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The Writer's Life 6/12 - Rain-Out Theater

The floating bookshop was open only an hour before the rain arrived. Before then, a Russian gentleman who visits once a month stocked up on thrillers. Spasibo, sir.

So it's time for Rain-Out Theater. Here's an excerpt from a short story titled Distinctions, which I wrote in the mid 80's after a raucous night on the town. It was my first full year in the bizarro world that was the commodities trading floor, my work place until November 2007:

I was unable to resist desert, pecan pie, although I was stuffed. I resolved to work out harder than usual tomorrow. When everyone had finished his coffee, Joey asked for the bill, which was more than $500. The others were surprised it wasn't greater. I was shocked, although I knew it would be a tax write-off. God bless America, I thought.

"How much would it take to get you to walk around the restaurant in your underwear?" said Bobby to Phil.

"I wouldn't do it in here," said Phil, blowing smoke over his head, sitting back, legs crossed, an arm around the chair beside him. "Gimme a hundred and I'll do it outside."

The same $75 was raised. I felt an acute resistance within me. I was sure Phil would do it, and I cringed at the thought of those who would be offended. And I didn't want to see him make a fool of himself, although he was eager to accept the challenge, to prove his superiority to the others, even at the lower rate. As I saw it, he knew he would never match them in wealth, education, or background, so his only recourse was brazenness. None of the others would dare parade about midtown in his underwear, none would ever match him in "sickness." I found it sad, although no malice was intended by anyone except, perhaps, Bobby. I was reminded of a short story wherein an unfaithful wife had her adoring husband masquerade as a fool at a party, where he suffered fatal realization. I doubted the present consequences would be as dire, however.

We left the place with great anticipation. As soon as we'd gathered outside, Phil began to strip, to the delight of everyone. The temperature was about 50 degrees this April night. Phil stood proudly in his briefs, black dress socks sagging about thin ankles. He held his arms out at his sides, inviting all to behold. "Am I sick or what?" he demanded. Everyone concurred.

"Look at those socks!" Bobby cried out, beside himself.

I stood apart, embarrassed yet amused as he accepted congratulatory high-fives. It was a harmless prank. I hoped the public would perceive it as such. Phil handed me his clothes, not trusting any of the others, and set off along 72nd Street, smiling, belly protruding and supported by spindly legs taking long strides. I laughed so hard I collapsed into a squat trying to draw breath, which was difficult on a bloated stomach. My vision blurred at the force of my mirth. Those he passed were amused rather than offended. And he did not go quietly into the good night. He talked up a storm, avoiding, however, eye contact with passersby.

Visit Vic’s sites:
Vic’s Third Novel (Print or Kindle):
Vic’s Website: http://members
Vic’s Short Story Collection (Print or Kindle):
Vic’s 2nd Novel:
Vic’s 1st Novel:
Vic’s Screenplay on Kindle:

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Monday, 15 April 2024