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COLLEGE HEAD DENIES KISSES

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then our courage returned for we knew that rescue was
near at hand, we shouted and yelled again but did not know
whether we were heard. Then came the unsealing and I lost
consciousness. All the days and nights fell back and I dropped
into a sleep

 


VOTE AT MIDNIGHT ON ALTMAN'S FATE

 

This is the fourth day we have been down here. That is
what I think but our watches stopped. I have been waiting
in the dark because we have been eating the wax from our
safety lamps. I have also eaten a plug of tobacco, some bark
and some of my shoe. I could only chew it. I hope you
can read this. I am not afraid to die. O holy Virgin have
mercy on me. I think my time has come. You know what
my property is. We worked for it together and it is all yours.
This is my will and you must keep it. You have been a good
Wife. May the holy virgin guard you. I hope this reaches
you sometime and you can read it. It has been very quiet
down here and I wonder what has become of our comrades.
Goodby until heaven shall bring us together.

 

Girls Annoyer Lashed in Public

 


COVETS OSTRICHES

 

In a little box just six by three
And his bones now rot on the lone prairie.

 


MAC

 

Mac went down to the watertank beyond the yards to
wait for a chance to hop a freight. The old man's hat and
his ruptured shoes were ashen gray with dust; he was sit-
ting all hunched up with his head between his knees and
didn't make a move until Mac was right up to him. Mac

 

-110-

 

sat down beside him. A rank smell of feverish sweat came
from the old man. "What's the trouble, daddy?"

 

"I'm through, that's all . . . I been a lunger all my
life an' I guess it's got me now." His mouth twisted in
a spasm of pain. He let his head droop between his knees.
After a minute he raised his head again, making little
feeble gasps with his mouth like a dying fish. When he
got his breath he said, "It's a razor a' slicin' off my lungs
every time. Stand by, will you, kid?""Sure I will," said
Mac.

 

"Listen, kid, I wanna go West to where there's trees
an' stuff . . . You got to help me into one o' them cars.
I'm too weak for the rods . . . Don't let me lay down
. . . I'll start bleedin' if I lay down, see." He choked
again.



 

"I got a coupla bucks. I'll square it with the brakeman
maybe."

 

"You don't talk like no vag."

 

"I'm a printer. I wanta make San Francisco soon as I
can."

 

"A workin' man; I'll be a son of a bitch. Listen here,
kid . . . I ain't worked in seventeen years."

 

The train came in and the engine stood hissing by the
watertank.

 

Mac helped the old man to his feet and got him
propped in the corner of a flatcar that was loaded with
machine parts covered with a tarpaulin. He saw the fire-
man and the engineer looking at them out of the cab, but
they didn't say anything.

 

When the train started the wind was cold. Mac took
off his coat and put it behind the old man's head to keep
it from jiggling with the rattling of the car. The old man
sat with his eyes closed and his head thrown back. Mac
didn't know whether he was dead or not. It got to be
night. Mac was terribly cold and huddled shivering in a
fold of tarpaulin in the other end of the car.



 

-111-

 

In the gray of dawn Mac woke up from a doze with
his teeth chattering. The train had stopped on a siding.
His legs were so numb it was some time before he could
stand on them. He went to look at the old man, but he
couldn't tell whether he was dead or not. It got a little
lighter and the east began to glow like the edge of a piece
of iron in a forge. Mac jumped to the ground and walked
back along the train to the caboose.

 

The brakeman was drowsing beside his lantern. Mac
told him that an old tramp was dying in one of the flat-
cars. The brakeman had a small flask of whisky in his
good coat that hung on a nail in the caboose. They walked
together up the track again. When they got to the flatcar
it was almost day. The old man had flopped over on his
side. His face looked white and grave like the face of a
statue of a Civil War general. Mac opened his coat and
the filthy torn shirts and underclothes and put his hand on
the old man's chest. It was cold and lifeless as a board.
When he took his hand away there was sticky blood on it.

 

"Hemorrhage," said the brakeman, making a perfunc-
tory clucking noise in his mouth.

 

The brakeman said they'd have to get the body off the
train. They laid him down flat in the ditch beside the bal-
last with his hat over his face. Mac asked the brakeman
if he had a spade so that they could bury him, so that the
buzzards wouldn't get him, but he said no, the gandy-
walkers would find him and bury him. He took Mac back
to the caboose and gave him a drink and asked him all
about how the old man had died.

