Friday, April 29, 2016

becomes my habit

Hector traps the cylinder between his pout. Gently gripping the filter the way you would hold a lover’s earlobe between your teeth, applying just enough pressure to communicate your desire. The flame of the lighter teases the end of the cigarette to life, like the tip of a quivering tongue, tracing the lines of a lover’s lips to stimulate a hungry response. He inhales sharply, with a sexy little hiss. Smoke fills his lungs, like tiny whimpers of pleasure echoing into the sensual cavern of his wicked mouth. He arches his back slightly and tilts his head to one side, exposing the muscular curve of his vulnerable throat; exhale...he smokes slowly. Each time he tilts my head back to exhale, his mouth remains parted in a small O shape, like he’s frozen in a moment of orgasmic passion.
My hands tighten to fists. I gnash my teeth and dig my nails into the flesh of my palms. It’s all I can do to stop myself from pouncing on him… and licking the residue of nicotine from his lips and fingertips.
Equal to the carcinogens slowly swirling through the room, my passing days with him are both intoxicating and delightful. He becomes my habit.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

chalk it up

He holds the pool cue gingerly between his knees as he chalks it up. There is something profoundly stupid about how he does it that makes me question even his sanity. Behind him on a shelf the bar’s cat naps. It is midnight and we are the only ones left - he refuses to leave until he wins. The barkeep is a friend, he brings me beer and the burger I ordered.
“Come on, guys, it’s almost…” he pauses, “what’s that part after night?”
“I’d call it day.”
He laughs sarcastically, observing intently as I peel the rind off my bacon. I have an aversion and he likes to chew the fat.
“Nah, I mean the bit between.”
“Nah, fancier.”
“Twilight,” he corrects me as she takes the first shot.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

my tongue in your tail

Here is another section from the new novel on William Burroughs and Joan Volmer I am currently working on. I have just completed the chapter on Burroughs and Marker's trip to Central America (no longer titled Queer, I have came up with a new chapter title and am quite pleased. I told you I would) Again, this is an unedited first draft. So, please excuse any discrepancies.

