Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/296

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Manhattan Transfer

"Oh no we were old friends. . . . But we were thrown together a lot. . . . We were in the same department of the Red Cross—the Publicity Department."

"A real war romance," chanted Mrs. Merivale. "Isn't that interesting?"

"Now fellers it's this way," shouted Joe O'Keefe, the sweat breaking out on his red face. "Are we going to put over this bonus proposition or aint we? . . . We fought for em didnt we, we cleaned up the squareheads, didnt we? And now when we come home we get the dirty end of the stick. No jobs. . . . Our girls have gone and married other fellers. . . . Treat us like a bunch o dirty bums and loafers when we ask for our just and legal and lawful compensation. . . . the bonus. Are we goin to stand for it? . . . No. Are we goin to stand for a bunch of politicians treatin us like we was goin round to the back door to ask for a handout? . . . I ask you fellers. . . ."

Feet stamped on the floor. "No." "To hell wid em," shouted voices. . . . "Now I say to hell wid de politicians. . . . We'll carry our campaign to the country . . . to the great big generous bighearted American people we fought and bled and laid down our lives for."

The long armory room roared with applause. The wounded men in the front row banged the floor with their crutches. "Joey's a good guy," said a man without arms to a man with one eye and an artificial leg who sat beside him. "He is that Buddy." While they were filing out offering each other cigarettes, a man stood in the door calling out, "Committee meeting. Committee on Bonus."

The four of them sat round a table in the room the Colonel had lent them. "Well fellers let's have a cigar." Joe hopped over to the Colonel's desk and brought out four Romeo and Juliets. "He'll never miss em."

"Some little grafter I'll say," said Sid Garnett stretching out his long legs.