8



it it's going to explode. The alarm rings he wakes up turns
it off picks up the phone dials YO 7-7310.
	Hello.
	Hello is this information.
	For what phase.
	Eight.
	Eight you're it they hang up Harrold replaces the
receiver.


	He sticks his finger into a hump on the other side of
the bed. Pack up. We're moving he says.
	She opens her eyes blinks. Again. Why.
	Why because we're moving. Why.
	Who was that on the phone says Trixie.
	That was the Governor. I'm it. Come on start packing.
We just moved says Trixie. And we just moved before
that. And before that and before that.


	Get dressed says Harrold. Start packing. I'm it.	
	You never fuck me any more says Trixie.
	I never fuck you says Harrold. I never fuck you you
never want to.
	I never want to you never ask me.
	You never look like you want me to ask you.
	I don't look like I want you to ask me because you don't
want to ask me.


	I don't think I should have to ask you. Why should I
have to kiss your ass. For a piece of ass?
	So I'm just a piece of ass is that it.
	Yeah you're just a piece of ass. Fuck you.
	Fuck you. Find somebody else.
	That's exactly what I intend to do.
	You find somebody else I'll cut your prick off.
	I'll beat your ass so black and blue nobody'll look at it.


You'll have to beg for cock in the streets.
	You'd like that.
	I can't stand this I'm splitting.
 	Good go ahead says Trixie.
	First we have to move. Get dressed.
	What do we do with all our stuff.
	Put it in the cartons.
	It doesn't fit in the cartons.


	Leave it here.
	Not my stuff says Trixie.
	Throw it in the U-Haul says Harrold.
	Cover me while I go downstairs says Trixie. He opens
the door steps into the hall flattens himself against the wall
the bulb is out on the landing go on he says I'm watching.
She runs for it down the stairs past the plasterpeeled walls
around large cracks in the floor past the sign that says this


hall is a bomb shelter to the super's apartment she knocks
at the door.
	Who.
	Trixie quick.
	The door opens a crack then wider. I can't let anybody
in here you know that shid they take everything you got
says Jojo.
	Jojo can you help take our things down to the U-Haul.


	Whatsa matter you movin.
	No we're just taking our things down to the U-Haul.
	Shid man you smart man they take everything you got
man. You know that man up in 4A they even take his bed
they clean him out. An he's a junkie too man you know what
him and his friends done man they steal all the copper
pipes in the place next store then they go down and take
all the brass fittings off the furnace so they ain't got no


heat or hot water in the whole building man somebody
oughta call the cops on that guy.
	Did you.
	Nah he's a friend a mine come on in for a beer.
	I can't Harrold is upstairs we've got to get the things
down.
	I say come on in for a beer split a joint you got time
what the hell. He your boyfriend.


	I can't he's waiting we have to move the things.
	Okay look what I'll do I watch the U-Haul you don't
have to worry about it okay.
	Trixie and Harrold start moving the stuff down. When
Trixie goes down the stairs Harrold covers her when Harrold
goes down the stairs Trixie covers him Jojo takes the
stuff from the stoop to the U-Haul they work hard and
steady then Harrold comes down to lock the UHaul.
 

	Hey somebody rob your U-Haul says Jojo.
	What do you mean.
	There's nothin in there man them guys are smart I don
know how they done it I was watchin alla time.
	Where's Trixie I thought she was down here.
	She your girlfriend man she's a terrific piece of ass.
	Where is she is she in your place.
	She ain't in my place come on back an take a look they


go back to Jojo's apartment.
	See what I mean I tell you man.
	Where is she.
	Don ask me she ainšt my girlfriend. I bet she's a terrific
lay.
	Don't get smart let's check the street they go back
outside the U-Haul is gone. So is the car hauling it. What the
fuck says Harrold.


