Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mr. Charlie

Emma’s pulling on her yoga top and a sarong she cut to knee-length. “You’ve got to talk to him, Scott. Just tell him to back off now and then,” she says. “So he doesn’t wear out his welcome.”

“Emma, my dear, you make a good case.” We kinda forgot Charlie never leaves the hammock anymore.

He calls up at us. “I’m waiting for you to throw me overboard.”

I jump down from the ladder’s middle rung. He’s sucking on an Imperial, too smug to notice I’m flipping him out of the hammock, and he lands hard. His big fat self flat on his back.

(click here to read the first episode and here  for the previous one)

“Get outta here, Charlie. I mean it. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“Scott, I was fooling around.” He extends his arms and holds his palms toward me. “How ’bout a little dignity?”

Emma’s teaching her wake-up yoga class, when Charlie suggests we settle this walking along the beach. Which means he’s still fucking with me. This is what happens when you’ve known someone too long. We’ve been friends—best friends—for twenty years. So what am I gonna do? He’s pathetic. 

We trudge in damp sand for awhile, but the river, which I love, lies half a mile away. There we can wade uphill, sliding from rock to rock, our voices echoing through the cavern.

So I steer him into the fresh water. For awhile we pull soft mud from the riverbed and hurl it at each other. At the river head there’s a bottomless pool and I climb to the top of the ledge. Charlie watches from the other side.

I dive and surface twice before gliding over to him.

“Don’t ask if I need money,” Charlie says. “No drug dealers are after me.”

“Why don’t you go home then?”

“I suppose eventually, yeah, I should call Billy, see what’s up. But there’s no urgency.”

“Why are you buggin’ me and Emma? Every other woman I hook up with, going back to middle school, you meet, greet, and disappear.”

“Well…” He scoots back in the brush and only speaks when he’s sure I can’t see him. “This one’s Scott and Emma, Emma and Scott—from now on. Mr. Charlie’s just an old friend you’ll see twice a year.”

I hate it when we’re saying what we both already know. But that’s how Charlie operates.

“Why don’t you patch up things with Kitty? Tell her you’re sorry. Rub her feet, whatever it takes. Because if you keep crowding us, Charlie, we’ll end up hating you.”

“You’ll hate me,” Charlie says. “You know that’s always been there along with all the other shit, Scott. Little bit of hating me. Only on your end, not on mine.”

 I shake my head at the bushes where his voice seems to be coming from. “Whatta ya want me to say? You win.”

He emerges from hiding and smiles. “Thatta boy. You gotta let me win.”

We’re heading downstream and he tries to hug me. I throw him off.

 “So queasy, Colossus,” he’s slapping my back. “You’ve got everything you want so you have to invent problems.”

He’s always saying that. And I’m always telling him to shut up.

He’s laughing, “Yeah, man!” and nodding, “Emma’s yours as long as you want her.”

Ha-ha-ha. That’s how he laughs now. Ever since Pavones, he’s been such a sad man. Mr. Happy’s dead and Mr. Charlie is sad as hell wherever he goes. But he doesn’t go anywhere anymore, just circles around me, night and day like death in the air.

“I’m gonna go grab me a fix,” he says, pointing at me so I’ll give him time to get away.

He stumbles downstream, falling on the rocks, grabbing a branch, falling, and reaching up again.

(to be continued)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

fork, chapter 6: down by the riverside

to begin at the beginning, click here

joe was tired, after his long and terrifying day, and did not look far for a place to sleep after being dismissed by june and after bob smith left him. he went back to the stable and looked for a spot in the hay as far from the horses as possible.
as he started to collapse into the hay, he noticed the outlines of a door in the corner of the barn. he pushed it and it swung open easily.
he was in a short, dark corridor. another door at the end of it also opened easily.

joe found himself in a small low-ceilinged room with a double bed, a chair, and a small table beside the bed with a lamp and some books on it.

joe picked up the books. they had dust on them. he ran his finger over the top of the table - dust. the chair - more dust. he decided it was safe to use the room to sleep in instead of the hay, and sat down on the bed.
joe looked more closely at the books. they were "the stars and the rain" by jennifer broughton, "dark eyes" and "dark eyes flashing" also by jennifer broughton, a novel by james patterson, and a novel by danielle steel with a coffee cup stain on it.
joe had never heard of any of them. he didn't like jennifer broughton's looks in her dust jacket photos.

