[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

like that in here again. Nobody does a thing like that to him twice."
Slim, though shaken, tried to make light of it. "Sure made Nadine sound off, though!"
Nadine sat down, glaring at Slim. He only smiled at her. She looked at Progress, then back at
Slim. The confusion was clear in her eyes as she looked down to dip her corn bread in her chili.
Progress cleared his throat, and he and Slim laughed, which made Nadine glare at them again.
Slim tried to concentrate on his chili and beer, but Progress wasn't finished.
"Slim," he said, just as if nothing had happened. The gold teeth were gleaming now. "What you
like to drive? We gots to get you a vehicle."
"Progress, I can't let you keep buyin' me things. It isn't right."
"Daddy," Nadine interrupted. "Let him be. If he doesn't want it, he doesn't."
"Oh, bullshit, Nadine." He turned to Slim and looked him straight in the eye. "Look here, son," he
said. "I gots more money than I can spend. You come into this here world with nothin'. How you think
you get along? You gots to have a vehicle. After this here trouble is done and you start workin' gigs,
then you pay me back as you can. Now what you like to drive?"
Slim considered a moment. In his whole life no one had ever been generous to him before, and he
didn't know how to handle it, or even how to accept it. But he knew that he felt good for someone
believing in him enough to extend the generosity.
"I guess I pretty much like vans," he said. "They're all I've owned the last twenty years. I can fix
'em up nice and stuff."
"Well, then," Progress said. "If we're all finished eatin', let's go down Sixth Street and see can't
we find somethin' you like. What you say?"
Slim thought about protesting again, uncomfortable with the gift giving, but Nadine shook her
head.
"Don't bother to argue," she said. "Daddy does just what he wants. And he's right, so just sit back
and enjoy it, because it's going to happen anyway."
"Okay, okay," Slim said, holding his hands up in surrender. "I'll go."
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11
As a poetic vehicle astonishingly free of the excess moral baggage of "civilization,"
the blues provides us with exemplary criteria, requiring total candor, a willingness to
assume risks, an unfettered expression of the inner personality, an unreserved fidelity to
one's deepest aspirations, an enthusiastic readiness for inspiration at all times. By the
same token, the blues is absolutely incompatible with puritanism... piety dogmatism,
smugness, classicism, artifice, fascism, masochism...
 Paul Garon, Blues and the Poetic Spirit
It was another day with breakfast. Nadine was the best cook Slim had ever known, but he was
kind of surprised at the menu. Today's breakfast consisted of refried beans, potato and egg and cheese
burritos, and chiles rellenos. It wasn't the kind, or the amount, of breakfast he was accustomed to, but
as long as Nadine cooked it, he was sure he could adapt.
For a moment he reflected on the prior meal, when the Glory Hand had shown up again, and he
had almost grabbed it. Someone must have dropped it in the chair while Slim was in animated
conversation with Progress, and used magic to light it. He was sure it wouldn't return again, because
Mitchell had clearly intended to destroy it. But it had been one close call. When they returned home,
they had found the hound dog lying in a far corner, and the box with the hand gone. The dog had been
beaten unconscious, but would survive. Obviously he had tried to defend the house, but couldn't stand
up against a metal pipe.
"Chillen," Progress said, once the eating was done and the table was cleared. "Today we splits up
again. You got the van now, Slim, so that should be no problem. We've still got to get Gannon's Jug
Stompers, Willy G., Sonny Early, Spider John Koerner, and Earthman Jack. I can get those folks, they
should be easy."
"What do we do, Daddy?" Nadine asked. "Who do we get?"
Progress seemed very reluctant to answer and, when he did, he didn't look at them. "I want you
two," he said quietly, "to go get Heap of Bears."
Nadine stiffened and whipped her head around to look at Progress. There was a look of
astonished rage on her face. Her eyes were narrowed, the pupils almost pinpoints. "What!" She nearly
screamed it. "You can't mean that, not him."
"Nadine," Progress said sadly. "We needs him for this. I thought maybe we could get by without [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]