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Part One Chapter 7
The following ten days were, as W. C. Fields said, "fraught with emi- nent  peril"--and  mad.  I  moved  in  with  Roland  Major in  the  really swank  apartment that belonged to Tim Gray's folks. We each had a bedroom, and there was a kitchenette with food in the icebox, and a huge living room where Major sat in his silk dressing gown composing his latest Hemingwayan short story--a choleric, red-faced, pudgy hater of everything, who could turn  on the warmest and most charming smile in the world when real life confronted him sweetly in the night. He sat like that at his desk, and I  jumped around over the thick soft rug, wearing only my chino pants. He'd  just written a story about a guy who comes to Denver for the first time. His name is Phil. His trav- eling companion is a mysterious and quiet fellow called Sam. Phil goes out to dig Denver and gets hung-up with arty types. He comes back to the hotel room. Lugubriously he says, "Sam, they're here too." And Sam is just looking out the window sadly. "Yes," says Sam, "I know." And the point was that Sam didn't have to go and look to know this. The arty types were all over America, sucking up its blood. Major and I were great pals; he thought I was the farthest thing from an arty type. Major liked good wines, just like Hemingway. He reminisced about his recent trip to France. "Ah, Sal, if you could sit with me high in the Bas- que country with a cool bottle of Poignon Dix-neuf, then you'd know there are other things besides boxcars."
"I know that. It's just that I love boxcars and I love to read the names on them like Missouri Pacific, Great Northern, Rock Island Line. By  Gad, Major, if I could tell you everything that happened to me hitching here."
The Rawlinses lived a few blocks away. This was a delightful family--a youngish mother, part owner of a decrepit, ghost-town hotel, with five sons and two daughters. The wild son was Ray Rawlins, Tim Gray's boyhood buddy. Ray came roaring in to get me and we took to each other right away. We went off and drank in the Colfax bars. One surf-riding doll of the West. She was Tim Gray's girl. And Major, who was  only passing through Denver and doing so in real style in the apartment, was going out with Tim Gray's sister Betty. I was the only guy without a  girl. I asked everybody, "Where's Dean?" They made smiling negative answers.Then finally it happened. The phone rang, and it was Carlo Marx. He  gave  me  the  address  of  his  basement  apartment.  I  said, "What  are you  doing  in  Denver? I  mean  what are you  idoingi? What's going on?"
"Oh, wait till I tell you."
I rushed over to meet him. He was working in May's depart- ment store nights; crazy Ray Rawlins called him up there from a bar, getting janitors to run after Carlo with a story that somebody had died. Carlo immediately thought it was me who had died. And Rawlins said over  the  phone,  "Sal's  in  Denver,"  and  gave  him  my  address  and phone.
"And where is Dean?"
"Dean is in Denver. Let me tell you." And he told me that Dean was making love to two girls at the same time, they being Marylou, his first wife, who waited for him in a hotel room, and Camille, a new girl, who waited for  him in a hotel room. "Between the two of them he rushes to me for our own unfinished business."
"And what business is that??"
"Dean and I are embarked on a tremendous season together. We're trying to communicate with absolute honesty and absolute com- pleteness everything on our minds. We've had to take benzedrine. We sit on the bed,  crosslegged, facing each other. I have finally taught Dean that he can do  anything he wants, become mayor of Denver, marry a millionairess, or become the greatest poet since Rimbaud. But he keeps rushing out to see the midget auto races. I go with him. He jumps and yells, excited. You know,  Sal, Dean is really hung-up on things like that." Marx said "Hmm" in his soul and thought about this.
 "What's the schedule?" I said. There was always a schedule in Dean's life.
"The schedule is this: I came off work a half-hour ago. In that time Dean is balling Marylou at the hotel and gives me time to change and dress. At one sharp he rushes from Marylou to Camille--of course neither one of them knows what's going on--and bangs her once, giv- ing me time to arrive at one-thirty. Then he comes out with me--first he has  to  beg  with  Camille,  who's  already  started hating  me--and  we come here to talk till six in the morning. We usually spend more time than that, but it's getting awfully  complicated and he's pressed for time. Then at six he goes back to Marylou--and he's going to spend all day tomorrow running around to get  the necessary papers for their divorce. Marylou's all for it, but she insists on banging in the interim. She says she loves him--so does Camille."
Then he told me how Dean had met Camille. Roy Johnson, the poolhall boy, had found her in a bar and took her to a hotel; pride tak- ing over his sense, he invited the whole gang to come up and see her. Everybody sat around talking with Camille. Dean did nothing but look out the window.  Then when everybody left, Dean merely looked at Camille, pointed at his wrist, made the sign "four" (meaning he'd be- back at four), and went out. At three the door was locked to-Roy John- son. At four it was opened to Dean. I wanted to go right out and see the madman. Also he had promised to fix me up; he knew all the girls in Denver.
