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I Am the Cheese

Robert Cormier


TAPE OZK002–004

TAPE OZK005, page 2

page 1 of 2


Adam narrates as he stops at a telephone booth outside a Howard Johnson's. He regrets not taking the medicine earlier, and he is tired and discouraged. He believes that only a call to his beloved Amy can perk him up. It is now 1:15 P.M., though, and she will not be out of school for at least another hour. Furthermore, Adam is discouraged when he realizes he will not be able to reach the motel in Belton Falls by nightfall. He remembers calling Howard Johnson's "Orange Johnson" with his father and mother when he was younger, and feeling their love when they laughed at his mistake.

Adam uses the bathroom, but has a headache and is sick from the hamburger he ate. He calls Amy through a male operator, but she does not answer the phone. He starts off for Carver, a town five miles away, and sings "The Farmer in the Dell" for a little while until he gets too tired.


In another dialogue between Brint and Adam, Brint asks Adam about Amy, and whether she is more than his best friend, and Adam admits that she is. A third-person narrator describes that Adam recalls the night when he and Amy made out under the football stands. Adam thinks about Amy—that she is mischievous, humorous, and talkative, but can also be serious and is a great reader. Adam remembers that they met at the library, and he fell in love with her immediately, especially when she respected his dreams of becoming a famous writer like Thomas Wolfe. Amy told him during their first meeting that he was a candidate for the "Number," without telling him what it was. Adam noticed that his characteristic shyness disappeared when he was around her. Adam and Amy met the next day to pull a "Number," and went to her house, where he briefly met her busy, professional mother.

Adam learned that the Number involves going to the supermarket, loading a shopping cart to the top, and abandoning the cart without getting caught. Amy devised a number of variations, such as allowing only canned goods into the cart. Adam loved watching her skillfully and coolly execute a Number. One night, they broke the record with twelve carts, and he had his first kiss with her.

In their dialogue, Adam tells Brint that he thinks Amy is one of the clues, but that he wants to keep her "separate from everything else." Going back to a third-person account of Adam's interactions with Amy, Adam remembers that he had told her when they first met that he had originally lived in Rawlings, Pennsylvania until he was four.

Adam describes a day Amy called to tell him that an editor from Rawlings dropped in for a visit. The editor said that he did not know of any Farmer family from his hometown and would like to meet them. Adam is also curious why the editor did not know his family, but something about the memory of the family's nighttime flight made him lie to Amy that they had only lived in Rawlings for a few months. Adam is amazed that he lied so easily and created a new "set of circumstances" for his family. Adam does not know why he felt he had to lie.

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