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1. Twisted Child, Suicidal Town

My adoptive mother died on Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Day, just five days after her 84th birthday. She quite literally dropped dead of a massive, sudden heart attack in the course of making or answering a phone call. She died in the tidy little well-kept row home in Camden, NJ, where sheíd lived since she and my adoptive father moved in back in 1949.

In 1949, Camden was a great little town for a young couple just getting started. RCA Victor and Campbell Soup had their headquarters there, and the shipyards were still booming, riding high on the largesse of the infant military-industrial complex that beat the Axis. Ringling Brothers landed by rail that year at the old Pavonia Yards on 27th St. in Camden, walking the elephants east out to the old Stiles family property in Delaware Township, where theyíd set up their tent. Camden was the 103rd largest city in America, not big enough to be hectic, but big enough to have a thriving downtown shopping district and no fewer than seven first-run movie theaters, including two authentically opulent studio-sponsored palaces. The Stanley Theatre opened in 1926 at a cost of $1,000,000, one hell of a huge sum of money in those days. The first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden, in 1933. My parents paid $7000 for a two-story, two-bedroom row home with a basement, garage, yard and lawn on a quiet tree-lined street in East Camden: 365 Garden Ave.

They planted rosebushes in the yard and on the lawn. My father was a chemical engineer at the Socony Mobil refinery in Glassboro, a few miles south. The flying red horseĖthat was their logo then. My mother was a housewife. Itís hard for me to imagine, but they must have been happy together for the first few years. Iíve seen photographs of them, an attractive couple in their early 30s standing proudly in front of their new home, frolicking in a pool somewhere, always smiling, looking hopeful and relaxed. I never saw any of that except in these old black-and-white pictures.

I was born on Dec. 1, 1953, to a weird little girl from Bridgeton named Helene who was 15 years old. Her mother was a certified schoolteacher who for some reason was working as a bus dispatcher at the time. Her mother has been described to me as "abrasive and domineering." Helene played the piano and had an interest in mathematics. She had a tendency to break out in hives when she got nervous, which was fairly often by most accounts. She had been raped, or so she said. Spring fever, perhaps. The adoption agencyís psychiatrist declared her "borderline psychotic," but psychiatry is at best an inexact science, kind of like voodoo or dowsing. They bury their mistakes, like the rest of the medical profession.

Albert and Elizabeth Cabal took me into their Camden home in March, 1954. At that time the population of Camden stood at about 125,000, of which about 2.5 percent was classified as "low-income." Eighty-three percent of the housing was judged to be in sound condition. It was around this time that the city began to register its disgust with the corruption swirling around Mayor George Brunner, a discreetly crooked thug whoíd taken office in 1935. The voters decided to have school board members elected rather than appointed by the mayor. This was the beginning of the end of Brunnerís well-constructed political machine. Blacks began moving into North Camden, centering around Pyne Point. The first of the shipyards closed: the Quigley Shipyard, at Point and Erie Sts. Quigley had opened in 1909.

By the time James Dean collided with Donald Turnipseed on Grapevine Rd., Libby and Alís happy little home had begun to sink into a downward spiral of acrimony and domestic rancor. We all make mistakes. My earliest memories are filled with screaming violence and swift moves into the night. I have never been afraid of the dark. Darkness is shelter. My father lit out for Woodbury and my mother and I went to live with her parents in the Cramer Hill section of town while the lawyers went to work on sorting out who got what, including me. That year a fellow named Eugene Mori sold the tract of land in Delaware Township known as the Stiles Estate to the Rouse Corp., for the development of a new type of shopping center. Strawbridge & Clothier was the first retail establishment to throw into the deal. The next year, 1956, Quaker Shipyard & Machine Co. at 5th and Byron Sts. closed its gates for the last time, after 89 years.

In 1959, Alfred R. Pierce, known locally as "the fighting redhead," trounced Brunner in the elections and took office promising to dismantle the 24-year-old system of graft and corruption that had been very quietly siphoning away the cityís lifeblood. The number of families in Camden listed as low-income had jumped to 18.4 percent. The "sound housing" figure had dropped to 79.2 percent, and total property-tax revenue had dropped by nearly half a million dollars in the years between 1950 and 1960. The trickle of people of color into North Camden became a stream. Fearing that the presence of a single Negro on the block heralded a decline in property values, middle-class whites began the exodus outward, into Delaware Township.

