<1.A.> The woman in front or him was eating roasted peanuts that smelled so good that he might bacount contain his hunger. He could not even sleep and also wimelted they"d hurry and also begin the bingo game. There, on his ideal, two fellows were drinking wine out of a bottle wrapped in a paper bag, and also he could hear soft gurgling in the dark. His stomach offered a low gnawing growl. "If this was down South," he believed, "all I"d need to execute is lean over and say, "Lady, gimme a couple of of those peanuts, please ma"m," and she"d pass me the bag and also never before think nothing or it." Or he can ask the fellows for a drink in the same way. Folks dvery own South stuck together that way; they didn"t also need to understand you. But up right here it was different. Ask somebody for something, and they"d think you were crazy. Well, I ain"t crazy. l m just damaged, "cause I gained no birth certificate to get a project, and also Laura "bout to die "cause we obtained no money for a doctor. But I ain"t crazy. And yet a pinsuggest of doubt was focused in his mind as he glanced towards the display and also observed the hero stealthily entering a dark room and sending the beam of a flashlight along a wall surface of bookcases. This is where he finds the trapdoor, he remembered. The man would certainly pass abruptly through the wall and uncover the girl tied to a bed, her legs and also arms spreview wide, and also her clothes torn to rags. He laughed softly to himself. He had seen the photo three times and also this was one of the finest scenes.

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On his appropriate the fellow whispered wide-eyed to his companion, "man, look a-yonder!"


"Wouldn"t I favor to have actually her tied up favor that..."

"Hey! That fool"s letting her loose!"

"Aw, male, he loves her."

"Love or no love!"

The guy moved impatiently alongside him, and he tried to involve himself in the scene. But Laura was on his mind. Tiring conveniently of watching the photo he looked back to wright here the while beam filtered from the estimate room over the balcony. It started tiny and also thrived huge, specks or dust dancing in its whiteness as it reached the screen. It was starray how the beam constantly landed appropriate on the screen and also didn"t mess up and also autumn in other places. But they had actually it all fixed. Everypoint was addressed. Now intend when they confirmed that girl through her dress torn the girl started taking off the remainder of her garments, and also once the man came in he didn"t untie her but maintained her tbelow and checked out talking off his very own clothes? That would certainly be somepoint to view. If a picture gained out off hand like that those men up tright here would go nuts Yeah, and there"d be so many type of folks in below you couldn"t find a seat for nine months! A stvariety sensation played over his skin. He shuddered. Yesterday he"d viewed a bedbug on a woman"s neck as

<1.B> they walked out right into the bbest street. But exploring his thigh with a hole in his pocket he found just goose pimples and old scars.The bottle gurgled again. He closed his eyes. Now a dreamy music was accompanying the film and train whistles were sounding in the distance, and he was a boy aacquire walking alengthy a railroad trestle down South, and also seeing the train coming, and also running earlier as rapid as he might go, and also hearing the whistle blowing, and also gaining off the trestle to solid ground simply in time, with the earth trembling beneath his feet, and also feeling relieved as he ran down the cinder-strewn embankment onto the highmethods and looking earlier and seeing with terror that the train had left the track and was adhering to him right dvery own the middle of the street, and all the while human being laughing as he ran screaming. . .
"Wake up there, buddy! What the bell carry out you expect hollering like that! Can"t you see we trying to reap this right here picture?"He stared at the male with gratitude.

"I"m sorry, old man," he shelp. "I musta been dreaming."

"Well, below, have actually a drink. And don"t be making no noise choose that, damn!"

His hands trembled as he tilted his head. It was not wine, however whiskey. Cold rye whiskey. He took a deep swollen, chose it was better not to take one more, and also handed the bottle earlier to its owner.

"Thanks, old guy," he said.

Now he felt the cold whisessential breaking a heat course right tturbulent the middle of him, flourishing hotter and also sharper as it moved. He had actually not consumed all day, and also it made him light-headed. The smell of the peanuts stabbed him prefer a knife, and also he acquired up and also discovered a seat in the middle aisle. But no sooner did he sit than he witnessed a row of intense-confronted young girls, and obtained up aget, reasoning, "You chicks musta been Lindy-hopping somewhere " He uncovered a seat numerous rows ahead as the lights came on, and also he saw the screen disshow up behind a hefty red and also gold curtain; then the curtain climbing, and also the man via the microphone and also a uniformed attendant coming on the phase.

He felt for his bingo cards, smiling. The guy at the door wouldn"t favor it if he kbrand-new around his having actually five cards. Well, not everyone played the bingo game; and also also with five cards he didn"t have much of a possibility. For Laura, though, he had actually to have faith. He stupassed away the cards, each through its different numerals, punching the free facility hole in each and spanalysis them nicely across his la p; and when the lights faded he sat slouched in his seat so that he could look from his cards to the bingo wheel through yet a quick moving of his eyes.

