pretty boy

I’ll call him Pretty Boy Dickey–the ears were properly rounded,
the nose the proper shape, the face white, the mouth small, the
hair blonde and always washed, he was pale and he was bland.
his clothing fit perfectly, never wrinkled, never dirty and he
walked as if he had sponges upon the bottoms of his feet.
and he always heard the sounds of female voices in my place,
he wouldn’t let me have that for myself, his wife worked until
early a.m. at a disco place and he’d come down and knock.
I’d let him in and then he’d start talking to the woman, he
talked the dullest drap imaginable, mostly about the movies he
had seen or the tv shows.

one night I was with a red head, we’d been drinking a couple of
hours and it hadn’t been a bad night when the knock came:   it was
Pretty Boy Dickey, he had just showered and put on a greenblue
pullover, had on his new tennies, white, with American flag
overtones, a pair of tight-fitting blue jeans covered his slim
legs and thighs.   he came in and sat down and just started
talking to the red head about movies and tv shows.   the red head
just sat there and nodded, yes, yes, and now and then said
something; it was as if I weren’t even there, but I knew I was:
I paid the rent, I bought toilet paper and drinks, I walked from
room to room and I slept in the bed, but it were as if I were not
there.   Pretty Boy went on talking and the red head went on
nodding and I poured us all some more drinks and just sat there.

then, finally, the lull in the conversation arrived.
“how come you’re not talking?” he asked me.   I didn’t answer.
“what the hell’s wrong with you, man?” he asked.   I didn’t
answer.   Pretty Boy flashed:   “look, man, I know you think
I come around and try to make your women!   you think that,
don’t you?”   he knew what I though.
“hey, look, man!   I haven’t fucked any of your women!   I
would have liked to have fucked Katherine!   she was a real
doll!   she was one of your best!   but I didn’t fuck her!
I poured some more drinks.
“that night I went into the kitchen with her and left you
sitting out there so long, weren’t doing anything!   I
wasn’t lining her up!   she was making herself a peanut butter
and banana sandwich!   man, you’re a real ASSHOLE!”
well, I thought, perhaps so.
“I never fucked any of your women!   well, I did fuck Marie
because your Lydia ran her out in the street and she had no
place to stay!”
I hadn’t heard from Marie in some months.

“GOD DAMN IT, MAN!” he stood up and screamed at me,
“WHY DON’T YOU SAY SOMETHING?”
I didn’t answer.   he ran out the door, slammed it.

“Jesus,” said the red head, “you really acted like an
asshole!   here the guy comes to see you and you act like an
asshole!   I guess you thought you were hot shit acting like
some buddha-asshole!”
I didn’t answer.
“oh, ya gonna do it with me?” she asked.
I didn’t answer.
“o.k., bastard!” she leaped up and left, walked up toward
Pretty Boy Dickey’s place up front…

I didn’t see the red head for some weeks, then she came by.
“how’s it going?” I asked her.   she told me various things like
her mother had bought a house ion Glendale, and after mom died
the place would be here, she had the big bedroom right now, and
then she drew me a map of how to get there, the house was right
behind a McDonald’s place, she often went there for snacks with
her child.   we drank a couple of hours, there was no knock on
the door and then later she told me about Pretty Boy:   “he’s a
lousy fuck.”

Pretty Boy didn’t knock that night.   he had his legs up on the
coffeetable and was either into tv or reading the latest copy of
New York.   Pretty Boy knew what to read.   the red head and I
got into a fuck and it was a fair fuck but somehow we had finished
our game as Pretty Boy sat and rolled a joint and waited for his
wife to come in from her disco job, he was faithful at last.