<1.A.> The mrs in prior or him to be eating roasted peanuts the smelled so great that he might barely contain his hunger. He can not even sleep and also wished they"d hurry and begin the bingo game. There, on his right, two fellows were drinking wine out of a party wrapped in a paper bag, and also he could hear soft gurgling in the dark. His stomach provided a short gnawing growl. "If this was under South," he thought, "all I"d need to do is skinny over and also say, "Lady, gimme a few of those peanuts, you re welcome ma"m," and also she"d happen me the bag and never think nothing or it." Or he could ask the fellows for a drink in the same way. Persons down south stuck with each other that way; they didn"t even have to recognize you. Yet up below it was different. Ask someone for something, and they"d think you to be crazy. Well, i ain"t crazy. Together m just broke, "cause I gained no bear certificate to acquire a job, and also Laura "bout to dice "cause we got no money for a doctor. But I ain"t crazy. And also yet a decide of doubt was concentrated in his mind as he glanced towards the screen and also saw the hero stealthily start a dark room and also sending the beam of a flashlight follow me a wall surface of bookcases. This is whereby he find the trapdoor, that remembered. The guy would pass abruptly with the wall surface and discover the girl tied to a bed, she legs and also arms spread out wide, and her clothes torn to rags. He laughed softly come himself. He had seen the photo three times and this was one of the finest scenes.

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

"Damn!"

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

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

"Aw, man, the loves her."

"Love or no love!"

The man moved impatiently next to him, and also he tried come involve himself in the scene. But Laura to be on his mind. Tiring quickly of city hall the snapshot he looked earlier to whereby the when beam filtered from the forecast room over the balcony. That started tiny and flourished large, specks or dust dancing in that whiteness as it got to the screen. It was strange just how the beam always landed best on the screen and also didn"t chaos up and also fall somewhere else. Yet they had it all fixed. Everything was fixed. Currently suppose when they showed that girl with her dress torn the girl began taking turn off the remainder of she clothes, and when the man came in that didn"t untie her however kept her there and went to talk off his own clothes? That would be something come see. If a picture got the end off hand favor that those men up there would go nuts Yeah, and also there"d be so plenty of folks in right here you couldn"t discover a seat for nine months! A strange emotion played over his skin. The shuddered. Yesterday he"d viewed a bedbug top top a woman"s neck as

<1.B> they walked out right into the bright street. But exploring his thigh with a feet in his pocket he discovered only goose pimples and old scars.The party gurgled again. He closed his eyes. Now a dreamy music to be accompanying the film and train whistles were sounding in the distance, and he to be a boy again walking along a rail trestle down South, and seeing the train coming, and also running back as fast as he could go, and hearing the whistle blowing, and also getting off the trestle to solid ground just in time, v the earth trembling in ~ his feet, and also feeling relieved together he ran down the cinder-strewn embankment ~ above the highways and looking ago and seeing with terror the the train had actually left the track and was following him appropriate down the middle of the street, and all the while people laughing together he ran screaming. . .
"Wake increase there, buddy! What the bell carry out you average hollering choose that! Can"t you check out we do the efforts to enjoy this right here picture?"He stared in ~ the guy with gratitude.

"I"m sorry, old man," that said. "I musta been dreaming."

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

His hands trembled together he tilted his head. That was not wine, however whiskey. Cold rye whiskey. He took a deep swollen, determined it was far better not to take it another, and also handed the bottle back to the owner.

"Thanks, old man," the said.

Now he felt the cold whiskey breaking a heat path straight trough the middle of him, growing hotter and sharper as it moved. He had not eaten all day, and also it made him light-headed. The odor of the peanuts stabbed him favor a knife, and he obtained up and also found a chair in the middle aisle. However no sooner did that sit than he witnessed a heat of intense-faced young girls, and got increase again, thinking, "You chicken musta been Lindy-hopping somewhere " He uncovered a seat number of rows ahead as the lights came on, and also he saw the display screen disappear behind a heavy red and also gold curtain; then the curtain rising, and also the guy with the microphone and a uniformed attendant coming on the stage.

He felt for his bingo cards, smiling. The male at the door wouldn"t choose it if he knew around his having five cards. Well, not everyone play the bingo game; and even with five cards he didn"t have much the a chance. Because that Laura, though, he had to have actually faith. He studied the cards, each through its various numerals, punching the cost-free center feet in each and spreading castle neatly throughout his la p; and when the lamp faded he satellite slouched in his chair so the he might look native his cards to the bingo wheel with however a quick shifting of his eyes.

