Thursday, 23 October 2008

23 October 2008

but which will be very clear someday if scientists get on the ball. The bastards right now are only interested in seeing if they can blow up the world.” We told Joan about it. She snuffed. “It sounds silly to me.” She plied the broom around the kitchen. Bill went in the bathroom for his afternoon fix. Out on the road Neal and Al Hinkle were playing basketball with Julie’s ball and a bucket nailed on the lamppost. I joined in. Then we turned to feats of athletic prowess. Neal completely amazed me. He had Al and I hold a bar of iron up to our waists, and just standing there he popped right over it holding his heels. “Go ahead, raise it.” We kept raising it till it was chest-high. Still he jumped over it with ease. Then he tried the running broadjump and did at least 20 feet. Then I raced him down the road. I can do the hundred in 10:3. He passed me like the wind. As we ran I had a mad vision of Neal running through all of his life, his arms pumping, his brow sweating, his legs twinkling like Groucho Marx, yelling “Yes! Yes man, you sure can go!” But nobody could go as fast as him, and that’s the truth. Then Bill came out with a couple of knives and started showing us how to disarm a would-be shiver in a dark alley. I for my part showed him a very good trick, which is, falling on the ground in front of your adversary and gripping him with your ankles and flipping him over on his hands and grabbing his wrists in a full nelson. He said it was pretty good. He demonstrated jiu jitsu. Little Julie called her mother to the porch and said “Look at the silly men.” She was eight years old. She was such a cute sassy little thing Neal couldn’t take his eyes off her. “Wow. Wait till she grows up! Can you see her cuttin’ down Canal street with a hincty eye. Ah! Oh!” He hissed through his teeth. We spent a mad day in downtown New Orleans walking around with the Hinkles. Neal was out of his mind that day. When he saw the T&NO freight trains in the yard he wanted to show me everything at once. “You’ll be a brakeman ’fore I’m thru with you!” He and I and Al Hinkle ran across the tracks and hopped a freight; Louanne and Helen were waiting in the car. We rode the freight a halfmile into the piers waving at brakemen and firemen. They showed me the proper way to jump off

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