the catcher in the rye [salinger].

"I'm not sure old Phoebe knew what the hell I was talking about.  I mean she's only a little child and all. But she was listening, at least. If somebody at least listens, it's not too bad.'Daddy's going to kill you. He's going to kill you,' she said. I wasn't  listening, though. I was thinking about something else- something crazy. 'You know what I'd like to be?' I said. 'You know what I'd like to be? I mean if I had my goddam choice?' 'What? Stop swearing." 'You know that song "If a body catch a body comin' through the rye"? I'd like - ' 'It's "if a body meet a body coming through the  rye"!' Old Phoebe said. 'It's a poem. By Robert Burns.' 'I know it's a poem by Robert Burns.' She was right though. It is "If a body meet a body coming through the rye." I didn't know it then, though. 'I thought it was "If a body catch a body," ' I said. 'Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around- nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I hae to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff- I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day.I'd just be a catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd like to be. I know it's crazy.' Old Phoebe didn't say anything for a long time. Then, when she said something, al she said was, 'Daddy's going to kill you.' 'I don't give a damn if he does,' I said. I got up from the bed then, because what I wanted to do, I wanted to phone up this guy that was English teacher t Elkton Hills, Mr. Antolini. He lived in New York now. He quit Elkton Hills. He took this job teaching English at NYU. 'I have to make a phone call,' I told Phoebe. 'I'll be right back. Don't go to sleep.' I didn't want her to go to sleep while I was in the living room. I knew she wouldn't, but I said it anyway, just to make sure. While I was walking toward the door, old Phoebe said, 'Holden!' and I turned around. She was sitting way up in bed. She looked so pretty. 'I'm taking belching lessons from this girl, Phyllis Margulies,' she said, 'Listen.' I listened and I heard something, but it wasn't much. 'Good,' I said. Then I went out into the living room and called up this teacher I had, Mr. Antolini."

-JD Salinger, from The Catcher in the Rye

Posted on April 16, 2010 and filed under from friends-.