Her name was Conni. She was fifteen and had a habit of laughing quickly and nervously, craning her neck to look at herself in the mirror or checking other people's faces to make sure hers was okay. Her mother, who saw everything and knew everything and didn't have much reason to look herself in the face, always scolded Connie for it. "Stop looking at yourself. Who are You? she would say. Connie raised her eyebrows at those old familiar laments and looked across her mother to a bleak vision of herself, right in that moment: she knew she was beautiful, and that that was everything.Her mother had once been pretty too, if those old album pictures were to be believed, but now her looks were gone and she was always after Connie.
"Why don't you keep your room as clean as your sister? How did you do your hair - what the hell does it stink in there? hairspray?
Her sister June was 24 and still living with her. She was a secretary at the high school Connie attended, and if that wasn't bad enough - with her in the same building - she was so down-to-earth, dumpy and consistent that Connie had to listen to her mother and her constant praise of her mother's sisters. 🇧🇷 June did this, June did that, saved money and helped with the house cleaning and cooking and Connie couldn't do anything, her head was full of cheap daydreams. Her father worked most of the time and when she got home she wanted dinner and read the paper at dinner and after dinner she went to bed. He didn't bother much to talk to them, but around his bowed head, Connie's mother kept nudging her until Connie wished her mother was dead and she herself was dead and it was all over. "Sometimes she makes me want to throw up," she complained to her friends. She had a high, breathy, amused voice that made everything she said sound a little forced, whether it was sincere or not.
There was one good thing: June went with her friends, girls as simple and solid as she was, and if Conny wanted to do it, her mother wasn't against it. Connie's best friend's dad drove the girls three miles into town and dropped them off at a mall to browse the shops or go to the movies, and when he picked them up at eleven, he never bothered to ask what they were doing.
They must have been a familiar sight, walking through the mall in their shorts and flats that always scraped the sidewalk, charm bracelets jingling on their slender wrists; they would lean together to whisper and secretly chuckle when someone passed by that amused or interested them. Connie had long, dark blonde hair that caught everyone's attention, and she wore part of it up and flowed over her head, letting the rest fall down her back. She wore a jersey top that looked like this when she was home and different when she wasn't. Everything about her had two sides, one for home and one for everything that wasn't home: her walk, which could be childish and wobbly, or slow enough to make one think she had music in her head; her mouth, pale and smiling most of the time, but bright and pink these nights; her laugh, cynical and slurred at home—"Ha ha, very funny"—but high-pitched and nervous elsewhere, like the jingling of the charms on her bracelet.
Sometimes they'd go shopping or to a movie, but other times they'd cross the highway and quickly cross the busy street to a drive-thru restaurant where older kids were. The restaurant was shaped like a large bottle, though sturdier than a real bottle, and on the cap was a revolving figure of a smiling boy holding a hamburger. They ran into each other one midsummer night, panting with audacity, and immediately someone leaned out of a car window and invited them in, but it was just some kid from high school they didn't like. They felt good about being able to ignore him. They walked through the maze of parked and crossed cars to the well-lit, fly-infested restaurant, their faces content and expectant as if they were entering a sacred edifice that had risen out of the night to give them the sanctuary and blessing they had. yearned. They sat at the counter, crossing their legs, their thin shoulders rigid with excitement, listening to the music that made everything so good: the music was always in the background, like the music of a church service; it was something you could count on.
A boy named Eddie came in to talk to them. He leaned back on the stool and spun in a semicircle and then stopped and turned again and after a while he asked Connie if she would like something to eat. She said yes, then smacked her friend on the arm on the way out - her friend's face took on a brave, amused expression - and Connie said she'd meet her across the street at eleven. "I just hate leaving her like this," Connie said seriously, but the boy said she wouldn't be alone for long. So they walked to his car, and on the way Connie couldn't help but study the windshield and the faces around her, their faces beaming with happiness that had nothing to do with Eddie or even this place; it might have been the music. She shrugged and took a deep breath with the sheer pleasure of being alive, and just then she caught a glimpse of a face just a few meters from hers. It was a boy with shaggy black hair in a gold-painted convertible. He looked at her and then her lips parted in a smile. Connie squinted at him and turned, but she couldn't help but look back and there he was, still looking at her. He wiggled his fingers and laughed and said, "I'll get you, baby," and Connie turned away without Eddie noticing.
She spent three hours with him, at the restaurant where they ate hamburgers and drank Coke from wax cups that always sweated, and then down an alley about a mile away, and when he dropped her off at five to eleven, she was just going to the cinema. it was still open on the site. Her friend was there talking to a boy. When Connie appeared, the two girls smiled at each other and Connie said, "How was the movie?" and the girl said "You should know". other than looking back at the dark mall with its large empty parking lot and now ghostly faded signs, and the drive-thru where the cars still drove relentlessly, she couldn't hear the music at this distance.
The next morning, June asked her how the movie was going and Connie said, "sort of."
