October 2 Norm

BRAZEN POLITENESS, VIGOR, ENTHUSIASM--these are what all the old man's friends exhibit when they come over. One brings his daughter although I frankly believe it's mostly for her to see a freak, and a favor to my father holding before me an example of the sort of thing I should look for--not a gesture presenting an actual possibility.

Heidi, this is Norm. Heidi goes to Cal. Norm fought with our boys.

Hey, Heidi. Her blink and grin are terrified and awestruck. She thinks she can see it in my eyes. I've been to war. I've murdered. I almost believe she loves me a little. Love in the sense of fear. Some chance this boy is the wild animal who can steal her away from domineering daddy and the dreary mess of sororities and study-socials. Maybe she thinks she sees schemes of elopement in my sullen brow. The truth is, it's just the ugly end of one long slouch.

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