he decided to try the james patterson book if he woke up.
then he fell back on the big soft bed and fell asleep.
he was the green knight, astride a big green horse with red eyes.

his opponent, the red knight, gazed at him - joe assumed he was gazing at him, his face was shielded by his visor - from across the river. the red knight rode a black horse without eyes.
the two sides of the river were thronged by the souls of the living (on the red knight's side) and the spirits of the dead (on the green knight's side). a bridge connected the two sides, and it seemed to grow longer as the green knight looked across it.

a castle rose from the water beside the bridge. joe/the green knight could make out the fair face and slender form of the white queen, and he wondered where the red queen and the black queen were.

but his musings were interrupted by the appearance of st christopher, who was being rowed in a little boat from the castle to the center of the bridge.
st christopher stepped on to the bridge, and st george and confucius rowed the little boat back to the castle.

"champions!" bellowed st christopher, in a voice that resounded through the eight galaxies, "choose your rewards!" he turned to the green knight first.

"say, sir knight, if you emerge victorious, will you free the spirits of the dead from their eternal bondage , or - he looked back at the castle - " will you choose the hand of the white queen?"
"i shall free the spirits of the dead," joe answered without hesitation, and tremendous cheers rose up on both sides of the river.
"and you, sir?" st christopher turned to the red knight.

"freedom for the dead, or the favors of the white queen?" joe wondered why he had been offered the "hand" of the queen and the red knight her "favors", but before he could articulate his question the red knight had already shouted his answer -
"the queen!"

as loudly as the green knight had been cheered by the two throngs, the red knight was twice as lustily booed. the shouts threatened to expand the galaxies beyond their allotted space until st christopher shouted -
and total silence ruled.
"now, then," st christopher proceeded, and turned to the red knight. "it is your choice of weapon. you choose?"
"let us fight like men," cried the red knight. "with fifty pound scimitars."
"fair enough," replied the saint, turning to the green knight. "it is your choice then, to fight on foot or on horseback."
after a slight hesitation, joe answered, "on foot."
"you pussy!" the red knight shouted. "real men fight on horseback."

he turned to the quiet crowd. " i shall make short of this girl in a man's body. a man who doesn't want to fight on horseback doesn't want to fight at all!"
the portcullis of the castle opened and the rowboat emerged again.

confucius and st george were again at the oars, and the lady guinevere stood up in it, holding in her two hands a golden scimitar on a black silk pillow. she stepped on to the bridge and the red knight snatched the scimitar off the pillow without thanking or acknowledging her. what a rude fellow, joe thought.
the green knight heard a cough behind him. he turned to see king arthur himself holding out a blue silk pillow with a silver scimitar on it.

it looked the same size as the red knight's weapon. do gold and silver weigh the same, he wondered.
again, he had no time to formulate his question.
st christopher held a white feather over his head, "when this feather hits the bridge,
commence battle!" he cried, in a voice not so loud as he had been using.

then as the feather was floating in the air, he and the lady guinevere stepped back into the little boat, as they did so, the saint said something that the green knight couldn't hear but that made the lady laugh.
suddenly the red knight was on him.
the green knight heard a great splash and realized that it was himself hitting the water. he came up sputtering and heard the red knight's laughter and tremendous boos and catcalls from both sides of the river, directed at himself, he supposed.
"the same old story!" he heard a voice from the rapidly dispersing crowds.

"what a sell!" came anothe voice. "what a bloody sell!"
"at least i didn't bet money this time," came a fainter voice.
joe dragged himself on to the bridge. the crowds were gone, and so was the castle. he saw the red knight rowing the little boat away, with only himself and the white queen in it.

he looked back at joe and gave him a friendly wave. the white queen's back was to joe. they disappeared into the mist.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

mistress of malvern, chapter 1

by jennifer broughton

visuals by rhoda

"i'm afraid you'll have to peel your potatoes a little faster than that in my kitchen, miss."
"your kitchen? soon enough it will be mine."
"what was that? what did you say? did you hear what she said, mrs o'hara?"
"no, i did not." mrs o'hara looked at over at catherine, who was slowly and deliberately peeling a small potato with her nose in the air. "but it was nothing very respectful, i'm sure."
"i said," catherine repeated, " and i will say it again, louder this time, that i mean to be mistress of malvern, and that everything in it , including this kitchen and its denizens, will be mine."
mrs jackson and mrs o'hara both laughed.
"how long has it been, mrs o'hara, since we listened to such nonsense?

