Thursday, 21 August 2008

21 August 2008

grapes in the cool California mornings hit me right. But there were no jobs to be had and much confusion with everybody giving us innumerable tips and places to go that didn’t materialize a job. Nevertheless we ate a Chinese dinner and set out with reinforced bodies. We went across the SP tracks to Mexican town. Bea jabbered with her brethren asking for jobs. It was night now, and the little Mextown street was one blazing bulb of lights: movie marquees, fruit stands, penny arcades, Five and Tens. Hundreds of rickety trucks and mudspattered jalopies were parked. Whole Mexican fruitpicking families wandered around eating popcorn. Bea talked to innumerable Mexican and got all kinds of confused information. I was beginning to despair. What I needed, what Bea needed too was a drink, so we bought a quart of California port for 35c and went to the boxcars in back to drink. We found a place where hobos had drawn up crates to sit over fires. We sat there and drank the wine. On our left were the boxcars, sad and sooty red beneath the moon; straight ahead the lights and airport pokers of Bakersfield proper, to our right a tremendous aluminum Quonset warehouse. I mention this because exactly a year and a half later I came right by there again with Neal and I pointed it out to him. Ah it was a fine night, a warm night, a wine-drinking night, a moony night, and a night to hug your girl and talk and spit and be heavengoing. This we did. She was a drinking little fool and kept up with me and passed me and went right on talking until midnight. We never budged from those crates. Occasionally bums passed, Mexican mothers passed with children, and the prowlcar came by and the cop got out to piss but most of the time we were alone and mixing up our souls ever more and ever more till it would be terribly hard to say goodbye. At midnight we got up and goofed towards the highway. Bea had a new idea. We would hitch hike to Selma her hometown and live in her brother’s garage. Anything was all right with me. On the road, not far from that damned and fated Spanish style motel- -that great good motel that hung me up and made me meet Bea---I made Bea sit down on my bag to make her look like a woman in distress. Right off a truck stopped and we ran for it

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