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XXXI
TWOveryimportantthingshappenedintheyearthatFranciewasthirteen.Warbrokeoutin
EuropeandahorsefellinlovewithAuntEvy.
Evy'shusbandandhishorse,Drummer,hadbeenbitterenemiesforeightyears.Hewasmean
tothehorse;hekickedhimandpunchedhimandcursedathimandpulledtoohardonthebit.
ThehorsewasmeantoUncleWillieFlittman.Thehorseknewtherouteandstopped
automaticallyateachdelivery.IthadbeenhishabittostartupagainassoonasFlittman
mountedthewagon.Lately,hehadtakentostartinguptheinstantFlittmangotofftodeliver
milk.He'dbreakintoatrotandoftenFlittmanhadtorunmorethanhalfablocktocatchupwith
him.
Flittmanwasthroughdeliveringatnoon.He'dgohometoeatdinner,thenbringthehorseand
wagonbacktothestablewherehewassupposedtowashDrummerandthewagon.Thehorse
hadameantrick.OftenwhenFlittmanwaswashingunderhisbelly,he'dwetonhim.Theother
fellowswouldstandaroundwaitingforthistohappensothattheycouldhaveagoodlaugh.
Flittmancouldn'tstanditsohegotinthehabitofwashingthehorseinfrontofhishouse.That
wasallrightinthesummerbutitwasalittlehardonthehorseinthewinter.Often,onabitterly
coldday,EvywouldgodownandtellWilliethatitwasameanthingtowashDrummerinthe
coldandwithcoldwater,too.ThehorseseemedtoknowthatEvywastakinghispart.Asshe
arguedwithherhusband,Drummerwouldwhinnypitifullyandlayhisheadonhershoulder.
Onecoldday,Drummertookmattersintohisownhands-orasAuntEvysaidit,intohisownfeet.
FrancielistenedenchantedwhileAuntEvytoldthestorytotheNolans.Noonecouldtellastory
likeEvy.Sheactedoutalltheparts-eventhehorseand,inafunnyway,she'dputinwhatshe
thoughteachonewassecretlythinkingatthetime.IthappenedlikethisaccordingtoEvy:
Williewasdownonthestreetwashingtheshiveringhorsewithcoldwaterandhardyellowsoap.
Evywasstandingatthewindowwatching.Heleanedundertowashthehorse'sbellyandthe
horsetensed.FlittmanthoughtDrummerwasgoingtowetonhimagainanditwasmorethan
theharassedandfutilelittlemancouldstand.Hehauledoffandpunchedthehorseinthebelly.
Thehorseliftedalegandkickedhimdecisivelyinthehead.Flittmanrolledunderthehorseand
layunconscious.
Evyrandown.Thehorsewhinniedhappilywhenhesawherbutshepaidnoattentiontohim.
WhenhelookedoverhisshoulderandsawthatEvywastryingtodragFlittmanoutfromunder,
hestartedtowalk.MaybehewantedtohelpEvybypullingthewagonclearoftheunconscious
manormaybehewantedtofinishthejobbyrollingthewagonoverhim.Evyholleredout,
"Whoathere,boy,"andDrummerstoppedjustintime.
Alittleboyhadgoneforapolicemanwhohadgonefortheambulance.Theambulancedoctor
couldn'tmakeoutwhetherFlittmanhadafractureoraconcussion.HetookhimtoaGreenpoint
Hospital.
Well,therewasthehorseandwagonfullofemptymilkbottlestobegottenbacktothestables.
Evyhadneverdrivenahorsebutthatwasnoreasonwhyshecouldn't.Sheputononeofher
husband'soldovercoats,wrappedashawlaroundherhead,climbedupintotheseat,pickedup
thereinsandcalledout,"Gitforhome,Drummer."Thehorseswunghisheadbacktogivehera
lovinglook,thensetoffatacheerfultrot.