"oh, let me see, it must be all of three weeks at least. what was her name, the big redheaded one?"
"of course, how could i have forgotten?" neither mrs jackson nor mrs o'hara missed a beat in their potato peeling as they talked.
"sadie meant to be mistress of malvern too," mrs jackson said to catherine. when catherine paused in her peeling to consider her answer, mrs jackson grabbed her wrist and put her hand with the knife against the potato in her other hand. "don't you want to know what happened to her?"
"not particularly." catherine languidly peeled the potato. "i don't see what it has to do with me."
"we put her on the high road to liverpool," said mrs o'hara. "she may be on it yet."

"bully for her."
mrs jackson and mrs o'hara laughed some more.
"she has quite the vocabulary, did you notice?" mrs jackson said. "did you hear what she referred to us as?"
"no, i must have missed it."
"she called us denizens."
"oh my. where did you learn a word like that. miss? from some drunken preacher walking the high road?'
catherine flushed. "i don't walk the high road, madam." she replied evenly. "and i don't associate with either drunks or preachers."
the two older women looked at each other. " i can believe that last part, at any rate," said mrs o'hara. "about not associating with preachers."
"well," mrs jackson observed judiciously, "there are some who don't hold with preachers, but nonetheless read their scripture. no doubt miss here belongs to that congregation."

catherine ignored this and peeled her potato a little more vigorously.
"do you belong to that congregation, miss?" mrs jackson persisted.
catherine put her nose a little higher in the air, causing her to miss her potato completely with the next swipe of her knife.
the two old women roared with laughter at this. "can't even peel a potato, and yet she has the wherewithal to disrespect her elders," observed mrs o'hara.
"where do they get them these days?" mrs jackson responded. "pretty soon the potatoes will be lying in the fields, because there won't be anybody who knows how to peel them. then starvation will overtake the land , and the last days will be upon us."
"i do believe you are right, mrs jackson. it is a pity, a great pity that circumstances will cause such a paradigm to prevail."
"yes, indeed." mrs jackson looked at catherine. "nothing to say for yourself, miss? here, you missed a spot on that potato. it might facilitate matters greatly if you looked at it while you were peeling it."

"don't cut it in half!" mrs o'hara cried. "you are supposed to be peeling it!"
"what's all this racket?"
catherine and the two older women looked up. the real mistress of malvern was standing in front of them.
"how is a person to nap in the afternoon with you lot cackling like a load of drunken geese?"
"we are sorry, madam." mrs jackson replied. she looked up at the ceiling of the kitchen. "we didn't realize the floors were so thin."
"what are you, an architect? who gave you leave to answer me back in that insolent manner, eh?" the mistress picked a big wooden spoon off the table and whacked mrs jackson across the head with it.

then she turned to catherine. "and who is this?"
"the new kitchen maid, madam, hired just last evening" mrs jackson replied. she flinched as the mistress raised the spoon again.
"hired in the evening? what was she doing, walking the high road? what sort of tramp gets hired in the evening? what time of day is that do be doing any hiring?"
"it was just a manner of speaking, madam," mrs jackson said, "i hired her around four o'clock. the sun was still high in the sky on a summer day."
"then don't speak in a manner, you moron, speak plainly!" mrs jackson got another whack on the head with the spoon.
"and this one!" the mistress turned back to catherine. "what did i tell you before about hiring any kind of help? she is entirely too good looking. i don't want my kitchen looking a chorus line. get rid of her."

