Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/96

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Manhattan Transfer

steamengines and automobiles they give you with your change. I'll hurry; on rollerskates it'd take less time, you could escape from bandits, thugs, holdupmen, on rollerskates, shooting over your shoulder with a long automatic, bing . . . one of em down! that's the worst of em, bing . . . there's another; the rollerskates are magic rollerskates, whee . . . up the brick walls of the houses, over the roofs, vaulting chimneys, up the Flatiron Building, scooting across the cables of Brooklyn Bridge.

Mirror candies; this time he goes in without hesitating. He stands at the counter a while before anyone comes to wait on him. "Please a pound of sixty cents a pound mixed chocolate creams," he rattled off. She is a blond lady, a little crosseyed, and looks at him spitefully without answering. "Please I'm in a hurry if you dont mind."

"All right, everybody in their turn," she snaps. He stands blinking at her with flaming cheeks. She pushes him a box all wrapped up with a check on it "Pay at the desk." I'm not going to cry. The lady at the desk is small and grey-haired. She takes his dollar through a little door like the little doors little animals go in and out of in the Small Mammal House. The cash register makes a cheerful tinkle, glad to get the money. A quarter, a dime, a nickel and a little cup, is that forty cents? But only a little cup instead of a steamengine or an automobile. He picks up the money and leaves the little cup and hurries out with the box under his arm. Mother'll say I've been too long. He walks home looking straight ahead of him, smarting from the meanness of the blond lady.

"Ha . . . been out abuyin candy," said the lighthaired bellhop. "I'll give you some if you come up later," whispered Jimmy as he passed. The brass rods rang when he kicked them running up the stairs. Outside the chocolate-colored door that had 503 on it in white enameled letters he remembered his rubbers. He set the candy on the floor and pulled them on over his damp shoes. Lucky Muddy wasn't waiting for him with the door open. Maybe she'd seen him coming from the window.