 

Mac beat his way to San Francisco.

 

Maisie was cold and bitter at first, but after they'd
talked a little while she said he looked thin and ragged as
a bum and burst into tears and kissed him. They went to
get her savings out of the bank and bought Mac a suit and
went down to City Hall and got married without saying
anything to her folks. They were both very happy going

 

-112-

 

down on the train to San Diego, and they got a furnished
room there with kitchen privileges and told the landlady
they'd been married a year. They wired Maisie's folks
that they were down there on their honeymoon and would
be back soon.

 

Mac got work there at a job printer's and they started
payments on a bungalow at Pacific Beach. The work wasn't
bad and he was pretty happy in his quiet life with Maisie.
After all, he'd had enough bumming for a while. When
Maisie went to the hospital to have the baby, Mac had to
beg a two months' advance of pay from Ed Balderston,
his boss. Even at that they had to take out a second mort-
gage on the bungalow to pay the doctor's bill. The baby
was a girl and had blue eyes and they named her Rose.

 

Life in San Diego was sunny and quiet. Mac went to
work mornings on the steamcar and came back evenings
on the steamcar and Sundays he puttered round the house
or sometimes sat on one of the beaches with Maisie and
the kid. It was understood between them now that he had
to do everything that Maise wanted because he'd given
her such a tough time before they were married. The next
year they had another kid and Maisie was sick and in hos-
pital a long time after, so that now all that he could do
with his pay each week was cover the interest on his debts,
and he was always having to kid the grocerystore along
and the milkman and the bakery to keep their charge-
accounts going from week to week. Maisie read a lot of
magazines and always wanted new things for the house, a
pianola, or a new icebox, or a fireless cooker. Her brothers
were making good money in the real estate business in Los
Angeles and her folks were coming up in the world.
Whenever she got a letter from them she'd worry Mac
about striking his boss for more pay or moving to a better
job.

 

When there was anybody of the wobbly crowd in town
down on his uppers or when they were raising money for

 

-113-

 

strike funds or anything like that he'd help them out with
a couple of dollars, but he never could do much for fear
Maisie would find out about it. Whenever she found The
Appeal to Reason or any other radical paper round the
house she'd burn it up, and then they'd quarrel and be
sulky and make each other's lives miserable for a few
days, until Mac decided what was the use, and never spoke
to her about it. But it kept them apart almost as if she
thought he was going out with some other woman.

 

One Saturday afternoon Mac and Maisie had managed
to get a neighbor to take care of the kids and were going
into a vaudeville theater when they noticed a crowd at
the corner in front of Marshall's drugstore. Mac elbowed
his way through. A thin young man in blue denim was
standing close to the corner lamppost where the firealarm
was, reading the Declaration of Independence: When in
the course of human events . . . A cop came up and told
him to move on . . . inalienable right life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.

 

Now there were two cops. One of them had the young
man by the shoulders and was trying to pull him loose
from the lamppost.

 

"Come on, Fainy, we'll be late for the show," Maisie
kept saying.

 

"Hey, get a file; the bastard's locked himself to the
post," he heard one cop say to the other. By that time
Maisie had managed to hustle him to the theater box-
office. After all, he'd promised to take her to the show
and she hadn't been out all winter. The last thing he saw
the cop had hauled off and hit the young guy in the
corner of the jaw.

 

Mac sat there in the dark stuffy theater all afternoon.
He didn't see the acts or the pictures between the acts.
He didn't speak to Maisie. He sat there feeling sick in
the pit of his stomach. The boys must be staging a free-
speech fight right here in town. Now and then he glanced

 

-114-

 

at Maisie's face in the dim glow from the stage. It had
puffed out a little in wellsatisfied curves like a cat sitting
by a warm stove, but she was still a good looker. She'd
already forgotten everything and was completely happy
looking at the show, her lips parted, her eyes bright, like
a little girl at a party. "I guess I've sold out to the
sonsobitches allright, allright," he kept saying to him-
self.

 

The last number on the programme was Eva Tanguay.
The nasal voice singing I'm Eva Tanguay, I don't care
brought Mac out of his sullen trance. Everything sud-
denly looked bright and clear to him, the proscenium with
its heavy gold fluting, the people's faces in the boxes, the
heads in front of him, the tawdry powdery mingling of
amber and blue lights on the stage, the scrawny woman
flinging herself around inside the rainbow hoop of the
spotlight.

 

The papers say that I'm insane
But . . . I . . . don't . . . care.

 

Mac got up. "Maisie, I'll meet you at the house. You
see the rest of the show. I feel kind of bum." Before she
could answer, he'd slipped out past the other people in
the row, down the aisle and out. On the street there was
nothing but the ordinary Saturday afternoon crowd. Mac
walked round and round the downtown district. He didn't
even know where I.W.W. headquarters was. He had to
talk to somebody. As he passed the Hotel Brewster he
caught a whiff of beer. What he needed was a drink. This
way he was going nuts.

 

At the next corner he went into a saloon and drank four
rye whiskies straight. The bar was lined with men drink-
ing, treating each other, talking loud about baseball, prize-
fights,

 

Eva Tanguay

 

and her Salome dance.

 

Beside Mac was a big redfaced man with a wide-
brimmed felt hat on the back of his head. When Mac

 

-115-

 

reached for his fifth drink this man put his hand on his
arm and said, "Pard, have that on me if you don't mind
. . . I'm celebratin' today.""Thanks; here's lookin' at
you," said Mac. "Pard, if you don't mind my sayin' so,
you're drinkin' like you wanted to drink the whole barrel
up at once and not leave any for the rest of us . . . Have
a chaser.""All right, bo," said Mac. "Make it a beer
chaser."

 

"My name's McCreary," said the big man. "I just sold
my fruit crop. I'm from up San Jacinto way."

 

"So's my name McCreary, too," said Mac.

 

They shook hands heartily.

 

"By the living jumbo, that's a coincidence . . . We
must be kin or pretty near it . . . Where you from,
pard?"

 

"I'm from Chicago, but my folks was Irish."

 

"Mine was from the East, Delaware . . . but it's the
good old Scotch-Irish stock."

 

They had more drinks on that. Then they went to
another saloon where they sat in a corner at a table and
talked. The big man talked about his ranch and his apricot
crop and how his wife was bedridden since his last child
had come. "I'm awful fond of the old gal, but what can
a feller do? Can't get gelded just to be true to your
wife.""I like my wife swell," said Mac, "and I've got
swell kids. Rose is four and she's beginning to read already
and Ed's about learnin' to walk. . . . But hell, before I
was married I used to think I might amount to somethin'
in the world . . . I don't mean I thought I was anythin'
in particular . . . You know how it is.""Sure, pard, I
used to feel that way when I was a young feller."
" Maisie's a fine girl, too, and I like her better all the
time," said Mac, feeling a warm tearing wave of affection
go over him, like sometimes a Saturday evening when
he'd helped her bathe the kids and put them to bed and
the room was still steamy from their baths and his eyes

 

-116-

 

suddenly met Maisie's eyes and there was nowhere they
had to go and they were just both of them there together.

 

The man from up San Jacinto way began to sing:

 

O my wife has gone to the country,
Hooray, hooray.
I love my wife, but oh you kid,
My wife's gone away.

 

"But God damn it to hell," said Mac, "a man's got to
work for more than himself and his kids to feel right."

 

"I agree with you absholootely, pard; every man for
himself, and the devil take the hindmost.""Oh, hell,"
said Mac, "I wish I was on the bum again or up at Gold-
field with the bunch."

 

They drank and drank and ate free lunch and drank
some more, all the time rye with beer chasers, and the
man from up San Jacinto way had a telephone number
and called up some girls and they bought a bottle of
whisky and went out to their apartment, and the rancher
from up San Jacinto way sat with a girl on each knee sing-
ing My wife has gone to the country. Mac just sat belch-
ing in a corner with his head dangling over his chest; then
suddenly he felt bitterly angry and got to his feet upset-
ting a table with a glass vase on it.

 

" McCreary," he said, "this is no place for a class-
conscious rebel . . . I'm a wobbly, damn you . . . I'm
goin' out and get in this free-speech fight."

 

The other McCreary went on singing and paid no atten-
tion. Mac went out and slammed the door. One of the
girls followed him out jabbering about the broken vase,
but he pushed her in the face and went out into the quiet
street. It was moonlight. He'd lost the last steamcar and
would have to walk home.

