Johnny America


Gold­en Venture


Massy pulled up the dri­ve­way, in his car they called the Gold­en Ven­ture. Its miss­ing muf­fler was un­mis­tak­able. Vir­ginia picked up her cane and walked to the bed­room win­dow — she saw the car door open, and glimpsed the blonde ha­lo of sun on Massy’s hair. She pulled the cur­tain back be­tween them be­fore he could see her. Vir­gini­a’s moth­er was down­stairs in the kitchen. In a mo­ment, Vir­ginia heard the front door slam and the shrill screams of, “get out of here, she don’t want you!”

Massy, she knew, would lean against the car with a cig­a­rette hang­ing out of his mouth, kick­ing up some dust un­der his boots and look­ing pa­tient­ly up to her win­dow. Vir­ginia walked over to the win­dow, then turned around and went back and sat on the bed. Her moth­er wasn’t yelling any­more. The two of them might be talk­ing, qui­et­ly, about her, or her moth­er might’ve gone back to her cook­ing and left Massy to pa­tient­ly lean as long as he want­ed. She knew he hadn’t gone; the Gold­en Ven­ture would give him away.

She could go, get in the car with him, and dri­ve off to some life com­plete­ly un­like this one. Maybe that was best, or at least dif­fer­ent enough to be worth­while. She pulled her knee to her chest and took off her house slip­per. Where her largest toe should’ve been there was a tight lit­tle pack­et of black stitch­es. The skin around the wound was still yel­low and brown. It was his fault.

Vir­ginia set her mouth, de­ter­mined. She put the slip­per back on and grabbed her cane from where it was hooked on the bed­post. She stomped slow­ly down the stairs, re­hears­ing what she’d say, silent­ly mouthing the words. Her moth­er was at the bot­tom when she got there, dry­ing her hands on a dish­tow­el. “I tried to tell him…”

“I know, I heard it,” Vir­ginia told her. She took the prof­fered arm and the two of them moved slow­ly to the door. “Time for me to tell it.”

The bright sun burst in­to the kitchen through the front door as Vir­ginia de­tached her­self from her mother’s arm. She closed her eyes and stepped out to where Massy waited.

Filed under Fiction on February 22nd, 2005

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Jay wrote:

I’m glad to see this site has­n’t de­volved in­to pure snarky com­e­dy. I like your writ­ing, Emily.

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