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CITY EDITOR LOOKING FOR NEWS/David Tucker What did Nick the Crumb say before he died? What noise did his fist make when he begged Little Pete Narcosi not to whack him with a power saw? Did it go thub like a biscuit against a wall or sklack like a seashell cracking open? Did he say his mother's name? Has anybody even talked to his friggin' mother? Is she broke or sick and abandoned? Is she dying of a broken heart? Do I have to think of these things all by myself? How about a story on which female commissioner the mayor is screwing? How do we get that? Or what about the rumor that he's taking bribes off the gay architect from Parsipanny? Write me something about the bums living under the bridge at 2nd and Callowhill. Go sleep in the cardboard sleepshacks, wear some Bible verses on your chest—go dirty and drunk. Tell me what it's like. Make me fall in love with the dirtball murder in Kensington, the wasted life of the sixteen-year-old crack-dealing honor student who might have been a star for UCLA, the priest who tried to save him, the boy's chalk silhouette fading on the rainy street, the killer who shot him because he wanted his shoes and loved nothing in this life but the crazed rottweiler he kept on a silver leash. Follow those sirens I hear wandering down Locust Street. Are they headed to a fire? A shooting? An armored-car heist in broad daylight with the money flying down the street? Write about the quiet in this place on a late summer afternoon. Write about that sneeze I just heard, the dusty light in this place, the old papers piled high and falling from every desk. Stop scratching your ass and loafing. It's almost deadline. The Missouri Review · 151 MY FATHER TAKING ARMS AGAINST A SEA OF TROUBLES, ETC./David Tucker On the red vinyl couch with the cigarette holes in the arms, in the early evening, in that great, dark, desolate theater that was the 1950s, my brothers and I take our seats to watch another act of the tragicomic work-in-progress entitled: "I Blame the World for Everything," starring my father. Dinner over, he stalks into the living room and slumps into his black Naugahyde lounger so hard the footrest flies up like a catapult. He clears his throat to gather the bile of another day while his sons wait, knowing what's coming. "All these goddamned bills. Tm damned if I can see any way to make a living in this fucked-up country. Those bastards at the First State Bank— that buncha tightwads're so stingy they wouldn't give a dime to see a piss-ant eat a bale of hay." His business wavering between poverty and bankruptcy, my father can do nothing but take off his shoes. Cursing without pause or breath, he attacks the laces, jerking them loose so fast they snap at the sides of his wrists. One shoe he hurls into the kitchen where it skids like a wolf on ice. Intrigued by the trajectory, he raises the other one above his head, taking careful aim at something while my brothers and I lean forward, peeking into the kitchen as the shoe tumbles cleanly into the sink. Then he rolls down a sock and throws it against the wall as though he never wanted to see socks again. The other he pulls off in a flourish and sails it across the room where it hits the potbellied stove squarely between the eye holes. Now he is reciting the Shakespeare he learned in high school: "Let me have about me bald, slick-headed men such as sleep at night." And sleep would be good just now. "Yon Cassius," he says, staring at us, trying to remember it all, "has a lean and hungry look. Such men are dangerous." We eye each other. One of us 152 · The Missouri Review must be Cassius-like, with Cassius thoughts so obvious. Then comes "the sea of trouble" as he crumples his bank statement in his fist...


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