Sunday, 2 November 2008

02 November 2008

him, and dodged a truck and bounced over the city limits. Across the river were the jewel lights of Juarez. Louanne was watching Neal as she had watched him clear across the country and back. Out of the corner of her eye---with a sullen sad air, as though she wanted to cut off his head and hide it in her closet, an envious and rueful love that she knew would never bear fruit because he was too mad. Neal was convinced Louanne was a whore; he confided in me that she was a pathological liar. But when she watched him like this it was love, too; and when Neal noticed he always turned with his false flirtatious smile where a moment ago he was only dreaming in his eternity. Then Louanne and I both laughed---and Neal gave no sign of discomfiture, just a goofy glad grin that said to us “Ain’t we getting our kicks ANYWAY?” And that was it. Outside El Paso, in the darkness, we saw a small huddled figure with thumb stuck out. It was our promised hitchhiker. We pulled up and backed to his side. “How much money you got kid?” The kid had no money; he was about seventeen, pale, strange, with one undeveloped crippled hand and no suitcase. “Ain’t he sweet” said Neal turning to me with a serious awe. “Come on in fella, we’ll take you out---“ The kid saw his advantage. He said he had an Aunt in Tulare California who owned a grocery store and as soon as we got there he’d have some money for us. Neal rolled on the floor laughing, it was so much like the kid in Carolina. “Yes! yes!” he yelled. “We’ve all got aunts, well let’s go, let’s see the aunts and the uncles and the grocery stores all the way along the road and get our kicks.” And we had a new passenger, and a fine little guy he turned out to be, too. He didn’t say a word, he listened to us. After a minute of Neal’s talk he was probably convinced he had joined a car of madmen. He said he was hitching from Alabama to Oregon, where his home was. We asked him what he was doing in Alabama. “I went to visit my Uncle, he said he’d have a job for me in a lumber mill. The job fell through so I’m coming back home.” “Goin’ home,” said Neal, “goin’ home, yes I know, we’ll take you home, far as Frisco anyhow.” But we didn’t have any money. Then it occurred to me I could borrow five dollars from my old friend Alan Harrington in Tuc-

1 comment:

C. L. DeMedeiros said...


Sayin' the same thing
in a different way

I like your profile.