Sunday, 23 November 2008

19 November 2008

lars poorer. I never dreamed I’d have a thousand dollars anyway. It was all gone in a matter of weeks. I stood poised on the great western plain and I didn’t know what to do. I said to myself “Well I might as well go be mad again” and I made preparations to go get Neal in San Francisco and see what he was doing now. I tried honest ways to get the money together for the voyage to the Coast. One morning at three A.M. I got up and hitch hiked down from my house out of Alameda Boulevard Denver six miles into town; only thing is I didn’t get any rides and I just plainly hiked it. I arrived at the Denargo Fruit Wholesale Markets before daybreak, dogtired. This was the place I had almost worked in 1947 with Eddy my roadbuddy. I was hired immediately. There then began a day of labor that I shall never forget. I worked from 4 o’clock in the morning clear to six o’clock in the evening, and at the end of the day I was paid eleven dollars and some change. And the work was so hard that I quickly developed Charley Horses in my arms and almost had to scream to go on. Of course I was soft compared to the Japanese fellows who worked side by side with me; their muscles were attuned to this onerous business of dragging a fruit wagon loaded eight crates high and having to balance it and pull it with arms outstretched and if you make one mistake you ruin a whole load of fruit and do it on your own poor head. I cut around all day with these muscular Nisei and swore and swore. At one point we had to stick a gadget under the wheels of a great boxcar and advance it down the tracks at the rate of half-an-inch a yank on the lever---a hundred foot down the line. I myself unloaded a boxcar and a half of fruit-crates in the entire day, interrupted only by one trip to the Denver wholesale houses where I lugged watermelon crates over the icy floor of a boxcar into the blazing sun of an ice-splattered truck and developed a mean sneeze. It was okay with me once again I wanted to get to San Francisco and what for? In God’s name and under the stars what for? For joy, for kicks, for something burning in the night. The other fellows each loaded three boxcars apiece and I was half as fast, consequently the boss felt I was not a fit prospect for his profitable

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