|LYNNE BUTLER OAKS
LEAD, KINDLY LIE
She's here to say it was because he wore a purple
shirt we took him in. The color of her senior prom, her
bedspread, my birth. She talks like this since Snook's
been MIA, and me being late fourteen I am apparently now
past the age where anything is unsayable. She plants
herself down on my bed and sweeps away the pile of books
I so carefully fell asleep measuring up. (Nine acceptable
ones I think.) A few fall on the floor. Spines will
surely break. Will she never learn?
I confess I both can and can't make out what she is
saying right now as she tries to rouse me. I have my head
buried beneath my W.W.J.D. pillow. She's saying,
"Wake up," probably. Or maybe, "Baby, come
on." The pillow is inscribed with my constant and
continual nightly reminder to ask "What Would Jesus
Do?" We all made one. At least the Mormon girls did
who live as far away from Salt Lake City as Grace is,
which we admit slides over the northern border of Utah.
Into Idaho actually, technically. We Grace, Idaho, girls
also have our daytime reminders too, a crested
silver-lettered C.T.R. ring we wear on our wedding
hand-Choose The Right. A good question, the
correct answer in every case, you have to give them
My mother, at this moment, thinks to include God
"The color of Jesus," she says after the
birth remark. "Figuratively speaking."
"Purple?" I say. The robes, the wounds, the
ressurection. I peel back the pillow and roll onto my
back. The better to curl my lips at her.
"Took him in?" I say.
My mother gives my pillow a meaningful pat, her hand
landing on the letter J. Spare me! You have to
love her for her guileless smile, though. Guileless
is perhaps my absolutely favorite word.
"He's not God, Mom," I say.
"He's very willing to help out," she says.
"Be a sweetheart?"
I can definitely hear our not-God's footsteps
downstairs now. Who'd even dare look at the clock? I'd be
guessing two a. m. at least, three in the morning more
likely. I smell something coming off my mother's face,
and it's not the alloy-urine smell of a woman who keeps
ungodly hours working as a fake nurse's aid for a man
with Alzheimer's whose daughter is the real registered
thing at St. Joseph's. It's a scotchy licorice smell.
When she sees me snap to it she winces, but she doesn't
say anything. She instead picks up my wrist and gives her
devoted attention to the bruises I've sucked up my arm
for as far as your own mouth will go. There's no "Oh
baby baby what's this." No "Didn't you say it
was over?" We have our habits. Finally, she picks up
a book off the floor, The Machine That Oils Itself,
subtitled "What you should know about you," by
(somebody) Rheiner. It survived the fall. It was probably
published in the fifties but never opened much. Everyone
in this business knows the strongest books don't get
read. My mother tests its weight in her open palm and
sets it nicely back beside me.
"A little burdensome," she says.
Point taken. I won't use it except as a last resort.
But another point is that we now have two days and two
days only to transform thirty-two plain books like these
into our "Celestial Thoughts" decoupage works
of sculptural art if we're to keep this cottage industry.
Zion's Books has extended an extra week already. I'll
need her help.
My mother fingers her fingernails waiting for my
reply. I elbow myself up into sitting position and make
my supremely reasoned guess about the man downstairs.
"The Hotel Plymouth?" I say. The Hotel
Plymouth is what we call the big, smelly, butter-colored
car which is probably not even a Plymouth, we know
nothing of cars, that has nevertheless been parked
for some months now in the abandoned car wash next door.
My mother and I receive a tiny stipend to keep our eyes
on the lot. We know nothing of security, either, but it
pays us an extra ten a month to do what? look? which I
The man's feet are slow-slapping back and forth across
the kitchen floor below us like somebody doing laps. He's
soft on the surface, probably not too old. The Plymouth
is also where my mother discovered the late-stage
pregnant girl whose parents said they'd sue us big for
our bleeding hearts, yeah right, and where I found
the half-dead mountain lion that had been hit by a car and
shot maybe twice in the backside, though who knows in
what order. It was winter and hard. Despite our steaks
and bowls of milk and calls to the highway patrol, it
took the cougar less than a day to finally fully die.
Blood was everywhere in the backseat. "Call the
governor," the highway patrol operator said.
