Fiction and Poetry 3am Magazine Contact Links Submission Guidelines


Page 2

Sacramento street, heading down the one-way street back towards Kearny Street, planning on circling the block.

But one of the dizzies is petrified of circling the block. They'll see us, they'll see us!

Which is crazy, I tell her, nobody looks up the one-way street. They look down. Where to?

The Buena Vista at the Wharf, one says in my ear.

But that's where we said we were going, one countered.

But they won't believe us, another said.

They won't look for us?

Sure, they will.

Not after what they spent on us.

They won't show at the BV, the one insisted. They'll look for us on Union Street before they'll think of the BV.

Besides, I said, playing the game, maybe you can get your giggles looking at the guys you left behind.

How did you know that?

Just by listening to you, is all.

We passed Clay and Kearny Streets, and we all craned our necks down the one-way street towards McGoon's. Where the doorman was helping three businessmen from the saloon's front door.

There they are!

I hope they don't see us!

They didn't, one crowed.

Oh, they were so old, another marveled.

It was all so funny, I really cracked up, started laughing so loud, my hat flew off the back of my head. One of the dizzies in the backseat caught it and passed it over the seat. Do you think it's funny? she asked.

Sure, it's funny, I said.

You wouldn't think it was so funny if you were us.

Aw, you'd think it's funny, too, I said.

By this time they were relaxing, unwinding, and a couple of them got their chuckles, too. Oh, they were so old, the one in the front seat repeated, mimicking her girlfriend in the back.

Well, they were.

They weren't that old.

The one I was with, he was old. He was so old, his fingers shook when they brought out the cake.

Maybe it's arthritis, one said.

Maybe senility, another said.

Jesus, what losers!

Conventioneers? I wondered.

Uhn-uh, just on a business trip.

Where'd you meet them?

At Trader Vic's.

How'd you get over here? I wondered.

We took a cab.

What's the story? I asked. C'mon, you can tell me.

Well, it was her birthday.

You wanted the drinks at Trader Vic's.

Well, it was your birthday.

We couldn't afford much, one broke in, telling me the story. We're just working girls, but it's her birthday, so we figured we could afford one or two drinks at someplace fancy, like Trader Vic's, so we went there after work and started drinking those rum things with the cherries and the fizzle on top . . .

And these guys, one in the backseat interrupted, they asked us is they could buy us dinner.

They sent the waiter over to us.

So we had dinner!

A free meal's a free meal, I agreed.

And then they brought out a cake.

What for? I asked.

For her birthday!

And they bought us so many drinks, and everything.

Why'd you come to McGoons?

We just had to get out of Trader Vic's.

It was so embarrassing.

You're just helping some old farts get their kicks, I told them.

Old farts is right.

I don't want to be their kicks.

So we ran away from them, one told me. We ran outside while they were getting their topcoats, and there you were.

You're cute.

He is, you know.

I almost blushed.

By the time we reached the Buena Vista, their plight had made up for the slowest of evenings. The fare came to a little over two bucks. They were gripping about how fast the fare had been rising. I told them I'd settle for two bucks. They managed to scrape that up, part of it in pennies. Wishing them good luck, I left, finding a fare headed back to a hotel on my way down Columbus Street.

It was a while before I got back to McGoon's.

I told the doorman the story.

He didn't laugh. They do it every night, he said.

Every night?

Different guys, but . . .

He shrugged it off.

Frederick Zackel has published two novels. He currently teaches at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He has written for Exquisite Corpse: The Journal of Letters and Life, Unquiet Mind, Winedark Sea, WINGS, The Dictionary of Literary Biography, and The Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction (among others,) and is a contributing editor to the on-line literary magazine January

Send correspondence to

Previous Page        
Page: 1