Saturday, June 25, 2016

More Works on Paper | Winter Spring 2016

Counting Column, acrylic on paper, 37″ x 25.25″





Double Double, acrylic on paper, 37″ x 25.25″



Golden Era, acrylic on paper, 37″ x 25.25″



Potter, acrylic on paper, 37″ x 25.25″


Theater Piece, acrylic on paper, 37″ x 25.25″



Triplo, acrylic on paper, 37″ x 25.25″



Vajna, acrylic on paper, 37″ x 25.25″

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stasis and Oatmeal

Stasis and Oatmeal is a hand-painted book, created in an edition of five (plus one artist copy), page size 11" x 15" (opens to 15" x 22"), 32 pages plus cover, cover is hot foil stamped, painted on Brown Stonehenge, created in 2016, with a binding by John Demerritt.































































Thursday, June 9, 2016

Works on Paper | Winter-Spring 2016

Theater Piece 01, acrylic on paper, 35" x 25"


Theater Piece 02, acrylic on paper, 39.5" x 25"




Bodhisattvas All, acrylic on paper, 39.5" x 26"


Golemetti T-F, acrylic on paper. 37" x 25"


Table Flower 02, 30.5" x 22.5"


Flower on Black, acrylic on paper, 37" x 25"


North Beach 02, acrylic on paper, 29.5" x 20"



27 October 1938, acrylic on paper, 33.5" x 25"



Awaken, acrylic on paper, 37" x 25.25"


Golemetti on Brown, acrylic on paper, 30" x 22.5"


Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Boy Who Drew Dirty | Part One: A Paperboy Hero | Chapter Eleven (end)

This story begins here.
Eleven

“Shes a hussy,” Dad says to Mom. “I could see that when we met her last summer at the Talent Wagon, wiggling her hips, showing off. But women never see these things.”
            “And men see what they want,” Mom snaps back. 
            At first I think theyre talking about Rose Anne, but it turns out its Molly. Dads just found out she's PG. Hes always the last to learn anything. Its Saturday morning and Im listening from the stairway as they talk in the kitchen.
            Well,” Dad asks, “whats she gonna do?”
            Don’t know. No one knows where shes gone.
            (Actually, Ralph told me. Shes living with her aunt in Des Moines.)
            “Just as well!” my dad sighs. “But, Michael, could he have...”
            “Dont be silly! He didnt even know what PG meant. I tried to explain, but I dont know how well I did. I wish youd help out.”
            “Told you a thousand times, I come from a time we didnt talk about such things.”
            Theres a silence. Dad slurps his coffee and I move nearer the door.
            "Michael,” my mother calls out, “are you eavesdropping again?”
            I jump up and enter the kitchen.
            “Hi!” I say, as naturally as possible. “I need you to sign this form.”
             Mom looks it over. “Whats this?”
            “I already told you. Its an okay to take the test for the scholarship to Exeter.” 
            She hands it to Dad. He signs it and hands it back. “Just because Clarence got a scholarship,” he says, “doesnt mean everyone can, so dont get your hopes up.”