Itwasluckyheknewtheway.Evyhadn'ttheslightestideawherethestableswere.Hewasa
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smarthorse.HestoppedateachintersectionandwaitedwhileEvylookedupanddownthe
crossstreet.Ifallwasclear,she'dsay,"Giddy-yap,boy."Ifanothervehiclewascomingshe'd
say,"Justaminute,boy."Inthiswaytheyreachedthestableswithoutmishapandthehorse
canteredinproudlytohisusualplaceintherow.Otherdrivers,washingtheirwagons,were
surprisedtoseealadydriver.Theymadesuchacommotionthatthestablebosscamerunning
andEvytoldhimwhathadhappened.
"Isawitcoming,thebosssaid."Flittmanneverdidlikethathorseandthehorseneverlikedhim.
Well,we'llhavetotakeonanotherman."
Evy,fearfullestherhusbandlosehisjob,askedwhethershecouldn'ttakehisroutewhilehe
wasinthehospital.Shearguedthatthemilkwasdeliveredinthedarkandnoonewouldever
know.Thebosslaughedather.Shetoldhimhowmuchtheyneededthattwenty-two-fiftya
week.Shepleadedsohard,andlookedsolittleandprettyandspunky,thathegaveinatlast.
Hegaveherthelistofcustomersandtoldhertheboyswouldloadthewagonforher.Thehorse
knewtheroute,hesaid,anditwouldn'tbetoohard.Oneofthedriverssuggestedthatshetake
thestabledogalongforcompanyandprotectionagainstmilkthieves.Thebossagreedtothat.
Hetoldhertoreporttothestablesat2
AM
.Evywasthefirstmilkwomanontheroute.
Shegotalongfine.Thefellowsatthestablelikedherandsaidthatshewasabetterworker
thanFlittman.Inspiteofherpracticalness,shewassoftandfeminineandthemenlovedthe
lowandbreathlesswayshehadoftalking.Andthehorsewasveryhappyandco-operatedas
muchashecould.Hestoppedautomaticallybeforeeachhousewheremilkwastobeleftand
neverstartedupagainuntilshewassafelyintheseat.
LikeFlittman,shebroughthimtoherhousewhilesheateherdinner.Becausetheweatherwas
socold,shetookanoldquiltfromherbedandthrewitoverhimsohewouldn'tcatchcoldwhile
hewaitedforher.Shetookhisoatsupstairsandheatedthemforafewminutesintheoven
beforeshefedhim.Shedidn'tthinkice-coldoatswereappetizing.Thehorseenjoyedthe
warmedoats.Afterhefinishedmunching,shetreatedhimtohalfanappleoralumpofsugar.
Shethoughtitwastoocoldtowashhimonthestreet.Shetookhimbacktothestableforthat.
Shethoughttheyellowsoapwastoobiting,soshebroughtalongacakeofSweetheartSoap
andabigoldbathtoweltodryhimwith.Themenatthestableofferedtowashthehorseand
wagonforherbutsheinsistedonwashingthehorseherself.Twomengotintoafightoverwho
shouldwashthewagon.Evysettleditby sayingonecouldwashitonedayandtheother,the
nextday.
SheheatedDrummer'swashwateronagasplateintheboss'soffice.She'dneverthinkof
washinghimincoldwater.Shewashedhimwiththewarmwaterandthesweet-scentedsoap
anddriedhimcarefullybitbybitwiththetowel.Henevercommittedanindignityonherwhile
shewashedhim.Hesnortedandwhinniedhappilythroughoutthewashing.Hisskinrippledin
voluptuousdelightwhenEvyrubbedhimdry.Whensheworkedaroundhischest,herestedhis
tremendousheadonhersmallshoulder.Therewasnodoubtaboutit.Thehorsewasmadlyin
lovewithEvy.
WhenFlittmanrecoveredandreportedbackforwork,thehorserefusedtoleavethestablewith
himonthewagonseat.TheyhadtogiveFlittmananotherrouteandanotherhorse.But
Drummerwouldn'tgooutwithanyotherdrivereither.Thebosshadjustaboutmadeuphis
mindtohavehimsold,whenhegotanidea.Amongthedrivers,therewasaneffeminateyoung
manwhotalkedwithalisp.TheyputhimonFlittman'swagon.Drummerseemedsatisfiedand
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consentedtogooutwiththeladylikedriverontheseat.
