Become a Fan
Benny's Tacos- 1
By J E Thill
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
This is from a series of short stories I never finished.
The cab stopped in front of a renovated warehouse, fluorescent lights buzzed like bug zappers, flickering red light shadows across the Crisco oil slick that ran down the gutters of Franklin Ave.
A pork-chopped cabbie leaned over the passenger seat, rolled down the window and signaled a disheveled man attempting to unload his stomach around the corner.
"Hey man. Did you call a cab?"
The drunk shook his head then attempted a dry heave.
The cabbie hit his horn and waited five minutes, setting the neighborhood record for public transit patience.
The drunk steadied himself on his heels, watching the green and white hack screech away from the curb and down Debero.
Bernard, the drunk we were talking about, hated talking to people. Unless he was quoting a price or buying a bottle he had very little time for social acrobatics.
But he did like to watch, catching the cars rolling by.
Big heavy Lincolns carrying unimpressive men with huge guns down their pants, hookers picking up johns, high heels clacking against
the cement as they attempt to catch up to the waiting Geos revving their engines.
Most people just walk around here.
Assorted nut conversations that passed between groups of couples and singles enjoying a moments chat with themselves.
Bernard enjoyed conversing with himself too.
Bernard - always Bernard never Bernie - pulled up his left leg and thrust out his right, letting the needles pierce into his pinky toe then up to his thigh.
"Oh yeah. That's the stuff." Who needs coke when you have bad circulation.
Henrietta came out of the back of Bennie's, a clear garbage bag thrown over her shoulder.
Everyone called her Hank, never Henrietta.
Bernard will break the rule for love.
She swung the clear bag over to the other shoulder, the weight sending her into the wall.
"How's biz?" she asked, poking a smile through a sagging bang.
"Just fine, just fine. Made five bucks and never had to open my mouth. Got 'er beat, Henrietta. Got'er beat."
"Yeah you sure do."
Hank maneuvered her left hand into her hair, trying to harness it's untamed spirit.
"Well, gotta dump this or take it home."
Hank adjusted the weight on her shoulder again and headed back into the dark, feeling around for the dumpster.
Bernard could hear the metal lid bang against the brick, then back down.
Yellow light cut through black giving a strange glow to a couple guys shooting up, frozen in the alcove they thought hid them as the door came open.
Hank stepped in and left them to scramble away.
Bernard listened for the door to slam then dug into his jean jacket pocket, pulling out a wilted dandelion, browning on the edges and the stem soggy from being handled.
He looked at it closely, dividing the minuscule petals in his head, watching as the air from the restaurant door opening, pushed the flower head back and forth.
"You ain't dead yet, buddy."
Bernard cupped his hand around it's top.
He had seen it growing out of a crack in the concrete, pushing hard, defying the foot traffic that walked on it, kicked it around, beat it so mercilessly that it barely resembled the weed it had started as.
He knew the significants of a strong weed in a cement world.
"Yeah buddy. We got this shit beat."
Bernard put the weed back into his pocket then pretended to vomit as another car pulled up to ask for directions.
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