Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/158

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Manhattan Transfer

"Dont you like to see their pictures in the papers?"

"Why cant they let you alone I say. . . . If you aint got no work and you aint got no money, what's the good of em I say?"

"Well lots of people like to see their pictures in the paper. Used to myself in the old days."

"Used to be work in the old days. . . . You aint got no job now?" he growled savagely. Joe Harland shook his head.

"Well what the hell? They ought to leave you alone oughtn't they? Wont be no jobs till snow shoveling begins."

"What'll you do till then?"

The old man didnt answer. He bent over the paper again screwing up his eyes and muttering. "All dressed naked, it's a croime I'm teliin yez."

Joe Harland got to his feet and walked away.

It was almost dark; his knees were stiff from sitting still so long. As he walked wearily he could feel his potbelly cramped by his tight belt. Poor old warhorse you need a couple of drinks to think about things. A mottled beery smell came out through swinging doors. Inside the barkeep's face was like a russet apple on a snug mahogany shelf.

"Gimme a shot of rye." The whiskey stung his throat hot and fragrant. Makes a man of me that does. Without drinking the chaser he walked over to the free lunch and ate a ham sandwich and an olive. "Let's have another rye Charley. That's the stuff to make a man of you. I been laying off it too much, that's what's the matter with me. You wouldnt think it to look at me now, would you friend, but they used to call me the Wizard of Wall Street which is only another illustration of the peculiar predominance of luck in human affairs. . . . Yes sir with pleasure. Well, here's health and long life and to hell with the jinx. . . . Hah makes a man of you . . . Well I suppose there's not one of you gentlemen here who hasnt at some time or other taken a plunger, and how many of you hasnt come back sadder and wiser. Another illustration of the peculiar predominance of luck in human affairs. But not so with me; gentlemen for ten years I played the market, for ten years I didn't