the cornflowers were blooming along highway 63, and spaghetti and meatballs was the special at sal and cora's diner.
old number 9 was coming around the bend,
and charlie the chimp wished he could hop on it.
his old pals danny the dinosaur, eddie the ectoplasm and freddie the freeloader were waiting for charlie at the diner.
they were packing away the spaghetti but what they had on their minds no one could say for sure.
eddie told freddie the way he ate was disgusting.
freddie ignored him.
danny just kept stuffing the spaghetti into his big mouth.
charlie's feet hurt like hell, which was why he couldn't make a run for it and hop on old number 9.
the magnolias were blooming along with the cornflowers.
alain was starting to feel the heat, and wished he had gone back for his hat when he started walking down the highway.
when he reached the top of the hill he saw the diner.
the diner did not look particularly cool or inviting -
in fact it looked like it was baking in the sun
- but alain headed for it as if propelled by an invisible force.
somewhere there were rainbows,
somewhere there were butterflies,
somewhere there were schoolboys in white uniforms and straw boaters drinking limeade at picnic tables with umbrellas.
but not here, not on this highway.
not on this hot pitiless afternoon.
a big truck spewing black fumes drove up behind alain and passed him.
leaving specks of soot on his white suit.
the brutish looking driver shouted something at alain, but he could not make out what.
he was sure it was nothing he wanted to hear.
how he wished he was back on malta,
or in morocco,
or even in a cafe in montmartre.
where had he gotten the idea that there was anything romantic about america?
and the cornflowers!
how ugly they were!
pitilessly, pitllessly ugly!
alain loved beauty.
but where was it to be found, either in the old worlds or the new?
the sky and the horizon, even when blue, had forgotten how to smile.
and his feet were beginning to hurt.
a hot wind sprang up, which would have blown his hat away,
if he had remembered to wear it.