From Here They
by Marvin Pinkis
Wickersham excused himself from his scintillating
table companions. As Lester Von Esposito and his
Society Band played havoc with the barely
discernible strains of "You and the Night
and the Prozac," Rollo opened the Bolivian
doors to the veranda and twenty minutes later
determined his next move by stepping outside.
He strolled to
the rooftop railing of the plush Hotel Wilkes-Barre,
in gay midtown Fargo, and glanced down from the
dizzying heights of the one-story structure from
which the ants below took on the eerie appearance
of very small insects. Rollo lighted a cigarette.
He missed Felicia, his cheetah, and wondered if
she was involved with anyone. It had been several
years since her announcement that she was going
to the corner for game and would be right back.
pensively peered out into the black, starless
night. The black, starless night peered back and
asked, "What you lookin' at, boy?"
on the fateful events that preceded his decision
to not face the music: getting drummed out of
Kiwanis, a broken engagement when Margaret had
turned out to be an alien and the heated argument
as to how raise children, the business with
As he bemoaned
his existence, his reverie was jarred by the
sudden appearance at his side of Velma
Unglespieler (the consonants are silent) who he
dimly recalled as the school slut and that was in
sixth grade. The deafening cacaphonous passages
of a badly-defined tango from inside drowned out
the night noises. Conversation, to be audible,
required shouting at the top of one's lungs.
out into the night with her good eye and
screeched, "Well, Rollo, we meet again. A
centavo for your thoughts."
were gun shots and the music stopped.
an opportunity and answered, "I'll tell you
for two centavos."
"I can see how you got to be rich. You know,
you were practically the only boy in school,
except from third grade down, who I didn't bed."
he hm'd, "as I recall, nearly all the boys
in that class were stricken with every venereal
disease known to man and some peculiar only to
I've always said, you can't have it both ways,
sexual adventure and being disease-free. Remember,
I was a wisp of a girl, barely seventeen."
from around here?" queried Rollo.
handled the query and quipped, "I'm a
creature of the rooftops, living on top of one
building on odd days of the month and on another
even days, spurned by society for indiscretions
during a misguided youth, cast aside by a family
bent on having many children with the sole
intention of eventually disowning them, harassed
by law-enforcement officials who look askance at
my participation in tavern brawls, solicitations
on public streets and dusky alleys, and the
utilization of credit cards that mysteriously
appeared on my person. I'm a victim, I tell you,
experienced many things but never, how did you
say it, beleaguered? But, for money I'll try
right but on a night like this after fortunately
encountering you after all this time, who needs
recriminations? The truth is, I thought of myself
as above you then. Primarily, because I was tall
for my age and you hadn't mastered walking erect."
bitter time. But the training films and private
lessons helped and now I can walk up to ten feet
from where I am without getting hopelessly lost,
if I have a supply of bread crumbs. In that
earlier callow period being close to a prone
posture had the advantage of enabling me to
quickly assume a coital position in my frenzied
quest to be everyone's girl."
strange one, Verna Oogleshpretz. Let me take you
home to mother. Maybe she can do something about
duo walked together into the ballroom where all I's
turned at once to them-- Irma, Irving, Ike, Ilsa
and Betty who did it as a joke.
determined to fly in the face of convention and
relocate far from that place. He would sacrifice
his reputation as the town bon vivant, she as
courtesan to derelicts. Opposites, perhaps, but
strange, even yucky, are the turns this
capricious passage called life can take.