Henry Chinaski 15

But there were changes in my life. My father found a job. He passed an examination at the L.A. County Museum and got a job as a guard. My father was good at exams. He loved math and history. He passed the exam and finally had a place to go each morning. There had been three vacancies for guards and he had gotten one of them.

L.A. County General Hospital somehow found out and Miss Ackerman told me one day, “Henry, this is your last treatment. I’m going to miss you.”

“Aw come on,” I said, “stop your kidding. You’re going to miss me like I’m going to miss that electric needle!”

But she was very strange that day. Those big eyes were watery. I heard her blow her nose. I heard one of the nurses ask her, “Why, Janice, what’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing. I’m all right.”

Poor Mrs Ackerman. I was 15 years old and in love with her and I was covered with boils and there was nothing that either of us could do.