*     *     *

            I dont find the multiple choice part of the test hard, but the essay (Why I Wish To Attend Exeter) is problematic. Still, there are only seven of us taking the test and the other guys all look like dummies from South Omaha, so I bite my pencil and get back to work. When I finally turn in my papers, I feel pretty good. But no time to dawdle, Im meeting Ralph at the museum to show him the dioramas. Were getting extra points for visiting, the only thing that would get him to come. Me, I already know what a diorama looks like. Still, Ralph and I have become real friends now and I want him to graduate so I help him with school––and he helps me with other things. Like explaining how you cause babies.
            “That aint the way its supposed to be,” Ralph gripes, looking at a sculpture of a young ballerina. “It should be all stone. Using cloth is cheating.”
            “Its bronze, not stone,” I say, “and I think the cloth looks neat.”
            The statues by Degas and though its made of bronze, its got a real cloth tutu and a ribbon tied to its hair­­––mixing cloth with metal is what makes it interesting. “In modern art,” I explain, “you get to do what youre not supposed to.”
            “Ill just bet he does what hes not sposed to do,” says Ralph, about the artist, while pointing between the legs of the statue. “Ill bet he uses art as an excuse to get little girls naked.” Then, pointing to a painting of a duke, “I like that one over there better.”
            I nod my head. “I like how everythings black except the red of his coat.”
            “I like the sword,” says Ralph.
            I take him down to the basement where theyve got rooms set up behind glass, rooms with old-time furniture, from when the pioneers first came to Nebraska. 
            “This is boring,” Ralph complains. “How long do we have to stay to get credit?”
            “Around this corner,” I say, pulling him along. “Look!
            Theres a huge glass window lit from within and though were deep in a museum, its as if were suddenly out on the prairie. “See how theyve made the background look like it goes on forever? And how about that Indian: real quills, feathers, arrowheads.”
            Ralph nods. “Pretty neat. But I dont like Indians. Bunch of drunks.”
            “My brothers dance in an Indian Society––with snakes in their mouths,” I say, “and the Indians that teach them arent drunks. They dance with fire hoops!”
            “And fire water,” Ralph laughs. 
            I ignore him. “Whats important is how real it looks. And we can do that with our dam, we can make it look this real, if only...”
            “W-w-what are you boys d-d-doing here?”
            Ralph and I jump, then spin around to find Piggly-Wiggly Lowry, arms on his hips, distrust on his face. “Ive s-s-seen you here before, Michael, and thought it odd, but you've always been an odd boy." Then turning to Ralph, “But I find it twice as m-m-mysterious finding you here. You must admit, Ralph, this is a surprising place to find someone like you. And a p-p-principal learns to be s-s-suspicious.” His eyebrows rise, eyes tighten. “You boys wouldnt be trying to p-p-pull something funny, would you?”
            I look at Ralph and Ralph looks at me. Whats he talking about?
            “Okay, boys, c-c-come on,” he coaxes, as if he can fool us into confessing to what-crime-I-dont-know. “Whats going on?”
            “It’s our dam project,” Ralph starts out.
            “Never a need to swear.” Mr. Lowry warns.
            Our Hoover Dam project, sir,” I add.
            Mr. Lowry looks as if he doesnt believe us.
            “Shit,” Ralph grumbles. “We ain’t doin’ nothing wrong here...”
            “Your vocabulary p-p-proves, young man, that you do not belong in a museum,” snaps Mr. Lowry, his expression turning to anger.
            “Were here gettinextra points!” Ralph complains. “Mrs. Ganders sent us.
            I put a hand on his arm to calm Ralph and the three of us stand there, a face-off, though theres not much Ralph or I could do to defend ourselves. And against what? Being in a museum without being forced? I listen to the ticking of the clock down the hall and think: I shouldnt have brought him, Ralph really doesnt belong here. 
             “Give me that,” Mr. Lowry demands, and I hand him my notebook. He opens it and looks through our plans: drawings, measurements, materials, and a pamphlet Dad got us about the history of Hoover Dam. “Hmmph,” he says, finally. “No dam in here.” Ralph points at the pamphlet about Hoover Dam. “I mean in the m-m-museum, theres no dam in this m-m-museum! So why are you here, really?” 
            “We want our dam model to look as good as this diorama,” I say.
             Mr. Lowry pivots, looks at the diorama as if its the first time hes seen it, turns back to our plans, then hands me my notebook. Finally, he puts his hands back on his hips. “The world never ceases to amaze. You two, together, in a p-p-place like this. F-f-forgive me for suspecting you of something m-m-malicious, but as a member of the Board I have a special duty to look out for whats b-b-best for the institution.” He gestures widely to include everything as if its his own, waits for our reaction (which doesnt come), then waddles down the hallway.
            “I hate him,” whispers Ralph. 
            “I do, too,” I say, remembering the problem with the cut-offs.
            “Yeah,” says Ralph, “but the difference is, you wont do anything about it.”

