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Satan's C...
Queer Chicken Dinner by Ron West, pages 22-23
© 2018 James LaFond
Chapter 6 of ‘On the Road’, a whopping 2-2/3 pages, is an apologetic denial of reality. Its concluding sentence “But where was Dean?” is a disingenuous cover. Now, I understand the publishing house censors of the 1950s demanded cuts on account of the prevailing norms of that era (liability lawyers & criminal prosecutions) and demanded Kerouac clean up his manuscript, but somehow I doubt that is the case here, having just written off Chad King (Hal Chase) and as ‘class snobs’ for their clearing Cassidy and Ginsberg out of their lives, and while Kerouac’s a Chase guest at that, a sensible decision for responsible people facing reality and work every day.
Kerouac, who only wants to party and screw, is not about to honestly state they’d made a sane decision on account of Cassidy and Ginsberg are in a persistent ‘69’ position of drug and alcohol enhanced reciprocal fellatio, when not frequenting the lower dens of Denver’s skid row.
Cassady, to this time, likely has never worked a job honestly. Ginsberg would not know what hard manual labor even is. Kerouac’s mother has worked supporting him, and has done so for years into his ‘adulthood.’
I knew how to work. But I wasn’t the best hard laborer because I hated it. Sometimes I’d been fired and sometimes I’d quit. At other times I’d toughed it out. At 12 years I began learning how to build fence and by 14 years I was using a 1880s’ fifty pound steel bar that was originally a railroad track tool, to open holes in rocky soil, lifting and dropping the bar, then working it back and forth as it penetrated deeper, preparing for driving fence posts into the ground by hand, which I did as well. I’d worked with other kids, harvesting the lodge-pole pine that would be made into those fence posts. I’d known that old steel track tool so intimately, by the time of my adult years, I’d named it ‘Satan’s Cock.’
I’ve bucked 60 pound hay bales, along side a truck that it seemed would never stop, through a field where you’d have to run ahead and grab a bale, bring it close and heft it onto the truck for the stacker and run ahead again, all damn day. I’ve split ten cord of wood, by hand, in the fall season, many a time. I’d built irrigation systems with a crew, when the old King Ranch outside Valier, Montana, transitioned from cattle to agriculture. I’ve been a cowboy, I’ve pulled ‘green chain’ at more than one sawmill, and that’s not all. At 5 foot 7 inches, and 150 pounds for most of my adult life, now 61 years old, I can still flex Popeye’s forearms.
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