Monday, 22 September 2008

22 September 2008

the high-sign for a through-train. My mother retired to the back seat and went to sleep. In Washington at four A.M. Neal called Carolyn collect again in Frisco. Shortly after this as we pulled out of Washington a cruising car overtook us with siren going and we had a speeding ticket in spite of the fact that we were only going about thirty. It was the California license plate that did it. “You guys think you can rush through here as fast as you want just because you come from California?” said the cop. I went with Neal to the sergeant’s desk and we tried to explain to the police that we had no money. They said Neal would have to spend the night in jail if we didn’t round up the money. Of course my mother had it, fifteen dollars, she had twenty in all and it was going to be just fine. And in fact while we were arguing with the cops one of them went out to peek at my mother who sat wrapped in the back of the car. She saw him. “Don’t worry, I’m not a gunmoll…if you want to come in and search the car go right ahead…I’m going home with my son and this furniture isn’t stolen, it’s my daughter’s, she just had a baby and she’s coming to live with me.” This flabbergasted Sherlock and he went back in the station house. My mother had to pay the fine for Neal or we’d be stuck in Washington; I had no license. He promised to pay it back; and he actually did, exactly a year and a half later and to my mother’s pleased surprise. My mother---a respectable woman hung up in this sad world, and well she knew the world. She told us about the cop. “He was hiding behind the tree trying to see what I looked like. I told him…I told him to search the car if he wanted. I’ve nothing to be ashamed of.” She knew Neal had something to be ashamed of, and me too, by virtue of my being with Neal, and Neal and I accepted this sadly. My mother once said the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness. This is true. All over the world, in the jungles of Mexico, in backstreets of Shanghai, in New York cocktail bars, husbands are getting drunk while the women stay home with the babies of the everdarkening future. If these men stop the machine and come home---and get on their knees---and ask for forgiveness---and the women bless them---peace will suddenly descend on the earth with

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