Thursday, 24 July 2008
24 July 2008
printed) “If nobody’s home climb in through the window.” And it said “Signed Henri Cru.” The note was weather beaten and gray by now---but Henri hadn’t given up. I climbed in and there he was sleeping with his girl Diane- -on a bed he stole from a merchant ship sneaking over the side in the middle of the night with a bed, and weaving and straining at the oars to the shore. This barely explains Henri Cru. The reason I’m going into everything that happened in Sanfran is because it ties up with everything else all the way down the line. Henri Cru and I met at prep school years ago; but the thing that really tied us together was my former wife. Henri found her first. He came into my dorm room one night and said “Kerouac get up, the old maestro has come to see you.” I got up, and dropped some pennies on the floor when I put my pants on. It was four in the afternoon; I used to sleep all the time in college. “All right, all right, don’t drop your gold all over the place. I have found the gonest little girl in the world and I’m going straight to the Lion’s den with her tonight.” And he dragged me to meet her. A week later she was going with me. She said she despised Henri. Henri was a tall dark handsome Frenchman- -he looked a kind of Marseilles blackmarketeer of twenty---because he was French he had to talk in jazz American---his English was perfect, his French was perfect---he liked to dress sharp, slightly on the collegiate side, and go out with fancy blondes and spend a lot of money. It’s not that he never forgave me for screwing off with his Edie---only it was always a point that tied us together, and from the very first day that guy was loyal to me and had real affection for me, and God knows why. When I found him in Marin City that morning he had fallen on the beat and evil days that come to all young guys in their middle twenties. He was reduced to hanging around waiting for a ship, and to earn his living he had a job as a special guard in the barracks across the canyon. His girl Diane had a bad tongue and gave him a calling down every day. They spent all week saving pennies and went out Saturdays to spend fifty bucks in three hours. Henri wore shorts around the shack, with a crazy Army cap on his head; Diane went around with her hair up.