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December 14, 1940 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1940-12-14

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

Page Ten

'P E R S P EC T V E7S

BRO THR TO THiE OX
.Continued from Page 4

shifted the gears. Nobody could shift
gears the way he could, no grating, no
wear, no tear. And nobody kept a car
the way he did. Nobody spent the time
polishing, nobody spent the money the
way he did getting the left-turn signals,
spotlights, chrome hubt caps, electric
clocks, new aerials, bumper guards, and
other things that make a car a part of
a man. And in an hour or two it would
be just a piece of scrap on the bottom
of a quarry filled with water. And all
this on account of being laid-off. It
made him mad, being laid-off like this.
You couldn't depend on a job no matter
how good you were. This was a way of
getting even. This was just as fair as
it was to lay him off like this. It made
him damn mad to be laid-off like this.
A car had just pulled out of a park-
ing spot three doors down from the
Dynamic and Paddy maneuvered into it
without even touching bumpers with the
car behind. They went into the show.
He bought the tickets, stalked up the
incline to the ticket box with Maria and
Katharine coming behind him. "Here
you are, Bud," he told the ticket boy.
He marched on into the darkness, down
three-quarters of the way where the
figures of the screen were good and big.
He spotted three seats in the middle of
a row and sidestepped toward them over
the feet and shins of the other people.
/PteI h en(ihha$
(Continued from Page Nine)
as though he was afraid that we were
-going to make some trouble.-
Patten walked up to the desk and
'dropped his pack on the floor. "We've
decided to take the room," he told the
clerk in a low, breathless voice.
The clerk hesitated for a minute,
then pushed the book out to Patten.
"It will be two dollars in advance."
Patten took two dollars from his watch
pocket and shoved them across the
desk. Then he signed the book.
The clerk took a key out of a cubby-
hole behind him and came from be-
hind the desk. He started to pick up
Patten's bundle, but Patten got it be-
fore him. The clerk got red in the
face and fumbled with the key. "Fol-
low me, please," he said shakily. Then
he led us to the room on the second
floor.
He turned on the light and let us
inside. "If you want anything," he
told us, "you can use the phone." He
motioned to a stand in a corner. "The
bathroom is at the end of the corridor."
He didn't wait for a tip but left at
once..
The room was small, and the plaster
on the ceiling was cracked. There were
two single beds with crisp, folded
back sheets and red blankets. Two
white towels were hung from racks be-
side a clean washbasin, and there was
a small bar of colored soap in a tray.
I was too tired to even wash. I took
my clothes off, threw them on the
floor and got into bed. Patten got out
his razor and put it together, and ran
fresh water into the sink. When the
bowl was full he stuck his hands to
the bottom and stood there for a min-
ute as though he wanted to get warm.
After a little while he smeared his face
with soap and began to shave, taking
slow strokes because his blade was dull,
Onte cutting his chin so that the blood
stained his lather.
I watched him until I couldn't keep
iny eyes open any longer. I remember
thinking that there was a phone in
the corder and that if I wanted any-
thing I couldcall for it. I forgot about
money and about jobs. I forgot that
it was raining. Before Patten was fin-
ished I was asleep.

The news reel was on. Then there was
a short subject called "Crime Cannot
Pay," followed by Paddy's favorite and
namesake in a detective thriller.
"Paddy, I don't like this idea," Maria
whispered. "What if it don't work?"
He told her to shut up and concen-
trated on the hero, who was just telling
the heroine what a spoiled brat she was.
She had just slapped him when Kath-
arine wanted to know if it was time
yet. After the heroine's father, the pol-
ice commissioner, had called it a suicide
when even Paddy could see it was just
straight murder, Katharine asked again.
"No," he said, "it is not time yet."
"Well, what time is it?"
"I don't know."
"How do you know it isn't time yet,
then?"
"I wish those people would keep
quiet," a man in the row behind told
the world.
"Shut up, Katharine. The man can't
hear," Paddy told her. The movie went
on until the hero had won the hero-
ine's confidence and the two of them
were out in the country collecting data
on a horse hair found at the scene of
the crime. In the meantime, Paddy was
having a new sensation. The later it
got, the more intense this new feeling
became. He couldn't tell whether it was
in his chest or his heart or his stom-
ach. And it bothered his head; he kept
putting his hand up to his forehead to
see if he was sweating. He felt sort of
green-colored. Katharine asked again
about the time. He made calculations
on how long the short subjects were and
how much of the show was over. "I
don't think it's time yet," he said. "We
better wait a while."
Katherine got up and shoved her way
A out to the aisle. Maybe she hadn't heard
right. "Katharine," he whispered as
loud as he dared, "Katharine, you come
back here." She turned around and
looked at him for a minute. Then she
skipped up the incline and waited for
them, dancing and giggling. Maria got
up and followed her. There was noth-
ing for him to do but follow. He would
catch them at the head of the aisle. But
Katharine had already gone outside
when he got there. She was standing
in front of the Pontiac which was in
the space where Paddy had left his
car. The car was gone. Maybe it
was OK in spite of Katharine.
None of them said anything. They
just stood there and looked. Katharine
stared right back at him, with the same
expression of hate that she had had at
supper. She stood there with her hands
thrust into her coat pockets and swung
her body back and forth without mov-
ing her feet. "Go on," she said, "why
don't you say something?" Mrs. Brown
began to sob. Paddy looked around at
the passersby. He shook his head at
Katharine. "It wouldn't sound right,"
he told her. He felt as if she knew
better what to do than he did. He was
really pleading with her, he didn't know
why. "It wouldn't sound right," he re-
peated.
"Well, you have to do something."
He nodded. That was a fact, but he
just didn't feel like being an actor now.
Maybe he could do it all right, but he
just didn't feel like it now. "I suppose
we got to do something," he said. People
were looking at Maria, she was crying so
hard. Something would have to be
done, but he couldn't think straight
anymore. All he could think of was
getting away from here as quick as he
could.
"'There's a cop down there at the cr-
ner," Katharine said. He left them -
and started for the corner. He-wanted
to forget about the whole thing, but he
thought of Maria watingthere and how
she was a way of getting his bills paid
and a place to live while he waslad-off

and how it would be all over with her if
he didn't go through with this, now. He
got the cop and went back to the scene
of the crime with him and made up a
story and told it on the way. It sounded
pretty good with Maria crying and, for
a wonder, Katharine saying all the right
things. The eop told him to go down to
the station and make a more complete
report and, in the meantime, he would
see that a description of the car was
broadcast to the squad cars. Paddy
told him not to be in too much of a
hurry about it.
They had to stand up on the street-
car and that made Paddy unhappy.
Whenever he had passed a streetcar in
his car, he had always thought to him-
self how nice it was to be able to sit
down behind the steering wheel of your
own car. Hanging on a strap like this
was too common, just like all the poor
suckers did who couldn't make pay-
ments on a car. And it took three-
quarters of an hour to get downtown.
Paddy bent over and looked at the
clock on the Ford dealer's at the corner
of Woodward and Warren. It said
nine-thirty. But that wasn't right. He
wasn't supposed to come out of the
show until nine-thirty. The clock must
be wrong. He hung suspended over
the person whose knee he straddled and
looked for more clocks. They all said
nine-thirty or nine-twenty-eight or
twenty-five to ten. His stomach got to
feeling as if he had just come down in
an elevator like the fast one in the
building where he made the payments
on his car. He looked at Katharine.
She was hanging on to the back of a
seat, humming a tune. She would not
look at him. "You look like you was
going to throw up," Maria told him.
"Is anything wrong. Didn't it come
off right?" She said it softly as if it
was the first confidence between them
as married people, as if it was her con-
cern as well as his. It made him feel
better about it.
"No, I'm not going to throw up and
it did come off right, I think," he said.
They didn't go into it further and
arrived at the station at a quarter to
ten. In a few minutes he was sitting
before a desk and a cop was across from
him taking down what he said on a
pink sheet of paper. Paddy got more
confident as he heard himself talk. He
told the policeman every word that
should have been said since they found
the car was gone. He revised the time
angle a little. He described the color,
make, and model of the car, gave the
motor number and ennumerated the
accessories: the spotlight, the fog light,
the air horn, the bumper guards, the.
left-turn signal, the radio, the steering
knob, the aerial, the cigarette lighter,
the white side-wall thes, the fender
lights, the fox tail, the clock. He be-
gan to tell a story about why they had
decided to go to the show when the
policeman told him he had enough in-
formation already and asked where he
would be for the next few hours.
They took the streetcar back to the
apartment. At the corner they stopped
and got some ice cream and when they
got home she put syrup on it and they
ate it along with wine and fried cakes.
Mrs. Brown recovered her normal vol-
ume and laughter, but it had a new
note of intimacy. She and Paddy were,
much closer than they had been before.
There was a 'mutual trust between them
and the old suspicion was gone. The
old need for security and not. for each
other was now only incidental, But.
Katharine was sulking again and cry-
ing a little as if she had been greatly
disappointed. Paddy sat 'in the easy
chair by the radio and sipped his wine
This was the way it would always be,
He felt better than he ever had before,
in spite of being' laid-off. In spite Of
his car.

