Here, he dreams of having a normal life with Aurora, but her addiction presents major obstacles. This story focuses on the idea of love as something difficult to define. He retraces the final summer they spent together and the sexual experiences they had that the narrator is confused by. Ramon struggles both financially and with the guilt of having left his family behind after he marries an American to obtain citizenship.
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I bang on the front door and Wayne hits the back and I can hear our double drum shaking the windows. Right then I have this feeling that someone is inside, laughing at us. This guy better have a good excuse, Wayne says, lumbering around the newly planted rosebushes. This is bullshit.
He pounds some more on the door, his face jiggling. A couple of times he raps on the windows, tries squinting through the curtains. I take a more philosophical approach; I walk over to the ditch that has been cut next to the road, a drainage pipe half filled with water, and sit down.
Those are your Spotswood, Sayreville and Perth Amboy deliveries. The pool tables go north to the rich suburbs—Livingston, Ridgewood, Bedminster. You should see our customers. Doctors, diplomats, surgeons, presidents of universities, ladies in slacks and silk tops who sport thin watches you could trade in for a car, who wear comfortable leather shoes. I make them pick it all up. I say: Carajo, what if we slip?
Do you know what two hundred pounds of slate could do to a floor? The threat of property damage puts the chop-chop in their step. The best customers leave us alone until the bill has to be signed. Few have offered us more, though a dentist from Ghana once gave us a six-pack of Heineken while we worked.
They never sound too sure. Of course, I say. I take cookies from the kitchen, razors from the bathroom cabinets. Some of these houses have twenty, thirty rooms. On the ride back I figure out how much loot it would take to fill up all that space. If the customer has been good and tipped well, we call it even and leave. If the customer has been an ass—maybe they yelled, maybe they let their kids throw golf balls at us—I ask for the bathroom. Excuse me, I say. I let them show me the way to the bathroom usually I already know and once the door is shut I cram bubble bath drops into my pockets and throw fist-sized wads of toilet paper into the toilet.
I take a dump if I can and leave that for them. I really want to pile her, he tells me. Maybe on one of the Madisons. Man, I say, cutting my eyes towards him. He gets quiet. And what will that do? Why does it have to do anything? The last time his wife nearly tossed his ass out to the dogs. Neither of the women seemed worth it to me. One of them was even younger than Charlene. He slows the truck down. Wayne spends his time skeezing the salesgirls and dusting shelves.
One of those mysteries of the universe. The boss keeps me in the front of the store, away from the pool tables. Wait until you can get something real. Only when he needs my Spanish will he let me help on a sale.
Sometimes I blew it all on her. Nowadays I take the bus home and the cash stays with me. She tells me about the roaches she kills with her water nozzle. Boils the wings right off them. The second time we bring the Gold Crown the heavy curtain next to the door swings up like a Spanish fan. We stared at each other for a second at the most, not enough for me to notice the shape of her ears or if her lips were chapped. Later in the truck, on the way back to the showroom Wayne mutters, This guy is dead.
I mean it. The girlfriend calls sometimes but not often. Dan is his name and the way she says it, so painfully gringo, makes the corners of my eyes narrow. The last time I saw her in person was in Hoboken. Business is outstanding, I said. You betcha. He asked me to help him mow his lawn and while we were dribbling gas into the tank he offered me a job. A real one that you can build on. Utilities, he said, is nothing to be ashamed of.
Later the parents went into the den to watch the Giants lose and she took me into her bathroom. She put on her makeup because we were going to a movie. The Giants started losing real bad. By the time we finished my legs were bloodless, broomsticks inside my rolled-down baggies and as her breathing got smaller and smaller against my neck, she said, I do, I still do. Yes, tables have bolts and staples on the rails but these suckers hold together mostly by gravity and by the precision of their construction.
If you treat a good table right it will outlast you. Believe me. Cathedrals are built like that. These days I can build a table with my eyes closed. Depending on how rushed we are I might build the table alone, let Wayne watch until I need help putting on the slate. Beautiful, is what they say and we always nod, talc on our fingers, nod again, beautiful.
The boss nearly kicked our asses over the Gold Crown. The customer, an asshole named Pruitt, called up crazy, said we were delinquent. Look boss, I said, we knocked like crazy. I mean, we knocked like federal marshals. Like Paul Bunyan. You fuckos, he said. You butthogs.
He tore us for a good two minutes and then dismissed us. Both of us had hangovers. An extra delivery, no overtime.
We hammered on the door for ten minutes but no one answered. I jimmied with the windows and the back door and I could have sworn I heard her behind the patio door. I knocked hard and heard footsteps. We called the boss and told him what was what and the boss called the house but no one answered.
OK, the boss said. Get those card tables done. He wanted us to come late at night but we were booked. Two-month waiting list, the boss reminded him. Pruitt said he was contrite and determined and asked us to come again.
His maid was sure to let us in. What the hell kind of name is Pruitt anyway? Wayne asks me when we swing onto the parkway. Pato name, I say. Anglo or some other bog people. Probably a fucking banker. Just an initial, C. Clarence Pruitt sounds about right. Yeah, Clarence, Wayne yuks. Most of our customers have names like this,court case names: Wooley, Maynard, Gass, Binder, but the people from my town, our names, you see on convicts or coupled together on boxing cards.
We take our time.
It touches on many different areas of modern life that are not specific to Dominican Americans, though you could probably deduce many that are from this piece. However, my interpretation of the story might be a bit of a stretch, as its roots are in Marxism. I think the author was trying to devalue obsession with money and emphasize the rewards of hard work and doing things because you truly enjoy them. From what I gathered, our narrator was unhappy with his life. He continuously buys lottery tickets and steals from customers, both of which assign a negative connotation to money and material possessions.
Drown - Chapter 7 “Edison, New Jersey” Summary & Analysis
I bang on the front door and Wayne hits the back and I can hear our double drum shaking the windows. Right then I have this feeling that someone is inside, laughing at us. This guy better have a good excuse, Wayne says, lumbering around the newly planted rosebushes. This is bullshit. He pounds some more on the door, his face jiggling.
Throughout most of his early childhood, he lived with his mother and grandparents while his father worked in the United States. In December immigrated to Parlin , New Jersey, where he was re-united with his father. There he lived less than a mile from what he has described as "one of the largest landfills in New Jersey". Growing up Diaz struggled greatly with learning the English language. He was exposed to the authors who would motivate him to become a writer: Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros. He worked his way through college by delivering pool tables, washing dishes, pumping gas, and working at Raritan River Steel. I may be a success story as an individual.