<1.A.> The woman in prior or him to be eating roasted peanuts the smelled so great that he could barely save his hunger. He could not also sleep and also wished they"d hurry and also begin the bingo game. There, on his right, 2 fellows to be drinking wine the end of a bottle wrapped in a file bag, and he might hear soft gurgling in the dark. His stomach gave a low gnawing growl. "If this was under South," that thought, "all I"d need to do is lean over and also say, "Lady, gimme a couple of of those peanuts, you re welcome ma"m," and also she"d pass me the bag and also never think nothing or it." Or he can ask the fellows for a drink in the same way. Persons down south stuck together that way; lock didn"t even have to recognize you. Yet up below it to be different. Ask someone for something, and they"d think you to be crazy. Well, i ain"t crazy. L m just broke, "cause I obtained no bear certificate to get a job, and Laura "bout to die "cause we obtained no money because that a doctor. Yet I ain"t crazy. And yet a pinpoint of doubt was focused in his mind as he glanced towards the screen and also saw the hero stealthily entering a dark room and also sending the beam the a flashlight along a wall surface of bookcases. This is whereby he finds the trapdoor, that remembered. The man would pass abruptly with the wall and uncover the girl tied come a bed, her legs and also arms spread wide, and her clothes torn to rags. He laugh softly to himself. He had seen the photo three times and also this was among the finest scenes.

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

"Damn!"

"Wouldn"t I choose to have actually her bound up prefer that..."

"Hey! that fool"s letting she loose!"

"Aw, man, the loves her."

"Love or no love!"

The man moved impatiently beside him, and he tried come involve himself in the scene. But Laura was on his mind. Tiring quickly of watching the snapshot he looked back to where the if beam filtered native the forecast room over the balcony. The started little and flourished large, specks or dust dance in that whiteness together it reached the screen. It was strange just how the beam constantly landed best on the screen and also didn"t mess up and also fall what else. Yet they had actually it every fixed. Everything was fixed. Now suppose as soon as they showed that girl v her dress torn the girl began taking off the remainder of her clothes, and when the male came in he didn"t untie her but kept she there and went to talking off his very own clothes? That would be something come see. If a photo got the end off hand like that those men up there would certainly go nuts Yeah, and also there"d be so many folks in here you couldn"t uncover a seat because that nine months! A strange emotion played end his skin. The shuddered. Yesterday he"d watched a bedbug top top a woman"s neck as

<1.B> they go out right into the bright street. However exploring his thigh v a feet in his bag he discovered only goose pimples and old scars.The bottle gurgled again. That closed his eyes. Now a dreamy music to be accompanying the film and train whistles to be sounding in the distance, and he was a young again walking along a railroad trestle under South, and seeing the train coming, and running back as rapid as he can go, and also hearing the horn blowing, and getting off the trestle come solid ground simply in time, v the earth trembling beneath his feet, and feeling relieved as he ran down the cinder-strewn embankment top top the highways and also looking ago and seeing through terror the the train had left the track and was complying with him appropriate down the center of the street, and all the while people laughing together he ran screaming. . .
"Wake up there, buddy! What the bell execute you median hollering like that! Can"t you see we trying to reap this below picture?"He stared in ~ the guy with gratitude.

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

"Well, here, have a drink. And also don"t it is in making no noise like that, damn!"

His hands trembled together he tilted his head. The was not wine, however whiskey. Cold rye whiskey. He take it a deep swollen, decided it was better not to take it another, and handed the bottle ago to its owner.

"Thanks, old man," he said.

Now the felt the cold whiskey breaking a warm path directly trough the center of him, farming hotter and also sharper together it moved. He had not eaten all day, and it made that light-headed. The odor of the peanuts stabbed him prefer a knife, and also he got up and also found a seat in the center aisle. Yet no sooner did that sit 보다 he saw a row of intense-faced young girls, and also got up again, thinking, "You chicks musta been Lindy-hopping what " He discovered a seat numerous rows ahead together the lights came on, and he observed the display disappear behind a hefty red and also gold curtain; then the curtain rising, and also the male with the microphone and a uniformed attendant comes on the stage.

