l'm So Tired Oh, Joseph,

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1 Oh, Joseph, l'm So Tired w H E N F R A N K L r N D. R o o s E v E L T was President-elect there rnust have been sculptors all over America who wanted a chance to model his head fromiife, but my mother had connections" One of her closest friends and neighbors, in the Greerrwich Village courtyard rvhere we lived, was an"amiable man named Howard Whitman who had recently lost his job as a reporter on the New York Posf' And one of Howarcl's former colleagues from the Posf was now employed in the press offfce of Roose'nllt's New York headquarters Tha! would *ut i, easy ior her to get in-or, as she said, to get an entr6e-and she " was confrdent she lould take it {rom there. She was confident about every,'thing she did in those days, but it never quite &sguised a territrle.r"!d foi t,tpport and approval on every side' She wasn't a very good t".tlptor' She had been working at it for only three years, since breaklng up her rnarriage to my-father' and there was itill something stiff and amateurish about her pieces. Before the Roosevelt project her specialty had been "garden figures"- a life-size little boy,ih*" legs turned into the legs of a goat at the knees and another who lneliamong ferns to play the pipes of Pan; little girls who trailed chains of daisies from their upraised arms or waft"f beside a spreacl-winged goose. These {'anciful childrerr, in plaster painted grjen to simulate weathered bronze' were arranged on ho*"*od",iood*n pedestals to loom around her studio and to leave a cleared space inihe middle for the modeling stand that held whatever she was working on in clay' Her idea was that any nurnber of rich people, all of thern gracious

2 F r,',\ / 'l'ltr. ( )rllr,r.ltri Slot.it,,s ttl.llit:lt4t.(i f.(ti.(:s i')(l.risr()crlrtic' w''rd 's00n discovor hc:r: tlrcy would wart s<:rr11l-. ture to,ec.rate their lantlscap"a gurj.rrr, a.d they would 'erwant lo rnake her their frien<r r.',, iir".'rn ti',] ln"unar,r", a littre nationwi<l<r pulrrrcity as the first-woman sculpto, r--' torrjo" "' u the Fresident-elect certainly woul<in't hurt her cflreer.. Arrd, if nothirrg else, she }ad a {ood stuclio. It was, in fact. ihe besr ot ali the st*dios she wourd h"r" f ;h;;;]iorn". hfe. There were six or eighr ord houses facing our,td;;i;;";ourtyarrj, with their backs to Bedford Street, * *_, f."-oinv the showplace of the row because the front room :ir: on its ground floor w.n r lown * b,.,nj," t, i ;.#,],nh: il",;;;; r *',::'_:'fl, T;: fro't door; trien vou were in the hijh, *J", rtgrr,-nooded studio. It was lrig.nruglr r. se.e as a riving so -;'-;;,';;d arong wirh the grcen garderr chirdrt'n it contained alr the lira,i*-r,,o- turniture from the horrse rve'd livecl in *ut, *y roit"; ;; il'rt;rrban rowrr of Llastings_ on-hudson, where I was_btrn. O,""."a-n.or balcony ra" ulorrg ti" fa'end of the studio,.with two,;i;;;;;ms trrcked ar.vay upstairs; beneath through to the Bedfo'ci street that might iet you know we,h;;,;h;;; and a tiny bathioom ground floor continued sijr i-tiir" part did"t h; ;;;;"tt of the aparrment.*",#;hliffill fi:li::::; underneath an iron sidlwak Sl"ir*,lid tru very lori anci it'*^ u-l-**y, dark in Ooa,o_ of that street cavity was t'lck with strewn g"".nugj o;ro""h-irrf"rteri kitchen was barely big enough for a stove and sink that w;re never crean, and for a :i''ffi n:yj:ifi,:::'::*";''"'-'"tii"gnto"t';r;;il";;'; ;W: il"m*:*;:*:!;* ;:il'#iffli,t,ut,oj*li;;;4, fbr riked,h" tlat fi,t,h;;:.ffi.we "il;;;;;, "",,'ii," H",,"g, "ra radi' was in rhere too,. and place my sister came u'u uay j::f ::_T".., c{f the radio-one day wnen when we went out into thet,l,:o studio ancl foun<j off,.t-.ll:..0r:""r:1",g the RooseveH pr"j""i wirh Howard wh lt*,. ii." n,.i,"u'f# or J:l.;;il:ff rt, and we musl have n* ll T:y;i^y:,.f i"*rr, 1:,** inte*upted her i""'-l_.;."edithp "'..'r'/ ::.:il'-" questions Decause she YucJtruxs because "EdithP --:.': li" i:,lt il ffi, said, Bi'vp Billl'P Th"+t That's en "n"" now. I.ll tellyou all about af,,, f"r". crrt irr the o*.j: o^rr.,^^^,.,,h: garden ancl play"i-:uqh, She always th" ", re except a "rlled {'ew si,,.rojfl::i garde'"'though nothinggrew -"","*.;""* had :fi ;;;"',T a chance lt:::"nd to spread. u.,ji,,** " r;"itiei#1ffi-"1"7,ffij"ii1,:,ffi::.jff::"j Ah, fuse,ph, I'm So Tired / t7<1 there by brick paving, rightly powdered with soot and scattered with the droppings of dogs and."u*. rt may have been six ;rd,;;r", long, but it was only two houses *id", *hi"h "; gave cheerless lnok; it a hernmed_in, its only point of irrterest was a dilapidated marble fountain, not much bigglr than a birdbath, which stood near olrr house' The original idea of the fountain was that water wo'ld drip evenly from around the rim of its upper tier and tinkle into its lovr.,er basin, but age had unsettled it; th" rvater spilled in a single ropy stream {rom the onlyinch of the upper tier,jrirn that staye? clean. The lower basin was deep enough to'ro"k your feet in on a hot day, but there wasn't mrrch pleasureln that because the underwate, part of the marble was coatecl with lirown scum" N{y sister and I fbund things to do in the courtyard every day, firr all of the two years we rived iirere, but that was o'ly because Edith was an imaginative chird' she was etreven at the time L{'tt Roou"rr"rt project, and I was seven" " "DaddyP" she asked in our fatherrs offrce uptov,in one a{iernoon. "Have you heard Mommy,s doing a heacl of preiident Rooseveltp,, "'OhP" He was rummaging said we might iike. inlis desk, looking f". ro,rr*it ing t ",a going to take his measurements and stuff here,lshe's lbrk," Edith said, "and then after the Ina*guration, in New when the scurp*r:3 {:1", shet going tg takeit to Washiniton and present it to hi'rn in the White House." Edith often told one of ot, plrents other's rnore virtuous activities; it was "b"* il" part of her long, rrrp"r"", O*U together" Manyyea^rs later she totj',r,"'rf," "ic" inod, sne had never recovered, and never would, from the shock of th?i, breakup: she said llastings-on-hudson rernained the happiest rror" her life, and that made me envious because "f I could,"*".1y ::lt.l"_t,"*"rn_ ber it at all. -Well," my..that's said. ^ what he'dfather found been looking really something, isn,t it.,,,ihen he for in the desk and salld...here wn oo. what dn you think of thesep"they were two fiagilef;;f.;; ;":;; of what loo\e{ like postage. stumpr, starnp b"earilg *r","rrg"r".f an electrdc lightbulb in r.,ivid w.hite "a"h against yeito* fri"f.g-"rr?f, " the words "More light." "nu My father's office was o-ne rnany small cubicles on the twenfz9f third floor of the General Erectric iuirding. He was an assista't in what was then th" OO"ra_ i_,_f regional sales rnanager "ill".t

