Alla inlägg den 11 maj 2011

Av lucyshanxu lucyshanxu - 11 maj 2011 08:16

Bless my very existence!" cried the eccentric man. "I was beginningto fear something had happened to you. I am glad that you are allright. I heard voices, and I imagined--" "It's all right," Mr. Swift reassured him. "There was a strangerabout my shop, and I never allow that. Do you feel well enough togo? If not we shall be glad to have you remain with us. We haveplenty of room." "Oh, thank you very much, but I must be going. I feel much better.Bless my gaiters, but I never will trust myself in even anautomobile again! I will renounce gasolene from now on." "That reminds me," spoke Tom. "I have the money for the motor-cycle,"and he drew out the bills. "You are sure you will not regret yourbargain, Mr. Damon? The machine is new, and needs only slightrepairs. Fifty dollars is--" "Tut, tut, young man! I feel as if I was getting the best of you.Bless my handkerchief! I hope you have no bad luck with it." "I'll try and be careful," promised Tom with a smile as he handedover the money. "I am going to gear it differently and put someimprovements on it. Then I will use it instead of my bicycle." "It would have to be very much improved before I trusted myself onit again," declared Mr. Damon. "Well, I appreciate what you havedone for me, and if at any time I can reciprocate the favor, I willonly be too glad to do so. Bless my soul, though, I hope I don'thave to rescue you from trying to climb a tree," and with a laugh,which showed that he had fully recovered from his mishap, he shookhands with father and son and left. "A very nice man, Tom," commented Mr. Swift. "Somewhat odd and outof the ordinary, but a very fine character, for all that." "That's what I say," added the son. "Now, dad, you'll see mescooting around the country on a motor-cycle. I've always wantedone, and now I have a bargain." "Do you think you can repair it?" "Of course, dad. I've done more difficult things than that. I'mgoing to take it apart now, and see what it needs." "Before you do that, Tom, I wish you would take a telegram to townfor me. I must wire my lawyers at once." "Dad looks worried," thought Tom as he wheeled the broken motor-cycleinto a machine shop, where he did most of his work. "Well, I don'tblame him. But we'll get the best of those scoundrels yet!"

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According to the National Fire Protection Association (, electrical cords and plugs are responsible for the most civilian deaths related to electrical accidents each year. Yet these are among the easiest hazards to avoid: Never use a cord or plug that shows evidence of burning, melting, or any other visible damage. If the insulation is damaged or missing, or the cord has come loose from the plug, replace the whole thing; never use a cord repaired with electrical tape. Extension cords (including power strips and surge protectors) are the biggest offenders in the cord category. Don’t use extension cords for permanent hookups or conceal them in any way (especially under carpeting). Don’t expose them to water or possible damage. Always use the right cord for the job; for example, use a three-prong grounded cord for all appliances and tools that require grounding. Also, make sure the cord’s capacity well exceeds the demand of what’s plugged into it; heavier-gauge cords can handle more current than lighter-gauge cords. Avoid using three-prong adapters to plug grounded cords into two-prong outlets (while theoretically possible, the chances of a true ground existing here are extremely slight). Fixtures and Appliances Misuse of lamps and light fixtures is another top cause of electrical accidents. As harmless as it seems, using a one-hundred-watt bulb in a sixty-watt fixture (for example) can melt the fixture wires, creating a shock and fire hazard. The same danger exists when plugging a cord into an adapter outlet that screws into a light bulb socket. As for appliances, don’t use any device that sparks, smokes, buzzes, emits a burning smell, or shows any cord damage. Unplug appliances before cleaning them. Never operate an appliance or any equipment while standing in water. House Wiring/Wiring Systems Fixed wiring is the second most common cause of electrical-related house fires. Potential problems with household wiring systems can range from overloaded circuits (and improperly rated or installed circuit breakers) to damaged wires to loose connections on switches, outlets, and other devices. Since most electrical wiring is behind the scenes—and beyond the realm of common knowledge—the best way to prevent a wiring-related electrical accident is to have your home inspected by a certified electrical inspector. This pro can look for all of the most common hazards and advise you about correcting problems and tell you how much the solutions might cost. Wet Areas GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) outlets are required in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, outdoors, and all other potentially wet areas in and around the home. If you don’t have these in your wet areas, have them installed as soon as possible (don’t worry, it doesn’t require rewiring). GFCIs protect against a variety of common electrical accidents, including shock or fire from an electrical current reaching water, faulty appliance, tool wiring, and other ground-fault hazards. With All Due Respect … As a general rule, the best approach to preventing electrical accidents is to treat this often underrated power source with respect. This means actually following the advice written in product manuals and on the little labels on cords, appliances, fixtures, and other devices. It also means purchasing and using only electrical products that are approved by an independent testing group, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or ETL-SEMCO (ETL). Never modify or tamper with electrical equipment, and don’t be lazy about