THE    KID    NOBODY         COULD       HANDLE          253
                                                                        couldn't smile warmly. He had only two moods: one suspi-
                                                                        cious and self-pitying, the other arrogant and boastful. The
                                                                        first mood applied when he was losing money. The second
                               THE KID            NOBODY                mood applied when he was making it.
                                 COULD            HANDLE                   Quinn was in the arrogant and boastful mood when he
                                                                        sat down with Helmholtz. He sucked whistlingly on a
                                                                        toothpick, and talked of vision-his own.
                                                                            "I wonder how many eyes saw the hill before I did?"
                                                                        said Quinn. "Thousands and thousands, I'll bet-and not
                                                                         one saw what I saw. How many eyes?"
                                                                            "Mine. at least." said Helmholtz. All the hill had meant
       Ir wes sEvEN-THIRTYin the morning. Waddling, clanking,
                                                                        to him was a panting climb, free blackberries,taxes, and a
       muddy machines were tearing a hill to pieccs behind a
                                                                        placc for band picnics.
       restaurant. and trucks were hauling the pieces away' In-
                                                                            "You inherit the hill from your old man, and it's noth-
       side the rcstaurant, dishes rattled on their shelves' Tables
       quaked, and a very kind fat man with a headful of music           ing but a pain in the neck to you," said Quinn. "So you
                                                                        figr-rreyou'll stick me with it."
       looked down at the jiggling yolks of his breakfast eggs' His
                                                                            "I didn't figure to stick yotr," Helmholtz protested."The
       wife was visiting relatives out of town' He wirs on his own'
                                                                        good Lord knows the price was more than fair."
            The kind fat mau was George M. Hclmholtz, a nrrLnof
                                                                            "You say that now," said Quinn gleefully. "Sure, Helm-
        forty, head of the music department of Lincoln High
                                                                        holtz, you say that now. Now you see the shopping dis-
        School, and director of the band. Life hacl treated him
        well. Each year he dreamed the same big dream' He               trict's got to grow. Now you see what I saw."
        dreamed of leading as fine a band as there was on the face         "Yes," said Helmholtz. Too late, too late." He looked
        of the earth. And each year the dream came true'                around for some diversion, and saw a fiftcen-year-old boy
            It came truc because Helmholtz was sure that a man          coming toward him, mopping the aisle betweenbooths.
        couldn't have a better dream than his. Faced by this un-           The boy was small but with tough, stringy musclesstand-
        nerving sureness, Kiwanians, Rotarians, and Lions paid          ing out on his neck and forearms. Childhood lingerecl in
         for band uniforms that cost twice as much as tl-reir best      his features, but when he paused to rcst, his fingers went
                                                                        hopefully to the silky beginnings of sideburns and a mus-
        suits, school administrators let Helmholtz raid the budget
         for expensive props, and youngsters playcd their hearts        tache. He mopped like a robot, jerkily, brainlessly,but took
         out for him. When youngsters had no talent, Helmholtz          pains not to splashsuds over the toes of his black boots.
                                                                           "So what do I do whcn I get the hill?" said Quinn. "I
         made them plaY on guts alone.
             Everything was good about Helmholtz's life save his        tear it down, and it's like somebody pulled down a dam.

         finances.He was so dazzlcd by his big dream that he was a
         child in the marketplace. Ten ycars before, he had sold t,he
                                                                        All of a sudden everybody wants to build a store where the
                                                                        hill was."
                                                                           "Um," said Helmholtz. He smiled genially at the boy.
          hilt behind the restaurant to Bert Quinn, the restaurant
'!        owner, for one thousand dollars. It was now apparent'         The boy looked through him without a twitch of recogni-
'i:'      even to Helmholtz, that Helrnholtz had bcen had'
#                                                                He        "We all got something," said Quinn. "You got music; I
             Quinn sat down in thc booth rvith the bandmaster'
#                                                  man' He wasn't a
          was a bachclor, a small, dark, hun-rorless
                                                                        got vision." And he smiled, for it was perfectly clear to
          well man. He couldn't sleep, he couldn't stop working, he
                                                                        both where the money lay. "Think big!" said Quinn.

