My shadow is an orphan

March 25, 2012

I thought that someday I would be wiser. And my thoughts came true. But then I used to be a fool. I believed in my own mythology. Believed that I was some kind of combination. Marlon Brando and Marlena Dietrich. Had the swagger. And the eyes. And the twitch in my lips. That sense of identity. That we all think is so necessary to healthy growth. And now I’ve taken off my overcoat. Blown up the old chevrolet. Bought a pair of suspenders to keep my trousers in place.  I am no longer anything. Of importance. My shadow is an orphan. Descartes was wrong. I don’t exist. And I’ve discovered the secret of happiness. Don’t do anything. Practice it every day. And pray. That someone feeds you.




Luiza smiled. Hand out. Looking for some loose change. As the young couple entered the drug store. Those sliding doors. Passed the magazine stand. Passed the hand creams and relief from heart burn. Passed her and her friend Madeleine.

Luiza and Madeleine. Two Air Cadets. Dressed in blue perky uniforms. Women flying over London. Freshly pressed. Into service. Their hair tied up. In a bun. Not hot crossed. Like a bob. Tuckled neatly under their caps. With small metal merit badges stapled to the sides. Like they’d saved humanity. Cleaning up the neighbourhood. Participation. Is important. Just ask Adam and Eve.

Out to raise money. And awareness. There’s nothing a girl can’t do. After a pat on the head. And a legal damper. For the ides of March.

Blood red lipstick. Eyebrows plucked. Fresh pale foreheads. Fashionably young. Scare crow looks. Alanis Morissette.

The young couple had stared straight ahead. Hands in their pockets. Pretending that no one was there. Pretending not to see the Air Cadets. Pretending to be preoccupied. What if there is a little Oscar on the way? Doctor’s bills. Hospital bills. All those paper. Diapers. Got to think about paying off that mortgage. Or those teeth. Capped.

“Cheap fuckers,” Luiza swore under her breath. Watching the couple disappear passed the nail polish removers. And family control items.

“This sucks.” Madeleine stepped over to Luiza’s side of the door. “ I knew this drugstore was a mistake. People aren’t in a generous mood when they enter a drugstore. They’re too busy thinking why they came. Too busy wheezing. Rubbing those corns. Aches in your back. That dripping nose. Bile in your stool. There is too much damn purpose. Oh, I wish we’d gone to the liquor store.”

“Why didn’t you say anything then?” Luiza asked.

“I didn’t want to get in any more shit with Cooper.” Luiza smiled. Holding it like it was her breath. As a middle-aged woman stepped up to them.

“You girls look just stunning in those uniforms,” she said and stepped into the drug store without dropping a coin in their box.

“Then why don’t you give us a fucking cuntribution,” Luiza muttered between clenched teeth. Luiza didn’t like swearing. In a drugstore. It was bad karma. She was sure nothing good could come of cursing in God’s house. And surely a drugstore was God’s house since people arrived hoping to buy something to relieve their distress. And wasn’t that the definition of the Supreme Being. The great solution. To pain. If not that then what?

“How’d you get in trouble with Cooper?” Madeleine asked. Taking a moment to check. The cell phone that she kept. Inside the left breast of her Air Cadet vest.

“It was so lame,” Luiza responded. “Hardly worth telling.”

An elderly man stepped up to the girls. Bent over. Looking more like a question mark every day. He looked at each of them and smiled. His teeth were bright. Even if they weren’t his. Then he dropped a five dollar bill in Luiza’s box and walked off.

“Pervert!” Luiza said. She turned to Madeleine. “Did you see that?”

“See what?”

“After he dropped the bill in my box he grazed my breast with the back of his hand.”

“Shit!” Madeleine began to giggle. “Was it good for you?”

Luiza smirked. “I’ve had better.”

The girls giggled. A woman in a pink dress. Sashaying toward them. Bobbing her head. Listening to some Cab Calloway in her head phones. Dropped some change in their boxes. Liked to hear that rattle. Like a doctor. To the patient with leukemia.

A couple of teenage boys stepped up to the girls. And dropped a quarter in the box.

Luiza smirked.

One of the boys elbowed the other. In the ribs. To get his attention. To remind him of their wager.

“Ask them!”

“I will, man.” The boy unsure of what to do. Undecided moment to moment. Then turned to Luiza. “Do you girls date?”

Luiza looked at Madeleine and back at the boy. Grinned. Flattered.

“I guess,” she said.

The boy turned to his friend and cried. “I told you they were lesbos.”

The two boys bent over laughing. One slapped the other on the back. The other reached into his friend’s pocket. And retrieved his wager.

“Morons.” Madeleine spat out. Took a turn. For the worse.

A middle-aged man wearing a Blue Jay hat. Fumbled a large bill into Luiza’s box. What a blunder. Too embarrassed to ask for it back. A young couple with a baby. Change in the girls’ box. Two nuns. Dressed as waitresses. Arguing. Over husbands. Placed an offering in their basket.

When there was a lull. In the traffic, Madeleine turned to Luiza.

“So what happened that pissed off Cooper?”

Luiza turned to Madeleine. Made her promise not to repeat the tale. To anyone else. Madeleine promised. Falsely.

“Well, you know how Cooper is always dressed so pristine.” Luiza began. Madeleine nodded. “Every little thing must be in its place. It’s like he’s obsessed with order and cleanliness.”

“Ya.” Madeleine nodded. For the second time.

“Well,” Luiza moved closer to Madeleine. “I asked him which side of his trousers he put it on.”
Madeleine looked at Luiza with a puzzled expression on her face. Somewhere in the distance a cock crowed twice.

“I was told,” Luiza leaned closer to Madeleine before continuing, “that when a man gets a suit tailored for him, the tailor cuts a little more material on one side of his trouser legs so that the guy has a place to comfortably put it.”



“By it you mean…”

Luiza nodded.

Madeleine howled with laughter.

“And I said to him,” Luiza continued almost in tears, “Cooper, I think you put it on the wrong side.”

2 Responses to “My shadow is an orphan”

  1. nonoymanga said

    Good read, the art is powerful. Good day Nonoy Manga

  2. columbibueno said

    Funny, as usual.

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