enough?" says a gullible soul.
"Get him out
of here before Floyd walks in and hears him carrying on," says the manicure
girl, and Cassius tosses a wink in her direction and waltzes out the door,
turning down the sidewalk, laughing, laughing.
a boxer, look at that," says a little boy by the curb to his sister.
"How you know that?" says Cassius Clay. "I see you skipping along,
shadowboxing," says the boy proudly. "What's your name?" he asks
Clay. " Sonny Liston, that's me," says Cassius, "and I'm liable to
getcha if you don't watch out."
along he struts into The Famous Chef caf�, where he is accustomed to eating his
meals. "Don't you come in here, Cassius Clay, showing off and acting silly.
Say now, you hear what I told you?" This is Dorothy, the boss's daughter,
says Clay, and it's plain she has his number. "How you like that," says
Cassius. "I ain't opened up my mouth yet, and she stands there telling me
to hush. Let me have orange juice, four eggs and grits, honey." Over the
top edge of the editorial page of his airmailed
New York Times
customer looks up and says, "Well, if it isn't yon Cassius: lean no, hungry
over to the jukebox and drops in the dime that stimulates rock-'n'-roller Dee
Clark to unleash Clay's favorite tune. Your Friends. "When you are down and
out," laments Dee Clark, "there's not a friend in this world to help
you out. But when you, when you get on your feet again, everyone will want to
be your friend."
"I like to
sit here eating and wait for somebody to come up and want to borrow money,"
Cassius explains. "I don't have to wait long. They'll say, 'Cassius, let me
have 10 till payday, my brother.' I don't say nothing, just go over and play
that record. Then the cat will say, You trying to tell me something?' and I'll
say, 'Oh, no, my brother, I just wanted to hear that pretty tune. I think
there's so much truth in the words, don't you?' "
breakfast Cassius wants to go shopping for a new suit and shoes. He takes a
cab. "I wonder what my mother is doing with my Cadillac this morning,"
he says in a loud voice. The cab driver doesn't hear. "How much did that
watch cost you?" he asks his companion. Cassius confides that when a
wristwatch was given him recently by a Negro civic club in Atlanta he found a
concealed price tag. It cost only $49.50. He mentions it because, gift or not,
it didn't cost enough. He rambles on in a loud voice for the driver's benefit:
"Sure is a pretty day; day just like this I won that gold medal in Rome
last summer.... Reminds me of the day they had the parade for me in Louisville,
too. The mayor, everybody was there, man, to welcome me home. Then I went up to
Frankfort to see the governor." When Cassius still gets no rise from the
driver, he tries a joke he has heard from another boxer. "One day I was
fighting Sugar Ray Robinson. Man, I had him scared silly for two rounds. He
thought I was dead." The driver is silent and Cassius looks out the window,
Because he gets
his hotel room on a special rate through Angelo Dundee, a friend of the
management, Cassius does not get an air conditioner. Sometimes at night, in the
stifling heat of his room and in the dim light of an economy-watted lamp, he
becomes restless and reflective. "The hardest part of the training is the
loneliness," he says. "I just sit here like a little animal in a box at
night. I can't go out in the street and mix with the folks out there 'cause
they wouldn't be out there if they was up to any good. I can't do nothing
except sit. If it weren't for Angelo, I'd go home. It's something to think
about. Here I am, just 19, surrounded by showgirls, whisky and sissies, and
nobody watching me. All this temptation and me trying to train to be a boxer.
It's something to think about.
takes a mind to do right. It's like I told myself when I was little. I said,
'Cassius, you going to win the Olympics some day, and then you're going to buy
yourself a Cadillac, and then you're going to be the world champ.' Now I got
the gold medal, and I got the car. I'd be plain silly to give in to temptation
now when I'm just about to reach out and get that world title."