This is Walt and Bert and they are sitting on a rooftop above Camden New Jersey in the dead of winter. Bert is sixteen and Walt—as usual—just said something kick-ass funny. He is twenty. They met the year before—one day when Walt was hanging around with his buddies Fran and Harry. The row house where Bert was living—for it was never home—was garnering a bad reputation on the street, and Fran and Harry’s families were only too happy to fill Walt in on the whole story of the crazy Old Woman with the nut job husband and loony sons and the crazy Old Woman’s sister and—did you know the crazy Old Woman’s sister has one pure white eyebrow and eyelash?
But that serious, beautiful girl with the dark hair Walt spies while playing sandlot football… she’s different. Bert. Wiry young Walt had been mixing it up with the girls in the neighborhood for a few years, but he falls instantly in love with this sweetly pensive young thing who possesses such quiet power and uncanny poise. She’s also one smart cookie.
Bert was a little too young for him when they met, but in the year that’s gone by Walt can’t shake her from his mind. And what’s worse—Bert’s sister Jenny just married her Italian boyfriend and moved out, leaving Bert behind to sink into abject poverty and a loneliness that can’t be quantified. Walt begins to smuggle food to Bert through a second story window, but when the Old Woman finds it, she steals it for herself.
And so Walt hatches a plan to get Bert the hell out of there.
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