3 t 8o / T'he Collected Stories of Richard yates.l)ivision-a modest job, b't good enough to have allowed him to re't into a town like Hastings-on-Hudson in better times-and theser "More light" stamps were souvenirs of a recent sales convention. Wr: toid him the stamps were neat-and they were-but expressed som. doubt as to what we might do with them. "Oh, they re just for decoration," he said. '.I thought you could paste them into I'our schoolbooks, or---vou know-whatever you want- Ready to go?" Ancl he carefully folded the sheets of stamps and put them in his inside pocket for safekeeping on the way home. Between the subway exit and the courlyard, somewhere in the West Village, we always walked past a vacant lot where men stood huddled around weak fires built of broken fmit crates and trash, some of them warming tin cans of food held by coat-hanger wire over the flames. "Don't stare," my father had said the first time..all those men are out of work, and theyi.e hr.rngrv." "Daddy?" Edith inquired. "Do you think Roosevelt'.s goodp" )ure L do. "Do you think all the Democrats are good?,, "Well, most of 'em, sure." Much later I wrruld learn that mv father had participated in rocal Democratic Party politics for years. He had served sorne of his poiitical friends*-men my mother described as d'ead{irl little Irish people from Tammany Hall-by helping them to establish Mazclatamp jistributorships in various parts of the city. And he loved their social gatherings. at which he was always askeri to sing. -Weli, of course, you're too young to renrernber Daddy,s singing,,, Edith said to rne once after his death in rg4z. "No, I'm not; I remember." "But I mean reallv rernember," she said. "He had the most beauti_ ful tenor voice I've ever heard. R.emember'Danny Boy,?', JUTC. "Ah, God, that was something," she said, closing her eyes...that was really'-that wls really sornething." When we got back to the courfvard that afternoon, and back into the studio, Edith and I watched our parents sa1'hello to each other. we always watched that closely, hoping they rnight drift into conversa* tion and-sit down together and find things to laugh about, but they never did. And it was even less likely than usual that day becar-rse my Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired, / t9t mother had a guest-a woman named Sloane Cabot who was her best friend in the coursard, and who greeted my father with a little rush of false, flirtatious enthusiasm. "Horv've you been, Sloane?" he said. Then he turned back to his forrner wife and said, "Helen? I hear you"re planning to make a" bust of Roosevelt." "Weli, not a bust," she said. "A head. I think it'll be more effbctive if tr cut it off at the neck." "Well, good. Thatls fine. Good luck with it' Okay, then."' He gave his whole attention to Edith and me. "'Okay. See you soon. How about a hug?" And ttrose hugs of his. the clirnax of his visitation rights, were unforgettable. (Jne at a time rve woilld be swept up and pressed hard into tlie srnells of linen and whiskey and totracco; the warm rasp of his 1'au, rvould gr^ze one cheek and there would be a quick moist kiss near the ear; then he'd let us go. I{e was almost all the way orlt of the cour}'ard, almost out in the street, when Edith ;rnd I went racing after him. -Dadd;'! Daddyi You {'orgot the stamps!" He stopped and turned around, and that'wa.s when we saw he was cqnng. FIe tried to hide it--he put his far:e nearlv into his armpit as if tliat might help him search his inside pocket-but there is no wav to disguise the awful bloat and prucker of a face in tears. "Here," he said. "Here you go." And he gave us th-e least convincing smile I had ever seen. It would be good to report that we stayed and talked to him-that we hugged hinr again-but we were too embarrassed {'or that. We teiok the starnps and ran horne without looking back. "Oh, aren't you excited, Helen?" Sloane Cabot was saving' "To be nieeting him, and taiking to him and every,thing, in front of all those reporters?" "Well, of course," my mother said, "trut the important thing is to get the measurements right. I itope there won't be a lot of photographers and siily interruptions." Sioane Cahot vi'as some years younger than rny rnother, and strikingly pretty in a style often portray'ed in what I think are called Art Deco illustrations of that period: straight dark bangs, big eyes, and a trig rnouth. She too was a divorced mother, though her former ffi

4 r,\: / 'l'lrr OolLcoted Stories of Richardyates lrrrslrrrrtl lrad vanished rong ago and was ref'erre. to onry as..that bas_ trrrrl",r "that cowardly ro" ola bitch." Her only chiliwas u boy ol l{diths age named John, whom Edith and f liked enorm";il- "" The two women had met within days of our moving into the court_ yard, and their friendship was,"ul"j when my mother solved the problem of John's schooling. she knew a Hastings-on-Hudson *u, who would appreciate the ironey earned from taking in a boarder, so John went up there to live and go to school, and came home onlv on weekends. The a*angement cost more than S;";;;; afford, but she managed to rnake,n""t and "._i#", was "rrd, f.*"", gr*i"frf. sloane worked in the wall street district as a private secretarv. she talked a lot about how she hated her lob aoj #;;;;;, b",".ti"'n*o part was that her boss was often out ofio*n fo, e*tended 0"n"d".,-rrr", gave her time to use the offfce tlpewriter in pursuit of her rife,s ambition, which was to write scripts io. th","&o. She once confided to my mother that she,d made up boih of her names: "Sloane', because it sounded masculine, tt e kina of,ru*" u yt* alone might need for making her way in "cabot" the world, and fsssu5s-wsll, because rt rr"i touch of crass. ^ was anything there wrong with thatp "Oh, Helen," she said...this is going to be wonderful for yo".,g:t you. If the publicity-if the paperl pi"i it up, and the newsreels_ you'll be one of the most interesing plrsonalities in America.,, Five or six people were gatheijd in the studio on the day mother nry came home from her lrst visit with the president_elect. "Wiil.somebody get me a drink?,, she asked, loolcng arc,,rrrd mock l' helplessness...then I'll tell you all about it.,, And with the drink in her hand,'with her eyes as wide as a child,s, she told us how a door had o.feled two 1nd big;en had "Big brought him in. men," she insisted. -young, stl"ong men, holjlng him up :ld:,t.*h"" arms, and you corrld,"" hi* tn.fl""r" srraining. Then vou saw rhlsjoot come out, with thesc aw4ur meta[ braces on th"e,r,o", lna then the other foot. And he *ur r*"utlrg, ^rd h" *", p";il;;;; breath, and his face was_i don't know_ult'brrgir, an'tense and hor_ rible," She shuddered. 'Well," Howard Whitman said, loolcing uneasy,..he cant lielp being crippled, Helen.', "Howard," she said impatiently,..i.m only trying to tell you how ugly it was"' And that seeried to iarry u ""lilt weight. If she was an E Oh,Jost'1ilr'''"r''ir''/'''/ r''r t authority on beauty-on how a little boy might Lttt'''l ;llrttrrrl' I' r rr i" nlav the pipes of Pan, for example-then surely slrc lrrrtl ('irrlr rl l* r i.ed.ntials'as an authority on ugliness' "Anyway," rtt" *""t-j"' "thjy got him into a chair' and lrt' rvi1" 'l most of the,*"ut off hi' i^"" *tln1handkerchief-he was still orrt "l breath_and after a *t rl" rr" started talking to some of the other '*rrr there; I couldn't f"ucl* ift"t part of,it' Then ffnallv he turned to mtr with this smile of his' Honestly' I don't.know if i can describe that smile. It isn't somethi";;;; ";; see in the newsreels; you have to be il;;;. Htt "y"s don't "#l*" at all' but the corners of his mouth go up as if they're b"irrg p"u"jf']' f"pp"t strings' Its a frightening smile' It makes you think: this could b" u iu"g"tous man' This could be an evil man. Well anyway, *" ti"""a dh{, and I spoke right up to him' I said, 'I didn't vote {b' y;;, il' Presiient" I said' 'I'm a good Republi can and I voted to' 1'"'id""t Hoover'' He said' 'Why are you here' il;j;. something like that' and I said' 'Because you hale.-1-ley interesting head.' So ;;;"t; -" smile,again and he"said' 'What's -tl: i;;;,"jg about it?'anilald''i like the bumps on it.'" By then she must have assumed that everv reporter in the room was writing in his notjoot' *t"t" the photograpfr"" got their flashbulbs ready; tomorrods papers might easily read: Ger- Scul-P:ron Twrrs FDR Asour "BuuPs" on Haen At the end of her preliminary chat with him she got down to business, which was to L"*r,rr" different parts of his head with her calipers. I knew how that felt' the cold' trembling points of those clayencrusted calipers f'jti"kl"d and poked-me all over during the times i'jt"-"a as model for her fey little woodland bovs' But not a single gl'i'u"fu i""nt off while she took and recorded the measurement,, u"a t'ot'ody asked her any ouestions; after a few nervous words of thanks and goodbye she was out in the corriclor again -t"""glfine hopeless, c'i"i"g'p"ople who ccruldn't get in' It must have been a bad disappointmen't' ani I imagine she tried to make rrp way she'd"teil us about it when she for it by planning t#il;j;;t got home' r ^ra^- *^"+ nf rhe nther. ' "Helen?" Howard Whitman inquired' after most of the other visitors had gort". "Wtty tl you tell him you didn't vote for him?" i :l *: %

