Thursday, 28 August 2008

28 August 2008

the frightful plain. The cowboy music twanged in the roadhouse and carried across the fields all sadness. It was allright with me. I kissed my baby and we put out the lights. In the morning the dew made the tent sag; I got up with my towel and toothbrush and went to the general motel toilet to wash; then I came back, put on my pants which were all torn from kneeling in the earth and had been sewed by Bea in the evening; put on my ragged strawhat which had originally been Raymond’s toy hat; and went across the highway with my canvas cottonbag. Every day I earned approximately a dollar and a half. It was just enough to buy groceries in the evening on the bicycle. The days rolled by. I forgot all about the East and all about Neal and Allen and the bloody road. Raymond and I played all the time: he liked me to throw him up in the air and down on the bed. Bea sat mending clothes. I was a man of the earth precisely as I had dreamed I would be in Ozone Park. There was talk that Bea’s husband was back in Selma and out for me; I was ready for him. One night the Okies went mad in the roadhouse and tied a man to a tree and beat him to a pulp with sticks. I was asleep at the time and only heard about it. From then on I carried a big stick with me in the tent in case they got the idea we Mexicans were fouling up their trailer camp. They though I was a Mexican, of course; and I am. But now it was getting on in October and getting much colder in the nights. The Okie family had a woodstove and planned to stay for the winter. We had nothing, and besides the rent for the tent was due. Bea and I bitterly decided we’d have to leave. “Go back to your family” I gnashed “For God’s sake you can’t be batting around tents with a baby like Raymond; the poor little tyke is cold.” Bea cried because I was criticizing her motherly instincts; I meant no such thing. When Ponzo came in the truck one gray afternoon we decided to see her family about the situation. But I musn’t be seen and would have to hide in the vineyard. We started for Selma; the truck broke down and simultaneously it started to rain wildly. We sat in the old truck cursing. Ponzo got out and toiled in the rain. He was a good old guy after all. We promised each other one more big bat. Off we went to a rickety bar in Selma Mextown and spent an hour

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