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Lenny laid out a blank poster on the workbench. "It was this close, Lenny." Richie held his thumb and index finger almost touching. "Ah dunno, I'm gonna join the monks." He shook his head sadly. "Gennaro, not to make you feel any more inadequate than you are, but I gotta tell you what happened to me last night." He worked as he talked, carefully printing the details for a linen sale at Lipschitz's department store down the block. Richie laughed. He knew a good story was coming. "I went out with
years for him to stop digging into her about that. Once at a party he'd told all their friends. She felt so ashamed she didn't do laundry or go shopping for a week. She'd given up Wednesday mahjong for good. Now, ten years later, she still flinched when she thought about it. She waited, listening for the noises that meant Emilio was finishing up. Emilio lightly patted his body with a towel. He put a hand under his balls and contemplated their weight. Meatballs. That's what they
sat down. It was too dark to get a good look at the girls. "What're you drinkin'?" "WHAT?" "What're you drinkin'?" "WHAT?" The girls adjusted what looked like transistor radio earphones in their hair. Buddy and Eugene exchanged glances. "What ... are ... you ... drink ... king?" "SCOTCH," they shouted. Eugene ordered four Scotches from a new bartender named Crazy Salad Face, whose skin had a gangrenous tint. "What's your names?" Buddy asked halfheartedly. "WHAT?" they both asked in
she starts pushin' me out the door an' tellin' me not to come back to the house until I beat 'im up, an' fuck that, you know? The kid could eat apples off my head. I ain't fightin' him with a goddamn Sherman tank on my side. Anyways, she keeps me outta the house all day. I was just sittin' on the stoop waitin' for my father to come home." Eugene laughed. "She's a maniac," said Nina. "Ah, she's O.K.," said Eugene, turning off the light. "No, she's not, Eugene. And your father's a prick and an
came early. Only Eugene's date Terry, his cousin Ralph from Queens, and Ralph's girl friend Anne were there. "Hey." "Hey, Richie, this is Ralph." "Howarya." "Howarya." "An' this is C." They all nodded. Eugene pulled Richie over to the record player. "Check this out." He handed Richie a stack of 45s. He looked them over: "Soldier Boy," "Ten Commandments of Love," "Sealed With a Kiss," "Patches," "Tell Laura I Love Her," "Tears on My Pillow," and ten more of the slowest songs imaginable.