Sunday, 24 August 2008

24 August 2008

digging the girls and trying to pick up a few for him and Freddy; and then, as purple dusk descended over the grape country, I found myself sitting dumbly in the car as he argued with some old Mexican at the kitchen door about the price of a watermelon the old man grew in the backyard. We had a watermelon; we ate it on the spot and threw the rinds on the old man’s dirt sidewalk. All kinds of pretty little girls were cutting down the darkening street. I said “Where in the hell are we?” “Don’t worry man” said big Ponzo “tomorrow we make a lot of money, tonight we don’t worry.” We went back and picked up Bea and her brother and the kid and drove to Fresno. We were all raving hungry. We bounced over the railroad tracks in Fresno and hit the wild streets of Fresno Mextown. Strange Chinamen hung out of windows digging the Sunday night streets; groups of Mex chicks swaggered around in slacks; mambo blasted from jukeboxes; the lights were festooned around like Halloween. We went into a Mexican restaurant and had tacos and mashed pinto beans rolled in tortillas; it was delicious. I whipped out my last shining five dollar bill which stood between me and the Long Island shore and paid for the lot. Now I had two bucks. Bea and I looked at each other. “Where we going to sleep tonight baby?” “I don’t know.” Freddy was drunk; now all he was saying “Dah you go man---dah you go man” in a tender and tired voice. It had been a a big day. None of us knew what was going on, or what the Good Lord appointed. Poor little Raymond fell asleep on my arm. We drove back to Selma. On the way we pulled up sharp at a roadhouse on the highway---highway 99. Freddy wanted one last beer. In back of the roadhouse were trailors and tents and few rickety motel-style rooms. I inquired about the price and it was two bucks. I asked Bea how about it and she said fine, because we had the kid on our hands now and had to make him comfortable. So after a few beers in the saloon, where sullen Okies reeled to the music of a cowboy band. Bea and I and Raymond went into a motel room and got ready to hit the sack. Ponzo kept hanging around; he had no place to sleep. Freddy slept at his father’s house in the vineyard shack. “Where do you live Ponzo” I asked. “Nowhere man. I’m supposed to

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