,fl.      )<)
                                                  HOUSE                                  THE      KID   N.OBODY       COULD        HANDLE          255
                             TO THE MONKEY
             254 WELCOME                                                                 polish those boots-get ofI by himself and polish those
            ..DreambiglThat,swhatvisionis'Keepyoureyeswider                              boots. And when he's really in heaven is when he can get
            open than anYbodY:1t::,-                  .,I,ve seen him around             ofT by himself, spread comic books all around him on the
              "That boY," said Helmholtz' ,'                                             floor, polish his boots, and watch television." He smiled
            school, but Ir r r s y w r knew
              r o o l , o u r never " " " "       ..BillV              storm
                                                            the Kid? The
                                                                                         ruefully. "Yeah, he had a collection too. And I took it
                       lar-rghed chcerles ,^                                             away from him and threw it in the river."
            ,,J;Il [,\'il;i';i;;"i;;i n:J:.".J'llil.
                                                        i   n^-.r^^.),, He called
                     :::i];t, rin.'! Il:1"
                                                                                             "Threw it in the river?" said Helmholtz.
            ffi[:; .'.                   .come the boy's eyeswere                            "Yeah," said Quinn. "Eight knives-some with blades as
                            *o,-'"pfoil"a to see that                                    long as your hand."
            as "".iit;.,i,
               expressionless,as           oy^sters'law,s                                    Helmholtz paled. "Oh." A prickling sensation spread
                              mY brothel                    kicl by another marriage
               "This is                                                                  over the back of his neck. "This is a new problem at
                                                             said Quinn' -"His name's
            -before he n.rarried*y^'ti;i;'"'                                       and   Lincoh.r High. I hardly know what to think about it." He
                                                           south sitle of Chicago'
            Jim Donnini, and he's i;t;";;                                                swept spilled salt together in a neat little pile, just as he
            he's verY tough'"                                                            would have liked to sweep together his scatteredthoughts.
                                                                 the mop handle'
                Jim Donnini's hancls tightenecl.on                                        "It's a kind of sickness, isn't it? That's the way to look at
                i'Hu* do you do']" saiclHclr-r'rholtz'                                   i t'r"

                " H i , " s e i d J i n re n r P t i l v '                        baby      "Sick?" said Quinn. Hc slapped the table. "You can say
                                                           said Quinn' "He's my
                 "Hc's living with m"'now"'                                              that again!" He tapped his chest. "And Doctor Quinn is
             now."                                                                       just the man to give him what's good for what ails him."
                        want a lift to school' Jin.r?"                       what           "What's that?" said Hehnholtz.
                                               ttftclol"' said -Quinn "See
                 "Yeah, he witnts " ritticl                                                  "No more talk abor.rt the poor little sick boy," said
                                                     to me " I{c turned to Jtm'
              you make of hin-r'u" *n'''it talk                                          Quinn grimly. "That's all he's heard from the social work-
              ico on' kid. wash ttp errcl hlvc"'                                         ers and the juvenile court, and God knows who all. From
                  Robotlike, Jim tnarcheclawaY'                                          now on, he's the no-good bum of a man. I'll ride his tail till
                  "Where are his Parerrts'1"                                 sister'     he streightensup and flics right or winds up in the can for
                                           His olcl man married my
                  "His nrothcr's dcatl'                                                  life. One way or the other."
                                                  hcr rvith him' Then the court
               walketi out on her, ancl stuck                                    tn         "I see," said Hehrholtz.
                                                  raising him'.a1ci put him
               didn't like thc way th"-*^'                     clccided to get him
                                               Thcn thly
 . :tl         foster honres fo' ^ *ilil"                                       He          "I-ike listenir.rg to music?" said Helmholtz to Jim
                                               they stuck--me'with-hirn'"
rl ::l         clear otrt of Chicago' so                                                 brightly, as they rode to school in Helmholtz's car.
                                         ' ftrntry thing'    Hclmholtz'"
               ti.".t itlt heacl'"Life's a
i' i.i'i
                                                                                            Jim saicl nothir"rg.He was stroking his mustache and
   ,i.l            .'Not very t,.,nt-,y, ,o,''-'tti'-t-'t'"i        Helmholtz' He
i :i:                                                        "itl                        sideburns.which he had not shaved off.