repairing or replacing any old, outdated, or damaged devices, including all those feeble extension cords you’ve been using for years (you’re pushing your luck with those). That's the way to do it! Whoop her up, Andy! Shove the spark leverover, and turn on more gasolene! We'll make a record this trip." Two lads in the tonneau of a touring car, that was whirling along acountry road, leaned forward to speak to the one at the steeringwheel. The latter was a red-haired youth, with somewhat squintyeyes, and not a very pleasant face, but his companions seemed toregard him with much favor. Perhaps it was because they were ridingin his automobile. "Whoop her up, Andy!" added the lad on the seat beside the driver."This is immense!" "I rather thought you'd like it," remarked Andy Foger, as he turnedthe car to avoid a stone in the road. "I'll make things hum aroundShopton!" "You have made them hum already, Andy," commented the lad besidehim. "My ears are ringing. Wow! There goes my cap!" As the boy spoke, the breeze, created by the speed at which the carwas traveling, lifted off his cap, and sent it whirling to the rear. Andy Foger turned for an instant's glance behind. Then he opened thethrottle still wider, and exclaimed: "Let it go, Sam. We can get another. I want to see what time I canmake to Mansburg! I want to break a record, if I can." "Look out, or you'll break something else!" cried a lad on the rearseat. "There's a fellow on a bicycle just ahead of us. Take care,Andy!" "Let him look out for himself," retorted Foger, as he bent lowerover the steering wheel, for the car was now going at a terrificrate. The youth on the bicycle was riding slowly along, and did notsee the approaching automobile until it was nearly upon him. Then,with a mean grin, Andy Foger pressed the rubber bulb of the hornwith sudden energy, sending out a series of alarming blasts. "It's Tom Swift!" cried Sam Snedecker. "Look out, or you'll run himdown!" "Let him keep out of my way," retorted Andy savagely. The youth on the wheel, with a sudden spurt of speed, tried to crossthe highway. He did manage to do it, but by such a narrow marginthat in very terror Andy Foger shut off the power, jammed down thebrakes and steered to one side. So suddenly was he obliged to swerveover that the ponderous machine skidded and went into the ditch atthe side of the road, where it brought up, tilting to one side. Tom Swift, his face rather pale from his narrow escape, leaped fromhis bicycle, and stood regarding the automobile. As for theoccupants of that machine, from Andy Foger, the owner, to the threecronies who were riding with him, they all looked very muchastonished. "Are we--is it damaged any, Andy?" asked Sam Snedecker. "I hope not," growled Andy. "If my car's hurt it's Tom Swift'sfault!" He leaped from his seat and made a hurried inspection of themachine. He found nothing the matter, though it was more from goodluck than good management. Then Andy turned and looked savagely atTom Swift. The latter, standing his wheel up against the fence,walked forward. "What do you mean by getting in the way like that?" demanded Andywith a scowl. "Don't you see that you nearly upset me?" "Well, I like your nerve, Andy Foger!" cried Tom. "What do you meanby nearly running me down? Why didn't you sound your horn? Youautomobilists take too much for granted! You were going faster thanthe legal rate, anyhow!" "I was, eh?" sneered Andy. "Yes, you were, and you know it. I'm the one to make a kick, notyou. You came pretty near hitting me. Me getting in your way! Iguess I've got some rights on the road!" "Aw, go on!" growled Andy, for he could think of nothing else tosay. "Bicycles are a back number, anyhow." "It isn't so very long ago that you had one," retorted Tom. "Firstyou fellows know, you'll be pulled in for speeding." "I guess we had better go slower, Andy," advised Sam in a low voice."I don't want to be arrested." "Leave this to me," retorted Andy. "I'm running this tour. The nexttime you get in my way I'll run you down!" he threatened Tom. "Comeon, fellows, we're late now, and can't make a record run, all onaccount of him," and Andy got back into the car, followed by hiscronies, who had hurriedly alighted after their thrilling stop. "If you try anything like this again you'll wish you hadn't,"declared Tom, and he watched the automobile party ride off. "Oh, forget it!" snapped back Andy, and he laughed, his companionsjoining. Tom Swift said nothing in reply. Slowly he remounted his wheel androde off, but his thoughts toward Andy Foger were not very pleasantones. Andy was the son of a wealthy man of the town, and his goodfortune in the matter of money seemed to have spoiled him, for hewas a bully and a coward. Several times he and Tom Swift hadclashed, for Andy was overbearing. But this was the first time Andyhad shown such a vindictive spirit. "He thinks he can run over everything since he got his new auto,"commented Tom aloud as he rode on. "He'll have a smash-up some day,if he isn't careful. He's too fond of speeding. I wonder where heand his crowd are going?" Musing over his narrow escape Tom rode on, and was soon at his home,where he lived with his widowed father, Barton Swift, a wealthyinventor, and the latter's housekeeper, Mrs. Baggert. Approaching amachine shop, one of several built near his house by Mr. Swift, inwhich he conducted experiments and constructed apparatus. Tom wasmet by his parent. "What's the matter, Tom?" asked Mr. Swift. "You look as if somethinghad happened." "Something very nearly did," answered the youth, and related hisexperience on the road. "Humph," remarked the inventor; "your little pleasure-jaunt mighthave ended disastrously. I suppose Andy and his chums are off ontheir trip. I remember Mr. Foger speaking to me about it the otherday. He said Andy and some companions were going on a tour, to begone a week or more. Well, I'm glad it was no worse. But have youanything special to do, Tom?"

