Thursday, 19 June 2008

19 June 2008

old hobo but with a youthful look so you couldn’t tell exactly what age he was. And he sat on the boards crosslegged, looking out over the fields without saying anything for hundreds of miles, and finally at one point turned to me and said “Where you headed?” I said Denver. “I got a sister there but I ain’t seed her for several couple years.” His language was melodious and slow. His charge was a sixteen year old tall blond kid, also in hobo rags, and that is to say they wore old clothes that had been turned black by the soot of railroads and the dirt of boxcars and sleeping on the ground. The blond kid was also quiet and he seemed to be running away from something, and it figured to be the law the way he looked straight ahead and wet his lips in worried thought. They sat side by side, silent buddies, and said nothing to anyone else. The farmboys and the high school boys bored them; Montana Slim however spoke to them occasionally with a sardonic and insinuating smile. They paid no attention to him. Slim was all insinuation. I was afraid of his long goofy grin that he opened up straight in your face and held there half-moronically. “You got any money?” he said to me. “Hell no, maybe enough for a pint of whisky till I get to Denver. What about you?” “I know where I can get some.” “Where?” “Anywhere. You can always folly a man down an alley can’t you?” “Yeah, I guess you can.” “I ain’t beyond doing it when I really need some dough. Headed up to Montana to see my father. I’ll have to get off this rig at Cheyenne and move up some other way, these crazy boys are going to Los Angeles.” “Straight?” “All the way---if you want to go to L.A. you got a ride.” I mulled this over, the thought of zoomingallnight across Nebraska, Wyoming and the Utah desert in the morning and then the Nevada desert most likely in the afternoon, and actually arriving in Los Angeles California within a foreseeable space of time almost made me change my plans. But I had to go to Denver. I’d have to get off at Cheyenne too, and hitch south 90 miles to Denver. I was glad when the two Minnesota farmboys in the cab decided to stop in No. Platte and eat; I wanted to have a look at them. They came out of the cab and smiled at all of us. “Pisscall!” said one. “Time to eat!” said the other. But they were the only ones in the party

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