Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/36

This page has been validated.

24

Manhattan Transfer

roads to the street, until he was walking on new sidewalks along a row of yellow brick apartment houses, looking in the windows of grocery stores, Chinese laundries, lunchrooms, flower and vegetable shops, tailors', delicatessens. Passing under a scaffolding in front of a new building, he caught the eye of an old man who sat on the edge of the sidewalk trimming oil lamps. Bud stood beside him, hitching up his pants; cleared his throat:

"Say mister you couldnt tell a feller where a good place was to look for a job?"

"Aint no good place to look for a job, young feller. . . .

There's jobs all right. . . . I'll be sixty-five years old in a month and four days an I've worked sence I was five I reckon, an I aint found a good job yet."

"Anything that's a job'll do me."

"Got a union card?"

"I aint got nothin."

"Cant git no job in the buildin trades without a union card," said the old man. He rubbed the gray bristles of his chin with the back of his hand and leaned over the lamps again. Bud stood staring into the dustreeking girder forest of the new building until he found the eyes of a man in a derby hat fixed on him through the window of the watchman's shelter. He shuffled his feet uneasily and walked on. If I could git more into the center of things. . . .

At the next corner a crowd was collecting round a high-slung white automobile. Clouds of steam poured out of its rear end. A policeman was holding up a small boy by the armpits. From the car a redfaced man with white walrus whiskers was talking angrily.

"I tell you officer he threw a stone. . . . This sort of thing has got to stop. For an officer to countenance hoodlums and rowdies. . . ."

A woman with her hair done up in a tight bunch on top of her head was screaming, shaking her fist at the man in the car, "Officer he near run me down he did, he near run me down."