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Authors: Robert Klane

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BOOK: The Horse is Dead
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Nemiroff hated lunchtime. He hated eating with the ten slobs he had in his group. They were disgusting. Nemiroff made them eat with their hands anyway. He had turned his back on them one day at the table and was immediately attacked with knives, forks and spoons. The doctor who sewed him up remarked how he had never seen a spoon wound before, and didn't Nemiroff think the stitching made an interesting pattern on his arm?

 

Nemiroff sat the kids at the table and walked into the kitchen to see what was on the menu for lunch. "What kind of shit you feeding them today?" he asked the cook. Nemiroff didn't like the cook.

The cook was holding a ladle of hot gravy. "Yesterday's shit warmed over," he said. He walked over to Nemiroff and poured the gravy over Nemiroff s head. The cook didn't like Nemiroff either.

Nemiroff walked back to the table. "I'm going to tell you what's for lunch, and I'm only going to tell you once, so listen." He waited for the pounding on the table to stop. "There's meat loaf, mashed potatoes, peas and gravy."

There were cries of disbelief from the kids. This was the twelfth straight day for meat loaf.

"O.K., quit complaining and tell me what you want." He pointed to the first boy.

"I'll have meat loaf, peas and gravy. No potatoes," he said.

Nemiroff nodded. "Next"

"Give me the meat loaf, no gravy, no peas."

"Next" He pointed to the next kid.

"Just gravy."

"Next."

"I don't want anything."

"You gotta eat. How you going to live without food?" Nemiroff asked.

"I've been doing pretty good so far," the kid answered.

"Don't be a wise guy." He pointed to the next kid. "Next"

"Meat and potatoes. No gravy on the meat gravy on the potatoes."

Nemiroff waited until all ten kids had given him their orders. "Nobody wants to change their mind before I go get it right?"

They all shook their heads.

Nemiroff walked back into the kitchen.

"What'll it be?" the cook asked.

"Ten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches." Nemiroff thought for a second, then added, "With gravy."

It took Nemiroff a long time to finally build up the nerve to ask Henrietta Lang out. She was one of the counselors at Camp Winituck, and like most of the other women counselors she always seemed to be ducking Nemiroff. He thought it was amazing the way he could get to within five feet of a girl, and then she would turn around a corner and Nemiroff would never see her again.

Nemiroff drove up to Henrietta's house and left the motor running while he went to call for her. Nemiroff figured it was always a good idea to leave the motor running just in case he had to
get
out in a hurry.

Henrietta answered the door wearing a pair of slacks and a sweater. "Oh, so you showed up?" she greeted him.

"You're glad
to
see me, huh?" Nemiroff said.

"As long as you're here, c'mon in." She barred the door with her body, and Nemiroff forced his way in. Nemiroff had to admit she was pretty strong though. He had heard she was studying to be a gym teacher in college and was quite an athlete.

"You gonna leave the car running?" Henrietta asked.

"Yeah." Nemiroff shrugged. He knew he'd be leaving soon.

"We're not going out, you know," she said.

"How come?" He really didn't have to ask. He knew the answer.

She hit him with it anyway. "Because you're a stupid shit I know what you try to do with everybody."

Nemiroff was sorry he asked. But he always asked.

Henrietta led Nemiroff into the living room. "Have a seat." He sat down on a chair and made room for Henrietta. She walked over to the other side of the room and sat down. "So how are things going?" Nemiroff started. He never got a chance to hear her answer because at that moment her Great Dane came bounding into the room and jumped up on Nemiroff's lap. Nemiroff and the dog went rumbling over backward in the chair. Nemiroff just lay on the floor while the dog licked him in the face. His breath almost knocked Nemiroff out. He fought to his feet.

"What the hell is that?" Nemiroff screamed.

"That's a dog, stupid."

"I know it's a dog, but do you have to let him in?"

"He likes you. Leave him alone," Henrietta said.

Nemiroff picked up the chair and sat down in it again. The Great Dane immediately jumped up in his lap again. Nemiroff pushed him on the floor.

Then the dog walked around the chair and started sniffing at him. Nemiroff tried to get back in the groove with Henrietta. "So how are things going?"

"Not bad." She was hardly listening.

Now the Great Dane had started to climb up on Nemiroff's leg and began humping it. Nemiroff tried to ignore him. "That's nice," Nemiroff said. "How do you like being a counselor?"