 

When he got to the house he found Maisie sitting on
the porch in her kimono. She was crying. "And I had such
a nice supper for you," she kept saying, and her eyes

 

-117-

 

looked into him cold and bitter the way they'd been when
he'd gotten back from Goldfield before they were mar-
ried.

 

The next day he had a hammering headache and his
stomach was upset. He figured up he'd spent fifteen dol-
lars that he couldn't afford to waste. Maisie wouldn't
speak to him. He stayed on in bed, rolling round, feeling
miserable, wishing he could go to sleep and stay asleep
forever. That Sunday evening Maisie's brother Bill came
to supper. As soon as he got into the house Maisie started
talking to Mac as if nothing had happened. It made him
sore to feel that this was just in order to keep Bill from
knowing they had quarrelled.

 

Bill was a powerfullybuilt towhaired man with a red
neck, just beginning to go to fat. He sat at the table, eat-
ing the potroast and cornbread Maisie had made, talking
big about the real estate boom up in Los Angeles. He'd
been a locomotive engineer and had been hurt in a wreck
and had had the lucky breaks with a couple of options on
lots he'd bought with his compensation money. He tried
to argue Mac into giving up his job in San Diego and
coming in with him. "I'll get you in on the ground floor,
just for Maisie's sake," he said over and over again. "And
in ten years you'll be a rich man, like I'm goin' to be in
less time than that . . . Now's the time, Maisie, for you
folks to make a break, while you're young, or it'll be too
late and Mac'll just be a workingman all his life."

 

Maisie's eyes shone. She brought out a chocolate layer
cake and a bottle of sweet wine. Her cheeks flushed and
she kept laughing showing all her little pearly teeth. She
hadn't looked so pretty since she'd had her first baby.
Bill's talk about money made her drunk.

 

"Suppose a feller didn't want to get rich . . . you
know what Gene Debs said, 'I want to rise with the
ranks, not from the ranks,' " said Mac.

 

Maisie and Bill laughed. "When a guy talks like that

 

-118-

 

he's ripe for the nuthouse, take it from me," said Bill.
Mac flushed and said nothing.

 

Bill pushed back his chair and cleared his throat in a
serious tone: "Look here, Mac . . . I'm goin' to be
around this town for a few days lookin' over the situa-
tion, but looks to me like things was pretty dead. Now
what I propose is this . . . You know what I think of
Maisie . . . I think she's about the sweetest little girl in
the world. I wish my wife had half what Maisie's got . . .
Well, anyway, here's my proposition: Out on Ocean View
Avenue I've got several magnificent missionstyle bunga-
lows I haven't disposed of yet, twentyfivefoot frontage on
a refined residential street by a hundredfoot depth. Why,
I've gotten as high as five grand in cold cash for 'em. In
a year of two none of us fellers'll be able to stick our
noses in there. It'll be millionaires' row . . . Now if
you're willing to have the house in Maisie's name I'll tell
you what I'll do . . . I'll swop properties with you, pay-
ing all the expenses of searching title and transfer and
balance up the mortgages, that I'll hold so's to keep 'em
in the family, so that you won't have to make substantially
bigger payments than you do here, and will be launched
on the road to success."

 

"Oh, Bill, you darling!" cried Maisie. She ran over and
kissed him on the top of the head and sat swinging her
legs on the arm of his chair. "Gee, I'll have to sleep on
that," said Mac; "it's mighty white of you to make the
offer.""Fainie, I'd think you'd be more grateful to Bill,"
snapped Maisie. "Of course we'll do it."

 

"No, you're quite right," said Bill. "A man's got to
think a proposition like that over. But don't forget the
advantages offered, better schools for the kids, more re-
fined surroundings, an upandcoming boom town instead
of a dead one, chance to get ahead in the world instead
of being a goddam wageslave."

 

So a month later the McCrearys moved up to Los An-

 

-119-

 

geles. The expenses of moving and getting the furniture
installed put Mac five hundred dollars in debt. On top of
that little Rose caught the measles and the doctor's bill
started mounting. Mac couldn't get a job on any of the
papers. Up at the union local that he transferred to they
had ten men out of work as it was.

 

He spent a lot of time walking about town worrying.
He didn't like to be at home any more. He and Maisie
never got on now. Maisie was always thinking about what
went on at brother Bill's house, what kind of clothes
Mary Virginia, his wife, wore, how they brought up their
children, the fine new victrola they'd bought. Mac sat on
benches in parks round town, reading The Appeal to
Reason and The Industrial Worker and the local papers.

 

One day he noticed The Industrial Worker sticking out
of the pocket of the man beside him. They had both sat
on the bench a long time when something made him turn
to look at the man. "Say, aren't you Ben Evans?""Well,
Mac, I'll be goddamned . . . What's the matter, boy,
you're lookin' thin?""Aw, nothin', I'm lookin' for a
master, that's all."

 

They talked for a long time. Then they went to have
a cup of coffee in a Mexican restaurant where some of the
boys hung out. A young blonde fellow with blue eyes
joined them there who talked English with an accent.
Mac was surprised to find out that he was a Mexican.
Everybody talked Mexico. Madero had started his revo-
lution. The fall of Diaz was expected any day. All over
the peons were taking to the hills, driving the rich cien-
tificos off their ranches. Anarchist propaganda was spread-
ing among the town workers. The restaurant had a warm
smell of chiles and overroasted coffee. On each table there
were niggerpink and vermilion paper flowers, an occa-
sional flash of white teeth in bronze and brown faces talk-
ing low. Some of the Mexicans there belonged to the
I.W.W., but most of them were anarchists. The talk of

 

-120-

 

revolution and foreign places made him feel happy and
adventurous again, as if he had a purpose in life, like
when he'd been on the bum with Ike Hall.

 

"Say, Mac, let's go to Mexico and see if there's any-
thing in this revoloossione talk," Ben kept saying.

 

"If it wasn't for the kids . . . Hell, Fred Hoff was
right when he bawled me out and said a revolutionist
oughtn't to marry."

 

Eventually Mac got a job as linotype operator on The
Times, and things at the house were a little better, but he
never had any spare money, as everything had to go into
paying debts and interest on mortgages. It was night work
again, and he hardly ever saw Maisie and the kids any
more. Sundays Maisie would take little Ed to brother
Bill's and he and Rose would go for walks or take trolley-
trips. That was the best part of the week. Saturday nights
he'd sometimes get to a lecture or go down to chat with
the boys at the I.W.W. local, but he was scared to be seen
round in radical company too much for fear of losing his
job. The boys thought he was pretty yellow but put up
with him because they thought of him as an old timer.

 

He got occasional letters from Milly telling him about
Uncle Tim's health. She had married a man named Cohen
who was a registered accountant and worked in one of the
offices at the stockyards. Uncle Tim lived with them. Mac
would have liked to bring him down to live with him in
Los Angeles, but he knew that it would only mean squab-
bling with Maisie. Milly's letters were pretty depressing.
She felt funny, she said, to be married to a Jew. Uncle
Tim was always poorly. The doctor said it was the drink,
but whenever they gave him any money he drank it right
up. She wished she could have children: Fainie was lucky,
she thought, to have such nice children. She was afraid
that poor Uncle Tim wasn't long for this world.

 

The same day that the papers carried the murder of
Madero in Mexico City, Mac got a wire from Milly that

 

-121-

 

Uncle Tim was dead and please to wire money for the
funeral. Mac went to the savingsbank and drew out $53.75
he had in an account for the children's schooling and took
it down to the Western Union and wired fifty to her.
Maisie didn't find out until the baby's birthday came
round, when she went down to deposit five dollars birth-
day money from brother Bill.

 

That night when Mac let himself in by the latchkey he
was surprised to find the light on in the hall. Maisie was
sitting half asleep on the hall settee with a blanket
wrapped round her waiting for him. He was pleased to
see her and went up to kiss her. "What's the matter,
baby?" he said. She pushed him away from her and
jumped to her feet.

 

"You thief, " she said. "I couldn't sleep till I told you
what I thought of you. I suppose you've been spending
it on drink or on some other woman. That's why I never
see you any more."

 

" Maisie, calm down, old girl . . . What's the matter;
let's talk about it quietly."

 

"I'll get a divorce, that's what I'll do. Stealing money
from your own children to make yourself a bum with . . .
your own poor little . . ."

 

Mac drew himself up and clenched his fists. He spoke
very quietly, although his lips were trembling.

 

"Maisie, I had an absolute right to take out that money.
I'll deposit some more in a week or two, and it's none
of your damn business."