5 tb4 / ll,he CoLlected Stories of nichard. yates Oh,losePh, I'm "Well, because itls true. I am a goodrepublican; you know that.,, she was a storekeepe.r's daught"er;;; smafi town in ohio; she had protrably groy.,rp h"*i,rg".il;;;:" "..good Repubtican,, as an index of respectabirity urrd maybe she had come to "l"ui "rotti"*lcrrd relax her standards cirespectabilitll,;;;" she didnt even care much about clean clothes afryn9re, but.goojrepublican,, rv"rrv"r_f, ing to. Ir would be helpful when "irg* shjnret tl li".:',,hi;;;il*io,"r"o"",*"";t,:jjtffi Y#;*:'i";l trr.s and who woutd atrnos, ;::r":t'j "**niy r"r_"i _ t " fr"n"n_ '"I berieve in the aristocracyr" she often cried, trying to make herself heard above the rumble of voices *h"n h", guests were dis_ cussing Communism, and the.y seldom paid her,h"y iiked her well.1n1ugh,,h" gu* p""i",,[ar, plenty"d;;;;;;. of llquor, and s]re was an agreeable hostess only 6""*rrru -_", of her touchr"f:.."g"*i,,. if please; but in anv ralk_ of poti'ti",,h" f,f." a shrill, exisperating chikl. She beiieved in the #stoc.acy. She believed in God too, or at ljast in the ceremony of St. Luke,s Episcopal Church, which she attendei twice a year. And she believed in Eric Nicholson, ", th" middle_aged Englishman h;;;; ;;;; who was her lover. H"e haf so1*frrry a of a British chain of foundries: t i, jnto i. with the American end "' from whom he'd never really been &vorced" to the time between But all that came later; I u'ant io go back his Inauguration'-when his head Franklin D. Roosevelt's election and *"r for n.on*it"j;";r" ::::3:ri**ting about hi, b,rri,,"rr, rr". *iay Tudor_stvle He was and glowing arways *ith it, My mother had met him the year before,,when she,d sought help one. of her 11oiu'r* consignment" garden with,.:: fig;; to be.ptaced on "J;;oiror,"*, g,"-;d:n_sculpture gallery from which would never be sold. Eric \icholsor. iua p*rr,'ud"d it her that leacl would be almost as nice as bronze _*f, ifreaper; then he,d asked her out to dinner, and that ""J *""r.g;h""g;o',r.liu*r. Mr. Nicholson rarery spoke-a iy,trr!r oj*", urra I think we were both frightened of hirn, iut he ;;;;; us with gifts. At ffrst they were mostly books_a volurne uf f.ram punch.a partial set of l)ickens, a book calred "u.tnor* Engtani-in"*oo, Times containing tissue-covered color plates that fjitt tit"a. But in the summer of "olt'td knownhowtofish,awickercreelforcarryingthefishshewouldnever at her waist' He gave ;;h, ;"i a sheathed hunting knife to beworn a in leather holster and me a short ax whose-ft"ud'*"' encased *'he firewo^od to cook ;;'*pd;" my belt-i g''es' thi' wus forcutting hung from an net with a handle that :1T1" fish-and u "rr*b",'o*? upon to wade in and help called be i in strap, shoulder "u," 't'oua to do in that New ersey E'iitn Urra u tri"t y one' There was nothing and *uilt', ot *l'ut *y *otf,"' called good hikes; ;l;;;;;4,,*r." in weeds the insect-humming e;verv dav, u, *" ptoaj"i out through equipment' ;. th",nrr, *" *or" o", full regalia of useless me a three-year stebscripgave That same summer Mr. tli"holson magazine was impenetrable that tion to Fietd' 4z Stroam, and I think in th^e mail cgm]ng it kept krecause the least appropriate oi"tt tto gifts for us: changed had for such a long, lo"g ti*" af# everything-else Nicholson Mr' to Scarud^I"' wh*r" after we'd. moved o,'t J X"* York and after he had abandoned my rent' had found a house *iitt " low motherinthathouse-withnowarning-toreturntcrenglandandto,"*1o", homes in places like scarsdar" una the things Eric Nichoison's ffrm h"j;.;prished. rtts weeks with orrr alt" onze / *to rg33, when our father arranged for us :8.""d Mr' Nicholson's gifts becamtr n rnother at a small lake in N"it ;"tt"y' a steel fishing rod with a cornucopia of sporting good' fi" g^*.naith have figured it orrt even if we'd reel so intricate that nj;;f "o'rnorr. r",l ;;"" jffi,j:r.fl",,t:.i ings all over""d "jllj"t:t, the East, the""0# t""a."r"*"rri.*ndo*o br So'l\rul *f" t*u",! rf.rul}l taking shape on my mother's m3{etil8 -^- el^lrrethan rir or larger life-size' it make Her ilutt had been to "igin*l to scale it dovrm for economv in the size, but lvlr. Ni"hol'on t"g"d h"' high' He per;;;g, and so she *ad"'-it only six or seven inches her' that lead krown her too, fot tt'"-'"oottl ti*" since he'd suaded would be almost as nice as bronze' watched cli<ln't mind at all if Edith and I She had always 'n" 'uia to; now it was a little more h". *ork, but we had never much wanted her sift through m-any plointeresting because we coukl watch one that ;;;*t* 3f Rou,"u"lt cut from ne vspapers 'ntil she found execute a subtle plane of cheek or brow' Cabot might o{ our a"y *u' taken up with school' }ohn *J"fa help her But most which Edith would always go to school m fro,tiig'-on-llttdsoi',for was the next best thing: yearn, but we had *hui"u"" Eclith admittecl *" went to school in our bedroom'

