“When are you shipping out again, Mike?” Phillip asked.

“Why,” I said, “in a couple of weeks, I guess.”

“The shit you are,” Janie said.

“Well,” Phillip said as we crossed the Square, “I’ve been thinking about shipping out myself. You know I have seaman’s papers, but I never have shipped out. What would I have to do to get a ship?”

I gave him all the details briefly.

Phillip nodded in a satisfied way. “I’m going to do it,” he said. “And is there any chance of our getting on the same boat?”

“Why yes,” I said. “You suddenly decided all this? And what would your uncle say?”

“He’ll be all for it. Glad to see me do a patriotic turn and all that. And glad to get rid of me for a while.”

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks © 2008 by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, and reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Grove Press.

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