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“So there wasn’t a bear,” Danny said.

“Hell, there’s probably three thousand bears at any given time in northern New Hampshire -I’ve seen a bunch of bears. I’ve shot some,” Ketchum added. “But if a bear had walked into the cookhouse kitchen through that screen door, your father’s best way to save himself, and Rosie, would be if the two of them had exited the kitchen through the dining room-not running, either, or ever turning their backs on the bear, but just maintaining eye contact and backing up real slowly. No, you dummy, it wasn’t a bear-it was me! Anybody knows better than to hit a bear in the face with a fucking frying pan!”

“I wish I had never written about it,” was all Danny could say.

“There’s one more thing,” Ketchum told him. “It’s another kind of writing problem.”

“Jesus!” Danny said again. “How much have you been drinking?”

“You’re sounding more and more like your father,” Ketchum told him. “I just mean that you’re publishing a book, aren’t you? And have you thought about what it might mean if that book were to become a bestseller? If suddenly you were to become a popular writer, with your name and picture in the newspapers and magazines-you might even get to be on television!”

“It’s a first novel,” Danny said dismissively. “It will have only a small first printing, and not much publicity. It’s a literary novel, or I hope it is. It’s highly unlikely it’ll be a bestseller!”

“Think about it,” Ketchum said. “Anything’s possible, isn’t it? Don’t writers, even young ones, get lucky like other people-or unlucky, as the case may be?”time, Danny saw it coming-sooner than he’d seen it in Mr. Leary’s classroom at the Mickey when the old English teacher made his “bold suggestion” about the boy possibly losing the Baciagalupo. The pen-name proposition-it was coming again. Ketchum had first proposed a version of it to both Danny and his dad; now Ketchum was asking Dominic to lose the Del Popolo.

“Danny?” Ketchum asked. “Are you still there? What’s the name for it-when a writer chooses a name that’s not his or her given name? That George Eliot did it, didn’t she?”

“It’s called a pen name,” Danny told him. “Just how the fuck did you meet the schoolteacher lady in the library when you can’t even read?”

“Well, I can read some of the authors’ names and the titles,” Ketchum said indignantly. “I can borrow books and find someone to read them to me!”

“Oh,” Danny said. He guessed that was what Ketchum had done with his mother-this in lieu of learning to read. What had Ketchum called the reading-aloud part to Dominic? Foreplay, wasn’t it? (Actually, that had been Dominic’s word for it. Danny’s dad had told his son this funny story!)

“A pen name,” Ketchum repeated thoughtfully. “I believe there’s another phrase for it, something French-sounding.”

“A nom de plume,” Danny told him.

“That’s it!” Ketchum cried. “A nom de plume. Well, that’s what you need-just to be on the safe side.”

“I don’t suppose you have any suggestions,” Daniel Baciagalupo said.

“You’re the writer-that’s your job,” Ketchum told him. “Ketchum kind of goes with Daniel, doesn’t it? And it’s a fine old Coos County kind of name.”

“I’ll think about it,” Danny told him.

“I’m sure you can come up with something better,” Ketchum said.

“Tell me one thing,” Danny said. “If my mom hadn’t died that night in the river, which one of you would she have left? You or my dad? I can’t talk to my dad about that, Ketchum.”

“Shit!” Ketchum cried. “I heard you call that wife of yours ‘a free spirit.’ Katie was a lawless soul, a political radical, a fucking anarchist, and a coldhearted woman-you should have known better, Danny. But Rosie was a free spirit! She wouldn’t have left either of us-not ever! Your mom was a free spirit, Danny-like you young people today have never seen! Shit!” Ketchum cried again. “Sometimes you ask the dumbest questions-you make me think you’re still a college kid who can’t properly drive a car, or that you’re still a twelve-year-old, one your dad and Jane and I could still fool about the world, if we wanted to. Talk to your dad, Danny-talk to him.”was a click, followed by a dial tone, because Ketchum had disconnected the call, leaving the young writer alone with his thoughts.


