You can read some of Worse Than Getting Caught right here—if you haven’t read it yet, how about beginning with Part One?
Every night at 1:37 in McKinley, the lights in the hallways went out. It took me a long time to learn that, but that’s because I hadn’t stayed up late enough times to notice. When I did stay up late, I noticed the lights go out, which caused me to glance at the clock on my computer, but my mind automatically discarded that information as irrelevant. It was a random time after all. But after noticing it on five or six occasions, the numbers 1:37 in the corner of my screen became familiar, and it dawned on me that the lights turned off at the exact same time every night. “Why would that be?” I wondered. “Someone had to program it that way—why would they pick such a weird time? Why not just 1:30 or 2:00?”
On this particular night, that silent signal—the falling of darkness in the crack of my door—almost imperceptible as it was, served as my alarm. It was time to go. I was already dressed in as much black as I could find—but not so much as to draw attention to myself when I walked out the door—so there was nothing left for me to do but make the leap.
Truth be told, I had never been outside that late in Saint-Michael. I didn’t realize how empty the streets would be, but it made sense. SMU sat up against downtown Saint-Michael, which was almost purely a financial district. People who lived in the suburbs commuted there for work, and after 7 or so the only people you could hope to encounter were the hobos who had nowhere else to go. By 1:37 in the morning, though, even the hobos had settled down for the night in their bus shelters and ditches, leaving downtown Saint-Michael a pitch-black ghost town.
I was nervous, huffing and puffing uncontrollably as I half-jogged. I felt like I was going too slow, taking too long, but I didn’t want to be that weirdo running in long pants and a sweatshirt when it wasn’t even cold outside. Jack had warned me not to draw attention to myself.
My breath floated in little spurts ahead of me, teasing me. I imagined that the buildings around me were full of people, their ears pressed against the outside walls, wondering why my heart was thumping so loudly.
At the corner of State and Washington, just ahead, there was a pudgy figure loitering, standing still. The man was smoking a cigarette, watching me approach. “Shit,” I thought. I had hoped to remain unseen. But I let out a silent sigh of relief when I realized it was Jack standing there.
“I didn’t know you smoked,” I said. It seemed so unlike the overly health-conscious Jack I knew.
“First of all, shut up. Second of all, it’s fake.” He flicked it out of his hand and, sure enough, it wasn’t burning.
“But why?” I asked.
We walked together in silence for what felt like an hour, but it couldn’t have been that long. I walked behind Jack, struggling to match his pace. His gaze was in the air, scanning the rooftops, but that didn’t stop him from navigating expertly. We zigzagged among the city blocks until I wasn’t quite sure where we were.
Eventually, Jack stopped and turned to me. “Here we are,” he said, gesturing toward a grand expanse of brick in front of us. “We have to work fast,” he said.
He pulled a crumpled scrap of paper from his pocket and handed it to me. “This is what you’re doing,” he said. I recognized the drawing immediately: It was a rendering of the exhausted devil from the front of the red book, only instead of a pointed trident, he was carrying a staff with a dollar sign capital.
“It’s your first time, so it won’t be pretty,” Jack said. “But there’s nothing like it.” He handed me an aerosol can like a silent assassin.
“Shake first,” he said with a wink. “Hard, because there’s a magnet holding the ball.” I shook as hard as I could, holding the magnet in place at the bottom of the can. There wasn’t a sound, other than my worried breathing, to disturb the night.
The first spurt was the most shocking. The paint, expanding eagerly after being impossibly condensed for so long, lapped up all the air it could manage, and it burned the inside of my nose. The smell made me a little light-headed, but it egged me on.
As I drew, the spurts of paint like stolen whispers, I looked back and forth between the wall and paper, trying my best to make the design look exactly right. I’d never done any art before and I was nervous, but I kept going—if for no other reason than I didn’t know how to stop.
I was terrified. Spray-painting on someone else’s wall, that was the worst thing I’d done in my life. I’d always been such a good kid, so naive, always playing by the rules. Actually, you might have said I was just lame. I never drank alcohol in high school, never tried drugs, never shoplifted or smoked cigarettes or did any of the other things kids were supposed to do. Tonight I was terrified, but it was a rush.
“Oh fucking shit,” Jack said. He stopped painting and frantically began packing up, and I heard what he heard: sirens. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he said. “We need to get the hell out of here.”
“But it’s an ambulance,” I said. The pattern was unmistakeable. At least I thought…
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” said Jack. “Don’t care if it’s Mother Fucking Theresa coming down on a cotton candy unicorn—we need to move—the—fuck—now.” He grabbed the can from my hand and I stuffed the paper in my pocket as he pulled my collar. “Now!”
The walls around us glittered in red and blue, and the sirens got louder. There were police after all, I noticed, but it was too late. They were after us.
“Someone—must—have—tipped,” Jack started between breaths. We were running as fast as we could, Mercury wings sprouting from our shoes. When we turned, the lights followed.
“What happens to people who get caught doing graffiti?” I wondered. It couldn’t be that bad; it wasn’t like we were killing people. But still, it was illegal. Would there be jail time? Fines? Would the judge decide to make an example out of us? Would my parents find out? What would Glo think?
Suddenly my vision went white, and I couldn’t feel my body.
I loved the cafeteria. There were tons of food options, a weirdly appealing smell, a bunch of different places to sit, bright windows that brought in the outdoors and, of course, countless students coming and going at all hours of the day. It was youthful and energetic, and it was relaxed because no one was worried about studying or doing homework.
Out of everything I loved about the cafeteria, though, the food was the best part. After I saw what the food service was like at SMU, I never understood why people made derogatory references to “dorm food.” To be honest, it was probably better than anything I’d eaten in my life—including after graduation. The cafeteria was always open, the food was always available and ready, it was delicious and it seemed free because I’d already paid for it along with my tuition. I just had to swipe my student ID and they let me into heaven. What wasn’t to love?
For the first few weeks of school, I thought the cafeteria food was perfect. Then it occurred to me, the one glaring misgiving that had at first seemed like such a blessing: It was all-you-can-eat. I was in the cafeteria one day, alone as usual, and it hit me when I looked down at my plate. I had grabbed not one, not two, but three entrees, two tall glasses of chocolate milk, a piece of chocolate cake and a donut. I bent my neck a bit further to look down my chest, and I could practically see my jolly new belly bulging out of my t-shirt.
Call me shallow, but I didn’t want to get fat. Not after I had put forth so much effort in high school to perfect my physique. All those hours of running and keeping a closer look at my diet than any teenage guy should—I wasn’t about to let all that go to waste. I owed it to myself, I figured.
After that, I vowed to pay more attention to what I was grabbing in the cafeteria. It’d be tough. I also decided to put in another run that day, and so, after letting my food settle for an hour, I took to the streets.
I loved running on the streets just as much as I loved walking on them, for all the same reasons. Although I couldn’t spend so much time pondering my surroundings (it’d be tough to run on the sidewalk with my head tilted upward all the time), I loved feeling the breeze on my body as I zipped, zagging between people who were hobbling along, no match for me.
When I ran, my mind was free. I never ran while listening to music because, first of all, I couldn’t use an MP3 player during competitions in high school, so I didn’t use one during practice either. But more importantly, I liked to let my mind wander on its own, without prodding or clogging it up with music. I didn’t have any good music anyway.
On this particular day, I found myself thinking about how different college was from high school. Everything was so much more laid back—much more my style. Nobody was stressed about whether they’d get into such-and-such college because, well, they were already in college. And, at least for the kids my age, they had four years before they had to worry about getting such-and-such job.
I came to an intersection and the light was green for me. At least I thought so. But, to be honest, I couldn’t recall whether I had actually checked, so who knows. I was running through the crosswalk when, all of a sudden, the brakes of a speeding car were squealing from my left. Instinctively, I freaked out and tried to jump out of the way. But instead of jumping, I half-fell and staggered for a few steps. Though it felt a lot scarier than it probably really was, I had to stop for a bit to catch my breath at the corner, confirm that I was okay and reflect upon what could have just happened and how much of an idiot I was.
After a few moments of rest, I readied myself to take off again.
“Fuck!” I said to myself as a spear of pain shot up my right leg, paralyzing me. But before I could stop, I’d smashed my right foot on the ground again, sending a second spear soaring after the first one. I couldn’t run anymore.
I limped a few steps just to get away from the corner, and I tried to figure out what to do. It was just my luck that I had been running directly away from campus that day—usually I sort of circled around it—so I was about as far away from my dorm as I could ever have hoped to be. I estimated that it’d take around a half an hour to get home walking, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Though walking obviously hurt a lot less than running, it was still painful.
After walking the longest block of my life, almost in tears, I looked to my right and saw a sign for the subway. “Thank God,” I said. Luckily, my dorm was near a subway stop too. “Why didn’t I think of it before?” I hobbled my way down the street and descended into the station.
Finding the Book changed my life, more than I thought it would.
I first heard about it on the news like everyone else, and I found myself wondering, if the Red Book was really all over the city, then why had I not come across it yet?
I did some research online, and people were saying that the Book only came to you when you were ready to receive its message, so there wasn’t any point in scouring the streets looking for it. When it was time, you’d find it. I thought that was beautiful, but I was impatient.
Eventually the Red Book came to me. On that morning, I was making the oh-so-short walk from the subway to the bus stop after dropping off Melody at daycare, and I noticed something red leaning against the curb. It was practically glowing, at least that’s how I always remembered it, and there was nobody else around. It was all mine. Really, what are the chances? I thought.
I picked up the Book and examined it. It was thinner than I had imagined it would be, and it had a devil on the front, which repulsed me at first, but I couldn’t just ignore the thing. I mean, the Book chose me. And after all, whether it was demonic or not, so many people were saying such good things about the Book, I just had to read it for myself and see what all the fuss was about.
And besides, we have seen what good people the Christians are, haven’t we? Maybe I’d be better off with something a little less mainstream, I thought.
It was a habit of mine to read every evening, when Melody was getting ready for bed and I had finished all the chores. I settled down to read for an hour or two before I went to bed myself. It was my personal time to relax, to forget about all the other stuff in my life and unwind. It took priority over almost everything else, so I rarely missed my reading time. When it’s already nighttime, stuff can usually wait until the next day, I had found out.
I was so excited to start reading the Book that night that I didn’t find it difficult at all to put the Anne Rice book I had been reading on hold for a few days. I peeled back the devil cover and began absorbing the canticles.
It was so beautiful. The vocabulary intimidated me at first, and I was worried that the whole book would be over my head and I wouldn’t understand it, but once I got into it, I found it very accessible and wonderfully written. The author, whoever he or she was, had such a magnificent way with words. Reading the Book, it created the most fantastic images in my mind, it made me think.
I read most of the Book that first night. It talked about loving people for who they are, not letting their stupid decisions get in the way of how you feel about them, and it made me think of my father. Should I really forgive him for the way he treated me so many years ago? I wondered. Maybe. It was in the past, anyway, and he was my father, after all. I thought of Melody and wondered if I could ever stop loving her because of something she did. I didn’t think I could.
The Book talked about how our society had gotten out of hand, how we needed to take a step back from our busy lives and become more spiritual, how keeping ourselves so busy and stressed all the time would get us nowhere. It talked about keeping in touch with each other as human beings, about the importance of intimacy in this digital world. About the pigheaded corporations that drove our materialistic society and kept us all enslaved within their clutches.
I had never read anything so profound, that shed so much light. Never before had I questioned the way I lived. I had never thought about any of these things before, but suddenly they seemed so important. So important, and terribly urgent. And I felt enlightened.
I have so many thoughts, and they are all so profound. I spend a good deal of my time thinking, and I even find that when I’m specifically not thinking—for example, during the evening walks I take to clear my mind—I find that the most penetrating fathoms occur to me.
I recently decided to set my thoughts down in writing, even though they may dumbfound those who come upon them, for I can no longer bear them weighing down so heavily upon my neck alone.
I wonder what other people might think about these thoughts with which I am gifted. Of course I know them to be wonderful and magnanimous. That’s hardly the question. What I’m wondering, as it were, is whether there is anyone else in this dark and dismal world with the reasoning faculties to recognize my genius.
It has been hard for me, living as a public figure in this world with so many private thoughts, things I cannot rightly out as my own because other people would not understand or appreciate them. That is why I decided to write down all that I am thinking, in the beautiful and most ancient form of a book, and distribute this book anonymously so that others may discover and praise my work as they are capable, unaffected by their politics.
After reading a bit, I was disappointed. I had such high expectations for the book—it looked so cool, after all—but it dawned on me that it was actually not about anything. It rambled on for pages and pages without managing to make any kind of point or get to any kind of conclusion. There was no thesis, no plot, no organization—no content, really. Just words seemingly strung together at random. Just some bullshit writing that was so impressed with itself, with its big words and archaic vocabulary. Just some fodder that was trying so hard to seem philosophical. Puffery.
Actually, it reminded me of some of the readings I’d done in my philosophy class. Those guys seemed to have a knack for going on and on without seeming to make any sort of argument.
Or maybe it was just me; maybe I was just so stupid that I couldn’t make any sense out of this writing—it was just too mind-blowingly profound for my simpleton Montana brain.
Anyway, I couldn’t help but think I’d wasted my time. And not only that, but the book itself seemed a waste: It was so beautiful—someone obviously went to great lengths to design and manufacture it, but the writing was so thick and crappy that I couldn’t see how anyone could think it was worth all the effort. What a paradox. But I still thought the book was cool, and I shoved it into my pocket. It was mine.
It hit me while I was walking home: That must be the book my mom was talking about on the phone. “How could I not have thought of it right away?” I said. I could swear, when she told me stuff while I was busy or had something else on my mind, her words went straight to the storage boxes in the back of my brain, not eager to emerge right away like the rest of my thoughts.
I tried to remember what else she had said about the book, like who wrote it or where it came from, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, recall anything she’d said about it. Maybe she didn’t say any of that stuff, I decided, and I just let it go.
“I’ll call her later; she’ll be excited to hear I actually found a copy,” I thought. But of course, by the time I got home, I had too many other to-dos clamoring for my attention that I just tossed the beautiful waste of paper on my bookshelf with my other crap and got on with my day.
Of course he found out, sooner than we’d planned, and he freaked out.
“Think I was bluffing, you little slut? As soon as you turn 18, you’re fucking out of here. Start packing.” That was just a few weeks before my eighteenth birthday. As it turned out, he wasn’t bluffing, that year I got the worst birthday present ever from my father. Incidentally, I got one of the best from my mom. She paid the security deposit and the first few months of rent on an apartment for me, and she promised she’d take care of all the hospital stuff when the baby came. I was sure she never told my father about that stuff, but maybe he suspected it.
I had expected my father to take the news badly, but I never expected it from Jeff. When I told him I was pregnant, he got all quiet and his face went white, his pupils smaller than ever. I’d never seen him like that before, he was genuinely torn. Terrified, maybe. I knew right away he wasn’t expecting to have a baby, and he clearly didn’t want to.
“You’re not going to believe me,” he told me, “but I was actually planning to, you know, I was thinking we should spend some time apart. I’ve been meaning to bring it up for a few weeks now, but I just couldn’t break it to you. So this is, like, really bad timing.” He was right, I didn’t believe him.
“But you can’t just leave, Jeff. This is your baby, too.”
After a pause, he said, “You don’t have to have the baby, you know.” I couldn’t believe it.
“You think I should get an abortion? No way.”
“If it’s ‘my baby, too,’ like you say, then I should get some say in whether you have it, shouldn’t I? If you want to have the baby, then it’s all on you.” I couldn’t believe the asshole.
Since then, I’ve been a single mother. It hasn’t been easy, but at least my mom was always there to help me out. I graduated high school, thank God, and since then I went from job to job, just barely making enough to scrape by between daycare and rent and the bills.
I was always so grateful that I had my mother there as a support line, even just to have someone to cry to, and it wasn’t lost on me that she had to speak to me in secret to keep it from my father. She was such a strong woman, I don’t know if I could have kept such a part of my life from my husband. But I guess the circumstances were important enough. She just wanted to protect her daughter and her granddaughter, and she knew she’d just have to forgive me for “breaking the Lord’s heart,” as my father had put it. What am I going to do now that she’s gone? I thought.
It was interesting that my father was so strict when it came to premarital sex, but he could so easily abandon his one-and-only child, leaving her to the dogs with his granddaughter who he never cared to know. What a man.
So after enduring everything my father put me through, I could only pray that he would keep his word and I’d really never have to see him again.
“Well, times change, I guess,” I said to myself after he called. “Things happen.” When he gave me the news that my mother died, I knew I couldn’t miss her funeral, my one chance to say goodbye to her in person, and I knew that he’d be there. So I had a little time to prepare myself to see him again, for the first time since he told me not to let the door hit my “slut ass” when I left. But nothing could prepare me for how awkward it would really be.
When I walked in the funeral home, Melody and I all dressed in black like a couple of unlucky cats, everyone stared at us. Not only did I have the nerve to show up to the funeral of someone who, in the opinion of most people there, wasn’t part of my family, but I brought my shining scarlet letter along with me.
I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I just wanted to see my mom, say goodbye and get out of there. But I couldn’t just talk to nobody, I had to go through the motions and make smalltalk with all my ex-relatives, to whom I really had nothing to say.
And to make everything worse, I started crying, and I couldn’t do anything about it. So there I was, an unwanted stranger at a funeral, and then I saw my father. He noticed me, too, and he slowly made his way toward me, his face ice expressionless, and I was dreading the upcoming conversation. “What could he possibly have to say to me?” I wondered.
“Gloria,” he said. “I’m sorry.” And then he hugged me as unsurely as if he were hugging a random person on the street. Did he think he could just say sorry and the past six years would go away? What was he sorry for, exactly?
My father let me go, and then we looked into each other’s eyes for a minute. And all I could think was, “What, does he want me back now that he lost the only other woman in his life?” I wasn’t ready to forgive him for what he did to me. Sure, I was the one who had the baby, but he didn’t have to overreact. He disowned me, for God’s sake. Because of him, I couldn’t go to college. Because of him, I had gone nowhere in life. Because of him, I cried myself to sleep every night for a whole year. And he thought I’d forget about all that just because Mom died and he gave me a hug?
“I forgive you,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. What was I supposed to say?
It started when I was 16, when my parents found out I had been dating this guy Jeff who they didn’t like very much. He wasn’t a bad guy, but he wore the image to a certain extent, he wanted to be perceived that way. Jeff was cool. And me, being a typical, insecure teenage girl, I couldn’t get enough.
We’d skip class and drive fast in his car without our seat belts on. He’d take me out to eat all the time, he had an after-school job that paid pretty well for a teenage kid with no expenses. He acted all badass with his guy friends, swearing in every sentence, but he was never like that with me. He was sweet. More than once he even took me to stores like Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, where I shopped because I thought I was such a woman, and he never complained. Deep down, I thought it made him feel like more of a man.
And how he dressed, I can remember it clearly, like any woman remembers her first love. He almost always wore his dad’s faded denim jacket, that was back between the times when they were cool, and that’s what made him really cool. Underneath, he wore flannel button-downs in bright plaid, most of the time long enough to cover his boxers, which poofed out of his sagging, baggy pants. And his hair, his brown curls fell just so carelessly that I could tell he spent a lot of time arranging them. He was perfect, and he knew it. I think he did it all for me.
After we’d been hanging out basically all day every day in school, I started to figure out I was in love. I figured it out for sure one day when we were driving in his car, going anywhere but to class, and my favorite song came on the radio. Jeff turned it up really loud and we sang along at the top of our lungs.
When that happened, I thought it was time to introduce him to my parents. “They’ll love him,” I said to myself. “I mean I do, why wouldn’t they?” But it turned out that they didn’t even like him. I don’t know what kind of problem they had, they certainly didn’t tell me about it. And Jeff had been a perfect gentleman with them.
Then when my mom found out we were sleeping together, I think their dislike for him boiled into hate. My mom did so many things for me over the years behind my father’s back, I don’t know why she couldn’t just keep it to herself. She should have known how my father would react. But there’s no point crying about it now, I thought, and I shouldn’t be thinking so poorly about someone who’s dead, anyway.
My father lectured me over and over about what a sin I was committing and how it was not only unsafe but immoral, and hadn’t I ever heard of AIDS or pregnancy? If I got pregnant, he said, how would that make the family look?
I never forgot the day. I was sitting down on our old flower-printed couch in the living room, and my parents were burgeoning over me. My mom, standing in the background like a pattern, was half-shading her eyes, wishing she wasn’t there. My dad was pacing back and forth, just going on and on, he was really angry.
“You keep doing this, and you’re going to have yourself a baby,” he was saying. “Is that what you want, you little slut? You’re still a baby yourself. What are you thinking? You know, I knew that boy was trouble as soon as you brought him over here. I should have stopped him from seeing you when I had the chance.”
“I’m not going to have a baby,” I said. “He always uses a condom.”
“Always? Like you’re doing it a lot? Glo, you’re just a girl. A little girl. A little, stupid girl. And what are you talking about condoms? It’s bad enough that you’re breaking the Lord’s heart by having sex, but you using condoms is just going to tear Him apart. You shouldn’t be using those pagan fucking things, and a condom doesn’t mean shit, anyway. Didn’t they teach you that in school? I bet that little dickhead pokes holes in them, anyhow, and I’m sure he keeps the damn things in his wallet, am I right? Don’t you know that makes the shits worthless? Goddammit, girl, you used to be smarter than this.”
“Dad,” I said.
