Tuesday, 2 December 2008

29 November 2008

“Paris---“. I took one last look at Marin City and I knew there was no sense trying to dig up the involved past; instead we decided to go see Helen Hinkle about sleeping accommodations. Al had left her again, was in Denver, and damned if she still didn’t plot to get him back. We found her sitting on the Oriental-type rug of her fourroom tenement flat on upper Mission crosslegged with a deck of fortune cards. I saw sad signs that Al Hinkle had lived here a while and then left out of stupors and disinclinations only. “He’ll come back” said Helen “that guy can’t take care of himself without me---it was Jim Holmes who did it this time.” She gave a furious look at Neal and Bill Tomson. “All the time before he came Al was perfectly happy and worked and we went out and had wonderful times. Neal you know that. Then they’d sit in the bathroom for hours, Al in the bathtub and Holmes on the seat and talk and talk and talk---such silly things.” Neal laughed. For years he was the chief prophet of that gang and now they were learning his technique. Jim Holmes had grown a beard and his big sorrowful blue eyes had come looking for Al Hinkle in Frisco; what happened, he (actually and no lie) had his small finger amputated in a Denver mishap and collected a goodly sum of money. For no reason under the sun they decided to give Helen the slip and go to Maine---this too is no lie, Portland Maine, where apparently Holmes had an aunt of some kind. So they were now either in Denver going through or already in Portland. “When Jim’s money runs out Al’ll be back” said Helen looking at her cards. “Damn fool…he doesn’t know anything and never did. All he had to do is know that I love him.” Helen Hinkle looked like the daughter of the Greeks with the sunny camera as she sat there on the rug, her long hair streaming to the floor, plying the tellingcards. I got to like her. We even decided to go out that night and hear jazz and Neal would take a six foot blonde that lived down the street, Julie. “In that case may I leave now?” said Tomson sassily, and we told him to go ahead but be ready for the next day. And that night Helen, Neal and I went to get Julie. This girl had a basement apartment, a little daughter and an old car that barely ran and which Neal and I had to push down the street as the girls jammed

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