I recently read "They Don't Come Home Anymore", a novella by T.E. Grau for Unnerving Magazine, and (without spoiling my review, which is coming soon) I absolutely loved it. So, for this week's Short Story Sunday, I decided to pick up another of his works, and found "Tubby's Big Swim."
Alden is a lonely young boy who fixates on animals, and the idea of having a pet. He tries to catch bugs and flies, but they never last long. Lost and alone in a new city, with only his mother and "uncle" for company, Alden discovers - and becomes instantly besotted with - an octopus he finds in a grimy pet store. Upon finding what he thinks of as a kindred spirit, Alden becomes obsessed with being with the creature he now calls Tubby.
Like "They Don't Come Home Anymore", "Tubby" focuses on a lonely, slightly weird kid. Like the novella's protagonist, Alden projects his need for love and companionship onto a being that may or may not return his affection - to a child who loves animals, there is nothing as desirable than having a pet who is your Best Friend. Believe me; at 29, I'm still waiting for my very own version of Lassie/Black Beauty/the baby geese from Fly Away Home. But Tubby is at best an animal incapable of reciprocating the bond that Alden is craving - and, at worst, something altogether more sinister...
I have my own theory about what Tubby is, and I'd love to chat about it with people who have read the story. But I won't give anything away here. You can read "Tubby's Big Swim" as part of T.E. Grau's collection "The Nameless Dark". I bought it for my Kindle here, and I'm loving it so far.
So, have you read any T.E. Grau? What should I review next? Let me know!
Musings on my life as a writer.