She and this girl, and occasionally another girl, went out several times a week, and the rest of the time Connie was indoors—it was summer vacation—standing in her mother's path, thinking, daydreaming about the boys she'd met. But all the boys backed away and dissolved into a single face that wasn't even a face but an idea, a feeling mixed with the insistent beat of the music and the muggy July night air. Connie's mother would always bring her outside by finding things for her or suddenly saying, "What's the matter with the Pettinger girl?"
And Connie said nervously, "Oh, she. She always drew strong, clear lines between herself and girls like that, and her mother was simple and kind enough to believe that. Her mother was so simple, Connie thought, that perhaps it was cruel to deceive. Her mother would fight around the house in old slippers and complain on the phone to one of the other's sisters, then the other would call and they would complain about the third. When June's name was mentioned, her mother's tone was approving, and when Connie's name was mentioned, it was disapproving. It didn't mean that she didn't like Connie, and in fact, Connie thought her mother preferred her to June just because she was prettier, but the two maintained a desperation look, a sense that they were fighting over something insignificant.value to one of them.Sometimes they were almost friends over coffee, but then something would come up - some anger buzzing like a fly around their heads - and their faces would harden with contempt.
One Sunday Connie got up at eleven - neither of them went to church - and washed her hair so it could dry in the sun all day. Her parents and sister went to a barbecue at an aunt's house and Connie said no, she wasn't interested and rolled her eyes to let her mother know what she thought. "Then stay home alone," said her mother brusquely. Connie sat in a lawn chair and watched them drive away, her father quiet and bald, bent over so he could back up, her mother with a look that was still angry and not softened in the least by the windshield, and poor old June in the backseat, all dressed up like she doesn't know what a barbecue is with all the kids running around screaming and the flies. Connie sat in the sun with her eyes closed, dreaming and dazed with the warmth that surrounded her like it was some kind of love, the caresses of love, and her mind wandered to thoughts of the boy she had been with last night. . good that he had been, as he always was sweet, not like someone like June would assume, but sweet, gentle like promised movies and promised songs; and when she opened her eyes she scarcely knew where she was, the yard giving way to weeds and a fence-line of trees, and beyond that the sky was perfectly blue and still. The asbestos farmhouse, now three years old, scared her - it looked small. She shook her head as if trying to wake up.
It was too hot. She went inside and turned on the radio to drown out the silence. She sat barefoot on the edge of her bed and listened to a show called the XYZ Sunday Jamboree for an hour and a half, disc after disc of hard, fast, high-pitched songs she sang, punctuated by shouts of "Bobby King." : "Look, you girls from Napoleon - Son and Charley want you to pay close attention to this song!"
And Connie herself was listening intently, bathed in a slowly pulsing glow of joy that seemed to rise mysteriously from the music itself and lie lazily in the small empty space, inhaling and exhaling with each slight rise and fall of her chest.
After a while, she heard a car pulling into the driveway. She immediately sat up, scared that he couldn't father her so soon. Gravel crunched from the driveway - the driveway was long - and Connie hurried to the window. It was a car she didn't recognize. It was an open jalopy, painted a pale gold, dully reflecting the sunlight. Her heart started to pound and his fingers gripped her hair, checking it, and she whispered, "Christ, Lord God," and wondered how bad she looked. The car stopped in front of the side door and the horn sounded four times, as if it were a signal Connie knew.
She walked into the kitchen and walked slowly to the door, then out through the screen door, her bare toes curling on the step. There were two boys in the car and she recognized the driver now: he had shaggy, shaggy black hair that looked like a crazy wig and he was smiling at her.
"I'm not late, am I?" he said.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" said Cony.
"I said I'd be out, didn't I?"
"I don't even know who you are."
She spoke sullenly, careful not to show interest or amusement, and he spoke in a rapid, loud, monotone. Connie looked past him to the other boy and took her time. He had blond brown hair in a curl that fell over his forehead. His sideburns gave him a wild, embarrassed look, but so far he hadn't even bothered to look at them. Both boys wore sunglasses. The driver's glasses were metallic, reflecting everything in miniature.
"Would you like a ride?" he said.
Conny smiled and let her hair fall loose over one shoulder.
"You don't like my car? New paint job," I said. "Hey."
"You are adorable."
She pretended to be restless and chased the flies away from the door.
"You don't believe me or what?" he said.
"Look, I don't even know who you are," Connie said with disgust.
"Hey, Ellie has a radio, you know. Mine broke." It was the same program running in the house.
"Bobby King?" She said.
"I listen to it all the time. I think it's great."
"He's amazing," Connie said reluctantly.
"Listen, this is the guyGreat.He knows where the action is."
Conny blushed a little because the glasses didn't allow her to see what that boy was looking at. She couldn't decide if she liked him or if he was just an idiot, so she lingered in the doorway and didn't go downstairs or go back inside. She said, "What's all that painted on your car?"
