Franklin had parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. But ki did not have a brother or sister. Franklin often thought about having a younger sibling, and ki wondered how it would feel to have a baby in the family. Franklin knew ki would find out soon, because kis best friend, Bear, would soon have a little baby brother or sister....
The next day at school, Bear talked about the baby.
"I get to stay at Franklin's when the baby begins to arrive," ki told Snail.
"A sleepover!" Snail cried. "I wish my
mom expected a baby."
"Me too," said Franklin. "Big brothers have someone to play with all the time."
...."Hooray!" cried Franklin and Bear. "The baby will arrive soon!"
Franklin's mother asked Bear what ki would like for supper. Bear could hardly believe kis good luck.
"I'll soon have a little baby brother or sister. I get to sleep over at my best friend's house. And I'll eat pancakes with blueberries!"
Franklin shared Bear's happiness, but ki couldn't help feeling a little jealous.
"Gee," ki said, "lots of good things happen to big brothers."
... They tried to fall asleep, but they remained awake until Franklin's parents came in to tell them the big news.
"Bear, you have a brand new baby sister!" announced Franklin's mother.
"Wow! Now you really can call yourself a big brother," said Franklin.
Bear looked as if ki would burst with pride. "This feels like the best day ever!" ki said.
A few days later Franklin walked over to Bear's house. Ki found Bear sitting on the front steps.
"Why don't you play with your little sister?" asked Franklin.
"Ki needs to grow bigger before I can play with ki, and ki sleeps all the time," sighed Bear. "Big brothers don't have as much fun as I thought."
I felt weird using "ki" while keeping words like "aunt" "uncle" "brother" "sister" etc. I don't know any gender-neutral word for "aunts and uncles," and using "sibling" over and over feels so formal to me... ack...
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. I'm stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that's all there was to read about in the papers--goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves.
I thought it must be the worst thing in the world.
New York was bad enough. By nine in the morning the fake, country-wet freshness that somehow seeped in overnight evaporated like the tail end of a sweet dream. Mirage-grey at the bottom of their granite canyons, the hot streets wavered in the sun, the car tops sizzled and glittered, and the dry, cindery dust blew into my eyes and down my throat.
I kept hearing about the Rosenbergs over the radio and at the office till I couldn't get them out of my mind. It was like the first time I saw a cadaver. For weeks afterward, the cadaver's head--or what there was left of it--floated up behind my eggs and bacon at breakfast and behind the face of Buddy Willard, who was responsible for my seeing it in the first place, and pretty soon I felt as though I were carrying that cadaver's head around with me on a string, like some black, noseless balloon stinking of vinegar.