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"He doesn't look like anybody," Ph yll is said .

And they
ed even closer. Nobody Said Anything
"Jkr w! /kn ow!" Carol sa id . " He looks like Dndrly!" Then
they looke loser at the baby.
" But who c s Daddy loolt like?" Phyllis asked .
"Who d ocs Da loolllike?" Alice repeated, and they all at
o nce looked thro ug h o the kitchen where !:he father was sit-
I COULD hear them o ut in the kitch<.:n . I cou ldn 't hear what
they were saying, but they were arg uing. Then it got quiet
and she started to cry. I elbo wed Georgt.:. I thought he would
ting at the table with his ack to the wake up and something to them so they would feel g uil ty
"Why, nobody! " Phyllis d a egan to cry a little. and stop . But George is such an assho le. He started kicking
"Hush," the g randmo ther id and looked away and then and hollerin g.
back at the baby. "Stop gouging me, you bastard," he said. " I'm going to
"Daddy look e anyboi'J!" Alice said . tell! "
" Bur he has to loc like somebody," Phyllis said , wiping her "You dumb chi ckenshit," 1 said. "Can 't you wise up for o nce?
eyes with one o f 1e ribbo ns. And all of them except the T hey're fightin g and Mom's crying. Listen ."
grandmo ther I< cd at the fa ther, sitting at the table. Ht.: listened with his head ofT the pil low. " I don't care," he
He had t ned around in his chair and his face was white said and turned over towa rd the wall and wem back to sleep.
George is a royal asshole .
' Later I heard Dad lca\re to catch his bus. He slammed the
front door. She had told me before he wanred to tear up the
f:1 mily. I didn't want to li sten.
After a while she came to call us fc>r school. Her voice
funny- l don't know. I said I felt sick at my stomach.
It the first wet.:k in October and I hadn't missed any school
yet, so what could she say? She looked at me, but it was like
she wa-; thinking of else. George was awake and lis-
tening. 1 cou ld tell he was awake by the way he moved in the
bed. I Ie was wa itin g to sec how it turned o ut so he could
make his move.
"All right." She shook her head . " I just d o n' t know. Stay
home, then. But no TV, remember that."
George reared up . " I ' m sick too," he said to her. " I have a
headache. lie gouged me and kicked me all ni g ht . I did n' t get
to sleep at all."
"That's enough!" she said. "You arc going to school, George!
You're nor goi ng to sray here and fight with your brother all
day. Now get up and get dressed. I mean it. I don't fed li ke
another battle this morning."
George waited until she left the room. T hen he climbed o ut
over the f(>ot ofthc bed. "You bastard," ht.: said and ya nked all
the cove rs ofT me. He dodged into the bathroom.
3S
WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET, PLEASE? NOBODY SAID ANYTlllNG 37

" I'll kill you," I said but not so loud that she cou ld hear. Then I turned to the other channel. Th<.: n I turned ofT the TV.
l stayed in bed until George left for school. \tVhen she 1 didn't feel like watching.