Av lucyshanxu lucyshanxu - 11 maj 2011 08:09

Working a 9 to 5 job and then adding in the time to commute, plus having kids means very little time for parents to do much of anything, especially in households where both parents work or in single parent homes. That means very few homecooked meals for many families during the work week, and instead a lot of processed foods, take-out, and fast food dining. As we all know, that’s not a very healthy diet, especially for growing children. So what’s a working parent to do? It is actually possible to make some homecooked meals for your family, even if you spend more time at work and on the road than you do at home. Before you head out for your weekly grocery store trip, think ahead for the next week of some meals you might like to have. I personally am not into meal planning very far in advance because it’s too rigid of a structure for my likings, but that does work out for a lot of people. If this sounds like something you might like, pull out a calendar or print one off your computer and start planning out what you want to make for meals each day. Then, add each ingredient you’ll need to your grocery list so you’ll remember to get everything when you’re at the store. If meal planning isn’t your thing, you can do like I do and plan for a variety of scenarios and buy foods that you could use to make one of several different meals. For example, chicken can be prepared in a multitude of ways. You can buy chicken breasts, as well as spaghetti, bread crumbs, marinara sauce for a chicken parmigiana meal. You could also buy some chicken broth, carrots, and celery in case you decide you might want to make chicken and dumplings instead of the chicken parmigiana. The benefit to planning ahead and making a grocery list is that when you get to the store, you’ll remember to get everything you need and are less likely to forget something. You’ll also avoid some impulse purchases if you have a plan of action and an idea of what you’d like to eat the following week.

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Before you head out for your weekly grocery store trip, think ahead for the next week of some meals you might like to have. I personally am not into meal planning very far in advance because it’s too rigid of a structure for my likings, but that does work out for a lot of people. If this sounds like something you might like, pull out a calendar or print one off your computer and start planning out what you want to make for meals each day. Then, add each ingredient you’ll need to your grocery list so you’ll remember to get everything when you’re at the store. If meal planning isn’t your thing, you can do like I do and plan for a variety of scenarios and buy foods that you could use to make one of several different meals. For example, chicken can be prepared in a multitude of ways. You can buy chicken breasts, as well as spaghetti, bread crumbs, marinara sauce for a chicken parmigiana meal. You could also buy some chicken broth, carrots, and celery in case you decide you might want to make chicken and dumplings instead of the chicken parmigiana. The benefit to planning ahead and making a grocery list is that when you get to the store, you’ll remember to get everything you need and are less likely to forget something. You’ll also avoid some impulse purchases if you have a plan of action and an idea of what you’d like to eat the following week. Pull up your favorite search engine (mine is Google) and type in “quick dinner recipes”. You’ll get a lot of results and a lot of different sites with many of the same recipes. Choose which ever site looks interesting to you, and start looking. If you find recipes that you like, bookmark them and/or print them out. 10 or so different recipes is usually enough variety for your standard “feed the family” meals. This is a part of the “Planning Ahead” process, and you can reference these prior to heading out to the grocery store. Look for ones that take 20 minutes or less to prepare, and an hour or less to cook. There are days you’ll come home, too tired to cook or not wanting to make the effort. Many times, this is when people get pizza or Chinese delivered. But if that happens all too often, you’ll want to have a few no or little effort meal ideas on hand. Some of my favorite go-to meals for the days I just don’t feel like cooking include: * Spaghetti with sauce & rolls or breadsticks. Parents like it, and kids love it too. In 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ve got a meal. * Grilled cheese & tomato soup. The kids might be okay with just the grilled cheese sandwich, and parents who need a little something more will appreciate the bowl of soup. I recommend two kinds of cheese for an extra tasty sandwich (muenster and cheddar is my favorite combo). Pan fry the sandwiches in butter while you warm the soup in a pot. In less than 10 minutes, you’ve got a meal. * Breakfast for dinner. Kids will often find it fun to have breakfast for dinner, and its an easy meal for you to make. Ideas include French Toast, waffles, pancakes, toast, eggs, sausage, and bacon. It’s possible to make homecooked meals for your family as a working parent; it just takes a little forethought and planning. Readers – what are some of your favorite, fast and easy meals to make? The residents of a north Phoenix home may want to consider moving -- early this morning, for the third time in two years, a vehicle crashed into their property, this time into their pool. According to the Phoenix Police Department, about 1:40 a.m today, a man described by police only as a 32-year-old white male was driving his 2004 Ford pickup truck down Dixiletta Drive when he failed to negotiate a turn at the roads intersection with Tatum Boulevard and crashed through a retaining wall, into the backyard of the home, and ended up "nose first" in a backyard pool. According to the homeowner, this is the third time a vehicle has crashed into the home in the last two years, Phoenix police spokesman Steve Martos tells New Times. When rescue crews arrived, the driver was getting out of the truck, which at the point was in the pool. The driver told rescuers he was alone, and after promptly draining the pool (take note Tempe P.D.), it was determined he was the only person in the vehicle when he decided to take it for a swim. Turns out, the driver was drunk. It