DAN BATES

A children’s book about a boy named Dan Bates who is an insurance salesman. He is very lonely, so he travels all the time for his job. He rides in airplanes and his body aches. In cities where he is a stranger, he seeks massages, and sometimes they are very bad. They are objectionable massages. But one time he gets a massage from a man with goat hooves instead of hands. The man pounds on Dan Bates’ shoulders and rubs Dan Bates’ shoulders with his hooves, and Dan Bates is content. He goes back to his hotel room; his cheeks feel warm as if he has just been laughing with friends. In the morning Dan Bates dresses in a suit and a tie. He puts on his shoes. He goes to the meeting. People look at him and nod their heads, but one person doesn’t nod. Dan Bates feels bad. He gets onto a plane. He is brought a plastic container of ham sandwich. The cheese has melted and mixed with the mustard; yellow ooze gets onto Dan Bates’ tie. He tries to decide whether he will put the massage from the goat on his travel expense report and feels tired. Later, he lies in bed awake thinking about his life. Has it so far been a good one? Will he think of something funny to say? The person who doesn’t nod–the thought weighs on Dan Bates, it makes him tired in his femurs, and heavy. Tomorrow he will board a plane. He will go to a city where he will be a stranger. He will get a massage.