TKnC welcomes Scott with this noir tale...
I’m awake now.
He’s standing before me and I can taste chrome in my mouth. I can’t move. I think my arms are tied. Fuck.
I’m in a chair and I’m missing my shoes and socks. My toes are cold.
Am I bleeding? Jesus, I think I’m fucking bleeding.
His face is in mine.
He has one blue and one gray eye.
I watch his lips move. I can’t understand what the fuck he’s saying.
It sounds like he’s talking under water.
I feel sick.
I try closing my eyes and can’t. They’ve been pinned back.
All I can see are bright lights and shadows.
And his face moving in between the two.
she was a blonde and beautiful. and she had the body of a movie star and knew as much. she smoked these little brown cigarettes that smelled like vanilla. her dress was tight in all the right places. a dress made for the summer not the winter. i never saw her shoes. but damn they were loud when she walked. i don’t remember what she was drinking, i didn’t care. mine was scotch and i had plenty. i told her not to run away, that i had to take a piss. she just smiled that damn smile. i knew i’d regret that smile later. and there i was taking a leak when i heard those shoes and knew it was her. before i could turn she already had her hands wrapped around me and grabbed a hold of my cock. all i could do was just close my eyes as her cold hands tugged on my soul. she said words that every man longs to hear. i turned around and pressed her against the wall and raised her dress. and that’s how it happened with panties pushed to the side and ass pressed against the cool tile. that’s how it all started. that’s how it all began.
With the pliers in my mouth I can’t tell what’s puke and what’s blood.
I do know that I shit my pants after the first tooth.
My entire body is wet with sweat.
I'm an electric wire.
The darkness is starting to form around the edges again. I know soon I will black out.
There’s so much pressure in my head I think it’s starting to concave.
I vomit once more before the darkness fully seizes me.
I pray to God that I will choke to death on it. But sadly, I cough it free and the breathing continues.
He sticks his hand back into my mouth.
Everything goes black.
she’s lying on the motel bed with her legs spread wide. there’s a bag of Doritos open next to her. she reaches down and pulls out an orange triangle chip and places it just above her snatch. she asks me if i’m hungry? i move towards her and place my head just in front of the chip. i pick it up with my teeth and begin to slowly chew, making large movements with my chin so that it rubs her in all the right places. she sighs and her legs close around my head. she wants to know how many people i killed over there. i tell her not enough. she handed a lot of different colored pills my way. i downed them like a sick horse. i don’t exactly remember when the tv was hurled from the motel door way and into the snow, but things got a lot more interesting afterwards. it was when we were tossing grapefruit naked in the hallway when she tells me she wants me to kill somebody for her. sure, i say. okay.
I have no idea what day it is. I’ve blacked out too many times.
I just know I’m fucked.
And despite how hard this shitbag tries he will never break me.
I got Uncle Sam to thank for that.
Wherever I am it’s wet and cold. The floors above me creak when someone walks across them.
It’s silent now.
My face is swollen and hurts like a motherfucker. My tongue runs and seeks out my wounds. There are clumps of meat and clots dangling where there were once teeth.
I try swallowing but I have nothing but the dry and broke movement of an attempt.
I have to take a piss. I can’t get up so I just let it flow.
I’m gonna kill this fucker.
we spent three days there at that motel. i think. i’m not sure. things got a little blurry after that first night. three fucking nights full of debauchery that would have sent the Devil back home limping. but what did i care. i had nothing to loose at that point. things couldn’t get any worse or so i thought. as she told me about this bastard who stole her kid and how the system just let him have her. he does things with the kid. makes movies. takes pictures. let’s people have their time with her. you get what she was saying. i knew some of it was bullshit. but still there was just something about her. had she asked me to set myself on fire. i would have instantly. she said she need this fucker taken out. she needed her little angel back safe and sound. i’m in i told her. i’ll bring her home. and i’ll end this asshole. i swear.
I hear jingling behind me. Like bells or a chain.
There’s the soft padding of feet.
Something thumps against the back of my chair.
Fur brushes past my tied hands.
A tail. It turns and sashays back and forth beneath my fingertips.
I give it a tickle.
The purring is almost deafening.
“Here Kitty-kitty.” I call. My voice hoarse and broken.
There’s a jingle as it leaps up into my lap. Tiny paws gingerly step from my thighs to my belly and back.
Then the claws come out as it rubs its face against my chest.
There’s a loud rumble like wheels on rock. A door slam and then footsteps.
The cat jingles back to wherever.
I move my hands. Handcuffs.
Footsteps. Heavy and slow.
I clasp the palm of my right hands together and fold my thumb under.
The floor creaks above me.
I pop my hand in position and give it a pull.
A door opens. A massive ray of light blast across the room.
I give it another tug. Almost there.
I hear him clear his throat as he makes each step.
Over in the corner a red light is blinking.
He inches closer.
we drove forever. she said it was up north. we needed to go there. i could do it there. i told her i need to stop off and get a few things first. there was no time. we needed to get there as soon as possible. she was afraid he might do something very bad this time. she had tried to get her back and he caught her. now he took her up there. he has a place. and then she hands me the gun. i could use this one. it belonged to her old man. a dead cop. i knew i shouldn’t have touched it, but i did. she just smiled that smile. i know. but what if there was a little girl and she was talking the truth? people did these things. i took the gun and threw it in the glove box. later. she handed me a few more pills. i downed them with the lukewarm coffee. i couldn’t feel anything but my heart beating as she drove. darkness and the soft glow of the dashboard. i laid my head back and let it all faded away.
I pretend I’m blacked out. I wait for him to move closer.
He’s in the corner. There’s thumping and clanking. Things being opened and shut.
