A Bonnie Parker Wannabe
Ellie sat in the public library admiring a picture of her idol. She and Bonnie Parker had so much in common. They were born and raised in Texas. Their fathers died when the girls were young. They dropped out of high school to get married. They spent time in jail for committing multiple petty thefts. Neither of their husbands returned after getting out of prison themselves. There were differences too. Ellie was an out-of-the-bottle-blond. Bonnie’s hair was shorter and brunette. Bonnie liked to write poetry. Ellie didn’t understand poetry but read it because it was Bonnie’s favorite. And there was Bonnie Jo, Ellie’s three-year-old daughter she’d delivered while in jail.
Ellie read everything she could find about Bonnie, paying particular attention to her travels. She would go to the library and mark Bonnie’s routes on roadmaps of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and the other states Bonnie had visited.
It wasn’t until Ellie met Joseph Barnes at the bowling alley where she waitressed on weekends that she thought she might be able to actually be like her idol.
Joseph was a handsome man with thick, dark hair, eyes that pierced right through to her heart, and a swagger that made Ellie’s knees weak. She undid another button on her checkered blouse, fluffed her hair, snuck behind the bar, and asked the man what he wanted. Randy, the bartender, gave her the evil eye, letting her know she was stealing his tip. She didn’t worry about it. She’d give him a blowjob after closing like she did most weekends for extra tips—if she was still around.
Fighting a rare case of shyness, she asked the newcomer his name. “Joseph,” he replied, “Joseph Barnes, but everyone calls me Clyde because I look so much like Warren Beatty.” Ellie smiled and agreed, even though she didn’t know who Warren Beatty was.
Two hours later she swiped his tip money off the bar, squeezed the bills into her jean’s pocket, and leaned forward to wipe the bar and give him a better view down her blouse. She didn’t have a bra on. Never did. She wondered if Bonnie wore a bra. That wasn’t mentioned in anything she’d read. She knew Bonnie liked sex, especially with Clyde. Ellie looked at her Clyde and hoped she’d find out soon if they sparked as well.
Clyde spent two days and nights with Ellie before announcing it was time for him to move on. Ellie asked if she could go and was surprised when Clyde said yes. She stuffed the few clothes she owned into her one, small suitcase and bounded out the front door of her mother’s place. She turned when she reached the car and waived to Bonnie Jo and her mother as she handed the bag to Clyde.
He pulled into a gas station on the outskirts of town to fill up, told Ellie she could drive, and went inside to pay. Ellie pulled up her skirt, maneuvered around the gear shift into the driver’s seat, and started the car. She caught a movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to see Clyde racing to the car. A man, she assumed the clerk, followed raising a shotgun to his shoulder. Clyde jumped into the passenger seat and told Ellie to get out of there. She put the car in gear and tromped the gas pedal to the floor. The car slued away from the pump as the rear passenger window of the stolen ’91 Bonneville exploded.
Ellie gripped the wheel, leaned forward, let out a war whoop, and thought she might have an orgasm. She really had met her Clyde.
Jim Harrington began writing fiction in 2007 and has agonized over the form ever since. Jim’s Six Questions For . . . blog (http://sixquestionsfor.blogspot.com/) provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” You can read more of his stories at http://jpharrington.blogspot.com.
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9 thoughts on “A Bonnie Parker Wannabe”
Another great piece of flash fiction from Jim Harrington. I loved the action, something that is often missing in short, short stories. Well done
This is good. The only misstep was the mention of Warren Beatty in “Bonnie and Clyde.” The movie came out in 1967. If Joseph knew about it you’d think Ellie would too, considering how obsessed she was with Bonnie. It would also be helpful to have a couple of sentences about why she idolizes the legendary outlaw, other than their biographical similarities.
Thanks for reading, Jill. My Bonnie lives in a small Texas town that doesn’t have a movie theater. In that case, it’s quite possible that she never saw the movie, nor read about it in her small town library. And I can’t mention the lack of a theater without it being an author intrusion into the story.
If Joseph was new in town (I got the impression he was) couldn’t he say he was at the bowling alley because it’s the only game in town (“You guys don’t even have a movie house”)?
Good story Jim. I kind of guessed how the story would end, but it was an enjoyable read. To invoke Kurt Vonnegut – it wasn’t a waste of time. And thank you for your “Six Questions” website. It has been interesting to read what makes editors go tick-tock, and has been of tremendous help in placing my own pieces.
Thanks, Jon. I’m glad you find Six Questions helpful.
A rip-roarer of a story. Some tweaks might make it read a little better, but it’s a doozie.