And that is where the switch flipped for him, the filament glowed and the bulb flickered on. In her first lesson, Snider promised the officially sanctioned food of 12-year-olds.
By the end of that 45-minute class, Curtis had punched out circles of Pillsbury biscuit dough, slathered on spaghetti sauce, slapped on discs of pepperoni and covered it all with cheese.
“I know he trusted me.” On the first day of seventh grade, with home economics no longer mandatory, Curtis walked into Room 12 on his own. In Johnstown, population 3,200, gossip traveled with the wind.
And in eighth grade, he took Snider’s class a third straight year. Even after Curtis left her classroom, she vowed to keep tabs on him.
Menial tasks became a game to him, and a game was something into which he could channel his angst.
Curtis Duffy hovered over plates inside the gleaming white kitchen of his new restaurant, Grace. Of closing your eyes and hoping your problems disappear.Even in peeling boiled potatoes, Curtis sought to remove the skin in a single unbroken coil, mesmerized by the challenge.Submitting himself to the kitchen diverted him — from fighting out of boredom, from stealing for the thrill.Stealing that many cigarettes was considered a felony, but the store manager decided against pressing charges.If Curtis’ uncle weren’t also a cop who turned a blind eye at his nephew’s indiscretions, Curtis surely would have landed in jail. If he felt motivated, Curtis said, he’d work for a C.He was all nervous tics, fingers constantly inside his mouth, nails emerging chewed down, arms crossed in a defensive posture.