also turns out he was being sought by the Scottsdale Police Department for questioning in a domestic violence/arson investigation. Details of the domestic violence investigation were not immediately available this morning. The driver was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries. He was later turned over to Scottsdale police. No one in the home was injured. Houseplants clean the air and brighten a room. Occasionally, they drive us mad as we wonder how exactly we managed to kill yet another "unkillable" houseplant. (In that way, they provide great lessons in perseverance as well!) But it looks like there's one more great reason to grow houseplants: their presence in your workspace might actually make you smarter. According to a recent study published in The Journal of Environmental Psychology, just having plants in your work space is enough to increase your attention span. An increase in attention span means that we're able to remember more of what we read. To test the hypotheses, the study's authors gave subjects a Reading Span Task, which requires reading sentence aloud, then remembering the last word in each sentence. This requires reading, memorization, and recall abilities, and switching between the three. The researchers had their entire test pool complete Reading Span Tasks to get a baseline reading. Then they moved some of the people to a room with no plants, and others to a room that had four plants around the desk. They were all asked to repeat the Reading Span Tasks, and the people who worked near a plant improved overall, while those without plants stayed roughly the same. Beauty, fresh air, the joy of caring for another living thing -- all great reasons to have a few houseplants around. If they help increase attention spans, all the better!

Av lucyshanxu lucyshanxu - 11 maj 2011 08:06

He turned his flushed, streaming face full on me. Looking back into it was almost more than I could take, but I did take it; felt I had to take it. Who had gotten him telling the story about Lucy and Frank and the note on the refrigerator that night, after all? It hadn't been Mike Wallace, or Dan Rather, that was for sure. So I looked back at him. I didn't quite dare hug him, in case that twister should somehow jump from him to me, but I kept patting his arm. "I think she's alive somewhere, that's what I think," he said. His voice was still thick and wavery, but there was a kind of pitiful weak defiance in it as well. He wasn't telling me what he believed, but what he wished he could believe. I'm pretty sure of that. "Well," I said, "you can believe that. No law against it, is there? And it isn't as if they found her body, or anything." "I like to think of her out there in Nevada singing in some little casino hotel," he said. "Not in Vegas or Reno, she couldn't make it in one of the big towns, but in Winnemucca or Ely I'm pretty sure she could get by. Some place like that. She just saw a Singer Wanted sign and give up her idea of going home to her mother. Hell, the two of them never got on worth a shit anyway, that's what Lu used to say. And she could sing, you know. I don't know if you ever heard her, but she could. I don't guess she was great, but she was good. The first time I saw her, she was singing in the lounge of the Marriott Hotel. In Columbus, Ohio, that was. Or, another possibility..." He hesitated, then went on in a lower voice. "Prostitution is legal out there in Nevada, you know. Not in all the counties, but in most of them. She could be working one of them Green Lantern trailers or the Mustang Ranch. Lots of women have got a streak of whore in them. Lu had one. I don't mean she stepped around on me, or slept around on me, so I can't say how I know, but I do. She ... yes, she could be in one of those places." He stopped, eyes distant, maybe imagining Lulubelle on a bed in the back room of a Nevada trailer whorehouse, Lulubelle wearing nothing but stockings, washing off some unknown cowboy's stiff cock while from the other room came the sound of Steve Earle and the Dukes singing "Six Days on the Road" or a TV playing Hollywood Squares. Lulubelle whoring but not dead, the car by the side of the road - the little Subaru she had brought to the marriage - meaning nothing. The way an animal's look, so seemingly attentive, usually means nothing. "I can believe that if I want," he said, swiping his swollen eyes with insides of his wrists. "Sure," I said. "You bet, L.T." Wondering what the grinning men who listened to his story while they ate their lunches would make of this L.T., this shaking man with his pale cheeks and red eyes and hot skin. "Hell," he said, I do believe that." He hesitated, then said it again: "I do believe that." When I got back, Roslyn was in bed with a book in her hand and the covers pulled up to her breasts. Holly had gone home while I was driving L.T back to his house. Roslyn was in a bad mood, and I found out why soon enough. The woman behind the Mona Lisa smile had been quite taken with my friend. Smitten by him, maybe. And my wife most definitely did not approve. "How did he lose his license?" she asked, and before I could answer: "Drinking, wasn't it?" "Drinking, yes. OUM' I sat down on my side of the bed and slipped off my shoes. "But that was nearly six months ago, and if he keeps his nose clean another two months, he gets it back. I think he will. He goes to AA, you know." My wife grunted, clearly not impressed. I took off my shirt, sniffed the armpits, hung it back in the closet. I'd only worn it an hour or two, just for dinner. "You know," my wife said, I think it's a wonder the police didn't look a little more closely at him after his wife disappeared." "They asked him some questions," I said, "but only to get as much information as they could. There was never any question of him doing it, Ros. They were never suspicious of him." "Oh, you're so sure." "As a matter of fact, I am. I know some stuff. Lulubelle called her mother from a hotel in eastern Colorado the day she left, and called her again from Salt Lake City the next day. She was fine then. Those were both weekdays, and L.T was at the plant. He was at the plant the day they found her car parked off that ranch road near Caliente as well. Unless he can magically transport himself from place to place in the blink of an eye, he didn't kill her. Besides, he wouldn't. He loved her."

