Thursday, 15 January 2009

13 January 2009

I shaved and showered, I dropped my wallet in the Hall, Neal found it and was about to sneak it in his shirt when he realized it was ours and was right disappointed. Then we said goodbye to those boys who were glad they’d made it in one piece and took off to eat in a cafeteria. Old brown Chicago with the glooms that shroud the Els and the sullen whores that cut along and the strange semi-eastern, semi-western types going to work and spitting: Neal stood in front of the cafeteria rubbing his belly and taking it all in. He wanted to talk to a strange middleaged colored woman who had come into the cafeteria with a story about how she had no money but she had buns with her and would they give her butter. She came in flapping her hips, was turned down and went flipping her ass. “Whoo!” said Neal. “Let’s follow her down the street, let’s take her to the old Cadillac in the alley. We’ll have a ball the three of us.” But we forgot that and headed straight for No. Clark street, after a spin in the Loop, to see the hootchikootchy joints and hear the bop. And what a night it was. “Oh man” said Neal to me as we stood in front of a bar “dig these old Chinamen that cut by Chicago. What a weird town---whee! And that woman in the window up there, just looking down with her big breasts hanging from her nightgown. Just big wide eyes waiting. Wow! Jack we gotta go and never stop going till we get there.” “Where we going man?” “I don’t know but we gotta go.” Then here came a gang of young bop musicians carrying their instruments out of cars. They piled right into a saloon and we followed them. They set themselves up and started blowing. There we were! The leader was a slender drooping curly-haired pursy-mouth tenorman, thin of shoulder, draped loose in a sports shirt, cool in the warm night, self-indulgence written in his eyes, who picked up his horn and frowned in it and blew cool and complex and was dainty stamping his foot to catch ideas and ducked to miss others---and said “Blow” very quietly when the other boys took solos. The leader, the encourager, the schoolmaker in the great formal school of underground American music that would someday be studied all over the universities of Europe and the World. Then there was Prez, a husky handsome blond

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