THEIR WALK-UP APARTMENT ON WESLEY PLACE, FOR REASONS that defied logic, the telephone was on Carmella’s side of the bed. In those years Danny was away at boarding school and then at college, if the phone ever rang, young Dan was the reason the cook wanted to answer it-hoping it was Daniel, and not some terrible news about him. (More often, when the phone rang, it was Ketchum.)had told Danny that he should call home more than he did. “You’re the only reason we have a phone, your dad is always telling me!” The boy was pretty good, after that, about calling more frequently.

“Shouldn’t the phone be on my side of the bed?” Dominic had asked Carmella. “I mean, you don’t want to have to talk to Ketchum, and if it’s Daniel-or worse, if there’s any bad news about Daniel-”wouldn’t let him finish. “If there’s bad news about Danny, I want to know it first-so I can tell you about it, and put my arm around your shoulders, the way you told me and held me,” she said to him.


“That’s crazy, Carmella,” the cook said.that was the way it had worked out; the phone stayed on Carmella’s side of the bed. Whenever Ketchum called collect, Carmella always accepted the call, and she usually said, “Hello, Mr. Ketchum. When am I going to get to meet you? I would very much like to meet you one day.” (Ketchum wasn’t very talkative-not to her, anyway. She would soon pass the phone to Dominic-“Gamba,” she fondly called him.)that spring of ’67, when the news came about Danny’s miserable marriage-that awful wife of his; the dear boy had deserved better-and there’d been more collect calls than usual from up north (most of them about that menacing cop), Ketchum had scared Carmella. Dominic would later think that Ketchum probably meant to. When she’d said the usual to the old woodsman-Carmella was about to hand the phone across the bed to Dominic-Ketchum said, “I don’t know that you want to meet me, ever, because it might not be under the best of circumstances.”had given Carmella quite a chill; she’d been upset enough with the way things were that spring, and now Mr. Ketchum had frightened her. And Carmella wished that Danny was as relieved as she was that Katie had left him. It was one thing to leave the man you were with-Carmella could understand that-but it was a sin for a mother to walk away from her own child. Carmella was relieved that Katie had left, because Carmella believed that Katie wouldn’t have been any kind of mother if she’d stayed. Of course, Carmella and Dominic had never liked Katie Callahan; they’d both seen their share of customers like her in Vicino di Napoli. “You can smell the money on her,” Carmella had said to the cook.

“It’s not exactly on her, it’s under her,” the cook had commented. He meant that the money in Katie’s family was a safety net for the wild girl; she could behave in any fashion she wanted because the family money was there to catch her if she fell. Dominic felt certain, as Ketchum did, that Katie Callahan’s so-called free spirit was a fraud. Danny had misunderstood his dad; the boy thought that the cook didn’t like Katie strictly because the young woman looked like Rosie, Danny’s unfaithful mother. But Katie’s looks had little to do with what Dominic and Ketchum didn’t like about her; it was how she was not like Rosie Calogero that had bothered them, from the beginning.was nothing but a renegade young woman with a money cushion under her; “a mere sexual outlaw,” Ketchum had called her. Whereas Rosie had loved both a boy and a man. She’d been trapped because she had genuinely loved the two of them-hence they’d been trapped, too. By comparison, the Callahan whore had just been fucking around; worse, with her high-minded politics, Katie thought she was above such mundanities as marriage and motherhood.knew it pained Dominic that Danny believed his mother had been the same sort of lawless creature Katie was. Though Dominic had gone to great lengths to explain the threesome with Rosie and Ketchum to Carmella, she had to confess that she didn’t understand it much better than Danny did. Carmella could understand the reason for it happening, but not for it continuing the way it had. Danny didn’t get that part of it, either. Carmella also had been mad at her dear Gamba for not telling the boy about his mother sooner. Danny had long been old enough to know the story, and it would have been better if his dad had told him before the cat got let out of the bag in that conversation Danny had had with Mr. Ketchum.had been the one who’d answered the phone on that early morning Danny called to talk about it. “Secondo!” she said, when she heard his voice on the phone. That had been Danny’s nickname all the years he’d worked at Vicino di Napoli.