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"The cat's talking was maybe the worst, as far as Lulu was concerned. She couldn't stand it. One night Lulubelle says to me, 'If that cat doesn't stop yowling, L.T., I think I'm going to hit it with an encyclopedia.' " 'That's not yowling,' I said, 'that's chatting.' " 'Well,' Lulu says, - 'I wish it would stop chatting.' "And right about then, Lucy jumped up into my lap and she did shut up. She always did, except for a little low purring, way back in her throat. Purring that really was purring. I scratched her between her ears like she likes, and I happened to look up. Lulu turned her eyes back down on her book, but before she did, what I saw was real hate. Not for me. For Screwlucy. Throw an encyclopedia at it? She looked like she'd like to stick the cat between two encyclopedias and just kind of clap it to death. Sometimes Lulu would come into the kitchen and catch the cat up on the table and swat it off. I asked her once if she'd ever seen me swat Frank off the bed that way - he'd get up on it, you know, always on her side, and leave these nasty tangles of white hair. When I said that, Lulu gave me a kind of grin. Her teeth were showing, anyway. 'If you ever tried, you'd find yourself a finger or three shy, most likely,' she says. "Sometimes Lucy really was Screwlucy. Cats are moody, and sometimes they get manic; anyone who's ever had one will tell you that. Their eyes get big and kind of glary, their tails bush out, they go racing around the house; sometimes they'll rear right up on their back legs and prance, boxing at the air, like they're fighting with something they can see but human beings can't. Lucy got into a mood like that one night when she was about a year old - couldn't have been more than three weeks from the day when I come home and found Lulubelle gone. "Anyway, Lucy came pelting in from the kitchen, did a kind of racing slide on the wood floor, jumped over Frank, and went skittering up the living room drapes, paw over paw. Left some pretty good holes in them, with threads hanging down. Then she just perched at the top on the rod, staring around the room with her blue eyes all big and wild and the tip of her tail snapping back and forth. "Frank only jumped a little and then put his muzzle back on Lulubelle's shoe, but the cat scared the hell out of Lulubelle, who was deep in her book, and when she looked up at the cat, I could see that outright hate in her eyes again. All right,' she said, 'that's enough. Everybody out of the goddam pool. We're going to find a good home for that little blue-eyed bitch, and if we're not smart enough to find a home for a purebred Siamese, we're going to take her to the animal shelter. I've had enough.' " 'What do you mean?' I ask her. " 'Are you blind?' she asks. 'Look what she did to my drapes I They're full of holes!' 'You want to see drapes with holes in them,' I say, 'why don't you go upstairs and look at the ones on my side of the bed. The bottoms are all ragged. Because he chews them.' 'That's different,' she says, glaring at me. 'That's different and you know it.' "Well, I wasn't going to let that lie. No way I was going to let that one lie. 'The only reason you think it's different is because you like the dog you gave me and you don't like the cat I gave you,' I says. 'But I'll tell you one thing, Mrs. DeWitt: you take the cat to the animal shelter for clawing the living room drapes on Tuesday, I guarantee you I'll take the dog to the animal shelter for chewing the bedroom drapes on Wednesday. You got that?' "She looked at me and started to cry. She threw her book at me and called me a bastard. A mean bastard. I tried to grab hold of her, make her stay long enough for me to at least try to make up - if there was a way to make up without backing down, which I didn't mean to do that time - but she pulled her arm out of my hand and ran out of the room. Frank ran out after her. They went upstairs and the bedroom door slammed. "I gave her half an hour or so to cool off, then I went upstairs myself. The bedroom door was still shut, and when I started to open it, I was pushing against Frank. I could move him, but it was slow work with him sliding across the floor, and also noisy work. He was growling. And I mean growling, my friends; that was no fucking purr. If I'd gone in there, I believe he would have tried his solemn best to bite my manhood off. I slept on the couch that