Tuesday, March 26, 2024

the last book I ever read (Jernigan: A Novel by David Gates, excerpt two)

from Jernigan: A Novel by David Gates:

It had become clear over the years that Judith shouldn’t drink. But one glass of wine had never been a problem, and it didn’t lead in every case to another glass and another. We were drinking Gallo that day because the only entrepreneurial beer we could think of was Coors and Judith refused to have Coors in the house. And because Ernest and Julio Gallo embodied the immigrant spirit. And because drinking white wine, even Gallo, on the Fourth of July was another fuck-you touch. We were all sitting around the pool in bathing suits—it was an aboveground pool with this redwood deck going around it on three sides—and I suppose I wasn’t watching Judith as closely as I might have because I was talking with this Sandy and thinking about how much better I liked the shape of her breasts than the shape of Judith’s, an awful thing to remember now. Judith also made several trips back and forth to the house: to fetch food, to carry back dirty dishes and leftovers. I should have helped. Not just out of simple decency, but because she was probably sneaking gin in the kitchen every time she went in. The alcohol level they found in her blood argued that she’d had much more than the few glasses of wine we’d seen her drink.

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