6 fi6 / The Collected Stories of Richardyates During the previo,s year my mother had enrolled *s in the pubric school down the street, but she"d beg*n to regret it r.n'hen we camc) hor'e with lice in our Lrair. Then one day Edith came home accused ol' having stolen a bov's coat, and that was too much. she withdrew us both, in deffance of the city truant officer, and pleaded with my father to help her meet the cost of a private school. He reiused. The ient she paid and the bills she ran up were already taxing him far beyoncl the terms of the divorce agreernent; he was in debt; surely she must realize he was lucky even to have a job. would she ever learn to be reasonable? It was Howard Whitman who broke the deadlock. He knew of an inexpensive, fully accredited urail-order service calred T'he calvert school, intended r,ainlv for the homes of chiklren who were invalids" The calvert sch'ol furnished weekly supplies of books a'd materials and study pla^s; all she worild need was someone in the house t' administer tlie program ancl to serve as a tutor. And someone like Bart Karnpen would be ideal for the job" "The skinny fellowp" she asked. "The Jewish boy frorn Holland or wherever it is?" "F{e's very well educated, Helen," Howard told her...ancl he speaks fluent English, ancl he'd be very conscientious. Ancl he c.uld certainly use the money." we were delighted to learn that Rart Kampen rvould be our t'tor. witli the exception of Flowarcl himself, Bart 'r,as probably our favorjter among the adults around the courtyard. He was hventl,-eight or so, young enough so that his ears couid still turn red when he was teased by children; we had fo*nd that out in teasing him o'ce or fivice about such rnatters as that his socks didn't match. He was tall and very thin and seemed always to look startled except when he *u, "o.nib.t"d enough to smile. He was a violinist, a Dutch Jew who hati. emigratecl tlre year befcrre in the hope of joining a symphony orchestrl and eventually of larinching a concert career. But the symphonies werent hiring then, nor were lesser orchestras, so Bart had gone without work for a long time. He lived aione in a roorn on seventh Ave'ue, not far frorn the courtvard, and people who liked him used tcl worry that he might not have enorlgh to eat. He owned two suits, both cut i' a wav that must have been stylish in the Netherlands at the time: stiff, heavily padded shoulders and a nipped-in waist; they would probably Oh, loseph, (m So Ti'recl / fi7 have looked better on someone with a little rnore meat on his bones. ln shirtsleeves, with the cuffs rolied track, his hairy wrists and forearms looked even more fragile than you might have expected, but his long hands were shapely and strong enough to suggest authority on the violin. "I'll leave it entirely up to you, Bart," my mother said when he asked if she had any instructions for our tutoring. "l know yorr'll do wonders with thern," A smail table was moved into our bedroom, under the window, and three chairs placed around it, Bart sat in the middle so that he colld divide his time equally between Edith and me' tsig, clean, heavy trrorm envelopes arrived in the mail from The Calvert School once a week, and when Bart slid their fascinating contents onto the table it was like settling down to begin a game. Edith was in the fifth grade that year-her part of the table was given over to incomprehensible talk about English and History and Social Studies-and I was in the first. I spent my mornings asking Rart to help me puzzle out the very openirrg moves of an education. "Take your time, Billy," he would say. "Don't get impatient with this. Once yor,r have it you'll see how easy it is. and then you'll be ready for the next thing." At eleven each rnorning we would take a break. We'rl go downstairs and out to the part of the corirtyard that had a little grass. Bart would carefuily lay his folded coat on the sidelines, turn back his shirt cuffs, and present hirnself as ready to give what he called ailplane rides. Thking us one at a time, he would grasp one wrist and one ankle; then he'd whlrl us off our feet and around and around, with himself as the pivot, until the courlyard and the buildings and the city and the world were lost in the dizzyngblur of our flight.,r\.fter the airplane rides'we would hurry down the steps into the studio, where u'e'd usually ffnd that my mother had set out a tray bearing three tall glasses of cold C)valtine, sornetirnes with cookies on the side and sometirnes not. I once overheard her telling Sloane Cabot she thought the Ovaltine must be Bart'.s first nourishment of the day-and I think she was probably right, if only because of the way his hand woulcl tremble in reaching for his glass' Sometimes she'd fcrget to prepare the tray and we'd cror,vd into the kitchen and fix it

7 tbb / The Collected Stories of Richardyates ourselves; I can never see a jar of ovaltine on a grocery shelf without remembering those times. Then it was back upstairs to sch.ol again. And during that year, by coaxing and prodding and telling -",.Jt to get impatient, Bart Kampen taught me to read. It was an excellent opportunity for showing off. I wourd pull books down from my mothert shelves-mostly books that rvere tire gifts of Mr. Nich'lson-and try to impress her by reading mangled,"rrt"r"", aloud. "That's wonderful, dear," she would say...yo''ve really learned to read, haven't you." Soon a white-and-yellow "More light" stamp was afffxed to every page of my Calvert First Grade Re"Ier, proving I had masiered it, and others were accumulating at a slower rate in my arithmetic w,orkbook. still other stamps were fastened to the wan ieside my place at the school table, arranged in a proud little white-and-yeu# tn.r*t - smudged column that rose as high as I could reach. "You shouldn't have put your stamps on the wall,', Eclith said. 'WhyP' "Well, because they'll be hard to take off.,' "Who's going to take them nff?" That small room of ours" with its double function of sleep and learning, stands more clearly in my mernor)/ than any other part lf our home. someone shorrld probably have told my mother thaia girl and boy ofour ages ought t'have separate rooms, but that never oj",rrr"d to me until much later. our cots were set foot-io-foot agai*st the wall, leavingjust enough space to pass alongside them to thl school table, and we had some good conversations as we lay waiting for sleep at night. The one I remember best was the time Edith told me abouithe sound of the city _ "I dont mean just the loud noises," she said,..like the siren going by just now, or those car doors slamming, or all the laughlng' and shouting down the street; thatt just close-up stuff. I'rn tallang "about something else. Because you see there are millions and mill-ions of people in New York-more peiiple than you can possibl;, imagine, sysl-anfl most of them are doing something that makes sound. Maybe talking, or playing the radio, maybe closing doors, maybe putting their forks down on their plates if theyre ha"ing dirr.rer, o, dropping their shoes if they're going to bed-and becarrje there are so many of them, all those little sounds add up and come together in a ''#% ()[../r'rr'1[ frl h" llreri I tl{ kindofhum.butitssofaint-soveryverylirirrtllrltlt.rlttttt lllttqt it r.rrrl"rs you listen very carefr'illy for a long time '" "Can You hear it?" I asked her' "Somltimes. I listen every night' but I can only hear il sotttelllltrr Other tirnes I fall asleep' i'"it n" quiet now' and just listen' Sitrc ll'vort **Tlhlitil;ru, rnv eves as if that would help' opening r'v rnouth to minimize tft" ""r,"* of my breathing' but in the end I had to 'o"l"a i"tt tt". I'd failed. "How about vou?" I asked' ;just 'Oh, i heard it,",t'" for a-few seconds' but I heard it' '"ia' You'll hear it too, if you tt""p t'to"g' And it's worth waiting for' When vou hear it. vou're hearing tile whole city of New York"' week was l''iduv afternoon' when John \ffi;di;;;;.; Cabot came home fiom Hastings' He exuiled health and normality; fr" l.."gtt, fresh suburban air inio our bohemian lives' He even transformed his mother's small apartment' while he was there' into an enviable place o{ rest between vigorous encounters wiih the world' He subscribed to both B;oys' L ild' Open Road for Boys' a1d the-se seemed to me to U" *o"aj'f"t il'i"g' to have ln your house' tl:tl l:t tfr" ittnr,rutions. john dressed in the same heroic way as tne Do)/s shown in those *ugu"t""', corduroy knickers with ribbed stockings.,,lled taut over his rnuscular ""Il'e'" He talked a lot about the Hasti"""'l"tf-t-t"ftool football team' for which he planned to try out as soon ;.ti:ffi;;iil;,4r, ;;J about Hastings iriends whose names and p"rrt^^in*, gruw il'nost as farniliar to us as if they were friends of 'o.r, "*o. He"taught us invigorating ney ways to speak' like tuf"g *What's the diff?" i,,,tlj oi?wttut's"the dfference?" And he was better even than Edith at finding new things to do in the courtyard' You could U.ry goijn'n fl' te" o' "fift*"" cents apiece in Woolworth's then, and o"" tluy we brought home three of them to keep in the fountain. We sprinkled the waier with rnore Wookvorth's granulated ffsh food than th"y "o"ld possibly need' and we narned them after ourselv"r' "Jottoi "Udith,- and 'Billy'- For a week or two Edith and I would run to the fountain every morning' bef9rg Bart came for school, to make,"'" ift"u **re still alive a"d to 'e" if they had enough food, and to watch them' "Have you noticj how much blgger niul;,9i11ingl-."iil,:i"' me. "He's h.rg". U"t ui*ost as big uiion" and Edith now' He'lI probably be bigger than hoth of thern"'

