Some Can Whistle

Some Can Whistle by Larry McMurtry Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Some Can Whistle by Larry McMurtry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Larry McMurtry
anymore.”
    The salesman who brought the Cadillac was what is now called a hunk. He was in his mid-twenties, not very good-looking but still a hunk. Godwin offered him several varieties of drugs, all of which he refused. Godwin stared at him appraisingly, but the young man was rather stolid and may not have realized he was being appraised. A bored mechanic in a pickup was waiting to take the young salesman back to the Cadillac agency. It was clear he didn’t like Godwin, who hadn’t offered
him
any drugs.
    I gave the young man a check, he gave me a receipt, and the good-smelling car was mine.
    “Have a good day,” the young man said as he left. Godwin had tried to make eye contact with him but the young man wasn’t into eye contact.
    “You’re as spoiled as a pig,” Godwin said to me. “Besides that, you’re irresponsible. Gladys will probably kill herself in that Mercedes.”
    A dust cloud came pouring up the road from the south. At the head of it was Gladys; she had called the filling station, got the Mercedes started, and was now practicing driving in her new car. She sped by the house, going about eighty; the dust cloud engulfed Godwin before following Gladys on north.
    “She seems to have got the hang of it,” I said. “As for you, you’re lucky that mechanic didn’t run over you. I don’t think your charm worked on that mechanic.”
    “I rarely waste my charm on aging laborers,” he said archly. “Perhaps I should accompany you on this fatherly errand. Imight overlook your rudeness and accompany you. It could well be that you’ll need my charm when you locate the young lady.”
    “Why would I? She’s
my
daughter,” I said. “Anyway your appearance more than offsets your charm. One look at you and she’d probably want a restraining order of some kind to keep me away from my own grandkids.”
    Actually, I was tempted to take him. I was still pretty apprehensive at the thought of meeting my daughter. Godwin was strange, but on the other hand a known quantity. Having him along to bicker with might keep me from getting too nervous on the drive down.
    Then, abruptly, I rejected the notion—a gutless notion at best. She was
my
daughter—I had spent many miserable years hoping against hope that I’d someday get a chance to meet her. Now the chance had come. Providing myself with a buffer before I even laid eyes on her would be the act of an emotional coward.
    I
was
an emotional coward, more or less, but in this case, if ever, I knew that I had better try to transcend my cowardly instincts. I wanted that girl to like
me
, not Godwin.
    “You better stay here and look after Gladys,” I said. “What if she did have a wreck?”
    “You’re just greedy,” he said. “You don’t want to share your daughter with me. You probably won’t even bring her home. Pig that you are, you’ll take her somewhere where you can have her all to yourself.”
    “The thought hadn’t occurred to me,” I said. “But now that you mention it, maybe I will. I wonder if she has a passport.”
    I was getting a little tired of the reclusive life in Hardtop County, if the truth were known. I had begun to dream Mediterranean dreams, and to miss the girls of those golden shores: Claudia Cardinale and Melissa Mell, Ingrid Pitt, Senta Berger, Françoise Dorléac, Romy Schneider—all my continental dreamgirls. Maybe I’d take a house in Rome, get to know my daughter in a European setting—the grandkids could grow up bilingual.
    Godwin had known me long enough to quickly sniff the drift of my thoughts.
    “She works in a Dairy Queen,” he reminded me. “I hardly think she’d have a passport.”
    “A Mr. Burger,” I corrected. “A Mr. Burger, not a Dairy Queen.”
    “There may be a difference,” Godwin said, “but I doubt if that means she’s much of an internationalist.”
    I got out of the Cadillac and went to get my bags.
    “God, you’re tiresome,” I said. “If I don’t leave, I’ll be too tired to drive,

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