"i wouldn't thought she was that good looking, madam." mrs jackson rubbed her head. "with that patch on her eye and all."
"men find that sort of thing romantic."
"i wouldn't know, madam. i'm a respectable bible-reading woman, and a cook. i'm not a bawdyhouse keeper."
the mistress raised the spoon again, half heartedly, then lowered it and sat down in a chair at the big table. her passion seemed spent. "just get rid of her."
"but where am i to go?" catherine asked.
"go? back to the high road, you baggage. where do the ducks go, when the pond dries up?"
"she was useless anyway," mrs o'hara told the mistress. "quite useless. why, do you know what the little wretch was telling us just before you showed up."
"no. i have no interest in what she was saying, or what any of you were saying. or what anybody in the world thinks, ever, ever, ever!" she shouted, then put her head down on the kitchen table and began to sob. "oh, oh, i am so unhappy. so, so miserably unhappy!" she pounded the table weakly.

mrs jackson and mrs o'hara looked at each other. mrs jackson rubbed her head again, then looked at catherine.
"go upstairs and get aurelie, madam's maid."
"no, the lord mayor of london. who else am i looking at?"
catherine didn't need to be told again, and scurried away.
here was an opportunity, before she had to hit the highway again.
she might have a chance to steal something.
and she might - meet the master of malvern!

chapter 2: plaything of fate

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“A Town Called Disdain”, Episode Thirteen: unpleasantness on a New Mexico road, resolved

(Go here to read our previous episode; newcomers may go here to enjoy this epic from the beginning.)

Young Harvey, just back from a tour in Vietnam, finds himself in a Thunderbird convertible with the mysterious “Daphne Smith”, run off the desert road by a motorcycle gang called the Motorpsychos. Their leader, Moloch, standing atop the hood of the car, has -- after kicking his own man Crackle senseless for the crime of interrupting him -- taken out his penis with bad intention.

Fortunately Daphne’s husband Dick pulls up in the rancher Big Jake Johnstone’s red Cadillac. As Jake cowers hiding under the dashboard Dick vaults out of the car, marches over to the Cadillac, draws a revolver from his bermuda shorts pocket and points it at the head of Moloch’s penis.

(This episode rated R for violence, penile nudity, and the injudicious use of adverbs and adjectives.)

“Just hold it right there, fella.”

Dick was way up on the crest of the wave now, the adrenaline just rushing along with the acid.

Moloch held it right there, all quivering and glistening and purple-veined as it was.

Dick, still smiling affably, looked around at the surrounding Motorpsychos on their purring and farting bikes. He felt as if his feet were hovering just a few inches off the ground.

“Please, guys, don’t do anything rash,” he projected, like a good actor aiming to reach the cheap seats but still sound believable. “I had a friend of mine work on the action of this thing so I really only have to barely just touch the trigger when I cock it like this --” he cocked the hammer, “and, well -- blammo.”

He smiled up at Moloch, who was losing his erection rapidly.

“The orgasm of your life,” said Dick. “Now come down from there, fella, but keep your hand on your wiener. First kneel down. That’s right. Now just slide right off.”

As Moloch slid down from the hood of the car Dick moved the muzzle of the gun from the penis to Moloch’s forehead.

“Now turn around and put your hands on the car. You know how to do it.”

“You’re no copper.”

“Come on, guy, turn around.”

“You haven’t got the bollocks to shoot me.”

“But how badly do you want to find out?”

“Go ahead and shoot him, Dick,” said Daphne. She had tossed away her cigarette and taken a lipstick out out of her bag.

“Well, I dunno, sweety --”

She leaned her face into the rearview mirror, puckering her lips and painting them with the lipstick.

“If he won’t turn around then blow his damn brains out,” she said, and, still looking into the mirror, she pressed her lips together.

“Well, sweety --”

“Oh, Dick,” she said, “behind you.”

Dick saw it in Moloch’s mirrored shades, and swung around just as Crackle somehow heaved his bulk up from the ground in a great eruption with a nasty-looking blackjack raised up in his right hand and coming around in a trajectory aimed to end right on Dick’s skull; time slowed down, Dick fired, the bullet shot into Crackle’s left eye, the big man flinched and pitched forward in a heap as Dick stepped aside, Crackle thumping against the Thunderbird and slumping down its side with blood pulsing out of his eye-hole, Dick swinging the barrel of the gun back over to Moloch’s forehead just as Moloch had his Royal Marine commando knife out from its sheath, and Moloch froze and everybody froze except for Crackle, who groaned on the ground and kept kicking his one good leg slowly and heavily as dark blood pooled out from under his head.

