Do Clams Bite?
Chapter 15: Like Son, Like Father
YOU CAN READ THE FIRST HALF
MY FATHER WAS CLAMMING TOO, I thought that it would be a good idea to find
a clam early and have it get away, put on a good display of disappointment,
throw in a little self-denigration, and see if I could coast on that for
the rest of the day, not finding another. My father and I were shuffling
along side by side, and I had already felt several clams, though my father
showed no signs of having found a single one. Then, suddenly, and
with greater glee than I’d seen from him before, he sang out, “Hey, Dad,
I got one!” He was smiling like an idiot, I thought. He threw
himself beneath the surface and almost at once seemed to be locked in a
life-or-death struggle with something huge and frightening. His legs
shot into the air, his feet flailing. Spray shot out from the place
where he fought so desperately. Twice he lifted his head above the
surface and gasped for breath. At last he stood upright, with his
hands still beneath the surface, as if he were throttling something.
Then, as if propelled, his hands shot out of the water, and from them flew
a clam. It sailed through the air and landed, baloomp, in the water
about ten feet away.
“Son of a bitch!” he shouted. He smacked the water with his fist. “It got away. I guess I’m no better at this than I ever was.”
I had seen the clam in the air, followed it in its arc. It was a very young one, probably not legal size.
My father and I shuffled around for the rest of the afternoon, but my father apparently never found another of the elusive little devils, and I ignored all the ones that I felt, though the spot seemed to be paved with them. Grandfather brought up a mess of them; he was a master. He snorted quite a bit and rarely looked our way.
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Little Follies is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
“My Mother Takes a Tumble,” “Do Clams Bite?,” “Life on the Bolotomy,” “The Static of the Spheres,” “The Fox and the Clam,” “The Girl with the White Fur Muff,” “Take the Long Way Home,” and “Call Me Larry” were originally published in paperback by Apple-Wood Books.
Little Follies was first published in hardcover by Crown Publishers, Inc., 201 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022. Member of the Crown Publishing Group.
For information about publication rights outside the U. S. A., audio rights, serial rights, screen rights, and so on, e-mail the author’s imaginary agent, Alec “Nick” Rafter.
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.