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use you to soften up a campus? Have you worked Dallas? Houston? Haney’s little campus follower.” She was bending her head low, shaking it from side to side. “No, no, no, no,” she was saying, not denying his charges, but sad and sorry because he was missing the whole point. “No,” she said, and she lifted her head again. “I slept with Haney, one time, last year \(A LITTLE BEAST MURDEROUS HOTBLOODED BUT SO SO DETACHED HE MAY AS WELL HAVE BEEN A nothing to each other. We understand each other, and we go places and we talk about things , together, but Haney and I haven’t touched each other in a yearsince that day \(JUST DRIVING ALONG COMING BACK FROM HOUSTON, AND IT WAS NOON, AND HE, KNOWING, FEELING IT ‘rob, SUDDENLY PULLED OFF THE him. He’s a strange, strange boy. He’s an intellectual. Just like you are. You two would like each other.” “Sweet Jesus yes we would! We would get along rippingly!” “You would,” she said quietly. Then she went on. “Haney asked me if I would date you. I asked him how, and he said I could find a way. I thought this was interesting. I really did.” Alfred fired back: “Why did you find this interesting?” She looked at him. “I knew who you were. I didn’t mind the work.” “You had a CRUSH on me?” “No, heavens, no.” “Oh well! Of course not. Certainly not! Who would have a crush on fuzz-faced Alfred Jacoby, the scholarly eunuch?” “Like I said. It was interesting. In lots of ways. I thought you were a nice looking boy. I thought it would be interesting to find out what you were like. To find out what somebody like youI told youI don’t know many people that are, are vital in my kind of way.” “Tell me more about Alfred, the interesting Anglo-Saxon.” “That’s all there is to tell. I agreed with Haney that I’d do it. I was bored. I guess you could say that was part of it. I’m not one of Haney’s group, exactly. I’m with him, but I don’t care. That’s all there is to tell, till I started going with you and I found you’ were so sweet and strong and I just let this other business go. I forgot about it.” “Haney never did say any more about it?” “He asked me when we were going to be seen in public and I said I didn’t know.” “Did he tell you to sleep with me?” “Nobody tells me who to sleep with.” She drank a drink. “He didn’t care whether* we slept together or not. He wanted us to be seen together. He thought, oh, he knew it’d be better if we were sleeping together, that it would make you do things that you wouldn’t do otherwise.” “Did you think that?” “I didn’t care what it would make you do. The Texas Observer I started wanting you after you took me to the field. I wanted you every day since then, and that’s why I wore this silly hat and all that up here. I thought if that’s the way you wanted it to be, at least I would finally have you. I don’t care whether we sleep in any sanctified hotel or not. I don’t care to make no points about racial solidarity. All the solidarity I want is me and you.” “But the utter bland-faced deception of it. After I extended myself” Wanda rose. “What do you mean extended yourself?” Alfred stopped short, staring, tightlipped, white-faced. “It wasn’t easy, Wanda,” he started. Wanda swung her feet over the bed and pulled on her slip, then her pants. She stood. “Tell me more, white boy.” “I wouldn’t have told you if I hadn’t loved you,” she said later. The night had grown still. “Don’t you care that I’d tell you everything and make myself out a horrible person? I wouldn’t tell you the truth if you didn’t mean so much to me.” She stood in her slip. “Do you really want me? That’s all I want to know. I’m a woman. Do you really want me? Here. Now. Come here if you want me.” Alfred stood still and watched her, watched the tear well up out of the flesh and brim over slowly, as the structure of her face and passion turned to brittle lifeless stuff, and crumbled., “Let’s go,” she said, working her foot into a white pump. Watch is all Alfred could do. Haney called Wanda’s house once that night, about 11:45. “Is Wanda in yet?” he asked in his laughing, detached way. “No, she went out somewhere on a date. With’ Mr. Jacoby.” “Is this Lucy?” “Yeah who’s this?” “Lewis Haney. What you know good?” “Don’t know it. You want Wanda to call you?” “No, skip it tonight. Tell her I’ll get in touch with her. You sleep well now.” H OW’D IT GO?” Slough looked up from the table where he was reading later under the gooseneck. “It didn’t,” said Alfred. “She wouldn’t sleep with you?” “Oh yes! Yes!” Alfred walked across the room, smacked his palm. “Hah!” He walked back ashen-faced. “Hah! She likes my drive!” His lips were white-looking and thin. They stretched over his teeth. He was saying, “But I was her assignment!” “Assignment.” “Her target for the summer. Some go to the lunch counters, some work on love.” “What? Is she with the Group?” “On a free-lance basis.” “What do you mean?” “Haney asked to do the Group a little favor. Help the cause along, you know. Campus leader and Negro co-ed seen arm in arm. High level racial solidarity comes to Southern campus. Love among blacks and whites now natural as birds twittering in the trees.” “Al,” Slough said. “Why would you let yourself get sucked into this shit?” “I wouldn’t say sucked in.” His voice broke. “All right. Tell me. How did you first meet the girl?” “I saw her. In a line at the cafetorium.” “And what’d she do?” “Well, I don’t know. Looked interested.” “Looked interested. Then what?” “Well, I looked interested. It became a convention with us.” Slough slapped his head. “Christ Almighty. Then when’d you first talk to her?” “At Half-Way House one night. Look, this was arranged. Sure. This was fully explained.” Slough’s chair scraped. He was up. “This God-damned pus pocket! I think we ought to all go get some baseball bats and clear out the whole Christ-forsaken bunch. How do you feel now about implementing racial equality at the personal level?” Alfred was sitting, and quiet. “It wasn’t all a trick she told me.” “What?” “I mean she got to liking me.” “When ?” “Oh, along the way.” “Do you believe her?” “I don’t know. I,” he threw up his hand.. “I just don’t have any credulity left.” “I mean did she seem like she meant it?” “Yes. Very much so.” “And you all went to bed.” “Yes.” “Well. There wasn’t any real problem then.” Alfred looked up. “Oh, yes there was.” “What?” “To be perfectly frank with you, I didn’t lust for her even before she told me of the trick.” “Al, why fool around with all this? You’re not ready for it. In fact, I’m not sure you’re ready to get your hands dirty in anythingracesex. That’s why you ain’t been in any picket lines. That’s why you picked a nigger gal you could pull out on any time you felt yourself getting in too deep. A nigger galthat’s NOBLE. And wasn’t it kinda funkinda like an experiment in living?” Slough was leaving. A whole mess of feelings were rushing to his head. “You talk a pretty good game,” he said, breathing as hard as if he’d been running with the dogs. “Tell me just one more thing, Mr. Sociologistwhy isI haven’t seen this Wandabut why is it all these intellectual niggers I see come here look like rejects from their race?” Alfred turned up his tear-stained face. “You’re very clever. I wish I had the hogbrained callousnes it took to make generalizations. The convictions out of prejudice of the Alabama-born. Or is it conviction at all? Perhaps a strange lack of scruples that allows you to say anything you feel.” “I have scruples. I have scruples againSt screwing Negroes.” “She’s beautiful.” “You’re too civilized for her.”