Books Reviews

On the beach

By: Alan Berger

beach painters

“I’m going to kill myself”, Rob said to himself.
Rob stood by the subway tracks, waiting for the next train to send him to paradise, or Hell, or wherever the Hell you go when you do something like this.
Maybe a reward or medal for the time you spent getting though life.
He then heard a train coming down the mountain.
He closed his eyes and got ready as he waited for the train and waited for his nerve.
He jumped, still eyes closed, onto the rails.
But like all the boats in life he had missed, he missed the already gone by train too.
“I’m going to kill myself”, he said again to himself as he dusted himself off.
“Oh well, there is always tomorrow”, he thought to himself as he remembered the saying, “Tomorrow never comes”.
He woke that morning remembering that the last thing he heard before dropping off to sleep was the usual sound of the love of his life wife till going at it on the phone for the 25th hour with her idiot English girlfriend and it was the first thing he heard when he woke up too. Another all night talk-a-thon and morning too.
He thought of the time a friend of told him his wife left him for a woman and that hurt the most.
Rob thought it should be the other way around, and maybe he could join in too, but they were not gay and he was nothing more than a ghost to his wife and her buddy.
They walked right past him at the barn, they did like in an airport terminal, where they kept their horses. No eye contact for him at their sacred barn. He was terminally fucked.
He went with his wife there in the hopes it would bring them closer. It did not bring them closer but further away as he just petted the other horses and fed them apples like an old man with pigeons in the park.
The two horsewomen met at that barn and bonded on the parries of Burbank.
Their horses bonded too. That union didn’t bother him.
With so much bonding he hoped they would have room for him. They did not.
He would go down to the kitchen soon and she would still be on the phone.
Once he went to work and they were the phone and when he returned eight plus hours later.
Her friend and her lived five miles apart as him and his wife lived light years a part.
They saw right though him like he saw right though him when he looked in a mirror.
Maybe if he was there for her, like she was always there for him, things would be different.
He was not a good husband. He was selfish and didn’t care who knew it.

Even the fighting did no good. He was called a dictator.
He hoped that one day he would become visible like everything and everybody else.

He thought about all the drama he had brought to their door. Like the F.B.I.
Think that hurt the marriage?
Rob went to jail. Federal. Not for drugs, not for sex crimes and not for violence. The big three. No. He was there for being stupid and working for a crook he found out when the feds came to his door and he said, “Can I help you”?
The boss brought down everyone with him for his plea deal weather they knew what was going on or not and that included Rob.
Nothing more than a speed bump his lawyer told him as he also took a deal rather than spending fifty thousand going against the Feds and got a year and a day instead of five years if he lost.
The wife will wait. The pets would wait. The world would just go on pause until he got out.
Within thirty days the wife told on the phone that she still loved him but was not in love with him anymore then hung up a second before the time was going to run out on the call. She beat the buzzer, you might say.

Someone told him that the beaches in Cancun looked so glorious that it looked faked. You grab the ocean water and go what the Hell it looks so pure. He could sure use some of that he thought, but who wouldn’t under the circumstances.
Well there is always Coney Island. He figured hen he got out if things were still fucked up with his life and wife, he could get to that beach and swallow a bunch of pills and how far he swim out before he could hook up with a Mermaid or an Angel of death. First come, first served.
There they were, the wife and her pal playing scrabble on the floor as he went un-noticed though the living room to go upstairs like a bad boy after he got out of jail on the first night. Lovely.
When he was in prison he wrote about it all and called it, “Wait for me”.
Even when he learned from her she would not wait he never changed the title.
It didn’t matter what it was called because it sucked, but it kept him somewhat sane though his stint.
In prison when a guy kills himself they say, “He took a walk with a razor”. Rob felt he needed a shave but kept believing she would love him again.
When she saw him at the prison gate, forty five minutes late, to be picked up he thought she would melt. And she did. A meltdown.
Nobody he liked would take him in so his wife told his probation officer she would.
She still was a wonderful creature. Rob did marry up while she married down.
The best thing Rob had going for him was that their two cats still loved him and since she loved the cats so much Rob thought that in a matter of time he would lose his year and a day virginity.
But a virgin he stayed. Not even a mercy fuck. She was un-comfortable with not wanting him like the way he wanted her. Rob wanted to take her away for a weekend and she said no.
A bit later….
She went to Mexico for a weekend with some friends while she wouldn’t go down the block with him.
He was nice about and told her to have good time and she told him not to tell her what to do.
That one really hurt.
He began to realize this charade he was playing with himself was like going from a nice American prison to a Turkish one.
The mornings were the worst as he was always hoping that this would be the morning they had sex and everything would be great after that but when when she got up to go to the bathroom she did not return to the bedroom where Rob was praying and waiting.
She would go to the kitchen and get the coffee going that would wordlessly surround.

One day he ran into an acquaintance from jail and the guy could not believe how good Rob looked as he spoke with a white paper bag from a drugstore that sounded like a maraca as Rob shook it as he spoke.
The guy remembered that Rob got dumped in jail. He remembered that Rob said once that he always liked, “A man In a Corner Story”, until he became one.

Rob told that it had not rained for forever and when he stepped outside he felt his brain was exposed and being hosed down with hot bleach. Then Rob said he caught a break one morning. He didn’t care anymore and it gave him the strength to carry on and try to kill himself once again.
Rob said he was saving up sleeping pills for the big occasion.
Rob told him when he got up to a hundred pills, he bought a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and got on the subway headed for Coney Island which symbolically was the last stop.
So instead of throwing himself in front of a train, he was riding in one.
It was late, should be alone late, but a woman sat at the other end of the car.
Two empty people in one empty subway car.
He stated popping pills and soon became one with the click clacks from the train tracks.
Rob said that when they got to end of the line, and the train stopped, and the doors opened, he and the woman sat still.
Rob said. All of a sudden, the pills asked the woman, “So what are we drinking”?
He said that she had a laugh that made him laugh too.
When Rob was asked what happened after that, he said he didn’t kill himself and the woman didn’t kill herself either.
Then he pulled some jellybeans out from the white bag he had and in the beans was an engagement ring he was on his way to give to her.
As the two of them parted, Rob said over his shoulder to his new old friend,
“Remember my son, no man is a Coney Island’.

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Categories: Books Reviews, Fiction

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