Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/31

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Metropolis

19

table who was holding a newspaper in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. "Kin you beat it?"

"Beat what?" growled a longfaced man with a toothpick in the corner of his mouth.

"Big snake appears on Fifth Avenue. . . . Ladies screamed and ran in all directions this morning at eleven thirty when a big snake crawled out of a crack in the masonry of the retaining wall of the reservoir at Fifth Avenue and Fortysecond Street and started to cross the sidewalk. . . ."

"Some fish story. . . ."

"That aint nothin," said an old man. "When I was a boy we used to go snipeshootin on Brooklyn Flats. . . ."

"Holy Moses! it's quarter of nine," muttered the young man folding his paper and hurrying out into Hudson Street that was full of men and girls walking briskly through the ruddy morning. The scrape of the shoes of hairyhoofed drayhorses and the grind of the wheels of producewagons made a deafening clatter and filled the air with sharp dust. A girl in a flowered bonnet with a big lavender bow under her pert tilted chin was waiting for him in the door of M. Sullivan & Co., Storage and Warehousing. The young man felt all fizzy inside, like a freshly uncorked bottle of pop.

"Hello Emily! . . . Say Emily I've got a raise."

"You're pretty near late, d'you know that?"

"But honest injun I've got a two-dollar raise."

She tilted her chin first to oneside and then to the other.

"I dont give a rap."

"You know what you said if I got a raise." She looked in his eyes giggling.

"An this is just the beginnin . . ."

"But what good's fifteen dollars a week?"

"Why it's sixty dollars a month, an I'm learning the import business."

"Silly boy you'll be late." She suddenly turned and ran up the littered stairs, her pleated bellshaped skirt swishing from side to side.

"God! I hate her. I hate her." Sniffing up the tears