A Twenty

Angie Dickinson was on television the other night. She was talking to Johnny Carson. The old man was watching with the sound down. Kept calling out the name, Pepper. That’s what they called her on Police Woman.

Boy came home around midnight. Tom Snyder was on. His guest that night was the man who put Charles Manson away. The old man was now whispering, They should’ve killed that son of a bitch. All that tax money wasted, he said. Boy grabbed a Miller and closed the refrigerator door.

You some kind of judge? Boy asked. Think you’re some kind of authority on these matters? he continued.

He murdered a woman and her unborn baby,the old man said. He paused. Did you ever see Sharon Tate? She was something. Got involved with that director. That Polish guy.

Roman Polanski, dad. His name was Roman Polanski.

Didn’t he rape some young girl?

That’s what they say. He left the country. Lives over in France.

How do you know so much?

Read. Watch the news. Educate myself on the matters of the world, Boy got up and grabbed another High Life. The old man turned the channel. Watched the midnight movie. It was Rebel Without A Cause. Starring James Dean and Natalie Wood. The two of them on his television. There was silence.

Be nice if we could hear it, the boy said.

Be nice if you’d leave. Drinking all my beer. Talking to me like I was an idiot. I knew who that polack was. Roman Polanski. I knew it the whole time, the old man stared at the TV. Sal Mineo was on the screen now. You know,the old man laughed, He was a straight up homosexual Sal Mineo was. Bet you didn’t know that did you?

Sure I did. Could tell just by watching him. He walks and talks just like a fag, boy said. He tries to play it straight in Giant,but, you can tell. Least I could.

You gotta eye for that sort of thing boy?

What are you insinuating?

The old man just laughed. He got up and walked back to his room laughing. He closed the door. Boy could still hear him laughing. Laughing at him. He grabbed another beer and walked out the door. The boy lit a cigarette and could still hear the old man laughing inside. Laughing like a hyena. Wild laughter. Like he’d never heard before. Then it stopped. It was quiet again.

The boy went back inside. Silently shut the door. Rustled through the old man’s pants pockets and found a twenty. He quietly snickered. Placed the bill in his wallet and stretched out on the couch. He slept well that night.


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