SoDrummertookuphisregulardutiesagain.Buteverydayatnoon,heturnedintothestreet
whereEvylivedandstoodinfrontofherdoor.Hewouldn'tgobacktothestablesuntilEvyhad
comedown,givenhimabitofappleorsomesugar,strokedhisnoseandcalledhimagood
boy.
Hewasafunnyhorse,"saidFrancieaftersheheardthestory.
"Hemayhavebeenfunny,"saidAuntEvy,"buthesureknewwhathewanted."
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XXXII
FRANCIEhadstartedadiaryonherthirteenthbirthdaywiththeentry:
Dec.15.TodayIentermyteens.Whatwilltheyearbringforth?Iwonder.
Theyearbroughtforthlittleaccordingtotheentrieswhichbecamesparserastheyearworeon.
Shehadbeenpromptedtostartadiarybecausefictionalheroineskeptthemandfilledthem
withlushsighingthoughts.Franciethoughtherdiarywouldbelikethat,butexceptingforsome
romanticobservationsonHaroldClarence,actor,theentrieswereprosaic.Towardtheendof
theyearsheriffledthroughthepagesreadinganitemhereandthere.
Jan.8.GranmaMaryRommelyhasaprettycarvedboxthathergreatgrandfathermadein
Austriaoverahundredyearsago.Shehasablackdressandwhitepetticoatandshoesand
stockingsinit.Theyareherburyingclothesasshedoesn'twanttobeburiedinashroud.Uncle
WillieFlittmansaidhewantstobecrematedandhisashesscatteredfromtheStatueofLiberty.
Hethinkshe'llbeabirdinthenextlifeandhewantsagoodstart.AuntEvysaidhe'sabird
already,acuckoo.Mamascoldedmeforlaughing.Iscremationbetterthanburying?Iwonder.
Jan.10.Papasicktoday.
March21.NeeleystolepussywillowsfromMcCarren'sParkandgavethemtoGretchenHahn.
Mamasaidhe'stooyoungtobethinkingaboutgirls.There'stimeenough,shesaid.
April2.Papahasn'tworkedforthreeweeks.There'ssomethingwrongwithhishands.They
shakesomuchhecan'tholdanything.
April20.AuntSissysaysshe'sgoingtohaveababy.Idon'tbelieveitbecauseshe'sflatinfront.
Iheardhertellmamashe'scarryingitintheback.Iwonder.
May8.Papasicktoday.
May9.Papawenttoworktonightbuthadtocomehome.Saidthepeopledidn'tneedhim.
May10.Papasick.Hadbadnightmaresinthedaytimeandscreamed.IhadtogetAuntSissy.
May12.Papahasn'tworkedforoveramonth.Neeleywantstogethisworkingpapersand
leaveschool.Mamasaidno.
May15.Papaworkedtonight.Hesaidhe'sgoingtotakechargeofthingsfromnowon.He
scoldedNeeleyabouttheworkingpapers.
May17.Papacamehomesick.Somekidswerefollowinghimonthestreetandmakingfunof
him.Ihatekids.
May20.Neeleyhasapaperroutenow.Hewon'tletmehelpsellpapers.
May28.Carneydidnotpinchmycheektoday.Hepinchedsomethingelse.IguessI'mgetting
toobigtoselljunk.
May30.MissGarndersaidtheyaregoingtopublishmywintertimecompositioninthe
magazine.
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June2.Papacamehomesicktoday.NeeleyandIhadtohelpmamagethimupstairs.Papa
cried.
June4.IgotAonmycompositiontoday.WehadtowriteonMyAmbition.Ionlymadeone
mistake.Iwroteplay-writerandMissGarndersaidtherightwordwasplaywright.
June7.Twomenbroughtpapahometoday.Hewassick.Mamawasaway.Iputpapatobed
andgavehimblackcoffee.Whenmamacamehomeshesaidthatwastherightthingtodo.