"Can't you read?" She opened the door very carefully, as if she feared it might fall out. He slipped out just as carefully, planting his feet firmly on the ground, the little metallic world in his glasses slowing down like gelatin hardening, and Connie's bright green blouse smack in the middle. "First of all, this is my name," he said. ARNOLD FRIEND was written on the side in tar-black letters, with a round, smiling face that reminded Connie of a pumpkin, only he wore sunglasses. "Let me introduce myself, I'm Arnold Friend and that's my real name and I'll be your friend dear and in Ellie Oscar in the car he's a little shy." Ellie brought her transistor radio over her shoulder and balanced it there "Well, those numbers are a secret code, honey," explained Arnold Friend, reading the numbers 33, 19, 17 and raising an eyebrow to see what she thought, but she didn't think much about it. broken and around it on the shiny gold background was written: MADE BY CRAZY DRIVER Connie had to laugh at that. Arnold Friend liked her laugh and looked at her. your?
"Why should I?"
"Don't you want to see what's in the car? Don't you want to go for a drive?"
"I don't know."
"I have things to do."
He chuckled as if she'd said something funny. He slapped her thighs. He just stood there awkwardly, leaning against the car like he was balancing himself. He wasn't tall, just about an inch taller than she would be if she got down to him. Connie liked the way he dressed, as did everyone else: tight, faded jeans tucked into scuffed black boots, a belt that cinched his waist and showed how thin he was, and a white pullover that was a little dirty and showed the hard little muscles. of your arms and shoulders. It looked like he probably did some hard work, lifting and carrying things. Even his neck looked muscular. And his face looked vaguely familiar: chin, chin and cheeks slightly darkened from not shaving in a day or two, and his nose was long and hawk-like, smelling like it was a treat he was going to devour and it was all a joke.
"Connie, you're not telling the truth. This is your day set aside for a walk with me and you know it," he said, still laughing. The way he straightened up and recovered from the fit of laughter showed that everything was wrong. .
"How do you know my name?" she said suspiciously.
"Maybe and maybe not."
"I know my Connie," he said, wagging his finger. She remembered him even better now, back at the restaurant, and her cheeks grew warm at the thought of her gasping as she passed him—how she must have looked to him. And he remembered her. "Ellie and I are coming here especially for you," he said. "Ellie can sit in the back.
"Where are we going?"
He looked at her. He took off his sunglasses and she saw how pale the skin around her eyes was, like holes that weren't in shadow but in light. Her eyes were like broken glass, gracefully catching the light. He smiled. It was as if the idea of going anywhere was a new idea for him.
"Just for a walk, Connie dear."
"I never said my name was Connie," she said.
"But I know what it is. I know your name and everything about you, lots of things," said Arnold Friend. He still hadn't moved, but he was still, leaning against the side of the cart. "I took a special interest in you, such a beautiful girl, and I found out everything about you - like I know your parents and sister have gone somewhere and I know where and how long they're going to stay and I know who you've been together. last night and your best friend's name is Betty. Right?"
He spoke in a simple, lilting voice, as if he were reciting the words to a song. His smile assured her that everything was fine. In the car, Ellie turned up the radio and didn't bother to look around.
"Ellie can sit in the back," said Arnold Friend. He pointed at his friend with an indifferent jerk of his chin, as if Ellie didn't matter and she shouldn't be bothered about him.
"How did you find all this out?" said Cony.
"Ouça: Betty Schultz and Tony Fitch and Jimmy Pettinger and Nancy Pettinger", he told them in the canto. "Raymond Stanley and Bob Hutter—"
"Do you know all these kids?"
"I know everyone."
"Look, you're kidding. You're not from around here."
"But – how come we've never seen you before?"
"I'm sure you've seen me before," he said. He looked down at his boots like he was a little offended. "You just don't remember."
"I think I would remember you," Connie said.
"Yea?" He looked up, beaming. He was satisfied. He began to time the music on Ellie's radio, tapping his fists lightly. Connie turned her smiling gaze from her to the car, which was painted so brightly that it almost hurt her eyes to look at it. She looked at that name, ARNOLD FRIEND. And high on the front bumper was a familiar expression - MAN THE FLYING SAUCERS. It was a phrase the kids used last year but weren't using this year. She looked at him for a while, as if the words meant something she didn't yet know.
"What are you thinking? Huh?" asked Arnold Friend. "Don't worry about your hair flying in the car, okay?"
"Do you think maybe I don't know how to drive well?"
"How was I supposed to know?"
“You are a difficult girl to deal with. he said. "Don't you know I'm your friend?
