How Little Jackie Got His
by John Herndon
Friday, January 05, 2007
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
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How we get so bitchy
How Little Jackie Got His Bitch On
Nancy Sinatra sang defiantly through the speakers, throughout the project apartment, “These boots are made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do”
There is a boy of eight years; he snaps his fingers and dances to Nancy’s go-go beat. He carefully studies himself in the semi-reflection of wall unit glass. He is innocent and in awe of his imagined perfection. His mother hanging freshly washed clothes on the dirty fire escape. Two brothers building model battleships for their testosterone-driven dreams to pilot.
“Shut that crap up already”, one of the brothers demands, the boy replies smugly, out-singing Nancy “One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you”
And returns to his dance.
Sometimes his brothers win and he is sent to his room, a small blue box in the back of the apartment; he shares it with his brothers. A set of bunk beds for them: a separate single bed for him - on the other side of the room. The arrangement is metaphoric. His brothers’ models of the starship Enterprise loom suspended from the ceiling, always watching him, like spies lowering themselves on twine – on him. Sometimes he will hang a blanket beneath the mattress of the top bunk; a temporary cotton wall he can hide behind.
Now hidden from his brothers and Captain Kirk, he polishes answers for Rona Barret and Johnnie Carson. And sings Nancy Sinatra “One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”
There is a teenage sister vaguely saying goodbye to a new boyfriend at the door. He’ll be history soon. Mini-skirted and model-like, she is Jackie’s protector and his idol. It is only she he trusts. She beats down his brothers when they beat up on him, snarls her face when the father visits and calls Jackie a faggot en espanol. But today she is cold.
She walks through the room where Jackie dances and says, “You dance like a girl.” And this is where little Jackie gets his bitch on.
Inside this grandest of betrayals, he stuffs all the hurt, all the anger, all the faggots en espanol, till they burn, and they bake, and they harden, and they form a shell around him.
He stops dancing, looks at his sister and sings,
“One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you too – Bitch”
But for the first time in his life – he’s ashamed to dance.