Sniffles. Lending credibility to her story, yes, but the moist wheezing air fluttering in and out, in and out… From Lisa it seemed obnoxious somehow. Her nose, far too thin for sniffling. It whistled.
It seemed that she’d been molested underneath the pier again. At least that’s what she told everyone who sat at her table near the window, inside Hathaway’s. “A big man,” just like the last time, she claimed. Sniff. “Two of them.” She usually stopped there, brushed a wisp of blonde hair from her eyes, and gulped cold bitter beer into her gullet. Half a glass disappeared in an instant. Big, heavy glasses at Hathaway’s too. Not the type of glass you expect to see in San Jose.
“They had friends too,” she said, green eyes ruefully studying the half-empty glass.
It was at this point that her listener ordered the next drink, usually.
“Dozens of them, up on the hill. Laughing at poor old me.” Poor old me was John the bartender’s cue. Pretzels and nuts. Lisa’s skinny arms were hiding her skinny breasts now, as if someone might leap from under the table and try to steal them. “I was quite scared, you know.” Up went the glass, emptying quickly, then she exchanged it and a nod with John.
Eyes, either blue or brown or some similar color watched and waited from across the table. What happened next, they wished to know. “They held me down,” Lisa offered in a distraught manner. “There were two of them.” Sniff. “Well, you can imagine.” Then she would drop her eyes like lead fishing weights and nearly start to cry.
No one ever had the temerity to press for more than she would offer. What was the point? As she told them all, “Well, you can imagine.” They could.
Only I knew the truth. And John of course, (maybe John knew). Lisa Hopkins is a liar and a drunk! And other things; skinny, salt-stained skin, hot dog lover, and lover of verdant seaweed groves. She dives you know. And that makes her beautiful, or maybe it’s her green, green eyes. But she lies like a drunk.
The only time Lisa was molested was twelve years ago, come October. And she wasn’t really molested at all. Here’s how it went down: She showed up at Boom Boom Benny’s place, the tall black guy that used to drive the dented tan Torino and honk at everyone on a Friday night. Drunk. Benny gave her a beer upon request. Then a few minutes later another upon demand. Then Lisa wanted a joint or something. Maybe coke. It was too hard to understand through the slurring and Benny gave up and gave her two more beers to shut her up. She did.
That’s when I walked in. I lived at the dim-lighted apartment only three blocks from the beach part-time, on weekends and after work at the Moon Restaurant, which has been closed for years now. Benny was my best friend more or less, in those days. I think he eventually moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, of all places.
Benny fiddling around with the stereo. Loud angry horns and maybe flutes foisting for attention. This girl, Lisa, green eyes eating me up as I walk in. She seemed to have an extra beer so I reached a hand out. We talked a bit and then I took her in the bedroom and stripped her jeans and blue swim suit top off, but she slurred for me to stop. I had a girlfriend, what did I care?
I left her there, half on half off the bed. Slurring something. Benny and me went somewhere. That’s it. The Big Rape.
The next day, the day after? Probably a couple of days later Lisa shows back up with this huge dude named Ralph or Rick or something like that. Her boyfriend. Benny told me all about it later, in a rush of words, still half scared to death. The guy was huge.
Lisa had been raped, molested, or at least kissed; no one was really sure at that point. She told her boyfriend it wasn’t Benny, but the one that molested her looked like Benny only he was white. Me, I guess. The huge guy shoved Benny against a wall and growled. He left, screaming at Lisa as he dragged her along. That’s it. The Big Aftermath.
It’s funny how things go, especially stories. A month later Lisa was alone. Broken up. Her ass of a boyfriend had dumped her because she’d been raped, is what she told everyone. Somehow it was more romantic to be raped under a pier. And that’s how the story goes.
It’s been twelve years. Once a month now Lisa gets jumped under that pier again. You’d think she’d just stop going there, wouldn’t you?
I hang at Hathaway’s; it’s close to other places I like. And John’s cool. Maybe I get some perverse pleasure out of watching the green-eyed girl tell her story of woe too. Funny thing, as Lisa mouths her lines like a dedicated actress, I don’t think she knows it’s me that she’s talking about. She doesn’t even know who I am anymore. Once not long ago she asked me if I wanted to buy her a drink. What’s she going to do, tell me her story? It makes me want to laugh.
DC Grondo spent thirty years promoting country western music concerts throughout the Great American Southwest. He’s finally come back home to Chicago and is pursuing the dream of being a writer, sparked so long ago in college. Still searching for his niche, DC has written nonfiction articles concerning the enviroment and social inequality, as well as several stories ranging from science fiction to romance. His short stories and articles have appeared in The Fiction Zone, The New Times, The Q C Express, and The New Paradigm, Stories That Lift, and The Hub.