“Secondo Angelo,” old Polcari had first named him-literally, “Second Angel.”of them had been careful to call him Angelo, never Angelsecondo figlio (her “second son”).restaurant language, secondo also means “second course,” so it was the name that had stuck.now Carmella’s Secondo Angelo was in no mood to speak to her. “I need to talk to my dad, Carmella,” he said.

(Ketchum had warned the cook that Danny would be calling. “I’m sorry, Cookie,” that call from Ketchum had begun. “I fucked up.”)the April morning Danny called, Carmella knew that the young man would be angry at his dad for not telling him all those things. Of course she heard mostly Dominic’s side of the conversation, but she could nevertheless tell how the phone call was going-badly.

“I’m sorry-I was going to tell you,” the cook started.could hear Danny’s response to that, because he shouted into the phone at his father. “What were you waiting for?”

“Maybe for something like this to happen to you, so you might understand how difficult it can be with women,” Dominic said. There in the bed, Carmella punched him. The “this” referred to Katie leaving, of course-as if that relationship, which was wrongheaded from the start, was at all comparable to what had gone on with Rosie and Ketchum. And why had they lied to the boy about the bear for so long? Carmella couldn’t understand it; she certainly didn’t expect Danny to.lay there listening to the cook tell his son about that night in the cookhouse kitchen, when Rosie had confessed to sleeping with Ketchum-and then Ketchum had walked through the screen door, when all of them were drunk, and Dominic had hit his old friend with the skillet. Luckily, Ketchum had been in enough fights; he never entirely believed that there was anyone alive who wouldn’t take a swing at him. The big man’s reactions were ingrained. He must have deflected the skillet with a forearm, slightly turning the weapon in Dominic’s hand, so that only the cast-iron edge of the frying pan hit him-and it hit him in the dead center of his forehead, not in the temple, where even a partially blocked blow from such a heavy implement might have killed him.’d been no doctor in Twisted River, and there wasn’t even a sawmill and a so-called millpond at what would become Dead Woman Dam, where there would later be an absolute moron of a doctor. Rosie had stitched up Ketchum’s forehead on one of the dining-room tables; she’d used the ultra-thin stainless-steel wire the cook kept on hand for trussing up his chickens and turkeys. The cook had sterilized the wire by boiling it first, and Ketchum had bellowed like a bull moose throughout the process. Dominic had limped around and around the table while Rosie talked to the two of them. She was so angry that she was rough with the stitches.

“I wish I was stitching the two of you up,” she said, looking at Dominic, before telling them both how it was going to be. “If there is ever another act of violence between the two of you, I will leave you both-is that clear enough?” she’d asked them. “If you promise never to hurt each other-in fact, you must always look after each other, like good brothers-then I will never leave either of you, not until the day I die,” she told them. “So you can each have half of me, or you can both have none of me-in the latter case, I take Danny with me. Is everything understood?” They could tell she was totally serious about it.

“I suppose your mother was too proud to go back to Boston when she had the miscarriage-and she thought I was too young to be left alone when my mother died,” Carmella heard Dominic telling Danny. “Rosie must have thought she had to take care of me, and of course she knew that I loved her. I don’t doubt that she loved me, too, but I was still just a nice boy to her, and when she met Ketchum-well, he was her age. Ketchum was a man. We had no choice but to put up with it, Daniel-both Ketchum and I adored her, and in her own way I believe she loved the two of us.”

“What did Jane think of it?” Danny asked his dad, because Ketchum had said that the Injun knew everything.

“Well, exactly what you would expect Jane to think of it,” his father told him. “She said all three of us were assholes. Jane thought we were all taking a terrible chance-the Indian said it was a big gamble that any of it would work out. I thought so, too, but your mother wasn’t giving us another option-and Ketchum was always a bigger gambler than I was.”

“You should have told me earlier,” his son said.

“I know I should have, Daniel-I’m sorry,” Carmella heard the cook say., Dominic would tell Carmella what Danny had said to him then. “I don’t care that much about the bear-it was a good story,” Danny said to his dad. “But there’s another thing you’re wrong about. You told me you suspected that Ketchum killed Lucky Pinette. You and Jane, and half those West Dummer kids-that’s what you all told me.”

“I think Ketchum may have killed him, Daniel.”

