I really dont like this whole set up. I had to come here because I scared my mom and dad with my breakdown. Dad didnt beat me or anything, but boy, was he angry. I mean madman angry. I thought hed take off his belt and beat me black and blue with it. He said I was a freeloader. But thats not important now. He took all that stuff back after my breakdown. I guess he thought it was his fault. Mom thought it was her fault. I think it was my fault.
Holden, I dont want to go, said Phoebe, hugging me. Phoebe kills me sometimes, like this time. You need to stay home with us.
Phoeb, you gotta come visit me, okay? I wasnt gonna tell her to be a big girl or any of that crap because I didnt believe in it and I wasnt gonna lie to her; I may be a terrific liar, but its just cruel to lie to your sister about something you dont want for her. I didnt want her to be a big girl or any of that crap. Just to be a happy little kid forever. I want you to come visit as much as you can.
Holden, I She whined. Its too far. It killed me to see her talk that way. I was too run-down to make sure she stayed a little kid. It depresses the hell out of me to know that shes gonna grow up, and probably start dating and she might meet some guy whos a jerk because it seems like all the nice girls get tricked by jerks no matter how smart or nice they are. Thats the way guys are. Theyre just jerks who want to neck a girl instead of know stuff about her. I should know because Im just that way. I dont want old Phoeb tangled up with a guy like me. But I gotta stop worrying about her. Shes a genius, much smarter than a guy like me. Shed know a phony when she saw one and she wouldnt go dating. No, shed just keep writing about Hazle Weatherfield.
Well, try to come for Christmas, okay? I wished she could come every other week, but she was right; it was too far away.
Okay. Then she just left with my folks. They said D.B. would be coming by, but I wasnt in the mood for seeing him. The place smelled like old people. I gotta wear white; they said Ill get my other clothes after the head psychoanalyst sees me. Something like that. I dont really want to pay attention. I just want to go through what I gotta do, and get out. This place feels like a prison and its full of crazies and perverts. Im not crazy, and Im not a pervert. Like this one guy here. Hes a nurse, which is flitty right there because theres no such thing as a male nurse. Hes so flitty he says cracker with a lisp. And he got that flitty voice. You know the flitty voice that makes him sound like he wishes he was a woman but cant be because theres no medical science thing to let him do that. So he dresses flitty-like and just pretends hes a woman the way he swings his hips and stuff. I only know because you cant help noticing him. Its so hard not to, you know? I mean, Im not a flit or anything but these guys you just cant help noticing. You gotta watch yourself around those flitty guys. I make sure he doesnt get too close to me because you never know what those flits could do.
Theres also the crazies. I hate them. Some of them are okay. Im with the other kids my age and my roommate is okay. Its nothing like Pencey or Whooten or Elkton Hills with these guys. Hes not bad, but I dont know yet if hes a phony; you gotta watch out for those types who seem like really nice guys at first then you find out theyre just shooting the crap with you and theyre just big phoneys. Just like Sally Hayes or old Stradlater. But about this guy, my roommate. His name is Greg Hume. He says hes related to this old philosopher guy who died a million years ago, and I dont think its true but the way he says it, you just gotta believe him. I dont believe him, but I dont think he knows that what he says isnt true. Thats the thing about crazies. They never know if theyre telling the truth or not. I call him old Humey because just saying Hume is too final. Its like thats the end of it, you know? Not like Caulfield, my name. You say Caulfield and your tongue isnt tripping over all the parts of the name. The syllables. Hume is just one part and thats it. Its too short, and I dont like it when things end too quickly because then your fun is cut short and youre left wandering around trying to figure out what youre gonna do next. So I call him Humey.
I had just met old Humey and I was walking around the ward by myself. We get our own part of the building, and I get to walk around because the first psychoanalyst who examined my head and all said I was okay enough to walk around by myself, I think. They just wanted to make sure I wasnt some crazy whod try to hurt someone. I would hurt someone if I could, but Im too yellow and Ive got that bum hand. Also, Im not too sure I want to get in a fight with any of these guys. A lot of them are really mean-looking guys, even the ones who seem kinda flitty. One of them keeps giving me the stink eye whenever I walk by, so I try not to look at him or anything. If any of these guys took my stuff, Id be real angry but I think Id be too yellow to try getting back. Besides, I hear they lock all the rooms at night and they got someone making sure we dont leave our rooms. Old Humey says that no one really goes into other guys rooms anyways because theres no point. I didnt really know what he meant by that.
So Im walking around, and I get the idea to call Jane. I never got the chance because when my parents found out I was expelled from Pencey, they punished me by not letting me use the telephone. Parents always do that when you mess up. They dont let you use the telephone even if you dont use it that much to begin with. The trick was finding a telephone, though, because they dont let you leave to find a payphone and there werent any telephones in plain sight in the ward because they dont want crazies calling up strangers and causing a ruckus. Theres the station where the nurses have a counter to get your pills and behind the counter is where the nurses have desks and shelves and that sort of thing. I figure that theres a telephone somewhere behind there because thats the only way they could communicate with the rest of the building in case someone goes bananas.
