By Sylvain Savoia
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Extra resources for Al'Togo
Only people with happy childhoods have free will,” he said. “I own this house with him. ” “Sixteen. ” “I’m intuitive. Why does it happen that the dying person extracts some untenable promise from the living person, and this always happens with the dying person lying in bed and the living person sitting in a chair, and the dying person hates the living person for living, so much that she’s going to cast a pall over the living person’s life by making him do something for a long time that he doesn’t want to do, and the living person agrees to it as if that’ll make the dying person somehow not die?
As he eased along the wall, his back shoved a small object to the ground. It lay in the carpet, a museum-quality mint-condition prototype of the widget his mother’s sick and mean second husband oversaw the manufacture of, vacuum-sealed in lucite. They stared down at it. He felt what blood remained in his head pool against the inner lining of his face, and had the sensation that they were hanging on the wall while the widget, standing on the floor, observed them. Himself; his wounds; her; her T-shirt and strong arms; the suburban house with two floors, a basement, and an attic; a row of such houses, each with its half-acre of lawn, its tree, its beachhead of sidewalk; a whole town of these; many towns of these together and the big city whose gravity field fixed each in its orbit: all were prefigured and held in balance by the widget in the lucite void.
Another kid made it, and I made one too, but when they came out of the kiln mine was misshapen and his was beautiful. His was the shape and color—blue, various blues—I’d meant to make mine and thought I’d made mine. I refused to believe I’d made mine, I said I’d made his, and believed that, and cried. This all happened at school. The teacher insisted I take mine home, I said I wouldn’t, I said it was only fair I take his, which I thought was mine. This other kid, Mike Schoen, who was stronger than I was and handsomer and nicer and more generous and had better grades and a better rabbit, said, ‘It’s all right, I’d like him to have it,’ or some magnanimous speech like that.