Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница

Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница

" 'But what you gon' do after it happens?' says Kate.

" 'After what happens?' I says.

" 'When yo black 'bomination is birthed to bawl yo wicked sin befo the eyes of God!' (She musta learned them words from the preacher.)

" 'Birth?' I says. 'Who birth?'

" 'Both of us. Me birth and Matty Lou birth. Both of us birth, you dirty lowdown wicked dog!'

"That liketa killed me. I can understand then why Matty Lou won't look at me and won't speak a word to nobody.

" 'If you stay I'm goin' over an' git Aunt Cloe for both of Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница us,' Kate says. She says, 'I don't aim to birth no sin for folks to look at all the rest of my life, and I don't aim for Matty Lou to neither.'

"You see, Aunt Cloe is a midwife, and even weak as I am from this news I knows I don't want her foolin' with my womenfolks. That woulda been pilin' sin up on toppa sin. So I told Kate, naw, that if Aunt Cloe come near this house I'd kill her, old as she is. I'da done it too. That settles it Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница. I walks out of the house and leaves 'em here to cry it out between 'em. I wanted to go off by myself agin, but it don't do no good tryin' to run off from somethin' like that. It follows you wherever you go. Besides, to git right down to the facts, there wasn't nowhere I could go. I didn't have a cryin' dime!

"Things got to happenin' right off. The nigguhs up at the school come down to chase me off and that made me mad. I went to see the white folks then and Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница they gave me help. That's what I don't understand. I done the worse thing a man could ever do in his family and instead of chasin' me out of the county, they gimme more help than they ever give any other colored man, no matter how good a nigguh he was. Except that my wife an' daughter won't speak to me, I'm better off than I ever been before. And even if Kate won't speak to me she took the new clothes I brought her from up in town and now she's Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница gettin' some eyeglasses made what she been needin' for so long. But what I don't understand is how I done the worse thing a man can do in his own family and 'stead of things gittin' bad, they got better. The nigguhs up at the school don't like me, but the white folks treats me fine."

HE WAS some farmer. As I listened I had been so torn between humiliation and fascination that to lessen my sense of shame I had kept my attention riveted upon his intense face. That way I did not have to look at Mr Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница. Norton. But now as the voice ended I sat looking down at Mr. Norton's feet. Out in the yard a woman's hoarse contralto intoned a hymn. Children's voices were raised in playful chatter. I sat bent over, smelling the sharp dry odor of wood burning in the hot sunlight. I stared at the two pairs of shoes before me. Mr. Norton's were white, trimmed with black. They were custom made and there beside the cheap tan brogues of the farmer they had the elegantly slender well-bred appearance of fine gloves. Finally someone cleared Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница his throat and I looked up to see Mr. Norton staring silently into Jim Trueblood's eyes. I was startled. His face had drained of color. With his bright eyes burning into Trueblood's black face, he looked ghostly. Trueblood looked at me questioningly.

"Lissen to the younguns," he said in embarrassment. "Playin' 'London Bridge's Fallin' Down.' "

Something was going on which I didn't get. I had to get Mr. Norton away.

"Are you all right, sir?" I asked.

He looked at me with unseeing eyes. "All right?" he said.

"Yes, sir. I mean that I think Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница it's time for the afternoon session," I hurried on.

He stared at me blankly.

I went to him. "Are you sure you're all right, sir?"

"Maybe it's the heat," Trueblood said. "You got to be born down here to stand this kind of heat."

"Perhaps," Mr. Norton said, "it is the heat. We'd better go."

He stood shakily, still staring intently at Trueblood. Then I saw him removing a red Moroccan-leather wallet from his coat pocket. The platinum-framed miniature came with it, but he did not look at it this time.

"Here," he Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница said, extending a banknote. "Please take this and buy the children some toys for me."



Trueblood's mouth fell agape, his eyes widened and filled with moisture as he took the bill between trembling fingers. It was a hundred-dollar bill.

"I'm ready, young man," Mr. Norton said, his voice a whisper.

I went before him to the car and opened the door. He stumbled a bit climbing in and I gave him my arm. His face was still chalk white.