excerpt from BLEW THE SHOT

Before William made his departure for South America with Marker, and in lieu of the numerous complaints from their fed up neighbors for raucous behavior, the family relocated to apartment 8 at 210 Calle Orizaba; on a residential lane in the Roma district.
   Uninhabited marshlands by the end of the nineteenth century, the area was renovated with French-style mansions during the Porfirio Díaz regime. Nonetheless, the openly elite disposition of the Roma district began to dwindle by the 1920s. The area further degenerated in the thirties and forties with the rapid construction of lower-middle-class apartment complexes and a multitude of small businesses, removing any chic or progressive charm that remained.
   Not only middle-class Mexicans moved in, but Jews, Arabs, and German émigrés resided in the district during the 1940s. Various celebrities also lived in the neighborhood during the first half of the twentieth century, most of whom William had never even heard of and much less cared. The Café de Nadie, a den of the Stridentist movement which stood on Avenida Álvaro Obregón in the 1920s, hosted the Mexican version of Dadaism, where Manuel Maples Arce, Arqueles Vela, and Germán List Arzubide, among others, denounced against the good behavior and hygiene of Mexican culture. William remained unaware of all that, also.
   By the time he and the family relocated to Zona Roma, it was a lower middleclass neighborhood swiftly succumbing to commercial development and nowhere near exclusive or baring any artistic merits; a tranquil, gray zone of simple architecture and mediocre aesthetics—which didn’t seem to matter much to Bill and Joan.
   In the crumbling patio which led to the white-washed apartments, little Billy sat nursing a sore foot encased in over-sized and used shoes. With tiny, dirty fingers, he scooped beans from a can and shoved them into his mouth. Across from him, in poncho and sunlight was his little Mexican friend, Micco, who sat quietly playing with his pet rabbit named Chili. Earlier that day, Chili had bit Billy Jr. on one of his brown toes and the child screamed so long and loud that Joan had comforted him with not only his first set of footwear, but with a fresh can of beans.
   “How the fuck do you expect me to feed these kids? I can’t believe you are simply leaving us to lay a boy?!”
   Billy tilted his head upward toward the open third floor window. He listened without understanding why his mother was yelling at his father.
   In the kitchen, Joan stood at the open window above the dirty sink, fuming. She propped her bent frame in one hand with her cane as with the other she sloppily filled a grimy eight ball glass with tequila, sloshing much of the contents onto the littered counter. She threw back the tequila in one gulp as she heard William from the bedroom.
   “I explained this to you before, Joanie. I am simply surveying new prospects for the benefit of this family. I will locate land, we can settle in and farm and not have to worry about any altercation from the government.”
   William hurriedly dashed from one side of the room to another, grabbing clothes from the closet and tossing them into a leather suitcase opened on the sagging, unkempt bed. He continued, “I will only be gone for a month or so. I will wire funds for rent and food. No need to worry, I will take care of you.”
   Joan filled another glass, threw that back and sighed. She stared out into the sunny vista of brick and adobe terraces. Clothe lines and television antennae as far as the eye could see. A maudlin Mexican ballad wailed from the distance. She slurred over her shoulder, “We wouldn’t be in this predicament if you took a fraction of interest in our well-being as you did this Marker.”
   “Now, Joanie, he is simply along for the ride.” Was the muffled response.
   The warmth of the tequila fought with the dire need to vomit as she evaluated with an intoxicated mind the thought of their lust filled expedition. “Ride is right. How much of our funds did you fork over just to get down his pants?”
   William retrieved his drug paraphernalia stashed behind the end table. The syringe and burnt spoon was wrapped in a soiled handkerchief. He buried the works deep into the suitcase. He stated, “No need to be vulgar, Joanie.”
   “Vulgar?” The anger mounted, her voice rose to a frustrated howl, “I’m not the faggot here. How can you do this? How can you be so unthoughtfully callous?”
   William exited the bedroom. He stood in the archway between the kitchen and living room looking grim and holding the packed suitcase. He stated without anger, “Joanie, I will send for you and the brats once I locate a hospitable country.”
   “Stop referring to them as that!” She spat. “They are children. Our children.”
   He tipped his fedora clad head mockingly, “I will send for you and the children.”
   Joan filled another glass, throwing it back. She grasped the rim of the sink and with dramatic effect, said calmly as she glared at the pile of dirty dishes, “Allen and Jack wrote. They said they will be down here next month. They are coming to see us. They are coming to see you!”
   William placed the suitcase onto the soiled carpet and glided up behind her. He put his hands on her shoulders, “I will be back by then. With my land money I will take us all out. We’ll have a ball. I promise.”
   Joan did not turn to look at him. She said dreamily, “Why am I here, Bill? Give me one good reason why I should be here when you come back?”
   “Because you find me irresistible. As I do you.”
   She turned, smirking, “Irresistible as a scorpion.”
   William gently massaged her shoulders, looking down into her moist eyes, he said, “Who knows not where a scorpion does wear his sting? In his tail.”
   Joan sighed. Her hatred and anger dissolving. She grinned and looked away. “In his tongue.”
   William took her free hand and held it to his chest, “Whose tongue?”
   “Yours,” She looked up at him, smiling. “If you talk of tales, and so farewell.”
   “What, with my tongue in your tail?” He said with a raised eyebrow.
   She began laughing and pushed him away. “Okay, you big goof, go on your expedition. I’ll be here. Waiting.”
   William walked over to the suitcase and picked it up. As he made his way to the front door, he turned and said, “Joanie, you have my word. Upon my return I will fulfill your innermost desires. I promise.”
   Closing the door behind him, Joan stood listening as William clomped down the spiral staircase to the street. She turned to her bottle, filling a glass. Gulping its contents, she stared back out into the bright sunny vista, whispering, “That man that hath a tongue, I say is no man, if with his tongue he cannot win a woman.”

