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The Rum Diary / Ромовий щоденник: vol 5

Оригінал англійською Переклад українською

Seeing this made me a bit self-conscious and I began looking around for a

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dark corner where I could drink without being seen. My date still had me by the arm,

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but I shook her off and moved toward one corner of the room. No one paid any

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attention to me as I eased through the mob, bumping dancers here and there, keeping

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my head lowered and moving cautiously toward what looked like a vacant spot.

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A few feet to my left was a door and I edged toward it, bumping more

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dancers. When I finally got outside I felt like I'd escaped from a jail. The air was cool

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and the terrace was almost empty. I walked out to the edge and looked down on

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Charlotte Amalie at the bottom of the hill. I could hear music floating up from the

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bars along Queen Street. Off to my right and left I could see Land Rovers and open

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taxis full of people moving along the waterfront, heading for other parties, other

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yachts and dim-lit hotels where red and blue lights glittered mysteriously. I tried to

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remember which other places we'd been told to go for the "real fun," and I wondered

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if they were any better than this one.

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I thought of Vieques, and for a moment I wanted to be there. I remembered

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sitting on the hotel balcony and hearing the hoofbeats in the street below. Then I

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remembered Zimburger, and Martin, and the Marines — the empire builders, setting

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up frozen food stores and aerial bombing ranges, spreading out like a piss puddle to

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every corner of the world.

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I turned to watch the dancers, thinking that since I'd paid six dollars to get into

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this place, I might as well try to enjoy it.

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The dancing was getting wilder now. No more swaying fox-trot business.

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There was a driving rhythm to the music; the movements on the floor were jerky and

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full of lust, a swinging and thrusting of hips, accompanied by sudden cries and

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groans. I felt a temptation to join in, if only for laughs. But first I would have to get

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drunker.

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On the other side of the room I found Yeamon, standing by the entrance to the

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hall. "I'm ready to do the dinga," I said with a laugh. "Let's cut loose and go crazy."

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He glared at me, taking a long slug of his drink.

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I shrugged and moved on toward the hall closet, where the button-down

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bartender was laboring over the drinks. "Rum and ice," I shouted, holding my cup

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aloft. "Heavy on the ice."

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He seized it mechanically, dropped in a few lumps of ice, a flash of rum, then

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he handed it back. I stabbed a quarter into his palm and went back to the doorway.

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Yeamon was staring at the dancers, looking very morose.

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I stopped beside him and he nodded toward the floor. "Look at that bitch," he

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said.

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I looked and saw Chenault, dancing with the small, spade-bearded man we

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had met earlier. He was a good dancer, and whatever step he was doing was pretty

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involved. Chenault was holding her arms out like a hula charmer, a look of tense

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concentration on her face. Now and then she would spin, swirling her madras skirt

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around her like a fan.

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"Yeah," I said. "She's hell on this dancing."

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"She's part nigger," he replied, in a tone that was not soft.

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"Careful," I said quickly. "Watch what you say in this place."

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"Balls," he said loudly.

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Great Jesus, I thought. Here we go. "Take it easy," I said. "Why don't we head

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back to town?"

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"Fine with me," he replied. "Try talking to her." He nodded at Chenault,

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dancing feverishly just a few feet away.

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