Diverging Paths and All That


Brevity & Echo
Sudden Flash Youth
Dreams and Doorways

In Dollar Saver, the aisles are empty, customers crowding Electronics watching Nixon resign on twenty TV sets. Dad dropped us off with three bucks to buy burgers but we’ve already spent in on fireballs and fudge.

While Nixon keeps the manager occupied, Billy demonstrates the ‘heads-up technique,’ the nonchalant gaze, his left hand filching Hershey bars and Bic pens while his right hand jingles pocket change. Billy grins, ‘I really save my dollars here.’

Solo time. I head for Cosmetics, the wall of Peeper sticks—blue and green and lavender eye crayons that’ve always cost dollars I don’t have. My hand closes around Seafoam Green, hesitates, but what the hell, even the President’s a crook, so I slip it up my sleeve. I try to sneak away natural as Billy, but my legs move too quick and stiff.

Billy meets me in Electronics, where Nixon’s keeping his head up, not admitting a damn thing. Saying he’d be able to clear his name if he fought long enough, but he’ll sacrifice his honor for the country. When he says he’ll resign as of noon the next day, I check out all these adults who yelled, ‘Impeach the crook.’ Nobody cheers. The faces are solemn as gravestones. Billy’s motioning, Come on let’s go, but I suddenly I feel like I ate too much candy. I shake my sleeve, dropping the Peeper Stick onto a shelf, and follow Billy out the automatic doors. Dad’s picking us up in two minutes, but Billy’s headed someplace else.