Monday, 3 November 2008

03 November 2008

son Arizona. Immediately Neal said it was all settled and we were going to Tucson. And we did. Passing Les Cruces New Mexico in the night, the same Las Cruces that had been Neal’s pivot on the way east, we arrived in Arizona at dawn and I woke up from a deep sleep to find everybody sleeping like lambs and the car parked God knows where because I couldn’t see out the steamy windows. I got out of the car. We were parked in the mountains: There was a heaven of sunrise, cool purple airs, red mountainsides, emerald pastures in valleys, dew, and transmuting clouds of gold; on the ground gopher holes, cactus, mesquite. It was time for me to drive on. I pushed Neal and the kid over and went down the mountain with the clutch in and the motor off to save gas. In this manner I rolled into Benson Arizona. It occurred to me that I had a pocket watch someone had just given me in New York for a birthday present. At the filling station I asked the man if he knew a pawnshop in Benson. It was right next door to the station. I knocked, someone got out of bed, and in a minute I had a dollar for the watch. It went into the tank. Now we had enough gas for Tucson. But suddenly a big pistolpacking trooper appeared just as I was ready to pull out and asked to see my driver’s license. “The fellow in the backseat has the license,” I said. Neal and Louanne were sleeping together under the blanket. The cop told Neal to come out. Suddenly he whipped out his gun and yelled “keep your hands up!” “Officer,” I heard Neal say in the most unctuous and ridiculous tones, “officah, I was only buttoning my flah.” Even the cop almost smiled. Neal came out, muddy, ragged, T-shirted, rubbing his belly, cursing, looking everywhere for his license and his car papers. The cop rummaged thru our back trunk. All the papers were square. “Only checking up” he said with a broad smile. “You can go on now. Benson ain’t a bad town actually, you might enjoy it if you had breakfast here.” “Yes yes yes” said Neal paying absolutely no attention to him and drove off. We all sighed with relief. The police are suspicious when gangs of youngsters come by in new cars without a cent in their pockets and have to pawn watches. “Oh they’re always interfering” said Neal “but he was a much better cop than that rat in Virginia.

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