He left, laughing loudly at his prank.
“Say there, you, where do the girls hang out?” Blondie asked, reeling up drunkenly toward a small well-dressed man, standing at the door of a tailor shop.
The man stepped down to the sidewalk politely to let
Blondie stopped and looked at him curiously, im-pertinently.
“Little boy, you’re very small and dainty, ain’t you? . . . No? . . . Then I’m a liar! . . . That’s right! . . . You know the puppet dance. . . . You don’t? The hell you don’t! . . . I met you in a circus! I know you can even dance on a tightrope! . . . You watch!”
Blondie drew his gun out and began to shoot, aiming at the tailor’s feet; the tailor gave a little jump at every pull of the trigger.
“See! You do know how to dance on the tightrope, don’t you?”
Taking his friends by the arm, he ordered them to lead him to the red-light district, punctuating every step by a shot which smashed a street light, or struck some wall, a door, or a distant house.
Demetrio left him and returned to the hotel, singing to himself:
“Someone plunged a knife
Deep in my side.
Did he know why?
I don’t know why.
Maybe he knew,
I never knew.”
Stale cigarette smoke, the acrid odors of sweaty clothing, the vapors of alcohol, the breathing of a crowded multitude, worse by far than a trainful of pigs.
Texas hats, adorned with gold braid, and khaki pre-dominate. “Gentlemen, a well-dressed man stole my suit-case in the station. My life’s savings! I haven’t enough to feed my little boy now!”
The shrill voice, rising to a shriek or trailing off into a sob, is drowned out by the tumult within the train.
“What the hell is the old woman talking about?” Blondie asks, entering in search of a seat.
“Something about a suitcase . . . and a well-dressed man,” Pancracio replies. He has already the laps of two civilians to sit on.
Demetrio and the others elbow their way in. Since those on whom Pancracio had sat preferred to stand up, Demetrio and Luis Cervantes quickly seize the vacant seats.
Suddenly a woman who has stood up holding a child all the way from Irapuato, faints. A civilian takes the child in his arms. The others pretend to have seen noth-ing. Some women, traveling with the soldiers, occupy two or three seats with baggage, dogs, cats, parrots. Some of the men wearing Texan hats laugh at the plump arms and pendulous breasts of the woman who fainted.
“Gentlemen, a well-dressed man stole my suitcase at the station in Silao! All my life’s savings . . . I haven’t got enough to feed my little boy now! . . .”
The old woman speaks rapidly, parrotlike, sighing and sobbing. Her sharp eyes peer about on all sides. Here she gets a bill, and further on, another. They shower money upon her. She finishes the collection, and goes a few seats ahead.