Free Air (Chapter 5, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 5

Milt Daggett had not been accurate in his implication that he had not
noticed Claire at a garage in Schoenstrom. For one thing, he owned the
garage.

Milt was the most prosperous young man in the village of Schoenstrom.
Neither the village itself nor the nearby Strom is really schoen.
The entire business district of Schoenstrom consists of Heinie
Rauskukle's general store, which is brick; the Leipzig House, which is
frame; the Old Home Poolroom and Restaurant, which is of old logs
concealed by a frame sheathing; the farm-machinery agency, which is
galvanized iron, its roof like an enlarged washboard; the church; the
three saloons; and the Red Trail Garage, which is also, according to
various signs, the Agency for Teal Car Best at the Test, Stonewall Tire
Service Station, Sewing Machines and Binders Repaired, Dr. Hostrum the
Veterinarian every Thursday, Gas Today 27c.

The Red Trail Garage is of cement and tapestry brick. In the office is a
clean hardwood floor, a typewriter, and a picture of Elsie Ferguson. The
establishment has an automatic rim-stretcher, a wheel jack, and a
reputation for honesty.

The father of Milt Daggett was the Old Doctor, born in Maine, coming to
this frontier in the day when Chippewas camped in your dooryard, and
came in to help themselves to coffee, which you made of roasted corn.
The Old Doctor bucked northwest blizzards, read Dickens and Byron,
pulled people through typhoid, and left to Milt his shabby old medicine
case and thousands of dollars--in uncollectible accounts. Mrs. Daggett
had long since folded her crinkly hands in quiet death.

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