The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
Little Follies
Life on the Bolotomy
Chapter 10: Excitement in the Air
by Eric Kraft, as Peter Leroy
Little Follies cover



If you are determined to make a trip on the Bolotomy, summer is the best time for it, but be sure to avoid the weekend of the Babbington Clam Fest, the town’s annual salute to the bivalve on which its economy depends.  For the sophisticated traveler, this molluscan hoopla is likely to be simply an embarrassment.
Boating on the Bolotomy

THE DAY WAS FINE and clear.  I dressed and left the house before my mother and father were stirring.  I packed my old red wagon with the food and equipment for the trip and tied it behind my bicycle.  I set off for Raskol’s, weaving and struggling along the street, with the wagon wandering this way and that, independent of my steering, like a curious child holding his mother’s hand.  The part of Babbington where I lived, outside the center of things, was still quiet, and I didn’t see another person until I was downtown, riding on Main Street.  There excitement was in the air.  At street corners, high-spirited auxiliary policemen stood eating doughnuts, drinking coffee from paper cups, and poking at one another’s bellies.  I saluted these fellows as I rode past.
    “Nice morning!” I sang out to some.  “Great day for traveling!” I called to others.  I pedaled past them, and behind me I could hear some references to me that I couldn’t quite make out, perhaps praise for my pluck, perhaps expressions of envy, of nostalgia for lost youth, for its discoveries and adventures, who can say?  The Babbington High School Marching Band had begun to assemble at the corner of Bolotomy and Main.  These boys and girls, so much older than I that they seemed to me already to have become men and women, shuffled around in disarray, kicking at pebbles on the pavement, tuning their instruments, and making one another giggle with remarks that I could not begin to imagine.  I stopped for a moment at the edge of the river, near Leech’s Son’s Boatyard, to look at the clamboats gathered there, covered with flowers, waiting for the grand procession.  The clammies were standing on the decks, dressed in Sunday suits, shouting friendly insults to one another, drinking coffee from paper cups or beer from brown bottles, spitting into the river, and hoisting their pants up from time to time.  I thought for a moment of going over to them to try walking from clamboat to clamboat, which looked like fun, but I pushed on instead, because Raskol and I had decided that if we weren’t in the water early enough, people were likely to see us wobbling under the weight of the boat when we carried it to the water, and the photographer from the paper was sure to consider that a cute shot, take it, and use it on the front page, making both of us look like idiots.  We had decided that we, and the boat, would look much better in the water than on our way to it, so we planned to paddle out into the bay a little way, just around the Municipal Dock, then reverse course when we saw that the crowds had gathered on the dock and paddle past them with style and grace.

  Little Follies Dust Jacket

Candi Lee Manning and Alec "Nick" Rafter
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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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