Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/247

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Went to the Animals' Fair

235

"There ought to be a subway station near. . . . Isn't that a blue light down there? Let's hurry or we'll get soaked."

"Oh hell Tony I'd just as soon get soaked as not." Jimmy took off his felt hat and swung it in one hand. The raindrops were cool on his forehead, the smell of the rain, of roofs and mud and asphalt, took the biting taste of whiskey and cigarettes out of his mouth.

"Gosh it's horrible," he shouted suddenly.

"What?"

"All the hushdope about sex. I'd never realized it before tonight, the full extent of the agony. God you must have a rotten time. . . . We all of us have a rotten time. In your case it's just luck, hellish bad luck. Martin used to say: Everything would be so much better if suddenly a bell rang and everybody told everybody else honestly what they did about it, how they lived, how they loved. It's hiding things makes them putrefy. By God it's horrible. As if life wasn't difficult enough without that."

"Well I'm going down into this subway station."

"You'll have to wait hours for a train."

"I cant help it I'm tired and I dont want to get wet."

"Well good night."

"Good night Herf."

There was a long rolling thunderclap. It began to rain hard. Jimmy rammed his hat down on his head and yanked his coatcollar up. He wanted to run along yelling sonsobitches at the top of his lungs. Lightning flickered along the staring rows of dead windows. The rain seethed along the pavements, against storewindows, on brownstone steps. His knees were wet, a slow trickle started down his back, there were chilly cascades off his sleeves onto his wrists, his whole body itched and tingled. He walked on through Brooklyn. Obsession of all the beds in all the pigeonhole bedrooms, tangled sleepers twisted and strangled like the roots of potbound plants. Obsession of feet creaking on the stairs of lodginghouses, hands fumbling at doorknobs. Obsession of pounding temples and solitary bodies rigid on their beds.