It's a highway patrol
man, which immediately seems like the funniest thing in the history of the world
Smoke is pouring out of the woods and they are all sailing through leaf explosions
in the sky, but the cop is bugged about this freaking bus
yanks the bus over to the side and he starts going through a kind of traffic-safety inspection
of the big gross bus, while more and more of the smoke is billowing out of the woods.
Man, the license plate
is on wrong and there's no light over the license plate and this turn signal looks bad and how about the brakes, let's see that hand brake there. Cassady
, the driver
, is already into a long monologue
for the guy, only he is throwing in all kinds of sirs:
"Well, yes sir, this is a Hammond
bi-valve serrated brake, you understand sir, had it put on in a truck ro-de-o in Springfield, Oregon
, had to back through a slalom course of baby's bottles
and yellow nappies
, in the existential
culmination of Oregon
, lots of outhouse freaks
up there, you understand, sir, a punctual sort of a state sir, yes sir, holds to 28,000
pounds, 28,000 pounds, you just look right here, sir, tested by a pure-blooded Shell Station
attendant in Springfield
, Oregon, winter of '62
, his gumball boots
never froze, you understand sir, 28,000 pounds hold right here - "
Whereupon he yanks back on the hand-brake as if it's attached to something, which it isn't, it is just dangling there, and jams his foot on the regular brake, and the bus shudders as if the hand brake has a hell of a bite
, but the cop is thoroughly befuddled now, anyway, because Cassady's monologue has confused him, for one thing, and what the hell are these...people doing.
By this time everybody
is off the bus
rolling in the brown grass by the shoulder, laughing, giggling, yahooing, zonked
to the skies on acid
, because, mon, the woods are burning, the whole world is on fire, and a Cassady monologue on automotive safety is rising up from out of his throat like weenie smoke
, as if the great god Speed
were frying in his innards, and the cop, representative of the people of California
in this total freaking situation, is all hung up on a hand brake that doesn't exist in the first place.
And the cop, all he can see is a bunch of crazies in screaming orange and green costumes
s, boys and girls
, men and women
, twelve or fourteen of them, lying in the grass and making hideously crazy sounds - christ almighty
, why the hell does he have to contend with ... So he wheels around and says, "What are you, uh - show people?"
"That's right, officer," Kesey
"We're show people. It's been a long row to hoe
, I can tell you, and it's gonna be a long row to hoe, but that's the business."
"Well, " says the cop, "you fix up those things and..." He starts backing off toward his car, cutting one last look at the crazies. "...And watch it next time..." And he guns on off. ~Tom Wolfe