"We need more funds." (What my mother said to
highway patrol will indubitably go unrecorded.) The girl,
Paige, delivered herself of her baby several weeks later
and gave it up to most-kind whomevers and then went back
to her none-the-richer parents. These have been the two
who were clearly detected by us in the four months it's
been since the deaths of Elvis and Snook. August 16,
1977. Of course there is no provable connection
whatsoever except the date, deep in the dog days, and the
way they each could fill a heart.
"I was going slow around the corner, steering
great baby, really, when I saw the strangest sort of
purple thing pulsing like a signal in the driver's side
window," my mother says. "In my headlights it
didn't really look like a man per se," she
says. My mother is clearly determined to make this sound
cosmic, a favorite word of my friends, and
incontrovertible, which is a much more mouthable word in
The truth is my mother is just generally either shaken
or stirred, and it can be hard to tell which. She is now
suited here on my bed entirely in white, the better to
be a fake nurse with, with skin as translucent and
pale as the membrane that makes a drill at the core of an
apple. Hands up, palms out, fingers now spread in
supplication. You want to bite her.
"Be my girl?" she says. "Will
I definitely won't if she tries another pat on my
cross-stitched pillow. (She is so misguided about my love
for God.) But she doesn't, so I do what we do. I scout
out our one sleeping bag, it being soft and covered with
sea creatures, and I find my own flashlight, which I flip
on and off a couple of times with my thumb. I pull up a
pair of jeans over my bare legs, smooth out the T-shirt
I've been sleeping in, do a mirror check to see if my
nipples show through, then carry everything carefully
downstairs to where Mom will meanwhile be smiling huge at
the man and telling him to take the stuff, to sleep in
the attic up over the work shed out back for as long as
he possibly needs, at least, please, the week.
If the purple-shirted, non-savior stranger we are
nevertheless taking in is looking at me, sizing me up, I
wouldn't know it. I'm not looking back. I will have to
venture in close enough to hand over our sleeping bag and
flashlight, and I do. There's the strong smell of
cigarettes and wet vegetation and a kind of heated steam
coming off his hair. Not unpleasant, I'd say, but
somewhat hard to breathe in. I see his damp cardboard
sign with limegreen lettering on it sticking up out of
our kitchen can. "Is it raining outside?" I
say. I'm standing way back. My mother goes to the sink to
retrieve her etched-glass Elvis mug. She finds the
not-exactly-matching-except-in-function Marilyn Monroe in
the cupboard. Function and relative stature. A bottle of
Scotch has been left out on the table since yesterday,
but then so have a couple of my part-finished books. They
are in the third stage already, glued open and
spray-painted entirely black. At this point they could
look utterly burnt, at least at first glance, which
not-God is just getting.
"You must see what she does with those," my
"You may need this tomorrow," I say, handing
him his sign. I don't look at him directly, but I do ship
my guileless smile his way.
I could watch him out my window now if I wanted to.
He'd be climbing the steps to the attic, maybe tripping
once or twice despite the thin wand of light I've
provided him shining out just beyond his shoes. He should
be careful. The steps to the attic lack any important
attention to detail. In fact, they look as if the owner
nailed them willy-nilly to the outside of the work shed
like an afterthought, as if he remembered suddenly he'd
made something worth getting to, but not a way to get
there. I turn back to my bed and gather up the books. So
many of them look like the only book you'd ever have to
own. Near my pillow is Happiness Is Worth the Effort
by Elmo Ellis, for example. Close to it is How to Live
by Arnold Bennett, and How to Be Your Own Best Friend
by Eugene Schwartz. The Hilermans threw out both The
Anatomy of Happiness and How to Apply the Choice
System, by authors whose names exist somewhere
beneath their hyper, retarded kid's magic-markered
black-eyed skulls and blood-dripping swords. How to
Live is actually a narrow book of not many pages, but
right in the center it does have a chapter titled
"The Petty Artificialities" with lots of margin
notes and stars.
Petty is a good, if very short, word if you think
about it. I am thinking that prayers, especially those
delivered in the woods like Joseph Smith's, don't allow a
person to be petty. Mine, which I'll give right now, in
fact, will seek to end starvation in the seventies and to
strengthen me to do what needs to be done.
I strip off my pants and climb under the covers. I
hold my pillow. I'll say this, Jesus did some amazing
things. Not just raising Lazarus or healing lepers or
letting the poor whore go. You have to admit. He spoke up
no matter how old his audience. He loved the girl.
