Friday, 26 December 2008

26 December 2008

many states we’ve been in together?” I got all joyful and began telling them the stories. I rejoined Neal in the late afternoon and we started out for Okie Johnny’s, up Broadway, where Neal suddenly sauntered into a sports goods store, calmly picking up a softball on the counter, and came out popping it up and down in his palm. Nobody noticed, nobody ever notices such things. It was a drowsy hot afternoon. We played catch as we went along. “We’ll get a Travel Bureau car for sure tomorrow.” Clementine had given me a big quart of Old Granddad Bourbon. We started drinking it at Johnny’s house. Across the cornfield in back lived a beautiful young chick that Neal had been trying to make ever since he arrived. Trouble was brewing. He threw too many pebbles in her window and frightened her. As we drank the bourbon in the littered livingroom with all its dogs and scattered toys and sad talk Neal kept running out the back kitchen door and crossing the cornfield to throw pebbles and whistle. Once in a while Nancy went out to peek. Suddenly Neal came back pale. “Trouble, m’boy. That gal’s mother is after me with a shotgun and she got a gang of hi school kids to beat me up from down the road.” “What’s this? Where are they?” “Across the cornfield m’boy.” Neal was drunk and didn’t care. We went out together and crossed the cornfield in the moonlight. I saw groups of people on the dark dirt road. “Here they come!” I heard. “Wait a minute” I said “What’s the matter please?” The mother lurked in the background with a big shotgun across her arm. “That damn friend of yours been annoying us long enough---I’m not the kind to call the law---if he comes back here once more I’m gonna shoot and shoot to kill.” The hischool boys were clustered with their fists knotted. I was so drunk I didn’t care either but I soothed everybody some. I said “He won’t do it again, I’ll watch him, he’s my brother and listens to me. Please put the gun away and don’t bother about anything.” “Just one more time!” she said firmly and grimly across the dark. “When my husband gets home I’m sending him after you.” “You don’t have to do that, he won’t bother you any more, understand, now be calm and it’s okay.” Behind me Neal was cursing under his breath. The girl was peeking from her bedroom window. I

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