Tuesday, 7 October 2008

07 October 2008

confused. We had to give them the money; most of it was in my pocket. When they saw where it came from they gave me dirty looks. All we wanted to do was go. “Another speeding ticket in Virginia and you lose your car” said the mean cop as a parting volley. Neal was red in the face. We drove off silently. It was just like an invitation to steal to take all our trip-money away. They knew we were broke and had no relatives on the road or relatives to wire for money or anything. The American police are involved in psychological warfare against those Americans who don’t frighten them with imposing papers and threats. There’s no defense. Poor people have to expect to have their lives interfered with ad infinitum by these neurotic busybodies. It’s a Victorian police force; it peers out of musty windows and wants to enquire about everything, and can make crimes if the crimes don’t exist to their satisfaction. Neal was so mad he wanted to come back to Virginia and shoot the cop as soon as he had a gun. “Pennsylvania!” he scoffed. “I wish I knew what that charge was! Vag, probably; take all my money and charge me vag. Those guys have it so damned easy. They’ll out and shoot you if you complain, too.” There was nothing to do but get happy with ourselves again and forget about it. When we got through Richmond we began forgetting about it and soon everything was OK. In the Virginia wilderness suddenly we saw a man walking on the road. Neal zoomed to a stop. I looked back and aid he was only a bum and probably didn’t have cent. “We’ll just pick him up for kicks!” laughed Neal. The man was a ragged bespectacled mad type walking along reading a paperbacked muddy book he’d found in a culvert by the road. He got in the car and went right on reading; he was incredibly filthy and covered with scabs. He said his name was Herbert Diamond and that he walked all over the USA knocking and sometimes kicking at Jewish doors and demanding money. “Give me money to eat. I am Jew.” He said it worked very well and that it was coming to him. We asked him what he was reading. He didn’t know. He didn’t bother to look at the title page. He was only looking at the words, as tho he had found the real Torah where it belonged, in the Wilderness. “See? see? see?” cackled Neal

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