Ahead, in ~ the finish or the darkness, the man with the microphone was pushing a button 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 the end his finger raced end the cards for the number. V five

<2.A> cards he had to relocate fast. He came to be nervous, there were too many cards, and also the man went too quick with his lattice voice. Perhaps he should just choose one and throw the others away. But he was afraid. He became warm. Wonder exactly how much Laura"s physician would cost? cursed that, watch the cards! and also with despair the heard the man contact three in a heat which he missed top top all 5 cards. This means he"d never ever win . . . As soon as he saw the heat of feet punched across the third card, he sat paralyzed and heard the man call three an ext numbers before he stumbled forward screaming

"Bingo! Bingo!"

"Let the fool up there," who called.

"Get up there man!"

He stumbled under the aisle and up the measures to the stage into a irradiate so solid and bright the for a moment it blinded him, and he felt that he had moved right into the assignment of some strange secret power. However it was as familiar as the sun, and also he knew it to be the perfectly acquainted bingo.

The guy with the microphone was saying something to the audience as he organized out his card. A cold irradiate flashed native the man"s finger together the card left his hand. His knee trembled. The male stepped closer, checking the card against the number chalked on the board. Mean he had actually made a mistake? The pomade ~ above the man"s hair made him feel faint and also he donate away. However the guy was checking the map over the microphone now, and he had actually to slay. He stood, tense, listening.

"Under the O, forty-four," the male chanted. Under the I, seven. Under the G, three. Under the B, ninety-six. Under the N, thirteen!"

His breath came less complicated as the guy smiled at the audience.

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

The audience rippled v laughter and also applause.

"Step ideal up to the former of the stage."

He moved slowly forward, wishing the the light was no so bright.

"To success tonight"s jackpot of $36.90, the wheel must stop in between the double zero, understand?"

He nodded learning the ritual from the plenty of days and nights he had actually watched the winners march across the stage to push the button that controlled the turn wheel and receive the prizes. And also now he complied with the instructions as though he"d overcome the slippery phase a million prize-winning times.

The man was make some kind of a joke, and nodded vacantly. Therefore tense had he end up being that he felt a suddenly desire come cry and also shook the away. That felt vaguely that his totality life was determined by the bingo wheel; not only that i m sorry would happen now the he was at last prior to it, however all that had gone before because his birth and also his mother"s birth and the bear of his father. That had always been there even though he had actually not been conscious of it, handing the end the ominous cards and numbers of his days. The emotion

<2.B> persisted, and also he started easily away. I far better get under from here prior to I make a silly of myself that thought. "Here boy," the guy called. "You haven"t began yet."

Someone laughed as he go hesitantly back. "

"Are you every reet?"

He grinned in ~ the man"s jive talk, yet no words would certainly come, and also he knew it was no a convincing grin. For suddenly he knew the he stand on the slippery brink that some devastating embarrassment.

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

"Down South."

"He"s from down South, ladies and gentlemen," the guy said. "Where from? Speak right into the mike."

"Rocky Mont," the said. "Rock" Mont, north Car"lina."

"So you decided to come under off that hill to the U.S.," the male laughed. The felt the the guy was make a silly of him, yet then miscellaneous cold was inserted in his hand, and also the lights to be no much longer behind him.

Standing before the wheel that felt alone, yet that was somehow right, and also he mental his plan. He would give the wheel a quick quick twirl. Simply a touch the the button. He had watched it many times, and always it came close to twin zero as soon as it to be short and quick. That steeled himself; the fear had left, and he feeling a profound sense that promise, as though the were about to be repaid for every the points he"d experienced all his life. Trembling, he pressed the button. There to be a whirl the lights, and in a second he realized v finality that though he wanted to, he could not stop. It was as though he hosted a high-powered heat in his naked hand. His nerves tightened. As the wheel raised its rate it appeared to attract him an ext and more into that is power, together though it hosted his fate; and also with it come a deep must submit, to whirl, to lose himself in that is swirl the color. He could not protect against it now, the knew. For this reason let that be.

The switch rested snugly in his palm whereby the man had placed it. And also now that became aware of the man beside him, advising him v the microphone, if behind the shadowy audience hummed v noisy voices. He shifted his feet. There to be still that emotion of helplessness in ~ him, making part of that desire to rotate back, also now that the jackpot was right in his hand. He squeezed the button until his fist ached. Then, favor the suddenly shriek the a subway whistle, a doubt tore through his head. Intend he did not spin the wheel lengthy enough? What could he do, and how can he tell? and then the knew also as the wondered, that as long as the pressed the button, that could control the jackpot. He and only he can determine whether or no it was to it is in his. Not even the male with the microphone can do anything about it now. He felt drunk. Then, together though he had actually come under from a high hill into a valley of people, the heard the audience yelling.

