Thursday, 4 December 2008

03 December 2008

about it. “Ah man don’t worry, everything is perfect and fine.” He was rubbing his belly and licking his lips. The girls came down and we started out on our big night, once more pushing the car down the street till we had it running so fast it got away from us and the girls didn’t come back till they hailed a car willing to push them back to us wandering around laughing in the dark. “Wheeoo! let’s go!” cried Neal, and we jumped in the back seat and clanked to Howard Street, meanwhile hiding so the fellows who were pushing the girls and had come around the corner to find them again would push us all the way to Howard street thinking they had a chance for dates. They were disappointed when the motor started up and Julie made a few fast turns and got us to Howard street minus the boys. Out we jumped in the warm mad night hearing a wild tenorman bawling horn across the way going “EE-YAH! EE-YAH! EE-YAH!” and hands clapping to the beat and folks yelling “Go, go, go!” far from escorting the girls into the place Neal was already racing across the street with his thumb in the air yelling “Blow, man, blow!” A bunch of colored men in Saturday night suits were whopping it up in front. It was a sawdust saloon, all wood, with a small bandstand near the john on which the fellows huddled with their hats on blowing over people’s heads, a crazy place, not far from Market street, in the dingy back of it, near Mission and the big bridge causeway; crazy floppy women wandered around sometimes in their bathrobes, bottles clanked in alleys. In back of the joint in a dark corridor beyond the splattered toilets scores of men and women stood against the wall drinking wine-bolly-olly and spitting at the stars. The behatted tenorman was blowing at the peak of a wonderfully satisfactory free idea, a rising and falling riff that went from “EE-yah!” to a crazier “EE-de-lee-yah!”and blasted along to the rolling crash of butt-scarred drums hammered by a big brutal Negro with a bullneck who didn’t give a damn about anything but punishing his tubs, crash, rattle-ti-boom crash. Uproars of music and the tenorman had it and everybody knew he had it. Neal was clutching his head in the crowd and it was a mad crowd. They were all urging that tenorman to hold it and keep it with the cries and wild eyes; and he

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