Sal, the narrator of the book, decides to travel cross-country from New York to California so he can meet up with his friend Remi. Remi has promised an outstanding voyage in the Pacific on a freighter. After a false start that leads him nowhere but back to New York, Sal is on his way. He spends the night at an anticipated city - Chicago. I love Chicago, so I'm anxious to read about what Sal does there. Sal describes his first walk around the city:
The wind from Lack Michigan, bop at the Loop, long walks around South Halsted and North Clark, and one long walk after midnight into the jungles, where a cruising car followed me as a suspicious character.I stop reading. "...bop at the Loop." What is Jack talking about? Is "bop" some kind of drug reference? I decide to get up off the couch and head to the computer so I can do research. I find on entry on "bebop" in Wikipedia:
Bebop is a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos and improvisation based on harmonic structure rather than melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. It first surfaced in musicians' argot some time during the first two years of the Second World War. Hard bop later developed from bebop combined with blues and gospel music.Ah, jazz. A musical form of which I'm sadly ignorant. I don't even have a Miles Davis CD.