Here’s Ralph again, a character in TOO QUIET IN BROOKLYN. Ralph’s a talker with an interesting point of view. He climbs walls and hears voices.
The cleats were fine and they helped, and his brother stayed with him the whole time he practiced. After a while, he found his way and made it up the side, almost to the top. “Like lightning,” his brother’s voice said, “but remember find your own way, hit it from the left.” The brick was old and had a lot of grippers, including some steel grippers in the form of stars. Finally he reached the top and hoisted himself over the lip and sat on the ledge. He felt the wind in his ears. His brother was always right. He was a good brother, but he couldn’t remember what he looked like. His sister told him he died in the war, but that was when she’d had too many M&M’S and talked funny.
Ralph turned and could see most of the buildings all around, even across the water. He felt the breeze in his hair and thought of the Y’s of trees. He could see how the road rose and dipped toward the building he was sitting on and how a few blocks away, it rose again. He liked being on the edge of a building and looking out. He was afraid to look down at first, but when he forced himself to look, it was okay.
But he couldn’t remember how to get down, so he closed his eyes to think, but that made him dizzy. He looked out and could see the building where he knew the woman lived and thought of the boss and how he’d told Ralph that he wanted her out of the way and then Ralph could come back and get Charlie. He thought of Charlie and his softness, but that made him dizzy, too. “One job at a time, Ralph,” his brother told him.
Photo: View of the Empire State Building from Dumbo. Credit: ChrisGoldNY (Flickr), Creative Commons.