The dog was going a mile a minute now and was slobbering all over Nemiroff.

"I like it!"

"Good." The dog was big enough to be staring right into Nemiroff's eyes while he was humping his leg. Nemiroff thought he saw the look of real love staring back at him. He started to get nervous.

"Do you suppose you could do something about your dog?" Nemiroff asked.

"Why? What's he doing?"

"He's fucking my leg," Nemiroff answered.

"What's wrong with that," Henrietta asked. "He's probably horny."

Nemiroff couldn't argue with that. "Yeah, but I think he's ruining the crease in my pants."

"He's enjoying himself."

It sounded final to Nemiroff. "Maybe so, but I came over to see you, not to have your dog hump my leg." It sounded logical to Nemiroff.

"You must have nice legs," Henrietta wondered.

By now the dog was emitting audible growls and moans. His tongue lashed out and kissed Nemiroff on the mouth. Nemiroff wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The dog licked him again. Nemiroff stared into those two big eyes and didn't dare wipe his mouth again. He didn't want to hurt the dog's feelings.

"He really likes you, you know?" Henrietta seemed surprised.

Nemiroff made a move to get up. The dog growled at him. Nemiroff sat down. "Couldn't you put him outside or something?" he asked.

"Let him finish. He's been locked up for a few days."

The dog licked Nemiroff s ear. That was it. The dog could tear him to pieces, but Nemiroff was damned if he was going to sit there and get laid by a dog.

"I have to go, Henrietta," he said, starting to get up again.

"So soon," Henrietta lied.

"Yeah, what the hell." Nemiroff shrugged. He started to walk out of the living room, but the dog wouldn't let go. Nemiroff shook his leg a few times, but the dog just seemed to enjoy that more. Nemiroff dragged the Great Dane out of the house with him. Henrietta followed him to the door. "Have him home early," she said.

"Have him home early?" Nemiroff screamed. "What the hell do you think I'm going to do with him?"

"That's your problem, but you're not going to get rid of him for quite a while. Once he starts, that's it." She closed the door behind him.

Nemiroff struggled to the car, the dog humping frantically on his leg. The dog had a death grip on him. Nemiroff dragged the dog over to his car. He leaned down in the road and picked up a board. Then Nemiroff tried to pry the dog loose. He wouldn't budge. Nemiroff was beside himself.

He climbed into the car. The dog climbed in with him. Nemiroff stretched his right leg across the front seat with the dog still clinging to his leg. He would have to drive with his left foot. Nemiroff pressed down on the gas pedal and drove away. He looked at the dog next to him on the seat. The dog looked at Nemiroff. Where the hell could he go with the dog? He sure as hell wasn't going to get out of the car again.

Nemiroff made one last desperate struggle to free his foot, but the dog almost chewed his head off. Nemiroff gave up and relaxed. Nemiroff and the dog sat through both features of the drive-in movie. He was madder than hell about having to spend the evening with a goddamn Great Dane humping his leg, but he was even madder at the son of a bitch at the box office who made him buy an adult ticket for the dog.

Halfway through the second feature Nemiroff felt the dog starting to ease up on his leg. Nemiroff thought it was too good to be true. He tried getting his leg free, and he almost cried with joy when he felt it slip out from under the dog. The dog then curled up in the seat and went to sleep.

Nemiroff started the car and drove out of the movie. He headed straight for Henrietta's house, but he drove very carefully because he didn't want to take a chance of waking the dog up and having him start all over again. Nemiroff eased the car up in front of Henrietta's house. He reached over the dog and opened the door of the car very quietly. Then with one big push, he shoved the dog out of the car and stepped on the gas pedal at the same time. He heard the dog barking in the distance as he swung around a corner, causing the door to slam shut Success.

But Nemiroff was shot. He knew he needed a drink, so he drove over to the saloon. Nemiroff burst through the doors and saw Marshall standing by the bar. Nemiroff figured it was late enough so that Marshall had already scored tonight and was back making a full report. Nemiroff was in no mood for any of Marshall's stories tonight "Hi, buddy," Marshall greeted him.

"Fuck off," Nemiroff said. "Give me a beer, please," he said to the bartender.

"Whatsamatter, buddy?" Marshall asked. "No action tonight?"

Nemiroff just shook his head and didn't answer. He reached for the beer that was set down in front of him and took a long pull.

"Rough night huh?" Marshall continued. "Don't let it throw you."

Nemiroff set down the beer and turned to Marshall. "You wouldn't believe it" he said.