*     *     *

            “What are you doing down there?” my mom yells at my brother.
            Cliff’s removing the cages from the basement because hes gonna let his snakes go. He graduates from high school this year so hes too old for the Ahamo Indian Dance Society and its time to set them free. He says no one else is capable of caring for his snakes the way he does and who would want to?
            “Youre not going to let them loose in the neighborhood, are you?” Mom yells.
            “There are snakes all over the neighborhood already,” he yells back. "You just don't know where to find them."

*     *    *

            “Ro-o-o-ots and lea-ea-eaves. Themselves alone are the-e-ese.”
            Mrs. Fisher is leading the chorus through an especially tricky song. “This is modern,” she explains, “with dissonance, assonance, and abrupt changes in tempo. But we can do it! Just read the music, watch my hands, and sing out.”
            “Breast-sorrel and pinks of love...”
            I watch as Mr. Lowry enters the back of the gym, tiptoeing so as not to interrupt. “Try that again,” says Mrs. Fisher (who doesnt see him enter). “And Altos, I want to hear you, too, even if it seems above your range. Remember: diaphragm!
            “Fingers that wind aro-o-ound ti-i-ighter than vines,
            Gushes from the throats of birds, hid in the fo-li-age of trees...”
            Kids are missing notes, entering at the wrong time, embarrassed, giggling, but even with all that, its beautiful. The words are strange, but they remind me of Breugels landscapes. The melody? Hardly a melody at all, but maybe that's what makes it interesting.
            “...offered fresh to young per-er-sons
            wandering out in the fi-i-elds...”
            Now were singing together, moving to the rhythm of Mrs. Fishers hands! 
            “...if you bring the warmth of the sun to them,
            they will o-o-o-open, and bring...”
            Applause rings out from the rear of the room but its loud and ugly, destroying everything were trying to accomplish. Mr. Lowry steps forward, clapping slowly, an ugly sneer on his face. “W-w-wonderful, wonderful!” he says.
            Mrs. Fisher turns around. “Oh, hello, Mr. Lowry!” she cries out, in a voice higher than usual. “You gave me a scare. But what a nice surprise!”
            “Yes,” he says. “For both of us!”
            She turns to us, “Kids, lets get out Proud to Be an American.”
            “W-w-wait,” Mr. Lowry interrupts. “Id like to know, Miss F-f-fisher, just how many of us here like the song we were j-j-just singing?” Everyone remembers the quarrel Lowry and Miss Fisher had at Tri-School Choir, so even Ralph can tell this is a set-up. “Come now,” Mr. Lowry urges us, “dont be afraid. Someone here must like this music b-b-besides Mrs. Fisher.” He glances sideways at Mrs. Fisher.
            “I like it.” 
            Its a small voice from the Soprano Section, and I recognize it at once.
            “Oh, you do, Miss Forneau,” says Piggly-Wiggly. “Well, very good! B-b-but tell me,” he says, winking at the rest of us, “just what about this m-m-music do you like?”
            Theres complete silence. Nobody moves, suddenly no one wants to be associated with Judy. “I don’t know,” Judy finally answers softly. “I just think its pretty.”
            “Reminds me of Pokolief,” I blurt out, and why am I saying anything? Since I hate Judy. “Or that other guy...”
            “Well, arent we the c-c-connoisseur, Mr. Pozner,” says Mr. Lowry. “Pokolief?”
            “Pro-ko-fiev,” Mrs. Fisher helps out.
            “I know that,” Mr. Lowry snaps at her. “I know about classical music.”
            “Thats the guy!” I agree. “Prokofiev. Leonard Bernstein played him on TV Sunday, along with a guy whose music sounded even stranger, more like this song.”
            “Stravinsky,” Mrs. Fisher helps out again. “I saw that, too, Michael––Bernstein conducting Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. But tell me, did you really like that?”
            I realize Piggly-Wiggly is staring at me, angry because hes been cut from the conversation.
            Well, maybe I liked it,” I answer. “But,” I continue carefully, “Peter and the Wolf is the one I really liked.”
            “Youre digressing, Pozner,” Mr. Lowry complains. “Peter and the Wolf has nothing to do with...”
            Peter and the Wolf was set to music by Prokofiev,” Mrs. Fisher explains to Mr. Lowry. “And Bernstein played that, too.” Then theres another awful silence. My face is burning and I can feel Mr. Lowry staring at me. And not just him. Kids are staring, too, especially the guys. A guys not supposed to know these things.
            “I saw that show,” Judy says, swallowing, and almost too quietly to hear, “and I liked the Rite of Spring a lot.
            Well, isnt that peachy!” Mr. Lowry says, clapping his hands again. “That means there are three of us who really like this song and, of course, theres always room for...”
            “Actually,” interrupts Mrs. Fisher, as politely as possible, “we were just finishing with that. Children, please take out the music for Proud to Be an American.” She taps her directors wand lightly on the music stand. 
            We sing: “Im proud to be an American!” and Mr. Lowry begins tapping his foot along with the music. When we finish, Mrs. Fisher turns back, smiling, towards our principal. “Would you like to hear Swinging on a Star?”
            “Yes. I think thats an excellent choice for our children. Dont you?”
            After class, Judy Forneau tries to thank me for ‘defendingher.
            “What are you talking about?” I ask, as I crowd my way into a group of guys where she cant follow.

