Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/363

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IV. Skyscraper

The young man without legs has stopped still in the middle of the south sidewalk of Fourteenth Street. He wears a blue knitted sweater and a blue stocking cap. His eyes staring up widen until they fill the paperwhite face. Drifts across the sky a dirigible, bright tinfoil cigar misted with height, gently prodding the rainwashed sky and the soft clouds. The young man without legs stops still propped on his arms in the middle of the south sidewalk of Fourteenth Street. Among striding legs, lean legs, waddling legs, legs in skirts and pants and knickerbockers, he stops perfectly still, propped on his arms, looking up at the dirigible.

JOBLESS, Jimmy Herf came out of the Pulizter Building. He stood beside a pile of pink newspapers on the curb, taking deep breaths, looking up the glistening shaft of the Woolworth. It was a sunny day, the sky was a robin's egg blue. He turned north and began to walk uptown. As he got away from it the Woolworth pulled out like a telescope. He walked north through the city of shiny windows, through the city of scrambled alphabets, through the city of gilt letter signs.

Spring rich in gluten. . . . Chockful of golden richness, delight in every bite, the daddy of them all, spring rich in gluten. Nobody can buy better bread than prince albert. Wrought steel, monel, copper, nickel, wrought iron. All the world loves natural beauty. Love's bargain that suit at Gumpel's best value in town. Keep that schoolgirl complexion. . . . Joe kiss, starting, lightning, ignition and generators.

Everything made him bubble with repressed giggles. It was eleven o'clock. He hadnt been to bed. Life was upside down, he was a fly walking on the ceiling of a topsy-turvy city. He'd thrown up his job, he had nothing to do today, tomorrow, next day, day after. Whatever goes up