Thursday, October 4, 2012

Short story: "Besame"

We had gone to an all you can eat sushi restaurant. We had eaten a lot and watched the Asian families, the Russian families. The ones with their kids, happy. The ones with their kids, unhappy, or at least not showing it…or quiet. We at all we could, tuna and green beans and California rolls and I ate sole and you ate tofu and it was good.
Not great, but good. We sat for a while and you drank Dr. Pepper and it was sunny outside and the sun glinted off the new cars outside. We talked about things and smiled at each other and held hands sometimes. We payed and left and I said, I ate a lot and you said Me too and I asked if your stomach hurt and you laughed and said A little and I said I’m sorry and you said It’s not your fault as if out of habit and I said I know it’s not my fault but not out loud. I said it in my head. And we walked into the Russian grocery story which was identical to the other Russian grocery story just down the street, identical down to the placement of the individual brands of Kvass and Tarragon soda and pickled mushrooms on the counter. We look at the bulk candies and you tell me about eating the candy at your Russian babysitter’s church. We don’t buy anything and we leave and you smile at the lady behind the counter and say thank you. And we go into the thrift store and you disappear and I look at the movies and they are all these Canadian movies so the titles and synopses are all in English and French and I like seeing how they copy the titles into French. Then I go look at the books and read a book about Christian sexuality and I’m fascinated that anyone could actually believe this, or need to be told these things then I remember that these books are in a thrift store and laugh a little then wonder if there is maybe a broad reaching Christian conspiracy to dump Christian books in thrift stores because they always seem loaded with them, so that poor people will come and most of the books will be Christian so they will probably buy them. Then I think this idea is crazy. Then we don’t buy anything and we leave and you wave to the woman behind the counter and smile and say Thank you.
And we go to the bus and sit down in the back, the very back where the seats make a U so that everyone can see each other, except there is no one else in the very back sitting on the seats (the seats that look like a U so that everyone can see each other). It’s just us sitting next to each other. Then a guy gets on, a small black guy in light construction gear and he sits down. Then a woman gets on all red, red hair and red face and all red up and down and hollers to the little black guy and they know each other and She says Hey man What’s up how you doing I’m going to the corner I got bad shakes right now where you off to dressed like that? And he tells her about the Work Ready job he got and he’s glad to go out and start working, directing traffic at a bridge that is being built and she says How much that pay you? And he tells her about how pay day is coming up and he should get paid a thousand bucks on Monday and she says No way man you ain’t getting paid on Monday that’s labor day! And he looks a little worried for a second and starts to talk and want to figure out when he’ll get paid and she buts in over him You getting paid on Friday man! And he gets excited and says yeah we’re having a party! And she says I’m coming to the party at your house we’re drinking earthquake and eating pizza! And then she starts really talking saying Man that’s gonna be great but man I don’t have any money right now, I got a dollar forty three so I can go down to corner mart and pick up my Malt liquor I just got enough to get some and man you remember Jesse? And he says yeah but she doesn’t even stop and she says You hear he got hit by a car? He got a hit by a car right outside of our camp just last week man broke both his fucking collar bones and he is fucked man (emphasizing every word like HE-IS-FUCKED), Right outside out camp, middle of the day! And the guy starts talking about how he got hit by a car one time and he was okay and didn’t go to the hospital but he should have because he still can’t feel parts of his legs all up and down this part pointing to his shin suggesting damage to his sephenous nerve And she says damn man you musta had a hairline fracture or something man that’s fucked and she starts telling him My ex-husband I took a warrant for him because we  lived together in Los Angeles and he already had two strikes so I took his strike because I loved him and I was in jail for seven years and then got the fuck out of dodge and came up here because that rat bastard ran off with another woman and I had thought that he was dead but he wasn’t dead I guess but then I just got word from social security that he had just died so now I can marry her boyfriend, Yes Yes YES! legally now and I’m so excited she’s saying, she can get married for real now. And he gets up to go he’s at his stop and she says I’ll see you on Friday, we’re gonna party and he gets off the bus and immediately she turns to us, turns to you and I and says now I didn’t mean to frighten you guys, I saw you over there crouching up against each other but I got the shakes right now and I aint’ gonna hurt you I ain’t gonna hurt nobody except for this one time, about two years ago I hadn’t taken my meds for a few days, and  I mean I’m psychotic but when I take my meds I’m just fine, and I was down at corner mart and I had drank four Four Loko’s one after the other Boom Boom Booom
And I blacked out they called the police on me and I was blacked out and fucking punched that cop out and he had to call for backup man but they tried to get me on assault but look! I was blacked out and you can’t have intent when you are blacked out and I got down on my knees and I said please! Please! I didn’t mean to hurt him! I’m an alcoholic I never want to hurt anybody!  I was blacked out so no intent and my lawyer, man what a great guy always looking out for me and he vouched for me said ‘She’s for real, she’ll stay on her meds no problem’ and I did got off with community service and  I haven’t gotten in a fight since. Well that’s not true there was this one bitch, this little crackhead and she was pregnant and ooooh she pissed me off so one day I grabbed her and knocker her on the ground and grabbed both her nips and turned them as far as I could and said DON’T YOU SMOKE CRACK WHEN YOU’RE PREGNANT and she said Fuck you so I turned harder and she said Okay Okay And  I know  I talk a lot, I was a tweaker for seventeen years, I only drink now, I’m a beer freak but I was a tweaker for a while. You know what coming down off meth is not problem, you eat a lot, and you sleep a lot and you’re depressed but it’s nothing compared to kicking man I was on smack for 6 years and that was the worse, but I swear  I’ve only been drinking, like really drinking for two years and this in the first time I’ve woken up with the shakes. Look at this. And she puts out her hand which his shaking a bit And I’m sorry, I just like to talk, you probably think I’m crazy. And you know what they call me? I’m called Besame, that means kiss me in Spanish and this great Latino guy gave me this name. Man you guys are cute you know I got a son, he lives in Colorado and  I haven’t seen him in seven years but man he is great, like a real man, man I love that kid. But I’ve been on the run from the Mexican mafia so I can’t go back to Colorado anymore, I was there for a while but I can’t. Because you see about thirteen years ago I was in Los Angeles and my friend calls me up and says ‘hey can you come pick me up? And I say yeah where are you? And he’s two blocks away  and I say well walk then and he says ‘no I need you to pick me up” so  I get in my car and see him there on the side walk and he gets in and these Mexican mafia motherfuckers reach in the window and Blam his face explodes and the bullet shattered and ricocheted around the um inside of the car and hit me right here and she pulls down the shoulder of her shirt to reveal a pink scar, jagged and blotchy on her shoulder, and she says well I’m getting off, going to get some food at the church man this shit is great these old ladies come up and serve you anything you want, man it’s amazing and she gets off and walks across the street and starts waving at people, a maroon chevy slows respectfully as it approaches her.
            And the bus drives off and we look at each other and we didn’t get a word in edgewise the entire time and both decide, without telling each other that she is the saddest happiest person we’ve ever met and she’s lived a thousand lives in the span of half a life and well never meet anyone like her ever again. Besame. Kiss me.  

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