June12.MissTynmoregavemeSchubert'sSerenadetoday.Mama'saheadofme.Shegot
Tannhauser'sEveningStar.Neeleysayshe'saheadofbothofus.HecanplayAlexander's
RagtimeBandwithoutnotes.
June20.Wenttoshow.SawTheGirloftheGoldenWest.ItwasthebestshowIeversaw,the
waytheblooddrippedthroughtheceiling.
June21.Papawasawayfortwonights.Wedidn'tknowwherehewas.Hecamehomesick.
June22.Mamaturnedmymattresstodayandfoundmydiaryandreadit.EverywhereIhadthe
worddrunk,shemademecrossitoutandwritesick.It'sluckyIdidn'thaveanythingagainst
mamawrittendown.IfeverIhavechildrenIwillnotreadtheirdiariesasIbelievethatevena
childisentitledtosomeprivacy.Ifmamafindsthisagainandreadsit,Ihopeshewilltakethe
hint.
June23.Neeleysayshehasagirl.Mamasayshe'stooyoung.Iwonder.
June25.UncleWillie,AuntEvy,SissyandherJohnovertonight.UncleWilliedrankalotof
beerandcried.Hesaidthenewhorsehe'sgot,Bessie,didworsethanwetonhim.Mama
scoldedmeforlaughing.
June27.WefinishedtheBibletoday.Nowwegottostartallover.We'vegonethrough
Shakespearefourtimesalready.
July1.Intolerance....
Francieputherhandovertheentrytohidethewords.Foramoment,shethoughtthewaves
wouldpassoverheragain.Butthefeelingwentaway.Sheturned'thepageandreadanother
entry.
July4.SergeantMcShanebroughtpapahometoday.Papawasn'tarrestedaswethoughtat
first.Hewassick.Mr.McShanegaveNeeleyandmeaquarter.Mamamadeusgiveitback.
July5.Papastillsick.Willheeverworkagain?Iwonder.
July6.WestartedplayingtheNorthPolegametoday.
July7.NorthPole.
July8.NorthPole.
July9.NorthPole.Expectedrescuedidnotcome.
July10.Weopenedthetin-canbanktoday.Therewaseightdollarsandtwentycentsinit.My
goldenpennieshadturnedblack.
July20.Allthemoneyfromthetin-canbankisgone.MamatooksomewashingtodoforMrs.
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McGarrity.IhelpedironbutburntaholeonMrs.McGarrity'sdrawers.Mamawon'tletmeiron
anymore.
July23.IgotajobatHendler'sRestaurantjustforthesummer.Iwashdishesduringthedinner
andsupperrush.Iusegobsofsoftsoapoutofabarrel.OnMondayamancomesandcollects
threebarrelsofscrapsoffatandbringsbackonebarrelofsoftsoaponWednesday.Nothingis
wastedinthisworld.Igettwodollarsaweekandmymeals.Itisn'thardworkbutIdon'tlikethat
soap.
July24.MamasaidI'dbeawomanbeforeIknewit.Iwonder.
July28.FlossGaddisandFrankaregoingtobemarriedassoonashegetsaraise.Franksays
thatthewayPresidentWilsonisrunningthingswe'llbeinthewarbeforeyouknowit.Hesays
he'smarryingbecausehewantsawifeandkidssothatwhenwarcomeshedoesn'thaveto
fight.Flossiesaysthat'snottrue;it'sacaseoftruelove.Iwonder.IrememberhowFlossie
usedtochasehimyearsagowhenhewaswashingthehorse.
July29.Papawasn'tsicktoday.He'sgoingtogetajob.Hesaidmamahastostopwashingfor
Mrs.McGarrityandIhavetogiveupmyjob.Hesayswe'llberichandallgotoliveinthe
country.Iwonder.
Aug.10.Sissysaysshe'sgoingtohaveababysoon.Iwonder.She'sasflatasapancake.
Aug.17.Papahasbeenworkingforthreeweeksnow.Wehavewonderfulsuppers.