That year, 1959, I tried to run away from home for the first time, pedaling away on my bicycle. I was six. The handlebars were decorated with heads stolen from dolls that neighbor girls left lying around on their lawns. I ripped the heads off and tied them to my bike by their hair. I had my first encounter with a shrink. I had set some fires and stolen peopleís mail. I was looking for identification papers. My mother had a job with a market research outfit in Philadelphia. My only friend was a great big gentle retarded kid who lived next door and called me "Booga-Booga" because I enjoyed scaring people so much. I hid in my room a lot, reading Edgar Allan Poe, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and whatever horror fiction I could sneak up there. I was obsessed with monsters. I snuck out of the house at night, wandering down to the woods near the river. I began to dabble in witchcraft.

The Cuban missile crisis of 1961 found my mother and me back on Garden Ave. We watched a lot of television. I loved Sally Starr and her afternoon Three Stooges presentation. The court had decided that Iíd see my dad on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other weekend. I was stuck with the burden of deciding the holidays, and we spent a couple of weeks in Wildwood every summer. There were black people in Wildwood. That didnít bother my dad, and it didnít bother me. I couldnít figure the race thing out. They seemed okay to me; charming, even. I loved Amos íní Andy. I loved everything about them. Nat King Cole had the sweetest voice in the world. They were very polite, but funky. They understood irony. My momís family vacationed in Ocean City, a quieter town, fewer rides on the boardwalk, no bars, no blacks. It felt safer to me, but less exciting.

The missiles of October never flew, but it was damn close. Some folks in Camden even built fallout shelters. I used to sneak away during the "duck and cover" air-raid drills at school and piss on the radiators. Thereís a large vacant lot behind the row of houses on Garden Ave., and Iíd replaced my Cramer Hill penchant for setting fires with a deadly serious fixation on digging incredibly complex holes and tunnels, enlisting the local youth in these projects and getting them to acquire a wide range of lumber products for the purpose of shoring up my tunnels. I shifted my reading interests from monsters to espionage. I began studying the Korean War. The psychiatrists examining me said I had a "criminal mind" and suggested to my mother that she either ship me off to a military school or engage me with some form of art. My dad favored military school for the discipline. My mother opted for art. I wound up pursuing a career as a child actor, figuring to become a spy. I already had the sociopath thing pretty much down. I wrote to the CIA looking for work. They sent me a nice letter telling me to get in touch after college.

Meanwhile, out in Delaware Township, developer James Rouse of Columbia, MD, opened the eighth of his HASS constructions, the very first one to be built east of the Mississippi. HASS was Rouseís term. It stands for Heated and Air-conditioned Shopping Street. We call them malls these days. Rouse named his Cherry Hill Mall after Eugene Moriís Cherry Hill Inn, a swank mob joint located across Rte. 38 from the Stiles property. The Cherry Hill Mall opened with 60 retail outlets and parking for 6000 cars on Oct. 11, 1961. It was the beginning of the end of Camden. Shortly after it opened, Delaware Township became Cherry Hill.

In 1963, the John H. Mathis Co. closed the shipyard theyíd operated for 108 years. In 1964, the Esterbrook Pen Co. lit out for Cherry Hill, taking 400 jobs and 106 years of history with it. One by one they left, lumbering out of Camden like the Ringling elephants did on that sunny, hopeful day in 1949: Universal Rundle, Warren Webster, U.S. Gasket, Camden Forge, Iowa Soap, Acme Staple, Boscul Coffee and Consolidated Cigar. RCA was laying off workers in their Camden facility continuously as they expanded their new facilities in Cherry Hill and Moorestown. You canít tell the ship is sinking if all the rats stay on board.

Alfred Pierce turned out to be just as bad as Brunner, if not worse. He quickly lost the support of the coalition that got him elected, including the civil rights leaders who wound up marching on City Hall to protest discrimination in housing and schooling. Pierce opened the cityís coffers to a string of rapacious developers with grand schemes that never came to fruition. They proposed such things as a luxury motel on a 40-acre tract north of the Admiral Wilson Blvd., a "City Within A City" project spearheaded by Philadelphia con artist Jerry Wolman, a 52-acre shopping center, a $1,000,000 marina with 1600-foot frontage, even an airport. None of that ever happened. What did happen was that the state health department called Camden "the place with the worst air pollution problem in the state." Brooklyn developer Mechel Rabinowicz snagged a contract and built a new "Commerce Building" in 1965 at a cost of $1,100,000. The building promptly went bankrupt. The Northgate apartments were built on land just north of the toll plazas of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, a little too close to Darktown for the comfort of its intended residents. The owners had enough trouble making the mortgage payments that the FHA intervened.