	Maybe the girl took it says Jojo she can't drive says
Harrold.
	Maybe she found a driver what a you care man them U-Haul
people got insurance.
	How am I going to move says Harrold.
	Where you movin to.
	Brooklyn.
	So it's simple you catch the BMT at Union Square now


you got nothin to carry you're all set.
	Harrold drifts down the sidewalk through the garbage
the dogturds to the corner. A bus stops Harrold gets on
drops the fare sits down starts crying. Tears roll down his
cheeks sobs tear up from his belly his trunk jerks back and
forth his head bobs up and down he sounds like he's going
to sneeze. The man next to him gets up moves to another
seat. Hic hic hic says Harold hic hic hic he can't stop


near-by passengers get up change their seats muh muh muh says
Harrold his nose drips his face red and twisted his voice
wavers m-u-u-h m-u-u-h m-u-u-u-u-h. M-U-U-H he howls
M-U-U-H M-U-U-U-U-H. Passengers ring for a stop the
bus stops only at bus stops says the driver AAAAAA
screams Harrold AAAAAAAAAAAA AA AAAA AAAA
AAAAAAAA the driver stops the bus I think we got a nut
here he says into his radio. A fat old lady gets up waddles


down the aisle sits next to Harrold. She rummages through
her shopping bag takes out a kleenex here she says wipe
your nose.
 	Hic hic hic says Harold.
	Yes that's right says the old lady here wipe your nose.
	Hic hic hic I don't want to gasps Harrold the old lady
grabs his nose with the kleenex blow she says he takes the
kleenex wipes his nose. Let's see your hand says the old


lady she looks like a fat peanut no your palm she says she
holds his hand in her smaller chubbier hand. Psychic or
visionary she says.
	What.
	That's the pointed type avoid schedules but watch out
for indigestion let's see. You have a well-developed middle
finger good heart line you like the opposite sex look at that
mount of venus. Avoid premature ejaculation. You have a


roving restless disposition and have suffered many
disappointments beware of head wounds and encourage mental
developments wait a minute. Let's get a closer look at that
line of destiny. Oh. She closes his hand and gives it back
to him. You have a prominent plain of mars that's hope. Put
your faith in that you're going to need it.
	But what about the line of destiny.
	I have to get off here she rings the buzzer.


	But what about the line of destiny.
	I have to go now here's my card she gives him a card.
Cultivate the unexpected it's your only chance she gets up.
	But wait.
	I have to go now.
	Wait.
	Hope for surprises welcome the unknown. Remember.
	But the line of destiny.


	When you have to go you have to go. She goes Harrold
looks at her card. It says this was no accident Ali Buba
fortune teller. He gets off at Union Square there's a locked
grate across the subway entrance he walks down the street
wave of horn blaring comes from somewhere up ahead sweeps
along triple line of stalled traffic peaks spends itself
behind in ragged diminuendo junkies rock back and forth
near buildings twisted in impossible postures winos dribble


into gutter seedy old men walk in and out of automat
muttering one ancient specimen shuffles along trunk bent
at ninety degree angle from waist beard grazing sidewalk
old lady picks through trash can from around corner a	
woman screams once twice long drawn out third two cops
in patrol car laugh with fat man leaning through their
window clumps of black schoolchildren in chartreuse pants
immense flat yellow peaked caps wander along street break
 

into aimless gallops merge turn go back the other way fire
engines howl up side street sound of breaking glass Harrold
has the feeling something unusual is going to happen he
steps into a nearby high school to get out of its way what
ever it is a tall thin black comes toward him waving a stick
Harrold runs up crosshatched metal steps walled by glass
covered chickenwire red metal bannisters ceiling bulbs in
wire cages comes out into long corridor three of them


behind necks pumping like galloping giraffes not so much
after Harrold as away from something else the alarm rings
he finds another stair runs down out on the street finds an
open entrance takes the Sea Beach Express changes to the
Graves End Local gets off at Avenue I come down the
metal steps of the El a dog lifts its head off the sidewalk
starts wagging its tail. A large mutt with spots and hanging
ears sounds a high pitched whine ending in a deep bark

	
starts to get up slips wags tail whines blats a rubbery fart
makes it up onto its front legs shoves its grey pink motheaten
muzzle into the air snuffs wags harder slowly
straightens up its back legs barks stretches wags farts limps
over presses its muzzle against my knee groans sighs it smells
awful I pat its head. The dog shakes its ears sneezes limps
off a few feet looks back barks wags walks arthritically
down Avenue I I follow past hedges and concrete stoops


after a block we turn left down East 2nd Street and the
smell of burning leaves stings my eyes past thick black-
brown timbers of scary coalyard gloomy sheds invisible
horse exhalations clop clop vague bronx cheers across dirt
road through hedge down grassy bank to curving railroad
grade of trunk line up high wide grassy shoulder looking
steeply down to main cut steam engine bursts out tunnel
down cut hooting puffing still have cowcatchers boxcars


flatcars boxcars flatcars boxcars boxcars boxcars man in
caboose waving pigeon lands on hightension wire blam-poof
explodes like cherry bomb out under El down Graves End
over railroad yard along trolley tracks. The dog whines
rubs its shoulder against my leg looks up at me what's
wrong old sport what can I do for you. It barks runs
lumbering along Gravesend barking out of deep caverns of
its dogness looking back going around in little circles.


	Terhune heel!
	It lumbers back rubs its shoulder against my legs whines
looks up at me I notice a note attached to its collar. I pull
it off it says meet me in the lot Arthur is it Artie is this a
meet my mind goes reeling down Gravesend under the calm
rumble of the El from way down the track so low you can
hardly hear it at first the slow rumble of the El so loud you
can hardly hear anything else down Gravesend toward the


vacant lot the calm rumble of the El I can hear even after
I stop hearing it way way down the track.
	I follow Terhune to the lot behind hedges fencing grape
arbors chickens pigeons rabbits of the backyards of the
neighborhood Terhune limps tailwagging through the
brown belthigh weeds through the deeper bushes rusting
cans shattered bottles broken bricks to the hideout. Where
in a bare spot in the highest weeds the thickest thickets


Artie stares unconsoled at the charred leavings of an old
campfire. Hi Artie.
	Don't call me Artie says Artie. You know that.
	It's your name isn't it.
	My name is Arthur.
	Then how come we always call you Artie.
	That's my nickname. My real name is Arthur. I was
named after an English king.


	Which one.
	Arthur.
	How come. 
	Because we came down from English kings. On my
father's side.
	Really. How do you know.
	My father told me.
	I don't believe it.


	Artie gets up. Are you going to call my father a liar.
My father's a mailman. He gives me a light push.
	Okay Arthur. I didn't know your father was a mailman.
	Damn right he is says Artie. He sits down and stares at
the cold charwood he does look a lot like royal blood
straight nose straight upper lip straight eyebrows pale
golden hair long pale face maybe there's a royal bastard
in his background I don't bring that up not with his father


a mailman. But how come you're Arthur today when
you're Artie the rest of the time.
	Because I ran away today.
	Again how come.
	Because I hate my father.
	How come.
	He's a bastard. I hate him.
	Gee Artie. Do you want me to bring you something to
 

eat.
	I'll make out there's a message for you.
	Where.
	Under the rock. 
	I stick my hand under the rock and pull out a piece of
crumpled yellow paper. The writing on it looks like it was
done by a small child or someone in a tremendous hurry
or someone with his hands tied behind his back holding


the pencil in his teeth. It says celebrate inhaled student
cards. Includes cabbie's birthday. Or maybe celibate male
stud in trouble. Elude scabs Thursday. Or maybe calibrate
mail studies up tight. Need crabs thirsty.
	Who's it from I ask.
	Ontday onay says Artie.
	What.
	Ontday Onay. Oundfay erethay.


