Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/391

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The Burthen of Nineveh

379

Beastly thing to do, but I can use an assumed name. Then we can trot along from there when we get a little more spondulix as you call it. . . . How about cashing that check now?"

She stood waiting for him beside the information desk while he went to get the tickets. She felt alone and tiny in the middle of the great white vault of the station. All her life with Roy was going by her like a movie reeled off backwards, faster and faster. Buck came back looking happy and masterful, his hands full of greenbacks and railway tickets. "No train till seven ten Al," he said. "Suppose you go to the Palace and leave me a seat at the boxoffice. . . . I'll run up and fetch my kit. Wont take a sec. . . . Here's a fiver." And he had gone, and she was walking alone across Fortythird Street on a hot May afternoon. For some reason she began to cry. People stared at her; she couldnt help it. She walked on doggedly with the tears streaming down her face.

"Earthquake insurance, that's what they calls it! A whole lot of good it'll do 'em when the anger of the Lord smokes out the city like you would a hornet's nest and he picks it up and shakes it like a cat shakes a rat. . . . Earthquake insurance!"

Joe and Skinny wished that the man with whiskers like a bottlecleaner who stood over their campfire mumbling and shouting would go away. They didn't know whether he was talking to them or to himself. They pretended he wasnt there and went on nervously preparing to grill a piece of ham on a gridiron made of an old umbrellaframe. Below them beyond a sulphurgreen lace of budding trees was the Hudson going silver with evening and the white palisade of apartment-houses of upper Manhattan.

"Dont say nutten," whispered Joe, making a swift cranking motion in the region of his ear. "He's nuts."