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"The Tech Rep" By James Michener; Continued:

"If any base he worked had married couples, he went out of his way to be courtly and proper to the wives. He said that marriage was by and large a good thing and one should do what he could to make women feel needed. It was obvious that his own divorce ranked deeply, a mark of defeat for which he was principally to blame, and whenever he contemplated his failure to find a faithful woman like Lasca, you could see the disappointment in his face.

I never heard him speak poorly of his wife, but a man who knew them both in Turkey said of her, A REAL TRAMP. SLEPT WITH THREE DIFFERENT MEN IN ISTANBUL AND WITH THE STEWART ON THE BOAT HOME. HARVEY WAS LUCKY TO GET RID OF HER.

Harvey did not think so. Frequently, he spoke of the excellent care she gave their son, and once when he showed me a photograph of the boy, I saw besides him a very attractive women in her thirties with blond hair and a movie star kind of face. I said, SHE'S PRETTIER THAN THE GIRLS WHO USED TO SING WITH THE BANDS, and he agreed.

I never learned all of LASCA. Its broken lines were not my style, but I knew enough lines to throw them at Holt when we were driving from one base to another, and he would pick them up, and soon our car would become a pair of horses and we were riding through the west with a fiery Mexican girl at our side:

SHE WOULD HUNGER THAT I MIGHT EAT,
WOULD TAKE THE BITTER AND LEAVE ME THE SWEET;
BUT ONCE, WHEN I MADE HER JEALOUS FOR FUN,
AT SOMETHING I'D WHISPERED, OR LOOKED OR DONE...
SHE DREW FROM HER GARTER A DEAR LITTLE DAGGER, AND-STING OF A WASP!-IT MADE ME STAGGER!
AN INCH TO THE LEFT, OR AN INCH TO THE RIGHT, AND I SHOULDN'T BE MAUNDERING HERE TO-NIGHT; BUT SHE SOBBED, AND SOBBING, SO SWIFTLY BOUND
HER TORN REBOSA ABOUT THE WOUND, THAT I QUICKLY FORGAVE HER. SCRATCHES DON'T COUNT
IN TEXAS, DOWN BY THE RIO GRANDE."

To be continued:



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