Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friday the 13th

I think it was during my first grade year (1983-84) that other kids at the bus stop, slightly older kids whose knowledge of the world, potentially infinite in its scope, was demarcated from my own by the special kind of opacity wrought by exclusion from a sphere of coolness and not knowing what is being talked about but ramifying the words internally in flourishes of imagination and deeply wanting to know what other kids did after school, especially on warm evenings when they might be outside roaming the neighborhood till eight, walking from backyard to backyard, if their parents were so permissive, I think it was during this time that these other kids, who exposed me to a range of vocabulary that seems in retrospect pretty low class and reflective of social realities I was fortunate not to know except in imagination, would talk excitedly about Friday the 13th, a night-stalking murderer who was not just the subject of a motion picture but an actual marauder of the suburbs who had been seen haunting our neighborhood at night, looking through rear windows at girls on the phone or in the tub, skulking by in profile with a strange, curved knife, wearing a mask whose shape, a pattern of circular holes in plastic or bone, I knew from a magazine or a framed and bulbed poster in a movie theater lobby where I had seen an image of the mask backlit so that shafts of light would beam through the holes, illuminating swirling columns of dust particles as a projector would, and I would lay in bed and imagine the shock of seeing that face at my bedroom window and think, I hope Friday the 13th isn't out there.


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