Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/332

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Manhattan Transfer

. . . I ought to get out and see what's going on. He groped for the front door. It was locked. He walked over to the piano and put another nickel in. Then he lit a fresh cigarette and started walking up and down again. Always the way . . . a parasite on the drama of life, reporter looks at everything through a peephole. Never mixes in. The piano was playing Yes We Have No Bananas. "Oh hell!" he kept muttering and ground his teeth and walked up and down.

Outside the tramp of steps broke into a scuffle, voices snarled. There was a splintering of wood and the crash of breaking bottles. Jimmy looked out through the window of the diningroom. He could see the shadows of men struggling and slugging on the boatlanding. He rushed into the kitchen, where he bumped into Congo sweaty and staggering into the house leaning on a heavy cane.

"Goddam . . . dey break my leg," he shouted.

"Good God." Jimmy helped him groaning into the diningroom.

"Cost me feefty dollars to have it mended last time I busted it."

"You mean your cork leg?"

"Sure what you tink?"

"Is it prohibition agents?"

"Prohibition agents nutten, goddam hijackers. . . . Go put a neeckel in the piano." Beautiful Girl of My Dreams, the piano responded gayly.

When Jimmy got back to him, Congo was sitting in a chair nursing his stump with his two hands. On the table lay the cork and aluminum limb splintered and dented. "Regardez moi ça . . . c'est foutu . . . completement foutu." As he spoke Cardinale came in. He had a deep gash over his eyes from which a trickle of blood ran down his cheek on his coat and shirt. His wife followed him rolling back her eyes; she had a basin and a sponge with which she kept making ineffectual dabs at his forehead. He pushed her away. "I crowned one of em good wid a piece o pipe. I think he fell in de water. God I hope he