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/12/2008MinutesPicoultknow it’s going to be an intriguing paragraph when I first thank the man who came to my house to teach me how to shoot a handgun in a woodpile in my own backyard: Captain Frank Moran. Thanks, too, to his colleague, Lieutenant Michael Evans, for detailed information on firearms, - 35


“Bathroom,” Peter ground out, and he pushed away, hurrying down the hallway.locked himself inside a stall and threw the picture of himself and Josie into the toilet bowl. Then he unzipped his fly and urinated on top of it. “Fuck you,” he whispered, and then he said it loud enough to rattle the walls of the stall. “Fuck you all.”minute Josie’s mother left the room, Josie plucked the thermometer out of her mouth and held it up against the lightbulb of her nightstand lamp. She squinted to read the tiny numbers, and then stuck it back into her mouth as she heard her mother’s footsteps. “Hunh,” her mother said, holding the thermometer up to the window to better read it. “I guess you are sick.”gave what she hoped was a convincing moan and rolled over.
“You sure you’re going to be all right here, alone?”
“Yeah.”
“You can call me if you need me. I can recess court and come back home.”
“Okay.”sat down on the bed and kissed her forehead. “You want juice? Soup?”shook her head. “I think I just need to go back to sleep.” She closed her eyes so that her mother would get the message.waited until she heard the car drive away, and even then she stayed in bed for an extra ten minutes to make sure she was alone. Then Josie got out of bed and booted up her computer. She Googled abortifacient-the word she’d looked up yesterday, the one that meant something that terminates a pregnancy.had been thinking about this. It wasn’t that she didn’t want a baby; it wasn’t even that she didn’t want Matt’s baby. All she knew for certain was that she didn’t want to have to make that decision yet.she told her mother, her mom would curse and scream and then find a way to take her to Planned Parenthood or the doctor’s office. To be honest, it wasn’t even the cursing and screaming that worried Josie. It was realizing that-had her own mother done this, seventeen years ago-Josie wouldn’t even be alive to be having this problem.had toyed with contacting her father again, which would have taken an enormous helping of humility. He hadn’t wanted Josie born, so theoretically, he’d probably go out of his way to help her have an abortion..was something about going to a doctor, or a clinic, or even to a parent, that she couldn’t quite swallow. It seemed so…deliberate.before she reached that point, Josie had chosen to do a bit of research. She couldn’t risk being caught on a computer at school looking these things up, so she’d decided to play hooky. She sank into the desk chair, one leg folded beneath her, and marveled as she received nearly 99,000 hits.she already knew: the old wives’ tales about sticking a knitting needle up inside her, or drinking laxatives or castor oil. Some she’d never imagined: douching with potassium, swallowing gingerroot, eating unripe pineapple. And then there were the herbs: oil infusions of calamus, mugwort, sage, and wintergreen; cocktails made out of black cohosh and pennyroyal. Josie wondered where you even got these things-it wasn’t like they were in the aisle next to the aspirin at CVS.remedies, the website said, worked 40-45 percent of the time. Which, she supposed, was at least a start.leaned closer, reading.’t start herbal treatment after the sixth week of pregnancy.in mind these are not reliable ways to end pregnancy.the teas day and night, so you don’t ruin the progress you made during the day.the blood and add water to dilute it, and look at the clots and tissue to make sure the placenta has passed.grimaced.1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the dried herb per cup of water, 3-4 times a day. Don’t confuse tansy with tansy ragwort, which has been fatal to cows that have eaten it growing nearby.she found something that looked less, well, medieval: vitamin C. Surely that couldn’t be too bad for her? Josie clicked on the link. Ascorbic acid, eight grams, for five days. Menstruation should begin on the sixth or seventh day.got up from her computer and went into her mother’s medicine cabinet. There was a big white bottle of vitamin C, along with smaller ones of acidophilus, vitamin B12, and calcium supplements.opened the bottle and hesitated. The other warning that the websites all gave was to make sure you had reason to subject your body to these herbs before you started.padded back into her room and opened her backpack. Inside, still in its plastic bag from the pharmacy, was the pregnancy test she’d bought yesterday before she came home from school.read the directions twice. How could anyone pee on a stick for that long? With a frown, she sat down and went to the bathroom, holding the small wand between her legs. Then she set it into its little holder and washed her hands.sat on the lip of the bathtub and watched the control line turn blue. And then, slowly, she watched the second, perpendicular line appear: a plus sign, a positive, a cross to bear.the snow blower ran out of gas in the middle of the driveway, Peter went to the spare can they kept in the garage, only to discover it was empty. He tipped it over, watched a single drop strike the ground between his sneakers.usually had to be asked, like, six times to go out and clear the paths that led to the front and back doors, but today he’d turned to the chore without any badgering from his parents. He wanted-no, scratch that-he needed to get out there so that his feet could move at the same pace as his mind. But when he squinted against the lowering sun, he could still see a scroll of images on the backs of his eyelids: the cold air striking his ass as Matt Royston pulled his pants down, the milk splattering on his sneakers, Josie’s gaze sliding away.trudged down the driveway toward the home of his neighbor across the street. Mr. Weatherhall was a retired cop, and his house looked it. There was a big flagpole in the middle of the front yard; in the summertime the grass was trimmed like a crew cut; there were never any leaves on the lawn in the fall. Peter used to wonder if Weatherhall came out in the middle of the night to rake them.far as Peter knew, Mr. Weatherhall now passed his time watching the Game Show Network and doing his militaristic gardening in sandals with black socks. Because he didn’t let his grass grow longer than a half inch, he usually had a spare gallon of gas lying around; Peter had borrowed it on his dad’s behalf other times for the lawn mower or the snow blower.rang the doorbell-which played “Hail to the Chief”-and Mr. Weatherhall answered. “Son,” he said, although he knew Peter’s name and had for years. “How are you doing?”
