It's gritty and real.I love it.
I look over at this stiff's empty bunk.Dead in an hour.I shiver.Great Christ, I think, is this the way I will go out, too?It is hard enough to pass out in a nice feather bed with all your family gathered around and crying.It is no snap to die like that.But this way.Lying up on top of a three-decker bunk.No mattress under you.Only a dirty blanket.Lie here and rattle and groan.Lie here and feel the lice crawling all over you and under you.Lie here with only the whites of your eyes gleaming through the dark.To feel the bones sticking out of your skin.It will get me, too, like it got this guy.It is getting me.I can feel it.Twenty years before my time I will be like this guy.Maybe it will be in a mission like this, and they will come and carry me out on a stretcher.Maybe I will be lying in the corner of a box car with the roar of the wheels underneath me.Maybe it will come quick while I am shivering in a soup-line, a soup-line that stretches for a block and never starts moving.I lie up here on my three-decker bunk and shiver.I am not cold.I am afraid.What is a man to do?I know well enough what he can do.All he can do is to try to keep his belly full of enough slop so that he won't rattle when he breathes.All he can do is to try and find himself a lousy flop at night.Day after day, week after week, year after year, always the same—three hots and a flop.
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