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the two men who came on like brothers to everyone else but themselves. What it finally came down to, though, was the old "star trip" number. Both their strong, powerful egos clashed because a team of groupies who hung around the Chelsea slighted Tumble to get next to Emmett. The two of them played "dozens" for a good fucking thirty minutes. It was incredible, but real, and Tumble was right and he split to the airport, catching the next flight back to Frisco, and Emmett, once again, was alone. He got loaded, and around dawn there was a knock on the door to his room. He opened it, half hoping to see Tumble, but it was the pair of groupies who recognized him from the couple of months they spent on the West Coast, they said, before he punched both of them in their faces, just hard enough to keep them from ever saying hello to him again.

The next evening Emmett was still upset about Tumble's leaving. They had both acted like mugs. He turned on the television set to listen to the six o'clock newscast, while he washed and shaved. He was drying himself off when he heard it. The 4:30 movie of that gray New York afternoon was still on the T~,' screen, and he heard a corny line of dialogue he was going to remember. "The only reason friends pat you on the back is to find a place to break it."

Emmett left the tube on to play to an empty room and rode the Chelsea Hotel's slow-poking elevator to the lobby, where he bumped into a woman he knew, and they went into the adjacent El Quixote bar for a drink. They had two, and before he finished his second Southern Comfort, the woman had him red-hot mad with the news of a book that Abbot Hoffman was compiling for publication. According to her, it was all about how Abbot and his Costello friends were everything and did everything that Emmett and his once Digger, now Free City Collective, brothers and sisters were and did and were still doing.

Emmett was stewing with steam over his drink like an out-of-town mark who'd just been taken for all he had. Then he got a flash. He remembered that giant stack of papers he gave to Abbot almost a year before. The pile of papers that Emmett, Coyote, Tumble and, most important, the Hun had written--that were published by the Communication Company in San Francisco and given away free throughout that city.

It was that pile of papers which supplied Abbot Hoffman with all the superficial information and hipster phrases that enabled him to act like he was one of the died-in-the-wool originals. The Hun's pieces were particularly valuable to Hoffman because they gave him [end page 458]


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