The Story of Ray Sin Boe, Shirley, Lonnie, Thomas, AMLXIIIIIII, and Maryanne.

Pastel yellow shone from his coffee stained teeth and the gaudy overhead lamp alike. Love was in the air, a mist and a tide swept through the restaurant engulfing all whose hearts still kept rhythm with the clock. He smiled at a young girl, barely able to keep her wild disheveled gaze from his deepest part. Penetrating eyes all around, he felt them and he loved them and he despised them.

Voices and echoes consumed his mind, haunting any semblance of a thought and scaring it back to the recesses, to sanity. With the grace of an illiterate giant of old, he mumbled and shook with frustration, with guilt, with shame. Feeling suddenly and outrageously out of place was nothing new for him, it was part of him. Part of his condition. Today a loving condition, returned by none.

Dejected, he paid quietly and left the shady establishment, walking holding hands with pocket knives and gumballs. Pink gumballs from a shiny new machine on the corner of 9th and Wallace, they only ever had pink ones. The gumballs were for Shirley. The pocket knife was for him.

At Straight Avenue he stopped in to the cigar and coffee shop, bought the most expensive he could find, and continued on his way. The streetlights were his only beacon on this night, cars were empty and houses were burnt out. It had been a long week for the world, and for Ray Sin Boe it was no exception. He had had enough. He would give Shirley the gumballs and laugh as she tried to chew and the gum got stuck to her gums and she growled and panted in simultaneous frustration and delight; then he would carve a nice new name for himself in the stairwell. He would echo his new name for all to hear.

And no one will hear.  If they hear, no one will listen. It’s been 42 years, and tens of hundreds of names, and no one will listen.

The next morning was a fine morning.  Rain pattered hard down the aluminum siding of the shack, and the sun shone through the clouds and a mist arose and it was golden. He awoke to this beautiful sight and then fixed his glazed, sleepy eyes upon a stray mail piece that had landed upon his stoop. It was fresh, the ink had barely run, and it said Lonnie Sharp.

Lonnie Sharp was a psychotherapist and a card shark. He solved problems and made money and made problems and lost money. It’s what he did, and it was a rush and it was satisfying, he loved it. Nobody else loved him for it, but that didn’t matter to Lonnie.

And so a new man lived on, Lonnie Sin Boe. He was a caring man, this new Lonnie. He held the door open for strangers, and lit women’s cigarettes, and always practiced his manners in hopes that one day he may need to use them. Lonnie claimed to have met many fine people in his day, but never the one. He had no fortune to tell of, and his only stories were those of his past. He had no ambition except to be proper and a gentleman, and he had no one to share this selflessness with, except Shirley. She got a lot of pink gumballs.  It’s no surprise he never met the one.

Lonnie did however meet a very young man named Thomas one day as he wheeled his grocery basket past the park. Thomas’s mom never liked him talking to strangers but Thomas wanted to make an exception because he thought he saw kindness in Lonnie’s eyes.  Lonnie was interested in Thomas and Thomas didn’t have any friends, it was a good relationship for both of them.  Thomas was 5. Lonnie gave Thomas all of Shirley’s gumballs that day, and so he had a friend. With this friend came new material, and new hope.  Thomas would tell Lonnie everything about his day at school and about how Lucille from the playground was a bully to him, but Thomas would comfort the child and tell him to look on the bright side since he was already 5 and he was still alive.  It was good.

Lonnie decided to tell everyone that Thomas was his long lost uncle, which made not a lick of sense to anyone but Lonnie, but no one knew Thomas was 5 and no one ever met Thomas so this was quite alright. Lonnie had a friend and someone to speak of to anyone that would listen. Shirley would listen and was very patient with Lonnie, who would haphazardly repeat the same story over and over, trying to find the right tone of voice, the right edge so as not to frighten away any potential with his awkward approach. For a long while, Shirley was the only one.

It would remain that way until, on the way to the cafe that Lonnie had been to a week ago as Ray, he was hit by a speeding taxi and broke his femur in three places and received a concussion. It was excruciatingly painful, and he remembered his name and much else when his life flashed before his eyes. Albert Murdock Lawson XIIIIIII, son of a wealthy hedge fund manager and a nurse, abandoned at age 3, homeless and developing an intensely unhealthy case of paranoid schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder since. Maryanne found him on the sidewalk, the taxi hadn’t stopped.  She smiled a wild toothy grin, her face was brazen and beautiful, and she was smitten from first glance into Albert Murdock’s eyes.

He told her everything, was an extraordinary gentleman for awhile, and they fell in love.

2 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    November 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    albert found true love…that’s what i’m talking about..

    sooo goood man, keep em coming.

  2. Joy said,

    December 1, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Your stories are so good:)


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