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True Stories by Steve Keely
Hobo Memoirs

She & Her Sister

She moves like a panther in the dark.

The show rolls in an elegant Kenyan theater but I can't take my eyes off the peanut girl.  She approaches as the screen brightens, brushes me with candies, then disappears.  The intent makes the seat hard.

At intermission, I see she's a princess. She stands close and I smell the evening's work. "I’m Bo. Would you like to walk after the final feature?" She grins and nods.

We parade town for chicken, and she speaks of meeting a sister later.  She cleans the chicken to the bone, washes it lustily with three beers, and mews, “We have time together now.”

By the African gods, she’s a hell-raiser.  The mattress trampolines and whips moans that last…

We walk hand-in-hand to meet her sister at midnight.  The sidewalk starts to crack and is littered.  Disheveled denizens shift past or peer silently from alcoves. We enter a door of peeling paint into a room where light bulbs hang like dots.

It’s another cinema!  Trash heaps the corners, old smudges climb walls, sloppy drunks mill, and a foreign track scratches my ears. "What?…” She shoves by the drunks to stand behind a greasy candy glass.  Her face darkens, "In line!” Her hands work like a boxer, money in, candy out…  “One at a time!” 

I race from the slum to the hotel on jelly legs. She took my hand from a lavish theater to a ghetto cinema without batting an eyelash, and there’s one loose end.

Did I make love to her or her sister?

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