And he found someone to take care of his mother at the
last minute. I kiss my pillow. Even so, it's not long
before I've put the pad of my palm into my mouth. I can't
help thinking about the man either. His coiling hair. I
suck softly, just enough to do it. Boys do this to girls
and vice versa. (You wear a turtleneck so people will
know it was you.) Artificialities. It flows. I
repeat it to myself over and over, no matter how slimy or
salty my palm is getting, enduring the tiny bites on the
t's, until I've sucked myself to sleep.
In the morning I look out my window and the man is the
first thing I see. He's shirtless, bent over and whipping
our lizard-skin green hose around to rinse his long, very
dark hair. A tattoo like a flower or butterfly or
something is flexing on his bicep. An iris, maybe. Also
dark is what's under his arms and some hair spirals
around on his chest, which is now heaving in and out from
the cold. No visible scars. He has war tags like those
worn by a lot of the men who've reportedly used the Hotel
Plymouth but failed to attract the attention of myself or
When he throws his head back I look right at him. I recognize
him. This man, I know for certain now, was just
yesterday rummaging through the unfit books I'd set out
by the curb for Sanitation. That same James Taylor hair
was hiding his face, except with an odd streak of blonde
down the right side. The man's shirt was actually more
bluish or gray than purple if I remember. And he never
struck me as a stranger, really. More like those
familiar park people who are just part of your town. The
ones who might wear greasy wool coats even in summer or
corner themselves in the cemented alcove outside the
grocery so you can toss them your spare change for wool
socks in the winter or a meal. Younger than that, though.
An older version, really, of rough corner boys who stand
in packs and who could say some things to you if you
weren't smart enough to have your dog Patty Hearst along
and smart enough to strain her hard against her leash so
you can cut around them quietly and wide. They will say
things anyway, and you will wish you could hear. They are
not, after all, like ones in Jack London's Stories for
Boys. They're more like Ernie Pyle's Brave Men,
or your gone father. Wild, essential conditions of your
This James Taylor never took a book. He thumbed
through a few and even seemed interested in the
broken-backed Volume Seven from the series Six
Thousand Years of History which he held up to the sun
for some certain reason. But he didn't take it, or
anything else, as long as I watched. I'm certain he saw
me now. I'd spit a little root beer through my nose when
I saw him see me. He'd winked. I'd ducked.
My mother is not up. I put the Elvis mug in the sink,
rubbing his chipped sideburns as I flash to a picture of
her sitting at the table, long into the night, her mind
snapping back to Snook in Vietnam. She'd have held the
glass up, dripped the whisky in so it climbed the mug
slowly, finally making a thin gold line somewhere between
the raised eyebrows of Elvis and that fierce forward
thrust of his widow's peak. My mother's own eyebrows
rising in small beats with each sip.
Her mind might have been asking, "Why
Snook?" Why him to stay on even after it was over?
Why him waving off helicopters to look for the
left-behinds? "Because he'd fought a war and a half
before," she'd said. "Because this was a
shithole and he was just the man for it." Moreover, and
remember this, she'd said, "Because he knew too
fucking much to leave anybody who wasn't gone
already." I wrote it all out in my journal. I
changed fucking to almighty. Too almighty much. Such are
the vicissitudes of life, I'd said.
I pick up my mother's whisky bottle and put it into
the drawer under the phone next to the Fred and Ginger
serving spoons. I look at the ceiling, away from the
sight of my arms. Stop, I whisper to myself. This drawer
is where my mother will look first. Stop, stop, stop, I
say out loud. It won't wake my mother, though she is
probably on the couch in the living room and these days
is never deeply asleep. There is one other story about my
father. It's a real story, not just his facts like how he
had reddish brown hair and violet eyes like Liz Taylor's.
It is that some many months before I was even born,
August 5, 1962, Marilyn died and my father cried in my
mother's arms. My father cried in her arms, she'd said,
like a very big man crying. That's how tender my father's
heart was, and how I should know that he would not for
one second have gone back to the war again if he'd only
known. Obviously, my mother is never afraid to lead with
the kindly lie when it comes to my selfesteem, and you
have to treasure her for it.