night. First time. "A month later, give or take, she was gone." If L.T had timed his story right (most times he did; practice makes perfect), the bell signaling back to work at the W.S Hepperton Processed Meats Plant of Ames, Iowa, would ring just about then, sparing him any questions from the new men (the old hands knew. . . and knew better than to ask) about whether or not L.T and Lulubelle had reconciled, or if he knew where she was today, or - the all-time sixty-four-thousand-dollar question - if she and Frank were still together. There's nothing like the back-to-work bell to close off life's more embarrassing questions. "Well," L.T would say, putting away his thermos and then standing up and giving a stretch, "it has all led me to create what I call L.T DeWitt's Theory of Pets." They'd look at him expectantly, just as I had the first time I heard him use that grand phrase, but they would always end up feeling let down, just as I always had; a story that good deserved a better punchline, but L.T.'s never changed. "If your dog and cat are getting along better than you and your wife," he'd say, "you better expect to come home some night and find a Dear John note on your refrigerator door." He told that story a lot, as I've said, and one night when he came to my house for dinner, he told it for my wife and my wife's sister. My wife had invited Holly, who had been divorced almost two years, so the boys and the girls would balance up. I'm sure that's all it was, because Roslyn never liked L.T DeWitt. Most people do, most people take to him like hands take to warm water, but Roslyn has never been most people. She didn't like the story of the note on the fridge and the pets, either - I could tell she didn't, although she chuckled in the right places. Holly ... shit, I don't know. I've never been able to tell what that girl's thinking. Mostly just sits there with her hands in her lap, smiling like Mona Lisa. It was my fault that time, though, and I admit it. L.T didn't want to tell it, but I kind of egged him on because it was so quiet around the dinner table, just the click of silverware and the clink of glasses, and I could almost feel my wife disliking L.T It seemed to be coming off her in waves. And if L.T had been able to feel that little Jack Russell terrier disliking him, he would probably be able to feel my wife doing the same. That's what I figured, anyhow. So he told it, mostly to please me, I suppose, and he rolled his eyeballs in all the right places, as if saying "Gosh, she fooled me right and proper, didn't she?" and my wife chuckled here and there - they sounded as phony to me as Monopoly money looks - and Holly smiled her little Mona Lisa smile with her eyes downcast. Otherwise the dinner went off all right, and when it was over L.T told Roslyn that he thanked her for "a sportin-fine meal" (whatever that is) and she told him to come any time, she and I liked to see his face in the place. That was a lie on her part, but I doubt there was ever a dinner party in this history of the world where a few lies weren't told. So it went off all right, at least until I was driving him home. L.T started to talk about how it would be a year Lulubelle had been gone in just another week or so, their fourth anniversary, which is flowers if you're old-fashioned and electrical appliances if you're newfangled. Then he said as how Lulubelle's mother - at whose house Lulubelle had never shown up - was going to put up a marker with Lulubelle's name on it at the local cemetery. "Mrs. Simms says we have to consider her as one dead," L.T said, and then he began to bawl. I was so shocked I nearly ran off the goddam road. He cried so hard that when I was done being shocked, I began to be afraid all that pent-up grief might kill him with a stroke or a burst blood vessel or something. He rocked back and forth in the seat and slammed his open hands down on the dashboard. It was like there was a twister loose inside him. Finally I pulled over to the side of the road and began patting his shoulder. I could feel the heat of his skin right through his shirt, so hot it was baking. "Come on, L.T.," I said. "That's enough." "I just miss her," he said in a voice so thick with tears I could barely understand what he was saying. "Just so goddam much. I come home and there's no one but the cat, crying and crying, and pretty soon I'm crying, too, both of us crying while I fill up her dish with that goddam muck she eats."