“Fine, Mr. Weatherhall. But I was wondering if you had any gas I could borrow for the snow blower. Well, gas I could use. I mean, I can’t really give it back.”
“Come on in, come on in.” He held the door open for Peter, who walked into the house. It smelled of cigars and cat food. A bowl of Fritos was set next to his La-Z-Boy; on the television, Vanna White flipped a vowel. “Great Expectations,” Mr. Weatherhall shouted at the contestants as he passed. “What are you, morons?”led Peter into the kitchen. “You wait here. The basement’s not fit for company.” Which, Peter realized, probably meant there was a dust mote on a shelf.leaned against the counter, his hands splayed on the Formica. Peter liked Mr. Weatherhall, because even when he was trying to be gruff, you could tell that he just really missed being a policeman and had no one else to practice on. When Peter was younger, Joey and his friends had always tried to screw around with Weatherhall, by piling snow at the end of his plowed driveway or letting their dogs take a dump on the manicured lawn. He could remember when Joey was around eleven and had egged Weatherhall’s house on Halloween. He and his friends had been caught in the act. Weatherhall dragged them into the house for a “scared straight” chat. The guy’s a fruitcake, Joey had told him. He keeps a gun in his flour canister.cocked an ear toward the stairwell that led down to the basement. He could still hear Mr. Weatherhall puttering around down there, getting the gas can.sidled closer to the sink, where there were four stainless steel canisters. SODA, read the tiny one, and then in increasing size: BROWN SUGAR. SUGAR. FLOUR. Peter gingerly opened up the flour canister.puff of white powder flew into his face.coughed and shook his head. It figured; Joey had been lying., Peter opened up the sugar canister beside it and found himself staring down at a 9-millimeter semiautomatic.was a Glock 17-probably the same one Mr. Weatherhall had carried as a policeman. Peter knew this because he knew about guns-he’d grown up with them. But there was a difference between a hunting rifle or a shotgun and this neat and compact weapon. His father said that anyone who wasn’t in active law enforcement and kept a handgun was an idiot; it was more likely to do damage than protect you. The problem with a handgun was that the muzzle was so short that you forgot about holding it away from you for safety’s sake; aiming was as simple and nonchalant as pointing your finger.touched it. Cold; smooth. Mesmerizing. He brushed the trigger, cupping his hand around the gun; that slight, sleek weight..jammed the cover back on the canister and whipped around, folding his arms in front of himself. Mr. Weatherhall appeared at the top of the stairs, cradling a red gas can. “All set,” he said. “Bring it back full.”
“I will,” Peter replied. He left the kitchen and did not look in the general direction of the canister, although it was what he wanted to do, more than anything.school, Matt arrived with chicken soup from a local restaurant and comic books. “What are you doing out of bed?” he asked.
“You rang the doorbell,” Josie said. “I had to answer it, didn’t I?”fussed over her as if she had mono or cancer, not just a virus, which is what she’d told him when he called her on his cell from school that morning. Tucking her back into bed, he settled her with the soup in her lap. “This is supposed to cure, like, anything, right?”
“What about the comics?”shrugged. “My mom used to get those for me when I was little and stayed home sick. I don’t know. They always sort of made me feel better.”he sat down beside her on the bed, Josie picked up one of the comics. Why was Wonder Woman always so bodacious? If you were a 38DD, would you honestly go leaping off buildings and fighting crime without a good jogging bra?of that reminded Josie that she could barely put on her own bra these days, her breasts were so tender. And that made her recall the pregnancy test that she’d wrapped up in paper towels and thrown away outside in the garbage can so her mother wouldn’t find it.