Ahead, at the end or the darkness, the man through the microphone was pushing a switch attached to a lengthy cord and spinning the bingo wheel and also raking out the number each time the wheel pertained to rest. And each time the voice rang out his finger raced over the cards for the number. With five

<2.A> cards he had to move rapid. He ended up being nervous, tbelow were as well many kind of cards, and also the man went also quick with his grating voice. Perhaps he need to just select one and also throw the others away. But he was afraid. He ended up being warm. Wonder exactly how much Laura"s doctor would cost? Damn that, watch the cards! And through despair he heard the male call 3 in a row which he missed on all five cards. This method he"d never win . . . When he experienced the row of holes punched throughout the 3rd card, he sat paralyzed and heard the guy speak to 3 more numbers before he stumbled forward screaming

"Bingo! Bingo!"

"Let that fool up there," someone referred to as.

"Get up there man!"

He stumbled dvery own the aisle and up the measures to the phase into a light so solid and also bappropriate that for a minute it blinded him, and he felt that he had actually moved right into the spell of some starray mysterious power. Yet it was as acquainted as the sun, and also he knew it was the perfectly familiar bingo.

The man with the microphone was saying somepoint to the audience as he organized out his card. A cold light flashed from the man"s finger as the card left his hand. His knees trembled. The guy stepped closer, checking the card versus the numbers chalked on the board. Suppose he had made a mistake? The pomade on the man"s hair made him feel faint and he backed amethod. But the guy was checking the card over the microphone now, and he had actually to slay. He stood, tense, listening.

"Under the O, forty-4," the guy chanted. Under the I, salso. Under the G, three. Under the B, ninety-6. Under the N, thirteen!"

His breath came simpler as the male smiled at the audience.

"Yessir, ladies and also gentlemen, he"s among the liked people!"

The audience rippled via laughter and applause.

"Tip right up to the front of the stage."

He relocated slowly forward, wishing that the light was not so bideal.

"To win tonight"s jackpot of $36.90, the wheel have to sheight between the double zero, understand?"

He nodded knowing the routine from the many type of days and also nights he had watched the winners march throughout the stage to push the button that regulated the spinning wheel and also obtain the prizes. And currently he followed the instructions as though he"d crossed the slippery phase a million prize-winning times.

The male was making some kind of a joke, and also nodded vacantly. So tense had he come to be that he felt a sudden desire to cry and also shook it amethod. He felt vaguely that his whole life was determined by the bingo wheel; not just that which would certainly occur now that he was at last before it, but all that had actually gone before because his birth and also his mother"s birth and the birth of his father. It had always been tright here also though he had actually not been mindful of it, handing out the unlucky cards and also numbers of his days. The feeling

<2.B> persisted, and he began conveniently amethod. I much better obtain down from right here before I make a fool of myself he thought. "Here boy," the male dubbed. "You haven"t began yet."

Someone laughed as he went hesitantly ago. "

"Are you all reet?"

He grinned at the man"s jive talk, but no words would certainly come, and he knew it was not a convincing grin. For suddenly he kbrand-new that he stood on the slippery brink of some disastrous embarrassment.

"Where are you from, boy?" the male asked.

"Down South."

"He"s from down South, ladies and gentlemen," the man sassist. "Wright here from? Speak best into the mike."

"Rocky Mont," he shelp. "Rock" Mont, North Car"lina."

"So you decided to come dvery own off that hill to the UNITED STATE," the male laughed. He felt that the guy was making a fool of him, but then somepoint cold was put in his hand also, and also the lights were no longer behind him.

Standing prior to the wheel he felt alone, but that was somejust how ideal, and he remembered his plan. He would provide the wheel a short quick twirl. Just a touch of the switch. He had watched it many kind of times, and always it came close to double zero once it was short and quick. He steeled himself; the are afraid had actually left, and he felt a prouncovered sense of promise, as though he were around to be rephelp for all the points he"d experienced all his life. Trembling, he pressed the switch. Tright here was a whirl of lights, and in a 2nd he realized with finality that though he wanted to, he can not sheight. It was as though he held a high-powered line in his naked hand. His nerves tightened. As the wheel enhanced its rate it seemed to attract him even more and also even more into its power, as though it organized his fate; and also through it came a deep must submit, to whirl, to shed himself in its swirl of color. He could not sheight it now, he knew. So let it be.