started to get ready fo r work, I asked if she would make a bed
for me on the couch. I said I wanted to study. On the coffee I finished th<.: chapter where Tars Tarkas fi1lls for a green
t,lble l had the Edgar Rice Burroughs books I had gotten for woman, only to sec her get her head c hopped off the next
my birthday and m)' Social Studies book. But I d idn't feel like morning by this jealous brother-in law. It was about the fifth
reading. I wanred her to leave so I cou ld watch TV. time I had read it. Then I went to their bedroom a nd looked
around. I wasn't after anything in particular unless it was rub -
She flu shed the toilet. bers again and though I had looked all over l had never tound
L couldn't wait any longer. I turned the picture on witho ut any. Once I found a jar of Vaseline at the back of a drawer. I
th<.: volume. I went m1t to the kitchen where she had left her knew it must have something to do with it, but l didn't know
pack of weeds and shook out three . l put them in the cup- what. I studied the label and hoped it would reveal something,
bo.m.i and "vent back to the couch and started readi ng The a description of what people did, or else .1bo ut how you applied
Pri11ccss ofMars. She came out and g lanced at thc TV but d idn 't the Vaseline, that sort of thi ng. But it didn't. Pure Petroleum
<;ay .111ything . I had the book open. Shc poked at her hair in Jelly, that was all it said on the tiont label. But just reading that
fiont of the mirror and then went into thc kitchen. I looked was enough to give you a boner. A1-1 E.wellcnt Aid in tiJe Nursery,
back at th<.: book when sh<.: came o ut. it said o n the back. 1 tried to make the connection between
"I'm late . Goodbye, sweeth<.:art." She wasn't going to bring Nursery-the swings and slides, the sa ndboxes, monkcybars-
up the TV. Last night she 'd said she wou ldn't know what it and what went on in bed between them. I had opened the jar
mcant any more ro go to work without being "stirred up ." lots of times and smelled inside and looked to sec how much
"Don't cook anything. You don't need to turn the burners had been used since last time. This t ime I passed up the Pttre
on f(H a thing. There's tuna fish in the icebox if you feci hun Pctroleurn Jelly. I mean, alii did was look to sec the jar was still
gry." She looked at me. "But if your SJ,.<>mach is sick, 1 don't there. I went through a tew drawers, not really expecting to
think you should put anything on it. Anyway, you don't need find anything. 1 look<.:d under the bed. Nothing anywhere. I
to turn the burners on. Do you hear? You take that medicine, looked in the jar in the closer where they kept the grocery
sweetheart , :md 1 hope your stomach feels bcttcr by tonigh t. money. There was no change, only a five and a one. They
i\ laybc we 'II all feel better by tonight." would miss that. Then l thought I would get dressed and walk
She stood in the doorway and turned the knob. She looked to Birch C reek. Trout season was open for another week or so,
ao, if she wanted to say something else. Shc wore the white but almost everybody had quit fishing. Everybody was just sit-
blouse, the wide black belt, and the black skirt. Sometimes she ting around now waiting for deer and pheasant to open.
called it her outfit, sometimes her uniform. for as long as I l got out my old clothes. I put wool socks over m y regular
could remember, it was always hang ing in the closet or hanging socks and took my time lacing up the boots. 1 made a couple
on the clothesl in<.: or getting washed out by hand at night or of tuna sandwic hes and some double -decker peanut-butter
being ironed in the kitchen. crackers. I filled my canteen and attached th e hunting knife
She worked Wed nesdays through Sundays. and the canteen to my belt. As I was going o ut the door, I de-
" Bye, Mom." cided to leave a note. So I wrote: "fee ling bcttcr and going to
I waited umil she had started the car and had it warm. I lis- Birch Creek. Back soon. R. :n s." That was about four hours
tened as she pulled away fiom the curb. Then 1 got up and from now. And about fifteen minutes before George would
turned the wund on loud and wem t()r the" eeds. l smoked one come in from school. Before 1 left, I ate one of the sandwiches
,\lld heat ofT whi le 1 watch<.:d a show about doctors and nurses. and had a glass of milk with it.
38 WILL YOU PLEASE BE QU I ET, PLEASE? NOBODY SA ID ANYT ll ING 39

couldn 't think of anything more to say. 1 looked out the


It was nice out. It was fall. But it wasn't cold yet except at wind ow and sucked my checks. You always sec yourself getting
I nig ht. At nig ht they wou ld lig ht the smudgepots in the or- picked up by this woman . You know you' ll fall for each other
chards and you wou ld wake up in t he morning with a black and that she' ll take you home with her and let you screw her
ring of stuff in you r nose. But nobody said anything. They said all over the house. I began to get a boner thinking about it. I
the smudging kept the young pears from free zing, so it was all moved the cap over my lap and closed my eyes and tried to
right. think about baseball.
