Another day. Another excerpt. Linearity, damned! However, the segments for the next few days will follow each other.
Johnny threw his shoes onto the bed. “Don’t fit,” he said. “They’re the same shoes you wore yesterday.” “They changed.”
Eleanor danced nakedly spinning on the balls of her feet with her arms wide. “They’re evil,” said Johnny. “Let’s burn them,” said Eleanor.
They stood in the driveway of the hotel and poured cooking oil on Johnny’s shoes. Johnny struck a match. Eleanor blew it out. He struck another and stuck his fingers in Eleanor’s mouth. The shoes went up in flame. “Smells like cancer,” said Johnny.
Shoeless, Johnny walked down the block to the convenience store at the end. Eleanor followed and for a moment Johnny was confused before he remembered they were together and so he puffed out his chest and put his arm around her as they passed through the automatic doors.
Then he went to look at snacks. There were many colors but Johnny chose the chips in the red bag. “Like the blood of the innocent,” he whispered. A blind man stood at the register. Johnny handed the blind man a bill. “What is it?” said the blind man, squeezing the bill. “A billion dollar bill,” said Johnny. The blind man counted out Johnny’s change. Eleanor stole a candy bar. “I’ve got nearly a billion dollars now,” said Johnny. Eleanor laughed. They rented a paddle boat.
+ + +
Eleanor found herself hopelessly drunk at a gay bar. “What sorcery is this?” she whispered. But as she was already dancing, Eleanor figured she might as well continue to dance. “I’m a gay man now,” said Johnny. “What?” “I took a penis this big.” Johnny spread his hands apart as far as he could. “Then another one this big.” Johnny halved his reach. “Then I stuck mine in a man this tall” Johnny halved his reach again. “Fucking heck,” said Eleanor, but then he kissed her.
In the morning Johnny couldn’t find his shoes. “We burned them,” Eleanor said. “Did we buy a new pair?” “That doesn’t sound like us.” “I guess not.” “Come back to bed.”
In the afternoon Johnny walked to the convenience store. “No shoes, no service,” said the blind man. “How did you know?” The blind man pointed to his ears. Johnny nodded and stole a candy bar.
+ + +
Johnny threw wide his arms at the sight of the train. The sun felt good on his tanned arms with the arm hairs bleached white. Eleanor tapped his butt with her sun hat and travel bag. He put his arm around her and pulled their hips close while the train slowed.
Eleanor and Johnny took seats facing each other. Eleanor shut the blinds to put some shade between they and the listening sun. Across the isle a pair of morbidly obese pacific islanders sat like an opposing king and queen. They were napping now, but Johnny found them agitating.
“Denver was nice,” Johnny agreed. “I’d never skied before.” “You did good. You were always athletic.” “Was I?” “Always.” “Acrobatic, even?” “More like a squat lifter.” “It’s a shame we’re headed home.” “I got tired.” “I got bored.” “We could sabotage the train in Kansas.” “Not Kansas.” “Illinois?” “Let’s get drinks.”
Johnny looked for a drink cart down the aisles. “Be back,” he said. He stepped across the gap between cars.
The next car was full of Africans. Johnny didn’t know much about Africans. “Maybe Ethiopians,” he mused. Johnny didn’t know anything about Ethiopians. It was all dark skin and colored fabrics and smelled like people that weren’t his own. Carefully, Johnny slinked through to the end of the car.
The next car after was almost completely empty. Only one small woman sat facing Johnny. Her thin hair dangled from beneath the hood of her coat. Her wide eyes were fixed on Johnny. “A salamander,” Johnny decided. The old woman licked her cracked lips. It was too much. Johnny went back to the Ethiopians.
“King Black. There must be a King Black I can grovel alcohol from,” Johnny thought. He looked around for the biggest most colorful African. What did an alpha Ethiopian look like? Johnny didn’t need to ponder. A loud clicking voice brought the car’s attention to an old fat man in a green cloak. The fat man motioned Johnny over. Johnny obeyed.
The fat King wore a golden collar and had a crooked nose, twice broken. He patted his lap, so Johnny sat on the fat king’s lap. He said something in a language Johnny didn’t know. “What?” The king made the same noise. “What?” said Johnny.
Johnny acted. He raised an invisible bottle to his lips and staggered about to the noise of the African’s approval. The Black King gave Johnny a gift of a bottle of rum from his suitcase. Johnny shook the fat man’s hand and posed as the car took pictures of the two men with cell phones.
“The return of the ambassador,” said Johnny, showing the bottle of rum “Mm. My Mr. Ambassador. Where are we going?” “Heaven,” said Johnny and took a swig from the bottle. Eleanor did likewise.