Sunday, 29 June 2008

30 June 2008

called up his house, talked to his mother---she said, “Why Jack what are you doing in Denver? Did you know Ginger was here?”---and of course I knew Ginger was there but that was not my reason for coming. Ginger was Hal’s girl; I played around with her a bit in New York when he wasn’t looking. For this I was really and genuinely sorry and I hoped Hal still felt the same about me. I don’t think he did but he never showed it, the thing about Hal being, he was always as clever as a woman. Hal is a slim blond boy with a strange witchdoctor face that goes with his interest in anthropology and pre-history Indians. His nose beaks softly and almost creamily under a golden flair of hair; he has the grace of a western hotshot who’s danced in roadhouses and played a little football. A quavering twang comes out when he speaks---“the thing I always like, Jack, about the plains Indians was the way they always got s’danged embarrassed after they boasted the number of scalps they got…in Ruxton’s Life in the Far West there’s an Indian who gets red all over blushing because he got so many scalps and runs like hell into the plains to glory over his deeds in hiding. Damn, that tickled me!” Hal’s mother located him, in the drowsy Denver afternoon, working over his Indian basketmaking in the local museum. I called him there; he came and picked me up in his old Ford coupe that he used to take trips in the mountains to “dig” for Indian objects. He came into the bus station wearing jeans and a big smile. I was sitting on my bag on the floor talking to the very same sailor who’d been in the Cheyenne bus station with me, asking him what happened to the blonde. He was so bored he didn’t answer. Hal and I got into his little coupe and the first he had to do was get maps at the State building. Then the next thing he had to see an old schoolteacher, and so on, and all I wanted to do was drink beer. And in the back of my mind was the wild, wild thought - - “Where is Neal and what is he doing right now?” Hal had decided not to be Neal’s friend anymore, for some odd reason, since the winter, and he didn’t even know where he lived. “Is Allen Ginsberg in town?” “Yes---“ but he wasn’t talking to him anymore either. This was the beginning of Hal Chase’s withdrawal from our general gang---and he was going to

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