8 ryo / The Collected Stories of Richard yates Then one weekend when John was home he called our attention to how q'ickly the fish could turn and move. "They have better reflexes than humans," he explained. "When they see a shadow in the water, or anything that looks like danger, they get away faster than you can blink. watch." And he sank one hand into the water to make a grab Ibr the fish named Edith, but she evaded him and fled...see that?- he asked. "How's that for speedp Know somethingp I bet you could shoot an arrow in there, and the1.d get away in time. Wait." To prove his point he ran to his mother's apartment and came back with the handsome bow and arrow he had made at summer camp (going to camp every summer was another admirable thing about John); then he knelt at the rim ofthe fountain like the picture ofan archer, his bow steady in one strong hand and the feathered end of his arrow tight against the bowstring in the other. IIe was tahng aim at the fish named-billy. "Now, the veloci[u of this arrow," he saij in a voice weakened by his effort, "is probably more than a car going eighty miles an horrr. It s probably more like an airplane, or maybe even more than that. Okay; watch." The fish Billy was suddenly floating dead on 'amed the surface, on his side, impaled a quarter of the way up the arrow with parts of his pink guts dribbled along the shaft. I was too old to cry but something had to be done about the shock and grief that -uld l-"9" filled me as I ran from the fountain, heacling blindly for home, and halfway there I came upon my mother. ShL stood looking very clean, wearing a new coat and dress I'd never seen before and faste'ed to the arm of Mr. Nicholson. They were either just going out or just coming in-i didn't care which_and Mr. Nicholson frovmed at me (he had told me more than once that boys of my age went to boarding school in England), but I didn,t care about that either. I bent my head into her waist and didn,t stop crying until long after I'd felt her hands stroking my back, untll aftei,he had assured me that goldftsh didn't cost much and I'd have another one soon, and that John was sorry for the thoughtless thing he'd done. I had discovered, or rediscovered, that crying is a pleasul-that it can be a pleasure beyond all reckoning if your head is pressed in your mother'.s waist and her hands are on your back, and if she happens to be wearing clean clothes. There were other pleasures. We had a good Christmas Eve in our Oh,!osePh' l'nt So'l'ir rtl I t'tt lrrxrse that year, or at least it was good at first' My fathcr wrts lltt'r' ' which obliged M'' NtJ;;;; to*,tiy uyov' it was nice t' s.. lt.w Td friencls' Iile was shy' but tlrt'y r.laxed he was "*";;;';"trt"ir seemed to like him' H" gt'i along esp.ecially well with Bart Kampen' Howarcl wttit*o"'' f,uogtttctriffy' a sweet-natured girl of about rny age, had corne in liom iarrytown to spend the holidays with him',,nd th"r" were several c,irt"t liltfat"n *ht"' we knew but rarely saw' tn a' coat and tie' plainly $ark fohn looked u"o *#";;;il "i"ur. of ni, social responsibilities as the oldest bov' Aflter awhile. *th ;; ;i;;"irt" p""v driftecl back into the diningroom area and stagedai til;ilfjudeville' Howard started it: he brought the tall stool from^my mother's modeling stand and sat h'is daughter on it, f'acing t;;;ji""""' He folded back the opening ot a hrown paper bag *t ;;h*; tl*t' u"d fitrccl it on to her head; then he took ofthis suit r*o.'"d h"r backwards' up to the 'J;;;;il chin; he went behind it*'"ro'it"a out of sight' and worlced his hands through the coatsleeve'-'" tf'"t when they-emerged th."f 1P!"""-1-b be hers. And the,tgh;;; t*tling little gi.l in u paper-bag hat' waving and gesturing with ;;;-';;#tttti 1*at' *a' to make "n.'ugh everyone laugh' The'i'ift""al'*ped her eves and stroked her chin and pushed her hair ;;"ht; h"' *u"' then they elaborately thumbed *Tff#l,,ou"" cabot' She sat very straight on the stool with her heels hooked.*r-,;;;gs in such'a *uy"ot to show her good i";t;;";;best advantage' b"ihet first act didn't go over' "well,-,r," u"gu"l:i-i'* today-you know rny tjl"^:'::- "i*"trt the lortieth floo,--*h* t h"pp<ln"d to giance up {'rom my t}'pewriter and saw this big trd;; ttlj un ih" ledge outside the "r "tt'u"it"d window with a *hit" b""'d and a {unny red suit' So I ran to the win- Are you all rieht?'well' it was santa dow and opened tt;il#; claus, and he.of saicl, ;;r" fu ou,tgh,, i'* to high places' "'"d But listen, miss: can you direct me to number seventy-five Bedfbrd t"ifi:;" was more, but our embarrassecl looks must have told her we knew we *"'" U"i"g""lta"'"""a"a to; as soon as she'd found a way to finish it she dicl Then'-after a,thoughtful pause' she tried 'olircuy' **"if.t"g else that i"tn"d out to be much better' "Have you heard the story of the first Christmas?'" "hil;;;;"r

9 t<1: /'l,ltr, ()ollrt.ktl Storir,.s t,l. fii,t.lttnl yut.(.,\ she asrced' "wrren Je.sus was hornp" And sh<: began to te* it in the kir<r ;j*_.1.*rr;:matic voice she must r,u,,*'r,opuj*,et, b".. ";Jiy th,, Ancr *-T$iti;ff*il;,n go t"in." tr.,ov,**r,".r Bethiehem,,'she said,..and it *"r'o would very soon "otj'r,igh;, N;;; Mffirl"vv have rn,, ababy. str" nelri toid beca'se her, that "uun*t ari her angel baby harr miqht 1"_ ;t;;;. savior of all rnanki'cl. Bur she was only a yoyng giri,'-*here sfr"""t "y", gii.t"rr*a,""r.rl,rr", might be fflling with ilir--"u"d.rr"ir#rirg hactr exha*sred her" sher was,nrised by the jorting gait of trr" a.ir.*y a'cr she ached all.ver, tif,'uhiffi:f* 1?;];:i;' ""*;;;;;e, and a',h. ;;;; ;;;.", T'he story went on through the re.iection at the inn, an, the birth irr the stable, arrrl the manger, and thl animals, and the arrival of the ffiff::; it,,vas over we ctappecl a long time fr"..*".. S1"""" '"D_addyp" Edith a.skecl...wiilyou sing fbr usp,,,n_;ofnfj:;:#;l'""y.', r,,,uij, ::r,i. ",,, reatriy need a pian,: ror The final p".{'".*". of the evening was Bart Kampen, persuaeled bv p.puiar clemsrrc{ t, g. ironre,ra g?, n,, riolin" Thcrc was no srrr_ prise in dis<_.overing that hc plaved tlf o o"n+ruiorr*1, lik*,o*;;;rr* you.might casily hear on the,udio; th" ",r1,, ing ho'i his,r, t" r*"* r,."^;; ; ;:-ill J":: :*., : fi;,t#jj; except concern that the j"td-b: right. W.e were proud of.him. ",i:hi:ffi?[tti rather lert Jg"a -u*voit'",.*a.,rt, u"g",, to treen to several oth*r -:11:.9"r:, to me: iooking as thor''gh ti'"y'j -il"-"y earry ch ri s tm ; ; ffitl?illf T'-, jjr":-,:l ;;#*";:.*j,:; sloane standins close t. a bald rnan r Ji r"]t know. I{e hercr a bembliug drink in one hand and,lr*if ',,,ri."g"a her shurrlcc, witir the other: she se.med to he shrinhlui u-"r, "$rlnst rhe rrd wooden ir.r-- box. Slt,an. lrad a wav ol'.smilirrg it rr,tto,,ij littlt,,,risns <_rlcigarette smoke to r.scape [,,,m hetwejn f*r'."i"r"r,.lrsecl lips while she looked 'vorr up and do*n',anrr shr'ruo* a,rrnftnat. Trren rrre man nut his drirrk on tt-ip oj tbe icehox and t'ok [.. 'l rrt, arms, ancr r c.orrrin.t see Jrer fuce anymore. A.nother man, in a nrmptred brown suit, Iay unconscious on the dini'g-room fioor. I walked u.o,rrra nr."u"a *rrn, into the studio, Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired / ryg rvlrrrre a goodjooking young woman stood weeping wretchedly and tlrrrre men kept getting in each other's way as they tried to comfort lrcr. Then I saw that one of the men was Bart, arrd I watched while he,rrrtlasted the other two and turned the girl away toward the door' He ftis arm around her and she nestled her head in his shoulder; that 'rrt rvrrs how thev left the house. Ildith looked jaded in her wrinkled pady dress. She was reclining irr our olcl Hastings-on-Hudson easy chair vidth her head tipped back,rrld her legs flung out over both the chair's arms, and John sat cl:ossk,gged on the floor near c.rne of her dangling feet. They seemed to l,a,re been talking about something that didn't interest either of them rn,.rch, and the talk petered out altogether when I sat on the floor to ioin them. 'Billy," she said, "do vou realize w-hat time it is?" "What's the dif{?" I said. "You should've heen in bed hours ago. Come on Let"s go up"' "I don't feel like it." 'Well,- she said, "I'm going up. anvl,vay," and she got laboriously out of the chair and walked awav into the clowd. ]ohn turned to tne and narrowed his eyes unpleasantly' "Know something?" he said. "When she rnras in the chair that walr I could see everytlring^" "Huh?" "I could see everything, I could see the crack, and the hair' She"s lreginnirrg tc get lrair." I had observed these feattrres of rnv sister many tirnes--in the hathtub, or when she was changing her clothes-and hadn't found them especially remarkable; even so, I rrnderstood at once how remarkable they nrust have been for him' If only he had smiled in a bashfirl way we might have larrghed together like a couple of regular fellows otft o[ ()7ten Roadfor Boys, but his face was still set in that disdainful look. "I kept looking and looking,'" he said, "and I had to keep her talking so she wouldn't catch on, but I was doing fine until you had to come over and ruin it." Was I supposed to apologize? That didn't seem right' but nothing else seemed right either. All I did was look at the floor. When I finally got to bed there was scarcely time for trying to hear the elusive sound of the city-i had found that a good way to keep

