“Put some water in it,” I said.

“Yes,” Jack said. “I guess that’s better.”

We had a couple of drinks without saying anything. Jack started to pour me another.

“No,” I said, “that’s all I want.”

“All right,” Jack said. He poured himself out another big shot and put water in it. He was lighting up a little.

“That was a fine bunch out here this afternoon,” he said.

“They don’t take any chances, those two.”

Then a little later, “Well,” he says, “they’re right. What the hell’s the good in taking chances?”

“Don’t you want another, Jerry?” he said. “Come on, drink along with me.”

“I don’t need it, Jack,” I said. “I feel all right.”

“Just have one more,” Jack said. It was softening him up.

“All right,” I said.

Jack poured one for me and another big one for himself.

“You know,” he said, “I like liquor pretty well. If I hadn’t been boxing I would have drunk quite a lot.”

“Sure,” I said.

“You know,” he said, “I missed a lot, boxing.”

“You made plenty of money.”

“Sure, that’s what I’m after. You know I miss a lot, Jerry.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well,” he says, “like about the wife. And being away from home so much. It don’t do my girls any good. ‘Whose your old man?’ some of those society kids’ll say to them. ‘My old man’s Jack Brennan.’ That don’t do them any good.”

“Hell,” I said, “all that makes a difference is if they got dough.”

“Well,” says Jack, “I got the dough for them all right.” He poured out another drink. The bottle was about empty.

“Put some water in it,” I said. Jack poured in some water.

“You know,” he says, “you ain’t got any idea how I miss the wife.”


“You ain’t got any idea. You can’t have an idea what it’s like.”

“It ought to be better out in the country than in town.”

“With me now,” Jack said, “it don’t make any difference where I am. You can’t have an idea what it’s like.”

“Have another drink.”

“Am I getting soused? Do I talk funny?”

“You’re coming on all right.”

“You can’t have an idea what it’s like. They ain’t anybody can have an idea what it’s like.”

“Except the wife,” I said.

“She knows,” Jack said. “She knows all right. She knows. You bet she knows.”

“Put some water in that,” I said.

“Jerry,” says Jack, “you can’t have an idea what it gets to be like.”

He was good and drunk. He was looking at me steady. His eyes were sort of too steady.

“You’ll sleep all right,” I said.

“Listen, Jerry,” Jack says. “You want to make some money? Get some money down on Walcott.”


“Listen, Jerry.” Jack put down the glass. “I’m not drunk now, see? You know what I’m betting on him? Fifty grand.”

“That’s a lot of dough.”

“Fifty grand,” Jack says, “at two to one. I’ll get twenty-five thousand bucks. Get some money on him, Jerry.”

“It sounds good,” I said.

“How can I beat him?” Jack says. “It ain’t crooked. How can I beat him? Why not make money on it?”

“Put some water in that,” I said.

“I’m through after this fight,” Jack says. “I’m through with it. I got to take a beating. Why shouldn’t I make money on it?”


“I ain’t slept for a week,” Jack says. “All night I lay awake and worry my can off. I can’t sleep, Jerry. You ain’t got an idea what it’s like when you can’t sleep.”


“I can’t sleep. That’s all. I just can’t sleep. What’s the use of taking care of yourself all these years when you can’t sleep?”

“It’s bad.”

“You ain’t got an idea what it’s like, Jerry, when you can’t sleep.”

“Put some water in that,” I said.

Well, about eleven o’clock Jack passes out and I put him to bed. Finally he’s so he can’t keep from sleeping. I helped him get his clothes off and got him into bed.

“You’ll sleep all right, Jack,” I said.

“Sure,” Jack says. “I’ll sleep now.”

“Good night, Jack,” I said.

“Good night, Jerry,” Jack says. “You’re the only friend I got.”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest