The catcher in the Rye

 

Embed or link this publication

Description

Written in 1931 for J.D.Salinger, it is a book which influence generations, movies and sold million of copies.

Popular Pages


p. 1

the catcher in the rye by j.d salinger to my mother 1 if you really want to hear about it the first thing you ll probably want to know is where i was born an what my lousy childhood was like and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me and all that david copperfield kind of crap but i don t feel like going into it if you want to know the truth in the first place that stuff bores me and in the second place my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if i told anything pretty personal about them they re quite touchy about anything like that especially my father they re nice and all i m not saying that but they re also touchy as hell besides i m not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything i ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last christmas just before i got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy i mean that s all i told d.b about and he s my brother and all he s in hollywood that isn t too far from this crumby place and he comes over and visits me practically every week end he s going to drive me home when i go home next month maybe he just got a jaguar one of those little english jobs that can do around two hundred miles an hour it cost him damn near four thousand bucks he s got a lot of dough now he didn t use to he used to be just a regular writer when he was home he wrote this terrific book of short stories the secret goldfish in case you never heard of him the best one in it was the secret goldfish it was about this little kid that wouldn t let anybody look at his goldfish because he d bought it with his own money it killed me now he s out in hollywood d.b being a prostitute if there s one thing i hate it s the movies don t even mention them to me where i want to start telling is the day i left pencey prep pencey prep is this school that s in agerstown pennsylvania you probably heard of it you ve probably seen the ads anyway they advertise in about a thousand magazines always showing some hotshot guy on a horse jumping over a fence like as if all you ever did at pencey was play polo all the time i never even once saw a horse anywhere near the place and underneath the guy on the horse s picture it always says since 1888 we have been molding boys into splendid clear-thinking young men strictly for the birds they don t do any damn more molding at pencey than they do at any other school and i didn t know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all maybe two guys if that many and they probably came to pencey that way anyway it was the saturday of the football game with saxon hall the game with saxon hall was supposed to be a very big deal around pencey it was the last game

[close]

p. 2

of the year and you were supposed to commit suicide or something if old pencey didn t win i remember around three o clock that afternoon i was standing way the hell up on top of thomsen hill right next to this crazy cannon that was in the revolutionary war and all you could see the whole field from there and you could see the two teams bashing each other all over the place you couldn t see the grandstand too hot but you could hear them all yelling deep and terrific on the pencey side because practically the whole school except me was there and scrawny and faggy on the saxon hall side because the visiting team hardly ever brought many people with them there were never many girls at all at the football games only seniors were allowed to bring girls with them it was a terrible school no matter how you looked at it i like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while even if they re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something old selma thurmer she was the headmaster s daughter showed up at the games quite often but she wasn t exactly the type that drove you mad with desire she was a pretty nice girl though i sat next to her once in the bus from agerstown and we sort of struck up a conversation i liked her she had a big nose and her nails were all bitten down and bleedy-looking and she had on those damn falsies that point all over the place but you felt sort of sorry for her what i liked about her she didn t give you a lot of horse manure about what a great guy her father was she probably knew what a phony slob he was the reason i was standing way up on thomsen hill instead of down at the game was because i d just got back from new york with the fencing team i was the goddam manager of the fencing team very big deal we d gone in to new york that morning for this fencing meet with mcburney school only we didn t have the meet i left all the foils and equipment and stuff on the goddam subway it wasn t all my fault i had to keep getting up to look at this map so we d know where to get off so we got back to pencey around two-thirty instead of around dinnertime the whole team ostracized me the whole way back on the train it was pretty funny in a way the other reason i wasn t down at the game was because i was on my way to say good-by to old spencer my history teacher he had the grippe and i figured i probably wouldn t see him again till christmas vacation started he wrote me this note saying he wanted to see me before i went home he knew i wasn t coming back to pencey i forgot to tell you about that they kicked me out i wasn t supposed to come back after christmas vacation on account of i was flunking four subjects and not applying myself and all they gave me frequent warning to start applying myself especially around midterms when my parents came up for a conference with old thurmer but i didn t do it so i got the ax they give guys the ax quite frequently at pencey it has a very good academic rating pencey it really does anyway it was december and all and it was cold as a witch s teat especially on top of that stupid hill i only had on my reversible and no gloves or anything the week before that somebody d stolen my camel s-hair coat right out of my room with my furlined gloves right in the pocket and all pencey was full of crooks quite a few guys came from these very wealthy families but it was full of crooks anyway the more expensive a school is the more crooks it has i m not kidding anyway i kept standing next to that crazy cannon looking down at the game and freezing my ass off only i wasn t watching the game too much what i was really hanging around for i was trying to feel some kind

[close]

p. 3

of a good-by i mean i ve left schools and places i didn t even know i was leaving them i hate that i don t care if it s a sad good-by or a bad goodby but when i leave a place i like to know i m leaving it if you don t you feel even worse i was lucky all of a sudden i thought of something that helped make me know i was getting the hell out i suddenly remembered this time in around october that i and robert tichener and paul campbell were chucking a football around in front of the academic building they were nice guys especially tichener it was just before dinner and it was getting pretty dark out but we kept chucking the ball around anyway it kept getting darker and darker and we could hardly see the ball any more but we didn t want to stop doing what we were doing finally we had to this teacher that taught biology mr zambesi stuck his head out of this window in the academic building and told us to go back to the dorm and get ready for dinner if i get a chance to remember that kind of stuff i can get a good-by when i need one at least most of the time i can as soon as i got it i turned around and started running down the other side of the hill toward old spencer s house he didn t live on the campus he lived on anthony wayne avenue i ran all the way to the main gate and then i waited a second till i got my breath i have no wind if you want to know the truth i m quite a heavy smoker for one thing that is i used to be they made me cut it out another thing i grew six and a half inches last year that s also how i practically got t.b and came out here for all these goddam checkups and stuff i m pretty healthy though anyway as soon as i got my breath back i ran across route 204 it was icy as hell and i damn near fell down i don t even know what i was running for i guess i just felt like it after i got across the road i felt like i was sort of disappearing it was that kind of a crazy afternoon terrifically cold and no sun out or anything and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road boy i rang that doorbell fast when i got to old spencer s house i was really frozen my ears were hurting and i could hardly move my fingers at all c mon c mon i said right out loud almost somebody open the door finally old mrs spencer opened it they didn t have a maid or anything and they always opened the door themselves they didn t have too much dough holden mrs spencer said how lovely to see you come in dear are you frozen to death i think she was glad to see me she liked me at least i think she did boy did i get in that house fast how are you mrs spencer i said how s mr spencer let me take your coat dear she said she didn t hear me ask her how mr spencer was she was sort of deaf she hung up my coat in the hall closet and i sort of brushed my hair back with my hand i wear a crew cut quite frequently and i never have to comb it much how ve you been mrs spencer i said again only louder so she d hear me i ve been just fine holden she closed the closet door how have you been the way she asked me i knew right away old spencer d told her i d been kicked out fine i said how s mr spencer he over his grippe yet over it holden he s behaving like a perfect i don t know what he s in his room dear go right in

[close]

p. 4

2 they each had their own room and all they were both around seventy years old or even more than that they got a bang out of things though in a haif-assed way of course i know that sounds mean to say but i don t mean it mean i just mean that i used to think about old spencer quite a lot and if you thought about him too much you wondered what the heck he was still living for i mean he was all stooped over and he had very terrible posture and in class whenever he dropped a piece of chalk at the blackboard some guy in the first row always had to get up and pick it up and hand it to him that s awful in my opinion but if you thought about him just enough and not too much you could figure it out that he wasn t doing too bad for himself for instance one sunday when some other guys and i were over there for hot chocolate he showed us this old beat-up navajo blanket that he and mrs spencer d bought off some indian in yellowstone park you could tell old spencer d got a big bang out of buying it that s what i mean you take somebody old as hell like old spencer and they can get a big bang out of buying a blanket his door was open but i sort of knocked on it anyway just to be polite and all i could see where he was sitting he was sitting in a big leather chair all wrapped up in that blanket i just told you about he looked over at me when i knocked who s that he yelled caulfield come in boy he was always yelling outside class it got on your nerves sometimes the minute i went in i was sort of sorry i d come he was reading the atlantic monthly and there were pills and medicine all over the place and everything smelled like vicks nose drops it was pretty depressing i m not too crazy about sick people anyway what made it even more depressing old spencer had on this very sad ratty old bathrobe that he was probably born in or something i don t much like to see old guys in their pajamas and bathrobes anyway their bumpy old chests are always showing and their legs old guys legs at beaches and places always look so white and unhairy hello sir i said i got your note thanks a lot he d written me this note asking me to stop by and say good-by before vacation started on account of i wasn t coming back you didn t have to do all that i d have come over to say good-by anyway have a seat there boy old spencer said he meant the bed i sat down on it how s your grippe sir m boy if i felt any better i d have to send for the doctor old spencer said that knocked him out he started chuckling like a madman then he finally straightened himself out and said why aren t you down at the game i thought this was the day of the big game it is i was only i just got back from new york with the fencing team i said boy his bed was like a rock he started getting serious as hell i knew he would so you re leaving us eh he said yes sir i guess i am he started going into this nodding routine you never saw anybody nod as much in your life as old spencer did you never knew if he was nodding a lot because he was thinking and all or just because he was a nice old guy that didn t know his ass from his elbow.

[close]

p. 5

what did dr thurmer say to you boy i understand you had quite a little chat yes we did we really did i was in his office for around two hours i guess what d he say to you oh well about life being a game and all and how you should play it according to the rules he was pretty nice about it i mean he didn t hit the ceiling or anything he just kept talking about life being a game and all you know life is a game boy life is a game that one plays according to the rules yes sir i know it is i know it game my ass some game if you get on the side where all the hot-shots are then it s a game all right i ll admit that but if you get on the other side where there aren t any hot-shots then what s a game about it nothing no game has dr thurmer written to your parents yet old spencer asked me he said he was going to write them monday have you yourself communicated with them no sir i haven t communicated with them because i ll probably see them wednesday night when i get home and how do you think they ll take the news well they ll be pretty irritated about it i said they really will this is about the fourth school i ve gone to i shook my head i shake my head quite a lot boy i said i also say boy quite a lot partly because i have a lousy vocabulary and partly because i act quite young for my age sometimes i was sixteen then and i m seventeen now and sometimes i act like i m about thirteen it s really ironical because i m six foot two and a half and i have gray hair i really do the one side of my head the right side-is full of millions of gray hairs i ve had them ever since i was a kid and yet i still act sometimes like i was only about twelve everybody says that especially my father it s partly true too but it isn t all true people always think something s all true i don t give a damn except that i get bored sometimes when people tell me to act my age sometimes i act a lot older than i am i really do but people never notice it people never notice anything old spencer started nodding again he also started picking his nose he made out like he was only pinching it but he was really getting the old thumb right in there i guess he thought it was all right to do because it was only me that was in the room i didn t care except that it s pretty disgusting to watch somebody pick their nose then he said i had the privilege of meeting your mother and dad when they had their little chat with dr thurmer some weeks ago they re grand people yes they are they re very nice grand there s a word i really hate it s a phony i could puke every time i hear it then all of a sudden old spencer looked like he had something very good something sharp as a tack to say to me he sat up more in his chair and sort of moved around it was a false alarm though all he did was lift the atlantic monthly off his lap and try to chuck it on the bed next to me he missed it was only about two inches away but he missed anyway i got up and picked it up and put it down on the bed all of a sudden then i wanted to get the hell out of the room i could feel a terrific lecture coming on i didn t mind the idea so much but i didn t feel like being lectured to and smell vicks nose drops and look at old spencer in his pajamas and bathrobe all at the same time i really didn t.

[close]

p. 6

it started all right what s the matter with you boy old spencer said he said it pretty tough too for him how many subjects did you carry this term five sir five and how many are you failing in four i moved my ass a little bit on the bed it was the hardest bed i ever sat on i passed english all right i said because i had all that beowulf and lord randal my son stuff when i was at the whooton school i mean i didn t have to do any work in english at all hardly except write compositions once in a while he wasn t even listening he hardly ever listened to you when you said something i flunked you in history because you knew absolutely nothing i know that sir boy i know it you couldn t help it absolutely nothing he said over again that s something that drives me crazy when people say something twice that way after you admit it the first time then he said it three times but absolutely nothing i doubt very much if you opened your textbook even once the whole term did you tell the truth boy well i sort of glanced through it a couple of times i told him i didn t want to hurt his feelings he was mad about history you glanced through it eh he said very sarcastic your ah exam paper is over there on top of my chiffonier on top of the pile bring it here please it was a very dirty trick but i went over and brought it over to him i didn t have any alternative or anything then i sat down on his cement bed again boy you can t imagine how sorry i was getting that i d stopped by to say good-by to him he started handling my exam paper like it was a turd or something we studied the egyptians from november 4th to december 2nd he said you chose to write about them for the optional essay question would you care to hear what you had to say no sir not very much i said he read it anyway though you can t stop a teacher when they want to do something they just do it the egyptians were an ancient race of caucasians residing in one of the northern sections of africa the latter as we all know is the largest continent in the eastern hemisphere i had to sit there and listen to that crap it certainly was a dirty trick the egyptians are extremely interesting to us today for various reasons modern science would still like to know what the secret ingredients were that the egyptians used when they wrapped up dead people so that their faces would not rot for innumerable centuries this interesting riddle is still quite a challenge to modern science in the twentieth century he stopped reading and put my paper down i was beginning to sort of hate him your essay shall we say ends there he said in this very sarcastic voice you wouldn t

[close]

p. 7

think such an old guy would be so sarcastic and all however you dropped me a little note at the bottom of the page he said i know i did i said i said it very fast because i wanted to stop him before he started reading that out loud but you couldn t stop him he was hot as a firecracker dear mr spencer [he read out loud that is all i know about the egyptians i can t seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting it is all right with me if you flunk me though as i am flunking everything else except english anyway respectfully yours holden caulfield he put my goddam paper down then and looked at me like he d just beaten hell out of me in ping-pong or something i don t think i ll ever forgive him for reading me that crap out loud i wouldn t ve read it out loud to him if he d written it i really wouldn t in the first place i d only written that damn note so that he wouldn t feel too bad about flunking me do you blame me for flunking you boy he said no sir i certainly don t i said i wished to hell he d stop calling me boy all the time he tried chucking my exam paper on the bed when he was through with it only he missed again naturally i had to get up again and pick it up and put it on top of the atlantic monthly it s boring to do that every two minutes what would you have done in my place he said tell the truth boy well you could see he really felt pretty lousy about flunking me so i shot the bull for a while i told him i was a real moron and all that stuff i told him how i would ve done exactly the same thing if i d been in his place and how most people didn t appreciate how tough it is being a teacher that kind of stuff the old bull the funny thing is though i was sort of thinking of something else while i shot the bull i live in new york and i was thinking about the lagoon in central park down near central park south i was wondering if it would be frozen over when i got home and if it was where did the ducks go i was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over i wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something or if they just flew away i m lucky though i mean i could shoot the old bull to old spencer and think about those ducks at the same time it s funny you don t have to think too hard when you talk to a teacher all of a sudden though he interrupted me while i was shooting the bull he was always interrupting you how do you feel about all this boy i d be very interested to know very interested you mean about my flunking out of pencey and all i said i sort of wished he d cover up his bumpy chest it wasn t such a beautiful view if i m not mistaken i believe you also had some difficulty at the whooton school and at elkton hills he didn t say it just sarcastic but sort of nasty too i didn t have too much difficulty at elkton hills i told him i didn t exactly flunk out or anything i just quit sort of

[close]

p. 8

why may i ask why oh well it s a long story sir i mean it s pretty complicated i didn t feel like going into the whole thing with him he wouldn t have understood it anyway it wasn t up his alley at all one of the biggest reasons i left elkton hills was because i was surrounded by phonies that s all they were coming in the goddam window for instance they had this headmaster mr haas that was the phoniest bastard i ever met in my life ten times worse than old thurmer on sundays for instance old haas went around shaking hands with everybody s parents when they drove up to school he d be charming as hell and all except if some boy had little old funny-looking parents you should ve seen the way he did with my roommate s parents i mean if a boy s mother was sort of fat or corny-looking or something and if somebody s father was one of those guys that wear those suits with very big shoulders and corny black-and-white shoes then old hans would just shake hands with them and give them a phony smile and then he d go talk for maybe a half an hour with somebody else s parents i can t stand that stuff it drives me crazy it makes me so depressed i go crazy i hated that goddam elkton hills old spencer asked me something then but i didn t hear him i was thinking about old haas what sir i said do you have any particular qualms about leaving pencey oh i have a few qualms all right sure but not too many not yet anyway i guess it hasn t really hit me yet it takes things a while to hit me all i m doing right now is thinking about going home wednesday i m a moron do you feel absolutely no concern for your future boy oh i feel some concern for my future all right sure sure i do i thought about it for a minute but not too much i guess not too much i guess you will old spencer said you will boy you will when it s too late i didn t like hearing him say that it made me sound dead or something it was very depressing i guess i will i said i d like to put some sense in that head of yours boy i m trying to help you i m trying to help you if i can he really was too you could see that but it was just that we were too much on opposite sides ot the pole that s all i know you are sir i said thanks a lot no kidding i appreciate it i really do i got up from the bed then boy i couldn t ve sat there another ten minutes to save my life the thing is though i have to get going now i have quite a bit of equipment at the gym i have to get to take home with me i really do he looked up at me and started nodding again with this very serious look on his face i felt sorry as hell for him all of a sudden but i just couldn t hang around there any longer the way we were on opposite sides of the pole and the way he kept missing the bed whenever he chucked something at it and his sad old bathrobe with his chest showing and that grippy smell of vicks nose drops all over the place look sir don t worry about me i said i mean it i ll be all right i m just going through a phase right now everybody goes through phases and all don t they i don t know boy i don t know i hate it when somebody answers that way sure sure they do i said i mean it sir please don t worry about me i sort of put my hand on his shoulder okay i said.

[close]

p. 9

wouldn t you like a cup of hot chocolate before you go mrs spencer would be i would i really would but the thing is i have to get going i have to go right to the gym thanks though thanks a lot sir then we shook hands and all that crap it made me feel sad as hell though i ll drop you a line sir take care of your grippe now good-by boy after i shut the door and started back to the living room he yelled something at me but i couldn t exactly hear him i m pretty sure he yelled good luck at me i hope to hell not i d never yell good luck at anybody it sounds terrible when you think about it 3 i m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life it s awful if i m on my way to the store to buy a magazine even and somebody asks me where i m going i m liable to say i m going to the opera it s terrible so when i told old spencer i had to go to the gym and get my equipment and stuff that was a sheer lie i don t even keep my goddam equipment in the gym where i lived at pencey i lived in the ossenburger memorial wing of the new dorms it was only for juniors and seniors i was a junior my roommate was a senior it was named after this guy ossenburger that went to pencey he made a pot of dough in the undertaking business after he got out of pencey what he did he started these undertaking parlors all over the country that you could get members of your family buried for about five bucks apiece you should see old ossenburger he probably just shoves them in a sack and dumps them in the river anyway he gave pencey a pile of dough and they named our wing alter him the first football game of the year he came up to school in this big goddam cadillac and we all had to stand up in the grandstand and give him a locomotive that s a cheer then the next morning in chapel be made a speech that lasted about ten hours he started off with about fifty corny jokes just to show us what a regular guy he was very big deal then he started telling us how he was never ashamed when he was in some kind of trouble or something to get right down his knees and pray to god he told us we should always pray to god talk to him and all-wherever we were he told us we ought to think of jesus as our buddy and all he said he talked to jesus all the time even when he was driving his car that killed me i just see the big phony bastard shifting into first gear and asking jesus to send him a few more stiffs the only good part of his speech was right in the middle of it he was telling us all about what a swell guy he was what a hot-shot and all then all of a sudden this guy sitting in the row in front of me edgar marsalla laid this terrific fart it was a very crude thing to do in chapel and all but it was also quite amusing old marsalla he damn near blew the roof off hardly anybody laughed out loud and old ossenburger made out like he didn t even hear it but old thurmer the headmaster was sitting right next to him on the rostrum and all and you could tell he heard it boy was he sore he didn t say anything then but the next night he made us have compulsory study hall in the academic building and he came up and made a speech he said that the boy that had created the

[close]

p. 10

disturbance in chapel wasn t fit to go to pencey we tried to get old marsalla to rip off another one right while old thurmer was making his speech but be wasn t in the right mood anyway that s where i lived at pencey old ossenburger memorial wing in the new dorms it was pretty nice to get back to my room after i left old spencer because everybody was down at the game and the heat was on in our room for a change it felt sort of cosy i took off my coat and my tie and unbuttoned my shirt collar and then i put on this hat that i d bought in new york that morning it was this red hunting hat with one of those very very long peaks i saw it in the window of this sports store when we got out of the subway just after i noticed i d lost all the goddam foils it only cost me a buck the way i wore it i swung the old peak way around to the back very corny i ll admit but i liked it that way i looked good in it that way then i got this book i was reading and sat down in my chair there were two chairs in every room i had one and my roommate ward stradlater had one the arms were in sad shape because everybody was always sitting on them but they were pretty comfortable chairs the book i was reading was this book i took out of the library by mistake they gave me the wrong book and i didn t notice it till i got back to my room they gave me out of africa by isak dinesen i thought it was going to stink but it didn t it was a very good book i m quite illiterate but i read a lot my favorite author is my brother d.b and my next favorite is ring lardner my brother gave me a book by ring lardner for my birthday just before i went to pencey it had these very funny crazy plays in it and then it had this one story about a traffic cop that falls in love with this very cute girl that s always speeding only he s married the cop so be can t marry her or anything then this girl gets killed because she s always speeding that story just about killed me what i like best is a book that s at least funny once in a while i read a lot of classical books like the return of the native and all and i like them and i read a lot of war books and mysteries and all but they don t knock me out too much what really knocks me out is a book that when you re all done reading it you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it that doesn t happen much though i wouldn t mind calling this isak dinesen up and ring lardner except that d.b told me he s dead you take that book of human bondage by somerset maugham though i read it last summer it s a pretty good book and all but i wouldn t want to call somerset maugham up i don t know he just isn t the kind of guy i d want to call up that s all i d rather call old thomas hardy up i like that eustacia vye anyway i put on my new hat and sat down and started reading that book out of africa i d read it already but i wanted to read certain parts over again i d only read about three pages though when i heard somebody coming through the shower curtains even without looking up i knew right away who it was it was robert ackley this guy that roomed right next to me there was a shower right between every two rooms in our wing and about eighty-five times a day old ackley barged in on me he was probably the only guy in the whole dorm besides me that wasn t down at the game he hardly ever went anywhere he was a very peculiar guy he was a senior and he d been at pencey the whole four years and all but nobody ever called him anything except ackley not even herb gale his own roommate ever called him bob or even ack if he ever gets married his own wife ll probably call him ackley he was one of these very very tall round-shouldered guys he was about six four with lousy teeth the whole time he

[close]

p. 11

roomed next to me i never even once saw him brush his teeth they always looked mossy and awful and he damn near made you sick if you saw him in the dining room with his mouth full of mashed potatoes and peas or something besides that he had a lot of pimples not just on his forehead or his chin like most guys but all over his whole face and not only that he had a terrible personality he was also sort of a nasty guy i wasn t too crazy about him to tell you the truth i could feel him standing on the shower ledge right behind my chair taking a look to see if stradlater was around he hated stradlater s guts and he never came in the room if stradlater was around he hated everybody s guts damn near he came down off the shower ledge and came in the room hi he said he always said it like he was terrifically bored or terrifically tired he didn t want you to think he was visiting you or anything he wanted you to think he d come in by mistake for god s sake hi i said but i didn t look up from my book with a guy like ackley if you looked up from your book you were a goner you were a goner anyway but not as quick if you didn t look up right away he started walking around the room very slow and all the way he always did picking up your personal stuff off your desk and chiffonier he always picked up your personal stuff and looked at it boy could he get on your nerves sometimes how was the fencing he said he just wanted me to quit reading and enjoying myself he didn t give a damn about the fencing we win or what he said nobody won i said without looking up though what he said he always made you say everything twice nobody won i said i sneaked a look to see what he was fiddling around with on my chiffonier he was looking at this picture of this girl i used to go around with in new york sally hayes he must ve picked up that goddam picture and looked at it at least five thousand times since i got it he always put it back in the wrong place too when he was finished he did it on purpose you could tell nobody won he said how come i left the goddam foils and stuff on the subway i still didn t look up at him on the subway for chrissake ya lost them ya mean we got on the wrong subway i had to keep getting up to look at a goddam map on the wall he came over and stood right in my light hey i said i ve read this same sentence about twenty times since you came in anybody else except ackley would ve taken the goddam hint not him though think they ll make ya pay for em he said i don t know and i don t give a damn how bout sitting down or something ackley kid you re right in my goddam light he didn t like it when you called him ackley kid he was always telling me i was a goddam kid because i was sixteen and he was eighteen it drove him mad when i called him ackley kid he kept standing there he was exactly the kind of a guy that wouldn t get out of your light when you asked him to he d do it finally but it took him a lot longer if you asked him to what the hellya reading he said goddam book

[close]

p. 12

he shoved my book back with his hand so that he could see the name of it any good he said this sentence i m reading is terrific i can be quite sarcastic when i m in the mood he didn t get it though he started walking around the room again picking up all my personal stuff and stradlater s finally i put my book down on the floor you couldn t read anything with a guy like ackley around it was impossible i slid way the hell down in my chair and watched old ackley making himself at home i was feeling sort of tired from the trip to new york and all and i started yawning then i started horsing around a little bit sometimes i horse around quite a lot just to keep from getting bored what i did was i pulled the old peak of my hunting hat around to the front then pulled it way down over my eyes that way i couldn t see a goddam thing i think i m going blind i said in this very hoarse voice mother darling everything s getting so dark in here you re nuts i swear to god ackley said mother darling give me your hand why won t you give me your hand for chrissake grow up i started groping around in front of me like a blind guy but without getting up or anything i kept saying mother darling why won t you give me your hand i was only horsing around naturally that stuff gives me a bang sometimes besides i know it annoyed hell out of old ackley he always brought out the old sadist in me i was pretty sadistic with him quite often finally i quit though i pulled the peak around to the back again and relaxed who belongsa this ackley said he was holding my roommate s knee supporter up to show me that guy ackley d pick up anything he d even pick up your jock strap or something i told him it was stradlater s so he chucked it on stradlater s bed he got it off stradlater s chiffonier so he chucked it on the bed he came over and sat down on the arm of stradlater s chair he never sat down in a chair just always on the arm where the hellja get that hat he said new york how much a buck you got robbed he started cleaning his goddam fingernails with the end of a match he was always cleaning his fingernails it was funny in a way his teeth were always mossy-looking and his ears were always dirty as hell but he was always cleaning his fingernails i guess he thought that made him a very neat guy he took another look at my hat while he was cleaning them up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in for chrissake he said that s a deer shooting hat like hell it is i took it off and looked at it i sort of closed one eye like i was taking aim at it this is a people shooting hat i said i shoot people in this hat your folks know you got kicked out yet nope where the hell s stradlater at anyway down at the game he s got a date i yawned i was yawning all over the place for one thing the room was too damn hot it made you sleepy at pencey you either froze to death or died of the heat.

[close]

p. 13

the great stradlater ackley said hey lend me your scissors a second willya ya got em handy no i packed them already they re way in the top of the closet get em a second willya ackley said i got this hangnail i want to cut off he didn t care if you d packed something or not and had it way in the top of the closet i got them for him though i nearly got killed doing it too the second i opened the closet door stradlater s tennis racket in its wooden press and all fell right on my head it made a big clunk and it hurt like hell it damn near killed old ackley though he started laughing in this very high falsetto voice he kept laughing the whole time i was taking down my suitcase and getting the scissors out for him something like that a guy getting hit on the head with a rock or something tickled the pants off ackley you have a damn good sense of humor ackley kid i told him you know that i handed him the scissors lemme be your manager i ll get you on the goddam radio i sat down in my chair again and he started cutting his big horny-looking nails how bout using the table or something i said cut em over the table willya i don t feel like walking on your crumby nails in my bare feet tonight he kept right on cutting them over the floor though what lousy manners i mean it who s stradlater s date he said he was always keeping tabs on who stradlater was dating even though he hated stradlater s guts i don t know why no reason boy i can t stand that sonuvabitch he s one sonuvabitch i really can t stand he s crazy about you he told me he thinks you re a goddam prince i said i call people a prince quite often when i m horsing around it keeps me from getting bored or something he s got this superior attitude all the time ackley said i just can t stand the sonuvabitch you d think he do you mind cutting your nails over the table hey i said i ve asked you about fifty he s got this goddam superior attitude all the time ackley said i don t even think the sonuvabitch is intelligent he thinks he is he thinks he s about the most ackley for chrissake willya please cut your crumby nails over the table i ve asked you fifty times he started cutting his nails over the table for a change the only way he ever did anything was if you yelled at him i watched him for a while then i said the reason you re sore at stradlater is because he said that stuff about brushing your teeth once in a while he didn t mean to insult you for cryin out loud he didn t say it right or anything but he didn t mean anything insulting all he meant was you d look better and feel better if you sort of brushed your teeth once in a while i brush my teeth don t gimme that no you don t i ve seen you and you don t i said i didn t say it nasty though i felt sort of sorry for him in a way i mean it isn t too nice naturally if somebody tells you you don t brush your teeth stradlater s all right he s not too bad i said you don t know him thats the trouble i still say he s a sonuvabitch he s a conceited sonuvabitch