To get to Birch Creek, you go to the end of our street where " I keep saying that o ne of these days I 'II take up fishing,"
you hit Sixteentb Avenue. You turn left on Sixteenth and go she said. "They say it's very relaxing. I'm a nervous person."
up the hill past the cemetery and down to Len nox, where 1 opened my eyes. We were stopped at the crossroads. I
there is a C hinese restaurant. From the crossroads there, you wanted to say, Are you rerrJ busy? Would you like to start this
can sec the airport, and Birch C reek is below the airport. Six- mo'l'ning? But I was afraid to look at her.
teenth changes to View Road at the crossroads. You f()llow " Will this help you? I have to turn here. I'm sorr y I'm in a
View f()r a little way until you come to the bridge. There are hurr y this morning," she said.
orchards on both sides of the road. Sometimes when you go "That's okay. T his is fi ne." I took my stuff out. Then I put
by the orchards you sec pheasants running down the rows, but my cap on and took it off again wh ile I talked . "Goodbye.
you can 't hunt there because you m ight get shot by a Greek Thanks. Maybe next summer," but 1 couldn' t finish.
named Matsos. I guess it is about a forty-minute walk all in all. "You mean fishing? Sure thing." She waved with a couple of
1 \Vas halfway down Sixteenth when a woman in a red car fingers the way women do.
pulled onto the shoulder ahead of me. She ro lled down the I started walking, going over what I shou ld have sa id . I
window on the passenger's side and asked if 1 wanted a lift. could think of a lot of things. What was wrong with me? I cut
She was thin and had little pimples around her mouth. ller the air with the fly rod and hollered two or three times. What
hair was up in curlers. But she was..,sharp enough. She had a I shou ld have done to start things off was ask if we cou ld have
brown swearer with nice boobs inside. lunch together. No one was home at my house. Sudden ly we
"Playing hooky?" arc in my bedroom under the covers. She asks me if she can
"Guess so." keep her sweater o n and I say it's okay w it h me. She keeps her
"Want a ride?" pants on too. That's all right, I say. I don't mind.
I nodded. A Piper C ub dipped low over my head as it came in for a
"Get in. I'm kind ofin a hurry." landing. I was a few teet from the bridge. I could hear the water
I put the fly rod and the creel on the back scat. There were running. I hurried down the embankment, unzipped , and shot
a lot of grocery sacks from Mel's on the floorboard s and back off five feet over the creek. It must have been a record. 1 took
scat. 1 tried tO think of something to say. a whi le eating th e other sandwich and the peanut-butter crackers.
"I'm going fishing," I said . I took off my cap, hitched the I drank up half the water in the canteen. Then I was ready to
canteen around so I could sit, and parked myself next to the fish.
window.
"Well, I never would h;we guessed." She laughed. She pulled I tried to think where to start. I had fi shed here for three
back onto the road . "Where arc you going? Birch C reek?" years, ever since we had moved. Dad used to bring George and
1 nodded again . I looked at my cap. My uncle had boug ht it me in the car and wait for us, smoking, baiting o ur hooks , tying
for me in Seattle when he had gone to watch a hockey game. 1 up new rigs for us if we snagged . We always started at the bridge
+O WILL YOU PLEAS E DE QUIET, PLEA SE? NOBODY SA ID ANYTH I NG 41

and moved d own , .md we always cau g ht a few. Once in a water dropped ove r a shel f into the pool. I let the current take
whi le, at the first of the season , we caught the limit. I rigged it down. 1 could fee l the sinkers tap-tapping o n rocks, a differ-
up and tried a few casts under the bridge first. en t kind of tapping t han when you arc gettin g a bi te. The n the
Now and then I cast under a bank o r else in behind a big line tightened and the current ca rried the egg into sight at
rock. B\ut no thin g happened. One place where the water was the end of the poo l.