Sure enough, Daphne saw she’d gotten yet more blood on her shirt.

Then Sheriff Dooley’s blue ‘65 Plymouth Fury drew up just behind the red Cadillac that Big Jake was still cowering hidden in the footspace of.

“Goldang it what in tarnation.”

He got out of his car. Doris the waitress sat in the passenger seat with her thumbnail between her teeth.

“You boys move aside there,” said the sheriff.

Nobody moved, so the sheriff drew his big pistol and hit the first Motorpsycho he could reach on the side of the jaw with the six-inch barrel and the Motorpsycho fell over with his bike and knocked over the next one and that one knocked over another, and the sheriff stepped through the gap and strode up to the Thunderbird.

“Moloch, put that knife away. And mister I’ll take that peashooter if you don’t mind.”

“Sure thing, sheriff.”

Dick handed him the pistol, grip-first, and the sheriff shoved it into his waistband.

The sheriff touched Crackle with the toe of his boot and Crackle groaned.

“Harvey, seems to me you’ve had one eventful day your first day back.”

“These men ran us off the road and then were going to rape me,” said Daphne. She had found her cigarette holder and had screwed a cigarette into it. Harvey, still working on his original cigarette, gave Daphne another light with his Zippo. “They were also threatening to take advantage of young Harvey here,” she said. “Thank god my husband happened along.”

“She is a lying strumpet,” said Moloch. “This man shot my good friend in cold blood.”

“That big fat pig there was attacking my husband with a blackjack or a sap or whatever you call those things.”

“Liar,” said Moloch. “Whore.”

Sheriff Dooley looked down at the shot man, who still held the leather-wrapped blackjack in his hamlike fist, and then the sheriff looked back at Moloch, whose now-flaccid penis still hung out of his fly.

“Moloch,” he said, “put your John Henry away.”

“Certainly, sheriff.”

Moloch put it away and zipped it up as Crackle groaned loudly and then vomited black blood. Dick figured the slug must have ricocheted off the inside of his steel helmet and gone back down into his throat. A wet rattle came up from deep in the man’s lungs, and then a rolling harsh ripple passed through his great body as it erupted a long bleating fart. Then he lay still.

The sheriff touched him again with his boot tip. A thick stench of fresh shit came up and mingled with the smells of blood and gunshot and cycle exhaust.

“Well, he’s dead,” said the sheriff. “Now, Moloch, I’m gonna let you go this time seein’ as how one of your brethren bit the big one. But you and your boys get out of this county and don’t never come back or there’s gonna be some more of you lyin’ in the dirt in their own shit and blood.”

The sheriff put the muzzle of his pistol between Moloch’s eyes.

“And you’ll be the first one.”

“Sheriff, we were just leaving.” said Moloch. “May we take our fallen comrade so that we may dispose of his remains in our own manner.”

“You can dump him down a dry shit hole for all I care, boy.”

“Thank you,” said Moloch, and then calling to his men: “Toadsbreath, Pigmind, I want you to hogtie Crackle and strap him down tautly to the back of his hog. It was his stated fondest wish that he be immolated with his Harley with high-test petrol and we shall honor that wish. Testicle --”

“Yes, Moloch,” cried one enormous eager beaver.

“You shall ride Crackle’s hog.”

“It will be my honor!”

“Very good. Sheriff, may I send two men back later to pick up Testicle’s machine?”

“Sure thing.”

“Thank you.”

He turned in a slow circle, addressing his men:

“Come then, dear friends, let us take poor Crackle upon that flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire!”

“Huzzah!” they cried as one.

Moloch then turned to Dick, and to Daphne and Harvey, still sitting in the front seat of the Thunderbird.

“And to you, my friends, I shall only say au revoir!

“And to you,” said Daphne, “I will only say: go fuck yourself.”

(Continued here. The fun has only just begun.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

So Awful It’s Funny

After Emma’s morning class, several girls in bikinis (this group’s from Seattle) mill around, asking her about shoulder alignment or pulled hamstrings.

