فصل 09

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فصل 09

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  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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Chapter nine

On the Road Again

We packed my brother’s furniture in the back of the car and promised to be back in thirty hours - thirty hours for a thousand miles north and south! In the large and comfortable Hudson there was plenty of room for all of us to sit up front. It was a new car, but the heater wasn’t working, so a blanket covered our legs. We rushed through Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, and up to Philadelphia on a country road - and talked and talked. I told Dean and Marylou about a beautiful Italian girl with honey-colored hair called Lucille. “I met her at college,” I said, “and I want to marry her.” Marylou wanted to meet her.

In Philadelphia we went to a cafe and ate hamburgers. It was 3 a.m., and the cafe owner heard us talking about money. He offered to give us the hamburgers free, plus more coffee, if we washed all the dirty dishes in the kitchen. “OK!” we said.

Ed and I did the dishes while Dean and Marylou kissed and whispered together in a corner of the kitchen. We finished the dishes in fifteen minutes.

When dawn came we were driving through New Jersey, with the city of New York in the snowy distance. Then we went through the Lincoln Tunnel and over to Times Square, because Marylou wanted to see it.

After that, we went to my house in Paterson and slept. I was the first to wake up, late in the afternoon. There was a phone call from Old Bull Lee, who was in New Orleans. He was complaining.

“A girl called Galatea just arrived at my house,” he said. “She’s looking for a guy called Ed Dunkel.”

“Tell her that Dunkel is with Dean and me,” I said. “Tell her we’ll probably pick her up in New Orleans on our way to the West Coast.”

Then Galatea Dunkel came to the phone herself. “How is Ed?” she wanted to know. “Is he OK? Is he happy?”

I told her that he was. “How did you get from Tucson to New Orleans?” I asked.

“I wrote home for some money, and then got on a bus,” she said. She was determined to catch up with Ed because she loved him. After the phone call, I told Big Ed. He sat in the chair and looked worried.

Next there was a call from Camille in San Francisco, and Dean talked to her. Then we phoned Carlo Marx at his home in Long Island and told him to come over. He arrived two hours later, and sat quietly watching Dean and me get ready for our trip alone to Virginia, to pick up the rest of the furniture and bring my aunt back.

Dean had a shower while I cooked some rice. Marylou mended his socks, and then we were ready to go. Dean, Carlo, and I drove into New York. We promised to see Carlo in thirty hours, in time to greet the New Year.

Dean talked all night. He was very excited about everything he saw, every detail of every moment that passed. “Everything is fine, Sal,” he said. “God exists! I used to be a jail-kid, stealing cars. But all my jail-problems are over now. I shall never be in jail again.” We passed a kid who was throwing stones at cars in the road. “Look,” said Dean. “One day he’ll throw a stone at a car, and the car will crash, and the man will die - all because of that little kid. Yes, God exists. And we know America. We’re at home. I know the people. I know what they do.”

There was nothing clear about the things he said, but what he meant to say was somehow pure and clear. Even my aunt listened, half curiously, as we drove back to New York that night, with the furniture in the back of the car.

At 4 a.m., in Washington, Dean stopped and phoned Camille in San Francisco. Soon after this, a police car overtook us and stopped us because we were going “too fast,” although we were only doing thirty miles an hour. Dean and I went to the police station and tried to explain that we didn’t have any money to pay the fifteen-dollar fine. But while we were arguing with the cops, one of them went out to look in the back of the car where my aunt was sleeping. She woke up and saw him.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “I don’t have a gun. Search the car, if you want to. I’m going home with my nephew, and we didn’t steal this furniture.”

My aunt paid the fine, and Dean promised to pay her when he had the money (and he did, a year and a half later). We arrived at the house in Paterson at 8 a.m.

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