Sunday, 19 October 2008

19 October 2008

Especially Unions!” But dark laughter would come again. It was there in the morning when I got up bright and early and found Bill and Neal in the backyard. Neal was wearing his gas station coveralls and helping Bill. Bill had found a great piece of thick rotten wood and was desperately yanking at little nails inbedded in it with a hammerhook. We stared at the nails, there were millions of them, they were like worms. “When I get all these nails out of this I’m going to build me a shelf that’ll last a THOUSAND YEARS!” said Bill, every bone shuddering with senile excitement. “Why Jack, do you realize the shelves they build these days crack under the weight of a clock after six months or generally collapse, same with houses, same with clothes. These bastards have invented plastics by which they could make houses that last FOREVER. And tires. Americans are killing themselves by the millions every year with defective rubber tires that get on the road and blow up. They could make tires that never blow up. Same with tooth powder. There’s a certain gum they’ve invented and they won’t show it to anybody that if you chew it as a kid you’ll never get a cavity for the rest of your born days. Same with clothes. They can make clothes that last forever. They prefer making cheap goods so everybody’ll have to go on working and punching timeclocks and organizing themselves in sullen unions and floundering around while the big grab goes on in Washington and Moscow.” He raised his big piece of rotten wood. “Don’t you think this’ll make a splendid shelf.” It was early in the morning, his energy was at its peak. The poor fellow took so much junk in his system he could only weather the vast proportion of his day in that chair with the lamp burning at noon. But in the morning he was magnificent. We began throwing knives at the target. He said he’d seen an Arab in Tunis who could stick a man’s eye from forty feet. This got him going on his Aunt who went to the Casbah in the Thirties. “She was with a party of tourists led by a guide. She had a diamond ring on her little finger. She leaned on a wall to rest a minute and an Arab rushed up and sliced off her little finger ring and all before she could let out a cry. She suddenly realized she had no little finger. Hi-hi-hi-hi-hi!” When he laughed he

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