The Resurrection

by  Donald Cooper

Before my resurrection the only thing important was the tattooed girl and
before her there was Justine.  Justine worked at Zippi's.  That was the
place where I got my lottery tickets and the Post. I went every day, except
Sundays, because she didn't work Sundays.  I knew a lot more about Justine.
I knew her birthday was June 23.  She was twenty-four.  She was a dropout
from college where she was studying to become an artist. She had one brother
and no parents.  She was from Michigan.  Her boyfriend's name was Dirk.
"Dirk the Jerk," she called him. I knew a lot about Justine, but I never
spoke to her.  I never asked her a question.  Not personal a one. It was all
business between us.  All lottery machine talk.   I knew everything about
her from listening.  I was always a good listener.  I loved Justine, as any
man could love a woman he had never spoken to.  And while I knew a lot of
Justine, I also knew things I didn't want to know.  I knew Justine got drunk
at the Armory and screwed Dirk's friend in Dirk's car.  I heard that while
reading a copy of "Trout World" at the magazine stand.  Dirk was with
Justine over by the slushy machine.  Justine started to cry and ran into the
backroom.  Mr. Gordon, he was the owner, told Dirk, "Get the hell out and
stay the hell out!"  But a week or so later Dirk was back, picking Justine
up or dropping her off or coming just to hang out up front.  I hung around
all the day with the rest of "creeps." That's what she called us.  She would
say to us, "All you creeps, it's time to close so get the fuck out."  I
loved her way around the language.  She had a voice that could change in an
instant.  A lingering ticket buyer, examining his ticket, would get a "Move
it creep" after a very kind and sweet, "Thank you."  She also meant what she
said.  One time, Jumbo Tommy, the fattest petty loan shark -- when he
sneezed he made the sound of an elephant -- trashed the store's public
bathroom.  Justine ripped right into him.  After that he never came in the
store again. You had to admire that.  The other thing Justine was admired
for was her looks.  She was skinny as a rail and there was only the smallest
hint of perky little breasts. She had a scar on her cheek that turned to a
dimple when she smiled. She had long red hair that was straight and shiny.
She either had it loose or had it tied up in a bun. Her hands were thin and
spidery  The kind of fingers needed in using the lottery machine.  Then
there were her eyes, green or hazel depending on the light in the room.  We
never figured what color they were and were always afraid to ask..  It is
better to live with a mystery than to attempt to discover the truth. The
only truth I needed was in hearing Justine say, "Numbers?"  Jimmy Lombard on
the other hand was all about fabrication. Jimmy was always making up
stories. Jimmy drank iced teas with candy bars.  He was wired. Electric
Jimmy we called him.  Jimmy was the one who told me about the tattooed girl.
She worked out of the Downtown Motor Lodge on Friday and Saturday nights.
"The best for your money," Jimmy said.  "When she does you, it's like she
really means it. She even kisses.  Did you ever hear of whore wanting to
kiss you.?" For weeks Jimmy told me about the tattooed girl, but my
interests lay elsewhere. Jimmy was sucking down a iced tea laced with vodka
when he took me aside.  "Tonights the night." What night would that be, I
asked.  "The tattooed girl is gonna to be over at the Motor Lodge. A man has
needs. Room 241."   She's working all night.  "Jimmy whistled at Justine --
she hated that -- and skipped out the door and down Pattock street.   It was
after eleven when I got to the Motor Lodge. At one time, the Motor Lodge was
the city's swankiest motel in the city. Now it was a crack den and place to
stake out hookers and drugs. It was beyond even being a welfare palace. They
had weekly or hourly rates.  I saw room 241 with the door open.  There was
the soft voice of man making a speech..  I walked in the room and the first
thing I saw was the tattooed girl lying face down in a pool of blood on the
bed.  There was an odd reflective image of a butterfly in flight sipping
nectar from an erect penis.  It was one of her tattoos.  It was on the right
cheek of her ass.  I saw Jimmy over on the chair by the television watching
C-SPAN.  He was quiet and stared quietly into the tube, watching a Senator
talking about the price of corn in Iowa and why he wouldn't vote to promote
Most Favored Nation status for China.  Jimmy was covered in blood.  Jimmy
what the fuck, I said.  What the fuck happened.  He looked up at me and
said, "It was always the tattooed girl. It was always her."  I stepped out
of the door and began to run.  I found myself running back to Justine and
the creeps.  Zippi's wouldn't be opened for another two hours.  I headed to
the Greyhound station and boarded a bus to California.  A $99.00 special.
It was one way.  I live in California now.  I took classes at a local
college.  I became a computer programmer.  I got married and have two kids.
I never heard much about the creeps.  I heard that Jimmy died during a July
Fourth party.  Somebody tossed him over the side of an apartment building
roof.  Fifteen floors is a hard fall.  He never screamed.  That was justice.


Donald Cooper is from Syracuse, New York