Jane Stalks Dick
By Geoffrey Zimmerman
New York City seemed like a nice place to retreat from life for a while. Dick Lewinski had recently been haunted by thoughts of his (escaped convict) ex-wife, Jane, and believed that getting out of his little brand new rancher would be better than what the doctor ordered- and that was plenty of Thorazine, bed rest and two weeks off from work. Work had never been a problem, seeing as Dick’s only requirement at work had been to calculate delivery schedules; pick up and drop off times.
And, little Timmy was wide-eyed and happy with the change of scenery, even though the hookers on Broadway had been a little pushy and Dick had had to pay one fifty bucks to shove off and retreat into her doorway.
Dick had no real itinerary when he and little Timmy arrived. They just checked into the hotel, tossed their overnights on the beds and headed down to the small café in the lobby. As the two snacked, Timmy looked up to his father and with deep sincerity asked,
“Daddy, does mommy really want to slice you up?” This caused Dick to set down his smoked turkey with Swiss on rye, push back his chair, bring a napkin to his lips and look off.
“Oh, Timmy…” Dick responded, thinking. He knew he had to choose his words carefully. He didn’t want to traumatize the boy.
“It’s not so much that she wants to slice me up…” He took another bite of his sandwich to give himself time to think. He ruffled his fingers together, getting rid of the crumbs.
“She just…lost her mind a little…and is angry at everything.” Dick brought a hand to Timmy’s head and mussed his hair. When Timmy reached up, Dick smiled, nodded to Timmy’s chicken bits and told him to keep eating. Dick looked over his shoulder – across the two gay fellas sitting at the window seat, holding hands, and out the window. He thought he saw a female figure standing on the sidewalk a hundred feet away. But when a noisy bus passed and the figure was gone, Dick attributed it to an overactive imagination. He looked down at his son.
“What’s say we see the Empire State Building. Won’t that be neat?…”Timmy blankly nodded and Dick picked up the greasy piece of paper that was his check, and hopped off his stool.
The bus ride downtown could have been more…civilized. No seats were available on the lurching machine, so Dick and Timmy had to stand, grasping slimy silvery metal poles, and at one point, Timmy, eyes opened wide, looked up to his dad, and with a mixture of fear and pleasure, leaned in and said,
“Dad, that lady touched my…thing”. Dick looked over, and realized it wasn’t a “real” lady. He kept an eye on the “lady”, leaned down to Timmy, and brought his mouth to his son’s ear, and in a whisper said,
“Just stay close, son. We’ll be there soon.”
And then he smelled it. It stood him up. A throb began in his temple, and he looked to the window to hide his terror. His hands curled and clenched atop Timmy’s shoulders.
“Oh, fuck,” he said to the window, across the fat Italian lady’s shopping bags.
“No, not again,” he whispered to himself. His heart thrummed and he nearly retched with fear. He quickly glanced across the other passengers on the bus and had to look down and condense all his attention on Timmy’s cowlick to keep from leaping out the window.
“Diiick…” he thought he heard, and nearly fell as the bus lurched to a stop and he looked out the bus’s window to see the Empire State Building. He puffed a breath of relief.
A small band of about ten passengers deboarded the bus, but as Dick and little Timmy hit the sidewalk and moved to step across the street, a burly policeman held out his arm and told Dick, “Hey mista’, keep it back… parade’s coming.” Just what he needed today.
A small gay parade had begun, and the way to the empire state building was temporarily blocked.
“What’s this?” Timmy asked. “Why are all these people holding flags?” Dick’s head spun and he looked to the heavens for guidance, but only saw a bright rainbow-colored flag, thrust from a third-story window, with some butchy-looking gal holding her fist out and screaming.
“My God,” Dick said to himself, and held Timmy close as a small marching band of scantily-clad, shiny muscular men marched by, prancing back and forth across the street.
And then he smelled it…again.
THE REST OF THIS STORY CAN BE READ IN MY BOOK, GREAT AMERICAN SHORT STORIES AND POETRY