Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/163

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Longlegged Jack of the Isthmus


"Zat you Moike?" came faintly the whine of a woman's voice.

"No it's Nicky Schatz."

A sharpfaced woman with henna hair opened the door. She had on a fur coat over frilly lace underclothes.

"Howsa boy?"

"Jeze a swell dame caught me when I was tidying up a little job and whatjer tink she done?" He followed the woman, talking excitedly, into a dining room with peeling walls. On the table were used glasses and a bottle of Green River whiskey. "She gave me a dollar an tole me to be a good little boy."

"The hell she did?"

"Here's a watch."

"It's an Ingersoll, I dont call 'at a watch."

"Well set yer lamps on dis." He pulled out the roll of bills. "Aint dat a wad o lettuce? . . . Got in himmel, dey's tousands."

"Lemme see." She grabbed the bills out of his hand, her eyes popping. "Hay ye're cookoo kid." She threw the roll on the floor and wrung her hands with a swaying Jewish gesture. "Oyoy it's stage money. It's stage money ye simple saphead, you goddam . . ."

Giggling they sat side by side on the edge of the bed. Through the stuffy smell of the room full of little silky bits of clothing falling off chairs a fading freshness came from a bunch of yellow roses on the bureau. Their arms tightened round each other's shoulders; suddenly he wrenched himself away and leaned over her to kiss her mouth. "Some burglar," he said breathlessly.

"Stan . . ."


"I thought it might be Jojo;" she managed to force a whisper through a tight throat. "It'll be just like him to come sneaking around."