February 7, 2011

Except for the first few paragraphs of each chapter, I took Dead Ginny off the net in 2005 but if you want to read and/or listen to the sucker for free, click this. Thanks. G.


Gerard Jones

Chapter Eight
45th Avenue

It was Saturday night. I got off work and decided to stop off over at Grossenbacher's to get Ginny some flowers. Grossenbacher's was the florist shop down the street from the shoe store. Well, actually, according to an arc of Old English letters stenciled across the front window, it was officially Grossenbacher & Sons, but everyone just called it Grossenbacher's and there was only one son—a guy named Pete. I used to get a kick out of acting like Pete was my buddy. I'd wave to him on his way into Carlo and Jimmy's, the little chrome and Naugahyde Mexican coffee shop across the street, yell out, "Hey, Pete! What's going on, buddy!" and watch him pretend like he was in another dimension. Pete didn't want any buddies. Well, he did and he didn't. That was what I used to get a kick out of—watching him trying to make up his mind whether he wanted a buddy or not. Pete wore thick reading glasses from Woolworth's, the kind he could peer out over the tops of when he was lost in thought, which was almost always, or when he had something to say, which was nearly never. I was probably the only person in town he ever really just sat down and shot the shit with on a regular basis, and even I had ulterior motives.

Pete was close to sixty and bald as an egg but for a swath of close clipped salt and pepper hair around the sides of his head and a thick, salt and pepper mustache he kept trimmed the same shape as Stalin's—probably just to piss off his father. His father was Mr. Grossenbacher. Nobody called Pete anything but Pete. He resented that. He resented it almost as much as he resented the sign on the front window. Sons? What sons? There weren't any sons. There was only Pete. What was his father trying to tell him? There might be more sons? There should have been other sons? What? His father was in his late eighties and was still fiercely loyal to the royal family of Imperial Russia and it should have pissed him off that his only son had a mustache like Stalin's, but it didn't. His father had never even heard of Stalin. He was senile. He lived in a world of his own, a world of caviar and lorgnettes and fringed epaulets and ruby tiaras and Faberge Eggs. But if his father had ever heard of Stalin, it would piss him off no end that his only son had a mustache like the mustache of such a man and that gave Pete all the satisfaction a person could reasonably get out of the mere trimming of a mustache into a certain shape.

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Gerard Jones
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