The Kenosha Kid
Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.Dear Sir:
Did I ever bother you, ever, for anything, in your life?
Lt. Tyrone Slothrop
Tyrone Slothrop, Esq.
TDY Abreaction Ward
St. Veronica’s Hospital
Bonechapel Gate, E1
Dear Mr. Slothrop:
You never did.
The Kenosha Kid
Smartass youth: Aw, I did all them old fashioned dances, I did the “Charleston,” a-and the “Big Apple,” too!
Old veteran hoofer: Bet you never did the “Kenosha,” kid!
S.Y.: Shucks, I did all them dances, I did the “Castle Walk,” and I did the “Lindy,” too!
O.V.H.: Bet you never did the “Kenosha Kid!”
Minor employee: Well, he certainly has been avoiding me, and I thought that it might be because of the Slothrop Affair. If he somehow held me responsible—
Superior (haughtily): You! Never did the Kenosha Kid think for one instant that you...
(3.1) Superior (incredulously): You! Never! Did the Kenosha Kid think for one instant that you...?
And on the mighty day on which he gave us in fiery letters across the sky all the words we’d ever need, words we today enjoy, and fill our dictionaries with, the meek little voice of Tyrone Slothrop, celebrated ever after in tradition and song, ventured to filter upward to the Kid’s attention: “You never did ‘the,’ Kenosha Kid!”
Maybe you did fool the Philadelphia, rag the Rochester, josh the Joliet. But you never did the Kenosha kid.
(The day of Ascent and sacrifice. A nation-wide observance. Fats searing, blood dripping and burning to a salty brown...) You did the Charleston stoat, check, the Forest Hills foal, check. (Fading now...) The Loredo lamb. Check. Oh-oh. Wait. What’s this, Slothrop? You never did the Kenosha kid. Snap to, Slothrop.
( . . . )
Slothrop: Where is he? Why didn't he show? Who are you?
Voice: The Kid got busted. And you know me, Slothrop. Remember? I'm Never.
Slothrop (peering): You, Never? (A pause.) Did the Kenosha Kid?
(Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow)