Johnny Noir

Johnny Noir
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
September 23
pulp writer, poet, Nihilist prophet, Neo-Platonist
Johnny Noir
You can buy my novels and poetry at


MAY 8, 2011 11:29PM


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She was already hot and cool. She had shades on and I was looking her over to see what I could find. I was looking really hard.

 "See something you like?" she said.

 I said, "Sure," and walked over to her. I've got balls like any other guy. "How much?" I asked.

,"Two hundred," she said, surprised.

 "Okay," I said, "I've got healthy savings."

 An hour later I was sitting on the bed in a motel room kinda naked and she's in the can.  She comes out butt naked and I already feel fucked up.

 I looked at her and said, "You ain't a whore," and she nods, crosses the room and looks at me while she's picking her stocking up from the floor where I’d tossed it.

 "I'm not a cop, either. I'm a housewife; a tourist really."

 I was visibly relieved.  I looked at my watch and said, "Okay."

 I got the shower next and it was already sweet and steamy like a woman's ass.  The pussy had been fragrant and I was still jittery 'cause she was a motel pick-up and I felt all bent out of shape. I showered quick, got lathered, washed my balls, and with my hair all wet I came out in a towel and she was naked on the bed, sprawled out like a pin-up poster.

 "Look, honey," I said, "It's been nice, but I feel kinda bad."


 She tried to be kittenish. Her arms were thin and her legs beefy. She had nice big tits and a slender waist. Her face looked like it was on the wrong head and her shoulder length red hair should've been a wig. I scrutinized her, perhaps a lot less coldly than I should have. She wasn't a cop and I wasn't a john, so she could kiss that two hundred bills good-bye. I was getting dressed.

 "Are you married?" she asked.

 I said, "No," 'cause I was lyin'.

  She said, "Stay awhile," and stretched out some more.

  I said, "No," and started to put my shoes on. I bend and the material of my pants gives me a wedgy 'cause my wallet's gone. I straighten up, turning to this bitch.

  "Give it up," I said. "You're a housewife, eh? A tourist, and a sneak thief on the side. I oughta break you in two."

  She laughed at me, "Oh, you're man enough!" 

 She wasn't looking at me because she was laughing, but I lifted a lamp that wasn't bolted down like the rest of the furniture from the table and smashed her over the head with it.  The cheap vase shattered and crumbled around her face. She was bleeding, but wanting to cry. I pushed her over and buried her face in the pillow and the pillowcase soaked with blood and I found my wallet beneath her backside. 

 A harmless prank, she wasn't trying to pull a fast one after all. She was simply fooling around, but her scalp and face were all cut up now and I left her there, sobbing, grabbed my wallet, checked it and put the rest of my stuff on and split.

 My wife was asleep when I got home and the house was dark and rank smelling. She'd leave the radio playing and there'd be unseen cats mewling and I'd trip over the little fuckers before I sat down to pull my shoes off. My thinking was that she'd never find out about the bitch in the motel room. It wasn't like she was the first one, so it had been really stale to start feelin' guilty about it. The wife would be upstairs tanked up on gin and sleeping pills and I’d be downstairs kicking cats in the dark. I was thinking, though, how much longer could I keep this up?  Nobody ever called me a mastermind of anything and I was only having cheap one-night affairs. 

 So far nobody had called to say I'd forgotten anything, not one of the one-shot hookers knew my real name; I was always 'Bob', or 'Mike' or 'Joe'. I had a two-bit job no one would ever mistake for ambitious. My wife was a drunken pill head, which excused my multitude of sins or at least let me get away with them. I hadn't had the "big affair" I suppose, because I wasn't big enough.

  "Oh, you're man enough," the woman had jeered before I cracked her skull open and I wondered about that. Was I? I'd been married five years and the time had passed mercifully quick.

 The marriage wasn't going anywhere and held its ground by the sole fact of being crippled from the start. She had all the earmarks of the one that should've gotten away, but she hadn't and five years ago I was stupid enough to make a commitment, for economic reasons, to stay latched to the bitch who rather than going down the tubes had only briefly come up for air. That was when I met her and shit began hitting the fan right and left.  I was working as a dispatcher for a moving company and haven't since moved discernibly up in the world. I'd put the episode with my mother behind me, who'd divorced from my father and we were still living in the same house. I was getting older and she was just getting old. I felt like a big kid because I wasn't responsible enough to move out on my own. 

 I was going out every night, meeting people, spending the chump change I couldn't afford on drink and big talk. I'd stagger in full of liquor and obscenities and mom always seemed to take it in great stride. She was always there, sitting up waiting for me, but I almost always ignored her, stumbling to my room to black out.

