My Sentimental EducationAaron Anstett
Who poked Bazooka Joe’s lost eye, what jape was his gang engaged in, what joke gone wrong, involving explosives beer bottles were stolen from their sleeping fathers for? Maybe Bazooka caught a rusty nail looking under the rug to see the floor show. Maybe he stared and stared through the wrong keyhole. We’ll never know. They never say what happened to Joe. The eye patch is given. All else is joking. Such lives, they have to laugh though, and hard, knocked twenty degrees backwards a foot off the ground every punch line, stunned into shooting lines out their heads, black lines that float like flattened haloes. It’s a means of survival for Bazooka and his gang, being poor, but proud, with one set of clothes. Bazooka’s always grinning in his blue ball cap. Bazooka’s always dumbfounding the adults into stupor, and so never has to go to sleep, mismatched pajamas and dirty sheets, yanking the knotted shoelace down, then walk across his small room so tiptoed his ankles hurt, lying there in bed just a skinny kid with one eye gone.
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