Tuesday, 24 June 2008

24 June 2008

stars anywhere. And once I saw a moody whitefaced cow in the sage by the road as we flitted by. It was like riding a railroad, just as steady and just as straight. By and by we came to a town, slowed down, Montana Slim said “Ah, pisscall” but the Minnesotans didn’t stop and went right on through. “Damn, I gotta piss,” said Slim. “Go over the side” said somebody. “Well, I will” he said, and slowly, as we all watched he inched to the back of the platform on his ass, holding on as best he could till his legs dangled over. Somebody knocked on the window of the cab to bring this to the attention of the brothers. Their great smiles broke as they turned. As just as Slim was ready to proceed, precarious as it was already, they began zig-zagging the truck at 70 miles an hour. He fell back a moment; we saw a whale’s spout in the air; he struggled back to a sitting position. They swung the truck. Wham, over he went on his side, pissing all over himself. In the roar we could hear him faintly cursing with the whine of a man far across the hills. “Damn…damn..” He never knew we were doing this deliberately, he just struggled with his lot, and just as grim as Job. When he was finished, as such, he was wringing wet, and now he had to edge and shimmy his way back, and with a most woebegone look, and everybody laughing, except the sad blond boy, and the Minnesotans roaring in the cab. I handed him the bottle to make up for it. “What the hail,” he said, “was they doing that on purpose?” “They sure were.” “Well damn me, I didn’t know that. I know I tried it back in Nebraska and didn’t have half so much trouble.” We came suddenly into the town of Ogallala, and here the fellows in the cab called out “Pisscall!” and with great good delight. Slim stood sullenly by the truck rueing a lost opportunity. The two Dakota boys said goodbye to everybody and figured they’d start harvesting here. We watched them disappear in the night towards the shacks at the end of town where lights were burning, where a watcher of the night in jeans said the employment men would be. I had to buy more cigarettes. Gene and the blond boy followed me to stretch their legs. We walked into the least likely place in the world, a kind of lonely plains sodafountain for the local teenage girls and boys. They were dancing, a few of them,

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