• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 05
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Donkey’s Years

No solace in coming back here. This cockroach infested motel; the pool's fallen into disuse. But this is where she made me a believer, like The Monkeys song - but they were a manufactured band with manufactured sentiments. Not a trace.

Back then, this wasn't just some pitstop, it brimmed with a vitality- my little lady sitting on the deck chair wearing a Panama hat and that tattoo of the donkey blemishing her inner thigh just about visible. Maybe the place was the same and she made everything different.

I was no gangster and she knew it. Couldn't remember the night before but I'm pretty sure I had been the obvious loser in a messy brawl at a bar with no name, in a town with no centre. We talked - I don't know about what. She said her father was some sort of oil tycoon and had had big plans for her.

Out by the pool I acted like her hanging around me was the most natural thing in the world, while my blood was like a marching band.

"Do you ever feel hemmed in by people's expectations?" she asked

"I'm an orphan, so I kinda have the opposite problem."

"I expect you to kiss me."

I feigned indifference despite the galloping in my breast which she must have noticed as that was where her hand had rested.

"Not until you tell me just why you got that dopey looking tattoo?"

"I had a donkey. He was useless - just idled all day and I loved him. He was a great fornicator too, a real hit with the jennies. He engendered a mare that was made to slave all day. Does that sound fair?"


Donkey’s Years

"I don't mess with fair and fair don't mess with me" I replied, unconvincing as the hardboiled hero.

She laughed at me, with low-toned scorn. She flashed me a look of playful disapproval.

"You don't have to be anything. You're a ghost."

"You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen" I said, my guard crashing to the terracotta tiles.

"My sister was a beauty queen, I'm thought to be the mousy one," she said with a shrug.

The next morning she was gone. I told myself I didn't care. I congratulated myself on a superior lay. I saw a note peeking out from under the phone:

If it's meant to be, you'll find me.

I plunged the note into my jeans.

Now every love song in the convenience stores gets to me.

I ask the dusty old woman at the motel if she keeps a logbook. She's in the records as FeiFei Parker. Had to be a fake. I slammed some bourbon and used this Web they have now. Searched for stories about beauty queens with Tycoon fathers. Got an address of an oil ranch.

I'm no gangster but for FeiFei....

She is expecting me. I'll make it easy for her. I have a big trunk. I hit the gas. Long shadows form in the evening light.