Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Sad Tale of Penny Farthing: Part the Fifth

Penny’s paper sack hit the bar with a wet thump, translucent grease stains spreading across the bottom.
Good God! For nine seventy-five, this had better be the best goddamned shawafel I’ve ever had, Penny said.

Why, Eli asked, would you pay so much for a shawafel?

I didn’t mean to. I just ordered it, and then they told me how much it was.

Where could you possibly have gone where they charge so much for a shawafel?

The place on the corner. It was a walk up.

The one with the awning?

No, the new one.

She unwrapped the foil, revealing tahini-covered meat. Took a bite. Took another.


 It’s not worth it. It’s good, but not worth nine seventy-five.

 Worth even less, now.    

Glare from Penny.

You’ve depreciated it. Now I wouldn’t pay anything for it at all.
I didn’t buy it, Penny grimaces, as an investment. I bought it as dinner. Now for heaven’s sake, pour me a drink.

I don’t know that I serve suspected murderers. It would lower the tone of the bar.

Glare from Penny.

A gin and tonic appears on the bar.

Don’t I warrant one of your signatures anymore?
You’re a suspected murderer. And suspected murderers should take what they get and not complain.
Glare from Penny.

Too soon, I guess, said Eli, drinking her gin and tonic.

They didn’t even charge me. They can’t. They just asked me questions. I’m not even a suspect, I’m just a “person of interest.”

I know. They came by to ask about you, Eli said.
Penny leapt off the barstool, her long black coat tails swirling.
And there she goes, Eli said.

Penny was creating a disruption. She threw the shawafel against the bar mirror, upended the empty gin and tonic glass. Then she kicked over the bar stool, flung the napkins into the air, tossed the beer mats onto the floor, ran from table to table overturning chair after chair, smashed a pint glass, smashed a highball, smashed a cordial glass, smashed a martini glass, smashed a tumbler, smashed a pitcher, and smashed a little crystal bell Eli had kept by the register, belonging to his grandmother.

That’s it, said Eli. That is absolutely it. Pen, I’ve had it, I’ve stood by you, but enough is enough.
Penny sat on chair which was lying on its side. You don’t really think I did it, do you? she asked plaintively.
Of course not. But I’m still kicking you out. 


She left. Eli kicked at the remains of her shawafel.

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