The Summer of '62; Episode 66

Prayer For Peace

Rich was in his room for an hour. He heard Mrs. Larsen and Mr. Larsen’s muffled conversation.
The phone rang and Mrs. Larsen answered. Rich heard various expression like, “Really, is that right, well ya don’t say, oh my, I can’t believe it.” Mrs. Larsen called Mr. Larsen to the dinning room.
Rich quietly got out of bed and crept to the head of the stairs.
That was Mrs. Proctor,” Mrs. Larsen said.
What did she have to say?” Mr. Larsen said.
You’re not going to believe this,” Mrs. Larsen said and paused.
What!” Mr. Larsen said impatiently.
That Chandler girl got pregnant by her brother-in-law,” Mrs. Larsen said.
Little slut,” Mr. Larsen said. “You know what she was tryin’ to do. She was tryin’ to get our boy to toss around in the hay and blame it on him.”
I just bet so. That‘s what it was.” Mrs. Larsen said. “Have you ever talked to him about that kind of stuff.”
He probably knows more than I do,” Mr. Larsen says.
I don’t doubt that.’ Rich thought and smiled.
Rich crept back to his room and quietly laid down again. He randomly grabbed hold of a an encyclopedia volume and read for a while. He looked the pictures of sports heroes that he cut from sporting magazines and hung on the wall. Jerry Lucas and Rocky Colavito held prominent positions as well as Frank Robinson and Jack Twyman.
Supper,” Mrs. Larsen called up the stairs.
Rich waited till he was certain everybody was seated and had their plates full. He walked downstairs and filled his plate while standing.
I got a call from Mrs. Proctor,” Mrs. Larsen said.
That’s nice,” Rich said and thought, “What else could I say?”
That girl got pregnant by her brother-in- law,” Mrs. Larsen said.
I know,” Richich said.
Is that what she told you?” Mrs. Larsen said.
Yeah,” Rich said.
Why didn’t you just tell us what you two were talking about?” Mrs. Larsen said.
Rich smiled. “Can you honestly say you would have believed me?”
Mr. Larsen jumped up quickly from his chair. “You little smart Alec, do you want me to finish what I started?”
Sit down!” Mrs. Larsen ordered.
Rich calmly finished filling his plate and went into the living room. He watched the news on TV and ate his supper. He was finished eating by the time Mrs. Larsen, Mr. Larsen, and Uncle Bob came into the living room. He got up and took his plate to the kitchen.
Rich started upstairs.
Where ya goin’?” Mr. Larsen called out.
Up stairs,” Rich said. “I got some homework.”
As Rich climbed the steps he was certain from now on they would be suspicious of every move. “That is no way to live,” he thought.
Rich sat at his desk and did homework, something seldom done. He reread some of his assignments and read the Bible from Elbert,
At eleven he turned off the light on his desk.

He laid quietly. “Dear God, I just want peace. My entire life seems to be a perpetual infernal turmoil. Give me peace.”