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December 10, 1938 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1938-12-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Pose Eight

PERSPECTIVES

THE MAN.WHO DID RIGHT
..by Don Cozadd

4

THE OLD FRENCH QUARTER of
New Orleans looked the Vie. It
was late dusk when he walked
out along Market street think-
ing that it was good to be here even if it
wasn't home. It was his home port, any
way. Here he was with ninety dollars
after eight months of sailing, and that's
a long time. It leaves a fellow kind of
lotesome, lonesome for a different sort
of companionship than ahe finds on'
freight ships, or than he can find in Rio
or in Jamaica. It was a much longer.
time since he had been home, and of
course it was a long trip from New
Orleans to Chicago, but he felt some-
how that he should go
The lights along old Market street had
attracted him because lights act that way
in a city, when a man's alone and has
been for a long time. The cafes were
beginning to be noisy now. He could see
men drinking at the long bars as he
passed in the yellow light which fell out
hcross the side-walk. Girls too-they
had girls in these places, tough-but
girls. They all looked happy in .there,
the men and the girls, noisy and a little
drunk but they were havinga good time.
He thought for a minute he would go
in but instead he turned back across
the square towards Chartres street
where he felt more at home. He always
took a room on Chartres street when
he came in because it seemed like the
more 'civilized' part of the Quarter.
That doesn't mean that there aren't
almost as many drinking places on
dhartres street as there are on Mar-
ket, but generally they are of a higher
Class. One of the places he knew, "Ed's
Bar and Eating Place". looked pretty
lively as he came along outside the big
window so he wandered in and found
an out of the way table.-
A girl noticed him after a few minutes
and came over to take his order. She
wasn't wearing the usual soiled uniform-
dress of a waitress, so for conversation
ie asked her if she was a new girl. She
said she only helped Ed out for some-
thing to do when he was busy, that her
sister worked there steady. She wasn't
bad, no, not bad at all, he thought. She
was clean, or at least she looked it. Not
pretty, no, but well-built, and he liked
the way she walked as he watched her
go to the bar for his beer.
"Say," he said to her when she came
back, "why don't you bring another one
and have a drink with me?"
She. smiled rather a cute smile, he
thought, and came back presently with
a :glass and sat down at his table.
"Are you a sailor?" she asked him.
"Yeah,, I'm a sailor? why?" he said.
"Oh, I just wondered. An officer?"
"Nope-just a plain swab. I came in
on a banana scow for United Fruit, and
I'm going to stay on the beach for a
while. I've been on these mud scows for,
let's see, seven-eight months, and it's
too damn long. I'm going to stick around
the bright lights for a while."
The girl ran her finger around the
wet top of her glass, then absently
traced a mark on the smooth top of the
table. "My husband's a sailor," she said.
She watched the mark dry away, then
looked up at him. Her eyes were a little
too large but they were young and bright
enough.
"So you've got a husband," he said to
her. "That makes it nice. I meet a good-
looking girl and right away she's got a
husband."
She laughed and took a drink from
her glass. "You know, you don't look
much like a sailor," she said, looking at
him rather seriously.
"Don't I? I don't wear anchors tatooed
on my arm, if that's what yousmean.",
"I mean you look like you might have
had other kinds of jobs. Maybe you had
a good job someplace, did.you?"

He smiled curiously. "I' worked in
offices up north for four years before I
started knocking around the country
and came down here-if you can call
those good jobs." He looked up at her.
"I'm just a guy who's lonesome for
Chicago. Ever been lonesome?"
"A lot," she said.
"Then you know what it's like."
"Who's back in Chicago," she asked,
"a girl?"
"No-no girl-or I wouldn't be here, I
guess. But say, what about this husband
of yours. What ship's he on?"
"He's a second engineer on a Lyckes
Brothers'. Goes to the west coast."

told him. Then she took a paper napkin,
wrote something on it and handed it to
him. He made out, "233 Toulouse, apart-
ment 6."
"I'll be there at eleven o'clock," she
said in an undertone. Her sister came
up, shot him a disinterested glance,
and the two girls disappeared out the
front door.
Well, it looked as if that was that. He
leaned back in his chair and smiled.
Guess he didn't do so bad for himself,
He got up and stepped out onto Char-
tres street again. A full white moon was
sailing along between the old battered.
peaks of the French buildings. Or did

-By Christine Nagel

smoking a cigarette, said it was good
to be here, sure a lot different from the
foc'sle of that banana scow with a
bunch of dumb sailors climbing all over
you, Then he thought of her husband
and wondered if that's the way he felt
when he came home, and if she was
thinking the same thing.
She asked him if he would like a
drink, she guessed there was something
in the cupboard. Then he felt uneasy
again, he didn't know why, but he said
sure, that's just what he needed, a
drink. She went out into the small kit-
chen and he could see her getting bot-
tles and glasses down. When she brought
the drinks in she looked at him quizzi-
tally.
"What's the f atter with you?" she
asked him. "What are you sitting on the
edge of your chair for? You act like you
were waiting to catch a train." He
started when she mentioned the train.
He thought about Chicago and home.
He ought to be going home.
He took a sip of the highball and it
tasted good, hit the spot all the way
down. He laughed then, and she did
too-rather vacantly, he thought, try-
ing to dispell his uneasiness. "What the
hell," he thought, "I'm just scary. She's
all right, this kid"
She moved to the arm of the big
chair and slid her arm around his neck.
"You're lonesome," she said; looking
straight at him, holding her glass away
with her other hand.
"Yeah" he looked up at her, his voice
was husky all of a sudden. "Yea., I guess
I am-are you?"
She nodded her head slowy. He
pulled her head down to his and kissed
her, almost spilled his drink. He said
something about her eyes, what they
might do to him. She smiled, approving
of him and what he was saying
Then suddenly the telephone pealed
a staccato of bells through the little
apartment. They both started up and
she went into the bedroom off the kit-
chen to answer it. "Now who the hell
would be calling at this hour?" he asked
half aloud, "unless-" His mind started
to work in circles. Every time it made
a round it stopped on the picture of a
second engineer somewhere in a tele
phone booth saying anxiously into the
mouthpiece, "Ill be right up"
He heard a few words and he strained
to make out what she was saying, but
she was talking in subdued tones that
sounded mysterious. All he heard was
"No! no! no!" and the receiver-click
as she hung up. The idea of a frame-
up flashed into his mind-either a real
husband or a stooge waitig someplace
till he put on the "maul-act", then
breaking in at the crucial moment and
threatening to break his neck. He sat
rigidly on his chair and waited for h.r.
"Who was it?" he asked her.
"No one," she answered quickly, "No
one important." She looks disturbed,
he thought, but she's trying to cover
it up. "H'mn, not so fast there, girl. I'm
not such a sucker as you may think-"
"Funny time for anybody to be calling
up, I should think," he said aloud.
She put one hand on her hip and
stared at him in an attitude of slight
exasperation. "What are you worrying
about?" she asked. "What difference
does it make to you who is calhng me
up?"
"Well-" he started, but there wasn't
anything to say. Beause if she was on
the level it didn't make any difference
to him who called her up, and by gosh
he had to admit she did look honest
enough standing there.
She smiled down at him with a
latronizing air. "You're nervous. Take
it easy, pal." She reached out and shool
a mop of his hair lightly, then turned
. (cotinued on Page )

I

He told her that was a good run for
a married man; he could probably get
home every week-end. She said no, that
he didn't get home sometimes for a.
month. Then she told him that Fred,
that was his name, had left Saturday
morning and wouldn't be back till the
end of the month.
"And this is the third," he said aloud.
"Hmn-" It seemed that things were
looking fine,
Well, they had some more beer and
he gradually got the girl's history, that
is, enough of it to find out her name was
Peggy, and that she was not only mar-
ried now to a ship's officer, but she had
been married the first time when she
was sixteen. But that marriage hadn't
worked out for some reason and so this
time she had played safe and married a
man with a good paying job who, inci-
dentally, was forty years old. He didn't
judge her now to be more than twenty-
two. It was natural, he supposed, sailors
get lonesome at sea, and likewise the
sailors' wives at home get lonesome,
Yes, a natural thing, he thought. So the
best thing for him to say was, "Look,
Peggy, you and I ought to get to know
each other better." She didn't know; she
always stayed with her sister when
Fred was on a trip. He wasn't home
much but he kept an apartment for her,
anyway, so they would have a place of
their, own when he was home. But of
course it was too lonesome to stay there
all the time alone. Of course it was, he
said,
- At ten o'clock she went over to talk
with her sister, then she came back to
tle table.
"Marge is getting off at ten to-night
and I'm going to drive her home," she

he do so bad for himself? He wasn't
so sure. Up the street a phonograph was
grinding out some jazz music. He cer-
tainly wouldn't have picked the girl out
of a crowd. But then she wasn't bad
either. She might be good company, for
an evening anyway. :Hadn't sat down
and talked to a girl, an American girl,
for a long time-hadn't been close to
one either in a long time. And she had
her own apartment; they would be
there alone. Didn't think he was running
into trouble? Might be a set-up. she
wanted to roll him for his money. No,
he didn't think so.
At a quarter to eleven he was walking
up Toulouse. Wonder if he should take.
along anything to drink? No, he decided
he wouldn't. He found the number and
went up to apartment six. She opened
the door and smiled. "Hello, Harry," she
said.
She looked better; she had changed
her dress and fixed up, he noticed. She
didn't look had at all. He walked in and
smiled back at her. He was glad he had
come now, after seeing her; she re-as-
sured him. He walked around the living
room looking at one thing and another,
as a man will do when he has a feeling
he is going to make himself at home.
"Nice place 'you've got here," he said.
He sat down in an over-stuffed easy
chair and beamed on her approvingly.
The fact was that the place didn't have
much of a home-like atmosphere at all,
There weren't the personal knick-
knacks around to give it any personal
touches. It seemed to him more like a
place that was lived in only once in a
while. Well, that was what she had said.
They talked about little things. He
eased back in his chair comfortably

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