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On the Road

On the Road


by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 1, Chapter 13 Summary

  • Sal decides the Mexican woman's name is Terry, after all. They plan to hitchhike to New York together, but need to earn money first.
  • Sal is fascinated by all the people in LA – all the "beat" people who tried to make movies but couldn’t and are stuck without jobs, just like him.
  • They get in touch with Terry’s sister, but end up at Terry’s friend’s place (Margarina is her name) instead, and drink, of course.
  • Sal tries to score some drugs and ends up with tobacco.
  • They decide to hitchhike to New York with their whopping thirteen dollars.
  • Sal and Terry are passed on the road by a bunch of whooping young things (high school students) that irritate Sal to no end. Who do they think they are!?
  • Sal and Terry spend a significant chunk of their dough on a motel room, where they hold each other and talk.
  • They need jobs (fruit-picking, it seems), and they really need money. But most of all, they need a drink.
  • New York is a good idea, but it’s so far! So they decide to live in Terry’s brother’s garage instead. They hitch a ride.
  • Rickey, Terry’s brother, has an overweight friend (Ponzo) who smells like manure and has a thing for Terry. There’s also Johnny, Terry’s seven-year-old child.
  • Heavy drinking follows. Rickey keeps saying they will get work done, really – mañana. And Sal assumes the word means "heaven."
  • Sal spends all their money on alcohol because tomorrow they will use the manure truck to make money.
  • They wake up too late for work and start drinking again. Sal very astutely comments that their plans to work may never come to fruition.
  • Sal and Terry have sex while her son is in the room and not sleeping. Whoa there.
  • Realizing that rent costs a dollar a day, and that he has about, TWO DOLLARS, Sal finds a job picking cotton.
  • Turns out, picking cotton completely sucks. But Sal gets into it, in the aching back, bleeding fingers kind of way.
  • He feels guilty because he’s so bad at picking cotton and can’t support his family. And God isn’t even listening!
  • He makes just about enough money to eat at night. That’s pretty much it.
  • Here it comes again...here it comes...RESTLESSNESS! Again. Time to move on.
  • They get to Terry’s family’s shack and she gets yelled at for having left her physically abusive husband.
  • Terry must sense Sal’s restlessness because she tells Sal not to go; she will work to support him if he stays.
  • They have some good-bye sex underneath this huge tarantula on the ceiling.
  • Sal asks the incredibly relevant question, "what was the tarantula doing?" Watching, Sal. Watching.
  • They agree to see each other in New York, both of them knowing Terry won’t actually come to New York.
  • Sal hitches to Hollywood, picks up his rejected manuscript, and digs Hollywood for a few hours.

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