Friday, 7 November 2008

06 November 2008

empty when he reached me. We heard roaring bop music and cries from the house. “What are you doing here?” I thought, looking up at the beautiful Arizona stars. John came running out of the house and leaped on the horse, dug his heels in, whacked with his hand and galloped lickety-split into the darkness. He was blowing off steam. The horse had to stand all the punishment of our madness. It was just an old horse and could hardly run. Finally John passed out and we woke up Alfred and got in the car and drove back to Harrington’s house. There was a brief goodbye. “It certainly was pleasant” said Harrington looking away. Beyond some trees across the sand a great neon sign of a roadhouse glowed red. Harrington always went there for a beer when he was tired of writing. He was very lonely, he wanted to get back to New York. It was sad to see his tall figure receding in the dark as we drove away, just as the other figures in New York and New Orleans: they stand uncertainly underneath immense skies and everything about them is drowned. Where go? what do? what for? - - sleep. But this foolish gang was bending onwards. Outside Tucson we saw another hitch hiker in the dark road. This was an Okie from Bakersfield California who put down his story: “Hot damn, I left Bakersfield with the Travel Bureau car and left my gui-tar in the trunk of another one and they never showed up..gui-tar and cowboy duds, you see I’m a moo-sician, I was headed for Arizona to play with Johnny Mackaw’s Sagebrush Boys. Well hell, here I am in Arizona broke and m’gui-tar’s been stoled. You boys drive me back to Bakersfield and I’ll get the money from my brother. How much do you want?” We wanted just enough gas to make Frisco from Bakersfield, about three dollars. Now we were five in the car. Off we went. I began recognizing towns in Arizona I’d passed in 1947---Wickenberg, Salome, Quartzsite. In the Mojave desert I drove the car for an hour in a tremendous crosswind that threw shrouds of sand across the headlamps and bucked the car from side to side. Then we started climbing. Our plan was to avoid LA traffic and just make it to San Bernardino and Tehatchapi Pass. In the middle of the night we overtopped the lights of Palm Springs from a mountain road. At dawn, in snowy passes, we labored towards the

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