Monday, November 23, 2015

Excerpt from PARIAH

I started the car up and told her it was a long story not worth getting into. She kept pestering me, though, wanting to know why that old woman slapped me, and even more, why I let her. To shut her up I slid my right hand under her skirt while handling the steering wheel and a cigarette with my left. The streets were in bad shape and we hit quite a few potholes on the way to Atlantic Ave., and with each one Nola dug her nails hard into my hand. By the time we reached her address my own hand was bleeding while her skin had flushed a bright feverish pink. Her building was one of those new luxury ones that were popping up along Boston’s waterfront to take advantage of all the white-bread suburbanites loaded with money wanting to move back to the city. I pulled up next to a fire hydrant, shook loose the last cigarette from the pack and sat thinking.

“Let’s leave the car here,” she said, her voice a breathless whisper.

“You got any coke?”

“I don’t need any. You’ve got my head pounding as it is. Come on, let’s go inside.”

“You didn’t answer me. You got any either on you or inside?”

“No, I don’t do coke. Come on, let’s get you inside… me.” She giggled over her pun, then pulled on my arm but I didn’t budge. After thinking some more I told her to get out. That I was going to be heading back home alone. She looked at me as if I were speaking in some foreign language that she didn’t understand.

“Let me make this plainer for you,” I said. “Get the fuck out of my car.”

“What’s going on?”

“I decided I don’t want to fuck any hole that willingly accepted Tom Dunleavy’s two inches. Now get the fuck out while you still have some teeth in your mouth.”

Her jaw dropped as if she’d been slapped. Then with her eyes narrowing and her dark face mottling with anger, she commented how I must’ve turned queer while in prison. That I was sucking on cigarettes all night because of some oral fixation. Being generous, I pretended not to hear her and asked her to repeat what she said. She realized that she better not and fortunately left the car without saying another word. I watched her storm away, her small hands clenched tightly into fists. As I stared almost hypnotically at the shape her ass made bouncing under her tight miniskirt, I cursed myself for drinking as much as I had that night. In the old days before prison it wouldn’t have mattered, but back then I was in my early thirties, not forty-two like I was now. I also had some tolerance for alcohol. Now I felt nothing below the waist. Not even a stirring. The alcohol had left me dead down there. That was why I had pushed her away earlier when she tried reaching for my zipper. The same reason I had taken the side trip to Mary’s, hoping to talk her into putting a pot of coffee on. I badly wanted to sober up so I could give Nola what she was wanting. A few lines of coke might’ve done the trick, but without that there was no hope, and I couldn’t risk her spending the night flogging on a dead piece of flesh only so she could spread the word about it later at Scolley’s.

I closed my eyes for a moment picturing what could’ve been, then cursed myself one last time before performing an illegal U-turn and heading back to Danny’s.

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