My mother and I paid no attention to any of these developments. Iíd become a journeyman child actor and by 1965 was sufficiently busy at it that we moved to New York City, where I managed to support her in the style to which she would have liked to have become accustomed. I was having the time of my life, working commercials, summer stock, Off-Broadway and eventually Broadway. She had rather extravagant tastes in housing during our time together in the Big Apple. Our first residence was in the Oliver Cromwell on 72nd St., across from the Dakota. She got to complaining about the noise there after a while, and we moved over to the Esplanade at 74th and West End. I didnít care where we lived, as long as we stayed in New York. All of my nastier dreams of monsters and warfare dissolved in the bright lights of the life I was living. I fell in love with this city. I think New York was the first thing I ever loved absolutely and unconditionally.

Adolescence was the traditional shakeout phase for kid actors in those days, and my agent suggested that we relocate to L.A. to keep on track. She didnít want to go. She didnít want to be that far from her family, and she certainly didnít want to let my dad off the hook in their ongoing legal imbroglio. We moved back to Camden in late summer, 1967. I started as a freshman at Woodrow Wilson High School that fall. To say I had trouble fitting in is an understatement. If I hadnít had the ideology to match my peace amulets and love beads, Woodrow Wilson would have preceded Columbine by 32 years. The last of the shipyards closed: New York Shipbuilding Corp. laid off its last 1500 employees and closed its gates. NY Ship had been founded by Henry Morse in 1899. At its peak, during WWII, it employed 35,000 people.

Between 1945 and 1968, nearly 39,000 jobs had been lost in Camdenís shipbuilding industry alone. By 1968, "white flight" was a real issue. That was the year the cityís population tipped in at 50 percent nonwhite. That was also the year I started getting high, and began to drift away from my mother, her family and Camden. I ran away a couple of times, and after I got out of high school in í71 I just left. 1971 was the year the Puerto Ricans rioted, torching 40 homes and a large number of the few remaining downtown businesses. By then the town was nearly 75 percent black and Hispanic.

I stayed in touch with my mother as I drifted to Idaho and California and eventually back to New York. I visited periodically, and each time I came it looked worse. In 1990, the Peace Corps took to sending volunteers to Camden to train for service in the Third World. The white population dwindled down to less than five percent.

2. The War Zone & A Drug-Trade Buddy

I despise talk shows and the talk show mentality. During my last stint with the circus, I spent a fair amount of time in Boston trying to train a pit bull hybrid named Kaiser to kill Jerry Springer, even going so far as to promise him a lifetime of steaks and a human woman in exchange for this service. I figured to lure Springer onto the lot with the promise of revelations of serious behind-the-scenes depravity at the circus and then set Kaiser loose on the porky scumbag. So I wonít get into the specifics of what led to the 10-year estrangement between my mother and me during the period 1988-í98. I have referred to her marriage to my father and their subsequent divorce as the Dr. Zhivago of hate affairs. He moved on, remarried, mellowed out. She remained alone. Wilhelm Reich said that love and work are the wellsprings of life. She had neither. Part of her divorce settlement consisted of an arrangement whereby if the house was sold, she and my father would split the take. Thatís why she stayed in Camden, across the street from a crack house, the only white woman in the neighborhood. Itís called spite, and it will eat you alive if you succumb to it.

Victim culture consists of blame and justification: blaming your parents, your spouse, another race or the government gets you off the hook for your own failures and transgressions. Nobody knows whether they can raise a child until they try. People who blame their parents for their own dissatisfaction are just plain stupid and usually wind up addicted to therapy or some other nonsense.

I ultimately just walked away and reinvented myself. Thatís not to say it was easy, but itís certainly easier than walking around with a big ugly clot of bitterness and regret lodged in the brain pan. Iím still nasty. Iím no damn blissninny. Iím a New Yorker, like Rudy Giuliani or Howard Stern, maybe Ruth Gordon on a bad day. After a time, I got comfortable enough in my own skin to reopen contact with my mother. In the fall of 1998, I visited Camden for the first time in 10 years.