I play possum.
He’s cursing to himself. I can’t make out what exactly he’s saying.
There’s the sound of metal hitting concrete.
I hear him grunt as he bends over to pick it up.
I steady myself.
“Hey! Sunshine!” He yells, inching closer. “Time to wake up pretty boy.”
“You sure do stink, boy.”
And then the front door opens and shuts.
“What in the Fuck!” He says, moving towards the stairs.
I hear footsteps.
I recognize that walk.
“Don’t go no where’s.” He says, inching up the stairs.
when i awoke i found her smoking a cigarette and signing “Mrs. Brown” along with the radio. we were stopped. i glanced out my window only to find darkness and trees. lots of fucking trees. i lit a smoke and watched her finish her song. i clapped when it was over. she smiled and gave me the finger. she said the place was up there. just straight down the road. i couldn’t miss it. there’d be a red pick-up truck out front. i opened the glove box and pulled out the gun. i turned on the dome light and inspected it. she wanted to know what I was doing. i told her i was making sure it wouldn’t blow up in my hand. she inhaled and made a chuckle. i could tell she was nervous. it wasn’t a service revolver like she said but it would do the job. she gave me a long kiss goodbye. why me? i asked why of all the guys that night she chose me? she said cause i had death in my eyes. i was the most fucked up in there. she kissed me again. i told her to stay put and i’d be back shortly. i had three bullets in the chamber. i didn’t like the odds. but i’d seen worse.
As soon he hits the top of the stairs and closes the door behind him I stand.
The pain is too much and I fall back in the chair.
I look down and see that he has cut off some of my toes.
I rip the duct-tape off my eyes.
I try standing again. I brace myself on the chair and free my left hand.
I limp over to the corner where he was. I find the duct-tape and wrap it around my foot.
Then my hands and across my knuckles.
I reach down and check and see if I still have balls.
They were probably next.
What the fuck.
There are tons of antifreeze jugs and what looks like Coleman Fuel tanks.
Suddenly there is a loud scream followed by heavy foot steps up above.
I grab a crowbar and head that way.
the place was typical. run down and weather beaten. i made my way through the brush like i was trained to do. i looked for signs of dogs. nothing. that made me feel better. it takes a lot more effort with dogs around. i could see the blue flicker of a tv in the main room shining through some bed sheets hung up in the window. i moved towards the other end of the house. there was another light. i got beneath the window and listened. a soft voice signing hymns. she was real. she wasn’t bullshitting. now it was time. i maneuvered back around the house. i was heading towards the front door. three bullets. i could take him easily. then i heard it. the loudest growl in the fucking world. i turned expecting to see a dog. but instead there stood a bear at least ten foot high. it roared so loud that every beast in hell shivered. then it lunged at me. i had no choice but to empty the revolver. i aimed at the forehead and it dropped like a tree. the ground shook as it hit. i was so taken with the bear that i never noticed the fucker creeping up behind me or least not until he hit me in the back of the head.
I make my way up the stairs.
I can hear the struggle in the other room. All that chaos that comes with a man and a woman fighting.
The door opened up into a kitchen. Well, it was at one point a kitchen but now it was full of Hot Plates, tubes, Drano jugs and Epsom Salt boxes.
The fighting has become more aggressive. I catch a glimpse of him tossing her by the hair across the room.
He kicks her in the face.
She’s on her hands and knees.
He stands before her and smacks her with the butt of his shotgun.
She’s sprawled across the floor.
He raises the gun.
I limp across the room.
Suddenly he swings around and fires at me.
I hit the floor and roll.
I’m fucked. My body is too fucked for this.
Before he can fire again I’m up on him. I swing the crowbar across his knee cap.
He falls back and the gun fires.
I crack him in the skull until he stops moving.
It looks like a busted watermelon.
I look over at her and she’s leaned against the chair.
She looks up at me and smiles.
And then slowly unfolds her arms and holds up her hand.
I guess he didn’t miss.
It’s a gut shot and there’s nothing I can do.
“What about the girl?” I ask.
“She’s in the other room.” She says, pointing a bloody finger. “Take her home.”
“Home?” I say. “Whose home?”
But she doesn’t answer. She’s gone.
I get up.
I limp across the room.
There’s a door closed at the end of the hall. I slowly open it.
She’s sitting on the floor having tea with a bear and blonde doll.
She looks up at me and smiles.
“Would you like some tea, sir?” she asks.
“I would love some.”
I take a seat next to the bear.
She hands me a cup and I gulp it.
“Careful! It’s hot!” she says.
“Oh, Right!” I act like I’ve burnt my tongue.
She giggles and gives me a refill.
“Are they done?” she asks.
“Is she taking me home now?”
“But she said once the Angel comes.” she says, fighting back the tears. “You are an Angel right?”
“No. I’m a soldier.”
“Angels are God’s soldiers.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“That Lady said I could go back home when you came from Heaven and saved us from that man.”
“Lady?” I ask. “You mean the yellow haired one? She’s not you’re Mom?”
“No.” she answers. “My Mom has brown hair and lives in California.”
“Did the yellow haired lady take you away from your Mom?”
“No. The mean man did.”
“Why do you smell?” she asks. “And you look gross.”
“Thanks.” I say, taking a sip of tea. “Now is that anyway to talk to an Angel?”
“I guess not.”
“You wanna go home?”
“Then you better finish your tea and stop making fun of me.”
Scott C. Rogers is an American poet, writer and co-publisher at Black Coffee Press (www.blackcoffeepress.net). He is the author of the novel Celluloid Cowboy (2008) and Love Like a Molotov Cocktail to the Chest (2010).