 

"A fat chance you saving up fifty dollars; you aren't
man enough to make a decent living for your wife and
children so you have to take it out of your poor little inno-
cent children's bank account," Maisie broke out into dry
sobbing.

 

"Maisie, that's enough of that . . . I'm about through."

 

"I'm the one that's through with you and your ungodly
socialistic talk. That never got nobody anywheres, and the

 

-122-

 

lowdown bums you go around with . . . I wish to God
I'd never married you. I never would have, you can be
damn well sure of that if I hadn't got caught the way I
did."

 

" Maisie, don't talk like that."

 

Maisie walked straight up to him, her eyes wide and
feverish.

 

"This house is in my name; don't forget that."

 

"All right, I'm through."

 

Before he knew it he had slammed the door behind him
and was walking down the block. It began to rain. Each
raindrop made a splatter the size of a silver dollar in the
dust of the street. It looked like stage rain round the
arclight. Mac couldn't think where to go. Drenched, he
walked and walked. At one corner there was a clump of
palms in a yard that gave a certain amount of shelter. He
stood there a long time shivering. He was almost crying
thinking of the warm gentleness of Maisie when he used
to pull the cover a little way back and slip into bed beside
her asleep when he got home from work in the clanking
sour printing plant, her breasts, the feel of the nipples
through the thin nightgown; the kids in their cots out on
the sleepingporch, him leaning over to kiss each of the
little warm foreheads. "Well, I'm through," he said
aloud as if he were speaking to somebody else. Then only
did the thought come to him, "I'm free to see the country
now, to work for the movement, to go on the bum again."

 

Finally he went to Ben Evans' boarding house. It was
a long time before he could get anybody to come to the
door. When he finally got in Ben sat up in bed and looked
at him stupid with sleep. "What the hell?""Say, Ben,
I've just broken up housekeepin' . . . I'm goin' to Mex-
ico.""Are the cops after you? For crissake, this wasn't any
place to come.""No, it's just my wife." Ben laughed.

 

"Oh, for the love of Mike!""Say, Ben, do you want to
come to Mexico and see the revolution?""What the hell

 

-123-

 

could you do in Mexico? . . . Anyway, the boys elected
me secretary of local 257 . . . I got to stay here an' earn
my seventeenfifty. Say, you're soaked; take your clothes
off and put on my workclothes hangin' on the back of the
door . . . You better get some sleep. I'll move over."

 

Mac stayed in town two weeks until they could get a
man to take his place at the linotype. He wrote Maisie
that he was going away and that he'd send her money to
help support the kids as soon as he was in a position to.
Then one morning he got on the train with twentyfive
dollars in his pocket and a ticket to Yuma, Arizona. Yuma
turned out to be hotter'n the hinges of hell. A guy at the
railroad men's boarding house told him he'd sure die of
thirst if he tried going into Mexico there, and nobody
knew anything about the revolution, anyway. So he beat
his way along the Southern Pacific to El Paso. Hell had
broken loose across the border, everybody said. The ban-
dits were likely to take Juarez at any moment. They shot
Americans on sight. The bars of El Paso were full of
ranchers and mining men bemoaning the good old days
when Porfirio Diaz was in power and a white man could
make money in Mexico. So it was with beating heart that
Mac walked across the international bridge into the dusty-
bustling adobe streets of Juarez.

 

Mac walked around looking at the small trolleycars and
the mules and the walls daubed with seablue and the peon
women squatting behind piles of fruit in the marketplace
and the crumbling scrollface churches and the deep bars
open to the street. Everything was strange and the air was
peppery to his nostrils and he was wondering what he was
going to do next. It was late afternoon of an April day.
Mac was sweating in his blue flannel shirt. His body felt
gritty and itchy and he wanted a bath. "Gettin' too old
for this kinda stuff," he told himself. At last he found the
house of a man named Ricardo Perez whom one of the
Mexican anarchists in Los Angeles had told him to look

 

-124-

 

up. He had trouble finding him in the big house with an
untidy courtyard, on the edge of town. None of the
women hanging out clothes seemed to understand Mac's
lingo. At last Mac heard a voice from above in carefully
modulated English. "Come up if you are looking for
Ricardo Perez . . . please . . . I am Ricardo Perez."
Mac looked up and saw a tall bronzecolored grayhaired
man in an old tan duster leaning from the top gallery of
the courtyard. He went up the iron steps. The tall man
shook hands with him.