:: ti,:
               pti.!:9 nis ess.l.il]t,"*                             up," said
                                                                                            "Ever drunr with the fingers or keep time with your
i,,{4.           "Likc sornc wnote          ."."        of people                        feet?" said Llclmholtz. He had noticcd that Jin"r'sboots
 ;:ir."                                          like the kids we got arotrnd            were clccorated with chains that had no function but to
 ;:'iil*       Quinn  rvonderingly'.'Xott-'i'''g
                                                             he.won't talk He
               here. Those uoott, tn" Ut"tt lntf"t-a1f. Won't study' I clon't
   . r'.1
     li.                                                                                 jingle as hc walkecl.
                                        tnt  oiher kicls'                                   J i r r rs i - q h c .riv i t h c n n u i .
               won't rttn arotrticl"'ii
                                             write very Sood'.
               think he can even rc:id and                                                  "Or whistlc?" saicl Hclmholtz. "If you do any of those
                                                       irawing? Or animals?"
                  "Does  he rix" 'tuJiJ ni all? or                                       things, it's just like picking up the keys to a whole new
                                        he collect anything?"
               saiclHelmholtz' "l)ocs                                       to           worlcl-a world as beautiful as any world can be."
                                          iikes?" said Quinn' "He likes
                  "You know *noi ft"
256 WELCOME              TO THE MONKEY             HOUSE          THE      KID      NOBODY            COULD         HANDLF.            257
   Jim gave a soft Bronx cheer.                                   "You are better than you think," he said. "A-one, a-two,
    "Therel" said Helmholtz. "You've illustrated the basic        a-three." Down came thc baton.
principle of the family of brass wind instruments' The                C Band set out in its quest for beauty-set out like a
                                              with a buzz on
itorious voice of every one of them starts                        rusty switch engine, with valves stuck, pipes clogge                     d,
the lips."                                                        unions leaking, bearings dry.
    TG seat springs of Helmholtz's old car creaked under              Helmholtz was still smiling at the end of the hour,
Jim, as Jim shifteclhis weight. Helmholtz took this as a sign     becausehe'd heard in his mind the music as it was going to
of interest, and hc turned to smile in comradely fashion'         be someday. His throat was raw, for he had been singing
But Jim had shifted his weight in order to get a cigarette        with the band for thc whole hour. He stepped into the hall
from inside his tight leather jacket.                             for r drink from the fountuin.
    Helmholtz was too upset tb comment at once' It was only           As he drank, he heard the jingling of chains. He looked
 at the end of the ride, as he turned into the teachers'          up at Jim Donnini: Rivers of students flowed between
 parking lot, that he thought of something to say'                classrooms, pausing in friendly eddies, flowing on again.
     "Sometimes," sai<1  Helrnholtz, "I get so lonely and dis-    Jim rvas alone. When he paused, it wasn't to greet anyone,
 gusted, I don't see how I can stand it' I feel like doing all    but to polish the toes of his boots on his trousers legs. He
 kincls of crazy things, just for the heck of it-things that      had the air of a spy in a melodrama, missing nothing,
 might even be bad for me."                                       liking nothing, looking forward to the great day when
     Jim blew a smoke ring exPertlY.                                                               be
                                                                  evcrything wor.rld turned upside down.
     "And then!" saicl Helmholtz. He snapped his fingers and          "Hcllo, Jin.r," said Helmholtz. "Say, I was just thinking
 honked his horn. "And then, Jirn, I remember I've got at         about you. We've got a lot of clubs and teams that meet
                                                       just the
 least one tiny corner of the universe I can make                 after school. And that's a good way to get to know a lot of
 way I want itl    I .".t go to it and gloat over it until l'rn   pcople."
 brand-ncw and haPPY again."                                          Jim measured Helmholtz carefully with his eyes.
     "Aren't you the lucky one?" said Jim. He yawned'              "Mavbe I don't want to know a lot of people,"he saicl.
      "I am, ior a fact," said Helmholtz. "lr4y corncr of the      "Ever think of thatl" Hc set his feet down hard to mdke
  universe happens to be the air around my blnd' I can fill it    his chains jingle as he wa"lkcdaway.
  with music. Mr. Beeler, in zoology, has his butterflics Mr'          When Helmholtz returned to the podium for a rehears-
  Trottman, in physics, has his pendulum and tuning forks'         al of B Band. there was a note waiting for him, calling
  I\{aking sttre everyboclyhas a corncr like that is about the    h i r t rl o : r s p e c i : rll' : r c u l t y c e t i n g .
  biggest job rve teachershave. I-"                                   The nreetingwas about vanclalism.
