Wednesday, 25 June 2008

25 June 2008

to the music on the jukebox. There was a lull when we came in. Gene and Blondey just stood there looking at nobody; all they wanted were cigarettes. There were some pretty girls, too. And one of them made eyes at Blondey and he never saw it and if he had, he wouldn’t have cared he was so sad and gone. I bought a pack each for them; they thanked me. The truck was ready to go. It was getting on midnight now and cold. Gene who’d been around the country more times than he could count on his fingers and toes said the best thing to do now was for all of us to bundle up under the big tarpaulin or we’d freeze. In this manner, and with the rest of the bottle, we kept warm as the as the air grew ice cold and pinged our ears. The stars seemed to get brighter the more we climbed the High Plains. We were in Wyoming now. Flat on my back I stared straight up at the magnificent firmament, glorying in the time I was making, in how far I had come from sad Bear Mtn. after all, how everything worked out in the end, and tingling with kicks at the thought of what lay ahead of me in Denver---whatever, whatever it would be and good enough for me. And Mississippi Gene began to sing a song. He sang it in a melodious quiet voice, with a river accent, and it was simple, just “I got a purty little girl, she’s sweet six-teen, she’s the purti-est thing you ever seen,” repeating it with other lines thrown in, all concerning his life in general and how far he’d been and how he wished he could go back to her but he done lost her. I said “Gene that’s the prettiest song.” “It’s the sweetest I know,” he said with a smile. “I hope you get where you’re going and be happy when you do.” “I always make out and move along one way or the other.” Montana Slim was asleep. He woke up and said to me “Hey Blackie, how about you and me making Cheyenne together tonight before you go to Denver.” “Sure thing.” I was drunk enough to go for anything. And the truck reached the outskirts of Cheyenne, we saw the high red lights of the local radio station, and suddenly we were bucking through a great strange crowd of people that poured on both sidewalks. “Hell’s bells, it’s Wild West Week” said Slim. Great crowds of businessmen, fat businessmen in boots and tengallon hats, with their hefty wives in cowgirl attire bustled and whoopeed on the

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