Fucking Johnny Broom. After almost twenty years of hiatus, good ‘ol Broom decided to stop by his mind for a visit. That’s just the way it was with Reeder. Invisible people were always dropping by, making an appearance, checking in on his mind.
This one, Johnny B., had once upon a time crawled out of the pages of Edward Ronn’s Gang Rumble that night Reeder perused that particular tome. He always remembered that first line, so trite, so typical of the times: “Young Johnny Broom had it all figured out. Only suckers and squares – like his brother Pete – worked for a living. There were easier ways to make the fast buck and a cheap thrill.”
He remembered finding the book in the army green dumpster back in the alley, all warped and twisted by the elements. And there were plenty of strange elements back in Greenville. But that was past now; now all that was left in his mind of his hometown were the opera obligatto hollers and a baby grand piano, a piano so vast and abundant that it was almost as if it was alive. It was life itself, all of it contained in that single piano. Every time he’d walk up to it, his skin froze and tensed, the hairs on the back of his neck stiffened and stood. Ah, how could Brother Joe have been so clueless, if only he could be here now.
“It’s starting! Starting I say,” he wailed onto the faithful from his small town past now shifting restlessly in his mind. Finally a world we can actually claim as ours, he thought. No more serving, no more dishes, no more folding clothes, no more alley smoke in your eyes – it is all ours! Yea, right Joe, dream on… There were easier ways, he’d thought unoriginally as he pounded on those keys, as he had wailed out of control in all those halls. Goodbye Joe, goodbye Greenville. After that it was the big N.O., then the Golden State, and now the Shining Star of the Caribbean, a star on the verge of a supernova collapse. Buildings and security guards, record labels and rhinestone studded glasses, screaming teenagers and anxious executives on the sidelines.
The traffic would not give; the cab was a stupid idea. He paid the driver a couple of bucks and got out of the cab while he adjusted his brassier full of toilet paper. Vintage voola turned into an infested slut, shiny little dreams littering the alleys all the way back home. However, the uproar of a stormy night in San Juan cleansed his thoughts and afforded him so clarity, some direction. So many people on the move, so much wind stirring things up. He recalled that night at the Note when Paul Peek explained to him the pleasures of anal penetration.
“See,” Paul had said, “there are these glands along the walls of your rectum passage that are connected to your adrenals. I think in women this mass is called the G-spot, but in men in endows anal penetration with the capacity to unleash quite an orgasmic experience, thanks to some watchamacallit hormone or other, you know?” Shit just flowing out without rhyme or measure. Reeder never imagined he’d meet a person so full of shit, so absolutely off. No Paul, not quite, a true orgasm could only be experienced out and about, on these damp streets and alleys swelling with energy. If Paul were still alive he’d call him to explain how a real orgasm relied on numbers, simple arithmetic. Poor cocksucker died with one up his ass, lucky bastard.
From somewhere came the time, above the din of social anxiety, and he realized he was already late. Fuck it, and fuck Pantojas too. He could go to hell. Reeder was sick of it, sick of the whole damned thing. Fuck his vaudeville robes, his crappy show and his hairy ass. It had taken Reeder quite a bit to figure out that doing a transsexual burlesque was not really an Easier Way.
“Esquerita mi amorrrrrr…!” He turned to find a glowing Raoul. “I thought you were doing the show tonight as well?”
“Brillas de lo pendejo que eres, Raoul. Just get the hell outta my life.” If only Pantojas could’ve heard that, how he’d given serious lip to one of his so-called high rolling regulars. He’d say it again louder, so all the joint could hear. But you know what, he didn’t need Pantojas, the anonymous mass of people around him was enough for him. He’d have the whole world as witness.
Only one thing left to do: return to the grand ol’ piano, to the pounding and hollering that had made that white woman back in Dallas faint, twice, to the mile-high pompadour and patent leather Cuban heels that made him tower over seven feet, to Sister Rosa by the ovens with the bread, blessed in every conceivable way. In a raging fit of revelation he began to undress, to shed, first his wig, then his bra, the wild black rippling over his chest. He ran into the streets, the toilet paper flowing back like a glamorous scarf, jumping onto the hood of a car and grabbing his balls for all to see. “For all of you to eat one last time!” Then his dress, carried by the hurricane winds for what seemed like forever, every article of clothing taking to the air like bats out of hell.
In seconds he was naked and covered in goose bumps. “Fuck you Johnny Broom!,” he screamed as he jumped from car to car, his bare feet denting the hoods. From his vantage point, Reeder could see the river of still cars, the lack of motion, the stunned faces, he could even hear the heckles of far away bystanders, amused by the turn of events. “Storm, hey stoooorm,” he continued, “this is your victory, this is your lesson, your legacy!” He continued hopping from car to car, banging on the rooftops, urging people to wake up and strip away the lies, the fears, and experience with him a real orgasm. But when he landed on the blue Gran Torino on the farthest lane, the driver stepped on the gas and he lost his footing. Down, of course, he went, his glass eye jumping ship upon the impact from LeCar speeding by on the grassy median.
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