      The czrr cloor opened and slammed, and Jim was gone'             Somcone had broken into the school and wrecked the
  Helmholtz stampeclout Jim's cigarette and buried it undcr        officc of Mr. Crane, head of the English Departn.rent.                 The
 the gravel of the Parking lot.                                    poor mnn's treasures-books, diplomas, snapshots of En-
                                                                   glancl. the begir.rnings elevcn novcls-had been ripped
   Helmholtz's first class of the morning was C Band'              and crunrpled, n-rixed,                  durnped and trampled, and drenched
 where beginners thtrmped ancl wheezed and tootccl as best         wilh ink.
 they couid, and lookcd down the longr long' lotrg toutl               Hclmholtz was sickened. He couldn't belicve it. He
 through B Band to A Band, the Lincoln High School'Ien                             b
                                                                   corrlcin't ring himself to think about it. It dicln'tbecome
 Square B:rnd, the finest band in the world'                       real to him until late that night, in a dream. In the drearn
    Helmholtz steppedonto the podium and raised his baton'         Helmholtz saw a boy with barracuda teeth, with claws like
*i                                                                                                           THE          KID           NOBODY                  COULD                 HANDLE
fri      258 WELCOME            TO THE MONKEY               HOUSE
                                                                                                             have killed you with a single blow. But I wouldn't have ha<l

                                                 a window of the high
         baling hooks. The monsterclimbed into                                                               any intelligent thoLrghtsabout what you were-what you
fr       school and dropped to the floor
                                              of the band rehearsal                                          thought you were cloing."
         ,""*.   fn. ,lron.t., clawecl to  shreds the heads of the
         tlgg"t, drum in the state' Helmholtz
                                                   woke up howling'
                                                                                                                  "It's about time this place got set on its ear," said Jim.
                                                                                                                  "Is it?" said HelmholIz. "That nust be so. if one of our
                                                go to the school'
    {,   if,J." *o, nothing to do but dress and                                                              students antsto murder it."
                                                                                                                  "What good is it?" saidJim.
                                                   caressed the drum
            At two in the morning, Helmholtz                                                                      "Not much goocl, I guess," said Helmholtz. "It's just the
                                                  the night watchman
         h.uO, in the band rehearsalroom' with                                                               best thing human beir-rgs                        evr'r managed to do." He was
                                                 and forth on its cirrt'
         footing on. He rolled the clrum back                                                                h e l p l e s s ,t a l k i n g t o h i m s c l l . H e h a d a b a g o f t r i c k s f o r
                                                  o1T'on and olT' The
         ;;J h"" turnecl the light insicie on and                                                            making boys behave like men-tricks that played on boyish
         O.urn *u, unharmecl. The night     watchman left to make his                                        fears and drcants and loves. But here was a boy without
         rouncls.                                                                                            fear, without di-eants.               without lovc.
                                                                               With the conteut-
               The band's treasttre house was safe'                                                               "lf you smashecl all the schools," said Helmholtz, "we
         mcnt of a miser counting                        his money' Helmholtz fondlcd                        wotrldn't hirve any hopc left."
                                                                              And then he bcgan
         the rest of the ir-rstrtrments, by one'         one                                                      " W h a t h o p c - ' /s a i d J i m .
                                                                        polished',hi could l.rcar
         to-pof i.tt the sousaphones'As he                                                                        "The hope that everybody will be glad he's alive," said
                                                                           thcm flushing in the
          the'gr"at horns rolrring' cotrlclsee                                                               H e l n r h o i t z ." E v c n v o u . "
                                                                             and thc banncr of
          su.figtt,, with the Stari antl Stlipes                                                                  "'lhat's a laugh." said Jim. "All I ever got out of this
          Lincoln High going beforc'
          -                                                                                                  dump was a hard time. So tvhat'rc you gonna do?"
               iiu-p-i,mp,               iiaate-tiaclle, yump-yump' tiddle-tiddle!"                               " l h a v e t o c l o s o r n e t h i n gd o n ' t I ? " s a i d F l e h n h o l t z .
          sang Helmholiz happily' "Yun'rp-yunrp-yump'                                                             " I c l o n ' tc a r e w h a t y o u d o , " s a i c lJ i n r .
