Elsinore by Jerome Charyn

Book: Elsinore by Jerome Charyn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jerome Charyn
to him. And then his shoulders dropped and the bumper fell into his own kind of peace, which was like oblivion.

    He woke in his room at the Carlos Marx. He was wearing silk pajamas that didn’t belong to him. There was a pot of coffee beside his bed. Cookies on a silver tray. A flower from one of the gardens of Pescadores. Holden was beginning to feel like an anarchist. He wouldn’t have minded a week in Bibo’s town, a rest from Aladdin. And he admired this hotel, with its magic room service. But as he drank his coffee, he could hear someone singing in the courtyard below. He didn’t understand a word. But the song was so full of grief, so lamentable, that Holden wanted to hurl himself from the window, give his body to the siren’s call. He paddled downstairs in his new silk pajamas, with pesetas in the pants.
    The siren was a shivering young man who sat cross-legged in the yard. Something was wrong with his face. His eyes seemed to wander in all directions. He gathered the phlegm in his mouth as he sang. It looked like a ball.
    â€œPlease,” Holden said. “You can have all my pesetas if you’ll stop. I love the song. It’s beautiful. But it makes me want to jump out of my skin.”
    He left his pesetas in the siren’s little cup and marched back upstairs to his room. But when he picked up a cookie to put in his mouth, the singing started again. “Damn,” Holden said. “You pay and pay and it’s never enough.”
    The singing destroyed whatever chance of breakfast Holden had.
    He knocked on the billionaire’s door. “Phippsy, it’s me. Your servant, Sid.” But the billionaire wouldn’t answer him. Phippsy didn’t like to sleep late. Holden knew that. He walked into the room. Phippsy wasn’t there. And he didn’t have any coffee beside his bed. Phippsy had never returned from El Pescador.
    Frog got into his clothes. He was preoccupied with the missing old man and never even noticed that the singing had stopped. He went down to the Jaguar. The siren was sitting on the hood. He didn’t have his beggar’s cup. He was wearing a carbine now. He was one of the general’s biker boys.
    â€œEl Presidente, I have a message from Bibo. He would like it very much if you would leave Pescadores. He has put ten thousand cash dollars in the red car. And he promises to you that no hurt will come to Señor Phipps. He knows you are an assassin, but we can also be assassins, señor.”
    â€œWhere did you learn your English?”
    â€œNot at school, El Presidente. Bibo is our teacher.”
    â€œThen you can tell him that I won’t leave without the viejo.”
    â€œI am sorry, señor, but I will have to assassin you.”
    Jesus. He couldn’t get Phippsy back without battling an army of children. He blamed himself. No more jobs. He was near enough to throttle the boy’s windpipe. But he wouldn’t destroy a siren just like that. He pulled on the boy’s trousers, grabbed the carbine away, and while the boy rolled in the grass outside the Carlos Marx, Holden played with the Jaguar’s gears, shot across the Calle Don Quijote, and drove into the heart of Pescadores.
    He could hear the motorbikes converge from different streets. Holden braced the carbine against his window and arrived at Bibo’s palace before any of the boys. Bibo stood inside the palace gate. He had a blue bandanna and an ancient army shirt.
    â€œI could have cut your throat last night,” the general said. “But I brought you to the Carlos Marx and dressed you in pajamas.”
    â€œWhy were you so charitable with me?”
    â€œBecause I didn’t think you were such a fool. The viejo would buy you and sell you if he could. He has. no friends. And you are a gunman without a gun.”
    â€œBut I have this carbine, Bibo.”
    â€œA toy,” the general said.
    The bikers descended upon the palace. The general

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