Aug.18.Papa'ssick.
Aug.19.Papa'ssickbecausehelosthisjob.Mr.Hendlerwon'ttakemebackintherestaurant.
HesaysI'mnotreliable.
Sept.1.AuntEvy,UncleWillieovertonight.WilliesangFrankieandJohnnyandputdirtywords
init.AuntEvystoodonachairandpunchedhiminthenose.Mamascoldedmeforlaughing.
Sept.10.Istartedmylastyearofschool.MissGarndersaidifIkeepongettingA'sonmy
composition,shemightletmewriteaplayforgraduation.Ihaveaverybeautifulidea.Therewill
beagirlinawhitedressandherhairhangingdownherbackandshewillbeFate.Othergirls
willcomeoutonthestageandtellwhatthey
want
fromLifeandFatewilltellthemwhatthey'll
get
.Attheendagirlinabluedresswillspreadoutherarmsandsay,"Islifeworthlivingthen?"
Andtherewillbeachorusthatsays"yes."Onlyitwillallbeinrhyme.Itoldpapaaboutitbuthe
wastoosicktounderstand.Poorpapa.
Sept.18.IaskedmamacouldIgetaCastleClipandshesaidnothathairwasawoman's
crowningbeauty.Doesthatmeansheexpectsmetobeawomansoon?IhopesobecauseI
wanttobemyownbossandgetmyhaircutoffifIfeellikeit.
Sept.24.TonightwhenItookabath,IdiscoveredthatIwaschangingintoawoman.It'sabout
time.
Oct.25.IwillbegladwhenthisbookisfilledupasIamgettingtiredofkeepingadiary.Nothing
importanteverhappens.
Franciecametothelastentry.Onlyonemoreblankpageleft.Well,thesoonershegotitfilled,
thesoonerthediarykeepingwouldbeoverandshewouldn'thavetobotherwithitanymore.
Shewetherpencil.
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Nov.2.Sexissomethingthatinvariablycomesintoeveryone'slife.Peoplewritepiecesagainst
it.Thepriestspreachagainstit.Theyevenmakelawsagainstit.Butitkeepsgoingonjustthe
same.Allthegirlsinschoolhavebuttheonetopicofconversation;sexandboys.Theyarevery
curiousaboutit.AmIcuriousaboutsex?
Shestudiedthelastsentence.Thelineontheinneredgeofherrighteyebrowdeepened.She
crossedoutthesentenceandrewroteittoread:"Iamcuriousaboutsex."
XXXIII
YES,therewasagreatcuriosityaboutsexamongtheadolescentchildrenofWilliamsburg.
Therewasalotoftalkaboutit.Amongtheyoungerchildrentherewassomeexhibitionism(you
showmeandI'llshowyou).Afewhypocritesdevisedsuchevasivegamesas"playinghouse"
or"doctor."Afewuninhibitedonesdidwhattheycalled"playdirty."
Therewasagreathush-hushaboutsexinthatneighborhood.Whenchildrenaskedquestions,
theparentsdidn'tknowhowtoanswerthemforthereasonthatthesepeopledidnotknowthe
correctwordstouse.Eachmarriedcouplehaditsownsecretwordsforthingswhichwere
whisperedinbedinthequietofnight.Buttherewerefewmothersbraveenoughtobringthese
wordsoutintothedaylightandpresentthemtothechild.Whenthechildrengrewup,theyin
turninventedwordswhichtheycouldn'ttell
their
children.
KatieNolanwasneitheramentalnoraphysicalcoward.Shetackledeveryproblemmasterfully.
Shedidn'tvolunteersexinformationbutwhenFrancieaskedquestionssheansweredasbest
sheknewhow.OncewhenFrancieandNeeleywereyoungchildren,theyhadagreedtoask
theirmothercertainquestions.Theystoodbeforeheroneday.Franciewasthespokesman.
"Mama,wheredidwecomefrom?"
"Godgaveyoutome."
TheCatholicchildrenwerewillingtoacceptthatbutthenextquestionwasasticker."Howdid
Godgetustoyou?"