"My sign." And he drew an X in the air and leaned towards her. They were about three meters apart. After his hand dropped to the side, the X was still in the air, barely visible. Connie closed the screen door and lay completely still inside, listening to the music on her radio and the boy's mix. She looked at Arnold Friend. He was standing so rigid and relaxed, pretending to be relaxed, one hand limply on the doorknob, as if he was holding himself upright with no intention of moving again. She recognized most things about him, the tight jeans showing off his thighs and buttocks and the greasy leather boots and tight shirt and even that slick, friendly smile of his, that sleepy, dreamy smile all boys used to convey ideas they didn't have. . want to put into words. She recognized all this and also the chant in which he spoke, slightly mocking, playful but serious and a little melancholy, and she recognized how he would clap his fists together to pay homage to the eternal music behind him. But all these things didn't come together.
Suddenly she said, "Hey, how old are you?"
His smile disappeared. Then she saw that he was not a child, he was much older - thirty, maybe older. Realizing this, her heart started to beat faster.
"That's a crazy question. Can't you see I'm your age?"
"How are you."
“Or maybe a few years older. I am eighteen years old."
"Eighteen?" she said dubiously.
He smiled reassuringly, and lines appeared at the corners of his mouth. Her teeth were big and white. He smiled so hard that her eyes narrowed and she saw the way his lashes were thick, thick and black as if painted with a black tar-like material. Then, suddenly, he looked embarrassed and looked over his shoulder at Ellie. 🇧🇷Dele,he's crazy,' he said. 'Isn't he an insurgent? He's crazy, a real character. Ellie was still listening to the music. His sunglasses gave no indication of what he was thinking. He was wearing a bright orange shirt that was half unbuttoned to show his chest, which was pale, blue chested and not muscular like Arnold Friend's. The collar of the shirt was turned upside down, and the ends of the collar reached past the chin as if to protect it. He pressed the transistor radio to his ear and sat dazedly, directly in the sun.
"He's kind of weird," Connie said.
"Hey, she said you're kind of weird! Kind of weird!" exclaimed Arnold Friend. He slammed into the car to get Ellie's attention. Ellie turned for the first time, and Connie saw with a start that he wasn't a child either - he had a fair, hairless face, slightly flushed cheeks as if the veins were growing too close to the surface of the skin, the face of a forty-year-old child. Connie felt a wave of vertigo rise within her at the sight and she looked up at him as if hoping something would change the shock of the moment to make up for it. Ellie's lips continued to form words, murmuring with the words ringing in her ear.
"Perhaps you two should go," Connie said quietly.
"What? Why?" cried Arnold Friend. "We're coming here to take you with us. It's Sunday." He had the man's voice on the radio now. It was the same voice, Connie thought. "Don't you know it's Sunday all day? And darling, who were you with last night, tonight you're with Arnold Friend and don't you forget it! Maybe you better get out of here," he said, and the latter was in a different voice.It was a little flatter, like the heat was finally getting to him.
"No. I have things to do."
"You two are better."
"We're not leaving until you come with us."
"Connie, don't mess with me. I mean - I mean, don't be sillya,he said, shaking his head. He laughed in disbelief. He carefully put on his sunglasses, as if he were actually wearing a wig, and tucked the temples behind his ears. Connie looked at him, another wave of dizziness and fear rising inside her, so that for a moment he wasn't even in focus, just a blurred image in front of his golden car and she had the idea that he was crossing the street. driveway with real strength. up but before that he had come out of nowhere that he didn't belong anywhere and that everything about him and even the music she was so familiar with was only half real.
"If my father comes and sees you..."
"He's not coming. He's having a barbecue."
"How would you know?"
"At Aunt Tillie's house. Now they're, uh — they're drinking. They're sitting around," he said vaguely, narrowing his eyes as if looking out over the town and Aunt Tillie's backyard. and he nodded vigorously. "Yes. sit around There's your sister in a blue dress, huh? And high heels, poor sad bitch - not like you, honey! And your mother helps a fat woman with the corn, they clean the corn - they peel the corn..."
"What fat woman?" Connie was crying.
"How do I know what fat woman I don't know all the damn fat women in the world!" Arnold Freund laughed.
"Oh, it's Mrs. Hornsby... Who invited you?" said Conny. She felt a little dizzy. Her breath came fast.
"She's too fat. I don't like them fat. I like her the way you are darling," he said, smiling sleepily at her. They stared at each other through the screen door for a while. He said softly, "Well, the what you are going to do is this: you are going to enter through this door. You're going to sit up front with me and Ellie's going to sit in the back, screw Ellie, right? This is not Ellie's date. you're my date I'm her lover baby."
"What? You're crazy..."
"Yes, I'm your lover. You don't know what that is, but you will," he said. "I know that too. I know all about you. But hey, you're really nice and you couldn't ask for someone better or more educated than me. I always keep my word. I'll tell you how it is, I'm always nice in the beginning, the first time. I'll hold you so tight you won't want to run away or pretend anything because you'll know you can't. And I'll penetrate you. where everything is secret and you give in to me and love me"
"Shut up! You're crazy!" said Cony. She walked away from the door. She covered her ears as if she'd heard something terrible, something that wasn't meant for her. "People don't talk like that, you're crazy," she muttered. Her heart was now almost too big for her chest and its pounding made her sweat. She looked out and saw Arnold Friend pause, then stagger a step toward the porch. He almost fell. But, like a clever drunk, he managed to regain his balance. He rocked his high boots and grabbed one of the porch posts.
