Wednesday, 3 September 2008

03 September 2008

a witch.” Alistair was a gloomy farmer neighbour who sat on his fence all day. “The trouble with the world is,” he said, “there’s just too many J-e-e-e-e-e-ews” with his long beaked nose sniffing the air. He had a divining rod and walked around with it. When it tipped from his palm he claimed there was water below. “How does that divining rod work?” asked Bill. “It ain’t IT so much as me” said Alistair. He came over one day; just as he arrived it started to thunder. “Well I guess I brought the rain with me” he said gloomily. The gang sat around playing Billy Holliday records in the Texas bayou night. Hunkey predicted the end of the world would start in Texas. “There’s just too many chemical plants and chain gangs around here, I can feel it in the air, it’s all sinister.” Joan agreed. “The chain reaction will start here.” They talked about the Texas City explosion which they’d all heard one afternoon. All their heads nodded in confirmation of this apocalyptic event. “It won’t be long” said Joan. Bill snuffed down his nose and kept his secrets to himself. Hunkey---little dark Hunkey with the Oriental face---went out at night and picked rotten sticks in the bayou. There were fascinating varieties of disintergration to be found. He discovered new kinds of worms. Finally he said he began to find them in his skin. He spent hours at the mirror picking them out. Then the time came for all of them to move to New York. Bill suddenly got bored with the bayou. He had an income of fifty dollars a week from his family, he always had a big roll in his pocket. He sent Joan and the baby girl by train and he and Hunkey and Neal would drive up by jeep. Allen entered into a gloomy period which he called the “Bayou Doldrums.” Neal was tired of the terrible strain of talking and talking with Allen all the time; they began to wrangle. Allen went down to the Houston waterfront and suddenly found himself in the union hall signing on a ship for Dakar, West Africa. Two days later he shipped out. He returned to New York two months later wearing a bushy beard and the “Dakar Doldrums” under his arm. Neal drove Bill and Hunkey and a few household things in the jeep to New York. He didn’t stop once---Texas, Loisiana, Alabama, So. Carolina, No. Carolina, Virginia and on up. They arrived in Manhattan at dawn and

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