“Drew’s planning a shindig this Friday night,” Matt said. “His parents are going to Foxwoods for the weekend.” Matt frowned. “I hope you’re feeling better by then, so you can go. What do you think you’ve got, anyway?”turned to him and took a deep breath. “It’s what I don’t have. My period. I’m two weeks late. I took a pregnancy test today.”
“He’s already talked to some guy at Sterling College about buying a couple of kegs from a frat. I’m telling you, this party will be off the hook.”
“Did you hear me?”smiled at her the way you’d indulge a child who just told you the sky is falling. “I think you’re overreacting.”
“It was positive.”
“Stress can do that.”’s jaw dropped. “And what if it’s not stress? What if it’s, you know, real?”
“Then we’re in it together.” Matt leaned forward and kissed her forehead. “Baby,” he said, “you could never get rid of me.”few days later, when it snowed, Peter deliberately drained the snow blower of its gas, and then walked across the street to Mr. Weatherhall’s house.
“Don’t tell me you ran out again,” he said as he opened the door.
“I guess my dad didn’t get around to filling up our spare tank yet,” Peter replied.
“Gotta make time,” Mr. Weatherhall said, but he was already moving into his house, leaving the door wide so Peter could follow. “Gotta stick to a schedule, that’s how it’s done.”they passed the television, Peter glanced at the cast of the Match Game. “Big Bertha is so big,” Gene Rayburn was saying, “that instead of skydiving with a parachute, she uses a blank.”moment Mr. Weatherhall disappeared downstairs, Peter opened the sugar canister on the kitchen counter. The gun was still inside. Peter reached for it and reminded himself to breathe.covered the canister and put it back exactly where it had been. Then he took the gun and jammed it, nose first, into the waistband of his jeans. His down jacket billowed over the front, so you couldn’t see a bulge at all.gingerly slid open the silverware drawer, peeked in the cabinets. It was when he ran his hand along the dusty top of the refrigerator that he felt the smooth body of a second handgun.
“You know, it’s wise to keep a spare tank…” Mr. Weatherhall’s voice floated from the bottom of the basement stairs, accompanied by the percussion of his footsteps. Peter let go of the gun, snapped his hands back to his sides.was sweating by the time Mr. Weatherhall walked into the kitchen. “You all right?” he asked, peering at Peter. “You look a little white around the gills.”
“I stayed up late doing homework. Thanks for the gas. Again.”
“You tell your dad I’m not bailing him out next time,” Mr. Weatherhall said, and he waved Peter off from the porch.waited until Mr. Weatherhall had closed the door, and then he started to run, kicking up snow in his wake. He left the gas can next to the snow blower and burst into his house. He locked his bedroom door, took the gun from his pants, and sat down.was black and heavy crafted out of alloyed steel. What was really surprising was how fake the Glock looked-like a kid’s toy gun-although Peter supposed he ought to be marveling instead at how realistic the toy guns actually were. He racked the slide and released it. He ejected the magazine.closed his eyes and held the gun up to his head. “Bang,” he whispered.he set the gun on his bed and pulled off one of his pillowcases. He wrapped the Glock inside it, rolling it up like a bandage. He slipped the gun between his mattress and his box spring and lay down.would be like that fairy tale, the one with the princess who could feel a bean or a pea or whatever. Except Peter wasn’t a prince, and the lump wouldn’t keep him up at night.fact, it might make him sleep better.Josie’s dream, she was standing in the most beautiful tepee. The walls were made of buttery deerskin, sewed tight with golden thread. Stories had been painted all around her in shades of red, ochre, violet, and blue-tales of hunts and loves and losses. Rich buffalo skins were piled high for cushions; coals glowed like rubies in the firepit. When she looked up, she could see stars falling through the smoke hole.Josie realized that her feet were sliding; worse, that there was no way to stop this. She glanced down and saw only sky; wondered whether she’d been silly enough to believe she could walk among the clouds, or if the ground beneath her feet had disappeared when she looked away.started to fall. She could feel herself tumbling head over heels; felt the skirt she was wearing balloon and the wind rush between her legs. She didn’t want to open her eyes, but she couldn’t help peeking: the ground was rushing up at an alarming pace, postage-stamp squares of green and brown and blue that grew larger, more detailed, more realistic.was her school. Her house. The roof over her bedroom. Josie felt herself hurtle toward it and she steeled herself for the inevitable crash. But you never hit the ground in your dreams; you never get to see yourself die. Instead, Josie felt herself splash, her clothes billowing like the sails of a jellyfish as she treaded warm water.woke up, breathless, and realized that she still felt wet. She sat up, lifted up the covers, and saw the pool of blood beneath her.three positive pregnancy tests, after her period was three weeks late-she was miscarrying.. Josie buried her face in the sheets and started to cry.was sitting at the kitchen table on Saturday morning, reading the latest issue of The Economist and methodically working his way through a whole-wheat waffle, when the phone rang. He glanced at Lacy, who-beside the sink-was technically closer to it, but she held up her hands, dripping with water and soap. “Could you…?”stood up and answered it. “Hello?”