          yump-YumP, YumP-YumP-boon.r                                !"                                           " I k n o w , " s a i c lH e l m h o l t z . " I k n o w . " H e m a r c h e d I i m
          '                                                                         for his imagi-
                ai i.t" prur"d io-choose the next number                                                     into hrs tiny ofl-iceoli the band rchearsal room. He ciialed
           oo.y Uunif to play' he heard                      a furtivc noise in thc chcmts-                  the telephonc nuntber of thc principal's horne. Nuntbly, he
                                                                                      into thc hall'
           tiy'tnUor"tory^next door' Helrnholtz sncakecl                                                     waitcd for thc bell to get the olcl rnan from his bed.
            j.rt"a op.,l ibe laboratory door,                          ancl Ilashed.on thc lights'                Jirn cllrsted       his boots with a rag.
                                                                                    t r a u c l 'H c w a s
            iim Donnini had a bottle of acicl in eithcr                                                           H c l n r h o i t z s u c l d e n l yc l r o p p e c tl h c t c l e p h o n ei n t o i t s c r e -
                                                                            of  thc clctncnts' over
            spashing acid over the perioclic^tablc                                                           dlc before the principal could answer. "Isr-r't thcre any-
                                                                                 ovcr the btrst of
            the blackboards covered with fornlr-rlas'                                                        t h i n g y o r r c a r c a b o u t b u t r i p p i n g . l i a c k i n g ,b c n t l i n g ,r c r - r c l -
            Lavoisier.Thesccnervasthcn-rostreptllsivethingHeltn.                                             i n g . s n r a s h i n _ e ,a s h i n g ? " h e c r i e d . " A n y t h i n g ? A n y t h i n g
            holtz coulcl have lookecl uPon'                                                                  b u t t h o s eb o o t s ? "
                J r n rs n r i l c d i t h r h i n b r : r v : r t l o '
                                    w                                                                             "Go on! Call up whocver you're gonna call," said Jim.
                "Get out." saidHclmholtz-'                                                                        H c l m h o l t z o p e n e d a l o c k e r l i n d t o o k a t l ' r r m p e tf r o m i t .
                 "What're You gonna clo?" said lim'                                                          He thrust the tnrmpet into Jim's arnts. "Thcre!" hc said,
                 "Clcan up. S".;" what I can.'' saiclHelnrholtz                                              ptrfling q,i1h ernotion. "Thcre's my treasure. It's thc dear-
             pi.t'.J           a wad of cotton waste                     and began wiping up the             e s t t h i n g I o w n . I e i v e i t t o y o u t o s n r a s h .I w o r r ' t t n o v e a
                        "p                                                                                   musclc to stop you. You can have thc added pleasrtre f
             acid.                                                                                                                                                                                              o
                 " Y o u g o n n a c a l l t h c c o p s ? "s a i d J i m ' - -                              w a t c h i n gm y h c a r t b r e a k w h i l e y o u d o i t . "
                  "l--I ilon't know." saicl Helnrholtz "No                                                        Jim looked at him ocldly. He laid down the trumpet.
              It l:A.n,,gf-tt        you hurting the bessclrunr'I think I woulcl
I                                                TO THE MONKEY                HOUSE                        THE          KID         NOBODY                   COULD                HANDLE                      261
&          260 WELCOME
              "Go onl" said Helmholtz' "If                the world has treatcd you                           He drove Jim home. He oper-red   the car windows and
                                                                     smashed!"                             the air seemed to refresh the boy. He let him out at
           so badly, it deservesto have the trumpet
                                                                             put a foot                    Quinn's restaurant.The soft pats of Jim's bare feet on the
              "I-i.said          Jim. Hehnholtz grabbed his belt'
                                                       on the floor'                                       sidewalk echoeddown the empty street.He climbed throtrgh
           behind him, and dtrmped him
                                                                           them into a                     a window. and into his bedroom behind the kitchen. And
              Helmholtz- pulled Jirn's boots olT and threw
                         "Thcre!" said Hclmholtz savagcly               He jerked the                      ali was still.
           "orn"r. his feet again and thrust the trumpet into his arms
           ;;; ;"
                                                                                                                The next morning the wadclling clanking, muddy ma-
           once more.