"Drive me away from here," he said in a sudden frenzy. "Away!"

"Yes, sir."

I saw Jim Trueblood wave Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница as I threw the car into gear. "You bastard," I said under my breath. "You no-good bastard! You get a hundred-dollar bill!"

When I had turned the car and started back I saw him still standing in the same place.

Suddenly Mr. Norton touched me on the shoulder. "I must have a stimulant, young man. A little whiskey."

"Yes, sir. Are you all right, sir?"

"A little faint, but a stimulant . . ."

His voice trailed off. Something cold formed within my chest. If anything happened to him Dr. Bledsoe would blame me. I stepped on the gas Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница, wondering where I could get him some whiskey. Not in the town, that would take too long. There was only one place, the Golden Day.

"I'll have you some in a few minutes, sir," I said.

"As soon as you can," he said.

Chapter 3

I saw them as we approached the short stretch that lay between the railroad tracks and the Golden Day. At first I failed to recognize them. They straggled down the highway in a loose body, blocking the way from the white line to the frazzled weeds that bordered the sun-heated concrete slab. I cursed Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница them silently. They were blocking the road and Mr. Norton was gasping for breath. Ahead of the radiator's gleaming curve they looked like a chain gang on its way to make a road. But a chain gang marches single file and I saw no guards on horseback. As I drew nearer I recognized the loose gray shirts and pants worn by the veterans. Damn! They were heading for the Golden Day.

"A little stimulant," I heard behind me.

"In a few minutes, sir."

Up ahead I saw the one who thought he was a drum Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница major strutting in front, giving orders as he moved energetically in long, hip-swinging strides, a cane held above his head, rising and falling as though in time to music. I slowed the car as I saw him turn to face the men, his cane held at chest level as he shortened the pace. The men continued to ignore him, walking along in a mass, some talking in groups and others talking and gesticulating to themselves.

Suddenly, the drum major saw the car and shook his cane-baton at me. I blew the horn, seeing the men move over to the side Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница as I nosed the car slowly forward. He held his ground, his legs braced, hands on hips, and to keep from hitting him I slammed on the brakes.

The drum major rushed past the men toward the car, and I heard the cane bang down upon the hood as he rushed toward me.

"Who the hell you think you are, running down the army? Give the countersign. Who's in command of this outfit? You trucking bastards was always too big for your britches. Countersign me!"

"This is General Pershing's car, sir," I said, remembering hearing that Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница he responded to the name of his wartime Commander-in-Chief. Suddenly the wild look changed in his eyes and he stepped back and saluted with stiff precision. Then looking suspiciously into the back seat, he barked,

"Where's the General?"

"There," I said, turning and seeing Mr. Norton raising himself, weak and white-faced, from the seat.

"What is it? Why have we stopped?"

"The sergeant stopped us, sir . . ."

"Sergeant? What sergeant?" He sat up.

"Is that you, General?" the vet said, saluting. "I didn't know you were inspecting the front lines today. I'm Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница very sorry, sir."

"What . . . ?" Mr. Norton said.

"The General's in a hurry," I said quickly.

"Sure is," the vet said. "He's got a lot to see. Discipline is bad. Artillery's shot to hell." Then he called to the men walking up the road, "Get the hell out of the General's road. General Pershing's coming through. Make way for General Pershing!"

He stepped aside and I shot the car across the line to avoid the men and stayed there on the wrong side as I headed for the Golden Day.

"Who was that man?" Mr Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница. Norton gasped from the back seat.

"A former soldier, sir. A vet. They're all vets, a little shellshocked."

"But where is the attendant?"

"I don't see one, sir. They're harmless though."

"Nevertheless, they should have an attendant."

I had to get him there and away before they arrived. This was their day to visit the girls, and the Golden Day would be pretty rowdy. I wondered where the rest of them were. There should have been about fifty. Well, I would rush in and get the whiskey and leave. What was wrong with Mr. Norton anyway, why Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница should he get that upset over Trueblood? I had felt ashamed and several times I had wanted to laugh, but it had made him sick. Maybe he needed a doctor. Hell, he didn't ask for any doctor. Damn that bastard Trueblood.

