I walked into the theater where Sam was sitting and it was empty. No one else wanted to see On The Road in the West Village. The seats were old and they made squeaks when you took them back.
After a minute two girls walked in. They had good hair. They had no idea what they were walking into. It was a second after they sat coats-off a row behind me and Sam when I talked loud so they could hear.
“Christ keep shit in check.”
“But Schlink it’s like, God, what if I bought a thing of whiskey.”
“Hey, girls, if I bought a thing of whiskey, wanna split it.”
The other two people in the auditorium, the two girls, giggled like they meant it. They said yes and moved next to us while I was dispatched to the nearest liquor store, and good luck it was just next door. The movie flickered on and I took the thing and undid it.
I loved the movie. As I’m no critic, of film or basically anything else, I feel right in taking On The Road as a thing to talk about. It is a mandate I have. From the place where I first read the book to now is miles. It takes time to get there. The title is, for once, literal. That’s nice. It is natural for me, too, seeing someone on the road observing, as I myself can’t drive. Here’s where I say that I too am Kerouac. He’s happy to get a cross-gearshift hand job from his best friend’s wife instead of taking the wheel. No explanation necessary as to why that’s in the movie. But maybe, here: taking the wheel actually is a different animal. I feel that.
As for the movie itself the scene is New Years Eve, going into 1949. Cassady had a dance with Marylou, Kristen Stewart, and Kristen Stewart is all hips and lips dancing to Charlie Parker’s “Salt Peanuts.”
I was outside after the movie ended. The two girls watched me have a smoke and then said they had work in the morning. Sam got on a subway. I was walking home when I remembered a nice bar, and I had a beer there not talking to the bartendress.