Av lucyshanxu lucyshanxu - 11 maj 2011 07:41

He having stood me in such excellent stead that afternoon, it was rather a pity that, come nightfall and my first really clandestine visit to Rennie, I was no longer prepared to be Joe Morgan or any other sort of dancer. I was never highly sexed. For me the intervals between women were long, as a rule, and I was not normally disturbed by doing without sexual intercourse. A condition of erotic excitement such as I'd entertained during most of this first school day was almost as rare as a manic with me, and almost as easily dissipated. After the one game I was good for, I was as unarousable as a gelding. That, I think, is not how Rennie had found me on the evening of our first adultery, shortly after we'd played Peeping Tom on Joe -- the sheer energy required to be the spirited lover is difficult, but not entirely impossible, for me to muster -- but that's how I felt on this evening when I went to her. I was neither bored nor fatigued nor sad, nor excited nor fresh nor happy: merely a placid, undesiring animal. The initial act had been a paradigm of assumed inevitability. Three days after our eavesdropping Joe went to Washington to do research in the Library of Congress, and before leaving he asked me to keep Rennie company during his absence -- a very Morganesque request. I went out there and spent the afternoon playing with the boys. It was notnecessary for me to do this at all, but neither was it obviously compromising. Rennie quite unsuggestively invited me to stay for dinner, and I did, though I had no special reason not to eat as usual in a restaurant. We scarcely spoke to each other. Rennie said once, "I feel lost without Joe," but I could think of no appropriate reply, and for that matter I was not certain how extensive was the intended meaning of her observation. After dinner I volunteered to oversee the boys' bath, spun them a bloodcurdling bedtime story, and bade them good night. I could have left then, but my staying to drink ale with Rennie during the evening certainly had no clear significance. We talked impersonally and sporadically -- much of the time nothing was said, but mutual silences were neither unusual nor uncomfortable with Rennie -- and I truly remember very little of our conversation, except that Rennie mentioned being weary and thanked me for having helped with the children that day. The point I want to make is that on the face of it there was no overt act, no word or deed that unambiguously indicated desire on the part of either of us. I shall certainly admit that I found Rennie attractive that day. Her whole manner was one of exhausted strength: throughout the afternoon her movements had been heavy and deliberate, like those of a laborer who has worked two straight shifts; in the evening she sat for the most part without moving, and frequently upon blinking her eyes she would keep them shut for a full half minute, opening them at last with a wide stare and a heavy expiration of breath. All this I admired, but really rather abstractly, and any sexual desire that I felt was also more or less abstract. We spoke little of Joe, and not at all about what we'd seen through the living-room window. Then at nine-thirty or thereabouts Rennie said, "I'm going to take a shower and go to bed, Jake," and I said, "All right." To reach the bathroom, she had to go through a little hallway off the living room; to get my jacket, I had to go to an open closet in this same hallway, and so it is still not quite necessary to raise an eyebrow at the fact that we got up from our chairs and went to the hallway together. There, if she turned to face me for a slight moment at the door to the bathroom, who's to say confidently that good nights were not on the tips of tongues? It happened that we embraced each other instead before we went our separate ways -- but I think a slow-motion camera would not have shown who moved first -- and it happened further (but I would not sayconsequently) that our separate ways led to the same bed. By that time, if we had been consciously thinking of first steps -- and I for one certainly wasn't -- I'm sure we both would have assumed that the first steps, whoever made them, had already been made. I mention this because it applies so often to people's reasoning about their behavior in situations that later turn out to be regrettable: it is possible to watch the sky from morning to midnight, or move along the spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet, without ever being able to put your finger on the precise point where a qualitative change takes place; no one can say, "It is exactlyhere that twilight becomes night," or blue becomes violet, or innocence guilt. One can go a long way into a situation thus without finding the word or gesture upon which initial responsibility can handily be fixed -- such a long way that suddenly one realizes the change has already been made, is already history, and one rides along then on the sense of an inevitability, a too-lateness, in which he does not really believe, but which for one reason or another he does not see fit to question.

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We looked one another over appraisingly. What I said, with professorial succinctness, was: "My name's Jacob Horner; my office is in Room Twenty-seven, around the corner. There's a list of my office hours on the door." I assigned texts and described the course; that was all, and that was enough. My air of scholarly competence, theirs of studious attention (they wrote my name and office number as frowningly as if I'd pronounced the Key to the Mystery) were so clearly feigned, we were all so conscious of playing school, that to attempt a lesson would have been preposterous. Why, confronted with that battery of eager bosoms and delicious behinds, a man cupped his hands in spite of himself; the urge to drop the ceremonious game and leap those fine girls on the spot was simply terrific. The national consternation, if on some September morn every young college instructor in the land cried out what was on his mind -- "To hell with this nonsense, men: let's take 'em!" -- a soothing speculation! "That's all for today. Buy the books and we'll start right off next time with a spelling test, for diagnostic purposes." Indeed! One hundred spelling words dictated rapidly enough to keep their heads down, and I, perched high on my desk, could diagnose to my heart's content every bump of femininity in the room (praised be American grade schools, where little girls learn to sit up front!). Then, perhaps, having ogled my fill, I could get on with the business of the course. For as a man must grow used to the furniture before he can settle down to read in his room, this plenitude of girlish appurtenances had first to be assimilated before anyone could concentrate attention on the sober