“Mr. Houghton?”
“Speaking,” Lewis said.
“This is Tony, from Burnside’s. Your hollow-point bullets are in.”’s was a gun shop; Lewis went there in the fall for his Hoppe’s solvent and his ammunition; once or twice he’d been lucky enough to bring a deer in to be weighed. But it was February; deer season was over now. “I didn’t order those,” Lewis said. “There must be some mistake.”hung up the phone and sat down again in front of his waffle. Lacy lifted a large frying pan out of the sink and set it on the drainer to dry. “Who was that?”turned the page in his magazine. “Wrong number,” he said.had a hockey game in Exeter. Josie went to his home games, but rarely the ones where the team traveled. Today, though, she had asked her mother to borrow the car and drove to the seacoast, leaving early enough to be able to catch him in the locker room beforehand. She poked her head inside the visiting team’s locker room and was immediately hit with the reek of all the equipment. Matt stood with his back to her, wearing his chest protector and his padded pants and his skates. He hadn’t yet pulled on his jersey.of the other guys noticed her first. “Hey, Royston,” a senior said. “I think your fan club president’s arrived.”didn’t like it when she showed up before a game. Afterward: well, that was mandatory-he needed someone to celebrate his win. But he’d made it very clear that he didn’t have time for Josie when he was getting ready; that he’d only get shit from the guys if she clung that closely; that Coach wanted the team to be alone to focus on their game. Still, she thought that this might be an exception.shadow passed over his face as his team started catcalls., you need help putting on your jock?, quick, get the guy a bigger stick…
“Yeah,” Matt shot back as he walked across the rubber mats toward Josie. “You just wish you had someone who could suck the chrome off a hood ornament.”felt her cheeks flame as the entire locker room burst into laughter at her expense, and the rude comments shifted focus from Matt to her. Grasping her by the arm, Matt pulled Josie outside.
“I told you not to interrupt me before a game,” he said.
“I know. But it was important…”
“This is important,” Matt corrected, gesturing around the rink.
“I’m fine,” Josie blurted out.
“Good.”stared at him. “No, Matt. I mean…I’m fine. You were right.”he realized what Josie was really trying to tell him, he put his arms around her waist and lifted her off the ground. His gear caught like armor between them as he kissed her. It made Josie think of knights heading off to battle; of the girls they left behind. “Don’t you forget it,” Matt said, and he grinned.TWOyou begin a journey of revenge,by digging two graves:for your enemy, and one for yourself.
CHINESE PROVERBisn’t the inner city. You don’t find crack dealers on Main Street, or households below the poverty level. The crime rate is virtually nonexistent.’s why people are still so shell-shocked.ask, How could this happen here?. How could it not happen here?it takes is a troubled kid with access to guns.don’t have to go to an inner city to find someone who meets those criteria. You only have to open your eyes. The next likely candidate might be upstairs, or sprawled in front of your TV right now. But hey, you just go right on pretending it won’t happen here. Tell yourself that you’re immune because of where you live or who you are.’s easier that way, isn’t it?Months Aftercan tell a lot about people by their habits. For example, Jordan had come across potential jurors who religiously took their cups of coffee to their computers and read the entire New York Times online. There were others whose welcome screen on AOL didn’t even include news updates, because they found it too depressing. There were rural people who owned televisions but only got a grainy public broadcasting station because they couldn’t afford the money it would take to bring cable lines up their dirt road; and there were others who had bought elaborate satellite systems so that they could catch Japanese soaps or Sister Mary Margaret’s Prayer Hour at three in the morning. There were those who watched CNN, and those who watched FOX News.was the sixth hour of individual voir dire, the process by which the jury for Peter’s trial would be selected. This involved long days in the courtroom with Diana Leven and Judge Wagner, as the pool of jurors dribbled one by one into the witness seat to be asked a variety of questions by the defense and the prosecution. The goal was to find twelve folks, plus an alternate, who weren’t personally affected by the shooting; a jury that could commit to a long trial if necessary, instead of worrying about their home business or who was taking care of their toddlers. A group of people who had not been living and breathing the news about this trial for the past five months-or, as Jordan was affectionately starting to think of them: the blessed few that had been living under a rock.was August, and for the past week the temperatures had climbed to nearly a hundred degrees during the day. To make matters worse, the air-conditioning in the courtroom was on the fritz, and Judge Wagner smelled like mothballs and feet when he sweated.had already taken off his jacket and loosened the top button of his shirt beneath his tie. Even Diana-who he secretly believed had to be some kind of Stepford robot-had twisted her hair up and jammed a pencil into the bun to secure it. “What are we up to?” Judge Wagner asked. 1 ... 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 ... 48 2010-07-19 18:44 Читать похожую статью
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