I would run in, get a pint, and run out again, I thought. Then he wouldn't see the Golden Day. I seldom went there myself except with some of the fellows when word got out that a new bunch of girls had arrived from New Orleans. The school had tried to make the Golden Day respectable Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница, but the local white folks had a hand in it somehow and they got nowhere. The best the school could do was to make it hot for any student caught going there.

He lay like a man asleep as I left the car and ran into the Golden Day. I wanted to ask him for money but decided to use my own. At the door I paused; the place was already full, jammed with vets in loose gray shirts and trousers and women in short, tight-fitting, stiffly starched gingham aprons. The stale beer smell struck like a club through the Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница noise of voices and the juke box. Just as I got inside the door a stolid-faced man gripped me by the arm and looked stonily into my eyes.

"It will occur at 5:30," he said, looking straight through me.

"What?"

"The great all-embracing, absolute Armistice, the end of the world!" he said.

Before I could answer, a small plump woman smiled into my face and pulled him away.

"It's your turn, Doc," she said. "Don't let it happen till after me and you done been upstairs. How come I always have to come get you Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница?"

"No, it is true," he said. "They wirelessed me from Paris this morning."

"Then, baby, me an' you better hurry. There's lots of money I got to make in here before that thing happens. You hold it back a while, will you?"

She winked at me as she pulled him through the crowd toward the stairs. I elbowed my way nervously toward the bar.

Many of the men had been doctors, lawyers, teachers, Civil Service workers; there were several cooks, a preacher, a politician, and an artist. One very nutty one had been a psychiatrist. Whenever I Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница saw them I felt uncomfortable. They were supposed to be members of the professions toward which at various times I vaguely aspired myself, and even though they never seemed to see me I could never believe that they were really patients. Sometimes it appeared as though they played some vast and complicated game with me and the rest of the school folk, a game whose goal was laughter and whose rules and subtleties I could never grasp.

Two men stood directly in front of me, one speaking with intense earnestness. ". . . and Johnson hit Jeffries at an angle of Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница 45 degrees from his lower left lateral incisor, producing an instantaneous blocking of his entire thalamic rine, frosting it over like the freezing unit of a refrigerator, thus shattering his autonomous nervous system and rocking the big brick-laying creampuff with extreme hyperspasmic muscular tremors which dropped him dead on the extreme tip of his coccyx, which, in turn, produced a sharp traumatic reaction in his sphincter nerve and muscle, and then, my dear colleague, they swept him up, sprinkled him with quicklime and rolled him away in a barrow. Naturally, there was no other therapy possible."

"Excuse me," I Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница said, pushing past.

Big Halley was behind the bar, his dark skin showing through his sweat-wet shirt.

"Whatcha saying, school-boy?"

"I want a double whiskey, Halley. Put it in something deep so I can get it out of here without spilling it. It's for somebody outside."

His mouth shot out, "Hell, naw!"

"Why?" I asked, surprised at the anger in his thyroid eyes.

"You still up at the school, ain't you?"

"Sure."

"Well, those bastards is trying to close me up agin, that's why. You can drink till you blue in the face in here, but I Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница wouldn't sell you enough to spit through your teeth to take outside."

"But I've got a sick man out in the car."

"What car? You never had no car."

"The white man's car. I'm driving for him."

"Ain't you in school?"

"He's from the school."

"Well, who's sick?"

"He is."

"He too good to come in? Tell him we don't Jimcrow nobody."

"But he's sick."

"He can die!"

"He's important, Halley, a trustee. He's rich and sick and if anything happens to him, they'll have Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница me packed and on my way home."

"Can't help it, school-boy. Bring him inside and he can buy enough to swim in. He can drink outta my own private bottle."

He sliced the white heads off a couple of beers with an ivory paddle and passed them up the bar. I felt sick inside. Mr. Norton wouldn't want to come in here. He was too sick. And besides I didn't want him to see the patients and the girls. Things were getting wilder as I made my way out. Supercargo, the white-uniformed attendant who usually Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница kept the men quiet was nowhere to be seen. I didn't like it, for when he was upstairs they had absolutely no inhibitions. I made my way out to the car. What could I tell Mr. Norton? He was lying very still when I opened the door.