He felt because that his bingo cards, smiling. The guy at the door wouldn"t prefer it if he knew around his having five cards. Well, not everyone play the bingo game; and also even with 5 cards the didn"t have actually much of a chance. Because that Laura, though, he had to have faith. He studied the cards, each through its different numerals, punching the complimentary center hole in each and spreading them neatly throughout his la p; and also when the lights faded he sat slouched in his seat so that he could look from his cards come the bingo wheel with but a fast shifting of his eyes.

Ahead, in ~ the finish or the darkness, the man with the microphone was pushing a switch attached to a long cord and also spinning the bingo wheel and also raking out the number every time the wheel pertained to rest. And each time the voice rang out his finger raced over the cards for the number. V five

<2.A> cards he had to move fast. He came to be nervous, there to be too numerous cards, and also the man went too fast with his lattice voice. Maybe he have to just pick one and also throw the rather away. But he was afraid. He ended up being warm. Wonder how much Laura"s physician would cost? damn that, clock the cards! and with despair he heard the man call three in a row which he missed ~ above all 5 cards. This way he"d never win . . . When he witnessed the row of holes punched throughout the third card, he sat paralyzed and also heard the man contact three an ext numbers prior to he stumbled front screaming

"Bingo! Bingo!"

"Let the fool increase there," who called.

"Get up there man!"

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

The male with the microphone was saying something to the audience as he hosted out his card. A cold light flashed native the man"s finger together the card left his hand. His knee trembled. The guy stepped closer, check the card versus the number chalked on the board. Suppose he had made a mistake? The pomade top top the man"s hair make him feeling faint and he backed away. Yet the guy was check the card over the microphone now, and he had to slay. The stood, tense, listening.

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

His breath came simpler as the male smiled in ~ the audience.

"Yessir, ladies and also gentlemen, he"s one of the chosen people!"

The audience rippled with laughter and applause.

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

He moved progressively forward, wishing the the light was not so bright.

"To success tonight"s jackpot the $36.90, the wheel should stop between the twin zero, understand?"

He nodded learning the routine from the countless days and nights he had watched the winners march across the stage to push the button that regulated the spinning wheel and also receive the prizes. And now 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 nodded vacantly. Therefore tense had he come to be that he felt a suddenly desire come cry and shook the away. The felt vaguely the his entirety life was figured out by the bingo wheel; not only that i beg your pardon would take place now the he to be at last before it, yet all that had gone before because his birth and his mother"s birth and the birth of his father. It had always been there even though he had not been mindful of it, handing the end the ominous cards and also numbers the his days. The feeling

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

Someone laughed together he go hesitantly back. "

"Are you all reet?"

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

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

"Down South."

"He"s from under South, ladies and also gentlemen," the man said. "Where from? Speak right right into the mike."

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

"So you decided to come under off that mountain to the U.S.," the man laughed. The felt that the male was making a fool of him, however then other cold was put in his hand, and also the lights to be no much longer behind him.

Standing before the wheel the felt alone, however that was somehow right, and also he mental his plan. The would give the wheel a short quick twirl. Just a touch of the button. He had watched it countless times, and always it came close to dual zero when it to be short and also quick. That steeled himself; the fear had left, and he felt a extensive sense of promise, as though that were around to be repaid for all the things he"d suffered all his life. Trembling, he pressed the button. There was a whirl that lights, and also in a second he realized with finality that though he wanted to, he could not stop. The was together though he hosted a high-powered heat in his naked hand. His nerves tightened. As the wheel enhanced its rate it seemed to draw him an ext and an ext into its power, together though it held his fate; and also with it came a deep have to submit, come whirl, to lose himself in its swirl that color. He could not protect against it now, that knew. For this reason let that be.