*     *     *

            “Why do you care what kind of music Lowry likes? Its none of your business.”  Howard slaps a ball into his mitt and sits back in the sofa. Were watching TV.
            “Its not that I care what he likes,” I answer. “Its that Mrs. Fisher likes it and shes the one who knows about music, so she should get to decide what we sing.”
            “Not if its un-American. Besides, who wants to hear that kind of junk? Its just a bunch of noise. Lowrys her boss and Mrs. Fishers supposed to do what he says.”
            “Can I switch the channel?” I ask.
            “Heck, no. Now I suppose theres somethings wrong with I Love Lucy?”

*     *     *

            The next night theres a light drizzle and as I deliver the route, I whistle Peter and the Wolf. Its perfect for a paperboy. “Got a kind of swagger to it,” my dad would say. (His favorite composer is John Phillips Souza.) When I get to Mrs. Gilliphans, shes waiting behind her screen door. I hand her the paper and she says, “I knew from that whistle my paperboy was coming. It's your trademark, like Lester Young and his porkpie hat.” 
             I whistle my way to the end of the route, the drizzle turns to rain, and when I arrive home Im drenched. Mom calls out, “Strip in the hallway and shower in the basement.” Which doesnt bother me because the snakes are gone. Moms always made us boys shower downstairs when its warm and Ive always hated that because the showers next to the pool table where Cliff kept his snake cages. Sometimes you'd get naked and soap up only to turn and find a huge snake curled in the corner of the stall. Nothing can make a guy feel skinnier than a snake in the shower. But the pool tables cleared off now and I can shower in peace. When Im done, I tie my towel around my waist and head up the stairs. As I pass through the kitchen Im met by Mom. Shes got an envelope with the words “Phillips Exeter Academy” on the corner. Its been opened.

