August 11 Murdock

WHEN CAROL LEFT LIVERMORE I knew I had it in me to bounce back. But instead there I was, a fly all July, licking my wounds and by all accounts down for the count. The day I learned I wouldn't serve she told me I don't think it's worth it any more--I mean. . . . She didn't have to say what she means. It already said itself. My cool green suit now imbued with a tall story of punishment and pain; it got so I wished I had taken the gun in my hand: just as a job, to be a man.

Momma, you tear me apart, I see your face only now, now that the ether has ebbed and I'm no longer brain-dead, not necessarily pain-dead but not feeling the edge of joy or dismay . . . just dull: dim, damned, dull. Why'd I come out black, Momma? After all, I could have made it worse by saying something like that. Why, even though you and Daddy were taught never to cry, did I have to look so midnight black when Carol's only going to settle down with someone smoothe and yellow as her?

The cone was brown, the ice cream black. But the drips ran white as fright down my huge hand. When I saw the cone was broken it wasn't on purpose. Just another freak accident that happens when tendons take on ideas of their own. When the astronauts came back to earth, I started coming back to normal. Today they let them out of the isolation chamber (talk about moongerms and spacedust) and I feel pretty much better, but none-the-less disoriented for having been in orbit and back, blinking, a bitch of a brain boiling on my shoulders.



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