10 t().1 /.l,lt(. ()ttl 11.1,,,l,\lrtt.it.,s rtl IIir.lt(rt1I IttI(,.\ li.orrr thirrj<ing ol. anltllii)g clsc wllorr in' she'd hoiiou r -il ;; ;;;;;:::::..:'lt rrrotho' (:i,,,,<) l,lr r rrr tcr i r rrr of going to her or-t'"n to drink and wantecl to-lie clown, lrrrt irrsrt,lrrl "or', -; *, *,t to "r,"trtil'*"j1j[ljt d';i,,].i,111,,,,,, make room for an d ran ror the'"f;**::: *^'"g dij "tiffi ;T :I',I' il rnoved '"rr( rr I rreard,her over into vomiting, And wlrr.rr I ; W H*rdi## l[,j;;:jrj ;1"';n' *:;r, ; I i ; u".lli'.',,i':ii, " 1i'::a: y$-"#i''n* see mucr,,/ sro,ur. really"big." When it * wwtruirg on som.cthjng big. s.methi,rg tire<i buipreil;;;:was finishc<l she brouqht,,..f;.1i"a,"r,'i",1i.,"* " w. " i".r, i.'t *',,.1i J; ili,: l#*i:l t' n. ".' i o'""0" ; J lil,, "That.s the best n, o* i,i e.*'i:tjt#ffitofil *"' Listen " hersei[_..s'he often playetl by hers.r{. ".. ]:_.,:" in the courtyard by #ffit'i"1"',7.ff the 1il.i,1;id;;:';;;J::'?:":#i:?.fr taii ;: BerhJehern srory stool' iust as she'd,."""*n.,-t,,i*"il..,,."there is an errchantctl corrrtvard in Cl.ee ")ts only a narro\^. "r;.,;:;';,:dr.u rn u t'enwich village,' shc read., hoo:,,;r "-,y,ra' r,::[l?i ffi t ji1:i"*ii,:'jft! ;H;il. Jreoplewholive in it. ".,,-,.',:',::ltt makes it-enchantecl is lhai rhe "t* of f.i"n,r.,.,,,,,.ur ri(.irr ii. Jrirvt,cr;nlc t<.r fo"n on."ll;fi. "None of drem havr eno.rrgh they rnoney believe attd irr s< serves. the... lirt.._,urc; rir.y s"ri"t,"*;lil"rl;:.r:ffi fffijt] "There is Howarci riewspaper. Eu*ryon.'',-lnt* 1-'oo r,-,gr,l,lg;,i;;i;",#il:ff reporter *fl [*:"i:fffi?hliil"*l' ous sage ofthe courtyard. "There is Bart, a * ttr. *no"*,;;",';/"t'"g "; as the rvise and humor- violini'st clearl' destjncd for virl uosiry on t "'l#il*t,iffi': :'ffi {";;l,t"t#;' ;::** :' oay grace the fine.st o 4".i.- g";;ffi;":tden's in. Amerjca' ona *i or"'ril'; ;';: r'._.i''", ;;Xfi;; ror members of the.,ircle. that, introducing other characters, and toward I Oh,.foseph, I'm, So'fi.rerL / 45 tl'r, end she got around to the children. She descr:ibed rny sister as "a l;rrrlg.', drearny tomboy," which was odd-i had rrever thought of Edith tlrirt way-61rd she called rne "a sad-".:yed, seven-year-old philosowhich was rvholly baffling. When the introduction was over she 1rlrcr," l,rursed a few seconds fcrr: dramatic eff'ect and then went into the,,pening episode o{ the series, or r.r'hat I suppose would lre called the pilot." I cmrldn't follow the story very well-it seemed to tre mostly an ('xcuse for bringing each character rrp t<; the microphone for a f'ew lines apiece-and before iong I was llstening only to see if there would be any iines for the character based on me. And there were, in rr way. She announced my namo-"billy"--hut then instead of speaking she put her mouth through a terrible series of contortions. accompanied by lunny little trursts of sound, and by the time the words came out I didn't care what they were. It was true that I stuttered badly-i wouldn't get over it for five or six more years-but I hadn't expected anyone to put it on the radio. "Oh, Sloane, that's marvelous," rny mcither said when the reading was over. "Thats really exciting"" And Sloane was carefully stacking her typed pages in the way she'd probably been taught to do in secretarial school, blushing and smiling with pride, 'Well," she said, "it probably needs work, but I do think it'.s got a lot of potential." "It's per{'ect," my mother said. '"Just the 'vay it is." Sloane mailed tlie script to a raciio producer and he mailed lt back with a letter typed by sorne radio secretarli explaining that her material had too Iimited an appeal to be commerr:ial. The radio pubiic was not yet ready, he said, for a story of Greenwich Village life. T'hen it was March. The new President promised that the only thing we had to fear was fear itseil, and soon after that his head came packed in wood and excelsior from Mr. Nicholson's {bundry. It was a fairly good likeness. She had caught the famous lift of the chin-it might rrot have looked likel him at all if she hadn't*-and everyone told her it was fine. What nobody said was that her original plan had been right, and Mr. Nicholson shouldn't have interfered: it was too small. It didn't look heroic. If you could have hollowed it out and put a slot in the top, it might have rrade a serviceable bank for loose change. The fbundry had burnished the lead until it shone almost silver in