"Treasure?" he said. "Are you still listening?"
"Get out of here now!"
"Be nice, honey. Listen."
"I will call the police..."
He shook again, and a quickly spitting curse came out of the corner of his mouth, an aside that wasn't meant for her. But also this "Christ!" it sounded forced. Then he started to smile again. She saw that smile break out, awkwardly as if he were smiling behind a mask. His whole face was a mask, she thought wildly, tanned all the way to her neck but then fading, as if he'd put makeup on his face but forgotten about his neck.
"Honey -? Listen, that's how it is. I always tell the truth and I promise you one thing: I won't come after you."
"Better not! I'll call the police if you... if you don't...
"Sweetheart," he said, speaking directly through her voice, "sweetheart, I can't come in here, but you can come out. Do you know why?"
she gasped. The kitchen looked like a place she'd never seen before, a room she'd walked into, but that wasn't good enough, it wasn't going to help her. The kitchen window never had a curtain in three years, and there were dishes in the sink for it - probably - and if you ran your hand across the table you'd probably feel something sticky there.
"Are you listening, honey?" -I'll call the police-"
"As soon as you answer the phone, I don't have to keep my promise and I can come in. You won't want that."
She ran forward and tried to lock the door. Her fingers were shaking. "But why lock it up?" Arnold Friend said softly, speaking directly into her face. "It's just a screen door. It's nothing." One of her boots was at an odd angle, as if her foot weren't in it. It pointed to the left and was bent at the ankle. "I mean, anyone can break through a screen door and glass and wood and iron or anything else if they have to, anyone and especially Arnold Friend. If the place was on fire, honey, you'd come running into my arms , straight into my arms and safely home - like you know I'm your lover and stop messing around I don't mind a shy nice girl, but I don't like messing around Some of these words were said with a slight rhythmic drawl, and Connie sort of recognized them - echoing a song from last year about a girl who runs into her boyfriend's arms and comes home -
Connie stood barefoot on the linoleum floor and looked up at him. "What you want?" she whispered.
"I want you," he said.
"I saw you that night and thought that was it, yes sir. Never had to look again.
“But my father is coming back. He's coming to get me. I had to wash my hair first…” She spoke in a dry, quick voice, barely lifting it for him to hear.
"No, your father isn't coming and yes, you had to wash your hair and you washed it for me. It's nice and shiny and everything to me. Thank you dear," he said with a mocking bow, but almost lost his balance again. had to bend down and adjust his boots. Obviously his feet didn't come down all the way; the boots had to be stuffed with something to make him look taller. Connie looked at him and behind him Ellie in the car, who seemed to be looking at the nothing to Connie's right.So Ellie said, tearing the words out one after the other, as if he was just figuring it out, "Should I answer the phone?"
"Shut up and shut up," said Arnold Friend, his face red from bending over or perhaps from embarrassment that Connie had seen his boots. "This doesn't concern you."
"What - what are you doing? What do you want?" said Conny. "If I call the police, they'll catch you, they'll arrest you..."
"The promise was not to come in unless you touched that phone and I would keep the promise," he said. He resumed his upright position and tried to force his shoulders back. He looked like a hero in a movie announcing something important. But he was very loud and it was as if he was talking to someone behind Conny. "I have no intention of walking into this house where I don't belong, only to have you come to me like you should. Don't you know who I am?"
"You're crazy," she whispered. She backed away from the door, but didn't want to move to any other part of the house, as if that would give her permission to walk through the door. "What do you mean… you're crazy, you…"
"Huh? What are you saying honey?"
His eyes roamed the kitchen. She couldn't remember what it was, this room.
"That's it, darling: you leave and we'll leave, good trip. But if you don't leave, we'll wait for your people to come home, and then they'll all come home.
"Do you want to pick up the phone?" said Eli. He held the radio away from his ear and made a face like he couldn't breathe without the radio.
"I said shut up Ellie," said Arnold Friend, "you're deaf, get a hearing aid, will you?" not your match, right? Don't approach me, don't curse, don't crush me, don't hunt, don't follow me," he said in a fast, nonsensical voice, as if he was going over all the phrases he'd learned. but he wasn't sure which one he was anymore. in vogue, and then pounced on new ones, inventing them with his eyes closed. "Don't crawl under my fence, don't squeeze into my squirrel hole, don't smell my glue, suck my Popsicle, save your own greasy fingers for you!" He shaded his eyes and looked at Connie, who had her back to the kitchen table. "Don't worry about him honey, he's just an idiot. He's an idiot. Right? I'm just the boy for you and like I said you walk out of here nice like a lady and give me your hand and no one else gets hurt, I mean your good ol' bald dad and your mom and your sister in high heels.
