Grueling 

"It wasn't until Memphis, on Alive at Nine!, when Watt [Pinson, of Gruel, South Carolina, who's on a cross-country tour featuring his dog, who has given birth to 24 puppies], thought to say, 'I have enough to buy a case of beer and each have one.'

The man, Alex, laughed. The woman, named Marybeth, said, 'I'm an animal lover, and let me tell you that it's detrimental to give a dog beer. It should be against the law.'

... Watt said, 'Yes. Yes it is. I know that. It was a joke, Marybeth. I was only kidding.'

Marybeth looked at the camera and said, 'Okay. Well. Twenty-four puppies! Coming up next, we're going to show y'all how to bake the perfect peach cobbler.'

Watt Pinson would remember this segment as being the most effortless, the easiest, the most almost lifelike."

You read it here, in "Runt," the opening story in George Singleton's new collection of short stories, Drowning in Gruel. He'll be signing in Memphis at Burke's Book Store on Wednesday, June 28th.

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