The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
Little Follies
Life on the Bolotomy
Chapter 7: Taupe
by Eric Kraft, as Peter Leroy
Little Follies cover



The boats employed in the harvesting of clams from Bolotomy Bay are painted in shades of gray, and are as little distinguished from one another as are the men who captain them or the clams that they hunt.  Though all imaginable gradations of gray are represented, the most popular is a brownish gray, much the color of the bay itself.  What a delightful contrast the gaily colored pleasure boats make, each as it were a frolicsome Pierrot, flitting about among the clumsy, mirthless, working boats.
Boating on the Bolotomy

RASKOL AND I rummaged in Grandfather’s cellar, and found a few half-empty cans of paint.  None contained enough to cover much area, so a debate ensued between us on the subject of the best way to paint the boat with what we had.  I suggested stripes, but Raskol wanted to take the easy way out.
    “Here,” he said, “I’ll get a bucket, and we’ll mix all the paint together, and then we’ll have enough to cover the whole boat, and we can get started on the painting right away.”
    I was against that. 
    “Wait,” I cried.  “Don’t do that.  You’ll wind up with a drab, joyless muck.  We want something bright, gay, optimistic.  Watch this.”
    I poured a little of each color of paint onto the lid of one of the cans and stirred the colors together with a stick.  The result looked much like the muck beneath the Lodkochnikovs’ house.
    “What’s wrong with that?” asked Raskol.  He looked at me with genuine surprise.  “That’s my favorite color,” he said.  “Taupe.  It’s quiet, and it goes with almost anything.  Most of the clam boats on the bay are that color, haven’t you ever noticed?  The clammies like it because it doesn’t clash with anything.  Say you paint your boat yellow instead, and then you go out to buy rain gear.  You buy yellow rain gear and take it back to the boat, and the first time a storm blows up, you pull the rain gear out and put it on.  Well, the chances are very good that the boat and the rain gear won’t be the same yellow, and they’ll look just awful together.  Your whole day is ruined.  Not only is it raining, but your colors are clashing.  You look like a jerk.  You feel like a jerk.  You might as well call it quits and go back in.  But if you paint your boat taupe, then just about anything looks pretty good with it, and a little splash of color seems to kind of stand out.”

  Little Follies Dust Jacket

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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.

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