Who is Charlie Conti?

Who is Charlie Conti? by Claus von Bohlen Read Free Book Online

Book: Who is Charlie Conti? by Claus von Bohlen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claus von Bohlen
want them to know that, but I didn’t really want to kiss Ally either. In fact, I’d have preferred to kiss Macha. But although Ally looked pretty severe, I knew I’d enjoy telling Mikey what had happened. And in any case, I didn’t really see how I could get out of it without them thinking I was selling my ass. I wasn’t sure whether she wanted me to kiss her in front of her friends, or whether she wanted to go for a walk under the trees, out of sight, or what. In the end I didn’t have to make a decision because she grabbed the back of my head and pulled my mouth onto hers. I was just thinking how different this was to the way I’d imagined my first kiss would be, when suddenly her tongue pushed into my mouth. I remember how strangely unpleasant the taste was, though now I realize that it was because she’d been smoking a cigarette. The taste was kind of metallic and reminded me of that feeling you get when you chew on a piece of chocolate which still has a bit of tin foil stuck to it which you didn’t see.
    We kissed for a while, our tongues kind of wrestling. It must have looked pretty gross, although Macha and Charlie were too busy relighting the pipe to take much notice. I’d have liked to pull away, but I thought it might be a bit impolite, like letting a door swing in a girl’s face. So I just kept wrestling until she pulled away.
    ‘Wow, don’t you ever come up for air?’ she said, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand. Even now her comment confuses me. I mean, do people hold their breath when they kiss? I’d never kissed anyone before but it seemed pretty intuitive to kiss with my mouth and breathe through my nose.
    ‘So, if you’re not gay, what are you doing here in the middle of the night?’ she asked.
    Metallic and messy as the kiss had been, it nevertheless emboldened me to reply: ‘I want to buy some smoke.’
    All three girls laughed at this. In spite of the cold, I felt the heat begin to rise to my face, until Ally said, ‘Well loverboy, looks like it’s your lucky night. We’ve got more smoke than we can possibly sell.’
    So I left Tompkins Square Park a quarter of an hour later and fifty bucks poorer, but with a bag of chemically enhanced cannabis in my pocket and the faintly unpleasant, lingering taste of tin foil in my mouth. It was a small price to pay for not being chopped up into fourteen pieces or made into a stew or scattered into the Nile or fed to poetic bums or whatever.

V
    I SHOWED M IKEY the bag of smoke while we were brushing our teeth on the first night back at Belmont. In winter the bathrooms were icy cold and lit by fluorescent lights which made everyone look kind of green and even more pimply than usual, but teeth-brushing was really social despite that. Each bathroom had six sinks and you were allowed to talk there during late prep which you couldn’t do in your room, at least not without the risk of getting caught. I’m pretty sure that it’s only because of that little loophole that I never needed a filling until after I left Belmont. I mean, back then I used to eat plenty of candy, and I wouldn’t just suck on them like I do now. I used to chomp right down crushing the boiled sugar until it splintered and molded itself to the indentations in the top and bottom of my back teeth, sometimes even fusing the upper and thelower together for a few moments. And did I ever need a filling? No sir, I did not. After Belmont I ate a lot less candy, but the dentist used to find some goddamn cavity every time he looked.
    Like I was saying, I showed Mikey the bag while we were brushing our teeth. The book had also said that I needed a ‘personal effect of the departed’ and ‘fire-water’, so I had brought back a ring of my mother’s and also a quart of scotch decanted into my empty aftershave bottle. I’d gotten the scotch from the pantry at home. The cook used to keep a few bottles of liquor up on the top shelf. I don’t know whether she used the scotch for

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