“Anybody what had eyes could see dat dere was somethin’ wrong wid dat girl. I didn’t like her actions.”
On the street Jimmie met a friend. “What deh hell?” asked the latter.
Jimmie explained. “An’ I’ll t’ump ’im till he can’t stand.”
“Oh, what deh hell,” said the friend. “What’s deh use! Yeh’ll git pulled in! Everybody ‘ill be onto it! An’ ten plunks! Gee!”
Jimmie was determined. “He t’inks he kin scrap, but he’ll fin’ out diff’ent.”
“Gee,” remonstrated the friend. “What deh hell?”
On a corner a glass-fronted building shed a yellow glare upon the pavements. The open mouth of a saloon called seductively to passengers to enter and annihilate sorrow or create rage.
The interior of the place was papered in olive and bronze tints of imitation leather. A shining bar of counterfeit massiveness extended down the side of the room. Behind it a great mahogany-appearing sideboard reached the ceiling. Upon its shelves rested pyramids of shimmering glasses that were never disturbed. Mirrors set in the face of the sideboard multiplied them. Lemons, oranges and paper napkins, arranged with mathematical precision, sat among the glasses. Many-hued decanters of liquor perched at regular intervals on the lower shelves. A nickel-plated cash register occupied a position in the exact centre of the general effect. The elementary senses of it all seemed to be opulence and geometrical accuracy.
Across from the bar a smaller counter held a collection of plates upon which swarmed frayed fragments of crackers, slices of boiled ham, dishevelled bits of cheese, and pickles swimming in vinegar. An odor of grasping, begrimed hands and munching mouths pervaded.
Pete, in a white jacket, was behind the bar bending expectantly toward a quiet stranger. “A beeh,” said the man. Pete drew a foam-topped glassful and set it dripping upon the bar.
At this moment the light bamboo doors at the entrance swung open and crashed against the siding. Jimmie and a companion entered. They swaggered unsteadily but belligerently toward the bar and looked at Pete with bleared and blinking eyes.
“Gin,” said Jimmie.
“Gin,” said the companion.
Pete slid a bottle and two glasses along the bar. He bended his head sideways as he assiduously polished away with a napkin at the gleaming wood. He had a look of watchfulness upon his features.
Jimmie and his companion kept their eyes upon the bartender and conversed loudly in tones of contempt.
“He’s a dindy masher, ain’t he, by Gawd?” laughed Jimmie.
“Oh, hell, yes,” said the companion, sneering widely. “He’s great, he is. Git onto deh mug on deh blokie. Dat’s enough to make a feller turn hand-springs in ’is sleep.”
The quiet stranger moved himself and his glass a trifle further away and maintained an attitude of oblivion.