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Edna Ferber: Buttered Side Down
11. XI. SUN DRIED (continued)
She bound her hair in the turban again, and opened the door. At the far end of the long, dim hallway Charlie, the janitor, was doing something to the floor with a mop and a great deal of sloppy water, whistling the while with a shrill abandon that had announced his presence to Mary Louise.
"Oh, Charlie!" called Mary Louise. "Charlee! Can you come here just a minute?"
"You bet!" answered Charlie, with the accent on the you; and came.
"Charlie, is there a back yard, or something, where the sun is, you know--some nice, grassy place where I can sit, and dry my hair, and let the breezes blow it?"
"Back yard!" grinned Charlie. "I guess you're new to N' York, all right, with ground costin' a million or so a foot. Not much they ain't no back yard, unless you'd give that name to an ash-barrel, and a dump heap or so, and a crop of tin cans. I wouldn't invite a goat to set in it."
Disappointment curved Mary Louise's mouth. It was a lovely enough mouth at any time, but when it curved in disappointment--ell, janitors are but human, after all.
"Tell you what, though," said Charlie. "I'll let you up on the roof. It ain't long on grassy spots up there, but say, breeze! Like a summer resort. On a clear day you can see way over 's far 's Eight' Avenoo. Only for the love of Mike don't blab it to the other women folks in the buildin', or I'll have the whole works of 'em usin' the roof for a general sun, massage, an' beauty parlor. Come on."
"I'll never breathe it to a soul," promised Mary Louise, solemnly. "Oh, wait a minute."
She turned back into her room, appearing again in a moment with something green in her hand.
"What's that?" asked Charlie, suspiciously.
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