When the eleven-thirty news broad-
cast was finishing up, the door buzzer
rang. Paddy looked at Maria. "Maybe
we're making too much noise," he yelled
above the news. "Maybe you ought to
answer it. If they think we're making
too much noise, you let me 'talk to
them." He reached over and turned
the volume conttol all the way up.
While she buzzed the door at the head
of the stairs, Katharine went into the
sunroom where she could see the out-
side door. She looked out and gave a
short squeal of excitement. Maria called
him and he was all set to tell the neigh-
bers where to get off at when he saw
that it was a young fellow in a blue
uniform.
"Mr. Paddington?"
Paddy stared at him.
"We've recovered your car, Mr. Pad-
dington."
Paddy had no desire to talk.
"We've recovered your car, Mr. Pad-
dington," the cop repeated. "They
spotted your friend when he was pull-
ing out of a beer garden down on
Michigan. Your friend is pretty sore."
Paddy had that green-colored feeling
again. He went quietly. Maria was
crying when he left. Katharine wasn't
in sight. He wondered if they had
shows in the place he was headed for.
k/i/I '( the kith
(Continued from Page Five)
ole bitch," he said and laughed, "Where
yore spirits? Why don't Dy come?
I'll tell you why. 'Cause dere ain't
none. Dat's why. Dey knows dere
ain't none 'n you knows it 'n I knows
it. Dat's why!
"Ise gonner sell all de tobys I wan-
ner 'n you or no spirits or nobody's
gonner stop me, ole witch, ole bitch,"
and he kicked her hard on the thigh
with his yellow shoe and slammed out
of the room.
Cold night air poured through the
broken window in hard waves. It rolled
along the floor, stirring scattered herbs
and bathing bits of scummy, broken
glass. It flowed around the legs of
the black old stove and filled every
dusty cranny along the floor. It clos-
ed about the old womai, leaning .on
her outstretched arm; it seeped into
her hard black hide; it tried, to wash
away the shadows in her moistened
eyes.
The old woman pulled herself up
stiffly, put back on her man's felt hat,
and hobbled over to the stove. Cold
air had chased away the veils of smoke,
the sooty smoke, the light gray smoke;
had stilled the bubbling of the water,
the brewing of the stew. The old
woman leaned over the cold black stove
and heard Them talking. In the wind
that whined around the sagging eaves;
in the groaning, creaking, screeching of
the walls; in the stove's dry crackling
embers; in the flapping, flopping of the
attic bats. No vapors pierced her eyes,
but great jet pearls wrenched loose
themselves and tumbled- down - the
creases of her face into the pot. They
plunged into the brew 'and sent lazy
little ripples rolling to lap against the
sable pot, to lap just once more against
the sable pot.
The editors wish to thank the
management of The Book Room
for its kind,cooperaion-i1 lend'.
ing certain of -the books reviewed.
in' this'issue.' . -

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