Emma doesn’t look at me, but focuses only on the short-haired brunette who’s waited to talk to her. I’m leaning along the deck’s railing.

Without moving her head though, Emma lifts a curled hand, her index finger bending my way, hello.

(click here to read the first episode and here  for the previous one)

It seems as if it takes a really long time, but I’m sure it doesn’t: Her yoga class finally disperses. It’s lunch time and the smell of Berto’s cooking makes me weak.

“You’re back early.” On tiptoes, Emma kisses me deeply enough to create a little excitement. Stepping back, she frowns at the gash on my forehead.

“I had enough.” I was about to tell her how much I missed her but Emma glances over her shoulder, studying something else, so I decide, better not.

“Where’s Charlie?”

“He stayed there,” I tell her. “We’ve rented the place for four more days.”

No reason to mention how I got stuffed by that wave, lost my board, and bashed my head so bad I couldn’t remember my name for thirty-six hours. In fact, just so she won’t ever suspect what happened, I stayed in Pavones two extra days, doing nothing. The last thing I need is Emma thinking she needs to nurse me the way she did with that snake bite.

“So was it good?” She jumps up and sits on the railing beside me.

I nod. “It was really good.”

She leans in closer and squints at my face. “Kitty’s got butterfly band-aids.”

“It’s not that bad, Emma. I didn’t quit surfing because of a little scrape.”

“You quit surfing?” Her voice carries a solemn edge. (Didn’t I just tell her that I didn’t quit?)

“I didn’t quit surfing indefinitely, Emma—just for now.”

She grins. “So was Charlie obnoxious?”


“That’s why everyone loves Charlie, because of his whole-hearted obnoxiousness. He’s so out front. Not like you, Scott. You can be charming, that’s for sure. But you’re never obnoxious, and never out front. I have to guess.”

“You don’t need to guess, Emma. Not ever. Just ask and I’ll tell you.”

“What if I’ve already guessed?”

We’re walking to the pavilion to eat and I stop to look at her. “Have you? What’s your guess?”

“You missed me. That’s why you left early. You missed me.”

“How can you tell?” I’m holding her hand.

“I can tell.”

We eat at one of the small tables with Kitty and Sean—Logan’s doing a massage, for which you can count me profoundly grateful.

Kitty and Emma eat two bites before agreeing the gash on my forehead needs make-shift stitches. So we march up to Kitty’s year-round house. She applies antiseptic, which barely stings at this point. But then she pinches the split-apart skin together. She applies six of those x-shaped “butterfly band-aids,” pressing with all her might to close the cut. The force awakens my nerve endings. Repairing the gash calls up all the pain I didn’t feel when it happened, since I was knocked out. And after wards, I didn’t notice it because the whole struggle was—putting my mind back together.

Kitty and Emma both tease me for wincing. “What a tough guy.”

We return to our plates full of little tacos and dip them in lemon and mango juice. For dessert we eat big, dense slices of blackberry tart.

Full and sleepy, Emma and I stand up, ready to head home. And Kitty whispers, “Remember you’ve got the rest of the day off, honey. The Seattle group is doing their internal cleansing this afternoon.”

So we play under the shower. I’ve finally regained enough strength to hold Emma like she’s nothing. She folds her legs around my hips. Later, we doze under the mosquito netting. Half asleep, I’m wondering: What’s the best way to lure her back to Chicago? How soon can we leave?

Beginning to wake, Emma says, “Don’t worry so much, Scott. I’m with you. And God, I missed you; I really missed you.”

The scarlet macaws convene in the tree just beyond us, meaning the afternoon’s ending. Emma kneels up and shakes powder on her hands, which she spreads over her whole sweet, delicate body. And then, using more powder and a lighter, slower touch, she glides her hands up and down mine. She lies on top of me and nestles her face against my chest. She slides up and darts the tip of her tongue in my ear.

I take it from there…

But at the worst possible moment—I mean, the very worst moment—Charlie arrives. He’s calling out, so awful, it’s funny, “Hey kids, I’m home! Scott? Emma? Emma, Scott? Get down your butts down here! Your big fat daddy’s home!”

