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Authors: Jose Rodriguez

Snapshots of Modern Love

BOOK: Snapshots of Modern Love
4.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Snapshots of Modern Love

Jose Rodriguez

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2009 Jose Rodriguez


Part I
The Early Eighties

Outta Here

Money and Cigarettes

Making Sex

Two Chinks

Debbie and Lucy

Greasy Spoon Talk

Letter to Tony

The Old Yankee Who Loves Jesus

Debbie, the Beach, and the Plane


Special Treatment

Rip Off

Two for One

Tony Comes South


The Jetties


The Reckoning



Turning Point

Orlando Night

Hide and Seek

Car Wash Orgy

Daytona Beach Night

Sparrows and Bones

Easy Money

Westward Bus

Voodoo Candle

The Good Life

Debbie Does Dallas

Cuban Hospitality

The Good Samaritan

Funeral for a Friend

Debbie Does Dallas, Again

Boat Trip

The Fucking Trip

Complicated Matters

Book II
An End Like the Movies


Life Goes On

Done Deal

Life and Death in the Fast Lane

The Dummy Talks


Part II
Twenty Years Later

Rise and Shine

Men at Work

Women at Work

Tough People

The Night Owl Presents Pink Floyd

Rejected Virility

Debbie the Whore

Undeserved Freedom

Married Life

Good Timing


Nasty Surprise



The Smell of Old Things

Sweet Home

Searching for Something

Pain, fear and hate

Waiting for Debbie

Living by the Gun

The Plan


The Fool

Showdown at The Night Owl

Hospital Dreams

Family Awakening



Searching for Debbie

Traffic Watch

Debbie and Cash

Dumb and Dumber

Crossroads for the Second Time

Mé jico Lindo

Outta Here

Like a wanted man, I' m leaving Youngstown, Ohio. The Greyhound station reeks of hot rubber and oily fumes and pulses with strange life: a skinny old Nigger in white cowboy boots and a red Stetson nervously moves around the other awaiting scum who hides into the anonymity of their winter coats with collars drawn high. Mud and grease splatter under my feet and dad' s as we walk to the platform. The droning of an idling diesel engine shields our conversation from prying ears but we don' t have much to say to each other.

Fred and Tony got busted, and I should have been busted too, but my quick thinking saved my ass, bolting out of Fred' s car on my fours and hiding behind a pile of farm machinery. The cops got them both; I heard the cuffs snapping around their wrists. At least they kept their mouths shut and didn' t say something like "Hey, where' s Ken?" Believe me, that wouldn' t be beyond their stupidity.

Anyway, I was the stupid one by agreeing with them to go into the District looking for Christmas trees to sell. We dragged those sorry looking pines for miles of knee deep snow, heaved them over a chain link fence and hog tied them on top of Fred' s car - which is still sitting at the police lot. Just as we finish strapping the loot, we see a flashlight beam moving up the railroad tracks, sniffing the snow. "Cops!" screams Fred and the light beam connects with us. Thanks Fred.

Cops and a tow truck chased us all over town. The pine trees clung to the roof of Fred' s car for dear life as we bounced between snowbanks and frozen sidewalks. Fred and Tony are going to see the judge in a week, and my dad, who knows people at the D.A.' s, advised me that it would be a good time to pursue an out of state education. A friend’ s loyalty is sorely tested when the D.A. promises sweet deals in exchange for accomplice’ s names. I know Tony’ s mute stubbornness is beyond the reach of leniency offers, but I’ m doubtful about Fred’ s loyalty. As they say, there is no honor among thieves; not among the likes of Fred.

My dad agrees with me, so here we stand, huddled shadows expelling frozen breaths under cold and anemic lights.

The old nigger is the first to board the bus, cutting through the line, obviously in a hurry to skip town. We all have our reasons, I suppose. I' m heading for Florida, Daytona Beach, to learn to be an airplane driver, and to get out of this cold and mud and the pathetic sight of abandoned steel mills and unemployed drunks.

