Two servings of flamboyant, nasty, slapstick noir, “A Walk in the Park,” and “Anything for Merwin,” from the flaming pen of David Spicer.

 

A Walk in the Park

Harry Sears and I had finished our third walk around Overton Park when I saw her sitting with a man on a bench a hundred feet away. She was too beautiful to stare at for long. I decided not to look anymore. The closer Harry and I approached her, the more intense the desire became to steal a glance. I did when I knew she was talking to the male, and she was even more beautiful than I had thought: turquoise eyes, long curly brown hair, big breasts. She was a short woman, but that didn’t matter. I looked straight ahead as we approached the couple. I talked to Harry, who was discussing Jack Kerouac’s cat. I ignored the woman and man. Five feet past them I heard her complain, Bruce, did you see that? What? Bruce asked. That fucker didn’t check me out! He fuckin’ ignored me! Smart man, Bruce wisecracked. She smacked him on the shoulder with her fist. Bruce, you go over there and kick that dickhead’s ass. Oh, not again, Bruce griped. Come on, you chicken shit. He looks like a wimp. Girl, there’s two of ‘em, Bruce observed. Oh, the other guy’s a pussy, she said. NOW! Bruce pushed himself up from the bench, swaggered toward me, and said, Hey, Bud, you insulted my girl. I was surprised. I hadn’t even looked at her. How so, Bud? I asked. You ignored her, and she didn’t like it. Oh, for Christ’s sake, I answered. Yeah, now I’m gonna have to kick your ass, Bruce threatened. Before he could take a swing, I punched him hard in the solar plexus. He fell flat on his back. I looked at the woman, who was in the fetal position, laughing loudly. Happy now, honey? I asked. She stood up, walked over, stuck her hand out for mine, and said, You damn right I am. I’ve been wantin’ to dump that bozo forever. I’m Delia. Who are you? My friends call me Tuffy, I replied. Tuffy: I like that. Let’s blow this place, Tuffy.

for Tom Cantrell

 

Anything for Merwin

Delia and I staggered from the bar half-drunk into the taxi with her place our destination. Instead, at her request, I told the driver to drop us at the Highlander Apartments, where her ex-boyfriend lived. Why we going there? I asked. You’ll find out, she replied. When we arrived, she instantly kicked in the door and pointed her ready flashlight in the direction of her former paramour’s locked art deco bookcase. Before I could protest, she elbowed the glass, unlatched the clasp holding the two doors together and scooped out a shelf full of books into her huge gold ostrich skin Hermes bag, and said to me, Here you take some, too, stuffing them into my hundred-dollar Chinese man bag. What, Delia? You’re crazy as hell! That’s why you love me, isn’t it? she asked. Look, boy, never sleep with anybody crazier than you are. Your daddy should’ve told you that. She finished cramming the rest of the books into my bag and ordered, Now come on, let’s get the hell out of here and go to my place where we can celebrate and fuck the night away!

I was too stunned to say anything. I didn’t—this was my first chance with Delia, and I wasn’t a fool. When we arrived she grabbed my bag and hers and upended them on her heart-shaped bed, marvelling, Well, well, what do we have here? Fuck, I know what we have, Tuffy! More books by Merwin than I’ve seen at once, and signed to boot! Shit, I was hopin’ for some Ashberys, too, but hell, one almost-croaked poet is as good as another! Better! I love Merwin, oh, I love him. Those old eyes revealing that old, old soul. Now let’s get drunk and read some fuckin’ Merwin and screw all night!

We drank champagne for an hour or two, kissed each other in our favorite places, when Delia giggled and mumbled, Every year on the anniversary of my death, I wanna carry a ladder of lice to heaven. What do you wanna do, Tuffy? I laughed and mumbled just as coherently, In the rain in the trees, I wanna see your thighs over folding cliffs. OK, Tuffy, you asked for it, Wait ‘til you see this. She gave me a big kiss and ripped her skirt and panties off and fell backwards onto the bed and spread her legs toward the ceiling in a wide V, yelling, You wanted to see my thighs! Now, look at them as I close them. I knelt and peered. On one thigh was a tattoo of Merwin’s face and on the other was Delia’s. As she closed her legs together, I observed the two tattoos kissing. At that we both howled until we couldn’t anymore. We fucked all night long on top of Merwin’s first editions before we fell asleep in each other’s arms, and dreamed about him drunk in the furnace thinking of us.

 


David Spicer has, over the years and in pursuit of the word, worked as a paper boy, dishwasher, bottle loader, record warehouser, carpet roll dragger, burger flopper, ditch digger, weather observer, furniture mover, Manpower flunky, gas pumper, bookseller, tutor, 11th and 12th grader babysitter, magazine and book editor and publisher, typesetter, proofreader, librarian’s assistant, carney barker, chocolate twister, artist’s model, and last but most certainly least, clinical trial subject for a laxative. He is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, plus eight unpublished manuscripts. He has published in the usual slicks, non-slicks, and online journals.

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