Monday, 23 February 2009

18 February 2009

Abilene where they shipped the cows and shot it up for gumshoes and drank red-eye. Lookout there!” yelled Neal out the window with his mouth contorted. He didn’t care about Texas or anyplace. Redfaced Texans paid him no attention and hurried along the burning sidewalks. We stopped to eat on the hiway south of town. Nightfall seemed like a million miles away as we resumed for Coleman and Brady---the heart of Texas only, wildernesses of brush with an occasional house near a thirsty creek and a fifty mile dirtroad detour and endless heat. “Old dobe Mexico’s a long way away” said Neal sleepily from the backseat “so keep her rolling boys and we’ll be kissing senoritas b’dawn cause this old Ford can roll if y’know how to talk to her and ease her along---except the backend’s about to fall but don’t worry about it till we get there. Heeyah!” and he went to sleep. I took the wheel and drove all the way to Fredericksburg, and here again I was crisscrossing the old map again, same place Louanne and I had held hands on a snowy morning in 1949, and where was Louanne now? “Blow!” yelled Neal in a dream and I guess he was dreaming of Frisco jazz and maybe Mexican mambo to come. Frank talked and talked: Neal had wound him up the night before and now he was never going to stop. He was in England by now, relativing adventures hitchhiking on the English road, London to Liverpool, with his hair long and his pants ragged and strange British truckdrivers giving him a lift. We were all redeyed from the continual mistral-winds of old Tex-ass. There was a rock in each of our bellies and we knew we were getting there if only slow. The car only pushed forty with shuddering effort. From Fredericksburg we descended the great western high plains in darkness towards the hot basins of Rio Grande. San Antone was straight ahead. “Still be long after midnite before we get to Laredo” warned Neal. We were all awake anticipating San Antonio. It grew hotter and hotter in the luscious night as we descended the plains. Moths began smashing our windshield. “Getting’ down into the hot country now boys, the desert rats and the tequila. And this is my first time this far South in Texas” added Neal with wonder. “Gawd-damn! this is where my old man comes in the wintertime, sly old

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