"C'mon, try me." Marshall was curious. "Did you get laid or not?"

"Yes," Nemiroff said.

"Well, what are you looking so bad about?"

Nemiroff just shrugged again.

Marshall went on, he had to find out. "Not too pretty, huh?"

Nemiroff looked at him and a tiny tear came to his eye. "Oh, c'mon," Marshall said. "She couldn't have been that bad." He really wanted to comfort Nemiroff now. "Listen," Marshall went on, "don't let it get you. Even I've fucked a dog once in a while."

Nemiroff put down the beer and walked out of the bar. Even alcohol wasn't going to help tonight.

 

The very first moment Nemiroff entered the arts and crafts room he knew he was in serious trouble. When he stepped inside, all Nemiroff saw was someone dressed in tight green Capri pants, an open yellow blouse tied around the middle, and open-toed pink sneakers with tiny pink painted toes peeking out.

"Excuse me," Nemiroff said, "but where's Mr. Green?"

The pink toes danced across the floor and stopped in front of Nemiroff. "I'm Mr. Green." He grabbed Nemiroff around the neck and kissed him hard on the lips.

Nemiroff was stunned. "What are you, queer or something?" he asked, pushing Mr. Green away. Mr. Green just giggled and danced around Nemiroff. He pinched him on the ass. "Cut it out," Nemiroff said, trying to stay out of his reach.

"Oh, you silly goose," Mr. Green sang, "come in and sit down. C'mon, kiddies." He motioned to the table in the center of the room. Nemiroff marched his group to the table. "Now," Mr. Green went on, "is everybody comfy?" He danced around the table and pinched every one of them. "I'm Mr. Green and I'm your arts and crafts teacher, but from now on I want you to call me Miss Helen."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Nemiroff asked.

"Now now"—he shook his finger at Nemiroff— "none of that pooh pooh language." He threw himself on Nemiroff and kissed him again.

Nemiroff pushed him off. "Now listen, Mr. Green . . ."

"Miss Helen," he interrupted. ". . . Miss Helen or whatever the hell you are," Nemiroff stammered. "If you ever try that again I'll kill you." Nemiroff walked to the far end of the table.

"Oh, isn't he something?" Mr. Green said. He picked himself up off the floor. "You boys certainly have a vicious counselor." He was standing at the opposite end of the table. "And I just love tough men."

Nemiroff wasn't expecting it. Mr. Green dove across the table and wrestled Nemiroff to the floor. He tried to bite Nemiroff on the ear. Nemiroff pushed him off and ran around to the other side of the table. "Cut it out," Nemiroff warned, "and start teaching these kids some arts and crafts."

"Oh, all right if you don't want to play," Mr. Green said, dancing over to the other side of the room. "Now all of you sweet little boys have to make at least five projects before the end of the summer." He winked at Nemiroff, who had picked up a wooden hammer that was used for softening leather. Nemiroff waved it menacingly at Mr. Green. "And I have to make you," Mr. Green screamed.

Mr. Green was off like a shot toward Nemiroff. He leaped halfway across the room, landing hard on Nemiroff and knocking him to the ground. Mr. Green was going after Nemiroff's ears again. Nemiroff was beating Mr. Green over the head with the hammer. Mr. Green gave up first. "Oh, you're a real fighter," Mr. Green said. Nemiroff was searching the room for something a little bit more deadly than the wooden hammer.

 

That night Nemiroff decided to go to the local saloon and mingle with the real people. Maybe Marshall had a new story. Maybe he could even find some action with a gentile girl.

As soon as he walked in the door, Nemiroff noticed the girl sitting over in a corner. She had long, straight black hair that framed her sunburned face. She was all alone, playing a guitar and singing to herself. Nemiroff noticed how nicely her right breast fitted into the curved body of the guitar. He watched it shake as she strummed the guitar. Nemiroff became hypnotized. He picked up his glass and walked over to the girl.

"Hi," he started, "do you play that thing?"

The girl looked up at him. "No, I just carry h around to hold up my right tit."

Nemiroff fell in love. What a girl. There was something about her. He would marry her and have children with her. Maybe it wasn't too late after all. He wondered how many times she had wandered into the bar and he hadn't seen her because he was too involved listening to Marshall's bullshit stories. But that didn't matter. Tonight he saw her. She would even make him forget Miss Booe.

BOOK: The Horse is Dead
13.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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