still and the bo ttom full of yellow leaves, !looked over and saw l felt lo usy to have come this far up for nothing. l pulled out
a few crawdads crawling there with their big ug ly pinchers all kind s of line this tim e and made another cast. 1 laid the fl y
raised . Some quail flushed out of a brush pile. When l threw a rod over a limb and lit the ne xt to last weed. 1 looked up the
stick, a rooster pheasant jumped up cac kling about ten feet valley and began to think abo ut the woman. We were going
away and I almost dropped the rod . to her house because she wanted help ca rrying in the gro-
The creek was slow and not very wide. I could walk across ceries. Her husband was ove rseas. I touc hed her and she started
almost anywhere without it going over my boots. I crossed a shaking. We were french -kissi ng o n the couc h when she ex -
pasture full of CO\>V pads and came to where the water flowed cused herself to go to t he bathroom. I f(>llowed her. I watched
out of a big pipe. I knew there was a little ho le below the pipe, as she pulled down her pants and sat on t he toilet. I had a bi g
so I was careful. I got down on my knees when I was close boner and she waved me ove r with her hand. Just as 1 was
enough to drop the line . It had just touched th e water when 1 going to unz.ip, I heard a plop in th e creek. I looked and saw
got a strike , but I missed him . I te lt him roll with it. Then he the tip of my fly rod jiggli ng.
was gone and the line flew back. I put another sa lmo n egg on
and tried a few more casts. But 1 knew 1 had jinxed it. H e wasn't very big and didn't fight much . But I pla yed him
I went u p the embankment and climbed under a fence that as long as I could. I le turned on his side and lay in the current
had a KEEP OUT sign o n the post. One of the airport runways down below. I didn ' t know what he was. H e looked strange. I
started here. I stopped to look at some flowers g rowi ng in the tightened the line and lifted him over the bank into the g rass,
cracks in the pavement. You could where the tires had where he stared wiggli ng. lie was a trout. But he was green. l
smacked down on the pavement and left o ily skid marks all never saw one like him before. I Ie had green sides with black
around the flowers. I hit the creek again on the other side and trout spots, a gree nish head, and like a g ree n sto mach. lle was
fished alo ng for a link way until I ca me to the ho le. I thought the color of moss, that color green. It was as if he had been
this was as tar as I wou ld go. When I had first been up here three wrapped up in moss a long time, and the color had come off
years ago, the water was roa ring rig ht up to the top of the all ove r him. I Ic \Vas fat, and l wonde red why he hadn't put up
banks. It was so swift then that I cou ldn 't fish. Now the creek more of a fight. I wondered if he was all right. I looked at him
was about six feet below the bank. It bubbled and ho pped for a time longer, t hen I put him o ut of his pain.
thro ug h this little run at the head of the pool where you could I pulled some g rass and put it in t he creel and laid him in
hardly sec bottom. A little farther down, the bottom slo ped up there o n t he grass.
and got shallow again as if nothin g had happened. The last I made some more casts, and then [ g uessed it must be two
time I was u p here I caugh t two fish about ten inches lo ng and or three o'clock. I thought I had better move down to the
turned one that looked tw ice as big-a summer steelhead, Dad bridge. I thought I would fish below the brid ge awhile before
said when I told him about it. He said they come up during I started home. And I decided 1 would wait until ni g ht bct(>re
the hig h water in earl y sprin g but that m ost o f them ret urn to I thought about t he woman again . Bu t right away I got a
the river before the wate r gets low. boner t hinkin g about the boner l would get that ni g ht. Then l
I put two more shot o n th e line and cl osed them with my tho ugh t I had bette r stop doing it so much . About a mo nth
tee th. Then 1 put a fresh salmon egg o n and cast o ut where the back, a Saturday when t hey were all gone, 1 had picked up the
+2 WIL L YOU P LE A SE BE QUIET, PLEASE? NOBODY SA ID ANYTHING 43

Bible rig ht after and promised and swore 1 wou ldn't do it H e's just cruisi ng around now looki ng for someplace to go.
again . But I got jism o n the Bible, and the promising and Sec, he stopped again . H e can't go anyplace. He knows that.
swearing lasted o nly a day o r two , until! was by myself agai n . Ile knows we' re going to nail him . He knows it 's tough shi t.
