Goodbye, Joan

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A tragic Beat party one night in Mexico City.

Submitted: July 09, 2017

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Submitted: July 09, 2017

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He awoke from the heat with his undershirt stuck uncomfortably to his back. The junkie in him really needed a fix. Bill opened his eyes and stared at the baby blue ceiling and the antique fan that turned slowly above him. Belize wasn’t normally this hot in August but it was better than Mexico City right now. Besides he needed a little “Me” time.

Bill rolled to his left and started making concentric circles with his right hand softly over his lover’s smooth tan stomach. An occasional detour north between the breast and south between the legs got Bill the reaction he sought, even though his paramour pretended sleep. It was excitingly obvious. Just before their lips were to meet in a pre coital kiss, Eddie turned his head away, eyes still closed. Bill looked at the young man’s face for a moment before sitting up and hanging his sickly white legs over the bed. He reached for a smoke and lit it, spitting loose tobacco off his lips. He let out his first acrid puff with a resigned sigh and said

“You need to let that dream go.”

A moment passed.

“What dream?” Eddie said softly, not turning to face him.

“The one where I leave Joan and the kids to be with you.” Bill said as he stood up pulling his yellowing boxer shorts on.

“You’re a mean asshole. You know that, Bill?” Eddie retorted sharply.

“Yes, I know. And holding sex hostage from me isn’t gonna make me any nicer.” Bill said.

He was done dressing and headed for the door.

“I’m going out for awhile now, Eddie. When I get back be ready to fuck or be ready to travel.”

Bill closed the door hard behind him.

“Fag” he said under his breath as he departed the hall.

 

Ten days later, just half past nine p.m., Manuel Garza crossed a cobbled street in Mexico City and climbed the two flights of stairs that ran up from the alley side of the American bar Bounty to a party. Manny had been invited by his American friend Lewis Marker earlier that day. He said there would be plenty of booze, plenty of “smart” talk and he may even get lucky. Manny reached the top landing and could hear laughter on the other side of the door. He smoothed down his silk shirt, ran his damp hand through his curly black hair, pulling it straight back. He then reached down and bunched up his crotch. Manny knocked on the apartment door and was invited in.

The tiny apartment was full of horn jazz, cigarette smoke and white people talking fast and loud. Eddie was introduced by Lewis as they shook hands and sized each other up. Eddie offered Manny a drink and caught Bill’s gaze on the young Latino's ass as he showed him to the kitchen. He wasn’t mad and nor was he surprised, just a little hurt. He knew the boy for what he was when he walked through the door and wondered why Lewis would invite him knowing he’d be there.

“What were they talking about in there?” Manny asked.

“Bullshit, mostly.” Eddie said and rolled his eyes. “Burroughs is trying to convince Mr. Carr that we humans, in fact, share a type of Hive Mentality. He’s trying to prove his point with the example of small crowds. How they behave the same under certain circumstances that prove non-verbal communication. Shared information in an instant.” he continued.

“Wow, man.” Manny said. “Those cats are smart, Huh?”

Eddy was already tired of this boy.

Joan Vollmer was the most prominent female member of the “Beat Generation”, mother of two and Bill’s common law wife. Tonight she sat in a sweat stained and smelly wing-back chair listening to her husband blather on about whatever runs through his mind. A manic stream of consciousness and a whole lot of drug fueled nonsense, she believed. Joan looked around the smoke filled room taking in the ferries, intellectuals and hangers on. She was drunk, in a poor mood and tired of Mexico. She shook her empty glass at Bill.

 

Bill hated Speed. Heroin was his choice. It allowed him thought cohesion before speaking but he had to admit the shit he was saying was never the less interesting if not borderline insane. He looked around the room occasionally, taking in who was with whom and if his wife was adequately supplied with sauce. This time she had shaken her glass at him.

 

“Joan, darling.” Bill addressed her but was also speaking to the room.

“I believe it’s time to show everyone our William Tell act.” he continued.

There was no “William Tell” act, Joan knew. Just a pretense of love between them now. She was drunk but she thought she’d play along with her pathetic husbands’ game just the same. Joan stood up and steadied herself on the small oak sideboard. The room went quiet when she placed her Highball glass on her head. Joan tried to wink at Bill and the effect was comical. The room fell into laughter as they were all sure that this was a joke now.

 

Earlier that day, Bill had been secretly packing for another trip. “This time, he thought, I might not come back.” He pulled the little revolver from his nightstand and placed it in his travel bag. He stopped. Thought for a second and pulled it back out. Bill sat on the edge of the bed and looked out the window for a few minutes and then searched the room for his box of rounds.

 

The room fell uneasily silent as William S. Burroughs, King of the Beat writers pulled a small black revolver from the cigar box on the lamp table and aimed it.

“Darling, I’m afraid your glass is empty.” he said and fired the gun.

 

Joan Vollmer had a small hole in her head and a dumb smile on her face when she hit the floor.


© Copyright 2017 R.Guy Barringer. All rights reserved.

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