Do Clams Bite?
Chapter 20: No Worse Than Losing a Tooth?
YOU CAN READ THE FIRST HALF
MAY HAD GONE, I took the pictures out from under the covers and bent over
them with the magnifying glass. In the pictures, May was quite a
few years younger, and there was no sign of the vertical lines along her
upper lip. I could see the parentheses around her mouth though, and
a spray of lines shooting out from her eyes, because she smiled so much.
But the closer I looked, no matter how much I tried to persuade myself
that I was wrong, that the shadows were deceiving me, the more I had to
admit the truth: May had no penis.
I wished that I had had the nerve to ask her, while she had been sitting with me, how she had lost it and whether it had hurt, but I wouldn’t have known how to console her if she had broken down in tears, and it may have been the certainty that if she did break down in tears I’d be blamed for it that kept me from asking. Still, she was so happy in the pictures, running in the surf. If she’d been hurt, she had recovered. On her face I could see a kind of joy that could not be faked. These were not pictures of someone who was making the best of a bad deal. She was happy. Maybe, I allowed myself to think, it didn’t matter all that much. Maybe it was no worse than losing a tooth.
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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.