she had a black sweater on with white skulls and bows that reminded me of hello kitty. her breasts were low and billowed. an oblong white vegetable was on the table.
i took off my black sweat shirt and had to put it back on. i pulled my hands down the back of my neck to wipe the sweat.
i was thinking about the women. something happens to me when they take off their underwear and i have had a budweiser. i felt hopeful and i wanted to die. i wanted to work with them, to make a proposal that they couldn’t refuse. they went down the stairwell and a bedraggled white haired man with large black frames came up. was he the one they answered to? at times he sat down in the right far corner with a whisky and looked my way or straight ahead. i thought about shooting him in the head. four men conversed with an attractive woman they had taken to the establishment.
a shameless woman told me the mean things her husband said. they didn’t sleep in the same bed. they hadn’t had sex for years. he hated her for having and surviving cancer. she had always had bad health.
the husband was disturbed. he had wanted to be an artist, instead he installed art. he had had a horrible accident that had changed him.
i’m good at telling people what to do, the husband said. he hated his supercilious intellectual father. he had four thoughtless men working under him. they were useless without him. he worked obsessively for his clients. they made him use the back door when he installed work at their ritzy apartments.
it was five and dark out. i walked to the burnside bridge to look at the glassy water and the intractable insular men women and children under the bridge.
george’s face looked like a miscommunication. he was staying at
his grandmother’s. she had been living alone for twenty years. she had never remarried after her selfish husband died in his sleep. he watched porn in her living room while she listened to books on tape in her bedroom. he even had one of his down and out girlfriend’s stay for the night.
what happened to that white woman at your place, george said.
i can’t say, i said. i don’t know.
did you kill her, george said. you can tell me.
i think she died from breast cancer, i said.
people don’t die from that shit, he said.
they certainly do, i said.
they found two women dead in the city park, george said.
that was a year ago, i said.
no it happened last week, george said.
they found a year ago, i said.
i don’t know about that, george said.
what the fuck, i said.
one of them was jamie’s friend. she was a sex worker. she worker near the children’s hospital. she rented a dungeon in a grey house. she was an artist. she never showed her work. she liked to draw. you should see her shit. you would like it.
weren’t you seeing a woman like that in the west side of town, george said.
i was, i said.
is jamie still staying with you and your grandmother, i said.
yeah where else is she going to stay, george said.
i heard they are opening a new shelter in south portland, i said. they got a thousand new beds there. where do they come up with the beds?