I'll go up and scare him down . Yo u get him when he comes
1 didn ' t fish on the way down. When I got to the bridge, I through ."
'>JW a bicycle in the g rass. l looked and saw a kid about " I wish I had my gun," the boy said . "That would take care
George), sit,e running down the bank. I started in his direc- of him ," the boy said.
tion. Then he turned and started toward me, looking in the I went up a little way, then started wad ing down the creek. I
water. ""atched ahead o f me as 1 went . Sudden ly the fi sh darted away
"Hey, what is it!" I hollered. " vVhat 's wrong?" T g uessed he from the bank, turned right in front of me in a big cloudy
didn ' t hear me . l saw his pole and fishing bag on the bank, and swirl , and bancl-assed downstream .
l dropped my stuff. I ran over to where he was. llc looked like " I lcre he comes!" I ho llered . " H ey, hey, here he comes!"
a rat or something. I mean, he had buck teeth and skin ny arms But the fi sh spun aro und bdore it reached the riffle and
:md this ragged lo ngslecved shirt that was too small f(.)l' him. headed back. I splashed and ho llered, and it t urned agai n .
"God, I swear there's the bi ggest fish hc rc I ever saw!" he "He's comi ng! G et him , get him ! l Ierc he comes!"
called . " I lu rry! Look! Look here! H e re he is!" But the dumb idi o t had himself a club, the assho le, and
l looked where hc pointed and my heart jumpcd. when the fi sh hit the riffle, the boy drove at him with the club
It was as lo ng as my arm . instead of trying to kick the sonofabitch o ut like he should
"God , o h wi ll you look at him! " the boy sa id. have. T he veered off, going crazy, shooting on his side
1 kept looking. It was resting in a shadow under a limb that throu g h the shallow water. He made it . The asshole idio t kid
hun g over the water. "God almighty," I said to the fish, "where lunged f()r him and fell flat .
did you come fro m? " lie dragged up onto the bank sopping wet. " I hit him !" the
"What ' ll we do?" the boy sai d . " I 1 had my gun." boy hollered . "I think he's hurt, too . 1 had my hand!'. on him,
" We're going to get him," l said. "God , look at him! Let's but I cou ldn't ho ld him ."
get him into the riffle." ''You didn ' t have anythi ng!" I was out of breath . I was glad
"You want tO help me, then ? VVc ' ll work it together!" t he th e kid fe ll in . "You didn' t even come close, asshole. What
kid said. were you d oin g with that club? You sho uld have kicked him .
The big fi sh had drifted a few feet downstream and lay there lie's probably a mile away by now." I tried to spit. I shook m y
fir111ing slowly in the clea r water. head. " I don't know. We haven't got him ye t. We just may not
"Okay, what do we do?" the k.id said. get him ," l said.
" l can go up and walk down the creek and start him "Goddamn it , I hit him! " the boy screamed. "Did n 't you
moving," I said . "You stand in the riffle, and when he tries to sec? I hit him, and I had my hands on him too. How close did
come through, you kick the livin g shit ou t of him. Get him you get? Besides, whose fish is it? " He looked at me . Water ran
onto the bank someway, I don't care how. Then get a good down his trousers over his shoes.
hold of him and hang on.'' l didn't say anything else, but I wondered about that myself.
" Okay. Oh shit, look at him ! Look, he's goin g! \Vhcrc's he 1 shrugged. "Well, okay. I thought it was both ours. Let's get
going?" the boy screamed. him this time . No goof-ups, either o ne of us," I said.
