Fat City

Hundreds of men were on the lamplit street, lined for blocks with labor buses, when Billy Tully arrived, still drunk. He had been up most of the night, as he had nearly every other night since the loss of his cook’s job; and he had been fired because of absences following nights of drinking. It had been agony getting up after three hours’ sleep. After the night clerk’s pounding, Tully had remained motionless, shaken, hearing the knocking at other doors, the same hoarse embittered summons down the hall. It had been so demoralizing that he had taken his bottle out with him under the morning stars. In the other pocket of his gray zipper jacket were two sandwiches in butcher paper. He had eaten no breakfast.

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