I drank my coffee and passed the can along. We ate in silence. The chicken and bread soon disappeared. My companions lit up their pipes and smoked while we finished the coffee.
I was learning fast. I took the frying pan, filled it with water and put it on the fire, without waiting for orders. When the water boiled I washed it at the creek, scrubbed it with sand, and returned it to the owner.
"Where you from, kid?"
"The city," I answered.
"How long you been on the road?"
"This is my first day."
"Got any people?"
"No, they are all dead."
"Where you goin'?"
"Oh, just west, anywhere, everywhere."
"Got any pennies?"
"No pennies. I've got a couple of dollars." I looked from one to the other. "Do you want any of it, either of you?"
"No," from both of them. "But," said the cook, "if we was in the city I'd take fifty cents of it purty pronto and get myself a four-bit micky."
"A what?" I asked, mystified.
"A four-bit micky, a fifty-cent bottle of alcohol - Dr. Hall, white line," he translated in disgust. "If you're goin' west you better learn to talk west."
"Yes," said the other, "and 'pennies' don't mean pennies. It means money, on the road."
- You can't win, Jack Black