1 watchcd the fish move up the creek again and stop close to We waded downstream. l had water in my boots, but the kid
the bank. " IIe's no t goin g anyplace. T here 's no place for him was wet up to his collar. He closed his buck teeth over his lip
to go. Sec him ? He 's scared shitlcss. He knows we're here. to keep hi s teeth fiom chattering.
+4- WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET, PLEASE? N 0 B 0 D Y SA r D AN YT H IN G 45

locked around his jaw. I knew 1 had him. 1 Le was still flopping
The fish wasn't in the run below the riffle, and we couldn't and hard to hold, but I had him and I wasn't going to let go.
sec him in the next stretch, cithcr. We looked at each other and "We got him!" the boy hollered as he splashed up. "We got
began lO worry that the fish really had gone far enough down- him, by God! Ain't he something! Look at him! Oh God, let
stream to reach one of the deep holes. But then the goddamn me hold him," the boy hollered.
thing rolled near the bank, actually knocking dirt into the water "We got to kill hin1 first," I said. I ran my other hand down
with his tail, and took off again. Hc went through another the throat. l pulled back on the head as hard as I could, trying
riffle, hi0ig tail sticking out of the water. I saw him cruise to watch out for the teeth, and felt the heavy crunching. He
over ncar the bank and stop, his tail half out of the water, gave a long slow tremble and was still. I laid him on the bank
finning just enough to hold against the current. and we looked at him. He was at least two feet long, queerly
"Do you sec him?" I said. The boy looked. I took his arm skinny, but bigger than anything I had ever caught. l LOok
and pointed finger. "Right tiJac. Okay now, listen. I'll go hold of his jaw again.
down to that little run bctwcen those banks. See where I "I ley," the kid said but didn't say any more \vhcn he saw
mean? You wait here until I give you a sign:tl. Then you start what [ was going to do. I washed off the blood and laid the
down. Okay? And this time don't let him get by you if he fish back on the bank.
heads b:tck. n "I want to show him to my dad so bad ," the kid said.
"Yeah," the boy said and worked his lip with those teeth. We were wet and shivering. We looked at him, kept touching
"Let's get him this time ," the boy said, a terrible look of cold him. We pried open his big mough and felt his rows of teeth.
in his face. His sides were scarred, whitish welts as big as quarters and
l got up on the bank and walkcd down, m.1king sure I moved kind ofpuff)r. There were nicks out ofbis head around his eyes
quiet. I slid off the bank and waded in again. But I couldn't and on his snout where I guess he had banged into the rocks
sec the great big sonofabitch and my heart turned. !thought it and been in fights. But he was so skinny, too skinny for how
might have taken off already. A little downstream and it long he was, and you could hard ly sec the pink stripe down his
would get to one of the holes. We would never get him then. sides , and his belly was gray and slack instead of white and
"f le still there?" I hollered. [held my breath. solid like it should have been. But I thought he was something.
The kid waved.
"Rcady!" I hollered again. "I guess I'd bcttcr go pretty soon," l said. 1 looked at the
"I Icre goes!" the kid hollered back. clouds over the hills where the sun was going down. "l better
My hands shook. The creek was about thrce feet wick and get home."
ran between dirt banks. The water was low bur fast. The kid was "I guess .,o. Me too. 1'm ficezing," the kid said. "!Icy, I
moving down the creek now, water up to his knees, throwing want to carry him ," the kid said.
rocks ahead of him, splashing and shouting. "Let's get a stick. We'll put it through his mouth and both
"Here he comes!" The kid waved his arms. I saw the fish carry him," I said.
now; it was coming right at me. He tried to turn when he saw The kid found a stick. We put it through the gills and
me, but it was too late. [went down on my knees, grasping in pushed until the fish was in the middle of the stick. Then we
the cold wJter. I scooped him with my hands and arms, up, up, each took an end and started back, watching the fish as he
raising him, throwing him out of the water, both of us falling swung on the stick.
onto the b.111k. I held him against my shirt, him flopping and "What arc we going to do with him?" the kid said.
twisting, until 1 could get m)' hands up his slippery sides to his " I don't know," 1 said. "I guess I caught him," 1 said.
gills. l ran one hand in and clawed through to his mouth and "We both did. Besides, I saw him first."
4-6 WILL YOU PLEASE B E QU I ET, PLI:.A SE? NOBOD Y SA ID ANYTli!NG 4-7

"That's true," 1 said. "Well , yo u want lO flip for him or " 1 don 't want the tail ," t he kid said .
what?" 1 felt with my free hand , but I didn ' t have any money. 1 looked around. There were no cars on the road and no-
And what would 1 have done if I had lost? body else fishing. There was an airplane droning, and the sun
Anyway, the kid said, "No, let's not flip ." was going d own. 1 was cold all the way throu gh . The kid was
1 sa id , "All ri ghl. It 's okay with me." I looked at that boy, shiverin g hard, wai tin g.
his hair standing up , his lips gray. I could have taken him if it "L got an idea," I said . 1 opened the creel and showed him
ca me to that. But [didn 't want to fight. the trout. "Sec? It's a green o ne. It's the o nl y green one I ever

-
We got to where \\'e had left o ur things and picked up o ur
stuff with o ne hand , neither o f us letting go o f his end of the
stick. Then we walked up to where his bicycle was. [ got a
saw. So whoever takes the head, the other guy gets the green
trout and the tail part. l s that fair?"
The kid looked at the green trout and took it o ut of the
good hold on the stick in case the kid tried something. cn.:e l and held it. He stud ied the halves of the fish.
Then I had an idea. " \Vc could halfhim," [ said . " I guess so," he said . "O kay, I guess so. You take that half. I
"What do you mean?" the boy said , his teeth chattering got more meat on mine."
again. I could feel him tighten his hold on the stick. " I don't care," I said. " I'm goin g to wash him off. Which
" Hal f him. 1 got a knife. We cut him in two and each take way do you live?" l said.
half. I don't know, but I guess we could do that." "Down on Arthur Avenue." He put the green trout and his
lie pulled at a piece of his hair and looked at the fish. "You half of the fish into a dirty canvas bag. "Why?"
going to usc that knife?" "Where's that? Is that down by the ball park?" I said.
"You got o ne?" l said. "Yeah , but why, I sa id ." That kid looked scared .
The boy shook his head. "I live close to t here," I said. "So I guess 1 could ride on the
"Okay," I said . handlebars. We could take turns pumping. I got a weed we
I pulled the stick ou t and laid t he fish in the grass beside the could smoke, if it didn't get wet on me."
kid's bicycle. I took ou t the knife. A. plane taxied down the But the kid only said , "I'm freezing."
runway as I measured a line. " [tight here?" I said . The kid I washed my half in the creek. I held his big head under
nodded . T he plane roared down the runway and lifted up water and opened his mouth. The stream po ured into his
right over our heads. I started cu tting down into him. I came mo uth and out the other end of what was left of him .
to his g uts and turned him over and stripped everything out. I " I'm freezing," the kid said.
kept cutting until there was only a flap of skin o n his belly
holding him together. 1 took tht: halves and worked them in I saw George riding his bicycle at the other end of the street.
my hands and I tore him in two. He didn't sec me. I we nt around to the back to take off my
I handed the kid the tail part. boots. I unslung the creel so I cou ld raise the lid and get set to
"No," he sa id , shaking his head. "l want that half. " march into t he ho use, grinning .
I said , "They're both the same! Now goddamn, watch it, I heard t heir voices and looked thro ugh the window. They
I'm going to get mad in a minute." were sitting at the table. Smoke was all over the kitchen. I saw
" 1 do n' t care," the boy said . " If they're both the same, I' ll it was coming from a pan o n the burner. But neither of them
take that o ne . They're both the same, right ?" paid any attentio n .
"They're both tbe same ," I said . "But I think I ' m keeping "What I'm tellin g you is the gospel truth ," he sa id. "What
this half here. I did the cuttin g." do kids know? You ' II sec."