"What work?" I'm thinking, as I watch the
man. Not-God is not even toweling off but is shaking his
head around like a dog. Patty Hearst is jumping at him
war tags. I'd like to bark at him. What work? Our yard is
just a small swipe of grass. There are no vegetables to
tend, no roses, no dirt-crusted spades or fingery scraper
things waiting in the shed with which to tend them. We
are pay-by-the-tenth-of-the month-people, renters,
and the yard comes with it. If I can wake my mother up
before I go out to the workshed, I'll steeple my fingers
and insist that she not mention our book project. I'll
take the man a broom if I have to.
The man suddenly stops shaking his head and looks
right at me. He smiles and makes hand motions like he's
waving me to come out. I run in the living room and stand
by my mother who is sure enough still asleep on the
couch. She has the Elvis 45 "That's All Right
(Mama)" dangling out of her right hand. Her
kiss-lock white patent leather Jackie O purse is on the
floor next to her. I relax. I give her a light peck on
her upturned cheek.
How we make the books is not difficult, but it takes
exactitude and time and I fail at neither. The first step
to doing a decoupage book right is to find the right
book. You choose them for their width and weight, the
texture of the pages, and the strength of the spine. If
the spine is too strong, it will defeat you. I scout out
libraries and thrift stores and garage sales. Book after
book I lift and turn, lift and turn, stroking the pages
with my flat-out hand, eyes closed. I offer five cents,
maybe ten, never more than a quarter. Book sets I always
buy. Like the ten Books of Popular Science, or the
seven-volume Courtiers and Favourites of Royalty,
or the eight Celebrated Crimes books, translated
by I. G. Burnham. Cookbooks are great if they were given
to someone who doesn't cook. Which you can pretty much
assume if they're out for sale because cooks keep all
their books. I wish I could find a hundred copies of How
I Feed My Friends by Max White. It was perfect. The
pages were smooth and easy to glue together. I must have
just grabbed Dinners Long and Short on the run.
It's by A. H. Adair, with preface by Sheila Kay Smith and
introduction by X. Marchell Boulestin. It was published
in 1920 on paper that turned out to be far too stiff and
raggy. It has chapters entitled "The Cook and the
Mistress" and "Polite Wine Drinking,"
which is why, I'm guessing, the Mormon seller had to get
rid of it. Impressionable kids. I now grab the nine good
books off my bed. I'm grateful my mother didn't notice The
Department of the Army Field Manual: Survival, Evasion,
& Escape, 1969 edition. I toe it under my bed to
look at later, and glance out the window again. He's
gone. His shirt is draped over my mother's lawn chair to
dry. I dash out to the woodshed. It is just big enough,
and two batteryoperated lamps light it well. We've set
three card tables end to end to make one long, if wobbly,
work surface. A sheet is spread out over the tables. I
set the latest books on one end.
Here's the second step. You open the book precisely in
the center and let it rest on the table for a few
seconds, the final test to see if the center will hold.
Sometimes the backbone gives out just then and the pages
will flatten on either side like stacks of cut cards. If
not, you mark the center with a blade of grass or a scrap
of something or a popsicle stick. (A nice yanky clop of
your own hair will do in a pinch, though you could catch
hell for resorting to it.) Then you start on one side, on
the back page. You lift each page, each page, and
use a broad brush to paint it with a thin white layer of
paste, thoroughly erasing all the words including
someone's added stars or underlines or lover's names in
the margins. You press the pages together and smooth them
out so they become inseparable, like plates water has
leaked between. You keep a curve as you go. You're
looking for pages that swell from the center, like the
drawings of books, or like that place between a woman's
breasts if you happen to be standing above her. Then you
let them dry for at least six hours. The glue must be
dried solid enough that they could be dropped to the
floor without the pages splitting, that's the measure,
not even one crack. Then you spraypaint them jet black,
front and back.
I am still pasting the first new book when I hear the
man's feet skipping down the steps. I hold my breath. He
opens the door to the work shed, still shirtless. I was
wrong about the scars. He does have a small one,
finger-length, coming up vertically just above his belly
button which goes in.
"My mother-," I begin.
"My mother?" he says. He is leaning against
the door frame. Now he knocks on it. "Knock and it
shall-" he says.
"That's a pretty easy one," I say, too many
breaths in with the words. "Where's your shirt?
Purple is a lousy color for a man's shirt. Is it silk or
just fake?" I am allowing myself only one breath per
sentence and it still seems too much.
