Monday, 5 January 2009

05 January 2009

dead and gone. Neal hopped in his chair convulsively. “Well yes, well yes, and now I think we’d better be cutting along because we gotta be in Chicago by tomorrow night and we’ve already wasted several hours.” The college boys thanked Uhl graciously and we were off again. I turned to watch the kitchen light recede in the sea of night. Then I leaned ahead. In no time at all we were back on the highway and that night I saw the entire state of Nebraska unroll perceptibly before my eyes. A hundred and ten miles an hour straight through, an arrow road, sleeping towns, no traffic, and the Union Pacific streamliner falling behind us in the moonlight. I wasn’t frightened at all that night; it was the next day when I saw how fast we were going that I gave it up and went in the back seat to shut my eyes. Now in the moony night it was perfectly legitimate to go 110 and talk and have all the Nebraska towns---Ogallala, Gothenburg, Kearny, Grand Island, Columbus---unreel with dreamlike rapidity as we roared ahead and talked. It was a magnificent car, it could hold the road like a boat holds water. Gradual curves were its singing ease. But Neal was punishing this car and by the time we got to Chicago, not the next night but when it was still daylight, the rods were all but gone. “Ah man what a dreamboat” sighed Neal. “Think if you and I had a car like this what we could do. Do you know there’s a road that goest down Mexico and all the way to Panama?- -and maybe all the way to the bottom of South America where the Indians are seven feet tall and eat cocaine on the mountainside? Yes! You and I, Jack, we’d dig the whole world with a car like this because man the road must eventually lead to the whole world. Ain’t nowhere else it can go? Right? Oh and are we going cut around old Chi with this thing! Think of it Jack I’ve never been to Chicago in all my life.” We’ll come in there like gangsters in this Cadillac!” “Yes! And girls!---we can pick up girls, in fact Jack I’ve decided to make extra special fast time so we can have an entire evening to cut around in this thing. Now you just relax and I’ll ball the jack all the way.” “Well how fast are you going now?” “A steady one-ten I figure---you wouldn’t notice it. We’ve still got all Iowa in the daytime and then I’ll make that old Illinois in nothing flat.” The boys

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