*     *     *

            “So why didnt you tell us about this?” she asks.
            “I did tell you. Dad even gave me a ride to the test.”
            “I did no such thing.”
            “Yes, you did. You just dont remember.”
            My mom flattens the letter on the dining room table. “Both of you be quiet.” She studies the words again. “Dont misunderstand, Michael, were quite proud of you.” 
            Dad nods his head in agreement. “But you should have told us,” he adds.
            “I did! You didnt pay attention because you didnt think I could do it.”
            “Stop it!” my mom shouts. “Both of you.”
            Theres silence. Dad glares at me and I glare back. Finally Mom looks up. 
            “Youre awfully young to be going away to school,” she says.
            “And it would cost a huge amount of money,” my dad adds.
            “Only the first year,” my mom corrects him. “It says here,” shes pointing at the paper, “if he gets good grades his Freshman year, its free from then on.”
            “But look how much it costs without the scholarship!” I cry. “Wed be saving lots of money, even the first year."
            “I hardly call it saving lots of money when public school doesnt cost one red cent.” Dad shakes his head from side-to-side.
            “But, Dad,” I insist, “Clarence said its the best school of all. And Clarences school is expensive.
            His scholarship covers everything,” my dad interrupts.
            “But wait! I could pay for the first year. Ive got it in my bank account."
            “Hush!” my mother complains. Shes studying the letter again. “Well have to think about it,” she says. “Well have to study the matter.”      
            “Will you ask Clarence?” I beg. “Please?”
            Instead, they ask Mr. Lowry.
            “Mr. Lowry says,” my mom reports later, “that the only difference between Exeter and North High is that Exeter produces snobs.”
            “But Mom, you can't listen to him, you complained he wouldnt even help with Clarences application to Harvard…”
            “Yes, but that was different,” she says. “Clarence is studying to be a minister and Mr. Lowry's Catholic."
            “And theres the matter of cost,” my dad adds.
            “Plus, youre too young to be going so far away,” my mother says softly. “You may not understand now but someday youll thank us. You wouldnt want us to let you become a snob,” she says. “Youre too nice a person for that.”

*     *     *

            “Can just anybody listen to these records?”
             The librarian looks up. Shes eighteen or nineteen, pretty, and reminds me of someone Ive seen before but I dont know who.
            “Sorry, theyre for museum classes only.”
            I continue looking, not trying to be rude, just checking out whats there. “You probably wouldnt like them, anyway,” she adds. “Theyre classical.”
            “I like classical,” I say. “Heifetz, Prokofiev, The Rights of Spring...”
            Rite of Spring? By Stravinsky?”
            “Some people might call me a snob,” I continue, “but I like that kind of thing. By the way, which would you say is the most modern record youve got here? Which would you say people who hate modern music would hate most?”
            She pushes her chair back and comes over to the records Ive been inspecting.
            “Youre kind of a funny kid,” she says, like its a compliment. “Whats your name? Mine’s Ellen.
            As she crouches to thumb through the records I look at her closely. Shes dressed in black, hair pulled tight behind her head, a few wisps hanging loose against the neck of her sweater. And then I remember: she's the beatnik I saw with Mr. Finelli, one of the first nights I was learning the paper route.
            “Here,” she says, “this ones by Webern. Hes cool.” Then she pulls out another. “And this is Alban Bergs Lulu. If you like that, youre more than cool, youre absolutely stratospheric!” She hands me the albums. “Let me show you how to use earphones,” she says. “Because I couldnt get my work done if you were playing them out loud. And if any bigwigs come in, youre doing it for a school assignment, okay?”

*     *     *

            “How you gonna make Mr. Lowry pay?” Ralph demands again.
            I don’t know what you mean,” I say. But actually, Im not paying attention. I'm thinking about the librarian, Ellen––how nice she was––and how exciting the music was.
            “You gotta make Lowry pay for what he’s done,” Ralph insists.
             I snap to: “That's stupid. How you gonna make a principal pay? Theres nothing you can do to a principal. Not and get away with it.”
            “Wanna bet?” asks Ralph.
            “Leave me alone,” I complain and I raise my hand. “I gotta go to the bathroom.”  Mrs. Ganders gives me permission and I leave Ralph working on the dam. 
            Our dams gonna be in the Science Fair, the biggest thing in it. Its a first for both of us, but its even more important for Ralph than me. Hes never got so much as a B, let alone something like getting into the Science Fair. That gets you an A, automatically.
            When I return from the bathroom, Mrs. Ganders is leaning over Ralph and I hear her whispering, angrily, “What have you got there?”
            “Its for carving our initials in the model. So peoplell know who done it.”
            It cant be, he cant be stupid enough to have brought his...
            “I do not see anything,” hisses Mrs. Ganders, each word clear, strong, spaced apart. “And I must never see anything again. Do I make myself clear?”
            “Yes, Mrs. Ganders,” Ralph answers. Politely. And he looks sheepish. “Im sorry, Mrs. Ganders,” he says. “Really. Thank you, Mrs. Ganders.”
            A few minutes later on the way to gym, I whisper to Ralph, “What was that?”
            “She saw my knife. Mrs. Ganders saw my knife.”
            “You brought your knife to school? And she saw it and didnt kick you out?”
            “Yeah, but she said...”
            “I heard what she said! Listen, youd better not mess up all my hard work.”
            Your hard work!” he barks. “I did half the model and I passed both tests!”
            I look at him. We both know he cheated on the tests and didnt do anywhere near half the model. I did most of it. And my dad made the base. “Forget it,” I say.
            “Dont be so grouchy,” Ralph says, suddenly cheery. “She didnt throw me out. Dont you get it? They dont throw you out when youre gonna be in the Science Fair!”

