Voice (14)

IT WAS midday deep in the Mojave Desert. Perry, sitting on a straw suitcase, was playing a harmonica. Dick was standing at the side of a black-surfaced highway, Route 66, his eyes fixed upon the immaculate emptiness as though the fervor of his gaze could force motorists to materialize. Few did, and, none of those stopped for the hitchhikers. One truck driver bound for Needles, California had offered a lift, but Dick had declined. That was not the sort of “setup” he and Perry wanted. They were waiting for some solitary traveler in a decent car and with money in his billfold. A stranger to rob, strangle, discard on the desert.

In the the desert sound often precedes sight, Dick heard the dim vibrations of an oncoming, not yet visible car. Perry heard it too; he put the harmonica in his pocket picked up a the straw suitcase . . . . and joined Dick at the side of the road. They watched. Now the car appeared and grew until it became a blue Dodge sedan with a single passenger, a bald, skinny man. Perfect. Dick raised his hand and waved. The Dodge slowed down, and Dick gave the man a sumptuous smile. The car almost, but not quite, came to a stop, and the driver leaned out the window looking them up and down. The impression they made was evidently alarming (After a fifty-hour bus ride from Mexico City to Barstow, California, and half a day of trekking across the Mojave, both hikers were bearded, stark dusty figures) the car leaped forward and sped on. Dick cupped his hands around his mouth and called out, ‘You’re a lucky bastard!’

— Truman Capote from In Cold Blood

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One thought on “Voice (14)

  1. Pingback: “That Last Prelude” — Notes on Banned Book Week | native to the place

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