"Mr. Norton, sir. They refuse to sell me whiskey to bring out."

He lay very still.

"Mr. Norton."

He lay like a figure of chalk. I shook him gently, feeling dread within me. He barely breathed. I shook him violently, seeing his head wobble grotesquely. His lips parted, bluish, revealing a row Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница of long, slender, amazingly animal-like teeth.

"SIR!"

In a panic I ran back into the Golden Day, bursting through the noise as through an invisible wall.

"Halley! Help me, he's dying!"

I tried to get through but no one seemed to have heard me. I was blocked on both sides. They were jammed together.

"Halley!"

Two patients turned and looked me in the face, their eyes two inches from my nose.

"What is wrong with this gentleman, Sylvester?" the tall one said.

"A man's dying outside!" I said.

"Someone is always dying," the other Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница one said.

"Yes, and it's good to die beneath God's great tent of sky."

"He's got to have some whiskey!"

"Oh, that's different," one of them said and they began pushing a path to the bar. "A last bright drink to keep the anguish down. Step aside, please!"

"School-boy, you back already?" Halley said.

"Give me some whiskey. He's dying!"

"I done told you, school-boy, you better bring him in here. He can die, but I still got to pay my bills."

"Please, they'll put me in jail."

"You going Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница to college, figure it out," he said.

"You'd better bring the gentleman inside," the one called Sylvester said. "Come, let us assist you."

We fought our way out of the crowd. He was just as I left him.

"Look, Sylvester, it's Thomas Jefferson!"

"I was just about to say, I've long wanted to discourse with him."

I looked at them speechlessly; they were both crazy. Or were they joking?

"Give me a hand," I said.

"Gladly."

I shook him. "Mr. Norton!"

"We'd better hurry if he's to enjoy his drink," one of them said thoughtfully.

We Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница picked him up. He swung between us like a sack of old clothes.

"Hurry!"

As we carried him toward the Golden Day one of the men stopped suddenly and Mr. Norton's head hung down, his white hair dragging in the dust.

"Gentlemen, this man is my grandfather!"

"But he's white, his name's Norton."

"I should know my own grandfather! He's Thomas Jefferson and I'm his grandson—on the 'field-nigger' side," the tall man said.

"Sylvester, I do believe that you're right. I certainly do," he said, staring at Mr. Norton. "Look Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница at those features. Exactly like yours—from the identical mold. Are you sure he didn't spit you upon the earth, fully clothed?"

"No, no, that was my father," the man said earnestly.

And he began to curse his father violently as we moved for the door. Halley was there waiting. Somehow he'd gotten the crowd to quiet down and a space was cleared in the center of the room. The men came close to look at Mr. Norton.

"Somebody bring a chair."

"Yeah, let Mister Eddy sit down."

"That ain't no Mister Eddy, man, that's John Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница D. Rockefeller," someone said.

"Here's a chair for the Messiah."

"Stand back y'all," Halley ordered. "Give him some room."

Burnside, who had been a doctor, rushed forward and felt for Mr. Norton's pulse.

"It's solid! This man has a solid pulse! Instead of beating, it vibrates. That's very unusual. Very."

Someone pulled him away. Halley reappeared with a bottle and a glass. "Here, some of y'all tilt his head back."

And before I could move, a short, pock-marked man appeared and took Mr. Norton's head between his hands, tilting Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница it at arm's length and then, pinching the chin gently like a barber about to apply a razor, gave a sharp, swift movement.

"Pow!"

Mr. Norton's head jerked like a jabbed punching bag. Five pale red lines bloomed on the white cheek, glowing like fire beneath translucent stone. I could not believe my eyes. I wanted to run. A woman tittered. I saw several men rush for the door.

"Cut it out, you damn fool!"

"A case of hysteria," the pock-marked man said quietly.

"Git the hell out of the way," Halley said. "Somebody git that Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница stool-pigeon attendant from upstairs. Git him down here, quick!"

"A mere mild case of hysteria," the pock-marked man said as they pushed him away.

"Hurry with the drink, Halley!"

"Heah, school-boy, you hold the glass. This here's brandy I been saving for myself."

