Thursday, 4 December 2008

04 December 2008

was raising himself from a crouch and going down again with his horn, looping it up in a clear cry above the furor. A six foot skinny Negro woman was rolling her bones at the man’s hornbell, and he just jabbed it at her, “Ee! Ee! Ee!” He had a foghorn tone; his horn was taped; he was a shipyard worker and he didn’t care. Everybody was rocking and roaring. Helen and Julie with beer in their hands were standing on their chairs shaking and jumping. Groups of colored guys stumbled in from the street falling over each other to get there. “Stay with it man!” roared a man with a foghorn voice, and let out a big groan that must have been heard clear out in Sacramento, ah-haa! “Whoo!” said Neal. He was rubbing his chest, his belly, the sweat splashed down from his face. Boom, kick, that drummer was kicking his drums down the cellar and rolling the beat upstairs with his murderous sticks, rattlety boom! A big fat man was jumping on the platform making it sag and creak. “Yoo!” The pianist was only pounding the keys with spreadeagled fingers, chords, at intervals when the great tenorman was drawing breath for another blast, Chinese chords, shuddering the piano in every timber, chink and wire, boing! The tenorman jumped down from the platform and just stood in the crowd blowing around; his hat was over his eyes; somebody pushed it back for him. He just hauled back and stamped his foot and blew down a hoarse, baughing blast, and drew breath, and raised the horn and blew high wide and screaming in the air. Neal was directly in front of him with his face lowered to the bell of the horn, clapping his hands, pouring sweat on the man’s keys, and the man noticed and laughed in his horn a long quivering crazy laugh and everybody else laughed and they rocked and rocked; and finally the tenorman decided to blow his top and crouched down and held a note in high C for a long time as everything else crashed along and the cries increased and I thought the cops would come swarming from the nearest precinct. It was just a usual Saturday night goodtime, nothing else. The clock on the wall quivered and shook; nobody cared about that thing. Neal was in a trance. The tenorman’s eyes were fixed straight on him; he had found a madman who not only understood but cared and wanted

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