فصل 13

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فصل 13

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Chapter thirteen

Back in San Francisco

In the spring of 1949 I had saved a few dollars and I went to Denver. I thought about living there, but I was lonely. Nobody was there - no Babe Rawlins, Ray Rawlins, Tim Gray, Betty Gray, Roland Major, Dean Moriarty, Carlo Marx, Ed Dunkel, nobody. I worked for a while in the fruit market - the hardest job of my whole life. In the evenings I walked in the dark, mysterious streets. I went to see a rich girl I knew and spent the night with her. In the morning she gave me a hundred dollars. “You’ve talked about a trip to San Francisco,” she said. “Take this money and go have your fun.” So all my problems were solved, and I got a share-the-gas ride with four other fellows.

Soon I was seeing the city of San Francisco again, in the middle of the night. I immediately wanted to see Dean. He had a little house now, and I knocked on his door at two o’clock in the morning.

“Sal!” he cried, when he opened the door. “You’ve finally come to me. I didn’t think that you would actually do it.”

“Yes,” I said. “How are things with you?”

“Not very good,” he said. “But we have a million things to talk about, Sal. Come in, come in!”

We began to talk excitedly in the kitchen downstairs, which started Camille crying upstairs. Dean had been quiet for a few months, but now I was here and suddenly he was going mad again.

“She cries, and gets angry every time I’m late, and then won’t talk to me when I stay home.” He ran upstairs to calm her, and I heard Camille shout, “You’re lying!”

Their house had four rooms and a view of the sea. Dean had no car now, and their second baby was coming. It was horrible listening to Camille crying, and later we went out to buy beer and brought it back to the house. Camille finally went to sleep, or spent the night staring into the darkness.

After I left San Francisco the last time, Dean had been crazy about Marylou again, and spent nights standing outside her apartment where every night she entertained a different sailor. He looked through the window in the mornings and saw her in bed with a boy. But he loved her and followed her around town. Then one day he bought some bad marijuana, by mistake, and smoked too much of it. And he had terrible dreams, and woke up screaming.

“Camille was away with the baby, visiting her family,” Dean told me. “The neighbors were worried. They sent for a doctor. Then, Sal, I ran to Marylou with some of that marijuana. And do you know that the same thing happened to her? The same terrible dreams. Then I knew I loved her so much that I wanted to kill her. I got a gun and ran to Marylou’s house, and she was sleeping with a guy. I went away and came back again, and she was alone. I went in and gave her the gun and told her to kill me. She held the gun in her hand for a long time. I said, ‘One of us has to die’ and she said ‘No,’ so I beat my head on the wall. Man, I was crazy! And then she calmed me.”

“Then what happened?” I asked.

“That was months ago. She finally married a man who sells cars. He has promised to kill me if he ever finds me near her. If necessary, I’ll have to kill him, and then I’ll go to San Quentin prison.” He showed me his hand and I saw that it was injured. “I hit Marylou the last time we met, and I broke my thumb. A horrible doctor tried to mend it, but a pin went through the top of my thumb and infected the bone. I had to have an operation, and a piece off the end of my thumb.” He unwrapped the bandages and showed me. “It got worse, and I can’t work with it. So I look after the baby while Camille works. You’ll see my beautiful little daughter tomorrow, Sal, and I know everything will be all right.

“We’re growing older, Sal,” he went on. “We’re beginning to know things. I understand what you tell me about your life, and now you’re ready to meet a girl, and make her your own… I’ve tried so hard with my women, Sal!”

And in the morning Camille threw both of us out. I had been out to a bar and I came back to find Dean and Camille shouting at each other. I went through and locked myself in the bathroom. A few moments later Camille threw Dean’s things on to the living-room floor and told him to pack. I heard Dean’s crazy laugh, together with the cries of the baby, and then he was packing his things into an old suitcase. I got my bag and packed it as Camille lay in bed shouting “You’re lying! You’re lying!” Then we ran out of the house and down the street.

Dean had not shaved, his hair was wild, and he was wearing a torn shirt. And he was grinning the silliest grin I’ve ever seen.

“Why did she throw you out?” I said. “What did you do?”

“What?” he said, confused. “What? What?” Poor, poor Dean - half-crazy, with an infected thumb, and surrounded by the broken suitcases of his life across America. “Let’s walk to New York,” he said, “and consider our circumstances on the way.”

I took out my money, counted it, and showed it to him. “I have eighty-three dollars so, yes, let’s go to New York - and after that let’s go to Italy.” His eyes became excited, and I went on, “I’ll get a thousand dollars for my book. We’ll go and enjoy all the crazy women in Rome, Paris, all those places. We’ll sit in pavement cafes!”

We promised ourselves two days of fun in San Francisco before starting our journey, and we went to see Galatea Dunkel about a place to sleep.

Ed had left her again and was in Denver. “He’ll come back when his money is gone,” she said. “He can’t look after himself without me. He’s a fool. All he has to do is know that I love him.”

We decided to go out that night and listen to some jazz, and the three of us went to get Marie, a six-foot blonde who lived in an apartment down the street. She had a little daughter, and an old car which Dean and I had to push down the street before it started.

We went back to Galatea’s apartment with Marie and her daughter. Roy Johnson and Dorothy, his wife, came and sat with us.

“Camille called and said that you left her, Dean,” Galatea said. “Don’t you realize you have a daughter?”

“He didn’t leave her,” I said. “She kicked him out!”

They all looked at me, particularly Dorothy Johnson who stared at me with a nasty look on her face.

“I think Marylou was very wise to leave you, Dean,” said Galatea. “You have no sense of responsibility. You’ve done so many awful things I don’t know what to say to you.”

Dean just laughed. He stood on the carpet in the middle of them and did a little dance.

“Camille is crying her heart out tonight,” Galatea went on, “but she never wants to see you again. But you don’t care! You just stand here and do silly dances!”

Dean did care, and I wanted to go and put my arm around him and tell them that this guy had troubles too.

“Now you’re going East with Sal!” said Galatea. “Camille has to stay home and look after the baby now that you’ve gone. How can she keep her job? And if you see Ed along the road, you tell him to come back or I’ll kill him!”

Dean was standing by the door, looking into the street. And then, without speaking a word, he walked out of the apartment and went to wait for us downstairs.

“Come on, Galatea, Marie, let’s go to the jazz clubs and forget it,” I said. “Dean will be dead one day. Then what can you say to him?”

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