"Your mother showed me how these look when they
are finished," the man says. He steps inside. I move
back. When? When did she show him? Last night I left her
drinking, alone, and she's still asleep this morning
though it's almost noon.
He picks up a finished book. It's been edged in gold.
On one side it has a picture of Jesus, arms open, coming
out of tumescent clouds. On the other side it says,
"I will bring the light of the Gospel into My
"Hmmm," he says. Then he puts down the book,
comes over, and picks up my wrist. I want to pull it away
with all my heart but I don't. Even I am staring down at
my palm which this morning looks like an almost dripping
prune. "Sweet Jesus," he says. Then with his
other hand he lightly rubs the older bruises, the
yellow-ringed planets of my habit, them trailing up both
arms, higher on the left than on the right, which seems
to interest him. When he gets up above my elbow, I
finally jerk my arms away. I wrap them around my suddenly
shrunken ribs. My face is flames.
"You like silk?" he says. "Beth,"
he says, "your mother says you're shy." He
reaches again for my arm as I run past him and out into
the yard. I find my mother, still stretched out, her legs
crossed now and the bottle is again next to her purse on
the floor. Hair of the dog.
"The man . . . mother . . . he-" I say. She
opens her eyes.
"Yes-" she says and closes them again.
She would do anything I asked her. When I found the
twelve steps in a book once, we kept it, and shook hands.
We did the first steps immediately. We admitted our
powerlessness and such. She recognized out loud that the
bender might always be a story she desired to tell
herself, and I acknowledged that I would always be
vulnerable to habits like nailbiting, sucking clumps of
my hair, twisting my neck away from the speaker, and
slicing initials into the tops of my feet. For step
three, we even made it a special mother-daughter night
out. We went roller-skating, ate pizza, and drove up
toward the Lost Lakes to take the fearless moral
inventory of our flaws. We put them under the categories
of "behaving badly" and "believing
falsely." Bargaining with God that if Snook came
home she'd never say "goddamnit" or
"fuck" again, which she put under the
"believing falsely" flaw. Actually saying
"fuck" once, I listed under behaving badly. It
soon began to remind me a little too much, though, of the
Bible I picked up once at the Bellamys' garage sale that
had everything God said you could do underlined in
green and everything God said you couldn't do
underlined in red. Seeing that, we looked at each other
and finally got it why Sister Bellamy seemed to be always
under so much sudden pressure, and we bought it just
because we decided it was such a good thing she was
putting it out for sale.
The man is knocking on the kitchen door.
"Mom!" I say, shaking her hard. "He's
here, Mom!" She sits up, blinks.
She's walking toward the door, smoothing her white
wrinkled nurse's dress.
"When did you say to him I was shy?" I say.
She doesn't answer.
She opens the door and they smile at each other.
"Borrow a T-shirt?" he says.
"I'll make us fried egg sandwiches with
salsa," she says. "Want one, baby?" She
looks at me. I'm out of here.
He says, "I didn't mean to frighten-"
"Mop this goddamn floor if you want to
work," I shout and slam the screen.
It'll be hard to get them done now with enough time to
dry so I can paint them before sundown. I start to rush,
which I hate. I like ready rules and I rampage to follow
them. I make thirty books a month, I lather-rinse-repeat,
I take two every four hours, and I can generally go the
whole day eating only the recommended serving size of
things. I can't believe my mother.
Step three is after the books are painted black, I
paste a saying that's been beautifully inked on parchment
on the right side, and an appropriate picture on the
left. If it's Christmas or Easter I take the extra time
to match-burn lightly around the edges of both, making
them look as ancient as the words. I buy phrases and
accompanying pictures wholesale from the Mormon
Distribution Center in Salt Lake City. I don't order
anything too specifically Mormon like Brigham Young
quotes, because they tend to thin out as you move further
up into Idaho. But there are plenty of true and hopeful
phrases to be retrieved from Utah. Actually, not always
hopeful. Eternal truths can really go either way. Follow
Me and I will make you fishers of men gives me a
creepy feeling for instance, even if it's next to a
picture of a tempest-tossed Jesus presumably saying
"Peace be still." But true, I guess. And
Zion's Books especially likes the bits of scripture that
come straight from the mouth of God, so to speak, like
the followme one. The familiar stuff always sells best.
I am the way, the truth, and the light never lasts
more than a day in either color.
They all come with a matching stand, perfect for
fireplaces and baby grands.
