I Bought A Little City – Donald Barthelme

But I didn’t have any ideas about new housing, except that it shouldn’t be too imaginative. So I got to talking to one of these people, one of the ones we had moved out, guy by the name of Bill Caulfield who worked in a wholesale-tobacco place down on Mechanic Street.

“So what kind of a place would you like to live in?” I asked him.

“Well,” he said, “not too big.”


“Maybe with a veranda around three sides,” he said, “so we could sit on it and look out. A screened porch, maybe.”

“Whatcha going to look out at?”

“Maybe some trees and, you know, the lawn.”

“So you want some ground around the house.”

“That would be nice, yeah.”

“’Bout how much ground are you thinking of?”

“Well, not too much.”

“You see, the problem is, there’s only x amount of ground and everybody’s going to want to have it to look at and at the same time they don’t want to be staring at the neighbors. Private looking, that’s the thing.”

“Well, yes,” he said. “I’d like it to be kind of private.”

“Well,” I said, “get a pencil and let’s see what we can work out.”

Author: Donald Barthelme

City: Galveston, TX


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