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Now I know I said I wasnt in the mood to tell you all that happened after I took Phoebe
out to the zoo and I know youre all just dying to know how I ended up here so Ill put you out of
your misery and tell you, just for the hell of it. I can be a goddam hypocrite sometimes.
All right, so Phoebe and I walked home from the zoo. We had a helluva time but things
quickly settled down. I was shaking like a madman, but it wasnt only because of the cold. I was
nervous as hell, going home to my parents and all. Phoebe could tell, she knew I was. She kept
her mouth shut and occasionally looked up at me with her comforting eyes, gently squeezing my
hand. That just about killed me. The simple things that Phoebe always does. I know it doesnt
seem like much but it sure makes you feel a heck of a lot better. Boy was I glad to have a kid
sister like her.
We reached the apartment building. Phoebe and I stood out in the cold for a while. We
didnt really know what else to do. I didnt feel like going through the trouble of asking the
stupid elevator boy to take me to the fourteenth floor. I damn near went mad the last time I asked
for his help so I drew Phoebe near and told her the plan. All right Phoebs, heres what were
gonna do. Ya see that damn elevator boy over there?
Yes. What about him?
Hes a goddam pain in the ass, thats what. Were gonna have to move quickly. I dont
wanna hafta get in a big mess with him. I sorta told him I had a broken leg and all.
Oh boy, all right Holden.
I grabbed her hand and we dashed across the lobby, past the sonuvabitch, and up the
stairs. It took about 50 years to get up those goddam stairs but eventually, we reached the
fourteenth floor, my parents apartment.
I stood there for a while. Just gazing at the door. And right when I built up enough
courage to knock, Phoebe tugged on my shoulder and pulled me close.
Holden, are you sure youre ready for this? she said.
I dont know. I really didnt. I could already imagine how my folks would react after I
told them about the whole deal at Pencey. Good ole Phoebe grabbed my hand and I took the
deepest breath.
All right, lets just get this over with, I sighed. Taking out the door key from my
pocket, I slowly opened the damn door.
Immediately, I heard my mothers voice. Holden? Oh Bob, look! Its Holden! She was
ecstatic like any mother would be, seeing her son for the first time in months. My dad dragged
himself across the room and put his hand on my shoulder.
Son, youre home so soon.
Holden dear, now arent you supposed be coming home tomorrow? Howd you get out
so early?
My eyes were glued to the floor. I didnt want to look at them and I couldnt come up
with anything to say. I already knew how disappointed theyd be, finding out that their son got
kicked out of Pencey, so I just stood there by the door with my eyes on the ground and Phoebe
by my side, not saying a word. Im a damn coward sometimes.
For Chrissake Holden, answer your mother!
We all stood there for a while, not saying anything. My parents eyes were beaming on
Phoebe and me as we attempted to shield ourselves from their glare. Then, Phoebe broke the
silence.
Holden got kicked out, she said.
Now anyone would get fisty at their sister for ratting them out but I was just damn happy
because I did have to break it to them.
I looked up and saw my fathers face. I damn near thought he was going to smack my
head in but he relaxed his fist and sent me to my room instead. He was too tired to deal with me,
I could tell.
The first thing I did when I got to my room was fall in bed. I didnt even have the energy
to turn on the goddam lights or change into comfortable clothes. I felt real lousy, to tell you the
truth. I tried to sleep, I really tried. I was tired and all, but I just couldnt fall asleep so I decided I
might as well give old Jane a buzz. She should be home for vacation by now.
The phone rang and I waited as patiently as I could. Then after 55 years, I figured Jane
wouldnt answer so I put down the phone and just before I hung up, I heard a sound on the other
line so I held it back up to my ear.
Hello? It was Jane.
This was it. After so many attempts, Jane finally answered. I knew exactly what I was
going to say, I always do. I was going to ask her how she was and if she remembered me, little
things like that. I was going to be suave as hell and if the opportunity arose, Id ask her to meet
me for drinks but there were so many thoughts going through my mind, I couldnt decide what to
say.
Scuse me, is anyone there? said old Jane. God, it was great to hear her voice. Before I
could even reply, I heard an incredibly obnoxious laugh in the background. It was Stradlater.
You can never forget a laugh like that. Not even if you tried real hard. I heard another familiar
laugh. I could tell that was Janes mother. Her laugh was a lot like Janes but a little raspier. I
thought about it for a second. Did Jane really bring that moron home to meet her mother? They
couldnt be going steady, thats impossible. Jesus H. Christ.
What? Holden? Is that you? My heart stopped for a second and I quickly got off the
phone. My chances with Jane were history. From here on out, shed know me as the creep who
phoned her and hung up.
Just the thought of Jane and Stradlater together drove me crazy. Were they really going
steady? Why Stradlater? How could Jane go steady with a brainless sonuvabitch like Stradlater?
I didnt even see this coming. Stradlater is nothing like Jane. Janes too good for him, she should
know that. Stradlater is just another jerk who expects people to praise him because of his good
looks and all. I hated the fact that I was really beginning to sound like Ackley but its true. Jane
deserves a helluva lot better than that conceited sonuvabitch.
Thinking of the two at Janes house drinking tea with her mother drove me stark staring
mad. I could just picture Stradlater talking about his hobbies and pastimes, just sweeping Jane
and her mother off their feet. Stradlater has this way with women and whats worse is, he knows
it. I wished I was back at Pencey just so I could throw a punch at his smug face. I really did.
