Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/105

This page has been validated.

Tracks

93

"None o that crap Jess, I know your kinda promises." A big crimson hand thickly furred with yellow hairs brushed the chessmen into their box. "Tell the ole woman you had to have a nip to keep the weather out."

"That's no lie neither."

Bud watched their shadows hunched into the rain pass the window.

"What you name?"

Bud turned sharp from the window startled by a shrill squeaky voice in his ear. He was looking into the fireblue eyes of a little yellow man who had a face like a toad, large mouth, protruding eyes and thick closecropped black hair.

Bud's jaw set. "My name's Smith, what about it?"

The little man held out a square callouspalmed hand, "Plis to meet yez. Me Matty."

Bud took the hand in spite of himself. It squeezed his until he winced. "Matty what?" he asked. "Me juss Matty . . . Laplander Matty . . . Come have drink."

"I'm flat," said Bud. "Aint got a red cent."

"On me. Me too much money, take some. . . ." Matty shoved a hand into either pocket of his baggy checked suit and punched Bud in the chest with two fistfuls of greenbacks.

"Aw keep yer money . . . I'll take a drink with yous though."

By the time they got to the saloon on the corner of Pearl Street Bud's elbows and knees were soaked and a trickle of cold rain was running down his neck. When they went up to the bar Laplander Matty put down a five dollar bill.

"Me treat everybody; very happy yet tonight."

Bud was tackling the free lunch. "Hadn't et in a dawg's age," he explained when he went back to the bar to take his drink. The whisky burnt his throat all the way down, dried wet clothes and made him feel the way he used to feel when he was a kid and got off to go to a baseball game Saturday afternoon.

"Put it there Lap," he shouted slapping the little man's broad back. "You an me's friends from now on."