It looked like a war zone, like Groszny or something: collapsed and boarded-up houses, parched and ruined lawns, pit bulls, open drug sales and liquor stores barricaded behind steel gates and bulletproof glass. There is no neighborhood in New York City to compare with this. East New York looks like East Hampton by comparison. Carjacking originated in Camden: a pack of young hoodlums hang out, some unlucky person comes by in a car, two little boys straggle out in front of the car looking wide-eyed and innocent, the car stops and the whole pack descends on the vehicle, smashing the windows and peeling the occupant out like a chunk of lobster meat. The cops warn white people not to stop at red lights after dark.

Naturally, I was worried about my motherís safety, but there was no getting her out of there, and I certainly wasnít going to live there. She had a couple of good neighbors who looked in on her, and the block she lived on was mainly working families. Eighty-two percent of Camdenís population is on welfare. During my visits, I acquainted myself with the politics of present-day Camden in a casual way, reading the local papers and occasionally touching base with old drug contacts of mine, some of whom had fled to the suburbs, some of whom had actually drifted into respectable jobs.

It seems that from the late 80s to the present day, Camden has been governed top to bottom by a vicious coalition engaged in the cocaine and heroin trade. A Puerto Rican/Dominican/black alliance known as "The Organization" has been running the town. A suppurating sack of shit known as Jose Luis "J.R." Rivera handled the finances and is reported to have bragged openly about bankrolling the 1997 campaign of Mayor Milton Milan, the cityís first Latino mayor. Milan has never managed to shake the stench of death that attached itself to him as a result of an unsolved drug-related murder in 1988. He was questioned as a suspect, but never charged. Riveraís big mouth, incompetence and insufferable arrogance landed him in the slammer, where he and his minions are rolling over on the Mayor and the police, putting out like crack whores for a break in sentencing.

I awoke on Tuesday, Jan. 18, to a message on my answering machine from my cousin Bernice to the effect that Iíd "better give a call." I knew immediately what it meant. I poured a double shot of Wild Turkey, broke a raw organic egg into it and called it breakfast. I made the call.

On Wednesday I headed down to Camden in a rented Ford Escort. I spent the ride down there listening to a cassette of rants by Henry Rollins and a Johnny Cash tape Iíve been getting into lately. There was no way I was going to stay alone in that little haunted house in Camden. Hell, I wouldnít stay in any house in Camden unless I was very well armed. I got off the turnpike at Exit 4 and cruised west until I got to Camden Catholic High School, at Cuthbert Blvd. and Rte. 38. Camden Catholic was where they sent me after I got kicked out of Woodrow Wilson for various subversive activities including, but by no means limited to, my involvement with an underground newspaper and stealing a fire extinguisher for self-defense purposes. It took me another year to get kicked out of Camden Catholic for attending a pot party in the Girlsí Room, but I had fond memories of the place.

I took a room in the EconoLodge across Rte. 38. Iím not real picky about lodging when Iím on the road. I spent 11 years in the circus industry sleeping in trucks and cars and such, so Motel 6 is quite satisfactory to me. This EconoLodge was pretty bad. The first room they gave me was drafty and cold, and half the lights didnít work. I could deal with that, but I like to keep CNN on as wallpaper; it makes me feel connected to people. The damn tv was dead. I called the front desk and got another room, one with heat, light and a working tv. I let them know that I found the room acceptable and that I would not require maid service. I donít like strangers in my room. I pulled my bags out of the trunk, set up my laptop and took off to drive around a little and get some beer. I picked up two four-packs of Guinness in those fancy exploding cans they pack it in now and went cruising. I was feeling a little phobic about actually entering Camden itself, so I stuck to the suburbs.

Camden Catholic High School is actually located in Cherry Hill. It used to be in Camden, a long time ago. The church moved it out just before the shifting demographics dealt the final blow to my hometown. For some reason they kept the name; a touch of Roman Catholic perversity, perhaps. The teaching staff when I was there consisted of Jesuit priests, nuns from the Sisters of Mercy and a scattering of lay teachers. At Woodrow Wilson I was a freak and an outcast, but by 1969, when I entered CCHS, the culture of LSD and day-glo monsters like Hendrix and Syd Barrett was beginning to consume the suburbs, and I suddenly found myself very popular with my peers. I was even popular with certain elements of the priests and nuns. The conflict between my commitment to nonviolence and activism and my flagrant advocacy of the use of hallucinogenic drugs and speed must have posed an interesting challenge for them. The fact that I was an open Satanist could only have sweetened the mix.

