Ernie….Florida 1980

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When I’m pullin’ into a town at night, I watch out to see ‘at no on sees me git off the train. I look fer a place to sleep, all the time makin’ sure no one’s got their eye on me. Best to pick a spot where there’s a little cover, in some weeds er bushes. If I know where there’s some bad order cars, I might go over an’ git in one a them. You gotta watch yerself ‘roun’ the yards at night.  Some guys, if they knows where yer bedded down, they’ll roll you soon’s you close yer eyes.

If there’s a jungle fire goin’, stay away. You don’ wanna walk in on a camp in the dark. Wait till mornin’ if you feel like bein’ socialable. Now there’s some towns where I’ll right away build me a fire in the yards an’ sit with my back to some’um. Stay up all night. In some towns, a tramp wouldn’ dare go to sleep, ‘cause chances are he wouldn’ be wakin’ up; place crawlin’ with jackrollers. Sometimes you don’ even wanna build a fire; ‘tract too much attention. I’ve stayed awake a few days straight in towns ‘at’s bad, waitin’ on the next train out.

There’s jungles ‘at bulls wouldn’ be caught settin’ foot in at night. They might come to the edge a the tracks an’ shine their light aroun’, but they ain’t gonna go pokin’ their nose ‘roun’ in the dark. ‘Fraid they’ll git knocked on the head er some’um. That son of a bitch over in Lakeland seen me hop off a westboun’ one time, an’ I run down to the jungle. I knowed he seen me. Had his flashlight right square on me when I hopped off. I ducked in the trees an’ kept an eye out fer him. Pitch dark down there. Didn’t follow me. He walked to the edge a the tracks ‘n shined the light all aroun’. Can’t see nothin’ lookin’ in a woods like you can seein’ out. Didn’t stay more ‘n half a minute ‘fore he went off. Watched him from the trees.