One More River

One More River by Mary Glickman Read Free Book Online

Book: One More River by Mary Glickman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Glickman
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General
which he could not define, and what he must be got too hot under his skin or when he was generally confused and dismayed by the people around him. On those occasions, he went to the village.
    The first time he went to the village without being taken there by Bald Horace on one learning experience or another was toward the middle of the ninth grade. Ricky Baker, who should have known better, asked Mickey Moe to go with him and his boys over to Sassaport Hardware to help him pick out a new pocketknife. His old one had rusted up tight. It was his own fault. Ricky kept his knife dangling from his belt loop whether a heavy rain came upon him or not. He approached Mickey Moe for help because they were classmates and friends more or less. They shared a sandwich at recess or a game of catch once in a while. There weren’t an abundance of happy times between them, but neither had there ever been any bad blood. Ricky Baker also knew Mickey Moe was a relation of the Sassaport family, and he figured maybe old man Sassaport would take down the box of long, flat blades reserved for older boys and grown men from its high shelf if he was in the company of kin. On the Thursday in question, after school was out but long before supper, Ricky Baker and four of his boys biked over to Mickey Moe’s to ask what he thought of that old knife of his, aiming to rope him into a trip to the hardware store.
    Well, lemme see that sticker of yours, Mickey Moe said. Maybe it’s not beyond repair. Ricky showed it to him, making a joke of the struggle it took to get the knife open to demonstrate its ruination.
    Mickey Moe ran his thumb lightly against the cutting edge. Now that ain’t bad at all, Ricky, he said. We can fix that up with a little sandpaper and oil, maybe sharpen it up a bit on a stone or it might just need some work on a strap.
    But Ricky had his heart set on the new one he’d dreamt up, one with a mother-of-pearl handle that would make him feel as dashing as if he sported a Derringer out of Zane Grey. He bristled at the idea that he would not get what he wanted. Get out, Mick. It’s ruint, he said, his head down and his cheeks hot and red.
    Mickey Moe, still intently studying the knife, did not notice the boy’s reaction. No it ain’t, Ricky, no it ain’t. We can fix it up. Why spend good money on somethin’ you don’t need?
    To the child of a widow forced by fate into parsimonious habit, this was the bottom line. “Waste not, want not” was the lullaby of his childhood, the words that tucked him in at night. He had no idea how adult this made him sound, how utterly foreign to a boy with his mouth watering for something that such mature consideration could snatch away from him fast and furious. So Ricky, red as rust, sputtering frustration said, Ah, you cheap kike. My daddy’s right. You all alike. Why’d I think you’d understand? And he took off with his pals, all of them yelling, Kike! Kike! Kike! laughing uproariously as they steered their bikes in the general direction of Sassaport Hardware, as if the slur had stuck in their throats all their lives and letting it loose was a relief, a celebration, a cause for joy.
    Mickey Moe stood there, in the middle of his mama’s front yard, pop-eyed, stunned stock-still that boys he thought his friends had just gleefully insulted him over a rusted-up hunk of cold metal. He’d been lucky in the past, he knew that, the Jew haters had pretty much left him alone, no doubt because of his swanky address. Mama always said it didn’t matter what people said behind your back as long as they were civil in public, but now things were squirming out there in the open where no one would ever be able to ignore them again. He felt a spike of anger stab him at the heart then a deep sadness, deeper than he knew possible, and he bolted like a startled colt, ran wild to nowhere to escape weeping in the street for all to see. He had no conscious destination until he stopped outside Bald Horace’s rented

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