Fiction


Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

 

Mervin Coin

By Denise Falcone

 

Mervin liked to pass the time watching the card shills take the tourists for a ride. He’d high-five the pickpockets mingling incognito in the crowd and although it was late in the afternoon, he’d good morning the whores by name. Sometimes a certain type of family, their naiveté ticking like a time-bomb, would compel him to follow them up close on their safari so he could imagine he belonged.
    
     “Well, look what the wind blew in! Holy Moses! How’d you get so big?”
Uncle Pierce could eat ten cakes in one sitting and still hide behind a microphone. Drum roll please. Badaboom. Or stick his tongue out and look like a thermometer. Baboom. Or stick his tongue out and look like a zipper! Badaboom!
     “Your uncle brought you something,” gasped his mother through the thick of a phlegm-filled hacking cough.
     Edna Coin hardly moved from the overwhelmed cracked vinyl lounge chair perpetually parked in front of the television, which because of the rare arrival of her brother was thankfully taking a breather.
     “Here Mervin,” announced his uncle with an air of sad nostalgia, “I want you to have him now,” and pulled from a faded canvas duffle bag the limp body of a boy decked out in formal dress.
     The little shoes were cute but the midget tuxedo was frayed and thin, the garish ruffled shirt a nicotinic yellow. Mervin was struck by a pang of revulsion when his uncle inserted what looked like a lecherous claw into its back and suddenly a thick black painted-on eyebrow jerked up.
     “Hi Mervin! I’m your new friend Larry!”
      The ratty toupee, the thick raw meat-colored lips, and the sleazy pencil mustache made Mervin think the thing was created for a joke.
   
     “Get that crummy thing outta here!” his mother kept yelling, so Mervin brought Larry to his room. He discovered the place where his uncle shoved his hand to find a metal stick and some levers, and figured out how to manipulate things while finding the challenge of synchronizing his voice to the movements as he tried hard not to move his lips.
     “Why do you smoke so much?” Mervin would make Larry ask his mother after she’d light up another nail.
     “None of your goddamn business,” she’d say, shaking out the match. This would tickle Mervin to no end and give him such a thrill.
     Outside on his front stoop, he practiced on the neighbors.
     “Madon, Mrs. DiBoni. Why are all you Italian women so sexy?” Mervin would hold Larry’s mouth open in a look of mock pleasure as Mrs. DiBoni gratefully wiggled down the stairs.
     “Good afternoon, Mr. Long. And how are you today?”
     “Hey there cute dog! And don’t piss on my leg, will ya,” Larry whispered under Mervin’s breath.
     One morning Mervin pulled the folding chair out from behind the refrigerator because he was ready to hit the street. The sun streaming through the window illuminated the shabbiness of the place.
     “Good morning, Larry. And how are you on this fine day?” Mervin asked in character, polishing the act.
     “Good morning to you too, you cock-sucking piece of shit bastard.”

     The buzz was go check out the guy with the dummy. Construction workers stood there cracking up. Republicans didn’t stand a chance. The suits strolled over on their lunch hour to eat their slices of pizza in the back so they wouldn’t get involved. Someone who drove in from New Jersey spilled hot coffee on himself after falling into hysterics when Larry suggested what his goatee resembled, having to replace the labial sound of the v, because he was a dummy and they can’t do that, with another word.
     Apart from the gold chain around his neck, the passer-by was dressed more like a parking garage attendant than the part owner of a club.  
     “We’re primarily a strip joint but we want you to work the breaks. You get a hundred a night if you keep it blue.”
     Soon someone even put him on a private jet to Miami to perform for some big shot’s pretentious fancy birthday.

***

     At the “Adult Oscars” annual awards ceremony, prizes are handed out for the best in categories, such as the most outrageous sex scene or best film based on the fact that you couldn’t hear the director talking in the background.
     Poured into ruby satin and up for an award for excellence in a multi-person sex act, Tara Valentine stood on the red carpet and admitted being petrified of winning because “speaking in front of a lot of people is hard.”
     “Take the sex out of this movie and it’s pure Disney,” glowed Jeff Smith fresh off the tanning bed. Mermen and Mermaids, because of the production values alone, was sure to grab Best Feature.
     “Check out the bazoogas on that one,” Larry sniped, his head swiveling to watch an angelic-faced young woman in a see-through strapless dress float by. “And the award for the biggest whore in the world is…oh, excusem moi, this year’s Miss Porn is…Crystal Meth, sorry, Crystal Beth. Come and get it sweetheart.”
     After the show, Mervin walked off stage carrying Larry on his arm. A security guard anxiously watching the door heard the dummy say, “Well, that sucked.”

 

*****

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