I alight with immediate obedience in the seat indicated by Miss
Black, a harsh card-carrying minion of Alphabetical Seating...
hall-home away from home) has a rugged, slide-out book bin under
the seat… and while our schoolmarm delivers her day-one diatribe,
her Quakers’ Meeting rules: no talking, no whispering, no giggling,
no note-writing, no eating, no sleeping, no slouching, no looking
around, no... fill in the blank (and all etched in stone, mind you!)...
I am inching that book-drawer open and letting my felonious fingers,
the new 'tenants,' do their walking, their sleuthing, and eventually
the excavating of the first of its treasures, a slender volume titled
oddly intrigue— especially “Just Before the War with the Eskimos" and
“A Perfect Day for Bananafish”... —from a random page I read:
…a woman with zinc salve on her nose got into the elevator with the young man.
“I see you’re looking at my feet,” he said when the car was in motion.
“I beg your pardon?” said the woman.
“I said I see you’re looking at my feet.”
“I beg your pardon. I happen to be looking at the floor,” said the woman, and faced the doors of the car.
“If you want to look at my feet, say so… But don’t be a goddamn sneak about it.”
“Let me out of here, please,” the woman said quickly to the girl operating the car.
I smirk, helplessly smitten— Fate, in the guise of Alphabetical Seating which
could have sat me in the desk of the romance-rag-reading Home Ec girl or the
gloriously unread Future Farmer of America, has instead (amazingly-gracefully)
seen fit to deliver me unto the bounty of a literate upperclassman’s
homeroom seat! ...A surreptitious glance-down into the breached trove
reveals (ohmygod!) the infamous and banned Catcher in the Rye…!!
Apparently I am nested in the branches of the fabled
Tree of Forbidden Knowledge! Oh, the delicious hours
spent in this study hall will pass way too quickly!