I rubbed my tired eyes and yawned but resisted the urge to sleep. Then I thought of Jane
for a moment. I thought of how cute she looked when she got all excited and how her mouth
would go in about fifty directions, her lips. It kills me every time I think of her. I thought about
her for a while. She really deserves better; better than Stradlater and even better than me. I closed
my eyes surrendering myself into an instant slumber.
All of a sudden, I wake up with a layer of sweat on my body. My shirt was all soaked and
I could feel imprints on my arms from the wrinkles of my goddam leather jacket. It was
completely dark so I turned on the little lamp on my bedside, took off my jacket, and put on
shorts. I still felt lousy. Even though I slept for barely two hours, I just couldnt go back to sleep.
I figured I wouldnt be sleeping anytime soon so I got out of my bed and put back on my pants
and jacket. I was really in the mood for Scotch and sodas but when am I not?
It was about two oclock and the Wicker Bar was open all night so I decided Id sneak
out of the house and return before anyone noticed. I reached the bar and saw barely twenty
people lounging around. That was interesting. A ridiculous amount of phonies usually come
down to the bar to drown themselves in liquor and idolize the two French babes, Tina and Janine
around this time. Even the flits werent around and they practically lived there. I sat down at the
bar and the snobby bartender, the one that hardly talked to you unless you were a hot shot,
walked to me. Looking down at the table I said, Id like a Scotch and soda. Dont mix it. I
knew hed be the typical, tough bartender but I might as well give it a try.
The damn bartender just stood there for a while, not saying a word. I looked up at him.
Then his mouth opened, Arent you a little too young to be
To be drinking? I raised an eyebrow. Ive been told this a million times and I was damn
ready to order a Coke.
Oh, its all right boy. Ill let this one slide. he shrugged. My jaw was dropped.
How did this louse turn into Mr. Sunshine? Out of all the bartenders Ive experienced,
hes phoniest and Ive seen a lot of phony bartenders. You really didnt have to do that. Arent
you gonna get fired anyway? Serving alcohol to a minor and all?
Its all right, kid. Dont worry about it. He hands me the drinks and walks away.
I look down at my scotch, confused. Why did he just do that? Of all bartenders? I guess
hes not so bad after all.
I dont remember much after that; just bits and pieces, really. I remember finishing the
Scotch and soda and asking for another and another and another until I passed out on the table. I
remember getting asked to leave, although, I dont remember exactly why. Drunk as a madman, I
dragged myself out the Wicker Bar and sat on the freezing ledge. I really didnt feel like going
home. I remember I saw these two kids; an older boy and a younger, just walking down the
street. They looked like brothers and reminded me of the kids from the museum. They were
happy. Next thing I knew, I was lying on the concrete, balling my eyes out. I missed Allie.
I woke up at around ten o clock in the morning, lying in my own bed. I prayed to God it
was all a dream. My mother walked into my room.
Oh Holden, youre awake! she said.
I heard thumps from down the hall and Phoebe ran into my room cute as hell. Ooh
youre gonna be in big trouble. Phoebe was a real kid sometimes.
Wheres dad? I turned to my mother.
Hes working. She looked worried for a moment. Then she asked Phoebe to go outside
and closed the door. We found you outside the apartment, she said, looking at me with
concern. You smelled like whiskey.
I was confused. How did I get to the apartment? Not that it really mattered at the moment
but I didnt say a word. I couldnt. I rolled over facing away from her.
Holden, look at me, she said sternly. Your father and I. Were terribly worried about
you. Please talk to us. We know youre not well and none of us are entirely but for Chrissake
Holden, were all doing our best to pull it together.
I heard a quiver in her voice and that killed me. I shut my eyes.
She continued, Ever since Allie
No. Not Allie. My eyes began to water and my mother started to cry. She sat down on my
bed, weeping and I turned to her. All you could really hear were sniffles from my mother and
me. I head the door knob turn. It was Phoebe. She walked over to my mother and wrapped her
arms around her, putting her head on her shoulder. Its been years since I last saw my mother and
Phoebe so heartbroken. I put my arms around them both and we all cried.
My mother gave us a squeeze and rubbed her eyes. She turned to me and said, Holden,
your father and I talked. We really want you to get help.
I wasnt exactly crazy about the idea, being surrounded by a whole bunch of crazies; and
phonies who think theyre helping and all but I knew there was something the matter with me so
I agreed.
Its been four months now and Im really starting to think Im okay. I know Im not
entirely well but thats all right. Ive grown to like it here. Ive watched those around me go from
their ups and downs, come and go. I find it interesting.
There are times when I just sit by the window and think. I dont get to see very many
people I know often so thats what Ive resorted to. I think of Phoebe and wonder what shes up
to. Theres not a day when I dont miss Old Pheobs. I catch myself missing a lot of people lately.
Sometimes I even think I see Jane in the lobby, twirling her hair, falling into a good book. Then I
face reality and remember how I ruined my chances by phoning her and hanging up.
I always think of Allie and everything I do just triggers a memory with him. I miss him a
whole helluva lot. Youre probably thinking Im extremely depressed and sentimental now but I
hate to tell you the truth but, Im still the sixteen year-old, phony-hating Holden Caulfield I told
you about. Im just less phony-hating now.