As the pistol spun and wobbled on the oak table, Jay remembered playing spin the bottle in the basement of his grandparents’ house. They had used a glass milk bottle and it clanged loudly on the concrete floor. It was cold and musty down there, but he remembered his palms were sweaty. The girls were Dawn and Amber. He was the only the boy. Eventually, he knew, he would kiss both of them, and he would get to see them kiss each other. It was safe, because none of it was his idea, but he had to hide the tremble of his hands. Then his grandmother ruined everything. She heard the odd sound in the basement and intervened before any kissing occurred. He wished his grandmother were alive to intervene now.
Bullet Brown sittin at the bar sparked the fire when he tells Tall Tan, “Don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit.”
Tall Tan, the Collector Man, poured some gas on the spark. “Too late for that. The shit started when you opened your goddamn lying mouth.”
Bullet smiled his gap-toothed smile. “Well, fuck, man. If we gonna do it let’s get to it.”
“Does Frida have a good nose?”
Harold Zelenko lit his ninth cigarette of the day, and took a gulp of coffee. “Old ball and chain has the best nose in perdition,” he said. He loosened his tie and unbuttoned his collar. The Florida sun hadn’t yet reached its zenith, but there was no roof over the fenced motel patio, and it was a barbecue pit.
“I was never in the Boy Scouts,” I lied. It seemed the wiser course in the job interview than to have the possible employer learn I had been asked to leave Pack 22 after telling the Scoutmaster what he could do with the rope he was using to teach knot tying.
Please be aware – Very strong adult content. Colourful language. May be offensive to some readers.
We went as far as his car would take us, driving past the smoking blue mountains of north Georgia and Tennessee, the hickory sweetness invading the cracked leather of our 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier, which was an indistinguishable red-brown-orange depending on which angle you looked at it from. We sped through the once-treasured nightmare of Detroit, the neglected chaotic sunset of Dallas. Yellowstone, freshly scorched and withered from its latest cleansing.
Listen, you’ve gotta hear this.
I was over by my Ma. I don’t see her much, but I’m trying to do better.
Some of you guys have met my girlfriend, Doris. She comes from a big family so I figure I’ll take her over to Ma’s house and that way I get to see my Ma and Doris sees that I’m a good family man. Can’t hurt.