Benny & Penny
As Saturday ravelled it self out, Benny was working on his fourth can of cheap beer while watching the sports news on a TV with awful reception. Penny was in the shower lathering her wasted body with soap, removing last nights stains to making room for more. Sick of straining his eyes to watch the fuzzy TV picture, Benny managed his body out of the torn brown couch and searched for cigarettes. When he came to the conclusion there were no more cigarettes left he burst into the bathroom ‘you smoked the last of the cigarettes you fucking bitch!’
Penny was no glass coin, she gave back as good as she got, she always did. Benny lunged for her in the grime ridden shower but missed her as she leapt out grabbing a towel to cover her bag of bones body. ’I am going to beat the living Christmas out of you’ he howled with his fists of fury flailing. He chased her around the apartment until she grabbed a plate from the kitchen and flung it at him. It smashed directly across his forehead, immediately halting his chase. Blood poured uncontrollably but Benny didn’t take much notice as he staggered in a daze before landing his body on the one chair at the kitchen table. Penny took the towel that had been shielding her body and wrapped it around Benny’s head. ‘I’ll get more fucking smokes okay’ she told him while tightening the towel in a turban like fashion around his wound ‘and if you ever burst into the shower on me again like that, I’ll fucking throw more that a fucking plate at your fucking head.’
As the day wore on and Benny nursed his head with a sleep on the couch, Penny searched for some vodka. It was only a recent routine that Penny acquired where she would sip on some vodka while trawling a load of makeup on her face, prepping herself for another nights boozing down at The Olive bar. The make up got much heavier as the years went by, not just to cover up the black eyes and cuts and bruises she got from Benny, but to cover up the wasted years laid bare naked on her ravaged face. All the bright lipstick and dangerously dark eye shadow in the world couldn’t hide the fact that she was wasted but then again in that town, where she was all fur coat and no knickers, everyone is equal in their own shameful thoughts of upperosity. ‘You drank the last of my fucking vodka’ she hissed at Benny who lay across the couch with his cut forehead and dried blood painted across it. Penny would sometimes sport a black eye or two but she had a tongue that could clip a hedge. ‘So what if I did’ Benny barked back out of his short sleep ‘you fucking smoked the last the cigs.’ Penny drew closer to the couch that was holding up Benny and his self pity. She raised her leg and kicked him with her bare heel into his thigh even though it was his balls she was aiming for. ’You can have that one you fucking prick’ she spat, if Penny were a flavour then she would be sour. As she stormed back into the windowless bedroom Benny roared in his hoarse tone ’Penny by name, Penny by nature, two faced and worthless.’
By the time evening had arrived, Benny and Penny were with the other booze hounds at The Olive bar. That night there was a special offer for the whiskey drinkers, buy one get one free. Penny goaded Benny into drinking some Bourbon and wouldn’t stop until he caved in and swapped beer for whiskey, lots of whiskey. Benny showed her his fist, she laughed at him, one of her front teeth was missing but it was all part of their drinking way of life. Her scraggy hair matched her worn out face while his cut and bruised forehead was struggling to heal itself but that look didn’t matter in The Olive Bar, it was dark in there for a reason, it was where the inhabitants of the dark side of life went to drink.
As the night got soaked in more and more booze, Benny’s jokes got more dirtier and his stories more outlandish. He had a circle around him all cackling and forgetting how sad their lives have been. Penny took herself from the bar which she had been holding up with her whiskey drinking and made her way to Benny who was holding court at the other end of the dark dive. As Benny’s laughing got louder, Penny’s jealously grew larger. She ignored both hers and Benny’s sad state of affairs ‘we all can laugh even though we are broke as fuck! But hey, we may be poor, but we are rich in spirits!‘ she said out loud while holding a glass of bourbon aloft and winking at Benny. It drew cheers and jeers from whoever cared but Benny had nothing but disgust wrapped in contempt for his wife. His facial expressions swam around like a sea of mortal sins and by closing time he had the opportunity to set his wife right on their financial affairs, which he would have preferred to keep private.
After closing the bar, Benny and Penny staggered home. ‘You dirty fucking tramp with your big dirty fucking tramp mouth’ Benny slurred out but Penny took no notice and walked a foot or so ahead of her husband. Whiskey didn’t agree with Benny and the amount he drank that night wouldn’t agree with him on any given good day. ‘Bitch’ he slurred out again, this time taking himself to wave two hardened fists. Penny turned around and glared at Benny who had a lobotomized look about him. Suddenly he charged for her as if he were in Pamplona Spain and he was a bull and Penny a bull fighter. He landed a punch in her face then she took her knee and caved it right into his gut. He cold have wretched to the ground but he kept his stance and had breath enough to spit out more words. ’You don’t talk about our financial state to no one’ he declared and then he forwarded a punch into her face. Penny staggered back but managed to hock a bourbon tasting spit up from her throat and spit it right into Benny’s eye. Some more punches were thrown from both sides along with some more harsh words. By the time the both of them were tired, Benny’s knuckles were sore but Penny’s tongue never knew tardiness and kept spiting more and more venom at him. Her mouth resembled a skipping rope while her two eyes were like two pieces of coal, round, wide, black and hard.
After the brief street fight Benny and Penny trudged onwards and homewards. As they crossed the bridge which spanned the motorway Benny lurched to one side and leaned his big structure over the wall while placing his left foot up on a mid way groove of it. He coughed up some yellow tinged vomit which dribbled fast from his mouth, some of it ran down his shirt while some went right down on the quite motorway below. There were no words just silence between Benny and Penny but in the background were the screaming chorus of sirens, howling hookers and pissed pimps along with sighs of life yet to be born and dug into the grit and the grime of the streets. Benny finished upchucking his guts and swayed over the bridge for a few moments longer. He found himself unable to gain his balance, his belly full of cheap whiskey didn’t agree with him mentally and neither did it agree with him physically. Penny cursed at him to get going and stop his loitering on the bridge but then his body took a forward slant and Penny stood in silence as her husband fell to his death.
After he disappeared over the bridge she leaned over and peered down at the stain on the motorway which was once her living breathing husband, then she turned and staggered on for home. As she continued for home the night air cut a soberness through her which left her feeling raw and as worthless as the night before. As she made her way down the street she passed the window with the disgusting old prostitute still flashing her ware while at the door two dopey looking young men smoked their brains out on weed. As Penny made her way up to her apartment she stepped her common red stilettos over a crack head who was asleep on top of another crack head whom he had unsuccessfully tried to hump. After navigating her way through the broken beer bottles and faeces, Penny eventually made it to the door of the apartment she had been living in since she lost her youth so many years and so many ages ago. She flung her tired worn out body against the door of the apartment which was yellow stained and contrasting with her skin. She let out an unmerciful and miserable laugh as she realised that Benny had the key in his pocket. ‘The fucking bastard’ she spat out as she slumped down at the door, ‘He’ll always get the last fucking laugh.’
Lily Murphy is 25 and comes from Cork city, Ireland.
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