	Did you find it.
	Ixnay.
	I fold the note up and put it in my pocket Artie gets up.
Come on he says.
	Where.
	They're getting up a stickball game.
	We head over to Kent's. Kent is a serious person. He
always knows what we're going to do and how we're going


to do it. We always try to find out from Kent what to do.
The left side of my face starts twitching and my left eye
narrows to a slit a lot like Downwind in Smilin' Jack also
I start to limp. That's what Kent does and it really feels
right. We cut through a fence and limp into Kent's yard
Kent limps over carrying his roller skates you getting up a
stickball game says Artie.
	Who says says Kent we're going skating his face twiches.


	I don't have my skates I say.
	You can watch says Kent we limp out toward East
Second. Why skating Kent says Artie Kent frowns. His face
twitches twice as fast. His left eye goes on and off  like a
blinker light.
	Why skating says Kent. Why skating. Skating is a very
ancient sport. The first known instances of skating are
recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphs chiseled into the pharoahs'


tombs. They appear shortly after the invention of
the wheel some say before. However the sport seems to
have disappeared with the destruction of antiquity along
with so much else. Some Mohammedan scholars claim that
it was preserved in the Sufic tradition and certainly it has
much in common with the but en soi orientation of some
Sufic Masters as witness Jalaludin Rumi's paradigm of
which Rilke was so fond about the identity of wick with


flame. Let us not though overstate the case I merely wish
to make the distinction between a traditional and self-
contained activity like skating which requires no
justification and a game like stickball invented by ignorant
children in city streets and in any case derivative of more
adequate versions of ball and bat sports.
	As he walks his limp and his twitch start to join up so
that the left side of his body resembles an ongoing spastic


convulsion. I just screw up the left half of my face and leave
it there I can't keep up with that. Kent is a little older.
Maybe in a few years we'll be able to do it as well as him
though I doubt it.
	Between the burning of the library at Alexandria by
Heliogabulus and the Renaissance we draw a blank though
there are certain hints in Dante and then suddenly we find
a mechanical sketch of the skate reinvented or was it


merely rediscovered in Leonardo's notebooks. I am not
attempting to recreate history you understand but to
examine a tradition and its meaning. Is it mere coincidence
that skating reenters history at the peak of the Renaissance
I like to think not. Skating is too much the embodiment of
that Renaissance ideal of cultivated balance known as
sprezzatura for us to be dealing with mere historical
accident. Nor can we completely discount the possibility that


Leonardo was himself in touch with that secret international
cult of wisdom of poets statesmen beggars of Christian
Jew Mohammedan of natural nobility whose impact
on our civilization is so incalculable. The similarities
between the Italian ideal and the Sufic one speak for
themselves and we may even speculate that Leonardo was
himself a secret Master. Certainly some such tradition may
have existed then may in fact still exist I do not speak of


such derivative parodies as the Freemasons. Certainly such
men may still exist must exist Dixie Walker for instance.
What better summary of the teaching indeed than
Lawrence's motto I mean D.H. glad sure and indifferent.
Maybe we are all gifted with a secret wisdom we are unable
to utter. Maybe we need to speak with tongues.
	What does that mean Kent.
	I don't know says Kent. Kent sits down on the curb he
 

looks depressed.
	I thought we were going to go skating says Artie I can't
says Kent.
	Why not.
	I forgot my skate key.
	You want me to get it for you says Artie.
	Let's you and me go together Kent pulls himself up.
	What about him says Artie.


	He's Jewish they limp off together.
	Are you leaving me flat I say.
	Are you leaving me flat I yell.
	Artie looks over his shoulder yeah he says.
	Flat leavers I yell.
	Larry Lloyd and Lance come down the street walking
three abreast because they're brothers. Hi Larry I say.
Hi Lloyd. Hi Lance.


