The year was 1986. I was traveling through the American South with a spaniel I had picked up along the way who answered to the name "Kenneth".
My goal was to reach Little Rock, Arkansas in order to see the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. Unfortunately, I had committed a great error and had greatly misjudged, as he would not even be elected for another six years.
While the spaniel who responded to the name "Kenneth" almost certainly knew that I was too early, he remained mute. In all the many weeks we spent together, he only...
The clocks and the teddy bears I could understand, but the fruit really threw me for a loop. If you'll pardon the... well, actually, don't worry about the pardon. The time for pardons has passed. Yes?
I would have thought there'd been more books, but I guess I should be thankful there was one at all. One book, two shoes. That's a bit mortifying, really, but it's only fair. One couldn't get very far with just one shoe. I mean, I couldn't. Then again, I never got very far with just one book.
And seeing Her again after all this...
It never quite made sense to me, but maybe it's not supposed to. Here, my heels. There, my toes. One to the other and one to the next, and this is called walking. And this way it's called dancing. And this way it's called running.
And stand right here and feel the water, cold and cold and cold and squirming I reemerge, my breath barely able to contain my laugh.
And here are stockings, they go on like this, bunched and then stretched until the legs are consumed. "Oh no, it's up to my toe," I'd sing, remembering. "Oh, gee,...
"But why are there cracks?"
"Each of them is a single stone."
"Where do the stones come from?"
"Stones are made by the Earth. These stones..."
"Why does the Earth make stones?"
"Time and pressure."
"Not how. Why?"
"I don't know. But these stones are shaped by people."
"To pave the road."
"So we can walk on it."
"That stone is broken."
"It will be replaced."
"They have more stones?"
"They will make more."
"What if they don't?"
"What if they don't what?"
"What if they don't make more?"
"They will make more."
Did you hear what happened to Ol' Morlane? Word got around, I mean, I heard it from Skeets who heard it from Fuller but I checked around with some other people and they all heard the same so it's true I guess. You didn't hear this? I mean, I don't know where you been you didn't hear this. Once Skeets told me I musta heard it nine-ten-twenty times in the past few or four days. You been out somewhere? Somewhere secret? Rustlin' up something good for the rest of us? Don't worry about it. Anyway, before you go in there...
"what is it," he asked, "With people today?"
"Well, that's a fairly broad question, isn't it? There couldn't possibly be a sufficient answer," I started to say. I got as far as "We..." before he started back in again.
"No no no no no." The volume doubled. "NO NO NO NO NO NO!"
"No what, dude?" I tried to sip, but my glass was empty. Worst service ever. If I could just catch the eye of the damn
"NO!" He grabbed my arm. "Don't be this, like, moral relativist. Some things are better than others, and people used to read...
Chaz and Elinor tear-ass through the forest, hands raised ineffectually above heads, sodden shoes slapping on undergrowth, alternately laughing and yelling "Ow. Ow. Ow!"
The hailstorm pelts them from above, chunks of ice the size of large coins, not nickle-and-dimeing today but quartering and Susan B. Anthonying. Chaz gets a Kennedy fiftycent piece to the top of the skull and takes a header, facefirst into the soggy pine needles below.
"I think that one actually trepanned me," he shouts.
"What? Get up!" Elinor hauls him to his feet and they keep running.
The tent, they're sure, is just over this...