Friday, 4 July 2008

04 July 2008

on the Kansas plains in the eighties when for diversion he rode ponies bareback and chased after coyotes with a club and later became a country schoolteacher in West Kansas and finally a businessman of many devices in Denver. He still had his old office over the garage in a barn down the street---the rolltop desk was still there, together with countless dusty papers of past excitement and moneymaking. He invented a special air conditioner of his own. He put an ordinary fan in a window frame but somehow conducted cool water through coils in front of the whirring blades. The result was perfect---within four feet of the fan, and then the water apparently turned into hot steam in the hot day and the downstairs part of the house was just as hot as usual. But I was sleeping right under the fan on Hal’s bed with its big bust of Goethe staring at me, and I comfortably went to sleep, only to wake up in five minutes freezing to death; I put a blanket on and still I was cold. Finally it was so cold I couldn’t sleep and I went downstairs. The old man asked me how his invention worked. I said it worked damned good and I meant it within bounds. I liked the man. He was lean with memories. “I once made a spot remover that has since been copied by big firms in the East. I’ve been trying to collect on that for some years now. If only I had enough money to raise a decent lawyer…” But it was too late to raise a decent lawyer; and he sat in his house dejectedly. This was the home of Hal Chase. In the evening we had a wonderful dinner his mother cooked, venison steak, that Hal’s brother had shot in the mountains. Ginger was staying at Hal’s. She looked fetching but there were other things troubling me as the sun went down. Where was Neal? As darkness came Hal drove me into the mysterious night of Denver. And then it all started. The following days were as W.C.Fields says “Fraught with eminent peril…” and mad. I moved in with Allan Temko in the really swank apartment that belonged to EdW’s folks. We each had a bedroom, food in the icebox, kitchenette and a huge livingroom where Temko sat in his silk dressinggown idly composing his latest Hemingwayan short story---a colic, red-faced, pudgy hater of everything who could turn on the warmest and most charming smile in the world when real

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