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

everything lost

I took in the night sky above, letting the cool breeze envelope me as my eyes darted out towards the city lights - the lights growing blurrier by the second. As I stood on the edge of the building, giddiness washed over me. How many times I held myself to blame for my failings; for the people I had lost? How many times had I wished for people to truly understand? If only. Yet things are never as simple as black and white.
I took another look out into the vastness of the city, fifty stories from above ground. No, think again. Hold it together once more.
Just once more.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

queer 2.0

Here is yet another excerpt from my new Burroughs novel Blew the Shot. It is the first draft and I completely understand it is in dire need of editing. This particular entry relates when Burroughs first meets Lewis Marker. What I am finding difficult, especially with this chapter is attempting to stay true to the source and not simply copy Burroughs' prose from his novel Queer. When I set out to write this book, I never intended it to be a straight biography, but a 'fucked up' love story about Burroughs and Joan. Though I am basing it on factual events culled from relentless research, a large part of it is dramatical. Especially the chapter Queer, balancing the meticulously detailed account written by Old Bill himself and then rewriting it in my own style. (I previously stated that "Queer" is simply the working title for this chapter and certainly will change by time of publication.) I hope you enjoy it. Or not. I really don't care.

excerpt from Blew the Shot, Chapter Five, Queer

On a bright and clear day in early April, William walked into the Bounty. His habit, in which everyone who frequented the bar was well aware of, was to arrive punctually at five in the afternoon. He briefly faltered in the entrance when he noticed Lewis Marker slouched on a stool at the counter with Arnold Copland, that loud-mouthed alcoholic and one of the most ignorant, foulest bastards he had encountered south of the border. On the other hand, when not inebriated, Copland acted nice enough that William could endure his intelligent, albeit simple, conversations. Apparently, he was sober now.
   Healy smirked when he noticed him, however the real attention grab came from the brief glance of recognition he received from Marker. William was wearing scratched, two peso sunglasses and a yellow scarf. He casually ambled up to the bar next to the youth, removed the glasses and scarf, placed them on the counter, and miffed in theatrical tones toward Healy, “A hard day at the studio. A rum and coke, por favor.”
   “You betcha, Bill.”
   Healy continued his conversation with Marker as he retrieved William’s order, “She asks me why I drink. What can I tell her? I don’t know why.” He flashed a knowing glance at William. “Why do you have the monkey on your back? Do you know why? There isn’t any why, but try to explain that to someone like Jerri. Try to explain that to any woman.”
   William nodded sympathetically. “Joan’s continuously saying to me, why don’t you sleep more and eat better? I can’t explain it. Nobody can.”
   Healy placed William’s drink in front of him, Marker sulkily watched out of his peripheral vision. Healy said, pointing to William, “Hey, Marker, here is another student from the MCC. You know him?”
   “No. Not as such. I’ve seen him around, though.” Marker said a bit put off.
   “Bill, this is Lewis Marker. He’s down from Florida. Bill’s taking anthropology classes or something. Arrived from south Texas. Used to own a farm or oil field or some kinda bullshit.”
   William extended his hand, Marker unenthusiastically shook it.
   “I always wanted to be an oilman, bet I could make some real money.” Copeland interjected.
   Lee looked him over and shook his head. “I’m afraid not. You see, it isn’t everybody qualifies. You must have the calling.” As if dictated from ethereal dimensions, William droned in his monotonous drawl a long and originally humorous routine concerning the oilmen trade of South Texas. His audience chuckled, albeit nervously, as he regaled them with outrageously cartoonish characters like Old Man Scranton, Clem Farris, and Roy Spigot. His impromptu tale, laced in dark humor and homosexual innuendo entertained and amused his captive audience, especially Marker. As the alcohol continued, as did William’s monolog, he gauged the young man’s reaction. Appalled and confused at first, the ice eventually was broken when the boy began laughing heartily at the absurd tale.
   John Dumé walked over toward William from the back of the cantina. Dumé, a tall, thin, well-dressed man, associated with a small clique of queers who haunted a beer joint over on Campeche called The Green Lantern. Dumé wasn’t obviously homosexual, but the screaming queens at the Green Lantern certainly would not be welcome at the Bounty.
   Dumé stopped and slurred somewhat intoxicated to William, indicating Marker with a wave of his beer bottle. He states in a jesting tone, a smile wide on his face, “How ya like this little shit, Bill? He comes to me and has the downright audacity to ask, ‘You one of the Green Lantern boys?’ So I says to him, ‘I am.’ He wants me to take him around to some of the gay places here.”
   Marker glanced over his shoulder, turned and said, “Hey, John.”
   “How are you, my young man?” Dumé smiled back, coyly.
   William knew Dumé held a reputation of keeping his gossipy fingers elbow deep in the gay expat trough. There was nothing he did not know and nothing he did not divulge.
   I hope Dumé told Marker about me, William thought. He loathed the dramatic “something-I-have-to-tell-you” routines put down by so many other desperate fags, the difficulties of the casual come-on: “I'm queer, you know, by the way.” More than likely, they pretend to not hear. Or the tired double entendre: “If you were as queer as I am, dearie.” The other aloofly changes subject and you’re left with whether he understood or not.
