Bestselling author William Peter Blatty warms our hearts with a funny yet deeply moving nostalgic tale of memory, mystery . . . and miracles.New York, 1941: Joey El Bueno is just a smart-aleck kid, confounding the nuns and bullies at St. Stephen's school on East 28th Street when he first meets Jane Bent, a freckle-faced girl with red pigtails and yellow smiley-face barrettes who seems to know him better than he knows himself. A magical afternoon at the movies, watching Cary Grant in Gunga Din, is the beginning of a puzzling friendship that soon leaves Joey baffled and bewildered.Jane is like nobody he has ever met. She comes and goes at will, nobody else seems to have heard of her, and is it true that she once levitated six feet off the ground at the refreshment counter of the old Superior movie house on Third Avenue? Joey, an avid reader of pulp magazines and comic books, is no stranger to amazing stories, but Jane is a bewitching enigma that keeps him guessing for the rest of his life--until, finally, it all makes sense.Rich with the warmth of a bygone era, Crazy captures both the giddy craziness of youth--and the sublime possibilities of existence. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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November 09, 2010
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Excerpt from Crazy by William Peter Blatty
Where do I begin? The seventh grade at St. Stephen's on East 28th Street in 1941, I suppose, because that's where and when I first met Jane, back before we grew up and she started disappearing and then reappearing in someplace like Tibet or Trucial Oman from where she'd send me picture postcards with tiny scrawled messages in different-colored inks such as, "Thinking of you sometimes in the morning" or "Angkor Wat really smells. Joey, don't ever come here for a vacation," but there'd be only a day between the postmarked dates and sometimes no difference at all between them, and then all of a sudden she'd reappear again looking years younger, which is nothing, I suppose, when compared to that time when supposedly she levitated six feet off the ground when she thought they were running out of Peter Paul Mounds candy bars at the refreshment counter of the old Superior movie house on 30th Street and Third Avenue back when there were el trains rumbling overhead and a nickel got you two or three feature films, plus a Buck Jones Western chapter, four cartoons, bingo and an onstage paddleball contest, when supposedly a theater usher approached her and told her, "Hey, come on, kid, get down, you can't be doing that crazy stuff in here!" and right away she wobbled down to the seedy lobby carpet, gave the usher the arm and yelled, "That's the same kind of crap they gave Tinkerbell!" but then I know you have no interest in any of these matters, so fine, let's by all means move on and go back to the beginning.
Which comes at the end.
It's December 24, 2010, and I'm sitting by a window in a tenth-floor Bellevue Hospital recovery room staring down at a tugboat churning up a foaming white V at its prow in the East River's death-dark suicide waters and looking like it's hugging itself against the cold. "Hi ya, kiddo!" The pudgy and diminutive Nurse Bloor breezily waddles into my room, a hypodermic syringe upraised in her pudgy little staph-infested fingers. She stops by my chair and I look down at her feet and I stare. I've never seen a nurse in stiletto heels. She glances over at something I sculpted a couple of days before and says, "Hey, now, what's that?" and I tell her that it's Father Perrault's wooden leg from Lost Horizon, but she doesn't pursue it, nor does she react to my laptop computer: she has read Archy and Mehitabel and knows that sometimes even a rat can type.
"Okay, a teensy little stick," she says.
I yelp, "Ouch!"
"Oh, come on, now, don't tell me that hurt!"
Well, it didn't, but I want to puncture her starched-white pride and maddening air of self-assurance. She scowls, slaps a Band-Aid on the puncture and leaves. Sometimes growth of the soul needs pain, which is something I have always been on the spot to give.
The pneumatic door closes with a sigh. I turn my glance to my desk and the gift from Bloor that's sitting on top of it, a foot-tall artificial Christmas tree with different-colored Band-Aids hanging from its branches. For a moment I stare at it dully, and then I shift my gaze to the dry and abandoned public pool down on the corner of First Avenue and 23rd where I almost drowned when Paulie Farragher and Jimmy Connelly kept shoving me back into the pool's deep end every time I tried to climb up and out for air and I swore any number of choking, coughing blood oaths that if God let me live I would track them to Brazil or to China or the Yucatan, anyplace at all where I could offer them death without the comfort of the sacraments. Yes. I remember all of that. I do. I remember even though I'm eighty-two years old.