Fishing in Beirut

April 12, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 21)

Filed under: Character : Johnny, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 09:11

Johnny was cooling on his film fetish, having exhausted the Pariscope of material. The problem was the films never changed. He divided the coke into wraps, and placed these little balls into a drawer. He reached over lazily for the guitar. He certainly had more luck with women than B strings, cause the damn thing had snapped on him again. He strummed a chord and it sounded dead without it.
The other day Michel requested information about women. The how, the why, and the where.
“If you give friendly compliments, you’ll get friends,” Johnny had told him, “and if you praise them like they’re goddesses, you’ll get sex.” Michel had rubbed his chin and thought it over.
Johnny pulled out the drawer and counted how many wraps there were, and then slid it shut. He leaned out the window and spat onto the street, watching the saliva trajectory, and the impact.
He continued doing this for the next five minutes, uncaring of the attention of the old woman across the way. He spat till his mouth was liquid free. It’s an addictive thing – constant spitting prompting more spitting, and then finally you just have to stop. You’d dehydrate and shrivel up and die.
He went back inside to get some water. He opened the drawer and counted the wraps again. There were eleven. Eleven fucking wraps, no more no less, and no need to ever count them again.
The day was threatening activity, a foreboding unknowable something promising drama of some kind. He felt it unquestionably in his bones. He stretched his arms and yawned. Sleeping was a thing of stops and starts now.

That night he went out and picked up Claire. Some English girl who spoke good French. Worked in an office and wanted out. Of the job and of the city. He listened to her hard luck story and she brought him back.
She had an elusive quality he’d seen plenty of, a passive kind of taking it. It was empowering and the opposite at once. For him and for her and for them. He wanted to be gone when he was sated, but she held him coldly, with strength. They lay there and their breath intermingled.
His nerve began failing him. She was staring into his eyes. He clicked his tongue but she was unfazed, and it seemed like an excavation she was conducting for his soul. Not born of warmth but of stoicism. He looked back angrily, undressed and with many tables turned. This girl was a mistake and a killer.
Eventually she slept and he didn’t. He wanted to leave but could not. She wasn’t holding him, he was physically free, but he kept looking at this fucking woman, who had him because he had her. She was right without saying a word. He got up with much effort, staring at her as he dressed, and was back on the street.

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