	Roosevelt or Wilkie says Larry.
	Roosevelt Larry belts me in the face.
	I get up holding my lip. Hey.
	Roosevelt or Wilkie says Lloyd.
	Roosevelt Lloyd belts me in the stomach. I get up
shaking my head hey come on.
	Lance is smaller than me. Roosevelt or Wilkie he says.
	Wilkie Larry and Lloyd grab my arms and Lance kicks


me in the balls I start crying.
	Crybaby they say they let me go and walk on down the
street I go over to the cut Big Bish is there. So are
Dominick Salvador and Vince so is dumb Gerard so is Murphy
the ball player so is Gino who was kicked out of school so
is Zip the nitwit so is Mickey the Armenian tough Tony
blond Tim who wears baby blue Herbie the klutz Teddy
the Greek Nick the Greek Nick the Wop O'Toole the


fireman's son Alvin the Polack who I beat up they're putting
out a grass fire. O'Toole tells everybody what to do
everybody does as he pleases Bish is pushing Tim around
for exercise and fun Gerard is cursing Tim is telling Bish
to cut it out Herbie and Nick are working hard Nick is
goofing off Zip lights matches and stares at them with his
buggy eyes and most everybody else is standing around.
	Come on says O'Toole head it off before it hits the


tracks.
	Who says says Tony.
	I say.
 	Who are you.
	It's my fire I started it says O'Toole.
	Something tells me to look down I bend over pick
a two dollar bill off the ground a brick floats through the
air where my head was hurtles into the grass Gerard five


feet behind me face red still in his followthrough.
	Why'd you do that I say Gerard shrugs I hit Gerard about
fifteen times in five seconds without knowing it mostly in
the stomach. Gerard is lying on the ground he's bigger than
me but he doesn't get up I open my fist I'm still holding
the two dollar bill.
	You're lucky says Bish. If I were you I'd check out
the Pontiff he loves lucky people take Lucky Luciano. Or


Louis Lepke Buchalter he's Jewish you know. Those guys live
in the neighborhood they talk about them in the barber
shop but not too much. Or too loud. I'd go over there
if I were you get a haircut who knows.
	I walk up out of the cut to the corner pull the fire alarm
and get the hell out of there. By a shortcut through an
alley behind the coalyard horse cloppings exhalations why
are we afraid to go in there. I bet Joe the barber knows


about it. He's old white hair skin the color of an old
tobacco pipe he speaks Italian most of the time. I bet he
knows a lot only I don't know what to ask him. He has a
very big head the only person who has a bigger one is my
dad and his is bigger than anyone's. I walk into the barber
shop.
	Watch you want sonny.
	Can I have a glass of water.


	Shoe says Joe. You get. Then you go home. I betch they
lookin for you.
	On East Second you can smell the burning leaves. It's
getting cold. The vegetable man keeps pulling his sweater
down over his wrists as he pushes his cart. Nanaw he yells.
Nanaw. Nanaw. He looks like bananas himself his nose is
a banana. He walks like he's made of bananas. I cross East
Second to 101 I on the corner. Terhune is waiting by the


door he starts to wag his tail I go in.
	Who's there.
	I'm looking for the Commander-in-Chief.
	Who wants him.
	The Crown Prince.
	What for.
	I have to ask him something.
	What.
 

	I don't know.
	He's busy you can't bring that dog in here he's just a
puppy.
	I found him he followed me.
	He belongs to somebody else he's not housebroken.
You're allergic to dogs.
	I'm not.
	Did you pull that fire alarm. Wait till your father comes


in. You're going right to bed you're sick you have a fever.
I told you not to go out were you in the cut again were you
playing with those kids. What do you want to ask your
father why don't you ask me.
	I can't. I look out the door for Terhune but he's run
away I can just see him way down the other end of East
Second I start crying.
	What is it now I don't know what I'm going to do with


you you're sick you're going to bed. In bed I can hear the
ladies in their high heels going by tic toc tic toc tic toc
way down the street. I can hear the coalman's wagon passing
the clop clop of his horse the flutter of its exhalations.
The slow clack and rumble of the El starts way off toward
Coney Island. It's a long time ago.
	Somebody's beating on the door with a gun butt he lies
still what


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