The button rested snugly in his palm wbelow the male had actually put it. And currently he became conscious of the male beside him, advising him with the microphone, while behind the shadowy audience hummed with noisy voices. He shifted his feet. Tbelow was still that feeling of helplessness within him, making part of him desire to revolve ago, even currently that the jackpot was appropriate in his hand. He squeezed the button until his fist ached. Then, choose the sudden shriek of a submethod whistle, a doubt tore through his head. Suppose he did not spin the wheel long enough? What could he perform, and also just how could he tell? And then he knew even as he wondered, that as long as he pressed the switch, he might regulate the jackpot. He and also just he could identify whether or not it wregarding be his. Not also the man with the microphone could carry out anything around it now. He felt drunk. Then, as though he had actually come dvery own from a high hill right into a valley of human being, he heard the audience yelling.

<3A> "Come down from there, you jerk!""Let somebody else have actually a possibility. . ."

"Old Jack thinks he done found the end of the rainbow .. ."

The last voice was not unfriendly, and also he turned and also smiled dreamily into the yelling mouths. Then he turned his back squadepend on the on them.

"Don’t take as well lengthy, boy," a voice shelp.

He nodded. They were yelling behind him. They had actually been playing the bingo game day in and also night out for years, trying to win rent money or hamburger change. But not among those wise guys found this wonderful point. He watched the wheel whirling previous the numbers and knowledgeable a burst of exultation: This is God! This is the really truly God! He sassist it aloud." This is God!"

He shelp it via such absolute conviction that he feared he would certainly loss fainting into the footlights. But the crowd yelled so loud that they might not hear. Those fools, he believed. I"m below trying to tell them the most wonderful trick in the human being, and they"re yelling prefer they gone crazy. A hand also dropped upon his shoulder.

"You"ll need to make a selection currently, boy. You"ve taken also lengthy."

He brushed the hand violently amethod.

"Leave me alone, guy. I understand what I"m doing!"

"The guy looked surprised and held on to the microphone for support. And bereason he did not wish to hurt the man"s feelings, he smiled, realizing with a sudden pang that tbelow was no means of explaining to the guy simply why he had to stand also there pushing the button forever.

"Come here," he referred to as tiredly.

The man approached, rolling the hefty microphone throughout the stage.

"Anybody deserve to play this bingo game, right?" he shelp.

"Sure, however . . ."

He smiled, feeling inclined to be patient via this slick looking white man with his blue sport shirt and his sharp gabardine suit.

"That"s what I thought," he shelp. "Anybody can win the jackpot as long as they gain the lucky number, right?"

"That"s the dominion, but after all . . ."

"That"s what I believed," he shelp. "And the big prize goes to the male that knows how to win it?"

The man nodded speechlessly.

"Well then, go on over tbelow and watch me win like I desire to. I ain"t going to hurt nobody," he said, "and I"ll show you exactly how to win. I expect to show the whole human being exactly how it"s gained to be done."

And bereason he construed, he smiled aobtain to let the man know that he hosted nopoint against him for being white and impatient. Then he refprovided to sec the guy any kind of much longer and also stood pushing the switch, the voices of the

<3B> crowd reaching him choose sounds in far-off roadways. Let them yell. All the Negroes down there were just ashamed bereason he was babsence favor them. He smiled inwardly, understanding exactly how it was. Most of the moment he was ashamed of what Negroes did himself. Well, let them be ashamed for somepoint this time. Like him. He was choose a lengthy thin black wire that was being stretched and wound upon the bingo wheel; wound till he wanted to scream; wound, yet this time himself controlling the winding and also the sadness and also the shame, and also because he did, Laura would be all appropriate. Suddenly the lights flickered. He staggered backwards. Had somepoint gone wrong? All this noise. Didn"t they recognize that although he regulated the wheel, it likewise regulated him, and unless he pressed the switch forever and forever before and also ever it would soptimal, leaving him high and dry, dry and high on this hard high slippery hill and also Laura dead? Tbelow was just one chance; he had actually to do whatever before the wheel demanded. And gripping the button in despair, he uncovered via surpincrease that it imparted a nervous energy. His spine tingled. He felt a specific power.Now he faced the raging crowd with defiance, its screams penetrating his eardrums prefer trumpets shrieking from a jukebox. The vague encounters glowing in the bingo lights gave him a feeling of himself that he had never recognized before. He was running the present, by God! They had to react to him, for he was their luck. This is me, he believed. Let the bastards yell. Then someone was laughing inside him, and also he realized that somejust how he had actually forobtained his very own name. It was a sad, shed feeling to shed your name, and a crazy thing to execute. That name had actually been given him by the white man that had actually owned his grandfather a long shed time ago dvery own South. But probably those wise males knew his name.

"Who am I?" he screamed.

"Hurry up and also bingo, you jerk!"