   “Will you push off, you fucking fag.” Copland growled.
   “Fag?” Dumé smiled.
   “Yeah. Fag.” Copland snapped. “You’re a fucking queer.”
   Dumé glanced over to Marker, “You need to upgrade your associates, young man. Refine yourself. See you later, kid.”
   William watched Dumé return to his booth in the back of the bar where a young Mexican man waited. “Dumé’s not a bad character.” He flatly stated.
   Copland retorted, “He’s a queer and you aren’t, Bill. You just go around pretending you’re queer to get in on the act.”
   “Who the fuck wants to get in on your tired old act?” William said.
   “To hell with this faggoty shit. I have better things to do.” Copland snarled. He gulped the remainder of his beer and stormed out of the bar.
   In the passing and somewhat awkward silence, William noticed Marker was slightly drunk. The youth’s eyes were tinted a hazy crimson. He ordered himself and the boy another rum and coke. Then another. William knew the game. As time passed and Marker allowed his defenses down, he began relating a story of his experience with the Counter-intelligence Corps in Germany, articulating in a very fast, high voice of a young child. As he gesticulated enthusiastically about an informant who had been giving the department false information, William sat sincerely attentive as Marker continued, displaying inhuman gaiety and innocence.
   “What about the accuracy of information?” William asked. “How did you not know ninety percent of what was told by these rats wasn’t fabricated?”
   “To put it frankly, we didn’t. Not a clue. Misinformation occurred more often than I care to remember. We did cross-check all information with other informants and, we did of course have our own agents in the field, but this particular character made all of it up. He had our agents running around looking for an entire fictitious network of Russian spies. So, when the report comes back from Frankfurt—it’s all a bunch of fabricated shit. Instead of clearing out of town before the information could be checked, the dumb fuck returned with more. At this point we’d had enough of his lying bullshit.”
   “What did you do?”
   “We locked the asshole in the cellar. The room was completely bare and freezing cold, but that was all we could do. We were under orders to handle prisoners carefully after the war. In lieu of all we did, he kept typing out these confessions; enormous, elaborate things.”
   This story delighted Marker, who kept giggling as he went on. William sat utterly captivated by his combination of intelligence and childlike demeanor. Marker was friendly now, without reserve or defense, like a child who has never been hurt. He switched the subject and began telling another story.
   As Marker spoke, William scrutinized the boy’s delicate hands, the exquisite eyes, the ruddiness of exhilaration on the boy’s animated face. William felt the throbbing agony of desire in his chest with each rasping breath. Imaginary fingers caressed Marker’s ear, phantom thumbs smoothing the young man’s eyebrows, pushing the hair back from his face. As Marker continued his story, William’s imaginary hand intimately brushed down over the lean ribs, the flat stomach. William’s mouth was open a little, revealing yellowed teeth in a half-snarl of a bewildered animal. His white tongue licked thin, chapped lips. He honestly loathed this sexual frustration. He saw the constraints of his homosexual desires as bars of an abhorrent cage. He had learned as an animal learns, always peering out through the invisible bars, watchful, alert, patiently awaiting the keeper to forget the door, the loosened bar…constantly waiting, eternally suffering in despair and without consent.
   William snapped back from his revelry as Marker continued. He was slouched over and slurring his words, “I went to the door and there the asshole was with a damn branch in his mouth.”
   “A branch in his mouth,” he said, then added coyly; raising a fey eyebrow, “Was it a big branch?”
   The overt pun flew right past Marker, “It was about two feet long. I told him to go fuck himself, then a few minutes later he appeared back at the window. I picked up a chair and chucked it at him. From the balcony, he leaped down into the yard. About eighteen feet. Very nimble. Almost inhuman. It was rather uncanny. That’s why I threw the damn chair. I was terrified. We all assumed he was faking it to get out of the Army.”
   William took a puff from his cigarette, blew a billowing plume toward the ceiling, “What did he look like?”
   “Look like? I don’t know, around eighteen. Like a clean-cut boy.”
   “Really? Hmm.” William cooed. “Go on.”
   “We tossed a bucket of cold water on him and left him on a cot downstairs. He began having convulsions, but he didn’t say anything. We decided it was an appropriate punishment. They took him to the hospital next day.”
   “You think it was pneumonia?”
   “Maybe. Maybe we shouldn’t have thrown water on him.”
   Marker placed his hands onto the counter, steadied himself and exhaled, “Oof, I think I’d had enough. I’m going home.”
   “I’ll accompany you.” William smiled.
   “Okay.” The boy said sliding off the stool.
   William walked Marker at the door of his building.
   “You live here?” William asked.
   William said good night and walked home. After that, he met Marker every day at five in the Bounty. Marker, who seemed accustomed to choose friends from people older than himself, looked forward to meeting William. William continued the absurd and elaborate conversational routines in ways Marker had never heard. He felt at times coerced, as though William’s seemingly constant presence shut off everything else. William’s infatuation became relentless.