11 tg6 / the highlights, and they'd mounted it on a sturdy little base 'l'lrt,ur,!. black plastic. They had sent back three copies, one for tho Wlrits House presentation, one to keep for exhibition purposes, {' extra one, But the extra one soon toppled to the floor and was'rrrr rrrully damaged-the nose mashed almost into the chin-and my rrr.rlrr,r might have burst into tears if Howard whitma'hadn't -"d"'"r"ry,,,,n laugh by sayrng it was now a good portrait of Vice president Ga.,rr,,t charlie Hines, Howard's old friend {iom the posf rvho was now * minor member of the white House staff, nrade an appointrne't rir. my mother with the President late on a weekday morning. slrrr arranged for sloane to spend the night wrth Edith and me; thin s1,,, took-an erlening train down to Washington, carrying the sculpture in lr cardboard box, and stayed at one of the less expensive Washingtorr hotels. In the morning she r'et charlie Hines in some crowded whit. House anteroom, where I guess they disposed of the cardboard box, and he took her to the waiting room outside the oval office. He sal with her as she held the naked head in her lap, and when their turn came he escorted her in to the president's desk for the presentation. ft didri't take iong. There were no reporters and no photjgraphers. Afterwards charlie Hines took her out to lunch, probulty b""u.rr" he'd promised Howard whitman to do so" I imagine it wasn't a fir"stclass restaurarnt, rnore likely some bustling, no-nonr*nr" piace {'avored by the wor*ing press, and I imagine they had trouble conver_ -"Lirrg sation until they settled on Howard, and on what a shanie it was that he was still out tiiwork.. Ah, JosePh, I'm Sa The Collected Stories of Richardyates "No, but do you k'ow Howard's friencl Bart Kampenp" Chariie asked. "The )'oung DutchmanP The violinistp,, "Yes, certainiy," she said. '"I know Bart.', "Weli, Jesus, there's one story witli a happy ending, rightp FJave you heard about that? Last tinre I saw Bart he saicl, "Ciiarlie, the Depressiorrs over for nie.'and he tolcl me he'd found sorne n<,h. dumb, crazy woman who's paying him to tutor her kids.,' I can pict*re how she iooked riding the iong, slow train back to New York that afternoon. she must have sat staring straight ahead.r out the dirtv window, seeing nothing, her eyes round and lter face held in a soit shape of hurt. I{er ajventure with Franklin D. Roo_ sevelt had come to nothing. There would be no photographs or inter_ views or feature articles, no thrilling moments or coverage; strangers would never know of h<lw she,d come "*."rr""t from a small Oilio i., 1,, rr 'l' [it.rr,v Tirad / 47 brave' dtfficult' she'd nurtured her talent through t]re brought her to the attentitn of the..,,, \\'i'rirrrl journey that had.,,,l,l l(wtsn't{air. ra'ith Eric \ll slr,rr lroci to iook forward to now was her rontance it was tl-rat then even knowrr have r, lrrlsort, nnri I think stre may next fall' I,lt, r rrrg--his final deser-tion come tlie 'ilrt.r,r,asfbrty-one,anagewhenen'enrornarlticsrnustadudtthat for the years b-ut a studio.,,, rllr is gon", urtrl she had iothing tc) show would buy' Slre,,,,'',r1,r(l witlr green flaster stat"*es that nohody was rio reason to supp<lse the 1,,'l,r'v'ccl in the aristoc''acy' b' rt there.rrr:;trx:rar) vzoulri ever believe in her' Charlie l{ines had sairl about A,od eoery time she thought of wha! humiliation tt,rlt Kan'rpen--oh, how haieful; oh' how liate{u1---tire rh$hrn to the ciatter of the,,rrro Lr*ck in.,rrave on wave, ilr mer*iless lr,titt. thougtr 1tlir-o{f'w*s She made a Lrrave show of her homecoming' rne' Sloane had fed us' greet her but Sloane and Edith ancl tlrr:re to in the oven' Helen"' hut rny,,rrd she saicl, '"'l'here's a plate tbr you insteacl' She was then at the rrrtrther said she'rl rather ir-nst have aclrink she rvould ultirnately lcse; it,rrrset of a iong battle #th alcchoi that to decicle on a drink instead of rrurst have seeniecl t,ooi"g that night trip ta \A'/ashington' managing rlinner. Tkren she t'lcl us "Ill atr,o*rt;' her talked of trlow thrilling it was to be to rnake it sound like a success' She small' courte;;llt insirle the White House; she repeatetl u'hatever trad said to her on receiving ous thing it was that Presi'ient Roosevelt Lrack sorrvenirs: a trandiul eif note-size tl.,e heai. Ancl she had brought -ndith, arrtl a weli-us1d, trlar pipe for rne" White Flnuse stationery ft>' man smokthat shef seen a very disiinguisherljooking St*, when his Office; ""pf-i""d roorn outside the Ovai G # pipe in the waiting out qrrickly inlo-an ashtray arrd Ieit narne was called he tracl i.nick"d it iintil she was sure no one It ttt*r" as he hurrierl insicle' She had'riaited the ashtray and put it in fooktr.gr then she'd taken tlie pipe from 118""u",* I knew l''" tt-'**lti1""u beerr sornebody important"' ho, prrrr"" member of the Cabinet' or stl.,'r*ia" "tle cor'rid easily have been a have a iot of fun with it'" sornething like that. a'n1**y, I thougfit 1'ou'd 'ir*uy,o holi io niy teeth ancl it tasted terrible Eut I didn,t. It *as too must what the 11n when I sucked on it; besides, X kept wonder:ing found it f,"* ttt-rgftt when he caure out ofihe President's office and r,o-o, rtolle.

12 tgg I lhrcollected Stories of Richardyates Sloaneilenthome afterawhile, and my mother sat drinking alone at the dining+oom table. I think she hoped Howard Whitian or sorne of her other friends might drop in, but nobody did. It was almost oubedtime when she looked up and said,..editl? Run out in the gardenandsee if you can ffnd Bart." He hadrecently bought a pair of bright tan shoes with crepe soles. Lu* thorrrhoes trip rapidly down the dark brick steps beyond the Mndo*r_hr reemed scarcely to touch each step in his buoyancy_ and then l5awhim come. smiling into the studio, wjth Edith closi.rg the doorbehindhim, "Helenl" a he said, "You're backl" She acknowledged that she was back. Then she got up from the table and 51ewly advanced on him, and Edith and I f,egan to realize we were 1{orsomething bad,..bart,,, 5lp said, "I had lunch with Charlie Hines in Washington today." -ohp",and we had a very interesting talk. He seems to know you very well," "Oh, notrealll; we've met a few times at Howard,s, but we,re not really--"..and he eid you'd told him the Depression was over for you because you'd found some rich, dumb, cra4y woman who was pafng you to tuiorllerhds. Don't interrupt me." But Bart dearly had no intention of interrupting her. He was back_ ing away frorll_ ie1 in his soundless shoes, retreating past one stiff g.""n g".d.n child after another, His face looked startied and pink...i'm not adch woman, Bart," she said, bearing down on trim. -end Olt,Jott'1fi' I'rrr 3r' llra*l I l9g Thestudiowasquietafterthat.Withorrtslxlttltlltg.lrr.rrlrllrtg.eel t "th;;; "y"t, natn and r got into our pajamas atttl lrrln lrerl llrr! ii wasn't more than u f"* *i""t"s before the house begutr ln'tlttg'wltlt our mother's raging uoi"u uff over again' as if Bart had sonrelrow lrcett Ut""gniU""f. it"d" to take his punishment twice' '. ^id.. And I said'noria of*y fti""as are ]ews' or ever wrll!-e', ' "' She was on the t"l""pht;; li"ing Sloane.Cabot the highlights of the scene, and it was itt"t-ir"-a""e yotfd take her side and comfort her. Sloane might know how the Virgin Mary felt^on the'way to "ii"t Bethlehem, but she "ilk;"* how to plaj' mv stutter for laughs' In a case like this she *""i4'q"i"lfy where'her allegiance l1f' and 'ee it wouldn't cost her -;;i" drop Bart Kampen from her enchanted circle, When the telephone call came to an end at last there was silence with the ice pick in the icebox: downstairs until we ;;;;;"rking,t *u, making herself another drink' " There would be no more school in our room' We would probably never see Bart again-or if we ever did' he would prolably'not"w1t to see us. But our mother was ours; we were hers; and we lived with that knowledg" ^ *"i"i ii*"i"g'f"t the faint' faint sound of rnillions. I'm not dunb And I'm not cra4y. And I can recognize ingratitude and disloyalty andsheer, rotten viciousness and Lies when theyre thrown in my face." My sisternrrd.i were halfivay up the stairs, jostling each other in our need to hide before the worst part came. The worst part of these things always cane at the end, after she'd lost all control lnd gone on shouting anpva/' "I want you to get out of my house, Bart," she said...and I don,t ever want t0 sse you again. And I want to tell you something. All my life I've hatedpeople whg say'some of my best friends "i" 1".r.' Because none of my friends are Jews, or ever will be. Do you,r.rd".- stand me? ilo 11s of my friends are Jews, or ever will be.,,

13 Ian A. Peterkin Jr. Words: Glendale Avenue Bridgeport, CT SAMO LIVES Darren rode into the city that morning wearing the same suit from the day before. He scratched at a crusted stain on his lapel, wondering whether it was blood or something he had eaten. He drifted off to sleep and was awoken by the conductor. He pulled out his monthly pass and the conductor walked on. That s when Darren noticed the words written on the back of the headrest in front of him: Do not mourn the dead, for they are already gone and await the living. There was no way this enlightened scribbling inside a Metro-North passenger car could be original. Was it a bereavement poem? He pulled out his smartphone and did a quick search. Nothing. His commute to the city was so routine, he could usually guess which cars would have regular commuters, which order they would all exit, and the conductors that were likely to be working. He rode in with Manhattan money-makers, a sea of mostly bald, and almost exclusively white men, all opening and closing their newspapers or playing with their tablet computers. You could tell a little bit about each guy by what he read. Financial Times of London? Well, that s a guy who s probably at a fund that invests heavily overseas and he may have a predilection for escorts. Wall Street Journal? A stripper-