They didn"t recognize either, he thought own names, they were all poor namemuch less bastards. Well, he didn"t need that old name; he was reborn. For as lengthy as he pressed the switch he was The-man-who-pressed - the-button-who-held-the-prize-who-was-the-King-of-Bingo. That was the way it was, and also he"d have to push the switch even if nobody interpreted, even though Laura did not understand also.

"Live!" he shouted.

The audience quieted favor the dying of a substantial fan.

"Live, Laura, baby. I acquired holt of it now, sugar. Live!"

He screamed it tears streaming dvery own his confront. "I gained nobody however YOU!"

The screams tore from his extremely guts. He felt as though the rush of blood to his head would certainly burst out in basesphere seams of tiny red dropallows, like a head bconsumed by police clubs. Bending over he saw a trickle of blood splashing the toe of his shoe. With his free hand also he searched his head. It

<4A> was his nose. God, suppose somepoint has actually gone wrong? He felt that the whole audience had actually someexactly how gone into him and was stamping its feet in his stomach, and also he was unable to throw them out. They wanted the prize, that was it. They wanted the secret for themselves. But they"d never before gain it; he would certainly keep the bingo wheel whirling forever before, and Laura would certainly be safe in the wheel. But would she? It had actually to be, bereason if she were not safe the wheel would certainly cease to turn; it can not go on. He had to get ameans, vomit all, and also his mind formed an image of himself running through Laura in his arms down the tracks of the submeans simply ahead of an A train, running desperately vomit via human being screaming for him to come out yet understanding no way of leaving the tracks because to sheight would certainly bring the train crushing dvery own upon him and also to attempt to leave across the various other tracks would expect to run into a hot 3rd rail as high as his waist which threw blue sparks that blinded his eyes till he could hardly watch.He heard singing and the audience was clapping its hands.

Shoot the liquor to him, Jim, boy!


Well a-calla the cop

He"s blowing his top!

Shoot the liquor to him, Jim boy!

Bitter anger prospered within him at the singing. They think I"m crazy. Well let "em laugh. I"ll carry out what I got to execute.

He was standing in an attitude of intense listening as soon as he observed that they were watching somepoint on the stage behind him. He felt weak. But as soon as he turned he experienced no one. If only his thumb did not ache so. Now they were applauding. And for a minute he assumed that the wheel had stopped. But that was impossible, his thumb still pressed the switch. Then he experienced them. Two men in uniform beckoned from the finish of the stage. They were coming toward him, walking in step, gradually, like a tap-dance team returning for a third encore. But their shoulders swarm forward, and he backed away, looking wildly around. Tbelow was nothing to fight them with. He had just the long black cord which brought about a plug somewhere earlier phase, and he couldn"t usage that bereason it operated the bingo wheel. He backed slowly, resolving the guys through his eyes as his lips stretched over his teeth in a tight, addressed grin; relocated towards the end of the phase and also realizing that he couldn"t go much better, for all of a sudden the cord ended up being taut and he couldn"t afford to break the cord. But he had to do something. The audience was howling. Suddenly he quit dead, seeing the men halt, their legs lifted as in an interrupted action of a slow-activity dance. Tright here was nopoint to do however run in the other direction and also he damelted forward, slipping and sliding. The men dropped ago, surprised. He struck out violently going past.

"Grab him!"

<4B> He ran, however all as well quickly the cord tightened, resistingly, and also he turned and also ran ago aacquire. This time he slipped them, and also found by running in a circle before the wheel he can store the cord from tightening. But this method he had actually to flail his arms to save the men ameans. Why couldn"t they leave a man alone? He ran, circling."Ring dvery own the curtain," someone yelled. But they couldn"t execute that. if they did the wheel flashing from the estimate room would certainly be cut off. But they had actually him prior to he might tell them so, trying to pry open his fist, and also he was wrestling and also trying to bring his knees right into the fight and holding on to the switch, for it was his life. And currently he was dvery own, seeing a foot coming down, crushing his wrist cruelly, down, as he experienced the wheel whirling serenely above.

"I can not offer it up," he screamed. Then quietly, in a confidential tone, "Boys, I really can not offer it up."

It landed tough against his head. And in the empty moment they had it away from him, totally now. He battled them trying to pull him up from the stage as he watched the wheel spin gradually to a soptimal. Without surprise he saw it rest at double zero.

"You view," he pointed bitterly.

"Sure, boy, sure, it"s O.K.," among the guys said smiling.

And seeing the male bow his head to someone he could not view, he felt exceptionally, extremely happy; he would certainly obtain what all the winners received.

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But as he wequipped in the justice of the man"s tight smile he did not watch the man"s slow-moving wink, nor watch the bow-legged man behind him step clear of the promptly descfinishing curtain and collection himself for a blow. He just felt the dull pain exploding in his skull, and also he knew even as it slipped out of him that his luck had actually run out on the phase.