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The Tit Jar, by J.L. Hudson

The Tit Jar, by J.L. Hudson

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Published by: SeanFennessey on Apr 28, 2013
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05/01/2013

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THE TIT JAR
J.L. Hudson
© 2003 Broken Wrist Project, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
OKAY. THIS IS WHAT WE SAW.It was a jar. A jar filled with tits. Pictures of tits. Fromskin magazines. In a Miracle Whip jar buried in Miss Barnes’s vacant lot. About two feetdown. I saw it myself. I saw all the tits, every one. They were very small but very beautiful.Winky Kerwin owned the jar and the tits. He got the magazines on Trash Day. A wholeliquor box full. Winky is a master trash picker. Even when it’s not Trash Day he sometimescruises people’s regular garbage. He says it’s educational. He knows what his neighbors areeating, how much they spend on their credit cards, how many times kids have to redo theirbook reports, and when the girls in the neighborhood have their period.Winky has a brother named Jake who’s in high school. He’s a pud. He hangs aroundwith sixth-graders even though he’s got a driver’s license and a job at Kroger after school.He thinks he’s a hood and he dresses like one. He wears pink shirts with black cuff linksand black boots with toes so pointy he can squash a bug in a sidewalk crack. He putswoman’s hair stuff in his hair and his sister puts clear nail polish on his fingers. He lookslike that so you’ll call him a fruit and then he can pound you.The Kerwins are what’s known here in Grosse Pointe, Michigan as lace-curtain Irish,which doesn’t make much sense because they hardly have any curtains at all. They inheritedtheir house from some dead relative. It’s big but it’s all falling apart. There are bricksknocked out and there’s a hole in the roof. The attic is full of raccoon crap and wasp nests.Their rugs are stained and on hot days they smell like piss. If you’re running around in thesummer with your shoes off and Winky asks you to come over, you go home and put onshoes. It’s just as bad outside. There’s hardly any grass in the front yard from everybodyplaying home run derby and football. The backyard’s got no grass at all and most of thetrees and bushes are dead from target practice and too many guys climbing them and buildingforts in them. Jake built a hockey rink back there with plywood boards he nabbed when theMcMillians built their new garage. He made nets out of pipes and fishing nets. In the winterhe runs a hose out the upstairs bathroom window and floods it. In the summer it makes aperfect bike track.There are about ten Kerwin kids. Mr. Kerwin works at night at a company that makesradiator hoses. Mrs. Kerwin is either having babies or buying groceries or being sick in herbedroom with the door locked. Most of us aren’t allowed to hang out at the Kerwins’ house,
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The Tit Jar
J.L. Hudson
 
but it’s impossible not to because you can do stuff there that you wouldn’t even think aboutdoing at your own house. There’s no way my parents would let me have guys over to playdodge ball in the living room or pee off the roof into a bucket or use our dining room tableas a shield for dirtball wars with the Day School kids.The only time I ever saw Mr. Kerwin yell at any of his kids was when Jake put a cherrybomb in a cat’s mouth and taped it shut and lit the fuse. And that was only because it wokehim up. By the way, that was the worst thing I ever saw anybody ever do. He did it in thegarage and he called us in without telling us what he was going to do until it was too late. Iclosed my eyes so I didn’t see the actual explosion but I had a nightmare about it and I helpedWinky bury the part of the cat that didn’t get blown up. I said the prayers at its funeral.You’re not supposed to be poor in Grosse Pointe. There’s plenty of room in Detroit tobe poor. That’s probably really why no adults liked the Kerwins. Jake was a dangerous guyand theyhad a little brother who didn’t have a real name, only the nickname Jake gavehim—Snovus. I think it had something to do with snot. Snovus didn’t like wearing clothesin the summer. The neighbors didn’t care for him walking around the neighborhood nakedwith one finger up his nose and the other in his butt. In the afternoon he liked to go tothe corner of Rivard and Charlevoix and do the Twist for the cleaning ladies waiting for thebus back to Detroit.All the Kerwin kids are boys except for Colleen, whos a girl. She wants to be Miss Americawhen she grows up, except she has a harelip and the doctor who fixed it wasn’t exactly a prowith girls’ faces. Frankly, he did a pretty terrible job. You can see her teeth even when sheisn’t smiling. I feel sorry for her. Jake calls her Rat. Once I even heard her on the telephonecall herself Rat.
+ + +
Being poor in a place where you’re supposed to be rich hurts a lot more than you mightthink. You feel shitty all the time because your shoes are falling apart and you’re wearingclothes a couple other people already wore out and you can’t invite people to your yacht clubor your country club or your cottage. You can’t even ask somebody over for dinner because
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The Tit Jar
J.L. Hudson

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