The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
🎧 703: “I did. . . .”

🎧 703: “I did. . . .”

What a Piece of Work I Am, Chapter 27 begins, read by the author


“I DID. I went away. Actually, I let him lead me away—down the corridor and out the door. And he watched me until I was off the grounds. I was—dazed. I felt ashamed, just as ashamed as I would have felt if I’d been guilty. And I felt—”
     “I wouldn’t have said it then—I would just have said offended—but yes, violated. Guy had tampered with me. He had changed me—”
     “—and your image in the eyes of others.”
     “ ‘Good name in man and woman . . . is the immediate jewel of their souls.’ ”
     “Well. I don’t know about that. My good name, that is. Costume jewelry at best, I think. I wasn’t upset about that as much as I was about the fact that he’d changed the way I felt about myself. I felt so stupid, so ashamed, so worthless—and he had done that. It was an offense against my whole being.”
     “A violation of your soul.”
     “An assault on my self. How had he gotten that power over me? How had I allowed him to get that power over me? I was so upset about this—that I—I—”
     “You were beside yourself.”
     “I was furious with myself. Not only with him, but with myself.”
     “That’s probably the way Ariadne felt when she saw Theseus sailing away.”
     “I’ll bet she did.”
     Suddenly she grinned a mischievous grin, waggled her head, raised an eyebrow, pursed her lips, and said, “Othello, by the way.”
     “Right,” I said.
     “You didn’t think I knew, did you?”
     “No, to tell you the truth.”
     “I have lots of surprises for you, Peter.”

SHE WALKED along the docks, raging in impotent fury. She struck her fists against her hips. She grimaced. She shrieked. She stamped the ground with her thin flats. She kicked the bulkhead. She kicked up a cloud of dust. She raged against Guy. She raged at what he had done to her. She raged at Mr. Murray and his misplaced trust. And she raged at her own stupidity. But most of all she raged at the injustice of it. She even shook her fists at the sky and shouted, “Do something!” and burst out laughing, and cried, and flew into a rage again.
     What could she do? Where could she turn for help? Who could help her now? She seemed to hold the whole vast cold emptiness of the universe within her. She dropped to the bulkhead and sat there, drained, leaning against a piling.
     A car pulled up, something big and dark. From inside it a man’s voice called out, “Want a ride?” and she exploded again. She jumped to her feet, screaming, and kicked at the car, and grabbed at the side mirror, which was dangling by a single bolt, and tried to twist it off. The man inside yelled, “Hey! Hey! Cut that out!” and she kicked at the car again, and he began to drive off. She bent down and scooped up a handful of dirt and pebbles from the side of the road and flung it through the window. He drove off in a hurry and she cursed him down the road.
     She walked to Tina’s house, and on the way she kept repeating the list of offenses that had been committed against her. Tina was still at work. Her mother asked Ariane in for a cup of coffee, but she didn’t want to talk to Tina’s mother and suspected that Tina’s mother didn’t really want to talk to her. She walked past my grandparents’ house, still rehearsing her brief.
     My grandfather was in his side yard, raking leaves. Because his hearing wasn’t very good, he often misunderstood the things he heard. He heard the sound of footsteps in the gravel at the edge of the road, and he thought he heard someone call to him. When he turned, he saw Ariane.
     “Hullo,” he said, as if he were answering her greeting, which he thought he was.
     His voice startled her out of her own thoughts for a moment, and she smiled at him automatically and even gave him a halfhearted wave before she hurried on.
     My grandfather thought she seemed shy. She was the Lodkochnikov girl, he knew. He was surprised to see how grown-up she was.

[to be continued]

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The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy
The entire Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy, read by the author. "A masterpiece of American humor." Los Angeles Times