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.When his imagination was satisfied, he looked at the clock in the window of the second liquor store, and was dismayed to find that less than half an hour had passed.What he was going to say had happened couldn't have happened in under an hour; he had some forty minutes to kill.He walked back and forth, rehearsing his story and shivering.Then he ran up the stairs to her.The light had not been turned on.Except for the pale, pale radiance from her body, the room was in darkness.He knelt by her feet, glad to be invisible, and told her his lies.Once or twice she interrupted to put a question.He could feel that she was smiling."So," she said, when he had come to the limits of his invention, "isn't it as I told you? Paul, didn't I tell you I'd take care of you?" There was a triumph in her voice."Yes.Thank you for it.""And did you please her?" she asked after a moment, more gravely."So that she gave you that final pleasure, of seeing a woman turned into more than a woman in your arms? I hope it was like that.""It was like that."The faint fight of her body had grown stronger; he could perceive even in the dark that pleasure was making her smile.He was glad that he had lied to her.When he got to his feet and switched on the room's one weak bulb, he saw that her face was alive with her delight.-After that he told her many lies.He would walk up and down in the dusk, shivering uncontrollably as the year advanced and the winter grew more cold, and contrive stories of warm, perfumed rooms, wide couches, and girls with satin thighs.He got to know every watch and camera behind the metal lattice of the hock shop, every bottle in the window of the liquor stores.He thought none of the merchants in his street changed their displays often enough.Once or twice he took twenty cents from the change in his pockets and went to the picture house on the corner, out of the cold, to sit through banging westerns and dramas of wealthy society, but usually he could not afford them, and after the third time he came the nurse at the Blucher Laboratories had refused to take any more blood from him, saying scoldingly, "What you need is less sherry to drink and more to eat.Why is it that you people don't ever want to eat?"—so he no longer had that source of revenue.He bought freesias with two dollars of the money he got for the last pint of blood.He took the flowers in their green wrapper up the stairs to her, telling her he'd had a windfall, things were looking up for him.She received his story as yet another evidence of her success in taking care of him.The room was no more full of the delicate perfume of the flowers than it was of the silver reflections of her smiling lips and the movements of her hands.He was always afraid that she would see past his lies to the cold, dirty reality, but somehow—whether because she had lost most of her power, or because it had not ever extended in that direction—she never did.She accepted his stories unquestioningly.-Yet, as the days passed and her body grew always lighter and more tenuous, it came to him that she was dying.His lies and his care could not help her.There were times when he thought she rallied, when he would permit himself to hope.On Thursday he had no money left at all.He went to the laboratories.The nurse frowned at him through the window and shook her head menacingly.He went to the liquor store nearest the corner and stood about, fingering bottles, until the proprietor's back was turned.Then he put a pint of brandy in his pocket and walked out with it.She drank it slowly, growing a little less bloodless.Thursday was a good day.Friday was bright and clear.Last night the moon had been full; if had snowed all night.The room had been full of the snow's cold radiance.He had wakened several times to look at her in the night.Now, in the hard light of morning, he could hardly see her.She was like a pale flame in the sun."How are you?" he asked anxiously as he prepared to leave her."Oh, I'm much better this morning, Paul.I almost think my power is coming back." She smiled at him.She seemed to believe it; he felt a tiny jet of hope as he went down the stair.He had decided to try it again.He entered the liquor store and walked toward the back, where the brandy was.He waited carefully; then his hand went out.With shattering abruptness the proprietor spoke to him."Look here, Minton, you can't get away with this," he said sternly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]