Fiction Blue Mohawk
The sound of the electric bell announces me entering the Bodega. Spanish music plays low from a boombox duct taped to the top of the wall. The skinny kid I call blue Mohawk sits hunched over a stool behind the counter below a neon blue and gold Lowenbrau sign. His blue Mohawk like an illuminated […]
The sound of the electric bell announces me entering the Bodega. Spanish music plays low from a boombox duct taped to the top of the wall. The skinny kid I call blue Mohawk sits hunched over a stool behind the counter below a neon blue and gold Lowenbrau sign. His blue Mohawk like an illuminated fin. One eye closed against the smoke from his black cigarette. I get my items and approach the counter but he doesn’t hear or see me. I watch him. His arms are covered in drawings, not tattoos but drawings. Which is so unpredictable it’s fucking fantastic and the only thing about him that intrigues me. Those Intricate sketchings of random things on pasty skin. The face of Jesus drawn in rainbow colors. A skull with flowers in it’s eye sockets. A bird in flight. A scorpion stinging the very skin it’s drawn on. Through the slit of his Yu-Gi-Oh muscle shirt are song lyrics written down the side of his bony ribs: “Try to save myself but myself keeps slipping away…” Upside down, across the curve of his narrow waist: “But I don’t want to go among mad people.’ ‘Oh, you can’t help that, we’re all mad here.” On his neck: “If you love it, let it kill you.” There were curse words: Fuck you. Bastard. Asshole. Cunt…. Phrases he must have found in books?: Coffin Liquor. Moneyed neglect. Blood simple…. The black cigarette dangling from his lips needed to be flicked. Little stickers were stuck all over him. A gold star on his cheek. He laughs although he’s not watching the episode of Golden Girls on the pink television. I can’t get mad even if he is ignoring me, he’s lost in his art. What is it today? I lean forward. A picture of an eye looking up at him from the inner veiny canvas of his wrist. My skin tingles in empathy, the cool metallic tip of the Sharpie is gliding over my skin too. The sensation makes me sleepy and aroused. And then someone behind me breaks the spell and reminds him that there are customers waiting and he looks down at me so abruptly I flinch. His eyes go wide and excited. All that quiet concentration gone. Here comes the manic. But before he speaks to me I move to the side and let the customer behind me purchase her items first. He speaks Spanish to her with the kind of fluency of a language not learned but born. He’s kind to her in a way that seems out of character. Like when a stoically attractive person smiles and their face becomes hardlined and awkward. When the customer leaves it’s just the two of us and he flashes me that smile that’s always too big for just me. He doesn’t know me. We’ve shared no pleasantries in the two weeks of our patronage. At least I haven’t. I always ignore any small talk that doesn’t have to do with my purchases. Looking down at me, his eyes burst into dark star speckled spheres surrounded by thick black liner. The tiny Saturn, drawn at the corner of his left eye turns into a spaceship and seems to take off for the planet of his ear. My eyes shift down to look at his teeth which are too white. His gums pink and wet. I wonder what he looks like beneath all that Punk makeup. I probably wouldn’t recognize him if I had saw him in the street, then again, that psychotic sparkle in his eye would be quite the giveaway. It doesn’t matter anyway. I don’t wanna know him I just came here to get my goods. He’s mental and and I don’t deal with the demented. “Boy beautiful! My lovely!” He says with wide eyed enthusiasm. A hand covered in bandaids, ink, scabby red cuts and purple bruises takes the sweet smelling cigarette from between his lips. I see a passage was once written on the palm of his hand but it’s smudged now and illegible. The lavender Dora The Explorer watch around his wrist beeps several times till he presses the button on the side and it stops. There are about a hundred other colorful plastic bracelets and black bands surrounding it. “Hello Lovely.” He speaks again. I still ignore him. “Stop calling me lovely!” I tell him, but only in the quiet of my mind. I’m not the confrontational sort. Suddenly, he laughs hysterically, I flinch, again. “You can read my thoughts, I knew it!” He points at the patch on my school uniform blazer and pulls up his shirt revealing pink nipples, protruding ribs and the perfect replica of the St. Charles Academy emblem in black and gold ink on his left pec. Still chuckling, he leans forward, elbows on the counter and blows smoke from the corner of his mouth over my head. “As much as I love the look, boy beautiful,” His hand moving up and down at me. “why always the school uniform? It’s 2am in the summertime?” From where I stand I can smell his breath which smells like sweet smoke and Skittles. I place a bag of Doritos, a Slim Jim and a bottle of Yoohoo on the counter. “A transparent green Bic lighter and a pack of Virginia Slims Ultra Long Lights.” I tell him then place $200 dollars on the counter. He shakes his head at me and stands up straight. “No cigarettes. You’re under age.” He says suddenly sober. “You trying to get us shutdown?” He reprimands me with the cigarette still between his lips but I know for a fact we’re the same age. He looks angry and annoyed and wipes his mouth roughly with the heel of his hand, smears the lipstick across his face, like someone just kissed him wild and rough. He takes the money from the counter, totals up my items, places them in a black plastic bag and gives me the amount of change I would have received had I paid with a $20. The electric buzzer announces my exit. “See you next week, my love!” he calls after me with a cheerful smile. At the curb I reach into the bag. The small ziplock bag filled with pills is there beneath the Doritos. I calm. I take a pack of cigarettes from my pocket. Light one of the three I have left in the box and light it with the transparent green lighter I’d bought last week. I look up at the sky, a dark, star speckled mass. The grinding sound of several skateboards on asphalt approaches. “Fuck you, school boy!” One of the skateboarders yell at me. Followed by laugher and the crash and shatter of one of those old fashioned Coke bottles at my feet. I take a drag of my cigarette and blow it up to the dark skies. It’s gonna be a good week.