“Don’t you even start with me, Young Lady. Let me tell you something. If you keep doing this, Lord bless you, and you get yourself mother-fucking pregnant,” my mother cringed at that word, “then you’re no longer my daughter. You’re getting your full-moon ass out of my house, just like that, and I never want to see you again. Do you hear me, Young Lady?”
My mom was in tears by that point, and I didn’t even know what to think. I assumed he was bluffing, he always said stuff like that when he lost his temper, and I just said “Yes” or “Okay” or something calm just to get him to stop ranting.
He grounded me till forever, making sure I was home immediately after school and didn’t leave until the next morning. It was brutal. But after a few weeks he lightened up, probably at my mother’s begging, granting me a few liberties here and there, until eventually I was, for all intents and purposes, no longer grounded. I guess my father knew he couldn’t control me forever, or maybe he really just wanted me to go off and get pregnant so he wouldn’t have to see me ever again.
But we had still been having sex even while I was grounded. In fact, I think the fact that I was grounded made it even better. In the school bathrooms, in his car, at his place before school. We were a little sex-crazed.
Eventually, the inevitable happened: I got pregnant. Like so many things, my mom found out, this particular discovery being made when she saw me puking my brains out one morning before school. She agreed to help me keep it a secret from my father until we came up with a good way to break it to him, but something like that can only be kept a secret for so long.
Coming from a small town in Montana, everything in Saint-Michael looked so big. Before I moved there, I’d only seen skyscrapers in the movies—I never thought they’d be so big in real life. During my first few weeks in Saint-Michael, I couldn’t help but go for long walks, navigating through the city blocks at random, my neck always craned skyward. I must have looked ridiculous, but it didn’t matter; I was too occupied absorbing the rooftop ornaments and mind-bending brick patterns to care.
And besides the buildings, I loved looking at the people. Before I came to Saint-Michael, I never would have thought twice about looking at people as a pastime—they were just people, after all—but in the big city where there were just so many different kinds of people, so many different styles, so many different attitudes, I couldn’t help but take it all in.
There were the businessmen in their sharp suits, and there were the ones who didn’t dress up so well. There were the fashion divas who looked like they came straight from a magazine, and there were the scraggly-haired rocktoppers who dressed however the hell they wanted because who cares. The black people, the white people, the Asians and Hispanics. All sharing the sidewalk, just going about their business. And then, of course, there were all the college kids, the bright faces in t-shirts and plaid shorts, some of them just as enamored with Saint-Michael as I was.
I loved my new life in the city. I loved all the commotion and all the business and all the things to look at. There wasn’t as much cool stuff to look at back in Carson. All we had were mountains.
One day, when I was taking one of these walks, I found myself staring at the cars as they whizzed past me. No matter how many went by, there were a million more in tow, a never-ending blur of colored metal.
I noticed a lot of them had the same bumper sticker, but I couldn’t see what it said. It was mostly red, with some white and blue writing. I had made a game of it, trying to piece together the letters each time I saw it, but I never managed to figure out what it said until I caught a car wearing one at a stoplight. As it turned out, it was just one of those So-and-So for Mayor stickers. I’d been hoping it’d be something cooler.
Just when I solved the mystery, some dick on a bike nearly clipped my arm off as he sailed past me. He didn’t say sorry or anything. I was more freaked out than angry, and I didn’t have even a second to respond before he was too far ahead to throw a rock at. It didn’t matter, anyway, seeing as he didn’t, in fact, clip my arm off. Right then, when I was watching him speed away, something caught my eye.
It was a sort of square, red thing sitting on a bench a little ways ahead, glowing like a Christmas present, and I hustled to get closer and see what it was before anyone else.
A book. A royalty-red paperback that looked like it was bound by hand, just the right size to fit in my pocket. I thumbed through it quickly—it wasn’t long—and the beautiful type caught my eye. I’d never seen such a cool book in my life. It seemed arcane.
It was plain red on the back and there was no title on the spine, but there was a picture on the front. A black drawing of one of those devils dancing with his pitchfork and goat legs, only this one looked exhausted: He wasn’t dancing. He was just standing there, leaning over his pitchfork in the way an old man might bend over his walking stick for support. It was a really cool picture.
I had no obligations that night except for some bullshit homework I didn’t have to do, and it was still early anyway. So I plopped down on the bench and started reading.
First piece of press on Worse Than Getting Caught. Fantastic article by Sarah Elms with the Marquette Tribune.