Bobby Soft Hands

Bobby Soft Hands
by Michael Bible

Mystic flamingo was the color of the sky outside Club Laser. Inside, the octogenarian Kilpatrick sisters wept under the red light of a neon broken heart. Trisha and Deb, Irish twins, wept nightly into their Drambuie to the pulsing excuse for music coming from speakers made to look like rocks. They chose Club Laser (built on the site of the famed 1890’s suicide hall) to mourn the world because it represented all that was crass and gaudy and wonderful about the new money in their little Carolina town. Their matching pugs sat at attention beside them on stools and wore tiny tuxedos. The sisters moaned louder and grieved for their past with big hair and regret.

But why weep, sisters?

Because the night didn’t belong to them as it once did. The world was a bright swirling graceless mess nowadays, all speed and greed, and they didn’t care for it.

It used to be people were decent, Deb said through her tears.

There was a time when all you had to do was work hard and you could make something of yourself, said Trisha.

Not anymore. Everyone wants to be the same thing these days: different.

I miss the old gang, don’t you, Trish?

Sure do, Deb. All those old fellas from school. I miss Bobby.

Which Bobby do you miss the most?

Trisha thought a minute. There were many Bobbys from the old days. There was Bobby Indoor and Bobby Outdoor. Sad Bobby and Carly’s Bobby. There was Bobby Bookstore and Bobby Hardcore. Bobby Bonneville and his daddy Bobby Sr., the Sheriff. But there was another Bobby. Trisha thought about him most often. He didn’t really have a public nickname but Trisha like to call him Bobby Dreamboat in her constant fantasies.

Are you thinking of Baptist Bobby, Deb asked.

No, I’d rather forget that guy, Trisha said.

Not me, said Deb.

They sat in cold silence awhile and each experienced a deep rush of the old Bobby years come spilling over them.

Did you ever want to fuck Bobby Hardcore?


You must be dreaming of Bobby Soft Hands then.

This Bobby I’m thinking of didn’t have a name like that, Trisha said. At least not one that anyone knew.

Well what kind of name did he have?

Bobby. Nothing else. Just Bobby.

Just Bobby? Never heard of anything like that.

Trisha was tired of explaining her Bobby to her dingus sister and preferred if Deb would just back off already and get back to their mutual hatred of the beautiful world. Deb wiped her tears away and looked out over the room to a bald, relaxed man at the bar and pictured his head between her large legs. This was a microwaveable ability. Deb could summon an orgasm upon sight of any man or woman. She felt this bald man’s imaginary tongue reach her clit and she bounced off her seat an inch or two with pure pleasure. It was a disgusting use of her brain, she thought, the way she employed her imagination as a sexual narcotic. But she did it again and liked it. I’m sick, she thought. And I like it. Then she thought of her dead husband when he was still alive, a wild heroic lover in the old ways. Fat and Greek, he died on Good Friday after she had put tiny ground bits of glass in his food for months. She could not now recognize that she felt love for him, only that she felt something mysterious in his absence. Her father had stolen her ability to recognize love with his midnight examinations of her adolescent body. The bald man’s imaginary tongue made her bounce again.

Laser Bar was full of weird pink light and anorexia.

Trisha was having a different kind of fit over Bobby Dreamboat. She liked to call her version of him Dreamboat because in the summers he’d captained a steamboat out of Memphis and he told Trisha about all the ways you had to read a river. He told these stories as he threw the baseball with another boy one hot fall afternoon. She sat by the fence and watched the two boys sweat through their t-shirts. Even now she did not know if this was a dream or it happened. Bobby Dreamboat in a haze, chewing gum. It was as if it was always there with her, that image. Then he is pure muscle between her legs on the deck of the Julia Belle Swain, a double stack steamer bound for New Orleans. As Bobby Dreamboat rams young Mrs. Trisha Kilpatrick Dreamboat, he tells her things. Whispers things. Secret things. You’ve got to read the river right, he whispers. She thought about that phrase it now as Dubstep music poured over her. Reading a river, she thought. She pictured a river as a book and then she thought of books as rivers. Long floating, living things that you floated down. Trisha never had night visits from their father, but was always jealous that Deb did. She closed her eyes and let the Mississippi river wash over her with lust.

They both came out of their respective dream states at the same moment and returned to weeping.

Who you looking at, Trisha asked Deb. That Mr. Clean-looking fella in the smart suit?

There is a possibility I am, said Deb.

Should we try a Sister Shuffle? For old times?

They left their pugs and cocktails and moved to the strange quiet bald man and asked his name.

Telly, he said.

Like Telly Savalas, they asked. We just love him.

Sure, Telly said.

As Telly fucked Deb that night and Trisha framed them for the polaroid, the earth washed away in Thailand. A great wave took the lives of thousands as they ran for the hills. Whole families were sucked under the black water.

Then, in the same way that wave swallowed the innocent, the sisters took Telly’s heart. They surrounded it and enveloped it. They rubbed themselves on his baldhead. They sucked every suckable portion of him. When they were done he was a heap of gold chains and cheap cologne.

There was no weather outside to speak of and the rest of the night was less insane. They filed away their destruction of him for their future memories. There was absolutely not a cloud in the sky. Ever.

Michael Bible is originally from North Carolina. He is the author of the novel Sophia (Melville House). His work has appeared in Oxford American, The Paris Review Daily, Al Jazeera America, ESPN: The Magazine and New York Tyrant.