Excerpt from "Wild Seed"


“Puberty can shock a well-adjusted child into paralyzing awkwardness, but in Dan’s case the opposite occurs. His teenage years are a declaration of independence, a repudiation of tedious conformity and endless rules. At 14 he suddenly grows several inches and for a time looks five years older than me instead of one. His voice drops to a low register and he speaks in the slurred, barely inflected dude-speak of Southern California teenagers. He buys a set of barbells and works out. When his braces come off, he loses his buck teeth and grows an aura of cocky self-possession.

He looks like the young Elvis Presley, or Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway. Blue eyes, long lashes, full lips and prominent teeth. He slicks his hair back in a modified pompadour, favors tight slacks, and polishes his black Beatle boots with a sailor’s spit shine. He affects a sleepy-eyed, full-lipped sneer that signals “Back off!” to a world that seems tired and pedestrian.”