"Leave me alone," whispered Conny.
"Hey, you know that old lady down the road with the chickens and stuff - do you know her?"
"She is dead!"
"Dead? What? Do you know her?" said friend Arnold.
"She is dead-"
"You dont like her?"
"She's dead - she - she's not here anymore -"
But you don't like them, I mean, do you have something against them? Any resentment or something?” Then her voice lowered, as if sensing rudeness. He touched the sunglasses on his head as if he wanted to make sure they were still there. "Now be a good girl."
'What will you do?"
"Just two things, or maybe three," said Arnold Friend. "But I promise it won't be long before you like me like you like people close to you. You will. It's all here for you, so get out. You don't want your people in trouble, do you?"
She turned and bumped into a chair or something, which hurt her leg, but she ran into the back room and grabbed the phone. Something was hammering in her ear, a tiny thump, and she was so sick with fear that she could do nothing but listen—the phone was damp and very heavy, and her fingers were groping the dial, but they were too weak to touch it. there. 🇧🇷 She started screaming into the phone, amidst the roar. She screamed, she cried for her mother, she felt her breath slamming into her lungs as if it was something Arnold Friend was stabbing her with over and over without tenderness. A loud, mournful howl rose around her and she was locked in it as if she were locked in this house.
After a while, she could hear it again. She sat on the floor with her wet back against the wall.
Arnold Friend said from the doorway, "That's a good girl.
She kicked the phone away from her.
"No dear. take it Put it back.
She took it and put it back. The dial tone fell silent.
"That's a good girl. Now get out."
She was empty of what had been fear, but now it was just empty. All the screaming had blasted it out of her. She sat with one leg tight under her and deep in her brain there was something like a pinpoint of light that kept going and wouldn't let her relax. She thought she would never see my mother again. She thought I wouldn't sleep in my bed again. Her light green blouse was all wet.
Arnold Friend said in a voice as soft and loud as a stage voice: "The place where you came from is no longer there, and where you wanted to go is gone. This place where you are now - inside your father's house - does not It's just a box that I can drop at any time. You know that and you've always known that.
She thought I had to think. I need to know what to do.
"We're going to a beautiful field out here in the country where it smells so good and it's sunny," said Arnold Friend. "I'm going to wrap my arms tightly around you so you don't have to try to run away and I'm going to show you what love is, what it does. To hell with this house! It looks solid," he said. He ran his fingernail across the screen and the sound didn't make Connie shiver like it had the day before. "Now put your hand on your heart, baby. Do you feel it? ?—and disappear before your people return?”
She could feel her heart beating. Her hand seemed to wrap around it. She thought, for the first time in her life, that this wasn't her at all, this was hers, just a living, throbbing thing in that body that wasn't hers either.
"They don't want them to get hurt," continued Arnold Friend. "Now get up, honey.
“Now turn here. That's right. Come to me. - Ellie, put that away, didn't I tell you? You sucker. You creepy idiot," said Arnold Friend. His words weren't angry, just part of an incantation. The enchantment was friendly. "Now come into the kitchen darling and let's see a smile try it you are a sweet brave little girl and now they are eating corn and hot dogs cooked until they explode over an outdoor fire." , and they dress I don't know about you and I never did and baby you're better than them 'cause none of them would have done that for you."
Connie felt the linoleum under her feet; It was cool. She brushed her hair out of her eyes. Arnold Friend tentatively let go of the pole and held his arms out to her, elbows together and wrists slack, to show her that this was an awkward hug and a bit of teasing, he didn't want to upset her. deliberately.
She held her hand out to the screen. She watched as she slowly opened the door, as if she were safe somewhere in the other door again, and watched that body and that long tuft of hair move into the sunlight where Arnold Friend was waiting.
"My sweet little blue-eyed girl," he said, with a half sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes, but was nevertheless taken in by the vast expanses of sunlit land behind and on all sides of him - so lots of land, which Connie had never seen before and hadn't recognized beyond knowing she was going there.
It's summer, and fifteen-year-old Connie spends much of her time lounging around the house, going out with friends, and meeting boys. She's a little vain, spends way too much time looking at herself in the mirror, and is perpetually annoyed with her entire family—especially her mom and older sister.What is Oates message in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
In “Where Are You Going Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Oates explores this social upheaval in miniature: Connie, one young woman out of a country of young women, must confront her own questions and anxieties as she transitions into adulthood.Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been is an example of? ›
Coming of Age, Parable, Psychological Thriller, Realism
Oates has described "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" as slipping and sliding between genres. She suggests the terms "psychological realism" and "realistic allegory" (source).
Most of the story is told from Connie's point of view. We learn, feel, and get confused about things at the same time she does. Since much of the story is restricted to her perspective, Arnold Friend remains mysterious, evil, and utterly creepy.What does 33 19 17 mean in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
The Code on the Car
First, the reader can discover the title of the story. By counting backwards in the Old Testament of the Bible, 33 books, you will arrive at the book of Judges. Go to chapter 19, verse 17.