                                                                   had lost his socks                      chines were n-rakingthe vision of Bert Quinn come true.
               Jim Donnini was barefoot now He
                                                                                    had                    They were smoothing o11the place where the hill hacl bcen
                                                boy looked down' The feet that
ii         with his boots. The
                                                                             as chicken                    behind the restaurant. They were making it as level as a
           on." .."-.,1            big black clttbs were narrow
:'                                                                                                         billiard table.
           *inga no*-bony                  and bltle, trnd nLrt qllite clean'
                                                                      qtrake seemed to                          Helmholtz sat in a booth again. Qtrinn joined him again.
               i-[" uoy shiverecl'then qtraked' Each.
                                                                at last' there was no                      Jim n.roppedagain. Jirn kept his eyes dorvn, refusing to
            shake sorncthing loose inside, until,
                                                                 lollecl' as though he                     notice Helnrholtz. And he clidn't seem to care whcn a slrrf
            boy lcft, No boy at all. Jim's head
                                                                                                           of suds broke over the toes of his small and narrow brown
            waited or.rlY       for dcath.
                                                                          Hc thlelv his                    Oxfo rcls.
                Helnrholtz was overwhclnlccl by remorse'
                                                                                                                " E a t i n g o u t t w o n t o r n i n g si n a r o w ? " s a i d Q u i n n . " S o m e -
            or,t:i               thc boy. "linrl Jirn-listen to rne' boyl"
                     "rout',,I l                                                                           thing wrong at home?"
     ,i         J i n r s t o p P c lq t r r k i n g
     ,a)                                                                 trumpet?" said                         "lv{y wife's still out of town," saiclHelnrholtz.
                "You know what you've got thcre-thc
                                                                        it?"                                    "While the cat's away-"                                               Hc
                                                                                                                                                                 saiclQr-rir-rn. winked.
            Heln-rholtz.        "You know what's special abor-rt
                                                                                                                "When the cat's away," said Heln-rholtz,"this mouse gets
                Jim onlY sighcd.
                :'It U"tong",l to John Philip Sousal" said Heln.rholtz'He                                  lonesome."
                              shook Jir.n gcntly, trying to bring him
                                                                                              back to           Quinn leancd forward. "Is that what got you out of bed
            rocked ar"r<l
                    ..I'll traclc it to yotl, Jinr-for yotrr boots, It's yottrs'                           in the n.riddle of the night, I{elmholtz? Loncliness?" He
            lifc'                                                                                          jcrked his hcad at Jirn. "Kidl Go get IVIr. Hclmholtz his
                                                                               yoursl lt's worth huu-
            J i m ! J o h n P h i l i p S o u s a ' st r u n l p e t i s
            dreclsof dollars, Jim-tl-rousandsl"
                                                                                                                Jirn raised his head, and Hclmholtz saw that his eyes
                 Jim laid his heatl on Hcln'rholtz'sbreast'
                                                                                            "You can       were oysterlike again. He marched away to get the trum-
                 "It's better thar-r oots. Jinr," said Hclmholtz'
             learn to play it.           You'rc somebotly' Jim' You're the boy
                                                                                                                Quinn now showeclthat he was exciteclar-rd                                   angry. "Yon
            w i t h J o h n P h i l i p S o t r s i L 'ts t r n ' r p e t ! "
                                                                                       boy wotrld top-      take arvay his boots ancl givc hinr a horn, and l'm not
                 Helmholtz rcleascclJinr slowly' sure the
                                                                                                   still    supposcd to gct curior.rs'l"he said. "I'm not srrl-rposecl                                           to
             pt". :i,'tt   clicln't fall. He stood alone' The trttmpet was
                                                                                                            s t a r t a s k i n g q u e s t i o n s ? ' m n o t s i r p p o s c ctl o f i n d o u t y o u
              in his arms.
                                                                                                a good      caught him taking the school apart? You'd made a lousy
                  "l'll take yott honrc, Jim," saicl Helmh.oltz' "Be
                                                                                  tonight  Polish your      crook, Helmholtz. You'd lcave 1,our baton, sheet music,
              boy irnti I rvon't say a u'orcl abotrt
                                                                                                            a n c ly o u i c l r i v e r ' s i c c n s ca t t h e s c c n eo f t h e c r i r n c . "
              trLinrpct,ancl learn to be a good boy'"                                                           " l d o n ' t t h i n k a b o u t h i c l i n gc l u c s , ' 's a i d H e l m h o l t z . " I j u s t
                  "Crrn I havc n-ryboots']" said Jirr-r                       dttlly'
                                                                                              good for      do what I do. I rvasgoing to tell you."
                  "No," saicl Helmholtz' "I clon't think thcy're
                                                                                                                 Quinn's feet darrcecland his shoes squeaked like mice.
                                               TO THE MONKEY                                     HOUSE                THE        KID         NOBODY                   COULD               HANDLE                    263
         262 WELCOME
                                                                                        you too'"
         "Yes?" he said. "Well, I've got some news for                                                                ment. Helmholtz saw Jim Donnini's face, seeminglyfloating
             " W h a t i s t h a t ? "s a i d H c l m h o l t zu n e r t s i l y '                                    in space-all but deaf and blind. Now Helmholtz saw the

              "It's all over with Jim and me," said Quinn'

              "To another string of foster homes?" said Helmholtz
                  the payoff. l'm sending him back where he came
                                                                                              "Last night             futility of men and their treasures. He had thought that
                                                                                                                      his greatest treasure, the trumpet, could buy a soul for
                                                                                                                      Jim. The trumpct was worthless.
                                                                                                                         Deliberately, Helmholtz hammered the trumpet against
                                                                                                                      the tablc edge. He bent it around a coat tree. He handed
              "Whatever the experts figure out to do with a kid like
E.                                                                                                                    the wreck to Quinn.
i[:,      that." Quinn sat back' exhaleclnoisily, and went lirnp                                                         "Ya bustcd it," said Quinn, amazed. "Why'dja do that?
tl        relief.                                                                                                     W h r r l ' st h a l p r o v e ? "
t ? '.
ltl           "You can't," said Helmholtz'                                                                               "I-I          <ton't know," said Helmholrz. A terrible blas-
tfi           " I c z t n , "s a i d Q L r i n n '                                                                    phemy rumbled deep in him, like the warning of a vol-
                                                                                                    "Hc can't         cano. Ancl then, irresistibly, out it came. "Life is no damn
li:            "That will be the end of hirn," said Helmholtz'
          s t a n dt o b e   t h r o w n a w e y l i k e t h ; r t o t r el l l o r e t i n l e ' "                   good," said Heln.rholtz. His face twistcd as he fought back
               "He can't fcel rrrrything,slicl Quinn' "I can't help him; I
                                                           "                                                          tezrrsand shame.
           can't httrt him. Nobocly can. There isn't a nerve in                                                          Helniholtz, the mountain that walked like a man, was
               " A b u n d l c o f s c a r t i s s t t e . " a i t lH e l m h o l t z '
                                                           s                                                          falling apart. Jim Donr.rini'seycs filled with pity ancl alarnt'
               T h e b t r n c l i eo f s c a r t i s s u e r c t t t r n c c l w i t h t h e t r t t m p e t '       1'hey carnc alive. They became htrman. Hehrholtz had got
           I m p a s s i v e l yh e I a i d i t o n t h e t a b l c i n f r o n t o f H e l m h o l t z
                                ,                                                                                     a messagethrough. Qtrinn looked at Jim, and something
               ilelmholtz forcecl a smile. "It's yours, Jim," he said'                                                like hope flickerecl for the first time in his bitterly lorrely
          gavc it to yor,r."                                                                                          old face.
                "Tlke ii while you got the chance' Helmholtz," said
                                                                                          is swap it for a                Two weeks later, a new semesterbegan at Lincoln High'
          Quinn. "He cloesn't wrtnt it. AII he'll do
          knife        or a pack of cigarcttes."                                                                          In the band rehearsal room, the nlcmbers of C Band
                "He cloesn't knorv what it is, yet," said Heln.rholtz' "It                                            were waiting for their lcldcr-wcre waiting for their
          takes a whilc to fincl out-"                                                                                dcstinies s musicianso unfold.
                                                                                                                                      r                       t
                "Is it any goocl'/"said Quinn.                                                                            Helnrholtz stcpped onto the podium, and rattled his
                 "Any goocl?" said Helnrholtz, not believing his ears'                                                b a t o n a g a i r r s t i s m u s i c s t a r l c l" T h e V o i c e s o f S p r i n g , " h e
                                                                                                                                                h                              .