Friday, April 15, 2016

a vato's lament

“I’m going to disappoint you. But you already knew that,” I say, leaning over the sleeping tattooed boy on the bed, and kissing his black haired head. This knowledge is heartbreaking, to both of us, even if he can’t hear me say it right now. His heart has been broken so many times in ways I have not even experienced and will never experience, no matter how long I go on. What is my trivial heartbreak over the fair-haired man-child at the university who said he wanted someone else, in comparison to what this boy has known? The list of people he believes have failed him is long. Compared to the social workers and P.O’s who took him away every time, saying it was for his own benefit, even when he begged to stay?
An unsuitable home is still better than no home. He would tell me that in a heartbeat. He has told me that, in the moments of frustrated sobs that come when the feelings get too big, and he cannot say the things that scream at him from the inside. He has told me that, when he can see the flicker in my eyes that says he has struck a nerve again. He knows what real meanness is, but he uses his hurt like a weapon, a blockade to keep me out, to keep the feelings from growing even bigger and consuming him.
“It won’t always be this way,” I say to myself. I hope our disappointment is interspersed by moments of love and joy. High points of laughing cuddles on the couch while we watch Blazing Saddles one more time and sunny afternoons in the park. Celebrations of the little things. But just as I have learned not to hope for these, I have learned to temper my expectations of bliss. I will only disappoint myself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

the long goodbye

The story so far…

The only reason I had pulled up my stakes and left Tijuana last year was to acquire a minor operation on my left ankle. I had let these damn calcium spurs to fester and mutate over the past decade and it had become downright arrogant. So, in a fit of bitter cheapness and under the knowledge that my health care in Arizona was still valid, I high tailed it to Tucson to get the simple operation done free and gratis on the government tip.
That operation was scheduled for yesterday. It didn’t happen. After months of waiting, I was eventually informed I was under the care of a new doctor and the croaker wanted all new x-rays and a new evaluation done solely for his amusement. I state amusement because nothing had changed and I vehemently stated that the procedure was being drawn out in lieu of milking my heath care for money. Instead of removing said problem as stated four months prior, I was given the same analysis, awarded some type of squishy soles for my shoes and given another checkup two months from yesterday. Aldous Huxley what?
So, here I am, stuck in Tucson. I honestly cannot think of any reason to remain. At all. I passionately wish to return to Tijuana. Or go to Cambodia. But, I will bide my time and at least finish the first draft of this book. I have given myself until the end of August or beginning of September.
Why the fuck doncha just settle down in Tucson and stop all this moving around? Well, I know myself better than you and I know if I will retain a place here, fill it with furniture, eventually I will get out right bored and leave. There is really nothing to do here. I rather live than exist. I would think you have come to realize that by now. Damn. What are you? Retarded or something?

