Samurai movie

The light of equinox was out. Jimmy pulled into the pitched driveway at 715 Ashbury. He did not challenge Cathy’s demands for reassurance. Indignant protests would not do, nor sullen resentment, nor appeal to character; they had outworn those. He loved Cathy and would not be monogamous. She loved him and would be monogamous but the opportunity never arose. The ethics of their love was painful, studied.

“Fifteen minutes,” she said, “then I set fire to the house.”

Jimmy climbed the steps to the Victorian porch. Shauna answered the doorbell. “Howdy, pardner,” she said.

“Hello, darling.”

She made no move aside. Light from the living room haloed her platinum hair.

Darling? You must need something,” perfect hostess to the uninvited. “Oh, the girl in the ad. I don’t think I.” She looked down, saw Cathy’s face in the Volvo window, smirked sweetly, stepped aside, her lace dress swirling, kept her back to the living room.

“How’ve you been?” asked Jimmy.

She breathed in, breathed out. Her breath touched Jimmy’s neck.

“Yes, I’m looking for the girl.”

“I don’t know her.”

Someone was in the living room.

“You know of her?”

“That was a pretty vague description.”

“And whatsisname?” Jimmy nodded toward the living room. “Does he?”

“You are so beautiful. You know his name.” She made the word beautiful mockery, flattery, rememberance, all in one. “Why don’t you ask him? He’s good for a couple of minutes.” She led him to the living room. “Beef,” she said, “Jimmy would like a word with you.”

Jimmy did not approach the chair, stood casually, weight on one leg in the center of the room, would have draped his leather jacket over one shoulder if he could, waited for Beef to pull the needle from his arm, place it on the round mahogany table, untie the rubber tubing, lay it on the table, breathe deeply, and select what level of attention to present. These ceremonies take time.

“Ho ho ho chi minh,” said Beef.

Jimmy stepped forward with the sense of being in a samurai movie.

“Back off, Ho.”

Jimmy stepped back, the sense of being in a samurai movie enhanced.

“I’m looking for a chick. Long blond hair, green eyes, thin, maybe has money. She was backstage at the Gathering of the Tribes.”



“Your money.”


“We require a dime. The preppie revolutionary does not deal in smack. Make that two dimes. You want a piece of my mind you pay for my peace of mind.”

“Oookay.” Jimmy reached inside his jacket for his wallet. Beef pulled a small automatic, the grip of which Jimmy had mistaken for a belt buckle, from his waist; Jimmy froze; Beef laid the gun softly on his knee.

“You want a piece? I got a piece.”

Jimmy opened his wallet.

“No thanks,” said Jimmy, “I got my own.”

“All God’s preppies got guns. Price goin up.”

Jimmy laid a twenty next to the gun on Beef’s knee, stepped back.

“Try across the street,” said Beef as the smack flushed his brain. “You want a piece?” He gestured toward Shauna. “Be my guest. You’re a good little revolutionary, Ho. Peace.”

In the hall, Jimmy asked, “What’s he mean across the street?”

“The Dead,” said Shauna.

“I give him a day’s wages and he gives me Jerry Garcia?”

They studied each other for a while.

“Cathy’s waiting,” she said.

“Please,” said Jimmy, “take care of yourself.”

She breathed in, breathed out, even her breath ironic.

“I know,” he said, and touched her cheek. “Peace.”

They left the Volvo parked in Shauna’s driveway and crossed Ashbury, his hand on Cathy’s shoulder as they walked, firmly enough to reassure, not so obvious as to seem guilty, let his fingers drift down her arm as they passed between parked cars, stepped aside for her to go before him to the foot of the steps of the House of The Dead.