The button rested snugly in his palm where the man had placed it. And now that became conscious of the male beside him, advising him v the microphone, while behind the shadowy audience hummed v noisy voices. He change his feet. There was still that emotion of helplessness within him, making part of that desire to turn back, even now that the jackpot was best in his hand. That squeezed the button until his fist ached. Then, prefer the sudden shriek that a subway whistle, a doubt tore with his head. Mean he did no spin the wheel long enough? What can he do, and also how could he tell? and then the knew even as that wondered, that as long as he pressed the button, he could control the jackpot. He and also only he might determine whether or no it to be to it is in his. Not even the male with the microphone could do anything about it now. That felt drunk. Then, as though he had come under from a high hill right into a valley of people, that heard the audience yelling.

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

"Old Jack thinks he done discovered the finish of the rainbow .. ."

The last voice was no unfriendly, and also he turned and also smiled dreamily right into the yelling mouths. Then he turned his earlier squarely top top the ~ above them.

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

He nodded. They to be yelling behind him. They had been playing the bingo video game day in and also night out for years, do the efforts to success rent money or hamburger change. Yet not one of those wise guys found this exorbitant thing. He watched the wheel whirling past the numbers and also experienced a burst of exultation: This is God! This is the really truly God! He claimed it aloud." This is God!"

He said it with such absolute conviction that he feared he would fall fainting right into the footlights. However the crowd yelled therefore loud the they can not hear. Those fools, the thought. I"m below trying come tell castle the most wonderful an enig in the world, and they"re yelling like they unable to do crazy. A hand dropped upon his shoulder.

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

He brushed the hand violent away.

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

"The guy looked surprised and also held on to the microphone because that support. And because the did not wish come hurt the man"s feelings, that smiled, realizing through a sudden pang the there to be no way of explaining to the man simply why he had actually to was standing there pushing the button forever.

"Come here," he referred to as tiredly.

The man approached, rojo the heavy microphone across the stage.

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

"Sure, but . . ."

He smiled, emotion inclined to it is in patient through this slick spring white man with his blue sports shirt and 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, but after all . . ."

"That"s what i thought," that said. "And the huge prize goes to the male who knows how to success it?"

The man nodded speechlessly.

"Well then, walk on over there and also watch me win favor I desire to. Ns ain"t going to hurt nobody," he said, "and I"ll present you just how to win. I typical to present the whole human being how it"s obtained to be done."

And since he understood, that smiled again to let the man recognize that he hosted nothing against him for being white and also impatient. Then he refused to sec the man any kind of longer and also stood pressing the button, the voices of the

<3B> crowd reaching him like sounds in far-off streets. Permit them yell. All the Negroes under there were just ashamed due to the fact that he was black like them. He smiled inwardly, knowing how it was. Many of the moment he to be ashamed of what Negroes did himself. Well, permit them it is in ashamed for something this time. Like him. He was like a lengthy thin black wire that was gift stretched and wound ~ above the bingo wheel; wound till he want to scream; wound, however this time himself managing the winding and the sadness and also the shame, and also because he did, Laura would certainly be every right. All of sudden the lights flickered. He staggered backwards. Had actually something unable to do wrong? every this noise. Didn"t they know that although he controlled the wheel, it also controlled him, and also unless that pressed the button forever and forever and ever it would stop, leaving that high and also dry, dry and high on this hard high slippery hill and also Laura dead? there was only one chance; he had actually to do whatever the wheel demanded. And also gripping the switch in despair, he uncovered with surprised that the imparted a worried energy. His spine tingled. That felt a specific power.Now he challenged the raging crowd through defiance, the screams penetrating his eardrums choose trumpets shrieking native a jukebox. The vague encounters glowing in the bingo lights gave him a sense of himself that he had actually never well-known before. He was to run the show, by God! They had actually to reaction to him, for he was their luck. This is me, that thought. Let the bastards yell. Then someone was laughing inside him, and he realized that somehow he had forgotten his very own name. It to be a sad, lost feeling to lose your name, and also a crazy point to do. That name had actually been provided him by the white man who had owned his grand a long lost time earlier down South. However maybe those wise males knew his name.

"Who to be I?" he screamed.

"Hurry up and bingo, you jerk!"

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

"Live!" he shouted.

The audience quieted prefer the dice of a vast fan.

"Live, Laura, baby. I obtained holt of that now, sugar. Live!"

He screamed it tears streaming down his face. "I acquired nobody yet YOU!"

