Saturday, 10 January 2009

10 January 2009

seat. A strange pathetic accident took place. A fat colored man was driving his entire family in a sedan in front of us; on the rear bumper hung one of those canvas desert waterbags they sell tourists in the desert. He pulled up sharp, Neal was talking to the boys in the back and didn’t notice, and we rammed him at 15 miles an hour smack on the waterbag which burst like a boil and squirted water in the air. No other damage except a bent fender. Neal and I got out to talk to him. The upshot of it was an exchange of addresses and some talk, and Neal not taking his eyes off the man’s wife whose beautiful brown breasts were barely concealed inside a floppy cotton blouse. “Yass, yass.” We gave him the address of our Chicago baron and went on. The other side of Des Moines a cruising car came after us with the siren growling with orders to pull over. “Now what!” The cop came out. “Were you in an accident coming in?” “Accident? We broke a guy’s waterbag at the junction.” He says he was hit and run by bunch in a stolen car.” This was one of the few instances Neal and I knew of a Negro acting like a suspicious old fool. It so surprised us we laughed. We had to follow the patrolman to the station and there spent an hour waiting in the grass while they telephoned Chicago to get the owner of the Cadillac and verify our position as hired drivers. Mr. Baron said, according to our cop: “Yes that’s my car but I can’t vouch for anything else those boys might have done.” “They were in a minor accident here in Des Moines.” “Yes, you’ve already told me that---what I meant was, I can’t vouch for anything they might have done in the past.” No dope. Everything was straightened out and we roared on. In the afternoon we crossed drowsy old Davenport again and the low-lying Mississippi in her sawdust bed; then Rock Island, a few minutes of traffic, the sun reddening and sudden sights of lovely little tributary rivers flowing softly among the magic trees and greeneries of mid-American Illinois. It was beginning to like the soft sweet East again; the great dry West was accomplished & done. The state of Illinois unfolded before my eyes in one vast movement that lasted a matter of hours as Neal balled straight across at the same speed and in his tiredness was taking greater chances than ever. At a

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