Someone whispered tonelessly into my ear, "You see, I told you that it would occur at 5:30. Already the Creator has come." It was the stolid-faced man.

I saw Halley tilt the bottle and the oily amber of brandy sloshing into the glass. Then tilting Mr. Norton's head back, I put the glass Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница to his lips and poured. A fine brown stream ran from the corner of his mouth, down his delicate chin. The room was suddenly quiet. I felt a slight movement against my hand, like a child's breast when it whimpers at the end of a spell of crying. The fine-veined eyelids flickered. He coughed. I saw a slow red flush creep, then spurt, up his neck, spreading over his face.

"Hold it under his nose, school-boy. Let 'im smell it."

I waved the glass beneath Mr. Norton's nose. He opened his pale blue Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница eyes. They seemed watery now in the red flush that bathed his face. He tried to sit up, his right hand fluttering to his chin. His eyes widened, moved quickly from face to face. Then coming to mine, the moist eyes focused with recognition.

"You were unconscious, sir," I said.

"Where am I, young man?" he asked wearily.

"This is the Golden Day, sir."

"What?"

"The Golden Day. It's a kind of sporting-and-gambling house," I added reluctantly.

"Now give him another drinka brandy," Halley said.

I poured a drink and handed it to him. He sniffed it, closed his Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница eyes as in puzzlement, then drank; his cheeks filled out like small bellows; he was rinsing his mouth.

"Thank you," he said, a little stronger now. "What is this place?"

"The Golden Day," said several patients in unison.

He looked slowly around him, up to the balcony, with its scrolled and carved wood. A large flag hung lank above the floor. He frowned.

"What was this building used for in the past?" he said.

"It was a church, then a bank, then it was a restaurant and a fancy gambling house, and now we got it," Halley explained Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница. "I think somebody said it used to be a jail-house too."

"They let us come here once a week to raise a little hell," someone said.

"I couldn't buy a drink to take out, sir, so I had to bring you inside," I explained in dread.

He looked about him. I followed his eyes and was amazed to see the varied expressions on the patients' faces as they silently returned his gaze. Some were hostile, some cringing, some horrified; some, who when among themselves were most violent, now appeared as submissive as children. And some seemed strangely Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница amused.

"Are all of you patients?" Mr. Norton asked.

"Me, I just runs the joint," Halley said. "These here other fellows . . ."

"We're patients sent here as therapy," a short, fat, very intelligent-looking man said. "But," he smiled, "they send along an attendant, a kind of censor, to see that the therapy fails."

"You're nuts. I'm a dynamo of energy. I come to charge my batteries," one of the vets insisted.

"I'm a student of history, sir," another interrupted with dramatic gestures. "The world moves in a circle like a roulette wheel. In the beginning Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница, black is on top, in the middle epochs, white holds the odds, but soon Ethiopia shall stretch forth her noble wings! Then place your money on the black!" His voice throbbed with emotion. "Until then, the sun holds no heat, there's ice in the heart of the earth. Two years from now and I'll be old enough to give my mulatto mother a bath, the half-white bitch!" he added, beginning to leap up and down in an explosion of glassy-eyed fury.

Mr. Norton blinked his eyes and straightened up.

"I'm a physician, may I take Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница your pulse?" Burnside said, seizing Mr. Norton's wrist.

"Don't pay him no mind, mister. He ain't been no doctor in ten years. They caught him trying to change some blood into money."

"I did too!" the man screamed. "I discovered it and John D. Rockefeller stole the formula from me."

"Mr. Rockefeller did you say?" Mr. Norton said. "I'm sure you must be mistaken."

"WHAT'S GOING ON DOWN THERE?" a voice shouted from the balcony. Everyone turned. I saw a huge black giant of a man, dressed only in white shorts, swaying on Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница the stairs. It was Supercargo, the attendant. I hardly recognized him without his hard-starched white uniform. Usually he walked around threatening the men with a strait jacket which he always carried over his arm, and usually they were quiet and submissive in his presence. But now they seemed not to recognize him and began shouting curses.

"How you gon keep order in the place if you gon git drunk?" Halley shouted. "Charlene! Charlene!"

