And so it begins, like this, waiting too long for a lazy train out of Lake Tahoe. The woman he loves lying flat on her back on a brand name double mattress in a whorehouse in Carson City. Now too far behind him. Now all alone except for a slow talking waitress with Kool-Aid stained hair and a Scandinavian drawl and too many plastic bracelets all on one wrist. And two more working girls, both hair lipped and happy eyed even when they try to look sad. Watered down Irish whiskey in a glass on the counter. A half eaten club sandwich. Zach Brown Band on the jukebox.
My mother grew fruits and vegetables and tobacco on a small farm in Eastern Pennsylvania, he said. My mother baked pies and bread and sold them every Saturday and Sunday at markets up and down the coast, she said. Both of their fathers drank too much and beat on their older brothers, but never them, and died at the bottom of coal mines ninety miles away from each other, ninety days apart, deep in the Appalachians. He brushed her hair before she undressed herself, then him, before he laid his head on her lap and listened while she told him about her brother Eric losing his left arm in a small town south of Baghdad during Desert Storm. She cried when she said the word Storm. Her voice was thin and nasally, almost Midwestern.
Come back home with me, back east. I'm sure your mother misses you, he said. Anyone who misses me is long gone by now baby, mountains are all the same no matter which ocean they crumble into, she said. He kissed her neck and her ear and her temple and asked her again and when she said she wanted to but the time wasn't right he paid her more than they prenegotiated and they both got dressed without having sex and she thanked him.
He went on to Lake Tahoe, to the Cal-Neva hotel. He was commissioned to rate and review it for a small travel magazine out of Baltimore. He stayed in the cabin where Frank Sinatra took Marilyn Monroe. He asked the flat chested woman at the front desk for information about the secret tunnels he read about in the same travel magazine. The ones Frank and Marilyn used to usher themselves back and forth, secretly, away from clouds and pictures and the failed promises of the California sunsets. Both nights he was there he only thought about the whore he loved in Carson City. His write-up suffered. He boarded his train.
Me and my cousin just stopped in on our way to LA. His friend knows Duff, the dude who used to be in Guns n Roses, he said. My dad used to manage the band Slash was in before he got with GNR. My cousin knows Duff too. She says she fucked him, but I doubt if it’s true. We grew up in LA, used to party with all those guys before they made it big, she said. Well we should all get together and get fucked up and party. Both of you bitches can take turns sucking my dick and fight over who gets to swallow it, he said. I'll cram your dick so far into the back of my throat I'll lick the bottom of your balls at the same time, she said. Her voice was thin and nasally, almost Pacific Northwest. Well let's do it then, he said, then slapped her twice on the ass before they both agreed on a fair price.
Barry Graham is the author of nothing or next to nothing and The National Virginity Pledge. He also edits dogzplot.