Thursday 4 December 2014

Day 4 After the Commodores by Jesse Falzoi

After the Commodores
Jesse Falzoi
Angie was the only one in San Jose who had neither car nor licence. She used to page me in the evening, and half an hour later I rang the doorbell at Black Rose’s house on South Side. She was still wearing her night gown. I had my breathing on hold to get used to the smell of perfume, wonder trees and her body, and said, “What’s up?”
She grinned. Hardly reaching my shoulders she weighed at least a hundred and sixty. She had a double chin and the small eyes of a pig. Her hair, damaged from uncountable perms and colouring, needed half a bottle of spray to stay in shape. All men were crazy about Angie, but she went for blacks only.
“I’ve got a new job,” she said. “Let’s celebrate.”
“Cool,” I said. “Can I work there, too?” My car was a gas-guzzler. I was slowly running out of money and I still had five weeks to cover before flying home. There was always my credit card, and there was always Steve, but he had his plans about the both of us, and I had mine.

We drove to Cougars. A tall guy with a base cap asked me if I wanted to dance. I said that I never danced with strangers, but he knew that I talked to strangers if they paid for my beer. “I know you.” He smiled and said, “You’re the European.”
I told him that I felt like driving to the beach. His eyes were fixed on the dance floor where a couple was dancing to the Chi-Lites. They hardly moved at all as if they were about to sleep.
“I love that song,” the guy said.
“So?” I said.
He put his half-full bottle onto the table. “Let’s get out of here.”

I steered my car though the deserted town, heading west. There were high concrete walls on both sides of the winding road, marked with traces of car paint in all colours. Every now and then we passed a dried-up wreath that was hanging beneath a photo of a smiling man or woman. I pushed the start button of my tape player.
“Fuck Burdon,” the guy said.
I turned up the volume and slammed on the gas. “It’s your people he’s playing with now,” I said.
“Easy, woman,” the guy said, putting his hand on my thigh.
“What’s your name?” 
Grinning, he said, “Eric.”

About the author:  
Jesse Falzoi was born in 1969 in Hamburg and raised in L├╝beck, Germany. After stays in the US and France, she moved to Berlin in the beginning of the nineties, where she still lives with her three children.
Her stories, as well as her translation of Donald Barthelme’s “Sentence,” have appeared in American, Russian, German, Swiss, Irish and Canadian magazines and anthologies. Meet her at

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