From my seat I scan the station for cops rushing toward my bus, but only dirty slush and snow and a darkness jagged by the spillover of electric lights lie under the cold air. My dad waves good bye as the bus departs and I reciprocate. He turns his back to me and starts for his rusted pick up, sloshing through the station under his burden of incoming solitude and college tuition.

It' s a heavy load for the old man, but he didn' t hesitate when he offered to help me. Tough old Polack, he would eat his own old boots to save money to feed me. It' s not stinginess; it' s just that every penny he earns adds a layer of rough skin to his already too callused hands.

The bus accelerates, and lurches and continues to accelerate, and I look in the direction where the old nigger sits, and his grin full of white teeth greets me, glowing in the semi-darkness like a half moon, and he says," It' s good to be outta here. Yes sir."

Money and Cigarettes

Debbie' s bus heads north on Interstate 95, leaving south Florida behind, maybe for good. At least that is what Debbie wishes. Her window' s tinted glass reflects a translucent outline of her young face with hard lips caught between a smirk and a frown. Outside the tinted glass the orange groves bloom with myriad white specks spread like white caps against a green sea of orange leaves. She can not smell the blossoms but she can remember their fragrance, strong and sweet, and she remembers how that fragrance used to pervade the otherwise stale air of the apartments and rooms and shacks and trailers and holes in the wall where she grew up.

The fragrance came through the apartment' s window riding on shafts of dusty light. The slanted rays filtered in through the interstices in the Venetian blinds to prove to twelve year old Debbie - who had slept on the worn out couch - that the morning was still young, turning from orange to yellow, preparing to turn into intense, blinding white. Snorts slid underneath the closed door where her mother and her mother' s boyfriend shared their hangover.
are what her mother called them, mostly alcoholics and white trash, one nighters, good for nothing. She got up from the couch, used the toilet and went to visit with Franky, the next door neighbor who was always nice to her.

Debbie cannot smell the scent of the blossoms inside the bus, but she remembers it anyway, and the memory of that smell brings with it the links of memories as if by pulling one in, the others would follow, like pulling a chain out of a dark, bottomless well.

Franky' s face comes to her somewhat diffused, like her own reflection on the bus' s window, but much more distorted. Memories fall apart after so many years, just like a newspaper left on a water pond, and that' s fine with Debbie because, like old newspapers, who needs old memories? It' s his face all right, but she cannot make out the line sunder his eyes or the stubs on his cheeks. They sat and smoked together because that' s what they always did, smoke, and Franky always gave her cigarettes for free. Now, looking at the groves hurry pass her window, she realizes that even then nothing came for free.

First, he gave her cigarettes if she touched it. The more she touched, the more cigarettes she got, and she liked, likes, smoking, so touching it was not a problem for her. Putting it in her mouth took some money, the first money she ever earned, and the longer she kept it in her mouth, the more money Franky gave her.

The moment she felt Franky' s body wince at the touch of her lips, she discovered that she had the means to make men do things for her, like give her money and cigarettes. A revelation flashed inside her young head and she understood why her mother did the things she did, unashamedly, without remorse, and with business shrewdness.

Too many problems at home with mother, and her boyfriends who wanted her to do tricks for free. And drugs. And money. And cops. To hell with everybody, she had decided, and she had taken the first bus to Daytona Beach where the spring breakers were having a ball.

Tall southern yellow pine forests flank the highway in a blur of greenery slashed by brown trunks, and she cannot connect those tall, gaunt pines to any smell in particular. She cannot even remember what a Christmas tree smells like. They never had one.

Making Sex

I don' t like picking women up on my old motorcycle; it' s too obvious, and even the most retarded of passersby knows what you are up to. Picking prostitutes up is a very private matter, at least for me. This is my first free night in a long, long time. Classes and flying during the day keep me busy. Damn, it gets awful sweaty in those airplanes when they make you hold on the ramp or the taxiway. At night things don' t get easier, working as a bouncer until two o' clock in the morning, you know, trying to stretch that student loan and dad’ s and my own money as if they were a piece of bubble gum. But tonight I' m free, and horny, and cash is burning a hole in my pocket. It doesn’ t take but a few dollars to put a hole in my rather thin pockets. Getting a girlfriend is cheaper, they tell me, but at least doing it this way I don' t have to put up with any bullshit, and God knows I don' t need any.

The boardwalk simmers with tourists, mostly fat kids and even fatter parents, all bitching about how hot and muggy the night is. No pussy in sight. Atlantic Avenue is a good bet, so I head in that direction, and in my way I see her for the first time: blond, kind of, nice figure with small breasts, and the working girl trade mark cigarette pack in her hand.

"Hi hon. You looking?" she asks me as I stand beside her as if I were waiting to cross the corner. I’ m incognito.

"Yes, I am," I answer, still looking at passing cars.

I face her. She smiles and pretty dimples form on her cheeks. She is not beautiful; she is cute instead, and outgoing, I can tell.

"Fifty bucks," she says in a pleasant voice.

"I only have forty," I say, which is the honest truth.

Her smile and her dimples seem out of place in a hooker; they belong on some goody-goody commercial. "O.K. You' re kind of cute," she says.

We walk side by side to her room, blending with the crowd, and make small talk. And then we make love, or have sex, or make sex and have love, I don' t know which one it is. But it was well worth forty bucks.

Two Chinks

A summer sun hammers the long line of tourist-packed vehicle strickling by in their way to the beach ramps. The street boils with Yankee cars loaded with old farts dressed in polychrome polyester, and rednecks driving pick-ups that blare Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes out onto the hot sidewalks. The sundry procession goes by, inching its way to the Atlantic with its rewards of overcrowded beaches and piss filled surf.

Debbie stands by the corner, clutching a pack of cigarettes in one hand, her other hand resting on her hip, her rump haughtily shoved to a side and well defined under her light summer dress, a brief dress that exposes the two masks tattooed on her right shoulder just below her hair line. One mask smiles and the other one is sad. She chose that particular tattoo out of the fat and dog eared book a scroungy looking biker artist had given her to pick from; to her it spoke of life' s good and bad times.

Men stare at her with a fixation that would make any woman blush, but she stares back with cold brown eyes and a Mona Lisa smile. The sea breeze tousles her dress and dark blond hair; her small breasts push their hard nipples through her dress' s light fabric. It' s too hot for a bra; besides, she doesn' t own any, an advantage of having small tits, the only advantage she can think of.

Women also stare at her. Some turn their noses up as if offended by an unknown smell; a few laugh among themselves; and others become angry at her sight: she' s giving away for cash what they cherish as a God given treasure, that hair covered slit between their legs that holds the promise of good husbands and happy families. Debbie' s is for sale by the side of the road like a hot dog or a T-shirt, and their men look at it, so easy, reachable and cheap, and their own slits, sitting on upholstery bought with five year loans, drop a notch in value.

She saunters on the sidewalk and trusts her rump in the air with practiced provocation, holding the cigarette pack in one hand, a lit cigarette on the other. She stares at the men in the passing cars, never deflecting her hard eyes from their own scrutiny. It' s hot but breezy and she enjoys the air blowing between her naked legs, carousing her exposed crotch.

She gets a kick out of lifting her dress and showing her triangle to some nerd looking guy, watching his eyes grow big and his brows arch like a cat' s back. It' s amusing to her what the slight sight of a tuft of curly short hairs can do.

Two Chinks in a rental car gaze at her from the curb with their mouths held open in a frozen
. She boldly approaches their car and sticks her head and shoulders through the passenger side window making sure that her dress sags enough to show them her brown nipples.

"Hi hon. Looking for a good time?" She smiles and runs her tongue' s tip over her lips in a long, circular motion. The Asian men remain frozen on their seats, the ooooh fixed on their lips. "For fifty bucks each you can have some good American pussy." She brings the cigarette to her lips, takes a heavy draw and blows the smoke against the wind. The men talk to each other in Chink; she sees smiles crossing between them, and before they can reach their own decision, she opens the rear door and gets into the car, sliding over the seat to a stop, sitting with her legs purposely spread apart. The two men are now staring into her inviting slit resting over the upholstery. Their car joins the traffic stream and heads for her motel.

BOOK: Snapshots of Modern Love
4.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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