Thursday, 5 March 2009

04 March 2009

the whorehouse. It was a magnificent establishment of stucco in the golden sun. On it were written the words “Sale de Baile” which means dancehall, in proud official letters that seemed to me in their dignity and simplicity like the letterings on stone friezes around the Post offices of the United States. In the street, and leaning on the windowsills that opened into the whorehouse, were two cops, saggy-trousered, drowsy, bored, who gave us brief interested looks as we walked in and stayed there the entire three hours that we cavorted under their noses, until we came out at dusk and at Gregor’s bidding gave them the equivalent of twenty four cents each just for the sake of form. And in there we found the girls. Some of them were reclined on couches across the dancefloor, some of them were boozing at the long bar to the right. In the center an arch led into small cubicle shacks that looked like the places where you put on your bathingsuit at public municipal bathhouses. These shacks were in the sun of the court. Behind the bar was the proprietor, a young fellow who instantly ran out when we told him we wanted to hear mambo music and acme back with a stack of records, mostly by Perez Prado, and put them on over the public address system. In an instant all of the city of Victoria could hear the goodtimes going on at the Sale de Baile. In the hall itself the din of the music---for this is the real way to play a jukebox d what it was originally born for---was so tremendous that it shattered neal and Frank and I for a moment in the realization that we had never dared to play music as loud as we wanted and this is how loud we wanted. It blew and shuddered directly at us. In a few minutes half that portion of town was at the windows watching the Americanos dance with the gals. They all stood, side by side with the cops, on the dirt sidewalk leaning in with indifference and casualness. “More Mabo Jambo,” “Chattanooga de Mambo,” “Mambo Numero Ocho,” all these tremendous numbers resounded &b flared in the golden mysterious afternoon like the sounds you expect to hear on the last day of the world and the Second Coming. The trumpets seemed so loud I thought they could hear it clear out in the desert, where the trumpets had originated anyway. The drums were mad.

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