Padgett Powell is the author of six novels, including You & Me, The Interrogative Mood, and Edisto (a finalist for the National Book Award), and two collections of stories. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, and the Paris Review, as well as in Best American Short Stories and Best American Sports Writing. Powell lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he co-directs and teaches at the MFA@FLA, the writing program of the University of Florida.
From Cries for Help, Various
I make a good firm precise cut with the razor blade into the cork, from one side of the cork to the longitudinal axis. The cork is a segment of a cone, the diameter of one end approximately twice that of the other end, both ends flat. I am too stupid to know the name of this geometric figure and too stupid to know offhand, or even with industry, where to find out the name.
"On October 8, 2012, Mr. Juan Perez, drummer for the Beth McKee Band, drove from his house in Orlando over to the Orange Blossom Trail and through the vestigial orange grove surrounding the old ranch-style house that serves as the Randall Knives factory and went in and picked up, for $372.75, his Denmark Special, in O1 tool steel, a knife he has wanted for fifty years since running around Orlando hunting small game with boys better off than he who had Randalls, one of the boys in fact a friend of Pete Denmark for whose father’s store the knife is named, that’s complicated, let’s move on."