 

"Fellowworker McCreary . . . My comrades wrote
me you were coming.""That's me, allright . . . I'm
glad you talk English.""I lived in Santa Fe many years
and in Brockton, Massachusetts. Sit down . . . please
I am very happy to welcome an American revolu-
tionary worker . . . Though our ideas probably do not
entirely agree we have much in common. We are com-
rades in the big battle." He patted Mac on the shoulder
and pressed him into a chair. "Please." There were sev-
eral little yellow children in torn shirts running round
barefoot. Ricardo Perez sat down and took the smallest
on his knee, a little girl with kinky pigtails and a smudged
face. The place smelt of chile and scorched olive oil and
children and washing. "What are you going to do in
Mexico, fellowworker?"

 

Mac blushed. "Oh, I want to kinda get into things, into
the revolution."

 

"The situation is very confusing here . . . Our town-
workers are organizing and are classconscious but the
peons, the peasants, are easily misled by unscrupulous
leaders."

 

"I want to see some action, Perez I was living in
Los Angeles an' gettin' to be a goddam booster like the
rest of 'em. I can earn my keep in the printin' line, I
guess."

 

-125-

 

"I must introduce you to the comrades . . . Please
. . . We will go now."

 

Blue dusk was swooping down on the streets when they
went out. Lights were coming out yellow. Mechanical
pianos jinglejangled in bars. In a gateway a little outof-
tune orchestra was playing. The market was all lit up by
flares, all kinds of shiny brightcolored stuff was for sale
at booths. At a corner an old Indian and an old broad-
faced woman, both of them blind and heavily pockmarked,
were singing a shrill endless song in the middle of a dense
group of short thickset country people, the women with
black shawls over their heads, the men in white cotton
suits like pajamas.

 

"They sing about the murder of Madero . . . It is
very good for the education of the people . . . You see
they cannot read the papers so they get their news in
songs . . . It was your ambassador murdered Madero.
He was a bourgeois idealist but a great man . . . Please
. . . Here is the hall. . . . You see that sign says "Viva
the Revindicating Revolution prelude to the Social Revo-
lution." This is the hall of' the Anarchist Union of In-
dustry and Agriculture. Huerta has a few federales here
but they are so weak they dare not attack us. Ciudad
Juarez is heart and soul with the revolution . . . Please
. . . you will greet the comrades with a few words."

 

The smoky hall and the platform were filled with
swarthy men in blue denim workclothes; in the back were
a few peons in white. Many hands shook Mac's, black
eyes looked sharp into his, several men hugged him. He
was given a campchair in the front row on the platform.
Evidently Ricardo Perez was chairman. Applause fol-
lowed in every pause in his speech. A feeling of big events
hovered in the hall. When Mac got on his feet, somebody
yelled "Solidarity forever" in English. Mac stammered a
few words about how he wasn't an official representative
of the I.W.W. but that all the same classconscious Ameri-

 

-126-

 

can workers were watching the Mexican revolution with
big hopes, and ended up with the wobbly catchword about
building the new society in the shell of the old. The
speech went big when Perez translated it and Mac felt
pretty good. Then the meeting went on and on, more and
more speeches and occasional songs. Mac found himself
nodding several times. The sound of the strange language
made him sleepy. He barely managed to keep awake until
a small band in the open door of the hall broke into a tune
and everybody sang and the meeting broke up.

 

"That's Cuatro Milpas. . . that means four corn-
fields . . . that's a song of the peons everybody's singing
now," said Perez.

 

"I'm pretty hungry I'd like to get a little some-
thing to eat somewheres," said Mac. "I haven't eaten since
morning when I had a cup of coffee and a doughnut in
El Paso."

 

"We will eat at the house of our comrade," said Perez.

 

"Please . . . this way."

 

They went in off the street, now black and empty,
through a tall door hung with a bead curtain, into a white-
washed room brightly lit by an acetylene flare that smelt
strong of carbide. They sat down at the end of a long
table with a spotted cloth on it. The table gradually filled
with people from the meeting, mostly young men in blue
workclothes, with thin sharp faces. At the other end sat
an old dark man with the big nose and broad flat cheek-
bones of an Indian. Perez poured Mac out two glasses of
a funnytasting white drink that made his head spin. The
food was very hot with pepper and chile and he choked
on it a little bit. The Mexicans petted Mac like a child
at his birthday party. He had to drink many glasses of
beer and cognac. Perez went home early and left him in
charge of a young fellow named Pablo. Pablo had a Colt
automatic on a shoulder strap that he was very proud of.

