--- D A V E K O C H
There were wooden-slot Adirondack chairs everywhere, big unpainted chairs pointed out to the lake. We'd write on
them with laundry markers: big black lines of this pair of initials plus this one.
In the middle of the night, first you hear crickets and then it gets later and they stop. You hear owls too and they stop. It's like someone let off a bomb.
Ginny Adler ran to the ice cream truck as a kid; she'd run out of her house, barefoot, the door left wide.
Fucker. Asshole. Dickweed. Cocksucker. Goy-hole. Those are a few of the names I called him behind his back. Those are the easy ones to remember.
This is how I get to sleep, lately. I close my eyes and picture myself on a raft with Huck Finn and Young Jim; we're
poling the raft upstream, against the current. Young Jim isn't the slave from the book, he's this greasy-haired
white kid from my high school biology class who's so skinny you wouldn't believe.
On talk radio in Ohio, there's a call-in show about fireworks. Middle-aged men call in and relate their experiences
blowing things up; it's on for three hours a day.
Here's the thing about the truck rental place. They spray it with something that makes it smell new. The carpet's
worn down near the doorway, but it smells like grand opening was day before yesterday.
There's a boy and there's a girl and they're talking to each other, say, in the field outside the dining hall on
Casino Night. Inside, a twelve-year-old Jewish boy is mastering craps, amassing points for his bunk, thinking his
bunk has a fairly good shot at winning the trip to the ice cream place/batting cage/miniature golf because of him.
Because of his newfound skill at a game of chance with a name that makes him feel older. (Elsewhere,
twelve-year-olds have sex in the back seat of cars. The metallic cigarette tray, tiny and rectangular and recessed
into the door, is overflowing.)
Peppermint soap tastes the way York Patties taste in hell.
There are so many stories about so many people. Did you hear the one about the kid who set his hand on fire trying to do some magic trick? Covered his had in lighter fluid, lit the match. He ran around screaming and split out the door and stuck his hand in the lake. He was gauze-bandaged half way up his forearm for the rest of the summer.
When this is a book, I hope a fifteen-year-old carries it with him to school in secret and thinks about it while trying to look up pretty girls' skirts. When he gets home, the first girl he's ever kissed will call him long distance and say she's finally found a boyfriend who likes to dance, too.
One time Ginny Adler put her head down on a dining hall table and just started crying and I went over to her and
asked if she was all right, was there anything I could do. She picked her head up and mouthed the words thank
you as she shook her head slowly meaning no.
They bathed in the lake. They used peppermint soap shipped by their mothers in Long Island. Or Baltimore. Special
biodegradable soap they made their mothers seek out in natural food stores. They did that for us, didn't they? God
knows they tried.
At the break-fast, at sundown, they ate bagels they sent someone down to New York in a van to pick up. Howard ate
his with lox, Ryan ate his with butter, Donny ate his with cream cheese, Max ate his plain, he picked the bread out
of the bagel's crusty exterior and rolled it to a dough-ball in his hands, Benny ate lots of coleslaw, Noah said he
wanted a hamburger, Andy went to all the different tables looking for an onion bagel, found an onion, sat down
dejected, Allen tilted back his head and poured three-fourths of the sugar in one of those glass containers down his
throat, Billy ate surplus individual serving size cereal, little cardboard boxes we said they picked them up from
Arabs on the side of the highway, Daniel ate powdered chocolate Quick, dry, I ate everything, including all the
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published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |