Dancing in the movies [Short stories] by Robert Boswell

By Robert Boswell

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Sample text

Piranhas," she said and pointed to the yellow tile.  "You do love me," she said.  We slid on the magazines, and that became part of the step.  The music was over, maybe for a long time.  "Freddie,'' she said again.  And all the time, inside the frenzy was the calm. Memory hovered about my head, becoming visible at intervals, like particles of dust in twilight—the alley behind the Bree where we bought pot, beneath the slide in the Woodard schoolyard where Dee Page 58 and I first made love, the corner of 5th and Main where the knobby prostitutes hawked, the vacant lot behind the Mesa Drive—In where we made up dialogue for the huge silent screen, all the places we grew up lost—the men in suits and vests with high­polish shoes, the bearded transvestite who collected bottles in the basket of his bicycle, the black butcher with red slabs of meat, the abandoned Sinclair station covered with names, my name, Dee's, Lonnie's, Wilson's, Eugene's—the curtains of my parents' house drawn closed, the liquor store on 49th with the neon dinosaur, the all­night diner on 4th Avenue, Lonnie's Coupe de Ville, the asphalt bedrooms, the Unemployment building, my mother, who told me the last people who lived here didn't know how to behave.

Go back to sleep," Charley said again. " I asked. He didn't say anything. " "You woke us up," I said. " I asked.  Ask was too offended to reply. " Ask didn't want the story to fizzle out.  Charley relaxed but Ask seemed tense, so I elbowed him under the sheet.  I hooked my head around the porch railing, but all I could see was neon red, yellow, blue. " "You're too young to understand," he said. " "What you said to her," I said. Page 35 Charley didn't do anything but stare at us, then back at the cafe.

He wiped at his face, eyebrows.  "Ask Wilson," he said.  "Wilson is clean," I said again, louder.  We cheated together on spelling, stole cigarettes from Quick Mart, made a wreath from oleander leaves for her mother's grave.  Now he was clean, but she was gone.  He, at least, would be sympathetic—we were both looking for girlfriends.  I headed for the Unemployment building.  My letters were returned.  It was then she promised to come to Oregon in the summer. " I asked.  I just threw it back at her upside down to make her hush.

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