“I think you’re wrong. Lucky Pinette was murdered in his bed-in the old Boom House on the Androscoggin. He’d had his head bashed in with a stamping hammer when they found him-isn’t that the story?” Daniel Baciagalupo, the writer, asked his father.

“That’s it, exactly,” his dad answered. “Lucky Pinette’s forehead was indented with the letter H.”

“Cold-blooded murder-right, Dad?”

“It sure looked like it, Daniel.”

“Then it wasn’t Ketchum,” Danny told him. “If Ketchum found it so easy to murder Lucky Pinette in bed, why doesn’t he just kill Carl? There’re any number of ways Ketchum could kill the cowboy-if Ketchum were a murderer.”knew that Daniel was right. (“Maybe the boy really is a writer!” the cook would say when he told Carmella the story.) Because if Ketchum were a murderer, the cowboy would already be dead. Ketchum had promised Rosie he would look after Dominic-they had both promised to look after each other-and, under the circumstances, what better way to look after Dominic was there? Just kill the cowboy-in bed, or wherever the woodsman could catch Carl napping.

“Don’t you get it, Dad?” Danny had asked. “If Pam tells Carl everything, and the cowboy can’t find you or me, why wouldn’t he go after Ketchum? He’d know that Ketchum always knew everything-Six-Pack will tell him!”both father and son knew the answer to that. If the cowboy came after Ketchum, then Ketchum would kill him-both Ketchum and Carl knew that. Like most men who beat women, the cowboy was a coward; Carl probably wouldn’t dare go after Ketchum, not even with a rifle with a scope. The cowboy knew that the logger would be hard to kill-not like the cook.

“Dad?” Danny asked. “When are you getting the hell out of Boston?” By the guilty, frightened way Dominic turned in bed to look at her, Carmella must have known what the new topic of conversation was. They had discussed Dominic leaving Boston, but the cook either couldn’t or wouldn’t tell Carmella when he was going.Dominic first told Carmella everything, he made one point particularly clear: If Carl ever came after him, and the cook had to go on the run again, Carmella couldn’t come with him. She’d lost her husband and her only child. She had been spared just one thing-she’d not seen them die. If Carmella went on the run with Dominic, the cowboy might not kill her, too, but she would watch the cook get killed. “I won’t allow it,” Dominic had told her. “If that asshole comes after me, I go alone.”

“Why can’t you and Danny just tell the police?” Carmella had asked him. “What happened to Jane was an accident! Can’t you make the police understand that Carl is crazy, and that he’s dangerous?”was hard to explain to someone who wasn’t from Coos County. In the first place, the cowboy was the police-or what passed for the police up there. In the second place, it wasn’t a crime to be crazy and dangerous-not anywhere, but especially not in northern New Hampshire. Nor was it much of a crime that Carl had buried or otherwise disposed of Jane’s body without telling anyone. The point was, the cowboy didn’t kill her-Danny did. And the cook had been old enough to know better than to have run away the first time, when if he’d stayed and simply told the truth, to someone-well, maybe then it might have worked out. (Or Dominic could have just gone back to Twisted River with Daniel. The cook could have bluffed it out, as Ketchum had wanted him to-as young Dan also had wanted.)course, it was too late to change any of that now. It was early enough in their relationship when the cook had told Carmella all this; she’d accepted the terms. Now that she loved him more than a little, she regretted what she’d agreed to. Not going with him, if Dominic had to go, would be very hard for her. Naturally, Dominic knew he would miss Carmella-more than he’d missed Injun Jane. Maybe not as much as both he and Ketchum still missed Rosie, but the cook knew that Carmella was special. Yet the more he loved Carmella, the more dead set Dominic was against her going with him.Carmella lay in bed, she thought about the places she could no longer go in the North End, first because sheAngele day be a library, but Carmella wouldn’t ever walk by that library.she’d always been a waitress at Vicino di Napoli-it had been her first job and became her only one-she was free most mornings. When the little kids at Cushman’s took their school trips in the neighborhood, Carmella had always volunteered to be one of the parents who went along-just to help the teacolic-but it was famous (foremost, for its role in Paul Revere’s ride). Enshrined, under glass, were the bricks from the cell where the Pilgrim fathers had been imprisoned in England.two counts could Carmella not walk past the Mariners House on North Square, and this was awkward for her because it was so close to Vicino di Napoli. But it was the landmark of the Boston Port and Seamenwas just plain silly how more innocent connections to the fisherman and Angelused to eat, too. Now there was no more going there.fisherman had told her that no sailor had ever been mugged on Hanover Street, or ever would be; it was a safe walk for even the drunken-most sailors, all the way from the waterfront to the Old Howard and back. In addition to the striptease places, there were cheap bars frequented by the sailors, and the arcades around Scollay Square. (Of course this would all change; Scollay Square itself would go.) But the world Carmella had lived in with her drowned husband and drowned son was both sacred and haunted to her-the whole length of Hanover Street!the scavenging seagulls over the Haymarket reminded her of the Saturday people-watching she had done there, with Angel the red sauce-I like it just with lemon,” the cook would say.) Would she no longer be able to eat in these places after her Gamba was gone? Carmella wondered.would certainly have to move into a smaller apartment. Would it be so hot in the apartment in the summer that she would become like one of those old ladies in the tenement building on Charter Street? They took their chairs out of their apartments so they could sit on the sidewalk, where it was cooler. Those cold-water tenements had been bedecked with streamers for the saints

1919, GIUS’d heard the explosion thought the Germans were coming-that Boston Harbor was being bombed, or something. “I saw a whole piano floating in the molasses!” old Polcari told young Dan.the kitchen of Vicino di Napoli was a black-and-white photograph of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti; the two anarchist immigrants were handcuffed together. Sacco and Vanzetti were sent to the electric chair for the murder of a paymaster and a guard at a shoe company in South Braintree. Old Polcari-in his final, addle-brained days-couldn’t remember all the details, but he remembered the protest marches. “Sacco and Vanzetti were framed! A stool pigeon in the Charlestown Street jail fingered them, and the State of Massachusetts gave-a the stool pigeon a free ride back to Italy,” old Joe had said to Danny. There’d been a procession for Sacco and Vanzetti that started on Hanover Street in the North End and went all the way to Tremont Street, where the mounted police had broken up the crowd; there were thousands of protesters, Joe Polcari among them.

Polcari meant the Camorra, the Neapolitan version of the Mafia-not that Dominic could truly understand the distinction. When he’d behaved wildly as a kid, Nunzi had called him her camorrista. But it was Dominic’s impression that the Mafia was more or less in control of the North End, where both the Mafia and the Camorra were called the Black Hand.Dominic told Paul Polcari that the cowboy might be coming after him, Paul said, “If my dad were alive, he’d call his Camorra buddies, but I don’t know about those guys.”

“I don’t know about the Mafia, either,” Tony Molinari told Dominic. “If they do something for you, then you owe them.”

“I don’t want to involve you in my troubles,” Dominic said to them. “I’m not asking the Mafia to help me, or the Camorra.”

“The crazy cop won’t come after Carmella, will he?” Paul Polcari asked the cook.

“I don’t know-Carmella bears watching,” Dominic answered.

“We’ll watch her, all right,” Molinari said. “If the cowboy comes here, to the restaurant-well, we’ve got knives, cleavers-”

“Wine bottles,” Paul Polcari suggested.

“Don’t even think about it,” Dominic told them. “If Carl comes here looking for me, he’ll be armed-he wouldn’t go anywhere without that Colt forty-five on him.”

“I know what my dad would say,” Paul Polcari said. “He’d say, ‘A Colt forty-five is-a nothing-not if you’ve ever tried to get-a cozy with one of those women who work as stitchers in the shirt factory. Even naked, they got-a needles on three cooks laughed; they made an effort to forget about the deputy sheriff up in Coos County. What else could they do but try to forget about him?Polcari had had a hundred jokes like that one about the shirt-stitchers. “Do you remember the one about the woman who worked the night shift at the Boston Sausage and Provision Company?” Dominic asked Paul and Tony.chefs roared. “Yeah, she worked in the skinless-meat department,” Paul Polcari said.

“She had this sneaky little knife, for cutting the skin off the frankfurters!” Molinari remembered.