Connie is in the midst of an adolescent rebellion. She argues with her mother and sister, June, and neglects family life in favor of scoping out boys at the local restaurant. She tries to appear older and wiser than she is, and her head is filled with daydreams and popular music that feed her ideas of romance and love.What is the irony in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
The dramatic irony of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” conveys the tone of warning about temptation. Connie's situation is that she does not feel appreciated at home and uses her looks and actions to get attention and appreciation from boys even if it is short-term.What does Connies House symbolize in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
Slowly, both Connie and the reader come to understand that if she leaves the house, Friend will take her away with him and rape her, perhaps even murder her. The house, then, comes to represent Connie's adolescent innocence and the safety both her family life and status as a child provides her with.What happens to Connie at the end of the story? ›
Connie is compelled to leave with him and do what he demands of her. The story ends as Connie leaves her front porch; her eventual fate is left ambiguous.”What is the meaning of where you have been? ›
Where have you been refers to a period of time, usually a period that started in the past and lasted until now.
Music functions as Connie's bridge from the real world to her fantasy world. Connie enjoys escaping her life by listening to music and daydreaming about boys, and she gathers her ideas about romance primarily from songs on the radio.Why does Connie go with Arnold and Ellie? ›
Her insecurity, her low self-esteem, and her fear of intimacy all aid her in her unconscious decision to leave her house and go with the devious Arnold Friend in his gold convertible jalopy.Is there foreshadowing in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
The only hint of the action's resolution is in the foreshadowing statements made by Arnold when he says he wants to “come inside you where it's all secret” and show Connie “what love is like,” statements that hint at rape.Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been title meaning? ›
In Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, the title relates to Connie's lack of focus and detachment from her family when she goes out with her best friend.What does Arnold's car symbolize? ›
Arnold Friend's flashy gold car, with its outdated phrases written on the sides, is an extension of Arnold himself: extreme and not entirely right. The car gives Connie her first clues that there might be something wrong with or dangerous about Arnold.
In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” Joyce Oates portrays Connie as obsessed with men to symbolize how one's obsession and narcissistic attitude can cause danger to seem surreal.What is the woman's name in John 11 32? ›
John 11:32, NLT: When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, 'Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 'Who is Arnold Friend based on? ›
Oates has described how she based the character of Arnold Friend on the real life serial killer, Charles Schmid, who also wore makeup and stuffed his boots in order to alter his appearance, and was known for preying on teenage girls—taking three of their lives in Tuscon, Arizona the 1960s.What is significant about Arnold's Friend Ellie? ›
Arnold Friend's sidekick, Ellie is passive and quietly disturbing character in the story. He sits in the passenger seat of Friend's car holding the transistor radio. Connie observes that while, like Friend, Ellie is also older than he originally appeared, he is also strangely undeveloped and completely submissive.Who does Connie believe her mother prefers between her and her sister? ›
At home, she suffers because her mother clearly prefers her older sister. She suffers, too, from the well-meaning idiocy of her father, who talks in vague terms of "finally having a home of our own," as if this were Connie's goal, too, and she would always be 15 and always be coming home to it.
She is then forced outside and leaves with Arnold Friend. Arnold Friend clearly symbolizes the devil through his physical traits, his knowledge of Connie, and his power over her kind of like he was hypnotizing her to go with him.Why is Arnold Friend's name ironic? ›
The second instance, Arnold Friend, is ironic because he is not a friend to her and is in fact a sinister, malevolent figure who is intent on harming her in some way.Who is the antagonist in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
Arnold Friend is Connie's antagonist. In contrast to Connie's innocence, youth, and femininity, Arnold is on the side of sexual violence, death, and masculinity.What is Connie personality? ›
Personality. Connie can be best described as outgoing and impetuous. He has an easy time expressing his opinions, and enjoys flaunting his skills, especially during his days as a trainee.What does Arnold Friend mean when he tells Connie the place where you came from aint there any more? ›
Arnold says to her, “'The place where you came from ain't there any more, and where you had in mind to go is cancelled out,'” negating past and future and suggesting that what she knows now will be eternal, another eternal present state.How was the house of Connie burnt? ›
Answer: A) an electric short circuit.Who is the father of Connie's baby? ›
She hated Michael for several years afterward for having her husband killed. She had two sons by Rizzi, Victor and Michael Francis.Is Connie a villain? ›
Type of Villain
Constance "Connie" DiMico is a recurring antagonist in the adult animated television series Family Guy.
Connie is deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, as does Lauren in real life.What to reply to how have you been? ›
- “Not bad!”
- “Never been better!”
- “Could be better.”
- “A little crazy actually!”
- “Busy, busy.”
- “As usual.”
- “I've been traveling quite a bit since we saw each other last Christmas.”
