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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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