Rap 6

The next morning was Sunday. I woke up and sat at the typewriter. I sat there for half an hour and stared at the blank page. It was too early in the day to write. I was still too optimistic.

We had fucked for three hours after the robbery. The near-death experience had made me horny. Now I was relaxed. My thoughts were clear. I pulled a cigarette and a ten dollar bill from Veronica’s pack. I slipped on my loafers and walked to the liquor store for a pint of gin.

It was a long walk and the store was out of gin. I settled for rum. I didn’t feel like walking home. I sat on a bench and sipped the rum. I chased it with a can of grapefruit juice. The bus that ran near my house was coming down the street. I flagged it down.

There was a newspaper on the seat next to where I sat. I picked up the front page. There was a picture of Manny and he looked pissed. The headline read: “Three Men Sought In Downtown Robbery.” Three, I thought. I followed the article, which continued on another page.

“I got on the bus, Gus, but rode it too far,” I said.

On the other page was a picture taken from the surveillance camera behind Manny’s deli case. It must have been taken right after I walked in. I was standing there and there was an arrow drawn over the photo which pointed to my face. Mine was the only distinguishable face. The picture was clear. I folded the paper neatly and placed it on the seat next to me.

There was one other person on the bus, a blue-haired lady. She stared at me. Her purse was clutched on her lap. The driver kept looking at me in his mirror. While I had been reading we had passed my stop. I hit the rum and finished the juice. The bus slowed to pick up another passenger. When it stopped I got out. I had a longer walk home now. I sat on a bench.

A squad car drove by. I was sure I would be thrown to the ground and arrested. I found a payphone and called Veronica. She was asleep.

“Where are you?” she asked. I told her. “What are you doing there?”

“I got on the bus, Gus, but rode it too far,” I said.

“Why didn’t you get off at the house?”

“Please,” I said, “just come get me. The cops are after me.”

“Why are the cops after you? What did you do, Mudd?”

“I didn’t do anything. They think I robbed Manny last night.”

“You didn’t rob Manny.”

“Yes, I know I didn’t rob Manny, but the police think I did,” I said.

“Are you drunk already? You know how paranoid you get when you drink during the day.”

“I’m not drunk. Will you please come get me?”

“I’m not picking you up if you’re drunk.”

“Alright, you don’t have to pick me up,” I said. “Just bring me a pack of cigarettes. Then you can go. I’ll stay here on this bench for the rest of my life.” I hit the rum. “Then you’ll be rid of me. You won’t have to…”

She hung up on me. I waited for two hours and finished the pint of rum. I had a decent buzz. I decided to walk home. She’s not coming, I thought.

Veronica liked to fuck more than drink. I liked to drink, then shag it. I liked to drink after also, especially if the sex was good. That bugged Veronica, the after-drink. She didn’t understand. Our differences made us compatible, to a certain extent.

When I got home she was gone. There was a note saying the police had been there. The note also said that she could never love a man who would rob a friend’s store. I could never tell when she was kidding. That’s what I liked about her. She created a sense of wonder. I pulled a long butt from the ashtray and smoked it. It had ashes on the filter. It tasted alright. I sat down and began to type.

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