prescriptions of English grammar. Four times I repeated the ritual pronouncements -- at eight and nine in the morning and at two and three in the afternoon. Between the two sessions I lounged in my office with a magnificent erection, wallowing in my position, and watched with proprietary eye the parade of young things passing my door. I had nothing at all to do but spin indolent daydreams of absolute authority -- Nerotic, Caligular authority of the sort that summons up officefuls of undergraduate girls, hot and submissive -- leering professorial dreams! By four o'clock, when my first working day ended, I had so abandoned myself to the dance that I was virtually in pain. I tossed my empty brief case into the car and drove directly across town to the high school, to seek out Miss Peggy Rankin; after some inquiry at the principal's office I caught up with her just as she was leaving the teacher's lounge. "Come on!" I said urgently. "I have to see you right away!" She recognized me, blushed, and fumbled for protests. "Comeon!" I grinned. "I can't tell you here how important it is!" I took her arm and escorted her swiftly outside. "What's the matter, Jake? Where are we going?" "Wherever you want to," I said, holding the car door open for her. "Jake, for God's sake, are you just picking me up again?" she asked incredulously. "What do you mean,just? There's nothing just about this, girl." "There certainly isn't! It's fantastic! What do you think I am, for heaven's sake?" I stepped on the accelerator. "Shall we go to your place or to mine?" "Mine!" she said furiously. "And just as fast as you can! I've never in my life met such a monster as you are! You're simplya monster!" "I'm not simply a monster, Peggy: I'malso a monster." "You're an incredible cad! That exactly describes you -- you're a complete cad! You're so wrapped up in yourself that you don't have a shred of respect for anyone else on earth! Turn left right here." I turned left. "The fourth house up on the right-hand side. Yes." I parked the car. "Now look at me, Jake.Look at me!" she cried. "Don't you realize I'm just as much of a human being as you are? How in theworld could you even look me in the eye again after last time? I'd have been shocked if you'd even had the gall to face up and apologize to me, butthis --" "Listen, Peggy," I said sharply. "You say I don't respect you. Is that because I didn't bother to flatter you at Ocean City, or apologize afterwards, or call up yesterday to make a date for today?" "Of course it is! What do youthink I mean? You haven't got the slightest bit of common courtesy in you; not even common civility! I'm -- I'm astonished! You're not a man at all." "I'll explain this only once," I said solemnly; "I assumed you were mature enough to understand it at once, without explanation, as these things should be understood." "What on earth are you getting at?" "I'm afraid I overestimated you, Peggy," I declared. "I thought after I met you that you might actually be the superior woman you give the first impression of being. But you know, you're turning out to be one hundred per cent ordinary." She was speechless. "Don't you understand," I smiled, my testicles aching, "that I'm probably less interested in sex than any other man you've ever met?" "Oh, myGod!" "I enjoy it, all right, just as I'd enjoy having a lot of money, but I'm not willing to put up with any nonsense to get either." "Not even a common respect for a woman's dignity!" "That's it, right there," I said soberly: "a common respect, a common courtesy, a common this, a common that. Add it all up and what it gives you is a common relationship, and that's a thing I've no use for. You don't seem to be my kind of girl, Peggy, and I could have sworn you were. My kind of girl doesn't want common respect; she wants uncommon respect, and that means a relationship where nobody makes the common allowances for anybody else." "I don't believe you," Peggy said, aghast and troubled. "You're testifying against yourself, then," I said quietly. "Don't you understand that all this rigmarole of flattery and chivalry -- the whole theatrical that men perform for women -- isdisrespect? Any lie is disrespect, and a relationship based on that nonsense is a lie. Chivalry is a fiction invented by men who don't want to be bothered with taking women seriously. The minute a man and woman assent to it they stop thinking of each other as individual human beings: they assent to it precisely so they won't have to think about their partners. Which is completely useful, of course, if sex is the only thing that's on your mind. I may as well tell you, Peggy, now that it's too late, that you're the only woman I ever dared try to respect before, and take completely seriously, on my own terms, just as I'd take myself. No lies, no myths, no allowances, no hypocrisy. That's the only kind of relationship with a woman that I could ever stay interested in vertically as well as horizontally." Peggy burst into nervous laughter. "You mustn't laugh at that, Peggy," I said gravely. "Oh, my God!" she laughed. "Oh, myGod !" I turned from the wheel and very carefully socked her square on the cheek. The blow threw her head back against the window, and immediately she began crying. "As you see, I'm still taking you seriously," I said. "Oh!" "Try to understand, Peggy, that I'mjust not that interested in laying women. I can do without. But I will not have my Deepest Values thrown in my face! I'm not a man who strikes girls. To hell with girls. What I want is a female human being that I can take as seriously as myself. If you're not interested, get out, but don't laugh at the only man who's ever taken you seriously in your whole life." "Jake, for God's sake!" Peggy sobbed, embracing my lap and all that waited impatiently therein. "I'm so sorry I could die!" Fresh tears. "What a horrible spot a woman's in!" I patted her head. "Our society makes sincerity sound like the greatest hypocrisy of all." "Jake?" "What?" Because she'd lost her summer tan, her red eyes looked redder than they had in July. "I'll die if you say it's too late." I smoothed her hair. "I socked you, didn't I? Nothing's less chivalrous than that." "Thank God you did!" she smiled bravely. She inspected the welt on her cheek in the mirror. "I wish it would never go away." "I reallywas just bringing you home, you know, Peggy," I smiled, playing the kicker at the end of my hand. "When can I see you?" She was properly amazed. "Jake?" "What?" "Oh, Jake,now! You've got to come up to my apartment right now!" I made a mental salute to Joseph Morgan,il mio maestro, and another to Dr. Freud, caller of the whole cosmic hoe-down: up to Miss Peggy's flat we tripped. Apas de deux, anentrechat, and that was that. I left on promises of greater things to come, which I had no special plans to keep.


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