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Manhattan Transfer

"They must a caught you young."

"I was sixteen when I enlisted." He picks up his change and follows Rooney's broad shambling back into the street. At the end of the street, beyond trucks and the roofs of warehouses, he can see masts and the smoke of steamers and white steam rising into the sunlight.

"Pull down the shade," comes the man's voice from the bed.

"I cant, it's busted. . . . Oh hell, here's the whole business down." Anna almost bursts out crying when the roll hits her in the face, "You fix it," she says going towards the bed.

"What do I care, they cant see in," says the man catching hold of her laughing.

"It's just those lights," she moans, wearily letting herself go limp in his arms.

It is a small room the shape of a shoebox with an iron bed in the corner of the wall opposite the window. A roar of streets rises to it rattling up a V shaped recess in the building. On the ceiling she can see the changing glow of electric signs along Broadway, white, red, green, then a jumble like a bubble bursting, and again white, red, green.

"Oh Dick I wish you'd fix that shade, those lights give me the willies."

"The lights are all right Anna, it's like bein in a theater. . . . It's the Gay White Way, like they used to say."

"That stuff's all right for you out of town fellers, but it gives me the willies."

"So you're workin for Madame Soubrine now are you Anna?"

"You mean I'm scabbin. . . . I know it. The old woman trew me out an it was get a job or croak. . . ."

"A nice girl like you Anna could always find a boyfriend."

"God you buyers are a dirty lot. . . . You think that because I'll go with you, I'd go wid anybody. . . . Well I wouldnt, do you get that?"