The screams tore indigenous his very guts. He felt as though the rush of blood come his head would burst out in baseball seams of tiny red droplets, favor a head win by police clubs. Bending end he saw a trickle that blood splashing the toe that his shoe. With his complimentary hand the searched his head. It

<4A> was his nose. God, suppose something has actually gone wrong? he felt that the whole audience had actually somehow gotten in him and was stamping that feet in his stomach, and he was unable to litter them out. They want the prize, that was it. They wanted the an enig for themselves. Yet they"d never get it; that would keep the bingo wheel whirling forever, and Laura would certainly be safe in the wheel. However would she? It had to be, because if she were not safe the wheel would cease come turn; it can not go on. He had actually to acquire away, vomit all, and his mental formed picture of himself running through Laura in his arms under the tracks of the subway just ahead of one A train, running desperately vomit with human being screaming for him to come out but knowing no way of leave the tracks since to protect against would carry the train crushing under upon him and to attempt to leave across the other tracks would average to run right into a hot 3rd rail together high together his waist which threw blue sparks the blinded his eyes till he might hardly see.He heard singing and the audience to be clapping its hands.

Shoot the liquor come him, Jim, boy!

Clap-clap-clap

Well a-calla the cop

He"s blow his top!

Shoot the liquor come him, Jim boy!

Bitter anger prospered within him in ~ the singing. Lock think I"m crazy. Well let "em laugh. I"ll perform what I obtained to do.

He was standing in an attitude of extreme listening once he experienced that they to be watching other on the phase behind him. The felt weak. However when that turned he experienced no one. If only his ignorance did no ache so. Now they to be applauding. And also for a minute he assumed that the wheel had stopped. But that to be impossible, his ignorance still pressed the button. Climate he witnessed them. Two guys in uniform beckoned indigenous the end of the stage. They were coming towards him, go in step, slowly, choose a tap-dance team returning for a 3rd encore. However their shoulders shoot forward, and also he donate away, looking wildly about. There was nothing to fight lock with. He had actually only the long black cord which led to a plug somewhere earlier stage, and also he couldn"t use that since it operated the bingo wheel. He backed slowly, solving the men with his eyes together his lips extended over his this in a tight, solved grin; moved toward the end of the stage and also realizing the he couldn"t go much further, for unexpectedly the cord came to be taut and he couldn"t purchased to break the cord. Yet he had actually to do something. The audience was howling. Unexpectedly he quit dead, seeing the men halt, your legs lifted as in an interrupted step of a slow-motion dance. There to be nothing to do but run in the other direction and he dashed forward, slipping and sliding. The men fell back, surprised. That struck out violently going past.

"Grab him!"

<4B> He ran, but all too conveniently the cord tightened, resistingly, and he turned and also ran earlier again. This time that slipped them, and discovered by to run in a circle prior to the wheel he could keep the cord native tightening. But this means he had actually to flail his arms to save the men away. Why couldn"t they leaving a man alone? he ran, circling."Ring under the curtain," who yelled. But they couldn"t carry out that. If they go the wheel flashing from the projection room would be reduced off. But they had him before he could tell them so, trying come pry open up his fist, and also he was wrestling and trying to carry his knees right into the fight and holding on to the button, because that it to be his life. And now he to be down, seeing a foot coming down, crushing his wrist cruelly, down, as he experienced the wheel whirling serenely above.

"I can"t provide it up," that screamed. Then quietly, in a confidential tone, "Boys, i really can"t give it up."

It landed hard against his head. And in the blank moment they had it away from him, completely now. He dealt with them trying to pull him increase from the stage as that watched the wheel spin slowly to a stop. Without surprised he experienced it rest at double zero.

"You see," he pointed bitterly.

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

And see the guy bow his head to who he can not see, that felt very, really happy; that would receive what every the winners received.

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But together he warmed in the justice of the man"s tight laugh he walk not see the man"s slow-moving wink, nor watch the bow-legged male behind him action clear of the rapidly descending curtain and collection himself because that a blow. He only felt the dull pains exploding in his skull, and he knew also as it slipped the end of him that his luck had run out on the stage.