Fishing in Beirut

February 3, 2010

Part 3: Blue, July – Sept 2002 (scene 3)

Filed under: Character : Johnny, Part 3 : Blue — fishinginbeirut @ 08:33

Johnny was selling a lot today. Things were going so fast he felt like he was on the stuff himself. He jumped up and down, bug-eyed, yanking the phone out of his pocket and speaking in code to the weirdos on the other end. They were always saying they’d know the final order in an hour.
“Je ne peux pas attendre,” he hissed, again and again. “Dis-moi” He was sweating, and he sensed his agitation may be growing apparent to those around him.
Tourists were gaping, and not at the Centre Pompidou. He was gonna have to cool it. He looked around, the building’s blue pipes blurring as his head swivelled, the pipes and the tourists and the crepe smell and this fucking guy in his ear all mashing into one bizarre sensory experience, his stress refusing clarity or perceptive definitions.
He stuffed the thing back in his pocket and sat down. Maybe he should change the ring tone, cause this one sure was annoying. Later. He really wanted to play something loud about now, to shout and rock and whistle, but he was too frazzled, and then the unholy thing went off again.
He leapt up like he was on fire, cursing and answering at the same time, so the caller received merde instead of oui. He put his shades in his pocket with his left hand. The guy told him he wasn’t sure right at this moment, cause he had to talk to “some people,” but he’d know in an hour.
“Fuck you Yank!” Johnny screamed, unaware of how this man could even have his number, or who he was. “You have a wrong number,” he seethed, managing to squeeze this phrase through his rage. “Do not call again!”
He hung up and sat down, but then stood up to swap the contents of his pocket, reseating with the phone in the pocket and the shades on his head. This head he shook violently in anger, his face contorting into a grimace of dismay and confusion.
“I don’t know,” he said to a passing English child. “I really do not know.”
Later he felt better. Some of the heat went out of the day, and he sang a few songs to ease the tension. He winked at two Japanese toddlers. The buttons of his coat scraped the guitar as he strummed, the whole thing covered in random marks and scratches. “Why?” he roared. “Why ayayayayayay?”
People came and sat with him. Some he knew. A joint was passed, a champagne bottle went pop, and he left this hippy girl in charge of the guitar to go and buy crisps and bread. He kneaded his fingers as he walked to the shop, feeling alright now, and noticing some white guy in a Senegalese jersey. Dakar back streets, but that wasn’t today nor yesterday. He banished the thought. The hot July night came swooping, and he made it back to the group and sat down. All this energy around, and he had that twitch in his groin. He looked about and clicked his tongue, thought about resting an arm on the girl beside him, but didn’t. Her laugh was not conducive. She was laughing here, having fun, and he could never put the moves on a certain type of joy. Disappointment was a target, innocence was not. It was terrifying.
He rubbed his nose and checked his messages, and there was one, but he couldn’t be bothered reading it. Now might be a time to change that ring tone…ah, later. He put it back in his pocket. A few pigeons remained, strutting and bickering low, and he watched them momentarily, before closing his eyes.
“Why have you left me lonely?
Why have you made me cry?
Why have you left me lonely?
Why ayayayayay..?”


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