Holden Caulfield In Quarantine

Recently, I read the book The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. So, I wondered how Holden would act if he was trapped in his New York home during the 2020 pandemic. Here’s the piece I wrote!


For almost five months, I’ve been trapped inside this one building with my parents, grandparents, and siblings waiting around every corner. Back at Pencey, even if it was the dump it is, at least it was never this boring. My grandma’d given me five wads of dough over the past week, and a new cell. Now that I’m home, she thinks it’s my birthday every day, because that’s the only time I ever come home. I’m glad I got the cell, even though it’s bright red and a big girl-ish. Makes staying home more tolerable when I can talk to friends, like Stradlater and Ackley. But god, it’s real depressing, having a full wallet and no place to spend it. The bar’s all locked down anyway. Man, I would kill to go to a broadway show with Phoebe now, and that’s saying something. Because I hate that trash more than anything. It makes me wish I hadn’t turned her down all those times during winter break—she hasn’t asked me since last Christmas.

I guess old Phoebe would’ve talked her head off during the show, anyway. The thing with girls is, you just have to sit there and pretend to listen. Normally I wouldn’t encourage bein’ phony, but they love it—I’m not even kidding. If I knew a girl, any girl’s number, I’d phone her in an instant. My useless cell, the only six numbers on it are my parents, my siblings’, Ackley’s and Stradlater’s. I never knew New York City would bore the hell out of me, but it does now. A while back, when I went out to get a breath of fresh air, I stopped by Central Park. My mother said I could go in, so naturally, I didn’t feel like going anymore. I know Allie would’ve argued with me till I gave in, but I sure as hell wasn’t goin’ in there alone. Coming back to Central Park and checkin’ out the ducks would be nice; I wonder if the truck brought them back from the zoo, if they came out from under the ice, or if they just flew back from the south. Next year, I’ll make sure to stake out by the lake, and see the ducks return one by one. That’s the only way I’ll know for sure. That’ll keep me from gettin’ on the cab drivers’ nerves all the time.

I guess D.B. could go with me, but ever since coming back from Hollywood, he’s been locked in his room all day and all night. That moron won’t let anyone in, not even me, and it was my room first. But, my parents insist that D.B. needs space in order to write his “masterpieces”. It seems more like phony trash to me. I sure wish D.B. was still in California, acting phony towards all the bosses and big shots. Maybe if we hadn’t changed D.B.’s room into another laundry room, I would have a place to sleep. His constant mopin’ around is so depressing, I almost feel bad for him. Of course I don’t actually, I mean that jerk kicked me out of my own room. Not only that, D.B. keeps using my cell. Do you know how annoying that is? I’m just in the middle of checking my texts, and D.B. barges in tryna strike a deal with a Hollywood producer or something. That’s the only time he’ll actually talk to me, to take my cell. You know, I just need a drink, and I know exactly where my father hides the scotch. If I didn’t feel so darn guilty all the time, I would’ve taken it and mixed it with my soda by now. I almost did it last week, but when I stuck into his office, I saw my father sitting in his giant chair passed out cold. It near scared me to death when he moved his arm. I bolted out of there so quick that my mother asked me if I was insane.

All it’d take for me to survive this quarantine is to get a goddarn hotel room and shack up in there for a couple of days. Just a five dollar scotch and I’ll be happy all year. Too bad there won’t be any girls hangin’ around the hotel or in the streets. If there was, I’d say something along the lines of “Where you from?” and she would respond with a giggle and a stupid laugh, and that would be the end of our conversation. God, I forgot how much stupid girls pissed me off. They think they can understand a person just by looking at them, like they’re psychic or somethin’. I should quit horsing around with girls already. Here I am, locked up in my own house, no girl to go out with. I’d stroll over to old Jane Gallagher’s and give her a buzz, maybe, and it would be like back in the day when we played checkers in the summer. She’d go to Central Park with me if I asked nicely—she’d definitely bring that Doberman pinscher outside once in a while. And that’d be another number for me to call.

Man, I haven’t seen Jane for years. I don’t even know if she’s back from B.M. yet. Even though we’re neighbors, she’s not out wandering around the street like before. Jesus Christ, I still wonder if Stradlater got anywhere with her on their date. Last time I called Stradlater, he was so bored of his family—asked me if he should move in with one of his girl flings over winter break. “Wuddaya think I should do? Come on, help me Holden!”

I couldn’t let him ruin his own darn life with some phony girl who probably hated his guts by now. “Nah. Who’s it this time, Fitzgerald? You know she doesn’t want to talk to you, right?”

“Je-sus Christ. Why can’t you let me have some fun. No, not Fitzgerald. The new girl down the street.”

That got me pretty interested. “I guess it’d be fine, so long as you have a house to return to when she kicks you out.” I ended the call right there; D.B. wanted to borrow my cell for a business call. Stradlater must’ve been pretty mad at me for hanging up on him—I haven’t talked to him since.

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