 When I came home that night, there was nothing out of the unusual. There was mom sitting up but this time she was crying. She had spoken to my father earlier that day and he had said some pretty harsh things before delivering the news that he was getting remarried. Now, my father was always a scumbag and I never liked him. I liked him less when I saw how vulnerable she was and how he enjoyed hurting her that way. Drunk as I was, I sat beside her and she put her head on my shoulder while she sobbed like a kid who'd been teased on the playground. Suddenly she threw her arms around my neck and I tried patting her curly highlighted perm but she was drunk too.  I felt her hot mouth on mine, our liquored breaths mingling. It was about two am, and I decided the next day that it was time to move out of the house.

 It didn't make me feel too good that I'd fucked my mother and I didn't much feel like going home after work. I stopped in a bar, any bar, and started drinking doubles right off.  I met my wife that night, but I couldn't swear to it because I was out cold for two days and woke up in a motel room married. It broke my mother's heart but it wasn't like she could make a stink about it. What was she going to say? 

So she packed her stuff and moved to Miami and left us the house. 

 The first couple of years were like living alone or in the dark. My wife would drink herself into a stupor and I would soon follow. 

 By the third year she would hardly get out of bed and I was meeting floozies and barflies willing to do the honors. My world had become black and white; I'd see nothing but boring sameness day in and day out, go out at night at after work and pick up some lush in a bar. Sometimes, they were golden and beautiful, perfect gems from some lost tiara slumming or plummeting, hence their proximity to me at the bar. Sometimes they were only looking for a cheap thrill and I was the cheapest; wives, college girls, negligent mothers, any ho willing to drive as far as the nearest nameless motel and sometimes we didn't get that far. They'd be horny and we'd both be on the verge of blacking out. I'd sidle the car in a discreet place or anywhere, get my dick out, bend 'em over and while I fingered wet snatch put my dick in their mouths. 

 I'd poke 'em in the seat, pull out and throw 'em out of my car. 

 When I'd get home there'd be the cats in the dark. They were her cats and surprisingly, they weren't starving to death. I wouldn't feed them, so I guess she'd sleepwalk and do it while I was gone.  For all I knew she was doin' the delivery boy and the mailman. I didn't care because she wasn't doin' me and I was kinda glad about that. I had seen the dripping cunts of other men's wives and I'd bet those guys wouldn't go near them. Sure, they'd fuck my wife and I'd fuck theirs, but no one wanted to shank their own. Talk about eatin' out of a can every night.

 I soft-pedaled up the stairs to the bedroom, cats crawling over and between my feet, mewling and scurrying off into the darkness of the second floor landing. The bedroom that had become ours was the master bedroom where my dad used to shank mom in the good old days. On my salary I couldn't afford any new furniture and if not for the wedding present of a new box spring and mattress I'd still be sleeping on my old man's cum stains. She slept like a corpse and snored like a locomotive. I turned the doorknob and went in.

 There was moonlight coming through the window along with a slight breeze, nevertheless the room was congested, the air thick, foul and unhealthy. She sweated up the sheets and never changed them, gargled with alcohol and bled it out of her pores.  What should've been antiseptic was toxic. Our bedroom was a perverse inversion of everything domestic. Instead of calm and cozy it was a feral place of animals and insects: bed bugs, flies and roaches. The cats had used the rest of the house for a litter pan and I'd managed to keep them from pissing up this one room but she was bad enough. I had to crawl into the sack beside this dried lump. Her breathing was audibly erratic, almost punitive. I had to get up in the morning, had to go to work, had to drive and be lucid, but when I was home, lying in bed beside a death sleeper I felt the shock of madness.

  I kicked a cat out the door, knew one had slipped by me and saw its silhouette strut across the windowsill. I grabbed it by the fur and threw it out too and slammed the door behind it. My dread had become a familiar and welcomed numbness as I switched on the bedroom light. What stank to high heaven became visible, the shape stretched out beneath the blanket, things crawling across it away from the light. 

I dropped my jacket in a chair and thought, why am I being so quiet. It's not like she'd wake up. The cats were howling and I'd slammed the damned door and she hadn't budged. I loosened my tie and hung it over the doorknob. My shirt and slacks were next and I sat on the edge of the bed to take off my socks. The blanket was moist and stank. I cannot emphasize enough the depth of squalor this woman had brought my life to.

  Someone will say, as the guys on the job had whenever I shared my travails, why stay married, why torment myself with five years of living hell?  The answer of course was to be found at the very root, my sheer laziness and utter self-contempt. I removed the first sock, it hadn't been washed for months and then only rinsed and hung to dry as crusty and dirty as before. It stank too and it made my eyes water. I dropped it to where I would pick it up from tomorrow. It made a muddy plop on the floor. I lifted my foot to take off the other sock and felt an unexpected jostling behind me. I stopped, studied the motion, smelled the air replenishing its damp stench, felt it grow thick, shift and settle. 

