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"The one time I was injured seriously—knock on wood—I was skating for the Shamrocks. Colors are green and gold. All my injuries, I never went to get stitches. Just let it heal itself. The scar right here was open this wide. I never got stitches or anything. Why should I worry? What can help this face? I got my nose cracked once and went to the doctor, and they put all that stuff in it, cotton and everything, so the next time I got it cracked I didn't bother.
"The one time I really got hurt was in Honolulu. I was fighting this girl, and she must have gotten me with her fingernail. I didn't even know it was my eye till all this blood came pouring out, so right away—this one time—I went to the doctor at the hospital, because eyes are the one thing I don't want to fool around with. Well, the doctor took one look at me, with the blue hair, the blue lipstick, the red blood pouring out of my eye, the green-and-gold uniform, and he had to figure I was straight into Honolulu from outer space."
Little escapes Calvello. The acid comment she spills forth is the product of her wit and is not related to the meanness that she exhibits on the track. She is certainly a leader by any standard, astrological or otherwise. As soon as she reaches the bar with her silver chalice she is in charge. She directs the conversation, sometimes two conversations at a time—the one she is dominating and the adjoining one that she overhears. She distributes nicknames to everybody. She outlaws shoptalk. "No skating talk while drinking" is the first Calvello law.
While she is hardly just another pretty face, Calvello is still slim and attractively winsome after 20 years on the tour. She dresses exceptionally well and is able to get away with wearing youthful clothes that most women her age would be afraid of. Divorced many years ago from a former Derby referee, Ann also likes her men young. On the tour, in the company of Eddie Krebs, a wistful, temperamental Leo himself, Ann sparkled, particularly when the other skaters kidded Krebs that he was starting to look 40 and Calvello 20. Krebs, slim to start with, had lost almost 40 pounds on the tour. With his handsome, chiseled face, long page-boy hair and a haunting high-pitched giggle, he and the blue-haired, hoarse-throated Calvello made a couple that seemed straight out of an avant-garde French movie. It was the only tour romance.
Like Krebs but unlike most of the other skaters, who actually gain weight on tour eating hamburgers and French fries all the time, Calvello lost a lot. "The fact is, I think I'll sue Drip and Dry," she said, laughing. "When I came on this tour I was 140 and all in the right places. Yeah, up here. We call them tickets. I was a perfect size 12. Then down to a 10, to an 8. I have to carry three different wardrobes. But sometimes, well, it's very complimentary. With the hair and the way I dress—I'm a fanatic on clothes-people have taken me for a model. And in the summer, on the beach in a bikini, they all say, gee, you don't have those ugly muscles like a ballet dancer or anything."
Calvello, the oldest, is the only girl up late at night, any night. The others are in their rooms, soaking the aches out in a long hot bath, or setting hair, or walking the dog, or long since sound asleep. Calvello says Joanie is counting her money, but then Joanie cannot completely understand the younger ones either. It bothers her how little they manage to take advantage of the opportunity of the travel, of broadening themselves. Joanie attended Mount St. Mary's, a small Catholic girls' college in Los Angeles, and she despairs that after so many years without much educated company on the tour, her intellect has begun to wither.
She has trouble getting any of the skaters to go sightseeing with her. Once she prevailed upon a group of them to go 40 minutes out of their way to see the Grand Canyon. They groused and grumped about the detour, but finally acquiesced. When they arrived they obviously were not impressed.
"Where are the bears?" one of the boys asked.
"What bears?" Joan said.
"You know, the bears, the famous bears," the skater said.