Johnny America


The Hours Be­fore Morning


We went down to Cook­ie’s. We parked a lit­tle down the road and walked and it was dark and cold and all that. We sat at the bar, next to where the guys shoot pool bent from the waist. We checked out their ass­es and drank fifty-cent Dix­ie cups of beer and did­n’t go home with any of them. They were lo­cals; we knew them all from high school or be­fore, and on­ly by pre­tend­ing we did­n’t know what faces were on the oth­er ends could we ad­mire the asses.

Lat­er Lu­lu and I found our­selves in front of a shab­by fake-cow­boy pub where some ter­ri­ble coun­try song was blast­ing out the win­dows and we danced a two-step on the side­walk ex­cept nei­ther of us knew how to lead. “This is what hap­pens to les­bians,” I said.

“You’re a les­bian,” she said. I’m not a les­bian. She just want­ed to rile me. A guy came out of the bar just then, and he shout­ed “les­bians? Wooo-hooo!”

Al­most right away he went back in. I guess he did­n’t know what he was com­ing out for in the first place. To see if there were any les­bians out­side, maybe.

We went in­side but Lu­lu got groped al­most right away so we went back out. We sat down on the cold slab of con­crete that ran the length of the build­ing. “God. There is noth­ing to do around here,” Lu­lu said. The cow­boy bar had got us both down. It looked like the set from a West­ern, but even less re­al. We weren’t dressed for the weath­er; we were dressed for close quar­ters, sweaty bars. She lit a cig­a­rette and put the pack back in her purse with­out even of­fer­ing me one.

“You’re a bitch,” I said, reach­ing for the pack.

“For what?”

“Sins of omission.”

“I don’t know what the fuck you’re talk­ing about.”

Just then the door burst open and a fight got pushed out in­to the street, ush­ered by a cou­ple of ug­ly bounc­ers. There were maybe three fight­ers, and a bunch of on-look­ers — who against who we could­n’t tell. The bounc­ers were say­ing “take it out­side,” which is what they al­ways say.

With­out speak­ing, we got up to walk away. We did­n’t want to get clocked with a spare punch, or to be around when the cops showed up, ask­ing ques­tions. We hur­ried down the street, shiv­er­ing, to where Lu­lu’s Chevette sat de­te­ri­o­rat­ing on Parkhurst street. “You okay to dri­ve?” I asked.

“Ab­solute­ly. Let’s roll.”

Filed under Fiction on November 4th, 2005

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Reader Comments

Anonymous wrote:

I did­n’t know what to ex­pect when I googled “sins of omis­sion.” Here it is, a wor­thy en­try, I think, and a de­pri­va­tion the biopic prob­a­bly could­n’t afford:
| Sins of omis­sion | He spied on friends, had as many as 62 lovers, ate il­le­gal del­i­ca­cies and hid his Vichy past. But you won’t learn much of this in the new movie about for­mer French Pres­i­dent François Mit­ter­rand. Stu­art Jef­fries finds out why. | One night, short­ly be­fore his death from prostate can­cer on Jan­u­ary 8 1996, for­mer French pres­i­dent François Mit­ter­rand had an in­ti­mate sup­per with friends. Each din­er was pre­sent­ed with a siz­zling roast­ed or­tolan, which is a spar­row-like bird the size of a lemon. He and his guests placed nap­kins over their heads. Then each bent over their dish, in­haled its del­i­cate vapours, took the bird by its beak and sucked out the in­nards, in­clud­ing bones, through its rectum.

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