Collecting Ackermans (A Story From the Dark Side)

Collecting Ackermans (A Story From the Dark Side)

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In the fall of 1976 I moved back to New York after a brief stretch in L.A. I got a small apartment on Bleecker and Sullivan, in Greenwich Village; my ex-wife and kids lived at Houston and Sixth, just a stone’s throw away if you were a major league right fielder. My daughter Alison had just turned seven, and was in the second grade at P.S. 41. Her teacher was Miss Ackerman.

Now that was a while ago, and I can’t remember whether Alison loved or hated thus particular teacher, and what does it matter, anyway? What I liked was the woman’s name. It struck me as just right for the story I was writing, neither common nor uncommon, ethnically non-specific, and—well, who knows exactly why I liked it? And what difference could it possibly make?

I wrote the story and sent it to Eleanor Sullivan, who selected it for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, where it was published the following July. I tucked it into Sometimes They Bite, my first short story collection, and included it later on in my omnibus volume, Enough Rope. It hasn’t been anthologized much.

Just recently a friend wanted a New York story for a Cable TV anthology show she’s been putting together. If she likes it, and if the show clears the next hurdle, I’ll have the job of adapting it for the not-so-small-anymore screen. That might happen, but it might not; meanwhile, I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the lousy OCR scan and turning it into something people could actually read, and figured the least I could do was make it eVailable to y’all. So here it is.

I hope Miss Ackerman’s doing just fine. The real one, that is to say. Alison’s second grade teacher.


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