The Stone Fox
~ I ~
And Mission Gorge
Tonight was going to be a big night for Pee Wee Johnson. He sat at the stage, near the side door, and watched the young woman dance. Tonight was going to be his molotoff cocktail ~ no matter what.
His finger slipped a tremble around the rim of his half-full beer glass. The go-go music to which the half-naked dancer was blooming like a fast motion rose, was nothing compared to the drums pounding in Pee Wee’s head.
A thousand drums.
There were two other young men sitting at the stage. They were alone too ~ just like Pee Wee. One of the two was Nick Bogie. The other was Slim Chance. These three boys visited the place regularly. The place was The Stone Fox.
“When you go to the bathroom, woman, let me know, ’cause I wanna eat the peanuts out of your shit!” yelled Nick Bogie at the strutting dancer. He laughed like a loud joke in the middle of a vegetable garden.
The dancer stuck her tongue out at him and made a prancing detour on the stage.
Slim Chance watched and that was all. His glass was empty. A sensuously dressed working girl walked up behind him ~ perfectly. “Want another beer?”
The topless go-go girl on the stage did her thing, her routine and her bread. She was dynamite. She was also exhausted. It was almost midnight on a slow Monday.
The music boomed.
The drums in Pee Wee Johnson’s head banged along. The dancer tossed a quick glance at Pee Wee. He was a very short guy, maybe four feet high when he stood tall as he could and in elevator shoes. The dancer rolled her eyeballs. She couldn’t believe what she saw in Pee Wee’s eyes. She did a special wiggle, shot another glance at him. God, the little squirt looked unusually mean tonight (because, you see, tonight was his night for real action).
“You’re giving me a heart attack, woman!” yelled Nick Bogie at the dancer. She smiled. “In my pants!” snidely added Bogie.
He was a big guy. A handsome guy. And pretty drunk. You see, he was having trouble at home. His wife didn’t like him anymore. Like mad he wanted to ask the dancer out to dinner. But he just couldn’t get serious enough in this place.
But Pee Wee Johnson was very serious, sitting over by the side door.
Mission Gorge, by the way, was the name of the dancer.
~ II ~
Pee Wee Makes His Move
The place rocked on. The bartender let the beer flow. The bouncer sat slumped over in the corner, bored, wishing he didn’t have to constantly put up with “flakey chicks.” While Mission Gorge stomped her third song away on the stage, the other girls, “flakey chicks,” kept the glasses full and the pitchers too.
Slim Chance also wanted to ask Mission Gorge out for dinner but figured it was hopeless. A year ago he had caught a venereal desease that would stay with him until the day he died. What was the point in asking a woman out to dinner, he figured, if there was no possibility of a screwing ~ some day? So his entire life was hopeless. Forever he would just sit and watch.
Mission Gorge buttoned up and darted off the stage. Quiet moments passed. “You’re up, Sheila!” moaned the bouncer.
Sheila ascended the stage, pushed the buttons to her selected hit tunes and commenced in doing her thing just as Mission Gorge had done hers ~ about 100 times a night it seemed to these young women.
Mission Gorge shyly dashed across the saloon, flashed by Slim Chance and Nick Bogie, her skin a glow, crispy light hair a flowin’ down her back, a ghost like look of prettiness on her face. Her eyes swung around like machine guns aiming at empty beer glasses in the dim light ~ and full ash trays. She was a gorgeous portrait etched in lightning. She was always too quick.
But not tonight.
“Mission!” called Pee Wee, as she was about to flash by him too. She detoured on over, cautiously, as if Pee Wee was a dangerous dreamer who thought he loved her. And that’s exactly what he was!
Gently he took her arm in his hand. Nice. Then his fingers went tight like a vice. Mission Gorge locked her eyes onto his ~ saw his bright red desperation. Her eyes grew wide with fear. The gleam in his eye was too damn serious! The world stood stark raving still for half a second.
“What?” Mission Gorge managed to ask.
“Oh nothin’,” said Pee Wee. He picked her up in his arms and smashed out the side door into the night.
~ III ~
Prelude To The Kidnapping
Of Mission Gorge
A few months earlier ~
Pee Wee Johnson was sitting before the lone window in his hole-in-the-wall, watching the sun go down, when he decided he was so lonely and horny that he wanted to die.
He had worked hard all day long on his job. He lit a small cigar. He watched the sun sink. He partook of a gulp of cold beer from the can in his hand. He listened to the cowboy music on his cheap little stereo. A puff of tobacco smoke from his cigar somersaulted against the window and bloomed into nothing.
“Shit, I wanna die,” he muttered. But he got up and pedaled his bicycle to a local go-go bar instead ~ The Stone Fox.
He ordered a pitcher of beer and watched the girls dance topless. Then Mission Gorge stepped on stage. He was in love.
She wasn’t the prettiest. She wasn’t the best dancer. But Pee Wee liked the way she moved ~ quick, haughty, and she did funny things ~ funny things like wearing Slim Chance’s hat on her breasts as she danced, and balancing Nick Bogie’s tossed quarters on her nipples after the hat fell off. There were two real sad looking dudes sitting at the stage and she had them laughing in no time.
And Pee Wee too.
He became a regular. He wanted to ask Mission Gorge out to dinner just like Nick Bogie and Slim Chance ~ and two dozen other guys. But this go-go bar just wasn’t Pee Wee’s territory. And Mission Gorge was always too quick to ask out ~ always passed by in a flash ~
A portrait etched in lightning.
And anyway, Pee Wee was a Negro ~ a Negro who liked cowboy music. What a drag!
One night he looked at himself in the long mirror on the closet door in his hole-in-the-wall. He was just four feet tall ~ in elevator shoes. Women just didn’t see anything in this city except how tall you were. Yet Pee Wee was determined to not go to bed with Jose, the Mexican homo.
“Shit,” moaned Pee Wee. A tear rolled down his cheek. He put on some of that fine shit-kicking music ~ got out a book.
He read the book for a while. And had an idea. He slammed the book down on the table and gritted at the walls, “Guts!”
~ IV ~
The Quiet Ride
The big ol’ bouncer bolted to his feet and hollered, “Mission Gorge! She’s been carried away! By that little, little ~ ” He couldn’t finish what he was saying ~ sprinted for the side door.
“Bastard!” growled the bartender. He knocked over a pitcher of beer, screeched around the corner of the bar like a dragster (with smoking heels instead of tires) and followed the bouncer out the side door.
Nick Bogie jumped across the stage and dove out the side door after them.
Even passive Slim Chance ~ out the side door.
With his 100-pound load and an “umph!” Pee Wee waddled across the street to a parked rented car.
“What are you doing?” screamed Mission Gorge in his arms, wondering whether or not she should laugh. Pee Wee was pretty strong for such a little guy.
“Nothin’,” gritted Pee Wee and threw her in the driver’s side of the car. She bumped her head. He hopped in after her and slammed the door shut, locked it as the bouncer grabbed the exterior handle. Mission Gorge decided not to laugh after her bump on the head and threw herself against the other door. The inside handle had been removed.
“Damn,” she moaned and turned to Pee Wee. “You better let me out of here or I’ll bust your balls!”
Pee Wee started the engine and his rented car ~ a ’79 Buick with a tired automatic transmission ~ screeched away amidst burning rubber and exhaust and night time neon ~ through a red light. The bouncer bounced off the bumper and fell in the gutter next to an empty half-pint whiskey bottle.
The bartender, meanwhile, hustled back inside to the telephone, of course, to call the cops.
Nick Bogie and Slim Chance stood side by side on the sidewalk and scratched their heads in the night.
“Damn nigger,” muttered Nick Bogie with his chest out.
“Takes courage to do that,” said Slim Chance. He pulled his hat down in a philosophical way.
The bouncer was on his feet, in about half a second was seated in the driver’s seat of his own slick sports car ~ a late-model deep-sea blue jaguar ~ and in hot pursuit.
But Pee Wee lost him.
And the cops never got there.
The passing neon lights of the city caressed the flushed cheek of the Stone Fox starlet. The handle to the window on that side of the car had been removed also. Pee Wee rolled down his own window and smiled.
“Hi, Mission,” he said.
She glared at him in disbelief. But the sudden quiet in the car, like nicely chilled milk, poured into her ears, filled up an empty soul, after having spent so many hours in that damn bar. She decided to kick back and enjoy the subdued poetry of the situation.
After a long moment she smiled nervously. “Hello, Pee Wee.”
He glanced at her, stretched his arm across the top of the steering wheel ~ relaxed. “I’ve never seen you smile like that before.”
“We’ve never been this close to each other with nobody else around.”
Pee Wee nodded.
They rolled along ~ hit a freeway ramp ~ speeded up. Pee Wee rolled the window up ~ opened the wing-a-ding.
“How come you did that?” asked Mission Gorge.
“Kidnapped me!” She laughed.
“Well.” Pee Wee pondered. “Well. I wanna ask you out to dinner. But I can never get myself to do it at the Stone Fox ~ which happens to be the only place I ever see you at. So I had to get you outta that place some how. And so ~ ” He reached over to the glove compartment, opened it. And stuck a cigarette into Mission Gorge’s mouth ~ her favorite brand. He lit it for her with the car’s cigarette lighter.
“Thank you,” said the young lady. She opened the wing-a-ding on her side of the car. She blew a slow stream of smoke out in front of her face. “It feels good to sit down,” she said.
Pee Wee smiled. “Will you go out to dinner with me?”
Pee Wee’s smile disappeared. “Why not?”
“I’ve got two kids and an old man,” said Mission Gorge.
“Oh.” Pee Wee slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand. “I should have known!”
“Good try, Pee Wee. Real Good.”
“Is he a good old man?”
“He’s okay.” Her eyes went neon.
They zoomed along the freeway into the night, surrounded by emptiness, plenty of room for talk.
“You see, Pee Wee, all you guys back at the club, you all are patrons. I’ve gotta keep my distance. Mission Gorge isn’t even my real name! I dance for you and serve you. You pay for my bread and my shed ~ and the shed I have is some pretty nice shelter. Understand?”
“Now I gotta get back to work.”
“What for? Why don’t you take the rest of the night off?”
“‘Cause I’m getting nervous.”
Pee Wee Johnson re-navigated the vessel toward Mission Gorge’s harbor of labor. They sailed in silence. A few blocks away from their destination Mission suddenly said, “Stop the car.”
She slid over, put her arms around his neck and gave him a long slow kiss. Pee Wee Johnson, to say the least, was surprised. It was a kiss to be reckoned with. It was a kiss that could re-write encyclopedias ~ and inspire clouds in the sky to “moo” like cows.
Later that night ~
When Pee Wee was walking the path to his hole-in-the-wall, he was greeted in the shadows by Jose, the Mexican homo.
“Hello, handsome,” coo-ed Jose.
“What’s happening?” muttered Pee Wee.
“Ohhhhhhh, not much,” coo-ed Jose. He rested his hand on the little negro’s shoulder.
Ordinarily Pee Wee would have stiffened. But tonight he settled back on his heels, gazed up into the dark taunting eyes of Jose. Upon the smaller fellow’s lips a little smile began to play. Pee Wee’s hand near his hip rolled itself into a tight fist. He brought it way way way back ~
And decked the batata.
(text copyright clyde collins 1989, 2010, 2019)