Tuesday, 24 February 2009

19 February 2009

bum.” Suddenly we were in absolute tropical heat at the bottom of a five mile long hill and up ahead we saw the lights of old San Antonio. You had the feeling all this used to be Mexican territory indeed. Houses by the side of the road were different, gas stations beater, fewer lamps. Neal delightedly took the wheel to roll us into San Antonio. We entered town in a wilderness of Mexican rickety southern shacks without cellars and old rocking chairs on the porch. We stopped at a mad gas station to get a greasejob. Mexicans were standing around in the hot light of the overhead bulbs that were blackened by valley summerbugs, reaching down into a softdrink box and pulling out beer bottles and throwing the money to the attendant. Whole families lingered around doing this. All around there were shacks and drooping trees and a wild cinnamon smell in the air. Frantic teenage Mexican girls came by with boys. “Hoo!” yelled Neal. “Si! Manana!” Music was coming from all sides, and all kinds of music. Frank and I drank several bottles of beer and got high. We were already almost out of America and yet definitely in it and in the middle of where it’s maddest. Hotrods blew by. San Antonio, ah-haa! “Now men listen to me---we might as well goof a couple of hours in San Antone and so we will go and find a hospital clinic for Frank’s arm and you and I Jack will cut around and git these streets dug---look at those houses across the street, you can see right into the frontroom and all the purty daughters lying around with True Love magazines, whee! Come, let’s go!” We drove around aimlessly awhile and asked people for the nearest hospital clinic. It was near downtown, where things looked more sleek and American, several semi-skyscrapers and many neons and chain drugstores yet with cars crashing through from the dark around town as if there were no traffic laws. We parked the car in the hospital driveway and I went with Frank to see an interne while Neal stayed in the car and changed. The hall of the hospital was full of poor Mexican women, some of them pregnant, some of them sick or bringing their little sick kiddies. It was sad. I thought of poor Bea Franco and what she was doing now. Frank had to wait an entire hour till an interne came along and looked at his swollen arm. There was a name

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