Friday, April 08, 2016

Thursday, April 07, 2016

boys in the backroom

Here is another unedited excerpt from my current novel based on William Burroughs and Joan Vollmer's stay in Mexico City. I just finished typing this out and I realize it is in dire need of editing. It is from the chapter titled Queer in which Burroughs meets Marker and they take the trip through Central America. I know...I know...Queer? I'll think of another title, don't fret. It is also obvious to the well read of such subject where I lifted sections from the source material. That will be re-written, also. I,and perhaps my readers, will enjoy to look back on these notes and see how long and arduous the writing road is from initial idea to finished work.

excerpt from chapter five of Blew the Shot:

Everything constructed in this shitty country falls apart, William morosely thought as he sat at an empty table in the Bounty nursing his third beer and casually examining the blade of a stainless-steel pocketknife he recently purchased. As if made of silver paper, the chrome plating was peeling off. Holding the knife up to his face, he slowly picked at it with dirty fingernails. Wouldn’t surprise me if I scored for a boy in the Alameda and his…
   A beefy hand slammed a beer bottle down in front of him. William wearily glanced up and noticed a large, flabby man with a politician’s red Irish face dump several bundles of bagged goods into the opposite chair. Flopping into the empty chair next to William, he wiped the rim of the beer bottle with his sleeve and drank in a loud, singular gulp. He emitted a sigh afterwards. It was one of the American expats named Joe Guidry.
   “So, Joe, wattaya know?” William asked.
   “Nothing new, Bill, except that some asshole ripped me off for my typewriter and I know exactly who it was. That Brazilian, or whatever the fuck he is, you know, that Maurice character.”
   “That wrestler you had last week? The one you went on about?” William folded the pocket knife and placed it into his jacket pocket.
   “No, not that one. You’re thinking of Louie, the gym instructor. Please try to keep up. This is another one. Louie decided sex with men is all of a sudden wrong and explains to me that I am going to burn in hell, but he is the one going to heaven.”
   “Dead serious.”
   William took a sip of his beer. “Those fundamental types. Always want to drone on about God but are never in a hurry to meet him.”
   “I heartily agree. Anyway, whether he likes it or not, Maurice is as queer as I am.” Joe belched loudly. “Excuse me. If not queerer, you understand. But the macho fuck won’t come to terms with it. I do believe lifting my typewriter was his way of demonstrating to me and himself and probably God that he is in it for all he can get. As a matter of fact, he’s such a mincing queen, can’t stand him. Who the fuck am I kidding? When I see the little shit again, instead of stomping the hell out of him, I most likely invite him back to my apartment for a mercy fuck.”
   Bored of this dreary babble, William leaned his chair back against the wall and glanced about the bar. A man was composing a letter at the next table and if he overheard Joe’s rant, he gave no inclination of caring. Healy stood behind the bar silently reading the bullfight section of the paper, spread out on the counter in front of him. A silence peculiar to Mexico seeped into the room, a vibrating, soundless hum. Joe slugged down the remainder of his beer, wiped the back of his hand across his unappetizing mouth, and with crimson-tinted blue eyes gazed at the wall.
   Though William was attempting to act nonchalant, he actually was straining to overhear a conversation by two young men who sat with an American girl with dyed red hair and carefully applied makeup in the corner of the bar. Amid various empty bottles and a chess game spread across the table top, sat a more frequent patron of the Bounty was a young American from Florida, twenty-one year old Lewis Marker.
   William recognized the young man from the MCC. He never spoke to him before, but William was immediately infatuated with him. In William’s eyes, the boy had a slim youthful look, actually the sort of helpless look of a baby bird about him, this innocent slightly surprised look. His eyebrows were like pencil lines and black whereas his hair was almost blond. His eyes were almost brown, thin nose, small face. He was six feet tall and weighed about 125 pounds, but very healthy and surprisingly confident physically.