"Yeah?" a woman's voice, startling in its carrying power, answered sulkily from a room off the balcony.

"I want you to git that Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница stool-pigeoning, joy-killing, nut-crushing bum back in there with you and sober him up. Then git him in his white suit and down here to keep order. We got white folks in the house."

A woman appeared on the balcony, drawing a woolly pink robe about her. "Now you lissen here, Halley," she drawled, "I'm a woman. If you want him dressed, you can do it yourself. I don't put on but one man's clothes and he's in N'Orleans."

"Never mind all that. Git that stool pigeon sober!"

"I want order Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница down there," Supercargo boomed, "and if there's white folks down there, I wan's double order."

Suddenly there was an angry roar from the men back near the bar and I saw them rush the stairs.

"Get him!"

"Let's give him some order!"

"Out of my way."

Five men charged the stairs. I saw the giant bend and clutch the posts at the top of the stairs with both hands, bracing himself, his body gleaming bare in his white shorts. The little man who had slapped Mr. Norton was in front, and, as he sprang up the long Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница flight, I saw the attendant set himself and kick, catching the little man just as he reached the top, hard in the chest, sending him backwards in a curving dive into the midst of the men behind him. Supercargo got set to swing his leg again. It was a narrow stair and only one man could get up at a time. As fast as they rushed up, the giant kicked them back. He swung his leg, kicking them down like a fungo-hitter batting out flies. Watching him, I forgot Mr. Norton. The Golden Day was in an uproar. Half Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница-dressed women appeared from the rooms off the balcony. Men hooted and yelled as at a football game.

"I WANT ORDER!" the giant shouted as he sent a man flying down the flight of stairs.

"THEY THROWING BOTTLES OF LIQUOR!" a woman screamed. "REAL LIQUOR!"

"That's a order he don't want," someone said.

A shower of bottles and glasses splashing whiskey crashed against the balcony. I saw Supercargo snap suddenly erect and grab his forehead, his face bathed in whiskey, "Eeeee!" he cried, "Eeeee!" Then I saw him waver, rigid from his ankles upward. For a moment the Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница men on the stairs were motionless, watching him. Then they sprang forward.

Supercargo grabbed wildly at the balustrade as they snatched his feet from beneath him and started down. His head bounced against the steps making a sound like a series of gunshots as they ran dragging him by his ankles, like volunteer firemen running with a hose. The crowd surged forward. Halley yelled near my ear. I saw the man being dragged toward the center of the room.

"Give the bastard some order!"

"Here I'm forty-five and he's been acting like he's Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница my old man!"

"So you like to kick, huh?" a tall man said, aiming a shoe at the attendant's head. The flesh above his right eye jumped out as though it had been inflated.

Then I heard Mr. Norton beside me shouting, "No, no! Not when he's down!"

"Lissen at the white folks," someone said. "He's the white folks' man!"

Men were jumping upon Supercargo with both feet now and I felt such an excitement that I wanted to join them. Even the girls were yelling, "Give it to him good!" "He never pays me!" "Kill him!"

"Please Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница, y'all, not here! Not in my place!"

"You can't speak your mind when he's on duty!"

"Hell, no!"

Somehow I got pushed away from Mr. Norton and found myself beside the man called Sylvester.

"Watch this, school-boy," he said. "See there, where his ribs are bleeding?" I nodded my head. "Now don't move your eyes."

I watched the spot as though compelled, just beneath the lower rib and above the hip-bone, as Sylvester measured carefully with his toe and kicked as though he were punting a football. Supercargo let out a groan like Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница an injured horse.

"Try it, school-boy, it feels so good. It gives you relief," Sylvester said. "Sometimes I get so afraid of him I feel that he's inside my head. There!" he said, giving Supercargo another kick.

As I watched, a man sprang on Supercargo's chest with both feet and he lost consciousness. They began throwing cold beer on him, reviving him, only to kick him unconscious again. Soon he was drenched in blood and beer.

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Документ Winner of the National Book Award for fiction. . . Acclaimed by a 1965 Book Week poll of 200 prominent authors, critics, and editors as "the most distinguished single work published in the last 5 страница