"Ican'texplainthatbecauseI'dhavetousealotofbigwordsthatyouwouldn'tunderstand."
"Saythebigwordsandseeifweunderstandthem."
"Ifyouunderstoodthem,Iwouldn'thavetotellyou."
"Sayitinsomekindofwords.Tellushowbabiesgethere."
"No,you'retoolittleyet.IfItoldyou,you'dgoaroundtellingalltheotherchildrenwhatyouknow
andtheirmotherswouldcomeuphereandsayIwasadirtyladyandtherewouldbefights."
"Well,telluswhygirlsaredifferentfromboys."
Mamathoughtforawhile."Themaindifferenceisthatalittlegirlsitsdownwhenshegoestothe
bathroomandalittleboystandsup."
"Butmama,"saidFrancie."IstandupwhenI'mafraidinthatdarktoilet."
"AndI,"confessedlittleNeeley,"sitdownwhen..."
Mamainterrupted."Well,there'salittlebitofmanineverywomanandalittlebitofwomanin
everyman."
Thatendedthediscussionbecauseitwassopuzzlingtothechildrenthattheydecidedtogono
furtherwithit.
WhenFrancie,asshewroteinherdiary,startedtochangeintoawoman,shewenttomama
abouthersexcuriosity.AndKatietoldhersimplyandplainlyallthatsheherselfknew.There
weretimesinthetellingwhenKatiehadtousewordswhichwereconsidereddirtybutsheused
thembravelyandunflinchinglybecausesheknewnootherwords.Noonehadevertoldher
aboutthethingsshetoldherdaughter.Andinthosedays,therewerenobooksavailablefor
peoplelikeKatiefromwhichtheycouldlearnaboutsexintherightway.Inspiteoftheblunt
wordsandhomelyphrasing,therewasnothingrevoltinginKatie'sexplanations.
Franciewasluckierthanmostchildrenoftheneighborhood.Shefoundoutallsheneededto
knowatthetimeshehadtoknowaboutit.Sheneverneededtoslinkintodarkhallwayswith
othergirlsandexchangeguiltyconfidences.Sheneverhadtolearnthingsinadistortedway.
Ifnormalsexwasagreatmysteryintheneighborhood,criminalsexwasanopenbook.Inall
poorandcongestedcityareas,theprowlingsexfiendisanightmarishhorrorthathaunts
parents.Thereseemstobeoneineveryneighborhood.TherewasoneinWilliamsburginthat
yearwhenFrancieturnedfourteen.Foralongtime,hehadbeenmolestinglittlegirls,and
althoughthepolicewereonacontinuallookoutforhim,hewasnevercaught.Oneofthe
reasonswasthatwhenalittlegirlwasattacked,theparentskeptitsecretsothatnoonewould
knowanddiscriminateagainstthechildandlookonherasathingapartandmakeitimpossible
forhertoresumeanormalchildhoodwithherplaymates.
Oneday,alittlegirlonFrancie'sblockwaskilledandithadtocomeoutintheopen.Shehad
beenaquietlittlethingofseven,wellbehavedandobedient.Whenshedidn'tcomehomefrom
school,hermotherdidn'tworry;shethoughtthechildhadstoppedsomewheretoplay.After
supper,theywentlookingforher;theyquestionedherplaymates.Noonehadseenthechild
sinceschoolletout.
Afearwavesweptovertheneighborhood.Childrenwerecalledinoffthestreetsandkept
behindlockeddoors.McShanecameoverwithhalfadozenpolicemenandtheybegan
combingtheroofsandcellars.
Thechildwasfoundatlast,by herloutishseventeen-year-oldbrother.Herlittlebodywaslying
acrossabusted-downdollcarriageinthecellarofanear-byhouse.Hertorndressand
undergarments,hershoesandherlittleredsockswerethrownonanashheap.Thebrother
wasquestioned.Hewasexcitedandstutteredwhenheanswered.Theyarrestedhimon
suspicion.McShanewasn'tstupid.Thearrestwasablindtoputthekilleroffguard.McShane
knewthekillerwouldfeelsafeandstrikeagain;andthistime,thepolicewouldbewaitingfor
him.