“She could peel-a your penis like it was a grape!” the three cooks shouted, almost in unison. Then Carmella came into the restaurant, and they stopped laughing.

“More dirty jokes?” she asked them. They were just firing up the pizza oven and waiting for the dough to rise; it was late morning, but the marinara sauce was already simmering. Carmella saw how worried they suddenly seemed, and they wouldn’t look in her eyes. “You were talking about Carl, weren’t you?” she asked them; they were like boys who’d been caught beating off. “Maybe you should do what Ketchum says-maybe, Gamba, you should listen to your old friend,” she said to Dominic. Two months had passed since Ketchum’s warning, but the cook still couldn’t or wouldn’t tell Carmella when he was leaving.none of them could look at their beloved Gambacorta, the cook who limped. “Maybe you should go, if you’re going,” Carmella said to Dominic. “It’s almost summer,” she suddenly announced. “Do cops get summer vacations?” she asked them.was June-very nearly the last day of school, they all knew. That was a tough time of year for Carmella. All at once, there was nowhere she could go in the North End. The freed-from-school children were everywhere; they reminded Carmella of her Angelprim, her first Angel.deputy sheriff had been with Six-Pack for these slowly passing two months. Yes, it was still a relatively new relationship, but-as Ketchum had pointed out-two months was a long time for Carl to go without whacking a woman. The cook couldn’t remember a time when one week went by and the cowboy didn’t hit Injun Jane.

WERE THINGS Carmella had never told her dear Gamba about his beloved Daniel. How the boy had managed to get laid before he even went off to Exeter, for example. Carmella had caught Danny doing it with one of her nieces-one of those DiMattia girls, Teresa’s younger sister Josie. Carmella had gone out to work in the restaurant, but she’d forgotten something and had to go back to the Wesley Place apartment. (Now she couldn’t even remember what it was she’d forgotten.) It was Danny’s day off from his busboy job. He already knew he had a full scholarship to Exeter -maybe he was celebrating. Of course Carmella knew that Josie DiMattia was older than Danny; probably Josie had started it. And all along Dominic had suspected that Teresa DiMattia-or her friend Elena Calogero, definitely a kissing cousin-would sexually initiate Danny.was Gamba so worried about that? Carmella wondered. If the boy had had more sex-she meant in those years when he was a student at Exeter -maybe he wouldn’t have become so infatuated with that Callahan girl when he went to college! And if he’d fucked a few more of his kissing cousins-Calogeros and Saettas, or for that matter every female in the DiMattia family-possibly he would have knocked up someone a whole lot nicer than Katie!because Dominic had obsessed about Elena Calogero and Teresa DiMattia, when Carmella came into the apartment and saw Danny fucking someone on her bed, she first assumed it was Teresa who was initiating the frightened-looking fifteen-year-old. Naturally, young Dan was frightened because Carmella had caught them at it!

“Teresa, you whore!” Carmella cried. (She actually called the girl a troia-from that notorious Trojan woman-but the word meant “whore,” of course.)

“I’m Josie, Teresa’s sister,” the girl said indignantly. She must have been miffed that her aunt didn’t recognize her.

“Well, yes, you are,” Carmella replied. “And what are you doing using our bed, Danny? You’ve got your own bed, you disgraziato-”

“Jeez, yours is bigger,” Josie told her aunt.

“And I hope you’re using a condom!” Carmella cried.used condoms; he didn’t mind, and Carmella preferred it. Maybe the boy had found his father’s condoms. When it came to condoms, it was a dumb world, Carmella knew. At Barone’s Pharmacy, they kept the condoms hidden, completely out of sight. If kids asked for them, the pharmacist would give them shit about it. Yet any responsible parent who had a kid that age would tell the kid to use a condom. Where exactly were the kids supposed to get them?

“Was it one of your dad’s condoms?” Carmella asked Danny, while the boy lay covered by a sheet; he looked mortified that she’d discovered him. The DiMattia girl, on the other hand, hadn’t even bothered to cover her breasts. She just sat sullenly naked, staring at her aunt with defiance. “Are you going to confess this, Josie?” Carmella asked the girl. “How are you going to confess this?”

