“They’re jist queer,” she told him. “The women bob their hair and wear smocks and sandals. The men are long-haired softies. They all talk kinda foolish.” Kitty despaired of making the situation clear to him and resorted to the personal. “Can’t you come down to-night to The Purple Pup or The Sea Siren and see for yourself?” she proposed, and gave him directions for finding the classic resorts.
“I reckon they must be medicine fakirs,” decided Clay. “I’ve met up with these long-haired guys before. Sure I’ll come.”
“You betcha, little pardner, I’ll be there.”
“I’m dressed silly—in bare feet and sandals and what they call a smock. You won’t mind that, will you?”
“You’ll look good to me, no matter what you wear, little Miss Colorado,” he told her with his warm, big brother’s smile.
“You’re good,” the girl said simply. “I knew that on the train even when I—when I was mean to you.” There came into her voice a small tremor of apprehension. “I’m afraid of this town. It’s so—so kinda cruel. I’ve got no friends here.”
He offered instant reassurance with a strong grip of his brown hand. “You’ve got one, little pardner. I’ll promise that one big husky will be on the job when you need him. Don’t you worry.”
She gave him her shy eyes gratefully. There was a mist of tears in them.
“You’re good,” she said again naively.
ARIZONA FOLLOWS ITS LAWLESS IMPULSE
When Clay two hours later took the Sixth Avenue L for a plunge into Bohemianism he knew no more about Greenwich Village than a six-months-old pup does about Virgil. But it was characteristic of him that on his way downtown he proceeded to find out from his chance seat-mate something about this unknown terrain he was about to visit.
The man he sat beside was a patrolman off duty, and to this engaging Westerner he was quite ready to impart any information he might have.
“Fakirs,” he pronounced promptly. “They’re a bunch of long-haired nuts, most of ’em—queer guys who can’t sell their junk and kid themselves into thinking they’re artists and writers. They pull a lot of stuff about socialism and anarchy and high art.”
“Just harmless cranks—gone loco, mebbe?”
“Some of ’em. Others are there for the mazuma. Uptown the Village is supposed to be one hell of a place. The people who own the dumps down there have worked up that rep to draw the night trade. They make a living outa the wickedness of Greenwich. Nothin’ to it—all fake stuff. They advertise September Morn balls with posters something fierce, and when you go they are just like any other dances. Bum drawings of naked women on the walls done by artist yaps, decorations of purple cows, pirates’ dens—that’s the kind of dope they have.”