Johnny America




He laid her down, and smoothed her hair over and be­hind the head­phones. This was the point in which he re­lat­ed to her best. When she was scared and child­like. Her eyes were closed as if she were prepar­ing for flight. He kept his open for cu­rios­i­ty’s sake, and cued the record.

She told him about the first ghost she had ever felt. When she eight and liv­ing with fa­ther she would stay up late lis­ten­ing to FM ra­dio on head­phones. Lou Reed and his girls came on one night. She’d nev­er heard “Walk on the Wild Side,” and had no idea of its pow­er to fright­en her. The col­ored girl’s cho­rus re­ver­ber­at­ed through her ears and shook her. They haunt­ed her brain and stayed there.

Maybe he did­n’t be­lieve it and need­ed proof, maybe she was­n’t en­tire­ly con­vinced her­self — so they tried it again four­teen years lat­er. Four min­utes and twelve sec­onds lat­er he was still above her. It was as if they had both been seen naked for the first time. They were ner­vous, but the ghost was gone.

Filed under Fiction on November 28th, 2004

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