A renegade from double indemnity and crisp infidelities, she told him she was still a virgin at bliss. Sitting next to her on the bed, he played with the gun, the same .38 from so many stick ups. With poker face put-on, he said Oh, another stuck up girl, is it? It was his best De Niro snicker. He pointed the piece at her lips smeared with the grease of chicken wings. What do you want me to do? she asked in her best girly voice.
He spoke in subdued tones of gray mixed with cool. I had nothing sweet to offer him. He kept staring at a bowl of plastic fruit. Not real, I finally offered. He shook his head politely. Unable to resist my own leanings, I paraphrased Hamlet’s Existential question–to live or to be still? In the silence, I thought about all the places or items I associated him with: cocktail coasters, N.Y. Times fashion advertisements, scaled down copies adorning an abandoned room in a house. I remembered how his image stopped one show as the tableaux vivant back in’86. His eyes now focused downward, as if trapping some thought in their blue-tunnel gaze. I thought about patches of sea-green melancholy. A background mist. A young girl named Pinkie. There was something about him that was so intrinsically lonely.
Miss thing likes to get down with her paper moons, all scissors and cut-up fingers. Tipsy on Apricot brandy, flirty as the child she once was riding red bicycles downhill, stroking hard curves, bluffing every mama’s boy, or just your mama. “I stole your son’s bike,” she announced from far corners, from screeching burn-outs. The sun was high and she flew solo. But now, seven weeks after rehab, three lunar months after a man scorched her with lies of his red desert existence, a space she could understand, a man whose burning feet she could love, she knows there are two people in the mirror: the tattered girl, the once-again love-urchin without a man or an alibi. And there’s the wanna-get-real her who gets reborn every happy hour, only to get aborted at the door.
Joseph Ridgwell contributed to the “The Beat” with his own distinct literary voice and gusto! A literary force to be reckoned with!! Huzzah!!!
Interview by Dan Holloway – published November 13, 2010
A while ago I recommended the really rather fantastic Beat Anthology, the best of the also fantastic site The Beat UK, published by the equally fantastic Blackheath Books. It’s a remarkable collection of stories that it’s rather tricky to track down to a certain theme, oeuvre, or any other arts wank category. Well, almost. Because I did notice a preponderence of public transport. Is this a comment on our eco-aware age? Is it an anti-individualist statement? Are the authors actually, like me, just not quite up to getting a driving licence.
Do I have a favourite? No, not really. I loved Andrew Gallix’s train; and Melissa Mann’s car (hmm, car, it must have been one of those street share jobs). But I couldn’t say one story was better than another. Somehave more modes of transport, and some fewer maybe, but better? That’s about more than planes, trains, and automobiles.
Anyway, before the metaphor breaks under the strain, I got to interview Sean McGahey about the book, the Beat, literature today. Even public transport….
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― George Eliot,
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