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Blue Hands

    It was during this period that Lane rediscovered a long forgotten joy from his childhood: blueberries. On one of his brief excursions outside he’d noticed a cute freckled redhead at the little farmer’s market on Greenwich St. She was from upstate and sold natural jams and fresh fruit off a simple wood table. He cruised over to her, stared just a little too long at her breasts, and paid $3 for a box. He ate almost all of them and forgot the rest. The fridge was not even cool anymore so they didn’t last long. Lane became obsessed by how they looked decomposing and couldn’t understand why the cute redhead didn’t share the same fascination when he wordlessly presented the moldy, pulpy mess to her the next Saturday afternoon. As he left, vowing to now purchase food only at the Food Emporium, he thought he heard several people discussing his teeth. He bought six boxes on the way home. Climbing the steps to his apartment he got an idea. Once inside Lane stripped and eased himself into the filthy bathtub. He crushed the blueberries on his thin, pale body, concentrating on his face and crotch. He began to masturbate. As he felt himself come, he gripped his cock harder and looked at himself in a small hand mirror, sneering as he muttered the phrase ‘hot speckled hyena bitch,’ definitely intensifying his orgasm. He then drifted into a deep and peaceful sleep.

    Lane was awakened by a pair of hands encased in surgical gloves rudely shaking his left arm. He opened his eyes to see the bathroom filled with EMS guys, the landlord, a cop, others. A petty bureaucrat for the city was taping everything on Hi8. Somewhere a flashbulb went off and he heard his super’s accent, “Always polite, quiet, kept to himself…” Thus began a new era of freedom for Lane.

  After spending the weekend in Belleview, Lane was released a little cleaner and slightly sedated. His face and hands still retained a faint blue pigment. Being thrust into the streets was a definite eye-opener for Lane and he was grateful for that. For the first couple of days he’d dragged the Big Board around but found it cumbersome to say the least. He ended up erecting a little shelter with it down under the FDR Drive. Lane loved being by the water. Each day when the sun came up it shone through the plexi, illuminating his thoughts, even though most of the words had rubbed off. Emerging from his fragile river abode each day, Lane felt like The Prehistoric Fish that had to crawl out of the soup in order to evolve. It was a sunny, humid morning in late July. Lane stretched, smelled the East River, and smiled. ‘A coupla blueberries’d hit the spot right now,’ he thought. But first he walked among the makeshift shacks and woke his neighbors. He felt an overwhelming urge to speak again. “Brothers and sisters of the river, lift up your heads! We are not the castoff human refuse media would have you believe. No, we are the very essence of boundless potential. We’re free, free to do whatever we want!” Lane paused as one of his comrades in rags disgorged a huge oyster-like mass from a nostril, and began to inspect it closely. “We have dared to take that first step. We have X’d ourselves outta their white world! We are the unreturned phone call from the Soulless Conformist Hell of Materialist Corporate America. Hooray for neo-tribalism, abstinence, and moral superiority. God bless us!” Blank stares. Silence then muttering. One said, “Muthafugga’s been at dem berries agin.” Another lobbed an empty wine bottle in Lane’s direction. Lane looked down upon his flock with pride and surge of love. They cared about him! A spitball hit him in the cheek. Their rough edges and crude language merely the true traits of man as furry animal, all humanity unplugged! Sounds of someone violently barfing. Their sensitivity, as exhibited by their desire to spare him their embarrassment at his florid excess [a grizzled Popeye now begins to urinate on the Big Board] filled Lane with a sentimental sense of belonging. However, Lane was becoming really hungry so he left.

    Lane began his treck over to the Seaport where the tourist pickins would be great. Six block stroll, pleasant. All he could see in his mind’s eye were the blueberries, $3/box. Lane was, when the occasion demanded, a cupshaker. Besides being spieled out from the morning’s effort, Lane had that innate sense of politeness and social distance. Lane believed if some suit (or pantsuit) was going to give you a quarter, you were better off as an abstraction in their mind. Lane’s M.O. was simple: he’d sprinkle the cup’s bottom with pre-change from his pocket, average: 68¢. He’d jingle in a mild musical rhythm, nothing too snazzy. When someone approached with a donation, he’d halt the shaking for a moment; the pause was the acknowledgment. That space of silence was Lane’s thank you. He was sure they understood. He spied an empty Our Pleasure To Serve You and was on his way. Lane amused himself with self-debate lite; Joan Fontaine: Smart Tart or Naive Saint?

    Then it happened. Right out in front of him pranced a cute little Jack Russell Terrier leashed to an even cuter Gen X schnauzer. Lane slid out of sight and began to follow her. She was about 5’3,” thin, blond and extremely pale. No wait, it must be some new kind of matte whiteface. A fuckin’ mime, for Christsake! No doubt headed for the Seaport as well. But Lane was evolved, and thus complimented himself with having the self-assurance to accept his initial attraction for the girl, in spite of her obvious brain damage. The little mutt was even walking on two legs out of sheer canine perkiness! Then Lane realized he’d have to work quick. He’d have to cop the sympathy dollar before it became an entertainment dollar. Forget the New Age shit, this was survival. ‘She aint makin’ a buffoon outta me! Fuck Her, she’s over!’

    The square was laid out in cobblestones, bounded by various food vendors and preppy clothing stores. A sickening mist of seared meat kabob and honey roasted peanuts drew the children and their parents like rats. Urban trailmix. Rounding the corner, Lane spied an unused pouch of ketchup on the ground. He snapped it up, opened it with his teeth, and artfully added a bit of dirt. He applied the goop to the knuckles of his cup hand and the lid of his left eye. Sizing up the mood of the crowd, the Man of a Thousand Faces positions himself near Haagen Dazs where the guilt will be highest. He squints and cringes pathetically. Shake shake shaka-cup.

    With his good eye, Lane slyly clocked the progress of his rival. She literally skipped over to the kabob geek, who could have been separated at birth from Leroy Neiman, and charmed him out of a few scraps of meat for her mutt, Fabio. This was rapidly becoming a tableau, a Hallmark Card, a pre-show warm-up as Fabio strutted obscenely on the cobblestones, his cute furry dogpecker defying civility. Toddlers were plainly delighted, instamatics were poised. Lane was livid. Only $1.12 into the game and he was being pre-empted by a circus act straight outta Norman Rockwell! He’d better do something, and quick.

Posted at 1am on 03/08/2005 | comments are closed Filed Under: Fiction

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