Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/187

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Nine Days' Wonder

175

"Absinthe for breakfast. . . . Good Lord."

They drove west along Twenty-third Street that shone with sheets of reflected light off windows, oblong glints off delivery wagons, figureeight-shaped flash of nickel fittings.

"How's Ruth, Jimmy?"

"She's all right. She hasnt got a job yet."

"Look there's a Daimlier."

Jimmy grunted vaguely. As they turned up Sixth Avenue a policeman stopped them.

"Your cut out," he yelled.

"I'm on my way to the garage to get it fixed. Muffler's coming off."

"Better had. . . . Get a ticket another time."

"Gee you get away with murder Stan ... in everything," said Jimmy. "I never can get away with a thing even if I am three years older than you."

"It's a gift."

The restaurant smelled merrily of fried potatoes and cocktails and cigars and cocktails. It was hot and full of talking and sweaty faces.

"But Stan dont roll your eyes romantically when you ask about Ruth and me. . . . We're just very good friends."

"Honestly I didnt mean anything, but I'm sorry to hear it all the same. I think it's terrible."

"Ruth doesn't care about anything but her acting. She's so crazy to succeed, she cuts out everything else."

"Why the hell does everybody want to succeed? I'd like to meet somebody who wanted to fail. That's the only sublime thing."

"It's all right if you have a comfortable income."

"That's all bunk. . . . Golly this is some cocktail. Herfy I think you're the only sensible person in this town. You have no ambitions."

"How do you know I havent?"

"But what can you do with success when you get it? You cant eat it or drink it. Of course I understand that people who havent enough money to feed their faces and all that should scurry round and get it. But success . . ."