Honourable mention in the 3rd Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.
Maisie wears this long blond wig and shiny green polyester pantsuit that shows off her famous ass. I sit behind that birthday cake of hair thinking, I bet she’s slept with every guy in the car including my Frankie.
It was Maisie suggested her and I go along for the drive in Harry’s brand new ‘62 Chev. She’s up there in front between Harry and Doug. Frankie and Gus and me are here in the back. Everybody’s tryna make it sound funny, Frankie’s trial for fraud, him being out on bail.
Now we’re to the courthouse. “Didja see those detectives gunnin’ me off?” Maisie says, laughing, her eyes all bright and shiny as we slide into the courtroom benches. “I wonder if they recognized me,” she says.
They probly did. She’s been picked up for shoplifting enough times; that’s where her snazzy wardrobe came from.
So court goes on all morning, Frankie sitting real quiet beside me. His raincoat is folded across his lap and a nothing look is folded across his face.
Finally they announce lunch break.
Harry says, “Going pretty good,” as we scrape our chairs up to the pub table. Lunch is beer, looks like.
Frankie says, “We’ll see.” His smile doesn’t go with those blue-blanket eyes a his.
So back in the courtroom. Things look like they’re going bad now. Frankie makes shifty moves in his seat and the rest of them sneak looks at each other, whispering. Frankie stands up, lays his coat on the bench, gives that lip stretch thing he does, says excuse me, walks past a lotta knees and up the aisle toward the restrooms. I don’t blame him—I have to pee myself. The trial keeps going.
Things are looking worse. Frankie’s place is still empty except for his coat. Finally the verdict. “Guilty!” Where is Frankie?
A holy ruckus starts up. Cops run over the place like ants on a kicked-down anthill. It’s a neat little trick he pulled leaving his coat there like that. Anyone’d think, “Of course he’s coming back; he left his coat.” He told me about pulling stuff like that working an airport scam or bus station. Soon as he had the mark’s money in his hand he’d say, “Wait here while I make a phone call—hold my newspaper.” The poor guy’d stand there thinking, “Nacherly he’s coming back; I got his paper.” Not clicking how stupid that was.
“Somebody musta seen him go!” one cop says. He’s raking his hair back and his eyes are shooting all over the place.
“I thought he was going to the can,” another one says.
They question us all but we don’t know any more than them. He never mentioned anything beforehand. They can’t hold us so we leave to go home and get drunk.
Now in the car nobody’s bothering tryna be funny. God knows when we’ll see Frankie again. I look out the window. The trees and poles go by real fast.