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Manhattan Transfer

so I gave it to her. I pretended it was a joke and laughed it off, ha ha ha. She said, Why it's no good, it's all worn out, and she threw it in the fire. . . . Only another illustration. . . . Friend you wouldn't set me up to another drink would you? I find myself unexpectedly out of funds this afternoon. . . . I thank you sir. . . . Ah that puts ginger in you again."

In the crammed subway car the messenger boy was pressed up against the back of a tall blond woman who smelled of Mary Garden. Elbows, packages, shoulders, buttocks, jiggled closer with every lurch of the screeching express. His sweaty Western Union cap was knocked onto the side of his head. If I could have a dame like dat, a dame like dat'd be wort havin de train stalled, de lights go out, de train wrecked. I could have her if I had de noive an de jack. As the train slowed up she fell against him, he closed his eyes, didnt breathe, his nose was mashed against her neck. The train stopped. He was carried in a rush of people out the door.

Dizzy he staggered up into the air and the blinking blocks of lights. Upper Broadway was full of people. Sailors lounged in twos and threes at the corner of Ninetysixth. He ate a ham and a leberwurst sandwich in a delicatessen store. The woman behind the counter had buttercolored hair like the girl in the subway but she was fatter and older. Still chewing the crust of the last sandwich he went up in the elevator to the Japanese Garden. He sat thinking a while with the flicker of the screen in his eyes. Jeze dey'll tink it funny to see a messengerboy up here in dis suit. I better get de hell outa here. I'll go deliver my telegrams.

He tightened his belt as he walked down the stairs. Then he slouched up Broadway to 105th Street and east towards Columbus Avenue, noting doors, fire escapes, windows, cornices, carefully as he went. Dis is de joint. The only lights were on the second floor. He rang the second floor bell. The doorcatch clicked. He ran up the stairs. A woman