<3A> "Come under from there, you jerk!""Let somebody else have a chance. . ."

"Old Jack think he done found the finish of the rainbow .. ."

The critical voice was not unfriendly, and also he turned and smiled dreamily right into the yelling mouths. Then he turned his ago squarely top top the top top them.

"Don’t take too long, boy," a voice said.

He nodded. They were yelling behind him. They had been playing the bingo video game day in and night the end for years, trying to victory rent money or hamburger change. Yet not one of those way guys discovered this exorbitant thing. That watched the wheel whirling previous the numbers and also experienced a to explode of exultation: This is God! This is the really truly God! He said it aloud." This is God!"

He claimed it with such absolute conviction that he fear he would fall fainting into the footlights. Yet the crowd yelled therefore loud the they could not hear. Those fools, he thought. I"m right here trying come tell lock the many wonderful mystery in the world, and they"re yelling like they gone crazy. A hand dropped upon his shoulder.

"You"ll have to make a selection now, boy. You"ve taken too long."

He brushed the hand violently away.

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

"The male looked surprised and held on come the microphone because that support. And because he did not wish to hurt the man"s feelings, that smiled, realizing v a suddenly pang the there was no method of explaining to the man just why he had actually to stand there pressing the switch forever.

"Come here," he dubbed tiredly.

The male approached, rojo the hefty microphone across the stage.

"Anybody deserve to play this bingo game, right?" that said.

"Sure, however . . ."

He smiled, emotion inclined to be patient through this slick looking white guy with his blue sport shirt and also his sharp gabardine suit.

"That"s what i thought," he said. "Anybody deserve to win the jackpot as lengthy as they gain the happy number, right?"

"That"s the rule, however after all . . ."

"That"s what ns thought," the said. "And the huge prize goes to the man who knows just how to victory it?"

The man nodded speechlessly.

"Well then, go on over there and also watch me win choose I desire to. I ain"t going come hurt nobody," he said, "and I"ll present you just how to win. I mean to show the whole people how it"s obtained to be done."

And because he understood, the smiled again come let the man know that he organized nothing against him because that being white and also impatient. Climate he refused to sec the man any type of longer and stood pushing the button, the voices of the

<3B> crowd reaching him choose sounds in distant streets. Let them yell. Every the Negroes under there were just ashamed due to the fact that he to be black like them. He smiled inwardly, knowing exactly how it was. Many of the moment he was ashamed that what Negroes go himself. Well, permit them it is in ashamed for something this time. Favor him. He was like a lengthy thin black color wire the was gift stretched and also wound upon the bingo wheel; wound till he want to scream; wound, yet this time himself managing the winding and the sadness and the shame, and because that did, Laura would certainly be all right. Unexpectedly the lamp flickered. That staggered backwards. Had actually something gone wrong? all this noise. Didn"t they recognize that return he regulated the wheel, it likewise controlled him, and also unless he pressed the button forever and also forever and ever it would stop, leaving him high and dry, dry and also high on this hard high slippery hill and also Laura dead? over there was only one chance; he had to do whatever the wheel demanded. And gripping the button in despair, he uncovered with surprise that it imparted a nervous energy. His spine tingled. The felt a details power.Now he faced the raging crowd through defiance, the screams penetrating his eardrums like trumpets shrieking from a jukebox. The vague deals with glowing in the bingo lights provided him a feeling of himself the he had never well-known before. The was running the show, by God! They had actually to reaction to him, because that he was your luck. This is me, he thought. Let the bastards yell. Then someone to be laughing within him, and also he realized the somehow he had actually forgotten his own name. It to be a sad, lost feeling to shed your name, and also a crazy point to do. The name had actually been provided him by the white guy who had actually owned his grandfather a long lost time earlier down South. However maybe those wise guys knew his name.

"Who to be I?" that screamed.

"Hurry up and bingo, girlfriend jerk!"

They didn"t understand either, the thought very own names, they to be all bad nameless bastards. Well, he didn"t require that old name; he to be reborn. Because that as long as he pressed the button he to be The-man-who-pressed - the-button-who-held-the-prize-who-was-the-King-of-Bingo. That was the way it was, and he"d need to press the button even if no one understood, also though Laura did no understand.

"Live!" that shouted.

The audience quieted choose the dying of a substantial fan.

"Live, Laura, baby. I gained holt of the now, sugar. Live!"

He screamed it tears streaming under his face. "I got nobody but YOU!"

The screams tore indigenous his an extremely guts. He felt as though the sirloin of blood come his head would burst the end in baseball seams of small red droplets, like a head win by police clubs. Bending end he witnessed a trickle of blood splashing the toe that his shoe. V his free hand he searched his head. It

<4A> was his nose. God, intend something has actually gone wrong? that felt that the totality audience had actually somehow entered him and also was stamping the feet in his stomach, and also he was unable to throw them out. They want the prize, the was it. They wanted the secret for themselves. Yet they"d never get it; the would save the bingo wheel whirling forever, and Laura would certainly be safe in the wheel. But would she? It had actually to be, since if she were not safe the wheel would certainly cease come turn; it might not walk on. He had actually to get away, vomit all, and also his mental formed photo of himself running with Laura in his arms under the monitor of the subway just ahead of an A train, to run desperately vomit with world screaming for him to come out however knowing no method of leave the tracks since to avoid would bring the train crushing under upon him and to effort to leave across the other tracks would typical to run right into a hot third rail together high as his belt which threw blue sparks the blinded his eyes until he can hardly see.He heard singing and the audience to be clapping that is hands.

Shoot the liquor to him, Jim, boy!

Clap-clap-clap

Well a-calla the cop

He"s blow his top!

Shoot the liquor to him, Jim boy!

Bitter anger thrived within him at the singing. Castle think I"m crazy. Fine let "em laugh. I"ll perform what I acquired to do.

He to be standing in an perspective of intense listening when he saw that they to be watching other on the phase behind him. The felt weak. However when the turned he experienced no one. If only his ignorance did not ache so. Now they were applauding. And also for a moment he assumed that the wheel had actually stopped. Yet that to be impossible, his ignorance still pressed the button. Then he witnessed them. Two guys in uniform beckoned native the end of the stage. They to be coming toward him, go in step, slowly, like a tap-dance team returning for a third encore. However their shoulders shooting forward, and he donate away, looking madness about. There was nothing to fight lock with. He had actually only the long black cord which caused a plug somewhere back stage, and he couldn"t usage that because it operated the bingo wheel. He backed slowly, solving the guys with his eyes as his lips extended over his teeth in a tight, fixed grin; relocated toward the end of the stage and realizing that he couldn"t go lot further, for suddenly the cord became taut and also he couldn"t purchased to break the cord. However he had to perform something. The audience was howling. All of sudden he quit dead, seeing the guys halt, their legs lifted together in an interrupted action of a slow-motion dance. There to be nothing to do yet run in the other direction and also he dashed forward, slipping and sliding. The men dropped back, surprised. That struck the end violently walk past.

"Grab him!"

<4B> He ran, yet all too conveniently the cord tightened, resistingly, and he turned and ran ago again. This time the slipped them, and also discovered by to run in a circle before the wheel he can keep the cord native tightening. However this means he had actually to flail his arms to save the guys away. Why couldn"t they leave a man alone? the ran, circling."Ring under the curtain," someone yelled. Yet they couldn"t perform that. If they walk the wheel flashing from the projection room would certainly be cut off. But they had him prior to he can tell castle so, trying to pry open up his fist, and he to be wrestling and also trying to bring his knees into the fight and holding on to the button, for it was his life. And also now he to be down, seeing a foot comes down, crushing his wrist cruelly, down, together he observed the wheel whirling serenely above.

"I can"t give it up," the screamed. Then quietly, in a confidential tone, "Boys, ns really can"t give it up."

It landed hard against his head. And also in the empty moment they had actually it far from him, totally now. He fought them trying to pull him up from the phase as the watched the wheel spin gradually to a stop. Without surprised he saw it rest at double zero.

"You see," he pointed bitterly.

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

And seeing the guy bow his head to someone he could not see, that felt very, an extremely happy; that would obtain what all the winners received.

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But as he warmed in the righteousness of the man"s tight smile he walk not watch the man"s sluggish wink, nor check out the bow-legged guy behind him action clear of the swiftly descending curtain and collection himself because that a blow. He just felt the dull pain exploding in his skull, and he knew even as that slipped the end of him the his luck had actually run out on the stage.