Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/48

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Manhattan Transfer

Congo's skin had a green chilly look under the frayed turned up coatcollar.

"This is my friend," Emile said to Marco. "Came over on the same boat."

"You havent a bottle of fine under your coat have you? Sapristi I've seen some chickens not half bad come out of this place."

"But what's the matter?"

"Lost my job that's all. . . . I wont have to take any more off that guy. Come over and drink a coffee."

They ordered coffee and doughnuts in a lunchwagon on a vacant lot.

"Eh bien you like it this sacred pig of a country?" asked Marco.

"Why not? I like it anywhere. It's all the same, in France you are paid badly and live well; here you are paid well and live badly."

"Questo paese e completamente soto sopra."

"I think I'll go to sea again. . . ."

"Say why de hell doan yous guys loin English?" said the man with a cauliflower face who slapped the three mugs of coffee down on the counter.

"If we talk Engleesh," snapped Marco "maybe you no lika what we say."

"Why did they fire you?"

"Merde. I dont know. I had an argument with the old camel who runs the place. . . . He lived next door to the stables; as well as washing the carriages he made me scrub the floors in his house. . . . His wife, she had a face like this." Congo sucked in his lips and tried to look crosseyed.

Marco laughed. "Santissima Maria putana!"

"How did you talk to them?"

"They pointed to things; then I nodded my head and said Awright. I went there at eight and worked till six and they gave me every day more filthy things to do. . . . Last night they tell me to clean out the toilet in the bathroom. I shook my head. . . . That's woman's work. . . .