The Pale King The Pale KingDavid Foster Wallace; Little, Brown 2011WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 
‘My shit story. Hide-and-seek, gang of neighbourhood kids, twilight. I’m running for home base and trip over decorative logs somebody bordered his driveway with and went flying and put my hands out to like shield the impact and what do you suppose happens.’


‘Yes. Both hands first into a big new yellow steamer. Which I can still almost smell.’

‘Jesus not even on the shoes but the hands. The personal skin.’

‘You bet. I have maybe a dozen vivid, seared-in memories of early childhood, this is one of them. The feeling, the color, the dispersal, the rising smell. I howled, screamed, and everyone of course comes running, and as soon as they see it they’re screaming and 180ing and running from me, and I’m both crying and roaring like some kind of horrible shit-monster and chasing after them, horrified and repulsed but also somehow underneath it all glorious in my role as monster, with the ability to make them all scream in terror and run for home where everbody’s porch lights are just starting to come on and the little fake lamps by their driveways are on automatic timers; it’s that time of day.’

‘The hands being especially close to your idea of your identity of who you are, adding to the horror. Exceeded only by the face in terms of closeness, maybe.’

‘There was no dog shit on my face. I held my arms out straight in front of me in order to like hold my hands as far out away from me as was humanly possible.’

‘That only added to the monster-aspect. Monsters almost always hold their arms out straight in front of them as they chase you. I would have run like hell.’

‘They did. I remember on one hand I was both screaming in horror just like they were and on the other I was roaring with monstrousness as I’d chase first one and then sort of peel off to chase somebody else. There were cicadas in the trees and they were all screaming in rhythm and somebody’s radio was on through an open window. I remember the smell coming off my hands and how they didn’t look like my hands anymore at all and feeling like how was I going to open the door wihtout getting shit on it or even if I rang the bell. There’d be shit on my parents’ doorbell.’

‘What’d you do?’

‘Jesus, what’d your mom do? Did she scream? Did you stand outside moaning and kicking the door and trying to ring the bell with your elbow?’

‘Our house had a knocker. I would have been screwed.’

‘I bet some of the other kids were in their houses cracking the curtains to look out the front window at you like staggering around moaning from house to house with your hands out straight like Frankenstein.’

‘It’s not like a shoe which you can just take off.’

‘I’ve got a story about shit, but it’s not pretty.’

‘I don’t remember. The memory ends with the shit and my hands and trying to chase everybody, which is odd, because up to then the memory is extraordinarily clear. Then it just stops and I don’t know what happened.’