He listens to music that men like him are supposed to disdain, from those younger, with innocence despite their worldly pretense, and it staves off the anger for some time, and the fear.
Image: The Outhouse (Summer 1960)
There is an outhouse just at the back of the upper backyard a few yards away from the concrete cap over the septic tank that serviced the apartments at 450 S. Hanover. The outhouse is framed up about four feet on a side with a peaked roof shingled with black asbestos tabbed shingles and plain boards running vertically for sides. These had been painted white though now the paint was failing and peels away here and there in narrow, hard curls. The door swings outwards and it has a small crescent moon cut through it about eye level for a grown man or woman. When the door is shut, it can be locked with a hook and eye from the inside. There is a smooth pine wooden bench inside at the back with a single hole on which a toilet seat would have been fastened. Unlike the neighbors’ outhouses just across the driveway, ours no longer was used and the seat had been removed and the length of the bench covered by narrow boards tacked down to make a shelf.
Sometimes we placed brown bottles of newly made root beer in the outhouse to brew for the six weeks it took to turn into a yeasty soda. I used it from time to time as a fort I would bar from imagined foes, a redoubt for my last stand. Mostly, though, it was a place I would sit for hours, with a book or a stack of comics, with the door hook latched, alone and safe, until I was called.