There lies Guillermo Brown
The church clock strikes eight just so’s everyone in the neighbourhood knows it’s six. On the rain slick, marble steps below a body lies in touching distance of the closed doors. A curious pigeon struts close and pecks experimentally at the worn, sodden fedora covering the face before flapping noisily away.
The last chime fades into the damp quiet leaving a moment of serene silence before a car screeches away from the sidewalk. There’s a flash of a pale face and ruby red lips framed by blonde hair before the car is swallowed by the rain.
There lies Guillermo Brown. That’s me by the way. Yeah, I know; my mother was Italian and my father an Irishman. What’re ya gonna do? You can call me Gil, most everyone does… did.
I’d like to say that it ain’t the ending I had in mind but truth is I never gave it much thought. If I had I would never’ve trusted the Broad.
‘Never trust a dame with blonde hair.’ My father told me once after I’d fished him outta bottle of cheap whiskey. That’s one pearl I shoulda remembered but then most of what came outta my father’s mouth was crap so who can blame me?
The first time I saw her was on Wabash, about three weeks before my final visit to church. The furs were definitely outta place. Maybe that’s what caught my attention; maybe it was the bruise on her cheek – hey, what can I say; ten years of watching my old man beat on mom made me sensitive to that sortta thing. Anyways I ask her if she’s okay but it’s like she ain’t even seeing me so I take a hold of her arm, gentle like and ask her again. This time she nods. I shoulda walked away then but I spy ‘Joe’s Coffee an’ Donuts’ across the street an’ keeping hold of her I ask if she wants a cuppa coffee. She nods again so I walk her over. She don’t resist even when I sit her down at a table and take the seat across from her.
Neither of us speaks as the bored waitress pours two cups of overcooked coffee before returning to her stool at the other end of the diner.
I watch the lady as she lifts the cup with shaking hands and sips at the contents, her eyes on the misted window. I fish out a Camel and light up. Her eyes are drawn to its glowing tip so after taking a long drag I offer it to her. She accepts it wordlessly, filling her mouth with the smoke before exhaling slowly. Her hand seems steadier now. I fish out another Camel – my last – and light it up, never taking my eyes off her.
The dress she’s wearing beneath the fur is Chinese silk and probably cost more money than I see in a year.
‘Who are you?’ She surprises me with the question.
I tell her my name, ignoring the inevitable, momentary humour.
She continues to stare at me through the blue smoke; sizing me up.
I knew then she was trouble; the kind of trouble always looking for someone to happen on. The cost of what she had on her back coulda paid for a roof over my head and fed me for a year. There’s only three ways Broads get that kind of money; they’re born to it, they marry it or they persuaded some poor Schmuk to part with it. Whatever; she was trouble.
I shoulda got up and walked out then.
The thing is; I liked trouble.
an exercise i had to do for a writing course i kinda like it