Carlo and I went through rickety streets in the Denver night. The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream. We came to the rooming house where Dean  haggled with Camille. It was an old red-brick building surrounded by wooden garages and old trees that stuck up from be- hind fences. We went up carpeted stairs. Carlo knocked; then he darted to the back to hide; he  didn't  want Camille to see him. I stood in the door. Dean opened it stark  naked. I saw a brunette on the bed, one beautiful creamy  thigh covered with  black  lace,  look up  with mild wonder.
"Why, Sa-a-al!" said Dean. "Well now--ah--ahem--yes, of course, you've arrived--you old sonumbitch you finally got on that old road. Well,  now, look here--we must--yes, yes, at once--we must, we really must! Now Camille--" And he swirled on her. "Sal is here, this is my old buddy from New Yor-r-k, this is his first night in Denver and it's absolutely necessary for me to take him out and fix him up with a girl."
"But what time will you be back?"
"It is now" (looking at his watch) "exactly one-fourteen. I shall be back at exactly ithreei-fourteen, for our hour of reverie together, real sweet reverie, darling, and then, as you know, as I told you and as we agreed, I have to go and see the one-legged lawyer about those pa- pers--in the middle of the night, strange as it seems and as I tho-ro-ly explained." (This was a  coverup for his rendezvous with Carlo, who was still hiding.) "So now in this exact minute I must dress, put on my pants, go back to life, that is to outside life, streets and what not, as we agreed, it is now one-fifteen and time's running, running--"
"Well, all right, Dean, but please be sure and be back at three." "Just  as  I  said,  darling,  and  remember  not  three  but  three-
fourteen. Are we straight in the deepest and most wonderful depths of our  souls, dear darling?" And he went over and kissed her several times. On the wall was a nude drawing of Dean, enormous dangle and all, done by Camille. I was amazed. Everything was so crazy.
Off we rushed into the night; Carlo joined us in an alley. And we proceeded down the narrowest, strangest, and most crooked little city street  I've ever seen, deep in the heart of Denver Mexican-town. We talked in loud voices in the sleeping stillness. "Sal," said Dean, "I have just the girl waiting for you at this very minute--if she's off duty" (looking at his watch). "A waitress, Rita Bettencourt, fine chick, slightly hung-up on a few sexual difficulties which I've tried to straighten up and I think you can manage,  you fine gone daddy you. So we'll go there at once--we must bring beer, no, they have some themselves, and damn!" he said socking his palm. "I've just got to get into her sister Mary tonight."
"What?" said Carlo. "I thought we were going to talk."
"Yes, yes, after."
"Oh, these Denver doldrums!" yelled Carlo to the sky.
"Isn't he the finest sweetest fellow in the world?" said Dean, punching me in the ribs. "Look at him. Look at him!"
And Carlo began his monkey dance in the streets of life as I'd seen him do so many times everywhere in New York.
And all I could say was, "Well, what the hell are we doing in Denver?"
"Tomorrow, Sal, I know where I can find you a job," said Dean, reverting to businesslike tones. "So I'll call on you, soon as I have an hour off from Marylou, and cut right into that apartment of yours, say hello to Major, and take you on a trolley (damn, I've no car) to the Ca- margo  markets,  where you can begin working at once and collect a paycheck come Friday. We're really all of us bottomry broke. I haven't had time to work in weeks. Friday night beyond all doubt the three of us--the old threesome of Carlo, Dean, and Sal--must go to the midget auto races, and  for  that I can get us a ride from a guy downtown I know ... " And on and on into the night.
We got to the house where the waitress sisters lived. The one for me  was still working; the sister that Dean wanted was in. We sat down on her couch. I was scheduled at this time to call Ray Rawlins. I did. He came over at once. Coming into the door, he took off his shirt and undershirt and began hugging the absolute stranger, Mary Betten- court. Bottles rolled on the floor. Three o'clock came. Dean rushed off for his hour of reverie with Camille. He was back on time. The other sister showed up. We all needed a car now, and we were making too much noise. Ray Rawlins called up a buddy with a car. He came. We all piled in; Carlo was trying to conduct his scheduled talk with Dean in the back seat, but there was too much confusion. "Let's all go to my apartment!" I shouted. We did; the moment the car stopped there I jumped out and stood on my head in the grass. All my keys fell out; I never found them. We ran, shouting, into the building. Roland Major stood barring our way in his silk dressing gown.
"I'll have no goings-on like this in Tim Gray's apartment!"
"What?" we all shouted. There was confusion. Rawlins was roll- ing in the grass with one of the waitresses. Major wouldn't let us in. We swore to call Tim Gray and confirm the party and also invite him. In- stead we all rushed back to the Denver downtown hangouts. I sudden- ly found myself alone in the street with no money. My last dollar was gone.
I walked five miles up Colfax to my comfortable bed in the apartment. Major had to let me in. I wondered if Dean and Carlo were having their heart-to-heart. I would find out later. The nights in Denver are cool, and I slept like a log.

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