My first ride was a dynamite truck with a red flag, about thirty miles into great green Illinois, the truckdriver pointing out the place where Route 6, which we were on, intersects Route 66 before they both shoot west for incredible distances. And his "criminality" was not something that sulked and sneered; it was a wild yea-saying overburst of American joy; it was Western, the west wind, an ode from the Plains, something new, long prophesied, long a-coming he only stole cars for joy rides. I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was - I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I decided to spend a buck on beer; we went to an old saloon in Stuart and had a few. And the new truckdriver was as crazy as the other and yelled just as much, and all I had to do was lean back and roll on. A hotrod kid came by with his scarf flying. He swore he could get me into the engine room. All the men were driving home from work, wearing railroad hats, baseball hats, all kinds of hats, just like after work in any town anywhere.
A hotrod kid came by with his scarf flying. Now I wanted to sleep a whole day. To get to 6 I had to go up to Bear Mountain. I was all for it. If you want to go to Chicago you'd do better going across the Holland Tunnel in New York and head for Pittsburgh," and I knew he was right. That went on till three o'clock in the morning. Luckily a man going back to Davenport gave me a lift downtown. From that moment on I saw very little of Dean, and I was a little sorry too. I'll just stay on 6 all the way to Ely, I said to myself and confidently started. There he got as drunk as he ever did in his Ninth Avenue night back home, and yelled joyously in my ear all the sordid dreams of his life. All the way from New York to Joliet by bus, and I had spent more than half my money. At this time, , bop was going like mad all over America. The fellows at the Loop blew, but with a tired air, because bop was somewhere between its Charlie Parker Ornithology period and another period that began with Miles Davis. The sun was going down. So he expected me to arrive in ten days. Along about three in the afternoon, after an apple pie and ice cream in a roadside stand, a woman stopped for me in a little coupe. This picture Carlo and Dean neatly cut down the middle with a razor and saved a half each in their wallets. The most fantastic parking-lot attendant in the world, he can back a car forty miles an hour into a tight squeeze and stop at the wall, jump out, race among fenders, leap into another car, circle it fifty miles an hour in a narrow space, back swiftly into tight spot, hump, snap the car with the emergency so that you see it bounce as he flies out; then clear to the ticket shack, sprinting like a track star, hand a ticket, leap into a newly arrived car before the owner's half out, leap literally under him as he steps out, start the car with the door flapping, and roar off to the next available spot, arc, pop in, brake, out, run; working like that without pause eight hours a night, evening rush hours and after-theater rush hours, in greasy wino pants with a frayed fur-lined jacket and beat shoes that flap. Although my aunt warned me that he would get me in trouble, I could hear a new call and see a new horizon, and believe it at my young age; and a little bit of trouble or even Dean's eventual rejection of me as a buddy, putting me down, as he would later, on starving sidewalks and sickbeds - what did it matter? And what a driver - a great big tough truckdriver with popping eyes and a hoarse raspy voice who just slammed and kicked at everything and got his rig under way and paid hardly any attention to me. And here for the first time in my life I saw my beloved Mississippi River, dry in the summer haze, low water, with its big rank smell that smells like the raw body of America itself because it washes it up. He wore a beat sweater and baggy pants and had nothing with him in the way of a bag - just a toothbrush and handkerchiefs. I went to sit in the bus station and think this over. I arrived in Chi quite early in the morning, got a room in the Y, and went to bed with a very few dollars in my pocket. They rushed down the street together, digging everything in the early way they had, which later became so much sadder and perceptive and blank. He was a real red-nose young drunk of thirty and would have bored me ordinarily, except that my senses were sharp for any kind of human friendship.
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Nick Offerman and His College Roommate Had Sexual Codes
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