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"Say again?" says the major.
"Finley. Charlie O. Never mind. Neal. It would take time to tell you about him."
Leaving the baseball park he is introduced to the reigning homecoming queen. A visible reaction takes place. The girl is fashionably half-dressed, and because she is also extraordinarily well-built, the knit shirt she is wearing emphasizes her bralessness. But it is not the major who is embarrassed, it is the girl. As they talk, she seems suddenly discomfited. She folds and refolds her arms in front of her.
It is not the first time he has encountered this sort of self-consciousness, the major says later. He had been to visit the Tulane team trainer, an old friend named Bubba Porche. When Neal Jones played at Tulane, he had become buddies with one of Bubba's sons, who was then just three or four. Now the boy is 19 years old and wears his hair long and stylishly disarrayed. When the major arrived at the house for a visit the boy hurried to his room. When he came out again, his hair was combed.
In the training room the major watches Bubba Porche wrap the ankles of Tulane's football players. They come and go in an endless parade. The training room is brightly lit and stocked with modern equipment. It is better equipped, and far cleaner, the major says, than any hospital he had been in Up There.
Boo Mason has joined him. Boo has brought him a book. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He says it is a story Neal Jones would appreciate. He says there is something about the book that reminds him of Neal.
"I'd like to know how many miles of tape old Bubba's peeled out over the years," the major says. The tape makes delicate, ripping sounds in Porche's expert hands.
"He shoulda been a surgeon," the major says. "But where are the masseuses? I'd expect a high-class joint like this to have masseuses."
"Don't bother the working folks," Bubba says.
Some of the players Bubba wraps are black. "Boy, I'm glad to see that," the major says. There were no blacks at Tulane when he played. His high school, he says, is now 46% black.