Jim is in a state of flux, shifting, flitting, from stamen to pistil, to mortar and pestle. Everything in his life boils, boils, boils, til an essence is distilled, an essence that’s essential, an importance that’s unimportant and important at the same time, like a bird on the wing that’s wingless, making it up as it flies, in a sort of Memphis half-step of undulation and toodeloo-voodoo, and while Jim waits like a mongrel vagrant, like somebody trapped in a Mel Brooks movie where they are sleepwalking and sleep-waking, hithering and dithering like an unambivalent doppelganger, the kind you might see in an out-of-business establishment, grown men rolling down Main Street in broad daylight, polyester imaginations and calico clocksprings, thinking about Jim’s covered music sheets with almost unintelligible scribbling, taking his dessert with him and screaming, “Come everybody! Let’s see what this sounds like!”
Main Street Archive
Jim sees an old newspaper being blown down Main Street. Kerouac compared this to fame, that fame is like old papers being blown down Main Street, and Jim chuckles at this. What, exactly did he mean? Jim runs after the paper. He reads about the 2010 Gloucester football team. The paper is yellow. Newsprint is like that; it yellows quite quickly. It’s not designed for posterity.
Jim gets on the bus. He doesn’t even know where he’s going. He’s going to Oklahoma. His brother-in-law lives in Normal, in the panhandle he thinks. Or is it Norman?, Jim wonders. The bus smells like ping-pong balls. A Hispanic woman wearing a brightly-printed dress sits next to him. The bus is full, and smells like ping-pong balls. Why did this occur to me?, wonders Jim, that it smells like ping-pong balls? As he ponders this, the bus crosses the Illinois-Missouri border. It goes through a town called Mexico. It passes by a bakery and the bus windows are open as it is late spring and Jim smells the baking bread and thinks that this beats the pants off ping-pong balls. This makes him recall the time he was beat up by a gang of bikers in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1973. They really beat the pants off him. After the beating, he was arrested for lying in the middle of Main Street in his underwear, lying in a pool of vomit and blood and urine. Not a particularly fond memory as far as memories go, but this is what Jim is thinking about.