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Hoffman. So he decided to demonstrate to Abbot how something that's "free" can be stolen and how it feels to have something that's "free" taken.

He asked Abbot whether he was sure that he was "free" and whether everything he had was really "free." Then Emmett mentioned some things around the apartment, like the typewriter that was in front of him and the record player, and Abbot replied that it was all "free," further remarking that Emmett could take anything he wanted. "It's free, because it's yours!" he said.

Emmett hung up and walked to the front room where Abbot Hoffman's wife, Anita, was sitting on a large, cloth-covered mattress that doubled as couch and guest bed. She was watching a movie on television and hadn't heard the telephone dialogue between Emmett and her husband which was good, because she would've thought it was ugly, and it would've upset her. That's the way she was at the time.

Emmett got himself a can of something from the refrigerator and watched the movie and talked with Anita for a while, before he took what he had to take, to show Abbot Hoffman how something "free" could be stolen and how it felt to have it taken.

The next morning Emmett made a reservation on an evening flight back to San Francisco and took his last walk around the Lower East Side for what he knew would probably be a while. He loved the city of New York and all its different neighborhoods, particularly the section of the Lower East Side south of the Houston Street dividing line, because it still contained the Old World flavor, hundreds of tongues flapping in a hundred different languages. He didn't like the northern section of the neighborhood since it was renamed the East Village.

He was walking along what used to be called the Yiddish Broadway, but was now only Second Avenue, looking at the refreshing arbor in the tiny park fronting St. Mark's-on-the-Bowery Church, when he bumped into one of them. There were five of them, and Emmett could see by the way they were all decked out in funky denims with the lame colors of their club stitched on their cut-away jackets that they were sidewalk bikers: guys who stomp around like they belong to an outlaw motorcycle gang, but don't have any bikes and more than likely never had. They just make believe.

The one he bumped into stepped back and stared at Emmett for a moment, saying, "Hey, man, I know you!" The guy also looked [end page 460]


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