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The Filipino and the Drunkard

W. Saroyan

 

This loud-mouthed guy in the brown coat was not really mean', he was drunk. He took a sudden dislike to the small well-dressed Filipino and began to order him around the waiting-room, telling him to get back, not to crowd among the white people. They were waiting to get on the boat and cross the bay to Oakland. He was making a commotion in the waiting-room, and while everyone seemed to be in sympathy with the Filipino, no one seemed to want to come to his rescue, and the poor boy became very frightened.

He stood among the people, and this drunkard kept pushing up against him and saying: "I told you to get back. Now get back. I fought twenty-four months inFrance. I'm a real American. I don't want you standing up here among white people."

The boy kept squeezing politely out of the drunkard's way, hurrying through the crowd, not saying anything and trying his best to be as decent as possible. But the drunkard didn't leave him alone. He didn't like the fact that the Filipino was wearing good clothes.

When the big door opened to let everybody to the boat, the young Filipino moved quickly among the people, running from the drunkard. He sat down in a corner, but soon got up and began to look for a more hidden place. At the other end of the boat was the drunkard. He could hear the man swearing. The boy looked for a place to hide, and rushed into the lavatory. He went into one of the open compartments and bolted the door. The drunkard entered the lavatory and began asking others in the room if they had seen the boy. Finally he found the compartment where the boy was standing, and he began swearing and demanding that the boy come out.

"Go away," the boy said.

The drunkard began pounding on the door. "You got to come out some time," he said. "I'll wait here till

"Go away," said the boy. "I've done you nothing."

Behind the door the boy's bitterness grew to rage.

He began to tremble, not fearing the man but fearing the rage growing in himself. He brought the knife from his pocket.

"Go away," he said again. "I have a knif e. I don't want any trouble."

The drunkard said he was a real American, wounded twice. He wouldn't go away. He was afraid of no dirty little yellow-faced Filipino with a knife.

"I will kill you," said the boy. "I don't want any trouble. Go away. Please, don't make any trouble," he said earnestly.

He threw the door open and tried to rush beyond the man, the knife in his fist, but the drunkard caught him by the sleeve and drew him back. The sleeve of the boy's coat ripped, and the boy turned and thrust the knife into the side of the drunkard, feeling it scrape against the ribbone'. The drunkard shouted and screamed at once, then caught the boy by the throat, and the boy began to thrust the knife into the side of the man many times. When the drunkard could hold him no more and fell to the floor, the boy rushed from the room, the knife still in his hand.



Everyone knew what he had done, yet no one moved. The boy ran to the front of the boat, seeking some place to go, but there was no place to go, and before the officers of the boat arrived he stopped suddenly and began to shout at the people.

"I didn't want to hurt him, why didn't you stop him? Is it right to chase a man like a rat? You knew he was drunk. I didn't want to hurt him, but he wouldn't let me go. He tore my coat and tried to choke me. I told him I would kill him if he wouldn't go away. It is not my fault. I must go to Oakland to see my brother. He is sick. Do you thirik I'm looking for trouble when my brother is sick. Why didn't you stop him?"

 

 


Date: 2015-01-11; view: 2095


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