Monday, 20 October 2008

20 October 2008

compressed his lips together and made it come out from his belly, from way faraway, and doubled up to lean on his knees. He laughed a long time. “Hey Joan!” he yelled gleefully. “I was just telling Neal and Jack about my aunt in the Casbah!” “I heard you” she said across the lovely warm Gulf morning from the kitchen door. Great beautiful clouds floated overhead, valley clouds that made you feel the vastness of old tumbledown holy America from mouth to mouth and tip to tip. Go on. Bill was all pep and juices. “Say, did I ever tell you about Kell’s father. He was the funniest old man you ever saw in your life. He had paresis which eats away the forepart of your brain and you get so’s you’re not responsible for anything that comes into your mind. He had a house in Texas and had carpenters working 24 hours a day putting on new wings. He’d leap up in the middle of the night and say ‘I don’t want that goddamn wing; put it over there.’ The carpenters had to take everything down and start all over again. Come dawn you’d see them hammering away at the new wing. Then the old man’d get bored with that and say ‘Goddamn it I wanta go to Maine!’ and he’d get into his car and drive off a hundred miles an hour---great showers of chicken feathers followed his track for hundreds of miles. He’d stop his car in the middle of a Texan town just to get out and buy some whiskey. Traffic would honk all around him and he’d come rushing out of the store yelling ‘Shet your goddamn noith you bunth of bathats!’ he lisped; when you have paresis you lips., I mean you lisps. One night he came to my house in St. Louis and tooted the horn and said ‘come on out and let’s go to Texas to see Kells.’ He was going back from Maine. He claimed he bought a house in Long Island overlooking a jewish cemetery ‘cause he liked to see s’many dead Jews. Oh, he was horrible. I could tell you stories about him all day. Say, ain’t this a nice day?” And it sure was. The softest breezes blew in from the levees; it was worth the whole trip. We rushed into the house after Bill to go and measure the wall for a shelf. He showed us the dining table he built. It was made of wood six inches thick. “This is a table that’ll last a thousand years! said Bill leaning his long thin face at us maniacally. He banged on it. In the evenings he sat at this

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