Fishing in Beirut

February 10, 2010

Part 3: Blue, July – Sept 2002 (scene 10)

Filed under: Character : Johnny, Part 3 : Blue — fishinginbeirut @ 08:40

Johnny cut the powder. He chopped lines, and she snorted it from his bed, half-covered by a faded African rug. She was scarred across her breast. Why he let her come here he didn’t really know, but mostly when she called he was prone to answer yes. It was easier.
Her hair was blond but darkening, and her hands shook involuntarily. She called him ‘J’. The rug was across her belly and thighs, and she was sitting in a lean, her left arm on the dirty mattress for support. He had four lines done on the back of some book, and he handed it to her.
“Je pense parfois que tu me detestes,” she told him. He reassured her she wasn’t hated. There was someone calling on the street outside, and Johnny bade her be silent till he strained to hear if it was for him. Satisfied it was not, he reseated.
“Cover up your tits,” he said roughly, and she scowled and did so. The rug was now exposing her thighs, and he exhaled in frustration and jumped up, clicking his tongue and fingers simultaneously. From a drawer he fetched a tablecloth, threw it at her fast, and when she failed to move, he draped it ‘cross her legs. Now she was head and feet.
“J’ai trop chaude maintenant,” she murmured. He rolled his eyes and removed the cloth. She kicked her legs as if they had just been freed, and he reached over to knead her calf. She purred from somewhere sad.
“Oui bebe,” she offered low, and his hand went slightly up. He continued, advanced, stroked the pallored skin, and reached a point of contact that both right then desired. She lay back.
His phone rang. He thought about ignoring it, but then he picked it up, and talked of drugs and money with his right hand in the girl. She twisted while he spoke.
“All of that is not possible at once,” he said. This guy sounded English, and had his number from Michel. Johnny was going to have to talk to Michel. He stood up abruptly, and she hit him with her foot, a hiss of sharp annoyance pushing from her mouth. He batted the foot away, and removed himself to the window.
“Next week,” he said to whoever. “Next week will be OK.”
Two children were playing football down below. An African and a Turk, judging by the latter’s jersey. The World Cup had just ended, Brazil the champions since June 30. Johnny watched the kids volleying. He didn’t want to see his room, her body, the drugs and books and guitar strings, everything strewn about randomly. He wanted to watch this. Soccer. Football. Wholesome activity. Zidane and Figo, and the pursuit of excellence. His call ended, and he stared, transfixed.
The ball bounced on the concrete. The children passed with skill. He wanted to be down there, to be running, to be sweating from exertion as the body muscle pumped. To be asexual and uncaught. To never know lust, desire, betrayal or relief. To be the man who runs with the ball. To have no knowledge of women, of drugs, of the mechanics of the city. To kick and sweat in peace.
He heard her calling his name.
“J,” she whispered. “J, viens ici. Je suis desolee.”
He turned back to reality.
Walking over gently he climbed on to the bed, and she worked on his belt as he pushed off the rug. The springs creaked in protest, the bed so old and bent. They lay side by side, hands exploring skin, and when she kissed his lips, he felt his soul relax. The ball skidded off the kerb outside.


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