Ken’s 45. Valerie is 26 and coming out of her shirt most days. Junior works for Ken at the best TV fixit place on the planet.
Junior has a big thing for Ken’s wife. Valerie. Valerie all day long. Valerie for short. Valerie on the trampoline. Valerie with a cigarette.
She makes him bread. Big loaves of whole wheat bread full of cracked wheat and some other such stuff.
She brings it over to him on weekday mornings. She knocks on the door, lets herself in with her key, puts the bread on the coffee table and then lets herself out again. Junior hides in the bathroom when he hears the door open.
All day Ken and Junior lean on the counter, thinking about Valerie. Neither of them getting it right.
Bad Holiday Inn Haiku #s 1-3
the ice bucket drips holy water onto spectravision
hungry traveler waits while wife dials 4 for room service
death comes fast when air conditioner is set to hi cool
Franny wears the pushup bra and shoots blue jazz guitar in a band called Desperately Futile.
When she leaves for her gig she pockets quarters for pool. “Don’t wait up,” she says, like it’s a line she’s just discovered.
Her buddy Charlie plays drums in the band, and sometimes I go along and carry their equipment while they smoke giant spliffs in the alley.
Franny is 36, but swears she’s 28. She was in a band called Tiger’s Milk that played pure pop.
Now she and Charlie play Ellington superfast and clean like they’re cutting heads.
I want to pack up at night and leave it all behind, but Franny comes home in wee hours and whispers things to me. “Forty bucks,” she says. “I made forty bucks for my baby.”
Then she sleeps like a dead girl next to me. I listen to the whooshing sound of her sweet beer breath and dream about making her pregnant.