Saturday, 21 June 2008

21 June 2008

had switched up front; the fresh brother was gunning the truck to the limit. The road changed too; humpy in the middle, with soft shoulders and a ditch on both sides about four feet deep, so that the truck bounced and teetered from one side of the road to the other, miraculously only when there no cars coming the opposite way, and I thought we’d all take a somersault. But they were tremendous drivers. They swapped at the wheel all the way from Minnesota to palmy L.A. without stopping more than 10 minutes to eat. How that truck disposed of the Nebraska nub!---the nub that sticks out over Colorado, though not officially in it, but actually looking southwest towards Denver itself a few hundred miles away. I yelled for joy. We passed the bottle. The great blazing stars came out, the far receding sand hills got dim. I felt like an arrow that could shoot out all the way. And suddenly Mississipi Gene turned to me from his crosslegged patient reverie, and opened his mouth, and leaned close, and said “These plains put me in the mind of Texas.” “Are you from Texas?” “No sir, I’m from Green-vell Muzz-sippy” and that was the way he said it. “Where’s that kid from?” “He got into some kind of trouble back in Mississippi so I offered to help some. I take care of him best as I can, he’s only a child.” Although Gene was white there was something of the wise and tired old Negro in him, but a railroad Hunkey, a traveling epic Hunkey, crossing and recrossing the country every year, south in the winter and north in the summer and only because he has no place he can stay in without getting tired of it and because there’s nowhere to go but everywhere, and keep rolling under the stars, generally the western stars. “I been to Og-den a couple times. If you want to ride on to Og-den I got some friends there we could hole up with.” “I’m going to Denver from Cheyenne.” “Hell, go right straight thru, you don’t get a ride like this everyday.” This was a tempting offer. What was in Ogden. “What’s Ogden?” I said. “It’s the place where most of the boys pass thu and always meet there, you’re liable to see anybody there.” In my

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