                                                                                                             at the                                                     -I'he
          "Any gooa'1" He dicln't see how anyone cor'rld look                                                         said. "Evcrybocly hear that'/                              Voices of Spring?"
           instrumeut and not be wartrled and dazzled by it'                                                              There were rustling sottllds as thc mr-rsiciiins                                       put the
          goocl?"hc                 ntttrnrtlrcd. "lt belonged to John Philip Sor"rsa'"                               music       on their stands.Ir-rthc prcgnitt.tt                     silcnce that followed
                 Q u i n n b l i n k e d s t u p i d l y ." W h o ' 1 "                                               t h e i r r e a c l i n c s s , e l n r h o l t zg l a n c e c a t J i r n D o n n i n i , w h o s a t
                                                                                                                                                  H                                  l
                 Helt.nholtz's hancls flutterecl on the table top like the                                            on thc last scat of the worst trunlpet section of the worst
           wings of a clyingbircl. "Who was John Philip Sousa/"'he                                                    band in school.
           p;pe.l. No nrore worcls came. The subject was too big for a                                                     His trtrnipct, John Philip Sousa's trumpet, George M'
           i i . . d , ' , . t " . tt o c o v c r . T h c d f i n g b i r d e x p i r e t la n d l a y s t i l l '    Hcln-rholtz's          trurrpet, haclbeett repairecl.
                  A f t e r a l o n g s i l e n c e .H c l n h o l t z p i c k e d u p t h e t n r n l p e t '             " T - h i n k o f i t t h i s w a y . " s a i d F l e l m h o l t z ." O u r a i m i s t o
            He kissed the colcl rnotrthpieceancl pumped the vrrlvesin a                                               make the world more beautiftrl than it was when we came
            dream of a brilliant cadenza. Over the bell of the instru-                                                into it. It can be done. You can do it."
ffi        WELCOME         TO   THE     MONKEY        HOUSE
        A small cry of despair came from Jim Donnini lt was
      meant to be private, but it pierced every ear with its
      poignancy.                                                                                                    THE MANNED

         "How?" said Jim.                                                                                               MISSILES
         "Love yourself," said Helmholtz, "and make your in-
      strument sir-rgabout it. A-one, a-two, a-three." Down came
      his baton.
      ( 1955)
                                                                   I, ur<       IvANKov, stone mason in the village of
                                                                   the U    inian Soviet Socialist Reptrblic, greet you     d pity
                                                                   you,       les Ashland, petroleum merchant in
                                                                   Florida,      the United States of America. I         asp your
                                                                                      space man was my son            ajor Stepan
                                                                   Ivankov. The       ond was your son, Ca        in Bryant Ash-
                                                                   land. They rvill    forgotten only wheu       n no longcr look
                                                                   up at the sky.      y are like the         and the planets and
                                                                   the sun and the st
                                                                      I do not speak       ish. I spea these words in Russian,
                                                                   frorn nry heart, and y survivi        son, Alexei, writes thcm
                                                                   down in English. He s               ish in school ancl Ccrman
                                                                   also. He likes English          e admires your Jack London
                                                                   and your O. Henry a           your NIerk Twairr. Alexet ts
                                                                   seventeen.He is going             a scientist like his brother
                                                                      He wants me to                  t he is going to work on
                                                                                                                       allts me to tcll yott also
                                                                                                                                         your son. He under-
                                                                   stxtrds lh.rl youl'son was orderc.l I                                o rvhzrthe did. He is
                                                                   talking very r/uch, and wotrld like                                     compose this letter
                                                                   himsclf. He/hinks that a man forty-nint is a very olcl n'ran,
                                                                   and l.re dgds not think that a very old                                    un who can do
                                                                   nothing liut put one stone on top of a                                         can say the
                                                                   r i g h t t M n { s u b o u t y o t r r t gn t c r tw l r , r d i e i n
                                                                        If J-r'e wishes, he cln write a letter of his d                             abor.rtthe
                                                                   deaj,fis Stepan ancl your son.
                                                                                o1'                                                   is nly letl   ancl I will
                                                                   ge{ Aksinia, Stepan'swiclow, to read it to me to a k e s u r e
                                                                   Alexei has made it say exactly what I wish                                         to say.

To top