Around midnight I started feeling a little maudlin about my mother, head swimming with the old neurotic "should have, could have" loops. Iím of the opinion that whenever the brain starts a train of thought with the phrase "I should have" it should be soundly whacked with a golf club or the rough equivalent thereof. I steered into the parking lot at Camden Catholic, laid a couple of donuts with the Ford so that I could smell some burning rubber and headed over to the motel to drink myself to sleep.

I was awakened at 10 a.m. the next morning by keening female voices arguing incomprehensibly about something. I peeked out through the curtains and sighted a huge black woman, built like the Venus of Willendorf, lumbering along in the snow outside with a cleaning cart. It was the maid. Quite a bit of snow had fallen while I slept. I felt like a low-budget Jack Torrance. I cracked open a Guinness and considered the business of the day.

Thankfully, my cousin was seeing to the details of my motherís funeral arrangements. The old woman hadnít left a will, but she did leave a letter detailing her wishes with regard to the disposal of her remains. She wanted the whole nine yards, the full-blown American death spectacle, including the dreaded viewing. I would have needed serious drugs to deal with death industry professionals, and Iíve been trying to be more reasonable about my lifestyle these days, so I was mighty grateful for Berniceís assistance.

The Philadelphia Inquirer was dishing the dirt regarding the unfolding dope scandal in Camden. I read over the morning paper as I drank my breakfast. I needed more details on this. I decided to contact the Flash, an old associate of mine from my wild years who used to live in East Camden. Heís semiretired from the informal pharmaceuticals trade and currently derives most of his income from gunsmithing and motorcycle repair. He lives in a modest, secluded house out past the turnpike. We arranged to meet at Steak 38, a steak joint located in the EconoLodge where I was staying.

Walking into Steak 38 is like walking into an episode of The Sopranos. The decor is what I call Understated South Jersey Mob Glitz, skirting the edges of tacky without ever quite arriving there; borderline tacky, if you will. Itís actually a decent-looking place, on the inside, in a very suburban kind of way. I strolled over there at about 8 p.m. and ordered a white Russian at the bar. A bunch of rather obvious wiseguys were having a heated discussion about astronomy. They were jabbering at each other in classic Mean Streets dialect about distances. The clear alpha male, a rotund and well-dressed fellow with a swarthy complexion, Roman nose and, I shit you not, a pinkie ring, began bellowing, "How many light-years away is da sun?" He kept at this despite the chorus of "I dunno" emanating from his crew like "amen" in a gospel choir. Finally, I leaned over and said, "The light from the sun takes about eight minutes or so to get here, roughly the time it takes to smoke a cigarette. Itís about 93,000,000 miles away."

The Boss thanked me profusely, bought me another drink and asked me how far the moon was. I said, "I forget. I know it takes about as long to get there as it does to get to California by car."

Just then the Flash arrived, and the waiter escorted us to a nicely isolated table. The Flash offered his condolences on my mother, we caught up with each other on recent events in our lives and got down to the business of Camden after the waiter delivered our entrees. Weíd both ordered the special, a magnificent filet mignon with portobello mushrooms and fresh crabmeat. The Flash proceeded to deliver a brief history of the dope trade in Camden.

"You know, of course, that when Keith Richards got busted for smack in Toronto, he came to Camden to lay low?"

"Iíd heard that," I replied. "But why?"

"Supply, discretion. Also the fact that there were still a fair number of white guys in Camden in those days, and a lot of them looked just like him. Dressed down, he didnít really stand out, and the splibs didnít know him at all."

Splib is Camden slang. Itís likely the nastiest word for blacks used by whites anywhere. Ask the Flash what it means, and he tells you itís "the sound their heads make when ya hit íem with a baseball bat."

"Anyway," he went on, "shit went downhill fast when the last of the honkies pulled out. See, the smack trade was here all along, very stable, a wide range of interested parties of all ethnic persuasions, even the Jews. That kept it stable. Camden was the central distribution point for all the smack from Boston to DC from Prohibition into the 80s.

