he did to start it all.  Equally curious is that we never get a clear view of sense of what is going on with Adams.  We get very little description about what he is doing and that makes me wonder if he was actually sinister or possibly a sleepwalker.  

Short Story #262 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  8/1/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



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