Johnny America


Open­ing Scene from a ‘B’ Novel­la Ten­ta­tive­ly Ti­tled Ben­ny Hits the Slots


Sis­ter Mar­garet Eliz­a­beth had a string of rosary beads tat­tooed around her an­kle and a row of cig­a­rette burns cir­cling the ra­zor-slashed hem of her robe-turned-dress.

“See any­thing you like?” she asked Ben­ny, who’d been throw­ing her legs side­ways glances for the sev­en­ty-four games he’d played since tak­ing the seat at the slot ma­chine next to her. He’d been trac­ing the counter of her legs while coun­ter­ing the rosary in his mind, won­der­ing if the mus­cles of her bone-pale legs were as taut as they looked. Sis­ter Mar­garet’s robe start­ed just above her knees, be­tween which she’d scis­sored a plas­tic buck­et half full of quar­ters. Ben­ny did­n’t an­swer. He re­peat­ed the rosary and con­tin­ued to gape.

“See any­thing you like?” she re­peat­ed. The whirl of con­cealed mo­tors joined the ca­coph­o­ny of cheers, mut­ter­ings, me­chan­i­cal whizzes, and elec­tron­ic blips as the Lucky 7 slot ma­chine swal­lowed the twen­ty dol­lar bill she was feed­ing in­to its mouth as she wait­ed for Ben­ny’s an­swer. When his ear fi­nal­ly whis­pered the ques­tion to his brain, Ben­ny’s un­aware gaze at Sis­ter Mar­garet’s thigh flipped in­to awk­ward con­cen­tra­tion on the il­lu­mi­nat­ed ‘ROLL TUMBLERS’ but­ton of the game be­fore him.

Ben­ny was a ner­vous twen­ty-one-year-old whose sole sex­u­al ex­pe­ri­ence had oc­curred a few hours ear­li­er; an awk­ward hand job from his sec­ond cousin in the base­ment of the fu­ner­al home.

“I, I see a thing or two I like,” he told her as he locked his eyes with hers in a forced ef­fort to project confidence.

Filed under Fiction on April 7th, 2005

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