Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sarah was a Punk Rocker

Sarah Was a Punk Rocker

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
Leonard Cohen

And we’ll travel ‘round the world
Just you and me
And we’ll travel ‘round the world
Punk rock girl
The Dead Milkmen

Eddie tried each doorknob in succession down the hall only to find them either locked, or the rooms too nightmarishly filthy to set foot in. He knew beggars couldn’t be choosers and felt absurdly like a contestant on a game show in Hell. He could hear the announcer like a carnival barker in his head.
Behind door number one, we have a mountain of used and uncapped needles! The room behind door number two is syringe-free, but the walls appear smeared with blood and human feces!
Sooner or later he knew he’d have to pick an open room and crouch silently with the light out when the police outside made their inevitable entrance. He did not want to be in the dark with sharp or dirty things that could possibly give him a horrible disease on contact.
Eddie moved to the second last door when he heard a girl’s voice.
“Hey, is Jake gone?”
He turned around and saw her leaning over the stairway railing leading to the third floor with her back arched, grown up but unmistakable. Her name was Sarah Ann Simpson, the girl he was infatuated with in grade eight, when she attended Eddie’s school for a single year. She was his first real crush.
The girl wrinkled her nose and squinted at him. She looked pale and tired, but Eddie thought she was still gorgeous. She was long legged in faded ripped jeans. She wore a white form-fitting top that said ITALIA in blue lettering across her firm breasts. Under that was the Italian flag. Her chestnut hair was long and tied back in a ponytail that hung to the small of her back.  Even now, even in this place and years later she still made his face warm and his mouth dry.
“Eddie Cavanagh, what are you doing here?” She asked, smiling.
“Sarah the police are outside,” Eddie answered. He was smiling now too, despite his situation. “I have dope on me. I need to hide. Now.”
She beckoned him with a wave of her long fingers, the nails painted aqua blue with sparkles. The blue matched the lettering on her shirt.
“Follow me,” she said.
Eddie hurried up the stairs behind her, the label on her bum said Bubblegum Jeans in hot pink. Up here was narrow, just a single door on either side. Eddie thought this final floor of the old run down rooming house was probably in violation of several municipal fire code regulations. The third circle of hypodermic hell. I’d like to meet the city official brave enough to do a thorough inspection of this place, he thought.
She took his hand and led him through the door on the right. Eddie closed his eyes and said a silent prayer. Dear Lord, let it be clean in here, let me escape this day unarrested. Amen.
She closed the door behind them, and Eddie smelled burning incense. There floor was clean and bare. There was a single bed and small green chair beside it that served as a nightstand, complete with a digital alarm clock, an ashtray and a pair of silver hoop earrings resting on the seat. This was clearly a girl’s room, all heart-shaped throw-cushions and pink coverlets.
“You still selling weed?” She asked him.
“No. Something a little more…potent.”
Her eyes were big and hazel-green and to Eddie it seemed like her smile made her eyes dance.
“You have dilaudid? Tell me you have some!” She bounced as she said it, her breasts bounced too.
“No, I have blow,” he answered. What’s dilaudid?”
She wrinkled her nose and frowned, the light left her eyes and her shoulders slumped.
“Never mind,” she said. Her cheekbones reminded Eddie of a porcelain doll, her lips were full and pouty.
 Eddie suddenly felt bad he didn’t have what she wanted, a drug he had never heard of before. It was like no time had elapsed at all, he was smitten with her in grade school and he was smitten with her now.
Eddie recalled the first time he saw Sarah, she walked in Mr. Napier’s grade eight classroom in her big red knee-high boots and black leggings. She wore a white tee shirt that had a picture of a cross circled in red with a slash through it. On the back it said BAD RELIGION. He remembered how quiet it became when she made her entrance, how the popular girls with their big hair and spandex sneered at her and the boys just stared. To Eddie it was like the rest of the world was in black and white and she was in vivid Technicolor.
 Her hair was jet black too and tinged purple, on one side of her head there were lines shaved up and down making a checker board pattern. She walked with her head held high, oblivious to the dagger stares that her new female classmates were stabbing her with from under their blue eye-shadow.
Back then Eddie admired the kids like his uncle who just didn’t seem to give a fuck. The less fucks you gave, the cooler you were. You couldn’t try too hard though, because then it would come off forced and phony. It was obvious that this mysterious new girl’s not giving a fuck was effortless, even graceful. From the second Eddie laid eyes on her, he was a goner. Game over man, please insert coin.
Now, Eddie heard the outside door open and footsteps in the hall, followed by the static squawk of police radios. They were in the building. Sarah quickly flipped light switch off and pushed him against the wall. She pressed her body against his and said “shhh.” There was little slits of sunlight emanating from the vertical blinds in the window, but it was autumn and the daylight was dying fast.
“There’s blood in the hallway down there,” Eddie whispered. “They are going to think I did it.”
“Have you seen this place? There’s blood everywhere. Be quiet.” Her lips were next to his ear, her breath moist and warm. Her breasts were pressed firmly against his chest.
Oh God, she smells good.
The police were knocking on doors now, Eddie guessed there might be three cops in total. He heard footsteps coming up the stairs. He was sweating.
“Do you want to hear the puppy dog?” She asked.
And then then she got even closer, her lips gently brushed the little hairs on his earlobe and she panted. Rapid little shallow breaths that made him shiver and gave him goose-bumps. He felt blood rush to his face and felt himself stiffen in his pants. He was pretty sure she felt the stiffness too. If she did, she didn’t say anything and that was good.
 There was a knock at the door. She led him to the corner behind it and softly pressed a finger to his lips. “Coming,” she called out.
She opened the door and the pink housecoat hanging on the hook was suddenly in his face. Eddie couldn’t help himself. Despite his heart hammering in his chest and images of being handcuffed and arrested for cocaine possession running through his mind, he inhaled deeply. The housecoat smelled as good as she did.
“Hi, officer,” Sarah said with bubbly voice. “Can I help you?”
“Well if it isn’t Sarah Ann Simpson,” the cop said. “You still ripping off old men for their pension checks?”
“Don’t be silly, I was framed, officer. I swear on my criminal record,” she replied solemnly.
The cop chuckled at that.
“We’re investigating a possible assault. Did you see or hear anything?
“Would you tell me if you did?”
Eddie looked through the crack between the door and the wall and saw Sarah jokingly slap the officer’s arm.
“Oh you,” she said. “Of course I wouldn’t.”
“So I guess there’s no point in asking to come in and take a look around,” The cop said. “You know…to make sure you’re safe.”
Eddie froze.
“You know me,” Sarah said. Her voice was serious now. “Do I look like a girl who can’t take care of herself?”
“I suppose not. Very well then. Here’s my card.”
Eddie heard her take it from the officer.
“Take care of yourself Sarah. If you ever need anything or want to talk…”
“I know, I know.” She said. “Bye now.”
She closed the door and Eddie finally exhaled. He heard the cop walk away from the door and back down the stairs.
Eddie realized Sarah might have been a punk-rocker back in grade school, but she was someone altogether different now. He also realized that whoever she was now, she just saved his ass. Whoever she was now, it didn’t matter to him at all. 

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