Friday, 13 June 2008

13 June 2008

telling about ourselves, then he told dirty stories, then we just ended up kicking pebbles and making goofy noises of one kind and another. We got bored; I decided to spend a buck on beer; we went to a riotous old buck’s saloon in Stuart and had a few. There he got as drunk as he ever did in his Ninth Avenue night back home and yelled joyously in my ear all the sordid dreams of his life. I sort of liked him; not that he was a good sort, as he later proved, but he was enthusiastic about things. We got back on the road in the darkness and of course nobody stopped and nobody came by much. This went on until three o’clock in the morning; we spent some time trying to sleep on the bench at the railroad ticket office, but the telegraph clicked all night and we couldn’t sleep and big freights were slamming around outside. We didn’t know how to hop a proper hiball, we’d never done it before, whether they were going east or west and how to find out and what boxcars to pick and so on… So when the Omaha bus came through just before dawn we hopped on it and joined the sleeping passengers---for this I spent most of the last of my few bucks, his fare as well as mine. His name was Eddie. He reminded me of my cousin-in-law from Brooklyn. That was why I stuck with him. It was like having an old friend along…a dumb smiling goodnatured sort to goof along with. We arrived at Council Bluffs at dawn; I looked out; all winter I’d been reading of the great wagon parties that held council there before hitting the Oregon and Santa Fe trails; and of course now it was only cute suburban cottages of one damn dumb kind and another, all laid out in the dismal gray dawn. Then Omaha, and by God the first cowboy I saw, walking along the bleak walls of the wholesale meat warehouses with a great big ten gallon hat on and Texas boots, looking like any beat character of the brickwall dawns of the east except for the getup. We got off the bus and walked clear up the hill, the long hill formed by the mighty Missouri over the millenniums, alongside of which Omaha is built, and got out to the country and stuck our thumbs out. We got a brief ride to a further crossroads from a wealthy rancher with a ten-gallon hat, who said the Valley of Nebraska (platte) was as great as the Nile Valley of Egypt, and as he

1 comment:

Emily said...

telling about ourselves, then he told dirty stories, then we just ended up kicking pebbles and making goofy noises of one kind and another. We got bored; I decided to spend a buck on beer; we went to a riotous old buck's saloon in Stuart and had a few. There he got as drunk as he ever did in his Ninth Avenue night back home and yelled joyously in my ear all the sordid dreams of his life. I sort of liked him; not that he was a good sort, as he later proved, but he was enthusiastic about things. We got back on the road in the darkness and of course nobody stopped and nobody came by much. This went on until three o'clock int he morning; we spent some time trying to sleep on the bench at the railroad ticket office, but the telegraph clicked all night and we couldn't sleep and big freights were slamming around outside. We didn't know how to hop a proper hiball, we'd never done it before, whether they were going east or west and how to find out and what boxcars to pick and son on... So when the Omaha bus came through just before dawn we hopped on it and joined the sleeping passengers---for this I spent most of the last of my few bucks, his fare as well as mine. His name was Eddie. He reminded me of my cousin-in-law from Brooklyn. That was why I stuck with him. It was like having an old friend along... a dumb smiling goodnatured sort to goof along with. We arrived at Council Bluffs at dawn; I looked out; all winter I'd been reading the great wagon parties that held council there before hitting the Oregon and Santa Fe trails; and of course now it was only cute suburban cottages of one damn dumb kind and another, all laid out in the dismal gray dawn. Then Omaha, and by God teh first cowboy I saw, walking along the bleak walls of the wholesale meat warehouses with a great big ten gallon hat on the Texas boots, looking like any beat character of the brickwall dawns of the east except for the getup. We got off the bus and walked clear up the hill, the long hill formed by the mighty Missouri over the millenniums, alongside of which Omaha is built, and got out to the country and stuck our thumbs out. We got a brief ride to a further crossraods from a wealthy rancher with a ten-gallon hat, who said the Valley of Nebraska (platte) was as great as the Nile Valley of Egypt, and as he