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High Priest of California/Wild Wives (Re/Search Classics)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0940642115, Paperback)a selection from CHAPTER 1: I slipped a dollar under the wicket and a sullen-lipped cashier asked me for a penny. "You're making the change,"I told her. She gave me the ticket and four pennies and I bounded up the stairs. The man on the door tried to mark my wrist with a blue stamp, but I dodged it. It was one of those dance halls where men come to pick up something, and women come to be picked up. I was there because I was bored. I looked around. There were twice as many women as men. Most of the women looked pretty bad, those that were sitting around waiting, but there were a few fairly nice ones on the floor. I edged through the crowd to the rope barrier and watched the dancers. The band (three saxes, a trumpet, piano and drums) was much too loud. The ceiling was low and there was a second listen to the music through reverberation. I looked for the bar and found it, but it only served beer. I ordered one at the bar, and then sat at a table facing the dance floor. The place was noisy, hot, smelled of sweat, and the beer wasn't cold. I was ready to leave. Then I saw the woman in the red tailored suit. It wasn't just a red suit, it was a created red suit. The woman lived up to it. She was a tall woman with shoulder- length brown hair, parted in the center. She looked as out-of-place in that smoky atmosphere as I would have looked in a Salinas lettuce-pickers camp. She had a casual air, but she was interested in what was going on. I got up from the table and tapped her on the shoulder. "Dance?" I jerked my head toward the floor. "Oh, yes!" she said, and nodded her head several times like she thought it was the best suggestion ever made. I took her elbow and guided her through the crowd to the floor. We began to dance. She was a terrible dancer, and as stiff and difficult to shove around as a reluctant St. Bernard. "Why don't you relax?" I asked her. "What?" She looked at me with big brown excited eyes, and there were bright red spots on her cheeks. "Relax." "I haven't danced in a long time and I'm afraid of making a mistake." "Don't be afraid. I made one." "I didn't notice it." "That's because you haven't danced in a long time. Come on. Let's get us a beer." All the tables were occupied in the bar section, but a couple of young punks were sitting at one with nothing in front of them. I gave them a hard look and they got up and left. "Sit down, Miss—?" "Alyce. Alyce Vitale."
(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 09 Jan 2013 22:40:38 -0500)
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