Thursday

SAMPLE VOICE, B.


Hey son. Hey boy. Let's you and me go out and throw the ball around. Throw the ball around. You don't want to go out and throw the ball around? How come you don't want to go out and throw the ball around? I know why you don't want to go out and throw the ball around. It's cause you—Let's don't discuss it. It don't bear thinkin' about. Well let's see, you don't want to go out and throw the ball around, you can hep me work on the patio. You want to hep me work on the patio? Sure you do. Sure you do. We gonna have us a fine-lookin' patio there, boy, when we get it finished. Them folks across the street are just about gonna fall out when they see it. C'mon kid, I'll let you hold the level. And this time I want you to hold the fucking thing straight. I want you to hold it straight. It ain't difficult, any idiot can do it. A nigger can do it. We're gonna stick it to them mothers across the street, they think they're so fine. Flee from the wrath to come, boy, that's what I always say. Seen it on a sign one time, FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME. Crazy guy goin' down the street holdin' this sign, see, FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME, it tickled me. Went round for days sayin' it out loud to myself, flee from the wrath to come, flee from the wrath to come. Couldn't get it outa my head. See they're talkin' 'bout God there, that's what that's all about, God, see boy, God. It's this God shit they try and hand you, see, they got a whole routine, see, let's don't talk about it, gets me all pissed off. It fries my ass. Your mother goes for all that shit, see, and of course your mother is a fine woman and a sensible woman but she's just a little bit ape on this church thing we don't discuss it. She has her way and I got mine, we don't discuss it. She's a little bit ape on this subject, see, I don't blame her it was the way she was raised. Her mother was ape on this subject. That's how the churches make their money, see, they get the women. All these dumb-ass women.
Hold it straight kid. That's better. Now run me a line down that form with the pencil. I gave you the pencil. What'd you do with the fuckin' pencil? Jesus Christ kid find the pencil. OK go in the house and get me another pencil. Hurry up I can't stand here holdin' this all day. Wait a minute here's the pencil. OK. I got it. Now hold it straight and run me a line down that form. Not that way dummy, on the horizontal. You think we're buildin' a barn? That's right. Good. Now run the line. Good. OK now go over there and fetch me the square. Square's the flat one, looks like a L. Like this, look. Good. Thank you. OK now hold that mother up against the form where you made the line. That's so we get this side of it square, see? OK now hold the board and lemme just put in the stakes. HOLD IT STILL DAMN IT. How you think I can put in the stakes with you wavin' the damn thing around like that? Hold it still. Check it with the square again. OK, is it square? Now hold it still. Still. OK. That's got it. How come you're tremblin'? Nothin' to it, all you got to do is hold one little bitty piece of one-by-six straight for two minutes and you go into a fit? Now stop that. Stop it. I said stop it. Now just take it easy. You like heppin' me with the patio, don'tcha? Just think 'bout when its finished and we be sittin' out here with our drinks drinkin' our drinks and them jackasses 'cross the street will be shittin'. From green envy. Flee from the wrath to come, boy, flee from the wrath to come. He he.

from "A Manual for Sons"
Donald Barthelme

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