Excerpt from “Giant” by Edna Ferber ~~Incredibly long bright blue car~~

picture-Giant-FerberGulick’s opulent windows reflected the firm’s disdain for such whims as temperature time or place. Hot or cold, autumn was just around the corner. Gulick’s window displays were aimed at those Texans who early armed themselves for a holiday in New York in California in Florida Europe Chicago or even that Yankeetown Dallas. The lure of one window was too much even for shoppers like Leslie and Luz, bent on sterner stuffs. Wordlessly they stopped to gaze at it. Luxurious though every article was, each had the chaste quality of utter perfection.
The window held a woman’s complete evening toilette. Nothing more. A fabulous fur wrap. A satin-and-tulle gown. Diamond necklace. A bracelet of clumped jewels. Long soft gloves flung carelessly on the floor like thick cream spilled on carpet. Cobwebs of lingerie. Wisps of chiffon hosiery. Fragile slippers. Jewel-encrusted handbag.
“Mm,” said Luz.
“Nice,” Leslie said.
As they stood there a hand slid through the arm of each, separating the two women. “Like it?” said a man’s voice. I’ll buy the whole window for you, Leslie.”
Leslie stared into Jett Rink’s face.
Instinctively she jerked her arm to free it. His hand held it inescapably. He was scarcely taller than she, his eyes were level with hers, his face was close, the eyes intent, bloodshot. He was smiling. Now, still holding the arms of the two women locked beneath his arms, an iron hand pressed tightly against each hand on his shoulder, he turned his head slowly on that short thick neck to stare at the girl.
“You’re Luz. I’m Jett Rink, Luz.”
“Yes. I’ve seen pictures of you. Look, do you mind, you’re just a little too hearty, you’re hurting me.”
“Luz. A hell of a thing to do to a pretty girl like you, name her after that old bitch.”
The arms of both women jerked to be free. He held them. He turned again to Leslie. “Am I hurting you too, Leslie?”
She thought, clearly. On Sonoro Street in Hermoso in front of Gulick’s. Nothing must happen. Nothing to disgrace Jordan and the children. She spoke quietly as she had always spoken in the past to the violent boy, now a more violent man.
“I’m not going to wrestle with you in the street. Take your hand away.”
He swung them around as if in a dance, one on each side. “Would you wrestle in the car?” At the kerb was an incredibly long bright blue car. A man sat at the wheel, another stood at the rear door. “Come on, girls. Let’s take a ride.”
It was unbelievable it was monstrous. For the first time she knew fear. He propelled them across the sidewalk.
“No,” Leslie cried. Faces of passers-by turned toward them, uncertainly.
Luz’s free left hand was a fist. Now she actually twisted round to aim at his face but he head jerked his head back, and he laughed a great roaring laugh and the passers-by, reassured, went on their way grinning at the little playful scuffle. “I’m not going to hurt you. Don’t make such a fuss.” He and the man standing at the car door half lifted half pulled them into the deep roomy rear seat, Jett between them. The door slammed, the man whirled into the front seat with the driver, the car shot into the traffic.

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1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “Giant” by Edna Ferber ~~Incredibly long bright blue car~~

  1. Edna Ferber was born on 15 August 1885, in Kalamazoo, Michigan USA and died on 16 April 1968, aged 82 years. Ferber had a prolific career as an author with notable works including Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926; made into the 1927 musical) and Cimarron (1929; made into the 1931 film which won the Academy Award for Best Picture).
    “Giant” was published in 1952, and later made into a movie with Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Benedict, and James Dean as Jett Rink.

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