Parentswentintoaction.Thechildrenweretold(andtohellwithfindingtherightwords)about
thefiendandthehorriblethingshedid.Littlegirlswerewarnednottotakecandyfromstrangers,
nottospeaktostrangemen.Motherstooktowaitinginthedoorwaysfortheirchildrenwhen
schoolletout.Thestreetsweredeserted.ItwasasifthePiedPiperhadledallthechildrenoff
tosomemountainfastness.Thewholeneighborhoodwasterrorized.Johnnygotsoworried
aboutFranciethathegotagun.
JohnnyhadafriendnamedBurtwhowasnightwatchmanatthecornerbank.Burtwasforty
yearsoldandmarriedtoagirlhalfhisageofwhomhewasinsanelyjealous.Hesuspectedthat
shetookaloverinthenightswhenhewasatthebank.Hebroodedoverthissomuchthathe
cametotheconclusionthatitwouldbeareliefifheknewforsurethatthiswasso.Hewas
willingtoexchangesoul-destroyingsuspicionforheart-breakingreality.Accordingly,heslipped
homeatoddhoursduringthenightwhilehisfriend,JohnnyNolan,watchedthebankforhim.
Theyhadsignals.When,inthenight,poorBurtgotsotormentedthathehadtogohome,he
askedthecoponthebeattoringtheNolanbellthreetimes.IfJohnnywashomewhenthe
signalcame,hejumpedoutofbedlikeafireman,dressedhurriedlyandrantothebankas
thoughhislifedependedonit.
Afterthewatchmanslippedout,JohnnylayonBurt'snarrowcotandfeltthehardrevolver
throughthethinpillow.Hehopedsomeonewouldattempttorobthebanksohecouldsavethe
moneyandbeahero.Butallthehoursofhisnightwatchingwerewithoutevent.Therewasn't
eventheexcitementofthewatchmancatchinghiswifeinadultery.Thegirlalwayswassleeping
soundlyandalonewhenherhusbandsneakedintotheirflat.
WhenJohnnyheardoftherapeandmurder,hewentovertothebanktoseehisfriend,Burt.He
askedthewatchmanwhetherhehadanothergun.
"Sure.Why?"
"I'dlikethelendofit,Burt."
"Why,Johnny?"
"There'sthisfellowloosethatkilledthelittlegirlonourblock."
"Ihopetheyketchhim,Johnny.Isurehopetheyketchtheson-of-a-bitch."
"Ihaveadaughterofmyown."
"Yeah,yeah,Iknow,Johnny."
"SoI'dlikeyoutoloanmeagun."
"It'sagainsttheSullivanLaw."
"It'sagainstsomeotherlawforyoutogoawayfromthebankandleavemehere.Howdoyou
know?Imaybearobber."
"Aw,no,Johnny."
"Ifigureifwebreakonelaw,wemightaswellbreakanother."
"Allright.Allright.I'lllendit."Heopenedadeskdrawerandtookoutarevolver."NowI'llshow
you.Whenyouwanttokillsomebody,youpointitat'emlikethis,"hepointeditatJohnny,"and
pullthisthing."
"Isee.Letmetryit."Inhisturn,JohnnyaimeditatBurt.
"'Course,"saidBurt,"Iain'tnevershotofftheGoddamnedthingmyself."
"ThisisthefirsttimeIeverheldaguninmyhand,"explainedJohnny.
"Watchoutthen,"saidthewatchmanquietly."It'sloaded!"
Johnnyshiveredandputthegundowncarefully."Say,Burt,Ididn'tknow.Wemighthavekilled
eachother."
"Jesus,you'reright."Thewatchmanshuddered.
"Onejerkofafingerandamanisdead,"musedJohnny.
"Johnny,youain'tthinkingofkillingyourself?"
"No,I'mlettingtheboozedothat."Johnnystartedtolaughbutstoppedabruptly.Asheleftwith
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