14 2 fucker. The New York Times? He s the guy with a manicured catamite in Chelsea. Darren made his way through Grand Central and ran downstairs to catch the 4. He looked at the other human cattle all rubbing each other raw a ball-peen hammer would have been welcome. He never did understand why so many people loved living in New York City. Darren had spent two years living there and had seen his fair share of crazy shit, but that s not the reason he left. It was the smells; there was always something feculent in the air. The noxious fumes coming through sidewalk grates, the faint aroma of piss that hovered over everything, and the smell of trash in the summer--it all made him want to throw up. So, he did what most New Yorkers do when fed up with city life. He fled to the suburbs. To be more specific, he moved to an over-priced one-bedroom condo in Fairfield. He relished the quiet in Connecticut and the fact that it had trees. New York City lacks both. Darren still thought about the modern-day Epicurus when he got off at Fulton Street. He stopped at a coffee shop and hoped caffeine would be enough to get him through the day. Why didn t the scribbler at least write his name? Darren imagined the author would want recognition. People write so that others will remember them; it s their shot at immortality. Anything else? the barista said. What? Anything else? A sandwich or something? No. It was Friday and Darren found it hard to remember when he last slept. He was pretty sure it had been on Wednesday, but it could have easily been Tuesday. The last time he hadn t slept in three days, he kept having this persistent feeling that people

15 3 could read his mind. He talked to his therapist about that and the thing that was troubling him even more. Hey, I ve been experiencing uh, like this is gonna sound crazy, but this sensation it s like there are invisible bugs crawling on my skin, he said. She looked at him for a few moments and then put her pen down. How long has that been going on? It s a fairly recent development. Formication, it s called formication. What? You mean like fucking? He said and thought he must be hearing shit as well. What does that have to do with anything? No, formication. With an m, it s fairly common for people who use a lot of cocaine or methamphetamines. You re experiencing tactile hallucinations. He sat back in the chair and said, Oh. ***** Darren hated sales meetings almost as much as his job. The bank would bring in the same kind of people to deliver pep talks to financial advisors. This meeting was no different. An ersatz human in his forties with a $200 haircut, custom suit, Acutane-perfect skin, and effulgent veneers was giving the rah-rah. Darren observed all the other people in the room and their rapt attention to the speaker. Darren noticed the guy seated next to him was staring in his direction. Hey, he said, motioning back and forth under his nose with his curled index. You re bleeding. After the meeting was over, Darren made his way to mid-town. He had plans to meet with Meredith late in the afternoon. She wanted to go to MOMA. She had friends that were artists and she

16 4 often dragged him along to new exhibits. Darren didn t understand the art crowd, but he tolerated them for Meredith s sake. Darren had met Meredith the year before. He was in the Upper East Side apartment of someone he didn t know. That s when he saw her; she was in a diaphanous shirt with no bra. She slowly ground her teeth from side to side and nodded her head, while a guy with a glass in hand spoke as much with his free hand as his lips. Darren looked at the muscles of Meredith s jaw and how they tensed. He overheard her say, It s hot in here. The gesticulator excused himself and went to the bathroom. Darren saw his opportunity and took it. He walked up to Meredith and from up close he could see her dilated pupils and the dewy sweat on her forehead. You look bored, he said. ***** I really like this one, Meredith said, the message is a bit overt, but I like it. Darren looked at the sculpture of a face with a Coca-Cola bottle shoved down its gullet and then said, Is it supposed to be some kind of phallic thing? She turned to him and the skin between her eyebrows crinkled. Darren observed this change in her facial features and knew from previous experience what would follow. You think it s a dick joke? Come on Meredith, I mean look at it. It s about corporate greed and how people are forced into this this system of passive consumption. And then for emphasis, she waved her hands above her head. Oh, is that what it s about Mrs. Marx? Why do you have to do this?

17 5 Do what? Be such an asshole. Next they sat in a room where a projector played a continual loop of a time-lapsed recording of a dead beagle decomposing. Darren could not stop looking at the dog s eyes. He imagined that the dog had been someone s pet; that it had once run around some yard. He turned to Meredith and recounted what he had seen written on the Metro-North seat. What do you make of that? I don t know. Sounds sad. Actually, it reminds me of Jean-Michel Basquiat, she said without taking her eyes off the screen. Who? He was an artist. Before he became a huge star, he used to go around downtown and tag buildings with his observations about life. And then he d sign Samo Lives underneath. I m surprised you never heard of him. Why? Because he was black. What s that supposed to mean? That means I should be an expert? No, nevermind. I don t want to fight you Darren. Let s leave; I can tell you don t want to be here. ***** The bar was only a few blocks from where she lived. He was on his fourth shot. Meredith absentmindedly stirred her cosmopolitan. She reached across the table and touched his hand. Why don t you talk to me? Do you have any coke back at your place?

18 6 Darren, I m serious. You didn t talk at all at her funeral. What s to say? She s gone. He raised his hand and nodded at the bartender. Two more shots and a beer. He got up. Then he walked past a group of people that had just come in. He went into the bathroom and took a look at himself in the mirror. He thought about his mother when she was in the hospital dying of cancer. He closed his eyes. He took out a small baggie of cocaine. He held up the bag and the mother-of-pearl color of its contents shined under the bathroom light. He used one of his keys to scoop out what was left. He sniffed. He loosened his tie; then he took it off altogether. He unbuttoned his shirt at the collar. When he returned to the bar, he rubbed Meredith s back. I just thought about something while I was in the bathroom. What? I think back in World War II there was a guy that wrote Kilroy was here. He was probably some G.I. who had seen all sorts of horrors and didn t want his time here, his existence, to go unrecorded. She gave him a wan smile. Can we go to my place? she said. ***** When they congressed, something had changed. Darren felt it and he thought he could see it in her eyes too. Meredith got out of the bed and picked up the mirror. She took a straw and sniffed two lines; then she passed it to Darren. He sniffed. My heart s fucking racing, he said.

19 7 Mine too. She lay next to him, placing her hand over his chest. Are you staying tonight? No, I m going to take the last train back to Connecticut. Do you love me? He turned to look at her. Her eyes were red around the lids and her nostrils too. He said nothing. She turned her back to him and quietly sobbed. ***** This time the train was filled with late night party-goers, having had their fun, they were on their way back to the suburbs. They were all speaking loudly and a few were slurring their words. A family walked through the car on their way to the next, in search of empty passenger seats. Darren watched the mother and father; they both looked to be in their fifties. The son was college-aged. Darren thought about his own mother and the look in her eyes when she died. When the light went out of them, Darren knew that there would be nothing after this world.

20 8 Nine Minutes by Brian Thiem Absolutely nothing, the Colonel replied when I stepped into the kitchen and asked what I could do to help. The asparagus, drizzled with olive oil, and a lemon and soy marinated chicken breast were already on the grill, and he was rubbing kosher salt into three thick rib eyes. When he retired from the army five years ago, he told me to call him by his first name, but after that year in Iraq, I could never think of him as anything but The Colonel or Sir. When I had phoned him this morning, I was in a mental quagmire. Without hesitation, he invited my wife, Beth, and I to dinner and an overnight stay at his house. Although I was a New Yorker, born and bred, I loved the beauty and solitude of the Colonel s country estate in Connecticut. The Colonel flipped the steaks on the stoneware platter and salted the other side, as I peeked into the heavy pot simmering on the stove. Steam and the aroma of butter and garlic escaped when I lifted the lid. Cathy s wild rice recipe, he said without looking up. How are you and Beth doing? When I phoned, I hadn t told him what the problem was, only that I needed to talk. He was digging. We re great. Ashlee starts college this September and we re actually looking forward to a house with no kids. He stared at me, waiting for me to say more. When I didn t, he picked up the platter and announced, To the grill. He led the way onto the screened porch where Beth and his wife were sitting around a glass-topped table sipping ice tea. Although two years younger than her fifty-year-old husband, Cathy could pass for thirty-something. She flipped her blond hair back and rose. My eyes were drawn to her long tanned legs. I quickly looked away, reminding myself that not only was she

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