(click here for the next episode)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

the waitress and the satanist, chapter 14; a child will slap your face

additional dialogue in red from "got the blues for murder only" by lonnie johnson

"i don't care how sore they are,pick them up and put them down"
"if i could pick a few winners, i'd be all right."

"you pay for what i can do, not for what you can do."
worn with the heels the white fog in the hallway
jacques felt he had lost his way listening to the young marquis in a red bandana

"down in old mexico where folks run wild and free"

forever worn with the heels the white fog his white handkerchief the dried tears in the fifth he drawled you don't say that asian fellow the copper sun in the fifth race

"down in old mexico where folks run wild and free"
jacques looked down at the police putting the bodies of harold anderson and jackson johnson into a wagon.

a deeply committed rationalist, he assumed there was a good reason, at least in their own minds, why the two policemen carrying the stretchers were dressed as a clown and a gaucho.
the marquis continued. "i must say it sounds more jolly than anything, even chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream."

that malaysian fellow the copper sun yes i do say on the guardrail

on the guardrail on the outside rail the dried mud mister chan the dried raindrops no his brother the red sun in the fifth race
he put everything he had on the fifth race
"this horse was born to run this race."

mister chan nodded and lowered his binoculars
"don't mind me, old boy.'
like a razor like a razor the dried mustard like a razor i can't emphasize it enough on the inside of a thousand flies of a thousand flies the dried remains of a thousand flies

"do you listen to this nonsense all day?" jacques asked his mother.
"i'm afraid i don't care to be spoken of in the third person when i'm present," the marquis coldly informed jacques

and carlos saw that it wasn't really mister chan at all. meanwhile the horse who was born to win the race
you know, that korean chap

"yes, i know the fifth race is a sure thing, but which horse in the fifth race, eh?
his white handkerchief now faded to gray in the white fog the fizzling sun in the fifth row you don't say
i'm afraid i do say
madamoiselle tatanya is here sir, at the back door

he drawled his white handkerchief the only visible object in the
"but didn't you follow him to the window?"

"oh don't snap at him, jacques, he's only a child after all."
"you told me you moved like a shadow?"

"where a child will slap your face
they make tea with chili pepper
and use gunpowder to kill the taste"

he drawled of a thousand bribes he drawed a face on the sidewalk with green chalk in the white fog
"emperor or beggar or monk they are all like to me."

"naturally i am delighted to see her. have her come to the front door."
"number two horse win, mister chan happy, mister sing not so happy."
'where they use rattlesnakes for bodyguards

and wildcats watch over them all night long"

"tatanya, how nice to see you, my dear. come in, come in, would you like a cigarette?' a drink?"

"always, but i'm afraid i'm not properly dressed."
"these people wouldn't know style if they were arrested and thrown in a river of it . danny, get tatanya a drink."
"how have you been, danny? still suffering from hallucinations?'
"it was hector who had hallucinations, mademoiselle. i suffer from dandridge;s syndrome."
"of course. excuse me, it's been a long time."
"indeed it has."
"this fellow has no manners. didn't you teach him any?"

"of course but he lost them in old mexico or outer mongolia or wherever he was running around with pancho villa and friedrich engels. "
"and how is that an excuse for poor manners?"
i'm going back to old mexico
with this long long reaching gun

chickie couldn't stand it any longer, watching through a crack in the door as callahan tried to chat up miss luna.

when they want real excitement
they kill each other one by one

"you had some excitement earlier? the police were here?"
they probably still are here."
"so this," thought samantha, "is the famous tatanya. she looks a bit old in her game."

"you see, jacques feels unappreciated for his heroic work as a revolutionary."

"how do you do."
"our love will get us off this island."

the fat man on the greyhound bus in the white fog
"just a couple of drifters who aspired to the glory of hooligans."
"you've sunk quite a bit into this fund, major.'

i'm going back to old shanghai
where they kill them both night and day
the sheriff locks up the empty jailhouse
and the judge goes home to pray

"what are you doing here, callahan?"

"still got those nicotine stains on your fingers, chickie?'
"they're custard pie stains."

callahan put his coffee cup down.
saddle and ride
because here in this country they don't kill them fast enough for me