I decide to abandon the brandnew books, and go
straight to pasting the pictures on the ones that have
already been painted black, starting with the ones I did
yesterday. (Tomorrow I will turn these in, with a promise
of fifteen more on Monday.) I have moved a ladder in
front of the door so it can't be opened, though someone
is now trying to. The ladder is shaking and I hear my
"Here's a sandwich," she shouts.
"How's it coming, honey?" she says. She
doesn't offer to help, though I've tried a hundred times
to show her how.
I don't open the door. I'm tempted to tell her to go
away and to call her by her first name. Norma. She's not
named after you-know-who but she hates it anyway. I just
wait. There are no windows in the work shed so I can't
look out. There is the hinged door down here and the
cutout door at the top of the steps that leads into the
attic, but beyond that, the ventilation is just whatever
gets in because the wood is weak.
"I'll just leave the sandwich here, okay?"
To my surprise I hear her heading up the stairs. First
her footsteps, then his. I concentrate on the books.
After what is maybe three hours all the pictures and
sayings are in place. I've made perfectly even margins
around every one. The edges of the glued-together pages
flow down like rippled sand. I'll now finger on the
potted creamy paints in silver or gold swirls around the
edges of every book. This is the final and simplest step,
though it can take some time. I wish I'd brought my
mother's Pat Boone alarm clock with me. I can hear my
mother and the man moving around above me. There is music
playing from the radio, but nothing so apropos as
"Jailhouse Rock" or "Hound Dog." It
sounds more like Barry Manilow. Don't be creul. Sometimes
there is laughing. Glasses clink.
Hearing them, I'm thinking of my mother stretched on
the couch, which puts me in memory, too, of my own
behaving badly. I remember, for example, the first night
that pregnant Paige from the Hotel Plymouth slept in my
bed with me. She was mostly under my thin sheet, pink and
with little red roses, but she hadn't even worn a
nightshirt to bed. And the sheet had slipped over her
breast. I couldn't see the whole thing, just the pegged
part of one nipple, but it was enough to see. I looked
for a long time, knowing every second that what was
happening to her, by me, was the wrongest thing I'd ever
done. Wronger even that what I did next, which was to
pull my own shirt up and press the cold cover of a heavy
book down on my bare nipples to feel them spring. Paige
wore a T-shirt to bed from then on. But like even girls
who are trying to be good I still watch my own breasts
every day and sometimes touch them to things, like tiles
in the shower standing up or even kneeling in bed so they
reach the icy brass rod of my headboard. (Yes, my W.W.J.D.
pillow seems to be losing its effectiveness over time,
but I still kiss it for luck.)
I look down at my breasts again now, wondering if this
is the day they'll stop growing, and be as big as they're
ever going to get, so I can see, finally, who I will be
I finish the last book. Nothing from upstairs for some
time now, and it's probably almost nine, and I still
haven't heard anyone coming down. I pull the ladder away
from the door and open it. Stars are starting to show up
in the sky. I look toward the house, no lights on in the
kitchen. I look up the stairs which, because there is no
railing, I have always refused to climb.
I start up the stairs and suddenly hear shuffling.
When I get to the top, I hunch my shoulders down and peer
in. Things start coming into focus. The man struggling
with his clothes. My mother is lying on top of the
sleeping bag, asleep. Her dress is in his hands.
"Bastard!" I shout. "Bastard!"
This wakes my mother. She jerks up.
I'm pushing my way out backwards onto the top step. My
mother rushes to follow me out. I'm almost to the bottom
when I turn to see her tumbling off the top, landing hard
on the ground. From where I am standing all her naked
skin is so white and unmoving you'd think she was Lot's
wife, taking that last look back and turning suddenly
into salt. Except there is blood coming out her nose and
a bone sticking up out of her leg.
The man is beside me now. "Get the keys," he
says. "Go!" The last thing I see before I go
into the house to find them is him gathering her up. When
I come out he's got her in his arms, and he's yelling for
me to come. This is what I'll remember when he's gone.
The petty, artificial light of sundown in Grace. His
hair. The lilac smell. This vicissitudinal stranger
trying to run, despite flailing arms and legs that are
getting him as bloodied up as a dying mountain lion. And
me, holding out the keys. Me lurching forward, though he
is now carrying well out of my reach this completely
guileless mother you can't teach a thing.