Wednesday, 5 November 2008

05 November 2008

bowed in the sand and talked to her. Now there were seven visitors going both ways roaming around the yard. H.’s little boy Steve darted among us on his bicycle. We all drove to a crossroads liquor store where Harrington cashed a check for five dollars and handed me the money. Then he said we might as well visit his friend who had a ranch in the canyon, John by name. We drove up and piled into the guy’s house. John was a big gigolo with a beard married to the girl who owned the ranch. They had an immense picture window in the living room that looked out over the mesquite valley. They had bop records, everything to drink, a maid, two children who came home from school on horseback and every conceivable comfort. An immense party took place. It started in the afternoon and ended at midnight. Once I looked out the picture window and saw Alan Harrington galloping by on a horse with a shot of whisky in his hand. Neil did tremendous feverish things with big handsome bearded John: he took him out for a ride in the Hudson and apparently demonstrated his soul by driving a hundred miles an hour, then by weaving languidly in the traffic, then by barely missing posts and cactus, so when they came back John gripped my arm and said “Are you going all the way to the Coast with that crazy cat? If I were you I wouldn’t try it. That cat is really crazy.” He and Neal were both sweating with excitement. There were new dents on the car. The maid was preparing a big ranch dinner for us in the kitchen. Neal tried to make her, then he tried to make John’s wife. John tried to make Louanne. Poor little Alfred fell asleep exhausted on the livingroom rug; he was a long ways from Alabama and a long ways from Oregon and suddenly thrown into a frantic ranch party in the mountains of the night. When Neal vanished with the pretty wife and John went upstairs with Louanne I was beginning to get scared things would explode before we had time to eat, so I ladeled out some chili with the maid’s permission and ate standing up. I began to hear arguments and crashing glass upstairs. John’s wife was throwing things at him. I went out and rode the old horse a half-mile down the valley and back. Harrington came running and leaping over the mesquite with a shotglass in his hand for me. It was almost

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