“Yes,” Jack says. “That’s so.”
We sat there on the porch. Hogan was inside at the office.
“What do you think about the shape I’m in?” Jack asked me.
“Well, you can’t tell,” I said. “You got a week to get around into form.”
“Don’t stall me.”
“Well,” I said, “you’re not right.”
“I’m not sleeping,” Jack said.
“You’ll be all right in a couple of days.”
“No,” said Jack, “I got the insomnia.”
“What’s on your mind?”
“I miss the wife.”
“Have her come out.”
“No. I’m too old for that.”
“We’ll take a long walk before you turn in and get you good and tired.”
“Tired!” Jack says. “I’m tired all the time.”
He was that way all week. He wouldn’t sleep at night and he’d get up in the morning feeling that way, you know when you can’t shut your hands.
“He’s stale as poorhouse cake,” Hogan said. “He’s nothing.”
“I never seen Walcott,” I said.
“He’ll kill him,” said Hogan. “He’ll tear him in two.”
“Well,” I said, “everybody’s got to get it sometime.”
“Not like this, though,” Hogan said. “They’ll think he never trained. It gives the farm a black eye.”
“You hear what the reporters said about him?”
“Didn’t I! They said he was awful. They said they oughtn’t to let him fight.”
“Well,” I said, “they’re always wrong, ain’t they?”
“Yes,” said Hogan. “But this time they’re right.”
“What the hell do they know about whether a man’s right or not?”
“Well,” said Hogan, “they’re not such fools.”
“All they did was pick Willard at Toledo. This Lardner, he’s so wise now, ask him about when he picked Willard at Toledo.”
“Aw, he wasn’t out,” Hogan said. “He only writes the big fights.”
“I don’t care who they are,” I said. “What the hell do they know? They can write maybe, but what the hell do they know?”
“You don’t think Jack’s in any shape, do you?” Hogan asked.
“No. He’s through. All he needs is to have Corbett pick him to win for it to be all over.”
“Well, Corbett’ll pick him,” Hogan says.
“Sure. He’ll pick him.”
That night Jack didn’t sleep any either. The next morning was the last day before the fight. After breakfast we were out on the porch again.
“What do you think about, Jack, when you can’t sleep?” I said.
“Oh, I worry,” Jack says. “I worry about property I got up in the Bronx, I worry about property I got in Florida. I worry about the kids. I worry about the wife. Sometimes I think about fights. I think about that kike Richie Lewis and I get sore. I got some stocks and I worry about them. What the hell don’t I think about?”
“Well,” I said, “tomorrow night it’ll all be over.”
“Sure,” said Jack. “That always helps a lot, don’t it? That just fixes everything all up, I suppose. Sure.”
He was sore all day. We didn’t do any work. Jack just moved around a little to loosen up. He shadow-boxed a few rounds. He didn’t even look good doing that. He skipped the rope a little while. He couldn’t sweat.
“He’d be better not to do any work at all,” Hogan said. We were standing watching him skip rope. “Don’t he ever sweat at all any more?”
“He can’t sweat.”
“Do you suppose he’s got the con? He never had any trouble making weight, did he?”
“No, he hasn’t got any con. He just hasn’t got anything inside any more.”
“He ought to sweat,” said Hogan.
Jack came over, skipping the rope. He was skipping up and down in front of us, forward and back, crossing his arms every third time.
“Well,” he says. “What are you buzzards talking about?”
“I don’t think you ought to work any more,” Hogan says. “You’ll be stale.”
“Wouldn’t that be awful?” Jack says and skips away down the floor, slapping the rope hard.
That afternoon John Collins showed up out at the farm. Jack was up in his room. John came out in a car from town. He had a couple of friends with him. The car stopped and they all got out.
“Where’s Jack?” John asked me.