Take the Long Way Home
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Peter Leroy returns in memory to the fifth grade, where he finds himself gazing at Veronica McCall across the Gulf of Puberty. Remembering Veronica, the hottest little number in Babbington's elementary grades at that time, inevitably leads him to reflect on the many varieties of love and lust to which the human animal is subject; to consider the roots of the animosity between Babbington's clamdiggers and chicken-farmers; to recall the occasion of his first meeting Porky White, who was to become the brains behind the Kap'n Klam chain of bivalve-based fast-food restaurants; and forces him to recreate his attempt to skate on ice. • Reviewing "Take the Long Way Home" in Baltimore's City Paper on January 11, 1985, John Strausbaugh wrote: "Kraft has constructed a complete comic universe, an American Macondo. Kraft never provokes savage mockery or brutal sneers, but quiet, sweetly melancholy smiles of recognition." • Length: novella, about 20,000 words.