   Marker was a gawky, lanky, graceless gringo whose motto in life was “Get rich, sleep till noon, and fuck ’em all.” He resided at 122 Monterrey, sharing the apartment with John Healy, Louis Carpio, and an American couple, Glenn and Betty Jones. After arriving in Mexico, Eddie Woods lived in the same flat with these four denizens of the Bounty, where he went quite often to drink rum and Cokes.
   At age sixteen he’d enlisted in the army and spent three years in Germany collaborating with the gringo counterintelligence services (during that time J. D. Salinger was doing the same thing in France). Back in Florida and fed up with military discipline, Marker applied for the GI Bill and in 1950 went to study at Mexico City College. In August 1951, Eddie Woods, a childhood friend, with whom he’d played hooky, stolen cars, and disobeyed military orders, caught up with him. In mid-1951, while recovering from a flying accident, Woods, who had remained in the air force since his enlistment at age fifteen, decided to get together with his old friend.
   William remained stoic as he listened to the inebriated Marker relate his tale to an attentive Betty Jones as Eddie Woods sat slumped in the booth opposite her. “…when Eddie and I were in Jacksonville and a barroom drunk started an argument with Woods and began getting aggressive. I pretended to drunkenly stumble against this man, who yelled, “Hey, get away from me, skinny!” I hooked my finger in the man’s belt, holding him down, and brought the heel of my hand up under his chin, dropping him to the floor. I then stepped on his face.”
   The two friends laughed, lit cigarettes and settled into their beers.
   The silence seeped into William’s body, and his face went slack and blank. From his vantage, William could see his reflection in the large mirror behind the counter. The sullen face was ravaged and vicious and old, but the clear, green eyes were dreamy and innocent. His light brown hair was extremely fine and would not stay combed. Generally it fell down across his forehead, and on occasion brushed the food he was eating or got in his drink. How to approach the boy? His main tactic was wordplay: the spiel, cooked up and served in small doses, of a thirty-six-year-old man aware of his scant sex appeal, sure of his intellectual superiority to the youth, practically a teenager of twenty-one.
   William thought he had that innocent very American look, but something really cold and fishy behind it. Very cold person, a real agent type. He was receptive to a point, he was unshockable.
   Joe emitted a sigh, rose, and grabbed the shopping bags from the chair. “I need to get going.” He nodded to William and flashing a fake smile soaked in resentment and walked out, his half-bald head silhouetted for a moment in the sunlight before vanishing from view.
   William yawned and picked up a comic section from the next table. It was two days old. He put it down and yawned again. He glances over just as Eddie Woods got up and left. At that moment, William and Marker’s eyes met. William endeavored to pull off a greeting at once both friendly and casual, designed to show interest without pushing their passing acquaintance. William stood to bow in his dignified old-world greeting, instead there materialized a leer of naked lust, wrenched in the pain and hate of his deprived body and, in simultaneous double exposure, a sweet child's smile of liking and trust, shockingly out of place; mutilated…hopeless.
   Marker was somewhat taken back. Perhaps he’s got some sort of tic?
   He decided to remove himself from contact with William before the man did something even more distasteful. William looked at him helplessly for a moment, then turns back to his beer, defeated and shaken. William finishes his the drink. When he looked around again, Marker was playing chess with Betty.
   “Why waste time here?” William bitterly thought. He pays and walked out. A young Mexican boy passes by William and looks at him. He motions to William and walks off. William follows.
   Marker glanced up and watched William exit the bar. It was Marker’s move and Betty noticed Marker’s concerned look as he sat staring at the now vacant entrance to the bar.
   “Who was that?” Betty asked.
   As if shaking off an ominous shade, Marker shrugged and returned to the game, “I have no idea.”

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Monday, April 04, 2016

If you died would anyone miss you?