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Part Two Chapter1

It was over a year before I saw Dean again. I stayed home all that time, finished my book and began going to school on the GI Bill of Rights. At Christmas 1948 my aunt and I went down to visit my brother in Virgin- ia, laden with presents. I had been writing to Dean and he said he was coming East again; and I told him if so he would find me in Testament, Virginia,  between Christmas and New Year's. One day when all our Southern relatives were sitting around the parlor in Testament, gaunt men and  women  with the old Southern soil in their eyes, talking in low,  whining  voices  about  the  weather,  the  crops,  and  the general weary recapitulation of who had a baby, who got a new house, and so on, a mud-spattered '49 Hudson drew up in front of the house on the dirt road. I had no idea who it was. A weary young fellow, muscular and ragged in a T-shirt, unshaven,  red-eyed, came to the porch and rang the bell. I opened the door and suddenly realized it was Dean. He had come all the way from San Francisco to my brother Rocco's door in Virginia, and in an amazingly short time, because I had just written my last letter, telling where I was. In the car I could see two figures sleep- ing. "I'll be goddamned! Dean! Who's in the car?"
"Hello, hello, man, it's Marylou. And Ed Dunkel. We gotta have place to wash up immediately, we're dog-tired."
"But how did you get here so fast?" "Ah, man, that Hudson goes!" "Where did you get it?"
"I bought it with my savings. I've been working on the railroad,
making four hundred dollars a month."
There was utter confusion in the following hour. My Southern relatives had no idea what was going on, or who or what Dean, Mary- lou, and Ed Dunkel were; they dumbly stared. My aunt and my broth- er Rocky  went in the kitchen to consult. There were, in all, eleven people in the little Southern house. Not only that, but my brother had just decided to move from that house, and half his furniture was gone; he and his wife and baby were moving closer tothe town of Testament. They had bought a new parlor set and their old one was going to my aunt's house in Paterson, though we  hadn't yet decided how. When Dean heard this he at once offered his  services with the Hudson. He and I would carry the furniture to Paterson in two fast trips and bring my aunt back at the end of the second trip. This was going to save us a lot of money and trouble. It was agreed upon. My sister-in-law made a spread, and the three battered travelers sat down to eat. Marylou had not slept since Denver. I thought she looked older and more beautiful now.
I learned that Dean had lived happily with Camille in San Fran- cisco ever since that fall of 1947; he got a job on the railroad and made a lot of money. He became the father of a cute little girl, Amy Moriarty. Then suddenly he blew his top while walking down the street one day. He saw a '49 Hudson for sale and rushed to the bank for his entire roll. He bought the car  on the spot. Ed Dunkel was with him. Now they were broke. Dean calmed Camille's fears and told her he'd be back in a month. "I'm going to New York and bring Sal back." She wasn't too pleased at this prospect.
"But what is the purpose of all this? Why are you doing this to me?"
"It's  nothing,  it's  nothing,  darling--ah--hem--Sal  has  pleaded and begged with me to come and get him, it is absolutely necessary for me  to--but we won't go into all these explanations--and I'll tell you why ... No, listen, I'll tell you why." And he told her why, and of course it made no sense.
Big tall Ed Dunkel also worked on the railroad. He and Dean
had just been laid off during a seniority lapse because of a drastic re- duction of crews. Ed had met a girl called Galatea who was living in San  Francisco on her  savings.  These two mindless  cads  decided to bring the  girl along to the East and have her foot the bill. Ed cajoled and pleaded; she  wouldn't go unless he married her. In a whirlwind few days Ed Dunkel married Galatea, with Dean rushing around to get the necessary papers, and a few days before Christmas they rolled out of San Francisco at seventy miles per, headed for LA and the snowless southern road. In LA they picked up a  sailor in a travel bureau and took him along for fifteen dollars' worth of gas. He was bound for In- diana. They also picked up a woman with her idiot daughter, for four dollars' gas fare to Arizona. Dean sat the idiot girl with  him up front and dug her, as he said, "All the iwayi, man! such a gone sweet little soul. Oh, we talked, we talked of fires and the desert turning to a para- dise and her parrot that swore in Spanish." Dropping off these passen- gers, they proceeded to Tucson. All along the way Galatea Dunkel, Ed's  new wife, kept complaining that she was tired and wanted to sleep in a motel. If this kept up they'd spend all her money long before Virginia. Two nights she forced a stop and blew tens on motels. By the time they got to Tucson she was broke. Dean and Ed gave her the slip in a hotel lobby and  resumed the voyage alone, with the sailor, and without a qualm. 
Ed Dunkel was a tall, calm, unthinking fellow who was com- pletely  ready to do anything Dean asked him; and at this time Dean was too busy for scruples. He was roaring through Las Cruces, New Mexico, when he suddenly had an explosive yen to see his sweet first wife Marylou  again. She was up in Denver. He swung the car north, against the feeble protests of the sailor, and zoomed into Denver in the evening. He ran and found Marylou in a hotel. They had ten hours of wild lovemaking.  Everything was decided again: they were going to stick. Marylou was the  only girl Dean ever really loved. He was sick with regret when he saw her  face again, and, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Dean; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad. To soothe the sailor, Dean fixed him up with a girl in a hotel room over the  bar where the old poolhall gang always drank. But the sailor refused the girl and in fact walked off in the night and they never saw him again; he  evidently took a bus to Indiana.Dean, Marylou, and Ed Dunkel roared east along Colfax and out  to  the Kansas plains. Great snowstorms overtook them. In Mis- souri, at night, Dean had to drive with his scarf-wrapped head stuck out the  window,  with snowglasses that made him look like a monk peering into the manuscripts of the snow, because the windshield was covered with an inch of ice. He drove by the birth county of his fore- bears without a thought. In the morning the car skidded on an icy hill and flapped into a ditc............

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