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done all he ever would in California with its people, at least for "Free!" anyway. He had been running free up and down and back and forth across the entire tapestry of the state and it all remained just as unknown to him as when he started back in '66. Now, every instinct he depended on told him it was time to split and leave it all behind, before it did just that to him.

He was anxious, but not fearful, of the future, and he wanted to get hold of the soundest, most truthful information, so he could devise himself a plan for that next unavoidable step he knew he was going to have to take into the unknown. There was no way for him to stay where it had become familiar, because all those old ways had proven themselves to be deadly. The West had become his home, and he pushed it as far as it could take him without dying. He understood that there was a time to die, but also that his time hadn't come as yet. He decided to head back to where it all began, when he was supposed to have been a boy. He decided to return to New York and Brooklyn, and he was going to walk all the way because he wanted to listen carefully to whatever sounds America was making. Everything he ever heard anybody say about America was true. This time around, he wanted to hear what America had to say, and the only real way for him to do that was by walking through it alone.

He left not a moment too soon. The various police agencies finally fitted the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together, and they came up with a picture of a man named "Emmett Grogan." It wasn't all that clear, so they badly wanted to find and talk with him. FBI agents questioned some of his friends, and those who put up some of his bail money in Los Angeles. Plainclothesmen in San Francisco picked up his sister who had been in that city for almost a year, interrogating her with their hands about the whereabouts of her brother. In Chicago, they asked around, but kept coming up with the empty-handed "nonexistence" line. In New York City, agents steadily harassed his parents, dropping hints about how Scotland Yard wanted some answers from their son, but always assuring them that it was just routine, until his exasperated mother asked "Which routine? Which routine?" One FBI man even left a note for his father which read, "Sorry I missed you. Please call my office tomorrow. Best time 8:30 A.M. to lo:oo A.M., or 4:30 to s:oo P.M. AGENT JOSEPH WALSH, FBI.

Emmett didn't know any of this when he walked away from San Francisco, leaving it all behind. He just had a feeling, a feeling that it would be better for him to be hanging sheetrock in Davenport, [end page 492]


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