Opening Scene from a ‘B’ Novella Tentatively Titled Benny Hits the Slots

by Jay HOLLEY
 

Sister Margaret Elizabeth had a string of rosary beads tattooed around her ankle and a row of cigarette burns circling the razor-slashed hem of her robe-turned-dress.

“See anything you like?” she asked Benny, who’d been throwing her legs sideways glances for the seventy-four games he’d played since taking the seat at the slot machine next to her. He’d been tracing the counter of her legs while countering the rosary in his mind, wondering if the muscles of her bone-pale legs were as taut as they looked. Sister Margaret’s robe started just above her knees, between which she’d scissored a plastic bucket half full of quarters. Benny didn’t answer. He repeated the rosary and continued to gape.

“See anything you like?” she repeated. The whirl of concealed motors joined the cacophony of cheers, mutterings, mechanical whizzes, and electronic blips as the Lucky 7 slot machine swallowed the twenty dollar bill she was feeding into its mouth as she waited for Benny’s answer. When his ear finally whispered the question to his brain, Benny’s unaware gaze at Sister Margaret’s thigh flipped into awkward concentration on the illuminated ‘ROLL TUMBLERS’ button of the game before him.

Benny was a nervous twenty-one-year-old whose sole sexual experience had occurred a few hours earlier; an awkward hand job from his second cousin in the basement of the funeral home.

“I, I see a thing or two I like,” he told her as he locked his eyes with hers in a forced effort to project confidence.

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