"When the blow started flooding in from Nicaragua in í85," the Flash continued, "the shit really hit the fan around here. The Sicilians backed out right away. Theyíre too busy with Atlantic City to be fuckiní around with the moulis and the spics in Camden. The Jews went with them. The Irish hung on with the police department, like they always do, but even they gave up when the Crack Wars hit. The crack thing was like an affirmative action program for the trade, it all went to the spics and the splibs. Then it settled down. Now itís gonna start up all over again over whoís gonna grab Riveraís trade, just watch."

"Where does Milan figure in this?" I asked.

"Riveraís punk, heís going down. Itís all coming out in the papers. Read the Inquirer. Heís Riveraís boy. Sure, itís all Ďallegedí this and Ďallegedí that, but heís going down. The word is Milan started out on the street, selling rocks at 5th and York. Nothingís changed there. The street giveth and the street taketh away, as we used to say. You know a lot of the blow in New York comes straight outta Camden. Your yuppie Wall Street crowd sniffs urban decay. Itís just like Campbellís soup, itís all thatís left. Comfort food."

The Flash began to go a bit sentimental.

"You know, you remember," he told me. "You were in the trade. We didnít kill people for sport, we didnít kill people because they dissed us. I can think of maybe three guys that got greased in the meth trade in Camden, and two of them got whacked by the goddamned Warlocks. That wasnít us, that wasnít our shit. We were hippies. We were just in business, having fun. These guys today, they got a dick problem, theyíre out to prove their fuckiní manhood or some shit."

This conversation began to interfere with my digestion. Iím not accustomed to so much meat in one sitting. I changed the subject to old associates as we finished our meal. As we got up to leave, the Flash offered me some methedrine. I politely declined. In the parking lot, I gave him my number in New York and watched as his pickup roared east on Rte. 38.

3. The Cold, Cold Ground

Saturday morning I was up at dawn, pulled on a pair of sweatpants and hauled ass off to Dunkiní Donuts for a cop breakfastĖtwo huge hazelnut coffees and a pair of crullers. It was bitter cold. I tore back to the motel, gulped down the coffee and pastry, took a scalding shower, dressed and headed out to the funeral home.

I was holding up okay, satisfied with the knowledge that my mom didnít suffer the indignity of being ground down in a nursing home or some godawful hospital. She died in the house she refused to surrender, on her own, proud and stubborn. I headed north on Rte. 130 to Cove Rd., cut off at one point by some demented jackass in an SUV blasting some hideous gangsta rap and pounding his idiot fist in the air. Thatís okay, I thought. Fuck you, I thought. Iím burying my mother and you can have your goddamn town.

I got to the funeral home before anybody else, at about 9:15 a.m. The funeral director asked me to park my car up front with the keys in the ignition. I kind of snapped.

"Iím a little too close to Camden to even consider leaving the keys in this car," I told him. "Iíll just park in the back and catch up when and where I have to, if thatís all the same to you."

He left me to my own devices.

I walked in from the bonebreaking cold to see my mother, this fragile little old lady, laid out in Titanic splendor in the most ornate casket I could ever imagine, surrounded with flowers. She looked better than sheís looked in years. I spent a few minutes standing over her, stupefied by the finality of the event and the conflicting emotions roiling within.

Viewings are horrible. Everything is flattened by grief and pity. There is nowhere to go but tears. I knew that if I started to cry, thereíd be no end to it. I tensed my right arm, my left leg, I transferred the tears into muscle tension, shifting it around, tensing the muscles until they cramped.

Every face you see was once a babyís face. It was that innocent.

I went downstairs to the smoking lounge and sucked up a half-dozen cigarettes while waiting for the viewing to begin. I went back upstairs to stand by her coffin as the mourners came to pay their respects. It was a blur of faintly familiar faces, older than I remembered, drifting toward death themselves, reminding me of my own mortality. Shaking hands and hugging people at a viewing is a duty that drives home the true meaning of entropy. The core of romance is death, but there is no romance in a funeral home.

I caved in to the motion of the event, kissing her once on the forehead just before they closed The Box. I told her I loved her and wished her goodnight. My cousins carried her to the hearse, we took her out to Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken, where the rest of her family is buried. There, we showered her coffin with carnations and laid her in the frozen earth.

We finally got her out of Camden.

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