[close]

p. 14

he s conceited but he s very generous in some things he really is i said look suppose for instance stradlater was wearing a tie or something that you liked say he had a tie on that you liked a helluva lot i m just giving you an example now you know what he d do he d probably take it off and give it ta you he really would or you know what he d do he d leave it on your bed or something but he d give you the goddam tie most guys would probably just hell ackley said if i had his dough i would too no you wouldn t i shook my head no you wouldn t ackley kid if you had his dough you d be one of the biggest stop calling me ackley kid god damn it i m old enough to be your lousy father no you re not boy he could really be aggravating sometimes he never missed a chance to let you know you were sixteen and he was eighteen in the first place i wouldn t let you in my goddam family i said well just cut out calling me all of a sudden the door opened and old stradlater barged in in a big hurry he was always in a big hurry everything was a very big deal he came over to me and gave me these two playful as hell slaps on both cheeks which is something that can be very annoying listen he said you going out anywheres special tonight i don t know i might what the hell s it doing out snowing he had snow all over his coat yeah listen if you re not going out anyplace special how bout lending me your hound s-tooth jacket who won the game i said it s only the half we re leaving stradlater said no kidding you gonna use your hound s-tooth tonight or not i spilled some crap all over my gray flannel no but i don t want you stretching it with your goddam shoulders and all i said we were practically the same heighth but he weighed about twice as much as i did he had these very broad shoulders i won t stretch it he went over to the closet in a big hurry how sa boy ackley he said to ackley he was at least a pretty friendly guy stradlater it was partly a phony kind of friendly but at least he always said hello to ackley and all ackley just sort of grunted when he said how sa boy he wouldn t answer him but he didn t have guts enough not to at least grunt then he said to me i think i ll get going see ya later okay i said he never exactly broke your heart when he went back to his own room old stradlater started taking off his coat and tie and all i think maybe i ll take a fast shave he said he had a pretty heavy beard he really did where s your date i asked him she s waiting in the annex he went out of the room with his toilet kit and towel under his arm no shirt on or anything he always walked around in his bare torso because he thought he had a damn good build he did too i have to admit it 4

[close]

p. 15

i didn t have anything special to do so i went down to the can and chewed the rag with him while he was shaving we were the only ones in the can because everybody was still down at the game it was hot as hell and the windows were all steamy there were about ten washbowls all right against the wall stradlater had the middle one i sat down on the one right next to him and started turning the cold water on and off this nervous habit i have stradlater kept whistling song of india while he shaved he had one of those very piercing whistles that are practically never in tune and he always picked out some song that s hard to whistle even if you re a good whistler like song of india or slaughter on tenth avenue he could really mess a song up you remember i said before that ackley was a slob in his personal habits well so was stradlater but in a different way stradlater was more of a secret slob he always looked all right stradlater but for instance you should ve seen the razor he shaved himself with it was always rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs and crap he never cleaned it or anything he always looked good when he was finished fixing himself up but he was a secret slob anyway if you knew him the way i did the reason he fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in love with himself he thought he was the handsomest guy in the western hemisphere he was pretty handsome too i ll admit it but he was mostly the kind of a handsome guy that if your parents saw his picture in your year book they d right away say who s this boy i mean he was mostly a year book kind of handsome guy i knew a lot of guys at pencey i thought were a lot handsomer than stradlater but they wouldn t look handsome if you saw their pictures in the year book they d look like they had big noses or their ears stuck out i ve had that experience frequently anyway i was sitting on the washbowl next to where stradlater was shaving sort of turning the water on and off i still had my red hunting hat on with the peak around to the back and all i really got a bang out of that hat hey stradlater said wanna do me a big favor what i said not too enthusiastic he was always asking you to do him a big favor you take a very handsome guy or a guy that thinks he s a real hot-shot and they re always asking you to do them a big favor just because they re crazy about themseif they think you re crazy about them too and that you re just dying to do them a favor it s sort of funny in a way you goin out tonight he said i might i might not i don t know why i got about a hundred pages to read for history for monday he said how bout writing a composition for me for english i ll be up the creek if i don t get the goddam thing in by monday the reason i ask how bout it it was very ironical it really was i m the one that s flunking out of the goddam place and you re asking me to write you a goddam composition i said yeah i know the thing is though i ll be up the creek if i don t get it in be a buddy be a buddyroo okay i didn t answer him right away suspense is good for some bastards like stradlater what on i said.

[close]

Comments

no comments yet