Wednesday, 3 December 2008

30 November 2008

at the starter. I heard them giggle about me “Jack’s just come in from a long trip---he has to be relieved.” We went to Helen’s and there everybody sat around---Julie, her daughter, Helen, Bill Tomson, Helena Tomson---all sullen in the overstuffed furniture as I stood in a corner neutral in Frisco problems and Neal stood in the middle of the room with his balloon-thumb in the air breast-high, giggling. “Gawd damn” he said “we’re all losing our fingers…hawr hawr hawr.” “Neal why do you act so foolish?” said Helen. “Carolyn called and said you left her. Don’t you realize you have a daughter.” “he didn’t leave her, she kicked him out!” I said breaking my neutrality. They all gave me dirty looks; Neal grinned. “And with that thumb what do you expect the poor guy to do.” I added. They all looked at me: particularly Helena Tomson lowered a mean gaze on my flesh. It wasn’t anything but a sewing circle and the center of it was the culprit, Neal---responsible perhaps for everything that was wrong. I looked out the window at the buzzing night-street of Mission; I wanted to get going and hear the great jazz of Frisco, and remember this was only my second night in town, everything had happened aheap. “I think Louanne was very wise leaving you Neal. For years now you haven’t any sense of responsibility for anyone. You’ve done so many awful things I don’t know what to say to you.” And in fact that was the point and they all sat around just looking at Neal with lowered and hating eyes and he just stood on the carpet in the middle of them and giggled---he merely giggled. He made a little dance. His bandage was getting dirtier all the time, it began to flop and unroll. I suddenly realized that Neal was by virtue of his enormous series of sins becoming the Idiot…the Imbecile…the Saint of the Lot. “You have absolutely no regard for anybody but yourself and your damned kicks. All you think about is what’s hanging between your legs and how much money or fun you can get out of people and then you throw them aside…Not only that but you’re silly about it. It never occurs to you that life is serious and there are people trying to make something decent out of it instead of just goofing all the time.” That’s what Neal was, the HOLY GOOF. “Carolyn is crying her heart out tonight but don’t think for a minute

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