" I want it," the kid said . "l saw him first." She said, " I'll sec nothing. If I thought that, I'd rather see
"Whose knife did we use?" I said. them dead first."
48 WILL YOU PLEASE ll E QUIET, 1' LEASE?

He said , "What's the matter with you? You better be careful


what you say!" Sixty Acres
She started to cry. He smashed out a cigaret in the ashtray
and stood up.
"Ed na, do you know this pan is burning up?" he said. HE call had come an hour ago, when they were eating.
She looked at the pan. She pushed her chair back and Two men were shooting on Lee Waite's part of Top-
grabbcd the pan by its handle and threw it against the wall pem h Creek, down below the bridge o n the Cowiche Roa .
over the sink. It was the third or fourth time this wi nter someone had b en
Hc said, "Have you lost your mind? Look what you've in ther Joseph Eagle reminded Lee Waite. Joseph Eagl was
doneT" He took a dish cloth and began to wipe up stuff from an old In an who lived on his government allotment i a little
the pan. place off t Cowiche Road, with a radio he lisrene to day
I opened the back door. I starred grinning. I said, "You and night a1 a telephone in case he got sick. ee Waite
won't beli eve what I caught at Birch Creek. Just look. Look wished the o l ndian wou ld let him be about th land, that
here. Look at this. Look what I caught." Joseph Eagle wo ld do something else about it f he wanted,
My leg:-. shook. I couJJ hardly stand. I held the creel out to besides call.
her, and she finally looked in. "Oh, oh, my God! What is it? A Out on the porch Lee Waite leaned on o e leg and picked
snake! What is it? Please, please take it out before I throw up." at a string of meat be een his teeth. He\',;, sa small thi n man
"Take it out!" he screamed. "Did n 't you hear what she said? with a thin face and lon black hair. lf it ad not been for the
Take it out of here!" be screamed. phone call , he would h ve slept awh e this afternoon . He
I said, "But look, Dad. Look what it is." frowned and took his time ullin g i1 o his coat; they wou ld
He said , "I don't want to look." be gone anyway when he go there. fhat was usually the way.
I said, "It's a gigantic summer steelh ead from Birch Creek. The hunters from Toppen ish c Y <ima cou ld drive the reser-
Look! Isn't he something? It's a mooster! I chased him up and vation roads like anyone else; 1ey just vveren't allowed to
down the creek like a madman!" My voice was crazy. But I hunt. But they would cruise by 1a untenanted and irresistible
cou ld not stop. "There was anothe r one, too," I hurried on. sixty acres of his, two, mayb three times, then, if they were
"A green one. I swear! It was green! Have you ever seen a feeling reckless, pa.rk down ff the ro< Q in the t rees and hurry
green one?" through the knee-deep ba ey and wild bats, down to the creek
He looked in to the creel and his mouth fell open. - maybe getting some cks, maybe no but always doing a
He screamed, "Take that goddamn th ing out of here! What lot of shooting in th little time before they cleared out.
in the hell is th<.: matter with you? Take it the hell out of the Joseph Eagle sat cri pled in his house a1 watched them
kitchen and throw it in the god damn garbage!" plenty of times. Or he told Lee Waite.
I went back outside. I looked into the creel. What was ther<.: He cleaned his eeth with his tongue and sq,uinted in the
looked silver under the porch light. What was there fil led the late-afternoon wnter half-light. He wasn't af1:iid; it wasn't
creel. that, he told hi 1sclf. He just didn't want trouble .
I lifted him out. I held him. I held that half of him . The porch, mall and built on just before the war, almost
dark. The o e window glass had been knocked out year) before,
and Waite a.d nai led a beet sack over the opening. It
there ne t to the cabi net, matted-thick and frozen,
slightly as the cold air from outside came in around the
The walls were crowded with o ld yokes and harnesses, and up

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