Carousel

“Little story about Jack and Diane; two American kids doing the best they can. Jackie wanted to be a football star; Diane; a debutante in the back seat of Jackie’s car” – John Mellencamp

Jackie woke from sleep a wanted man. He rolled over to greet the sun busting through a beat up shade in his studio apartment above O’Malley’s Bar and gently flung an arm over the queen sized bed and found it empty; Diane was gone. He rolled out of bed and made it to the window and looked out on Hells Kitchen; that place the Devil made when God was sleeping.

“Shit man, I gotta get outta here” Jackie mumbled as he rubbed his eyes awake. He glanced towards the bed and saw Diane’s picture on the wall. She was no more than thirteen years old then, sitting on a balcony of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Park looking out over the majestic snow-capped mountains and luscious valley. He loved that photo of her. She was so beautiful but even then he could see she had that bit of poison. “I gotta get out there to California and smell the ocean. This place stinks like a sewer”, he thought.

He splashed some water on his face and pulled on his jeans and a t-shirt and grabbed a cold beer from the ice box and made his way down the three flights of stairs to his Lincoln with the suicide doors and headed toward Connelly Street. He took the yellow ribbon she’d tied her hair back with last night that now hung from the rear view mirror and brought it to his face; the scent of her perfume lingered there. She was gone again and he was on empty. He pulled into the Arco for some gas; pumped it and went inside to pay the clerk and pulled another cold one out of the cooler.

Jackie had been rough with Diane all those years ago and that had sent her packing. Since then every time he tried to touch her she recoiled and with every rejection she had placed a brick in what became the prison wall that separated them. Diane knew, as did Jackie, that if she ever let him touch her again, really touch her; that the wall she had painstakingly built would tumble-down and that would be it, the end of the game. It finally happened last night. Somehow she had found the grace to forgive him and the carousel they’d been stranded on finally stopped.

Jackie pulled up in front of the Westies clubhouse and walked in to meet Eddie as he did most days. Jackie pulled out a pint of Bushmills, unscrewed the cap and offered it to Eddie. Eddie motioned it away. “Jackie, its early man, Christ this morning I was pulling my socks on over my shoes. I can’t remember shit”, Eddie said. “You’re missing the point Eddie. I can’t remember shit and that’s the way I like it”, Jackie said. “Yea, I guess” Eddie said and took the bottle from Jackie and took a swig. “Come on, we gotta make a run over to Genovese territory. That curly-headed Wap Peno is holding for us and we need some cash so we can celebrate St. Patty’s day right” Jackie said. .

Jackie and Eddie exited the clubhouse and got in Jackie’s car heading for Dago town. They drove past the new high-rise condos in their old neighborhood that the suits had recently re-named Clinton. “Fuckin’ rich bastards; sounds like a damn Cruise Ship”, Eddie said. Jackie barely heard a thing. All he could think about was last night; California, the ocean and Diane.

Diane packed the trunk of her SUV with all her personal possessions, those items she didn’t trust leaving to the burly Movers along with those she’d need on her trip. She watched the mammoth red Van Lines truck pull away. Diane started the car and drove off. She cruised down Noonan Street and made the corner on Connelly and while driving past O’Malley’s bar she rolled down the window and glanced up three flights to see one last time the place she now knew she’d never see again.

It had been their farewell cathedral and she silently half wished she stayed there where she’d spent her last night with Jackie. Diane turned onto the Freeway and wept. The sign said; Los Angeles 2461 miles. Diane wiped away her tears and started to plan how she’d transfer her Beauticians license to California and get a job styling hair until she had enough money to start her own salon. She was happy now. Diane knew that no matter what occurred or how long it took; Jackie would find her.

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About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and Culture.net and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

2 Responses to Carousel

  1. Betty Blew says:

    Love your posts Sir.

  2. James Mcfarland says:

    5.7 rating, same issues from previous critique. Grammar example, should read “smells like a sewer,” NOT: “smells like a sewer”, piece is filled with incorrectly placed commas. Two run on sentences, lost the Plato message in this one, primarily the ending.

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