“I brought the condoms-Teresa gave them to me,” Josie said, ignoring the larger question of confession.Carmella was really angry. Just what did that troia Teresa think she was doing, giving her kid sister condoms! “How many did she give you?” Carmella asked. But before the girl could answer, Carmella asked Danny: “Don’t you have any homework to do?” Then Carmella seemed to realize that she was guilty of a certain hypocrisy in her hasty judgment of Teresa. (Shouldn’t Teresa be thanked for giving her kid sister condoms? Yet had the condoms enabled Josie to seduce Secondo?)

“Jeez, do you want me to count them or something?” Josie asked her aunt, about the condoms. Poor Danny just looked like he wanted to die, Carmella would always remember.

“Well, you kids be careful-I have to go to work,” Carmella told them. “Josie!” Carmella had cried, as she walked out of the apartment, just before she’d slammed the door. “You wash my sheets, you make my bed-or I’ll tell your mother!”wondered if they had fucked all afternoon and evening, and if they’d had enough condoms. (She was so upset about it, she forgot that she’d gone back to the apartment because she’d forgotten something.)dear Gamba had wanted his son to be safe from girls-and how the cook had cried when Danny went away to Exeter! Yet Carmella could never tell him that sending the boy to boarding school hadn’t really worked. (Not in the way Dominic had hoped.) Dominic had also been overly impressed by the list of the colleges and universities many Exeter graduates attended; the cook couldn’t understand why Danny hadn’t been a good enough student at the academy to get into one of those Ivy League schools. The University of New Hampshire had been a disappointment to Dominic, as were his son’s grades at Exeter. But the academy was a very hard school for someone coming from the Mickey, and Danny had demonstrated little aptitude for math and the sciences., the boy’s grades weren’t great because he wrote all the time. Mr. Leary had been right: So-called creative writing wasn’t valued at Exeter, but the mechanics of good writing was. And there were individual English teachers there who’d played the Mr. Leary role for Danny-they read the fiction that young Baciagalupo showed them. (They hadn’t once suggested a nom de plume, either.)other thing Danny did at Exeter was all that insane running. He ran cross-country in the fall, and ran on the track teams both winter and spring. He hated the required athletics at the school, but he liked running. He was a distance runner, primarily; it just went with his body, with his slightness. He was never very competitive; he liked to run as hard and as fast as he could, but he didn’t care about beating anybody. He had never been able to run before going to Exeter, and you could run year-round there.’d been nowhere to run in the North End-not if you liked running any distance. And in the Great North Woods, there was nowhere safe to run; you would trip over something, trying to run in those woods, and if you ran on one of the haul roads, a logging truck would mow you down or force you off the road. The logging companies owned those roads, and the asshole truck drivers-as Ketchum called them-drove as if they owned them. (Of course there was also the deer hunting, both bow season and the firearm season. If you tried running in the woods or on a haul road during deer season, some asshole hunter might shoot you or run you through with a hunting arrow.)Danny wrote Ketchum about his running at Exeter, Ketchum wrote the boy back as follows: “Hell, Danny, it’s a good thing you didn’t do all that running around Twisted River. Most places I’m familiar with in Coos County, if I see a fella running, I assume he’s done some dirt and is running away. It would be a safe bet to shoot most fellas you see running around here.”loved the indoor track at Exeter. The Thompson Cage had a sloped wooden track above a dirt one. It was a good place to think about the stories he was imagining; he could think very clearly when he ran, Danny discovered, especially when he started to get tired.he left Exeter with B grades in English and history, and C grades in just about everything else, Mr. Carlisle told Dominic and Carmella that perhaps the boy would be a “late bloomer.” But, as a writer, to publish a first novel less than a year after he left the Iowa Workshop was a fairly early-bloomer thing to do; of course Mr. Carlisle had been speaking strictly academically. And Danny’s grades at UNH were excellent; compared to Exeter, the University of New Hampshire had been easy. The hard part about Durham was meeting Katie Callahan, and everything that had happened with her-both in Durham and in Iowa City. Neither Carmella nor her dear Gamba could talk about that young woman without feeling sick, almost poisoned.

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