*     *     *

            “Cool, absolutely stratospheric.” Thats what Ellen would call it and I agree. Ive had to go through years of old issues to find it, but here it is: the Life magazine article on Jackson Pollack. When I overheard Ellen mention him, I remembered it. First time I saw them I was too young to understand, but I never forgot these photos. The photographer mustve been lying on the floor because Pollack is looking down at you as if you were his canvas. In his hand, hes got a paint brush, fully loaded, and hes about to dribble––or splash––paint all over you. Its really cool. Absolutely stratospheric. Most importantly, Lowry would hate Jackson Pollack. Because Pollack doesnt make pictures of things. He makes pictures of nothing. So what can Lowry complain about?

*     *     *

            “I h-h-hope you b-b-boys will understand,” Mr. Lowry says, looking down at me and Ralph, “theres only so much space allotted each school and your d-d-dam would take up far more space than would be f-f-fair to the other students.”
            Neither of us says a thing, our expressions dont change, but Im sure Mr. Lowry can tell we hate him. He gives us a nod (is it supposed to be some kind of apology?) and pats me on the shoulder. He starts to pat Ralph, too, but thinks better of it. The look Ralphs giving him, Id be scared to touch him, too. 
            Lowry turns and leaves the classroom, and Mrs. Ganders comes over to us. 
            “Dont worry, boys,” she says. “Thats not the last word. Ill talk to him.”
            “Will you?” I ask, and I look towards Ralph for back-up.
            But Ralph doesnt say a word.

*     *     *

            Rains falling as I spot Ellen getting out of a car in front of the liquor store across from the museum. The car drives off and I recognize its driver: Mr. Finelli. I watch as Ellen opens her purse, pulls out a cigarette and lights up. Dodging traffic, I run over, wipe the rain from my face, and say, “Hey, Ellen, you know Mr. Finelli?”
            “Sort of,” she says, looking startled. “How do you know him?”
            I explain that he lets us drop our papers in his shop and she looks relieved. 
            I ask, “Do you have any books about Jackson Pollack?”
            “Ive got magazine articles. And theres a new book from the Museum of Modern Art with some of his stuff. Dont tell me youre interested in Pollack, too?”
            “Yeah,” I say, enjoying the way it seems to impress her.
            “You are so cool for your age,” she says, as she takes a draw from her cigarette, then exhales. “Pollack’s beautiful,she goes on. “His work is like music: it explains absolutely nothing,” and here she gestures dramatically, “but it nourishes the soul.”
            And isnt that a neat thing to say? She notices my open mouth, smiles again, then smirks, “I suppose youre so hip, you smoke.” Her eyes sparkle.
            “Sometimes,” I lie.
            “Wanna drag?” she asks. 
            Her cigarettes marked with lipstick but I put it against my lips and suck in some smoke, trying to keep it from going down my throat. Then I look over at her and feel something happening in my groin that I don't think has anything to do with the cigarette.
            Thanks,” I say, handing it back. “I needed that.”
            “Anytime,” she smiles, as she crushes whats left of the cigarette against the wall, placing it carefully back into her purse. “Time to get back to work,” she says. “Come on, Ill find you some stuff on Pollack.” We scurry across the street, through the rain, to the side entrance of the museum. I've never felt like this in my entire life.

