Le Petit Rien
He took three steps forward and two steps back to the toilet where he kept the money. An ornate saxophone leaned against the coal bin.
“How many ounces in a pound” ? Her voice groaned from some dark corner.
“A pound of ‘em. One pound’s worth.”
How many lotteries in a Millionaire Saloon? In a Grail? This year has been a beautiful year for death. The exquisite ache of these times, staining the Big Wheel’s spin.
“I got a pound o’ pints of pain! How many pints is that?”
“Too many. It’s much to much.”
The green jealousy of the dinosaur moon. A light to see the darkness by. The heartless sigh of a killer crackled on the radio. I hear Tangier is lovely this time of year, this unkind year of our Lord.
“Where is the lamb?”
“It’s lost. All is lost.”
Marsha rolled across the floor; the imitation of a gut-shot cowpoke.
“Give maw the deed to the ranch. I hid it by the swaddlin’”
He cocked his thumb back and gave her one more, snarling like a sniper,
“Long live Caesar.”
Seven angels stood above the seven floors on seventh street and, one day, just flew off. They flew South like geese. It was winter, it was cold.
“It’s o.k. to look outside today. Open your eyes little child. All is well in this hell-holy place. The pace of grace is stillness. Movement is illness in the face of prayer.”
He woke up with a bleeding Mary and no snake to suck the venom. He found it easy to be bored with sex when one had no prospects. Blessed are the poor. Faith is all they got.
“What’s the difference between love and desperation,” she asked.
“It all depends on who you wanna kill.”
The car backfired like a barking Nazi and then settled into an unconvincing idle.
“Will she make it?”
“She’ll make it.”
A half ‘n hour into the trip and the hitchhiker had him in her mouth. When he came she seemed grateful.
“Thank you,” she gurgled.
He ordered vodka tonic and watched the go-go dancer. Her eyes looked tired. He’d never heard such Jazz before.
“These white boys don’t play! They’re ruined on the rock ‘n’ roll! They’re sick with it!”
“Let’s go upstairs,” Christopher interrupted.
“They’re lousy with the Metal!”
Pale women reclined on jade lounges, blue in the hue of suffocating ennui.
“This place is dying for lack of violence! No beauty here.”
“Come on,” said Chris, lighting the joint.
Out on the balcony, looking down on the alley, he flicked a rosy ash with Dresden remorse.
“All the prayers have been prayed,” he sighed.
“St. Louis is the White Dragon.”
17 rosaries lay at the feet of Renaldo Juarez as he sat up in bed and placed each foot on the floor, starting his day with resounding thuds of exhaustion and defeat. He lit a cigarette and caressed her ass. She slept. She just kept sleeping.
The rain was steady on the window. It sounded like ping-pong.
“How many twins in Siamese Twins?”
“Two. Twins is twins.”
The motorcycle started and they were off. She liked the way it felt to ride. He liked the way she felt, when she felt that she liked riding, when she was riding with him. Every now and then she would squeeze tighter. This always made him see Vampires.
“It’s a miracle that you heard me at all with the goddamned T.V. so loud!”
“There’s something wrong with my ears. Everything is blurry.”
“Do you need help with the bandage?”
“Get moving! Look at the sky! It’s getting worse!”
“What’s more important food or gasoline?”
When the prescription ran out, there was always a moment of panic (the second before a car crash, the flash of a knife). There was always a feeling of helplessness and awe. She stared at the angel and its eyes were burning.
“A man is what a man does and I drive a hard bargain.”
“How much for that red one?”
“How much you got? How much I want for the blue? How much you got honey and how hard ya hooked and don’t you wanna feed that shiny, shiny metal?”
“How many blind men to screw in a light bulb?”
“How many indeed?”
With the grace of a bulldozer The Champ lumbered, falling forward like an avalanche, his feet barely beneath him. His equilibrium hanging by an ear. His right hand, his right fist, hard as judgement, heavy as guilt, sank into the ribs of the vanquished moment..
The car came to a stop and the window rose slowly, with the meditative hum of technological grace. Renaldo Juarez had a shovel in one hand and a bleeding stygmata in the other. He got out of the car and kicked the door shut. He walked into the field. The aftermath of summer crunching beneath his boots. A buzzard circled like a black scythe in the sky. A fox wandered the treeline.
Renaldo Juarez whistled a plaintive melody. The steady “plap” of blood dripping on dead corn, a strange percussion…”these are a few of my favorite things”…
The clock struck eleven when the killer pulled the revolver from the sack and opened fire. He woke up. It was late. He had to go.
An ornate saxophone leaned against the soul drain. The radio barely bore the be-bop burden of another night in Tunisia.
“I’ve got amnesia. I can’t remember anything before I was given this name.”
She looked at herself in the mirror; bleary mascara, blurry eyes, black bags full of panic and insomnia. She opened the cabinet. She opened the bottle and shook it. She slurped the water from her hand. She closed the cabinet. She looked the same.
Everything seemed real. It all seemed true to life, but, somehow, everything was skewed. It was all screwed on crooked and sad.
Renaldo Juarez held the shovel low , heavy with the weight of dark intention.
“Caw! Caw!” Renaldo crowed like a dirty bird.
The edge of the shovel bit the black belly of the night.
The Champ’s eyes were shut . The eyes were shut very tight. The eyes of the Champ were shut tight, not in pain, but in pleasure. He was ecstatic. Tears rolled over the great bones of his Celtic Skull, awash in the blood that began to pour from the nose and mouth of the face who’s eyes were wide open. The white stare of death gazed with lascivious delight.
The bell began to ring in some different, distant Germany. The voice on the tape seemed backwards and low. Quaaludes and champagne and one more lie to tell.
He buried it all where no one would ever find it. He washed his hands with a Pontius on his conscience and that Cathloic face of anxiety and woe that contains everything but resignation and blood.
Renaldo began again where he had left off; nowhere and nothing. Perhaps madness is the logical end of freedom and potential and strong fuckin’ legs. Eggs at dawn and some long lost song about perfection remind him of a peasant dance. Renaldo Juarez raised his hand in the air. The sun shined through the red hole in the palm and into the light green eye.