Sunday, November 4, 2012

4TH NaNoWriMo Novel-In-A-Month Episode

Bingo Boy - post 4

The southern voice isn't here tonight. He's off on a tear with a 'hoe' tonight. So now you have me. I'm another ghost. And two blocks to the north, I died. My brother and me sold suits, ties and shirts to hoods around here and some working guys. He was thirty two. I was thirty eight. The street gets real dark when you're open late. 

You can still see the blood in the back a the store. Runs straight down the old, wooden, office floor...right to the back door. My brother was shot in the side of his head. And then he was dead. But I was a 'toy.' They used me for a game. I hung by my feet from the storage door frame. They sliced through my jugular vein. They both were insane. And the red ran out like a fountain, enough for ten velvet cakes. My father found us in the morning. Such imagery foul murder makes. 

And the games go on and the numbers fly right out of the cage in the blink of an eye. Will this one win? Or will that won loose? Whose head-banger kid gets a new pair of shoes?

But the alley is warmer today. The sun dried the mildew away. And the rodents are sleeping all snug in their nests with visions of other more crunchy shelled pests. 

What?..... You want me to stop with the road company Sweeney Todd? Look, I may be just a Frankford Avenue ghost, but I do possess a little bit of cultural awareness. So forgive me if I wax 'Sondheim' every now and then. My mother took us to shows. I can't help it. But I'll fade back into a regular narrative voice. Still, don't you like learning something about us usually anonymous tale tellers? It's so much more interesting when ghosts fill the roll. All right. I'm done..... Now go have your fun....

Ricky, Little Chrissie and John (another bingo-boy) take a break, perched upon the small dumpster, the better to soak up a ray or two of afternoon sun. You know, alleys don't get much. They can hear the noise from inside. Uncle Patsy calls numbers. Coarse, heavy throats croak 'bingo.' And the smoke goes 'round and 'round...

Little Chrissie says - Christ, how the hell can they live like that? Look what all they waste on bingo and cigarettes. And when they win in toes to ghetto kicks and discount Tommy Hilfiger crap for their juvvie hall wannabe gandkids. Boy, ain't that the life. God damn assholes.

John says - What the hell are you talkin' about, you dumb slut (he's just kiddin') you? I see you suckin' on them cigarettes......... Little Chrissie looks down and says - Shut up............John says - And what? Ain't you got a kid already too?........ Little Chrissie goes - I told you, shut your God damn mouth, OK?........

John shrugs, takes a hit a his own coffin nail and turns toward Ricky, who pretends like he's dozing........ John goes - Rick, yo Ricky... Where you live?.....Ricky says - What, me?....... John says - Yeah, you........ Ricky swallows back a mouthful a spit and goes - I live a couple blocks south of Jardel Recreation Center. Why? you know it?....... John goes - Yeah, I know it. My old stepfather's from up there. You know Skinny Dominic and his crazy brother?....... Ricky says - No........ John says - You know Jimmy McDougal, a big guy. He's twenty five percent black, but lucky for him, he don't look it......... Ricky says - No........ John can't believe it and adds - Well, you must know Bernadette with the little tits and her sister Angela with the big ones? You know, the one who's panties keep fallin' down. You gotta know her..... (Little Chrissie butts in - She got an allergy to latex. Gee, do you mind!?).... But Ricky says - Nope. Can't place 'em............John turns to Little Chrissie and goes - Jesus, who the hell does he know?....... He don't know any a them, you big, dumb shit. He's Jewish..... John blinks - Oh, Rick, you Jewish?........ Ricky goes - Yeah..... John goes - Both sides?........ Ricky says - Yeah, both......... John goes - Well, don't get me wrong. I ain't no hater. But why do you work here? You ain't related to the boss, or something? You ain't related to Marty? Are you?......... Ricky says - Nope........ John snorts back a laugh. He can't believe it....... Little Chrissie jumps in - And which boss you mean, you dumb shit? The other one, the one we don't hardly see ain't no Jew.......... Oh, yeah - says John. You know everything. How the hell do you know?......... Big Chrissie told me. You know how her family is 'bout Jews and all. Sorry, Ricky........ The Jew responds with a curt, little nod............ John asks - Then why's he work here?..... Same reason as you, you dumb asshole. He needs the money. He does it for the money. OK?....... John takes a deep drag on his cigarette. Guess that satisfies him....... 

Some clouds pass over. The alley gets dark. They sit there, still as statues. 

Big Chrissie sticks her head out and goes - Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Be careful! Just be careful! Whatever the hell you do, don't make no trouble for me. Just be careful! The God damn bastard came back. Jimmy came back! Oh, God! Oh, god! Oh, God!

Ricky looks to the other Chrissie for an explanation. She mouths - 'the other one.'............... Marty sticks his head out. He's sweating. He says - Everybody inside and get back to work fast.... 

Now it's like ten seconds later. The kids are in the back room counting quarters. Marty sits at his desk...just waiting.... Then the door to the space flies open and bangs against the wall. Jimmy's here, a hard, old, angry eyed, Burt Reynolds type.... His red, hot orbs fall on Marty, as he quietly, but menacingly goes - The envelope was light and you know it was light. I don't go for that kind of fuckin' crap, you God damn son of a bitch you!....... Marty gets up and snakes passed him, like all of a sudden he's got something to do out on the floor. And he goes - Not now. Not now. Not now.

Jimmy turns, strides out after him and there, right in the middle of the 'afternoon special,' he starts to yell... Hey, you little shit! Don't you run away from me, you fat, little piece a shit!......  But Marty don't answer, just speed walks through the door and runs out on the street. Jimmy goes after him, slams him against the window. Uncle Patsy turns up the volume on his mike to hide the noise. But fights are fights. The avenue is the avenue. And the bovine 'Tessies' in here don't give a shit. The game continues. But a few of the sharper ones momentarily raise their heads and take notice.

The bingo kids stare out over the crowded hall through the one way mirror. Nobody says a word and Big Chrissie starts to cry. Little Chrissie pulls her down on the ratty sofa to comfort her. John wants to say something, but Little Chrissie motions 'no.'

And the shift goes on til closing time. The last of the legit players say their good nights and leave. Most are picked up by kids, or grandkids. Can't let 'em walk home 'round here. The two shills, the two slatterns stay behind and help clean up. Somebody runs a vacuum. Somebody straightens out all the bingo 'boards' in the racks. Somebody sprays bug juice all over the chairs. Then the red neon 'BINGO' sign in the window blinks out.

Ricky walks Little Chrissie  'round to his car parked just down a side street. They trot pretty fast actually. Both hold keys like weapons. He unlocks the door. She gets in. He closes it. They drive away. 

What happens on the way, we don't know. Who said, or did not say what, we don't know. But just before he lets her out, it looks like he wants to say something, only he doesn't. She wants to say something too. But she just gets out. They mouth their 'good nights.' He watches her  run up to the door (maybe ten feet away) and go in. Then he carefully drives down the impossibly narrow street (with parking on both sides too), 'rounds the corner and disappears...


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