Monday, November 12, 2012

13TH NaNoWriMo Novel In A Month episode for 11/11/12

BINGO BOY - post 13

It is still me, Lawrence, the thespian ghost. My how these streets remind me of The Seven Dials, a notorious slime pit in London. I was born there. Came here as a young man. Ninety six, I think...seventeen ninety six. Baby London, they used to call it. Already respectable in size. Throw in the Northern and Southern Liberties and over two hundred thousand people called the place home. Fine, cobbled thoroughfares. Black shiny street lights. Lit by lamp-lighters, of course. You remember the Robert Louis Stevenson poem 'bout O' Leary the lamp-lighter and all that? A very gracious time. them what 'ragged' for a living... the criminal element, populated narrow, little warrens by the docks. Theaters, museums, inns, hotels... we had the best. You know, the term 'ladies who lunch' was coined here by Ben Franklin, in reference to the gentlewomen congregating in the hearth room of Olde City Tavern. And that place was never just a tavern. It was always more than that. Rather like what The Twenty One club was to Cholly Knickerbocker's town during the nineteen twenties. 

I saw it all, from arguably the premiere stage of the English speaking world. Ahhh, what a place. Bowdlerized Shakespeare, contemporary melodramas. We did everything. I can still see the cast cards. Squires, Ladies and Gentleman, the role of Oberon will be performed by that esteemed interpreter of The Bard, the Honorable Mr. Lawrence Pennyfeather. I had rooms at The Sussex House and a sophisticated and quite 'dear' (meant expensive) body servant from Martinique ran the establishment. Look, I was planning to talk of my death, but things are moving fast. And whatever force it is that governs such things has seen fit to put me here, on a windy damp street, upon smooth grey cobbles, before thin, hard domiciles, for desperate, scared people. 

The Little-Chrissie-Family lives inside. She, her grandmama and a pudgy, little gurgling baby boy. One other person lodges there as well, the Israelite paramour, Ricky. I suppose it references a more obscure biblical name. But don't hold me too that. Now the grandmother keeps her own council, preferring to watch a magic-talking-screen alone in a small chamber next to the baby's. True, she does scurry down for occasional tins of tuna fish and sardines. Who knows? Perhaps she's part cat. But all they get are quick, fleeting smiles and quiet how-yeh-doin's..... She doesn't want to jinx it. This one seems promising. No prior arrests. No substance abuse issues. No mewling bastards. Now nothing has been said. And Ricky, the dear, clueless boy, is completely unaware of the web being drawn about him. Could be he likes it that way. Went back to his place for drawers and linen. Things like that. But he lives here now. You know, even a derelict house on a street like his should fetch at least a hundred thousand dollars if sold. The grandmother was keenly aware of that. What she didn't know how much more they might, conceivably earn. So the somewhat roughened, though still basically attractive matriarch retired to her digs for Jay Leno, while Little Chrissie and that Ricky bathed the baby. 

The bathroom was warm and slightly steamy. Pink and blue tiles from the nineteen fifties, a more-or-less 'recent' addition, reflected hard, white light from two bulbs screwed into a 'Lucy' era fixture. Ricky and Little Chrissie knelt on a pink, shaggy rug, as she de-pantsed the little fellow and lowered him into the comforting water. ......... What's a matter with the baby!? - said Ricky...... What? What do you mean? - said it's mother...... His 'thing'! His 'thing'! His 'thing'! It's all screwed up. What happened? Was he born that way? What'd they DO to him!?......... Little Chrissie examined the appendage in question, but found no fault in it. She said - What are you talkin' about? There's nothing wrong with the baby....... But then she began to blush and giggle, as she nudged him with her elbow...... You mean because he's not 'cut' - she said. You mean because he's not circumcised. That's all. This is how he was born. You were born the same way too, you know. Ain't you ever seen one straight from the box? ......... I don't know - goes Ricky. I never looked. And stop laughing. I was scared. I was afraid for him. Do you mind?......... Well, she didn't, because she kissed him. Just a quick, little peck. Kept both hands on babykins at all times, as he clapped and splashed and gurgled in his bath. And ten heartbeats later, upon direction from the mother, Ricky rolled up his sleeves and had his first lesson in how to wash a baby. 

Such a sweet, domestic scene. How sad that two thirds of them would soon find work in the burgeoning  murder industry.

Later, after the sweet, little bundle was tucked into his Iron Man crib, the two bath givers went downstairs to watch TV. I think it was Jay Leno too. Tobey Keith, if I remember correctly. And during the song, Ricky turned to Little Chrissie and said - You know, I had an uncle who used to be in the rackets........ Really? - said Little Chrissie. What's he do?........ Sold hot bras and girdles off the back of a truck in South Philly. I used to help him....... She grins. Obviously not too impressed...... Hey, he was a numbers writer too, you know. - Ricky said..... Yeah, which ones, 36B or 38D - she goes.... But he just watches the screen........ Little Chrissie says - I've already done a killing....... He looks.... She adds - You're not from around here, so you wouldn't know. But I'm the one. I killed Little Jo-Jo............ Ricky goes - No. come on. Who was Little Jo-Jo?..... He used to live down the street. - she says. Had a moron friend. Used a be an idiot, but his mom got him lessons. Every time I went outside, that sloppy moron'd go 'pinch her boobies! pinch her boobies!' or 'grab her tube-top! grab her tube top!'.......... Ricky goes - And?........ And the God damned little bastid would do it. - she says. So one day I go 'look, Jo-Jo, why you do me like this all the time? Come on, lemme take  you for a walk. Lemme take you for some candy. Come on. Down the corner. Come on. I can be your friend. So we go and I boost a chocolate Easter egg with all this peanut shit inside it. That's why I boosted it, 'cause a the peanut shit........ Why? - said Ricky. He had an allergy?....... Yeah, he had an allergy, a bad one, a really bad one. Man, that little monkey dropped dead in less than five minutes............ Jesus, - goes Ricky. What'd the moron kid do?....... What? He got himself a new monkey. That's what he did. - said Little Chrissie........... Wait a minute - says Ricky. What were they to each other?......... She goes - I don't know what they were to each other. That was their business. Alls I know is they were a big, moron slob and his little, God damned monkey......... Ricky goes - Monkey? Monkey? You mean like a monkey, monkey?........ Little Chrissie goes - Yeah, a monkey, monkey. Christ, what the hell did you think?........... They lapse back into silence, watching some guy get his chest waxed on Jimmy Fallon. But two minutes later, Ricky goes - How'd that monkey know what the hell 'pinch her boobies' meant?...... She says - How the hell do I know. Ain't you ever seen any a them smart, National Geographic monkeys?...... A 'light' goes on. He nods..... Now they're watching Chelsea Handler and Jimmy play PASSWORD with two audience geeks warned before hand not to have like a personality. You know only 'stars' got those.

Little Chrissie goes - So we're really gonna do it? Not because we like it. Not because we believe in it. Not because we're like that. But just for the money, I mean?.......... Ricky swallows and whispers - Maybe. I don't know. I hate doing something violent like that. I really do.......... They snuggle in the flickering TV light and she goes - Well, who says it has to be violent?

A siren wails in the distance, as they stare back at the screen. A little lizard was selling insurance, I think. I don't know. They weren't paying attention...

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