Sunday, 26 October 2008

26 October 2008

food. He pointed the car straight down the road. Somewhere near Starks we saw a great red glow in the sky ahead; we wondered what it was; in a moment we were passing it. It was a fire beyond the trees, there were many cars parked on the highway. It must have been some kind of fishfry and on the other hand it might have been anything. The country turned strange and dark near Deweyville. Suddenly we were in the swamps. “Man do you imagine what it would be like if we found a jazzjoint in these swamps, with great big black fellas moanin’ guitar blues and drinking snakejuice and makin’ signs at us?” “Yes!” There were mysteries around here. The car was going over a dirt road elevated off the swamps that dropped on both sides and drooped with vines. We passed an apparition; it was a colored man in a white shirt walking along with his arms upspread to the inky firmament. He must have been praying or calling down a curse. We zoomed right by; I looked out the the back window to see his white eyes. “Whoo” said Neal. “Lookout. We better not stop in this here country.” At one point we got stuck at a crossroads and stopped the car anyway. Neal turned off the headlamps. We were surrounded by a great forest of viney trees in which we could almost hear the slither of a million copperheads. The only thing we could see was the red ampere button on the Hudson dashboard. Louanne squealed with fright. We began laughing maniac laughs to scare her. We were scared too. We wanted to get out of this mansion of the snake, this mireful drooping dark and zoom on back to familiar American ground and cowtowns. There was a smell of oil and dead water in the air. This was a manuscript of the night we couldn’t read. An owl hooted. We took a chance on one of the dirt roads and pretty soon we were crossing the evil old Sabine river that is responsible for all these swamps. With amazement we saw great structures of light ahead of us. “Texas! It’s Texas! Beaumont oiltown!” Huge oil tanks and refineries loomed like cities in the oily fragrant air. “I’m glad we got out of there” said Louanne. “Let’s play some more mystery programs now.” We zoomed through Beaumont, over the Trinity River at Liberty and straight for Houston. Now Neal got talking about his Houston days in 1947. “Hunkey! that mad

1 comment:

information as material said...

p.257 highway is spelt ‘highway’ and elsewhere in the book it is more commonly spelt ‘hiway’…is this an Anglicization by Howard Cunnell or did Kerouac spell the term two different ways in his script?