Other answers for “what have you been up to?” include: “I've just been working a lot.” “I'm still finishing the project I've been working on.” “I've been working, cooking, and driving around a lot.”What does Arnold Friend mean? ›
The fact that this man's name is Arnold Friend is extremely significant, as it is a reference to the fact that he is the devil. The name Arnold Friend with the R taken out spells an old fiend. The meaning of fiend goes back to old english with the word freond meaning enemy or foe.Why was Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been written? ›
It was inspired by three Tucson, Arizona murders committed by Charles Schmid, which were profiled in Life magazine in an article written by Don Moser on March 4, 1966. Oates said that she dedicated the story to Bob Dylan because she was inspired to write it after listening to his song "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue".What is the main idea of where is here? ›
' examines a world in which ordinary life is electrified by the potential for sudden change. Domestic violence, fear of abandonment and betrayal, and the obsession with loss shadow the characters that inhabit these startling, intriguing stories.What are the numbers that Arnold shows Connie but she doesn't know what they mean? ›
When Connie asks him what the stuff painted on his car means, Arnold goes through the various sayings and eventually comes to the numbers 33,19, 17. He tells Connie, “Now, these numbers are a secret code, honey” (1007).What color are Connie's eyes in where are you going? ›
She feels as though she is watching herself walk toward the door, open it, and walk outside toward Arnold. He comments on her blue eyes, even though she has brown eyes. Connie looks out at the vast expanses of land behind him and knows that's where she is going.What is the significance of Connie's getting into the car with Arnold at the end of the story what details from the story support your reading? ›
Friend continually asks Connie to come for a ride in the car; it is the means by which he will take her away from her home, and, by extension, her family and her life as a teenager. In this way, getting into the car will bring an end to Connie's childhood innocence.What is the climax in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
The climactic moment crashes upon us when Connie opts to stay home from a barbecue at her aunt's house while the rest of the family leaves. From the moment her mother responds (snappishly) “Stay home alone, then,” we know Connie is in trouble.
The most important themes in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates are independence versus control, harassment, and versions of reality. Important motifs in the short story are music, appearances, and dizziness.What is the central conflict in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
The central conflict is between Arnold Friend and Connie. Arnold Friend wants Connie to leave her home and go for a ride with him. Connie wants Arnold Friend to leave her home and leave her alone. The home represents safety, innocence, family, security, and protection.
examines a world in which ordinary life is electrified by the potential for sudden change. Domestic violence, fear and abandonment and betrayal, and the obsession with loss shadow the characters that inhabit these startling, intriguing stories.
At the end of the story, Connie decides to leave with Arnold Friend because he threatened to kill her family if she did not go with him. I believe this is a dissatisfying ending because the only reason why Connie did this was because she was afraid of what could happen to her family.Does Connie get stabbed in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ›
However, Oates does not state explicitly that Arnold has raped Connie. A few lines later, it seems that Arnold is at the door again, once more trying to get her to come outside. In these lines, a literal reading reveals that it is her breath that is stabbing her lungs.What is the plot of Oh the places you'll go? ›
KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! This classic book, loved by generations of families, talks to the young (or adult!) reader about what life is, what they can expect as they get older and how to move through the experience of living with joy, thankfulness, ambition and kindness.What is the message of we were here? ›
Coming of Age. While this narrative deals primarily with the impact of the repercussions of institutionalization upon young people, it also details some of the realizations involved with the process of reaching maturity in contemporary American culture.What is the main focus of Where is Here? ›
In dramatic, tightly focused narrative charged with tension, menace and the shock of the unexpected, 'Where is Here? ' examines a world in which ordinary life is electrified by the potential for sudden change.Where is Here Ending meaning? ›
The stranger eventually bursts into the son's room and gives him a confusing riddle, telling him that it will all make sense one day. By the end of the story, it's clear that the stranger was attempting to warn the boy of his father's abusive nature, and that it will only get worse.What happens to Connie at the end of where are you going? ›
Connie is compelled to leave with him and do what he demands of her. The story ends as Connie leaves her front porch; her eventual fate is left ambiguous.”Why did Connie leave with Arnold Friend? ›
Her insecurity, her low self-esteem, and her fear of intimacy all aid her in her unconscious decision to leave her house and go with the devious Arnold Friend in his gold convertible jalopy.What did Arnold Friend do to Connie? ›
These are all parts of his attempt to manipulate Connie into coming out of her house so that he can abduct her and, it is implied, rape and murder her.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go”. No matter what is happening in the world around you, you have your brain and feet. You can think and take action with what you have. And you get to decide when that happens and what it looks like.What is Dr. Seuss most famous quote? ›
- "Today you are You, that is truer than true. ...
- "You're off to Great Places! ...
- "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. ...
- "Think left and think right and think low and think high. ...
- "You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut." ― Dr.
Dr. Seuss also discusses the moments within a new phase where there will be struggles and difficulties, and at times, you will be stuck in “the waiting place.” The “waiting place” is where you may be waiting for opportunities to come or preparing for these new opportunities.