I go up to the counter and lean on it, doing my best to look really suave since all the nurses except for that flitty guy were women. I wasnt gonna ask them anything because I knew that if I just stood there looking suave as hell theyd notice me. I can be really suave, you know.
This nurse came up. She looked like she could be someones mother, but she wasnt all that bad-looking. I think if she had come out of there shed have really nice legs. You can tell when a girl has really nice legs even when you cant see them. But her legs were probably all covered up by that uniform the nurses have to wear so all you can do is look at the nurses ankles which is a real shame because if youre shut up in here with just a bunch mean-looking crazies and perverts, you want to see something decent like a good pair of girls legs. Im not trying to sound horny or anything; Im just saying.
Say, think I can use the telephone? I asked, sounding mature and suave as hell.
Why? Why did it matter to her? I hate it when people want to get into your business and know everything youre doing.
Oh, just want to make a call. If you say something obvious like that, it usually makes people shut up because then they realize how stupid they are for asking what you want to do with a telephone.
I know. Who do you want to call?
Just this friend. I really wish I hadnt said that. I shouldve lied and told her I was gonna call my parents but I didnt. I dont know why. I guess it was because I didnt want to think about my parents right then.
Who? She was being really nosy now.
D.B. Hes actually my brother. I was really suave about it so I dont think she knew that I was lying. Besides, it wasnt that much of a lie. Sometimes I tell these really outrageous lies and I can get away with it, but sometimes its better to tell something thats a half-lie. I figured Id call D.B. even though I didnt feel like it before I called Jane and then maybe the nurse wouldnt bother me while I was talking to Jane.
What a brilliant one she was. Real smart. Hes my brother. I told you.
She nodded in that really phony way pretending to understand what I was saying. And where does
In Hollywood. I didnt say much else like how he was prostituting himself out there because I figured shed be too dumb to understand what I meant by that. It seems like there are a lot of girls like that. You tell them something, and they dont get it and think you mean something nothing like what you told them. Then you gotta explain it to them and they get angry because you didnt explain it to them before. Girls. Christ.
Oh? Did he ask you to call him?
No. He doesnt even know Im here. I wondered if she got off on asking people a bunch of stupid questions and wasting their time. I bet its so boring here and shes so dumb that the best thing she can think of to do with her time is ask people a bunch of stupid questions. I bet she drives everyone else up a wall.
Well, maybe you can call him later. She turned away like I was nothing.
What do you mean? Why cant I just call him now?
Well, we dont want you bothering your brother. How come all of a sudden shes so concerned about D.B? Im not gonna bother him by calling him up.
So I told her that. I tell her hes my big brother and were pretty close so its not like hes gonna get angry at me for calling him. I mean, Im his brother.
Listen, I know you really want to call him but you have to wait. Youre new so I dont know what Dr. Kroger will say. Dr. Kroger was the head psychoanalyst I still needed to see.
Then I got it. What, you think Im crazy?
No. Girls are so bad at lying, by the way. Some of them are pretty good at it, I guess, but I never met any girls who were terrific liars. And she was so bad at it. Really phony-like. I just dont know if Dr. Kroger will let you use the telephone, and even if he did you cant call anyone right now.
Im not crazy. I just want to call my brother.
I never said you were.
This was getting unbelievable. What a pain. But you think I am. Im not crazy, okay? Im just here for a little bit. Im not like one of the really madman guys here. So just let me use the goddamn telephone. My swearing bothered Phoebe a lot so I tried stopping especially because when I thought about it those were words a little kid shouldnt hear but this woman was really getting to me and I couldnt help it.
Youre not getting anything with that kind of language. Yeah, just like a mother.
Look, Im not crazy already! Just let me use the telephone and Ill stop bothering you! They dont let us have cigarettes in the ward and I wasnt allowed to smoke as soon as I came here. When I dont have a cigarette, I get really cranky and mean the way my mom gets when she doesnt smoke. I guess its because I used to be a really heavy smoker and I got so used to them that when I dont have them, I feel really strange. I swear I cant calm down without some cigarettes.
Hey, stop bothering her, said this guy behind me.
I turn around and theres this huge guy, real mean-looking. Not like the guys in the ward, I swear this guy was ten feet tall. Way taller than me, and really muscled up like a boxer. I thought hed punch my lights out.
That phony nurse was actually kinda nice about it. No, its fine. Hes new. After a bit more talking, she got him to go away. That just about killed me. Usually, phony people just want you to get out of their face so you can stop telling the world how phony they are.
I had gotten enough of her, though. I was already feeling really yellow after that guy, so I just left before she said anything to me. She actually wasnt all that good looking, now that I think about it. I bet she had terrible legs.