*     *     *

            My dad complains, “Will you stop using that word atmospheric!" Were in the Safeway parking lot, walking to the car, and Ive just described our dam. “It makes you sound like a kook. A dam may be lots of things but a dams not atmospheric. And dont come whining about getting thrown out of The Science Fair. I warned you: hang around with trash and peoplell treat you like trash.”

*     *     *

            On Monday morning theres a police car sitting in front of the school. Ralph sees it, blurts, “Oh, shit!” and runs across the playground to the sycamore. I watch him pull something from his pocket and hide it in the branches. Then, fifteen minutes after class begins, Mr. Lowry appears in our classroom. With a policeman.
            “Ralph Brayton and Michael Pozner, please come with us,” he says and everyone stares as were led out of the room, down to the office. They sit us on a bench, were not allowed to talk; finally, each of us is led into Mr. Lowrys, alone. First me, then Ralph.
            So, Michael,” says the police officer, real fake-friendly-like, “wed like to know where you were Sunday evening, between six and nine.” Just like on Dragnet.
            “At Youth Fellowship, sir, Miller Park Presbyterian Church. But why?” 
            “Can you prove that?”
            “You could ask anyone. Like...like Judy Forneau. She was there.”
            They send for Judy, talk to her in the hall, then let me return to class. As I leave the office, I sneak a look at Ralph. Hes staring straight ahead, expressionless, but as I pass he smiles and waves. After school, Mrs. Ganders explains: “Ralph wont be coming back. Im afraid youll be without a partner for the rest of the year. I hope...”
            “Why wont he be coming back? What happened? Whatd he do?”
            “He slashed Mr. Lowrys tires, him and some other boys. It was stupid, even for Ralph.” She looks tired as she rubs the sides of her nose with her thumb and forefinger. “I liked Ralph. Really. Still, he didnt belong here, not after two years of failing.” She drums the desk with her fingers. “But now hes done it. And it was needless.” She shakes her head back and forth. “We both know Ralph did it because of the dam. Well, too bad! Because I had news for you two: the dams back in the Fair.”
            Which is not fair. Not fair at all.
            Mrs. Ganders tells me theyre putting the dam back in because its won a Citation for Earnest Effort, which means a permanent trophy for our school. But because of what happened, theyre putting it under my name only. Ralphs name cant be on it, they say, not after what he did. And thats not right. He worked so hard! For Ralph, anyway. Besides, I know something they dont: Ralph slashed Piggly-Wigglys tires because of the dam, its true; but partly, he did it for me as a gift because of what Lowry did to keep me out of Exeter. And I dont think Ralph even understood what Exeter was. 

                                                            *     *     *

            On Friday morning a week later, Mrs. Ganders asks me, “Is it well protected?”
            “I think so,” I answer and I pull the oilcloth snugly over the top of the dam.
            “Dwayne-Bob, help Michael carry the dam downstairs to my car.” 
            Dwayne-Bob mutters something under his breath. Were not good friends since Ralph got thrown out. Dwayne-Bob thinks its bad to be seen with me now.
            “Grab that end,” I say. 
            And as we back carefully out of the classroom, I realize what I have to do. 
            We get to the top of the stairs (were on the third floor) and I say, “Dwayne-Bob, I forgot the hammer. Balance your end on the banister and run back and get it. I can hold the dam till you get back.” And he does, he balances it on the banister just like I tell him. Its so easy to fool Dwayne-Bob.
            Straining to keep the model balanced, I turn my head and watch as he disappears into the classroom, then I turn back and tip the model up and over the banister. It hangs there a moment, frozen in mid-air, then slides off the base, and drops. I dont watch, but I listen––as it ricochets against banisters, bangs into walls, tumbles down steps and smashes into smithereens on the basement floor in front of the janitors door.



End of Part One




Thanks for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it.
There are five sections to this work; the first part being by far the largest, about one-third of the book. 
It had been in a drawer about ten years and it's time for me to put it back in the drawer and return to painting.
Again, thanks for reading!