8 Eminently Likeable Characters Who Will Not Be Appearing Here




starXSmallThere’s Work To Do

People here, we keep to ourselves. We’re not showy; we’re not glad-handers. We keep our barns painted and our fences mended. The social life here can be found at 10am on Sunday morning at First Presbyterian. We keep our noses out of other people’s business.

And yet, when the Willard boy went missing, I knew, without having to place a single telephone call, that the women would be with Mrs. Willard and every able-bodied man would be waiting for me at the feed store.

My name is Grant. This star I’m wearing, I might pin it to my shirt two or three times in a year. I don’t draw a paycheck for it. Those men in the feed store, they’re waiting for me. I’m the law here, and there’s work to do.


Good Boy

“Who’s a good boy? Huh? Who’s a good boy?”

Woof! Woof!

“Oh yes you are! That’s right, you are! You are!”

Woof! Woof!

“What do I got? What do I got?”

Woof! Woof!

“A stick? A stick? Is it a stick, boy?”

Woof! Woof!

“Am I gonna throw it? Am I? Am I gonna throw it?”

Woof! Woof!


I Let Him In

He never calls ahead, never says how long he’ll be staying this time. Just shows up at my door, his shapeless cloth hat on his head, a rucksack slung easily over one shoulder. A wry, knowing half-smile on his face.

“Hey,” he says. Hey amounts to a speech from him.

And I let him in.

He always smells of boat fuel and brine. His skin is sticky with it for days. His hands are coarse and calloused from months of hauling nets. He has a careful way of moving, as if the very earth were a rolling deck that might sway out from under him at any moment. And, oh, his eyes. His eyes are the blue of the sea that’s calling to him already, even as he’s standing there on my porch.

Sally says I can do better, but what does she know. I’m older now. I don’t need much.

After he leaves, I can smell him in my bed for days. Sea salt and diesel.


XMIT JCL in a JES 3 System

A //*ROUTE XEQ statement can also be used to transmit records from a JES3 node. Because an XMIT JCL statement allows transmission of records that the //*ROUTE XEQ statement does not allow, use XMIT JCL statements rather than //*ROUTE XEQ statements.

For example, a JOB statement for the receiving node must immediately follow a //*ROUTE XEQ statement. This requirement means that a //*ROUTE XEQ statement cannot be used to transmit records beginning with $$ POWER control statements to a VSE node; however, an XMIT JCL statement can transmit such records.

Oh, plucky little XMIT JCL statement!



“Most people say Hans Wagner was the greatest shortstop ever played. But Hans weren’t even the greatest Pirate shortstop. Gimme Arky Vaughan any day.

38107“Toughest out I ever saw. And I seen some. One whole year, 1935 it was, nobody could get him out. He hit .385. Led the league in walks. He reached base half the times he came to bat. Think of that. Half the time. He hit nineteen homers, when that meant something.

“You could not get him out. He was a head case, though. Few years later, he had a dust-up with Frankie Frisch, the Pirate manager. Frankie traded him to Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, Arky went toe-to-toe with Durocher. Leo the Lip. And then he just walked away. He mighta been 30.

“Christ, fuckin’ Pirates were shit in those years. Arky died, he was 40. They said he was fishing. Fell out of the boat.”


The Golem

The Golem sits high above the city and broods. Made by men, he is less than man. And yet he is fated to watch from the shadows and protect those who would look upon him with contempt.

How many times has he lumbered into the midst of corruption and evil, his club-like fists cutting the air, administering justice and punishing the guilty, only to slink off into the darkness before he is recognized for what he is?

O! That he might walk in the sunshine among men and be called Brother! That these clumsy, stupid limbs might be worthy of embrace!

But it is not be, as surely as no word will ever stir upon his numb lips, cold as the grave.

Somewhere off in the city, there is a sound. A cry, a grunt, an oath, a whimper.

The Golem rises from his crouch, and drops silently from the ledge into the void below.


Worn-Railing-and-TileThe Guy Upstairs

“The guy upstairs was some kinda poet. I know because he told me so.

“You don’t see too many poets. Especially here. We’re all Section 8 housing here. Most of us are on disability. You got your drinkers here, your wild-eyes. Three, four people got diabetes real bad. You lose a limb, you get ground floor. We ain’t got an elevator here.

“Anyway, I don’t make any noise. The poet, he didn’t like noise. He didn’t talk to anybody here, but he’d talk to me sometimes. He showed me some of his poems once. They were in, like, little books, with covers and everything. I can’t remember what they were about. Ha! Couldn’t remember when I was reading them, neither.

“The poet stopped talking to me. He didn’t like my girlfriend. Sheila. She’ll, ahhh, make some noise, ha, ha.

“About a month ago, I realized I hadn’t seen the poet in, like, a month or so. He kept pretty regular habits. And then, yesterday morning, some people I never saw before came and got the landlord to open the poet’s door. They took away some stuff in a box. His poetry maybe. Ha, ha! The rest of it, a mattress, a chair, an old computer, a big-tube TV, some dishes and stuff, the landlord took down later and left by the curb. Weren’t anything of use in it. I checked.

“That’s how it goes here. If you’re here, chances are, this is your last stop, you know? But this guy, he was a poet. Who knew they still had that?”


In The Big City

Heather is at her desk by 8:30. It’s her first day. She pulls a compact from her handbag, and regards herself in the mirror, not so much to check her hair (It’s perfect! It’s always perfect!) as to verify to herself that she’s really here, in the big city.

And she is! She’s really here!

At 9:15, the office manager, a dour little ethnic-looking lady (Indian?) approaches her desk and drops a big cardboard box full of office supplies on it.

“Hi!” Heather says, but the Indian lady walks away.

Heather puts the paper clips and Post-It notes and rubber bands in a desk drawer, top left. She loads the tape dispenser and stapler and places them beside her PC. She reaches into the bag at her feet that holds her lunch (ham and cheese, crusts cut off, boiled egg, three oatmeal cookies) and pulls out a coffee cup. She sets the cup on her desk, front right, and places the three pens and two pencils she’s been given into it. The cup has a picture on it, a cartoon cat hanging by its tiny paws from a cartoon tree limb above the caption, “Hang in there!” Heather turns the cup so that the cartoon faces forward.

At 10:30, her boss, Mr. Brandeis, arrives. He removes his coat and hangs it from the coatrack beside his office door.

“Hi,” Heather says.

“Yeah,” Mr. Brandeis says. He goes into his office and shuts the door.


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