Little Casino

Little Casino by Gilbert Sorrentino Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Little Casino by Gilbert Sorrentino Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gilbert Sorrentino
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General
DOOR . This is not her family’s apartment, but somebody’s apartment, one of remarkably opportune availability. Somebody has gone away to Miami or someplace. Without further ado, she makes him a drink, Cutty Sark on the rocks, and they sit on the couch. She’s a little drunk, or so he thinks. As soon as he kisses her, she takes off her cardigan and kisses him back. She looks curiously formal in her plain white brassiere and demure plaid skirt. There’s a grand piano in the enormous living room, and it has the effect of placing him outside this event, if that’s what it is. He touches her breasts tentatively, and she stands up and leads him into the bedroom. She sits against the headboard of the king-size bed, propped against pillows. This is the life. She tells him not to look at her, then pulls her skirt and half-slip up to her hips, and opens her thighs a little. She still has her penny loafers on. He sees that she still has her panties on, too, plain white cotton. He takes a condom, in utter despair, out of his pocket, and tears the foil wrapper open. Semper paratus. What is he supposed to do now? He lies, awkwardly, on top of her, cradled in her arms, straddling one of her thighs, the condom between thumb and forefinger. He has no idea if he should open his pants, but he does manage to touch her crotch with the back of his hand. She says that maybe they ought to go and have coffee, Ellen will be home soon. Actually, she says that she’s afraid that Ellen will be home soon. He doesn’t know who Ellen is. Home? What about Miami? But he says, OK, sure, Ellen. What a suave customer he is. Do you want to touch me again, there, touch me there? she says. Yes, he says, blushing. He sees that she’s sitting on a bath towel, another sad optimist.

    “Without further ado,” eh? He turns a nice phrase, useless towel and all.
    The Grand Piano is yet another beautiful novel unknown to the barbarians who run things, and just as well. There are many things the existence of which should be kept hidden, lest they be soiled and cheapened.
    The plaid skirt, the grand piano, the towel on the bed, etc., etc., are motifs, yes, but are they bound motifs?
    The apartment was on Cortelyou Road.
    The grand piano may figure large in subsequent tales, like a submerged bicycle, a loaded rifle on the wall, a container of yogurt. Then again, it may just be a touch of the authentic, a detail to do something or other. You know what I mean, right?
    Ellen, years later, said that she entered her family’s apartment at about midnight to find her friend and some “dumb-looking guy” playing Monopoly.
    The girl’s name was Linda, a name, incidentally, that one doesn’t hear much anymore.

The salt of the earth

    T HE GREEK, IN HIS RENTED WHITE DINNER jacket and black tuxedo trousers, was throwing up on himself in front of the Shore Road Casino. Fat George had lost, somewhat surrealistically, half his tie and was sitting in a garbage can accompanied by a quart bottle of Rheingold, the pride of New York. Sal was attempting, in the best of humor, to persuade the short-order cook in the Royal to scramble him three eggs for the price of two, and Rocco waited outside, admiring his reflection in the plate-glass window. Nothing, but nothing, like a pearl-gray fedora! The Lion’s Den was jammed with what Donnie called “revelers,” and Whitey, in the spirit of revelry, was fucking Chickie in the telephone booth. In another telephone booth, a few doors away, Bromo Eddie was making random calls with the aid of a safety pin as substitute for legal tender, employing a method known and used by many citizens, though heartily condemned by Ma Bell: “It raises the costs for all, la-da, it raises the co-oosts for alll!”—of course it does! Carmine felt that Whitey shouldn’t be doing what he was doing, people had to use that goddamn phone booth, for Christ sake. What if somebody needed an ambulance, too? Had he no home? Couldn’t he fuck Chickie in the

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