 

-127-

 

He spoke a little pidginenglish and sat with one hand
round Mac's neck and the other on the buckle of his
holster. "Gringo bad . . . Kill him quick . . . Fellow-
worker good . . . internacional . . . hurray," he kept
saying. They sang the International several times and
then the Marseillaise and the Carmagnole. Mac was car-
ried along in a peppery haze. He sang and drank and ate
and everything began to lose outline.

 

"Fellowworker marry nice girl," said Pablo. They were
standing at a bar somewhere. He made a gesture of sleep-
ing with his two hands against his face. "Come."

 

They went to a dancehall. At the entrance everybody
had to leave his gun on a table guarded by a soldier in a
visored cap. Mac noticed that the men and girls drew
away from him a little. Pablo laughed. "They think you
gringo . . . I tell them revolucionario internacional.
There she, nice girl . . . Not goddam whore not
pay, she nice working girl . . . comrade."

 

Mac found himself being introduced to a brown broad-
faced girl named Encarnacion. She was neatly dressed
and her hair was very shinyblack. She gave him a bright
flash of a smile. He patted her on the cheek. They drank
some beer at the bar and left. Pablo had a girl with him
too. The others stayed on at the dancehall. Pablo and his
girl walked round to Encarnacion's house with them. It
was a room in a little courtyard. Beyond it was a great
expanse of lightcolored desert land stretching as far as you
could see under a waning moon. In the distance were some
tiny specks of fires. Pablo pointed at them with his full
hand and whispered, "Revolucion."

 

Then they said good night at the door of Encarnacion's
little room that had a; bed, a picture of the Virgin and a
new photograph of Madero stuck up by a pin. Encarna-
cion closed the door, bolted it and sat down on the bed
looking up at Mac with a smile.

 

-128-

 


THE CAMERA EYE (12)

 

when everybody went away for a trip Jeanne took
us out to play every day in Farragut Square and told you
about how in the Jura in winter the wolves come down
and howl through the streets of the villages

 

and sometimes we'd see President Roosevelt ride by
all alone on a bay horse and once we were very proud
because when we took off our hats we were very proud
because he smiled and showed his teeth like in the news-
paper and touched his hat and we were very proud and
he had an aide de camp

 

but we had a cloth duck that we used to play with
on the steps until it began to get dark and the wolves
howled ran with little children's blood dripping from
their snout through the streets of the villages only it was
summer and between dog and wolf we'd be put to bed
and Jeanne was a young French girl from the Jura where
the wolves howled ran through the streets and when
everybody had gone to bed she would take you into her
bed

 

and it was a very long scary story and the worst of
the wolves howled through the streets gloaming to freeze
little children's blood was the Loup Garou howling in
the Jura and we were scared and she had breasts under
her nightgown and the Loup Garou was terrible scary

 

-129-

 

and black hair and rub against her and outside the wolves
howled in the streets and it was wet there and she said it
was nothing she had just washed herself

 

but the Loup Garou was really a man hold me close
cheri a man howled through streets with a bloody snout
that tore up the bellies of girls and little children Loup
Garou

 

and afterwards you knew what girls were made like
and she was very silly and made you promise not to tell
but you wouldn't have anyway

 


NEWSREEL X

 


MOON'S PATENT IS FIZZLE

 

insurgents win at Kansas polls Oak Park soulmates part
8000 to take autoride says girl begged for her husband

 


PIT SENTIMENT FAVORS UPTURN

 

Oh you be-eautiful doll
You great big beautiful doll

 

the world cannot understand all that is involved in this,
she said. It appears like an ordinary worldly affair with the
trappings of what is low and vulgar but there is nothing of
the sort. He is honest and sincere. I know him. I have
fought side by side with him. My heart is with him now.

 

Let me throw my arms around you
Honey ain't I glad I found you

 

Almost Motionless In Midsummer Languor On Business
Seas One Million See Drunkards Bounced

 

-130-

 


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