Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/251

This page has been validated.

Five Statutory Questions


ders and a square red face and thickset neck lurched into the room.

"What the hell do you think this is? . . . This is my kid brother Mike."

"Well what about it?" Mike stood swaying with his chin on his chest. His shoulders bulged against the low ceiling of the kitchen.

"Aint he a whale? But for crissake Mike aint I told you not to come home when you was drinkin? . . . He's loible to tear the house down."

"I got to come home sometime aint I? Since you got to be a wardheeler Joey you been pickin on me worsen the old man. I'm glad I aint goin to stay round this goddam town long. It's enough to drive a feller cookoo. If I can get on some kind of a tub that puts to sea before the Golden Gate by God I'm going to do it."

"Hell I dont mind you stayin here. It's just that I dont like you raisin hell all the time, see?"

"I'm goin to do what I please, git me?"

"You get outa here, Mike. . . . Come back home when you're sober."

"I'd like to see you put me outa here, git me? I'd like to see you put me outa here."

Harland got to his feet. "Well I'm going," he said. "Got to see if I can get that job."

Mike was advancing across the kitchen with his fists clenched. Joey's jaw set; he picked up a chair.

"I'll crown you with it."

"O saints and martyrs cant a woman have no peace in her own house?" A small grayhaired woman ran screaming between them; she had lustrous black eyes set far apart in a face shrunken like a last year's apple; she beat the air with worktwisted hands. "Shut yer traps both of ye, always cursing an fightin round the house like there warnt no God. . . . Mike you go upstairs an lay down on your bed till yer sober."

"I was jus tellin him that," said Joey.

She turned on Harland, her voice like the screech of chalk