 I turned my head and caught the one eye and then the other, tired sagging eyes above thin chapped white lips. She was smiling and I was amazed, as if I'd witnessed Lazarus rising or the Loch Ness Monster. The hair was as wild as a burning bush and the skin sepulchral. 

 I had my hand on the sweaty sock, pulled it past my calloused heel and let it drop beside the other. I thought if I ignored the thing beside me it would vanish like a waking nightmare, but it got worse. She sat upright and yawned a blistered howl, raised her pallid arms and the blanket slid from her chest. She had large drooping breasts with moon size nipples bereft of nourishment. She had hair on her chest for god's sake. She turned away mercifully and I climbed beneath the blanket and counted my damnations. I heard the glass clink and the liquor pour, gripped my pillow for dear life and shut my eyes hard.

 "You didn't shut the light," she said with a frog-like rasp. 

 Like Lot's wife avoiding looking upon Sodom, I rose, walked to the wall and hit the switch making darkness but I could see the highball glass extending from her face and the flabby arm crooked and held it in place until it was empty. I put a knee onto the bed, then a hand and felt rough cold flesh. I couldn't avoid it.  No matter how I moved it was there.  The woman was putting her body beneath mine, giving me no recourse but to lay atop her.  This would not be making love but a punishment and she knew it. Had she found out about my affairs or simply being cruel. I didn't ask, shut my eyes, tried to shut my senses, but touch remained, as well as smell and hearing and taste. She licked my lips with her rancid tongue, moaned like a sick animal, which she was and pulled me down with fingernails liked chipped talons. I felt the fingers like hairy fat spider legs fumbling with my boxers, seizing my penis. It had shriveled away and was now praying for death.  She grunted painfully, threw her legs open, brought my body closer; it was gravity as much as exhaustion that left me to fall. I had the sour taste of her mouth on my face and the misshapen contours of her bloated body under me. Her thighs spread wider and I felt the pulpy wetness too near my flaccid organ. 

 It was steaming hot and moving.

 I thought of my mother; flashed on the sight of her as I pushed my errant cock into the manatee’s twat. The vision was vivid enough to spark an already well-worn reverie. I often fantasized about making love to mother. I had wanted to fuck her better than dad had and she had assured me that I had. The thought of sucking my mother's tits as a grown man, shoving fingers up her asshole while riding her cunt made my joint twitch and to my horror grow hard. I'd take my punishment like a man. I'd indulge the sow this once, then make plans for any kind of escape possible.

 I snatched her by the brittle hair, pulled her held backwards so she couldn't speak or breath only choke. I wriggled my ass until I could slide easily into her and began thrusting hard like I was stabbing a bull in a ring. I wanted this beast to die once and for all. Fucking this monster my thoughts began jumping their tracks. I still saw my mother, but now I was ten years old. She was in the kitchen bending over the stove. The heat was unbearable because something was burning. There was a column of black smoke rising over her head. She was making fretting sounds and stood up arms aflutter. I had been playing alone on the yard and lost my ball in the tall grass. I had my Louisville Slugger in my hands, my mitt on my head and thought the world had caved in. From the looks of the kitchen, it had. Shiny tin pans covered the kitchen table, confectioner's sugar spilled to the floor. The smell was of something sweet; sugar, vanilla, chocolate, and it was going to hell. She didn't even notice me. Dad would throw a fit when he came home and found this mess. Something had gone terribly wrong. 

 I had hit the ball too hard. It flew and disappeared in the tall grass. 

 I searched and searched but I couldn't find it. I bawled at the top of my lungs and she stepped backwards away from the heat and stepped on my toes, tripped and fell. She started screaming at me. I don't know why. I wasn't my fault. I was screaming too. We were both bursting our lungs while the cake was burning. Everything was ruined.

 She lay on her backside hysterical, apron smeared with chocolate, legs bent upward spread apart and I saw, saw the tall grass, the thick reddish-brown hair that lay matted between the reddened thighs. Her mouth gaping, her tongue hanging out, but I couldn't hear anything anymore, could only stand witness to the dark fur in the shadow of a raised pleated skirt. The pink lips were wide and set apart blowing kisses at me, silent yearning kisses and I wanted to make everything all right again. I wasn't to blame, neither was she, nor the sweet motherly pussy; the beautiful red petals that lay like a swollen mouth that opened onto a darker place, a warm safe place. I knew what I had to do; ten year old with a baseball bat and I started swinging and swinging hard.  I hit the table and the shiny pans leapt and scattered. I hit the pans like balls as they jumped, batted them through the air every which way. I smashed down on the tabletop and the thin legs shattered, the big spoons and boxes tumbling to the floor. I swung on the countertop, swatted the boxes of sugar and cake mix and powdery white clouds burst into the air and the white dust settled over the broken utensils, over the floor and over my mother's head and starched bosom, over her legs and thighs. She was crying and I was pounding on the hot stove trying to stop the smoke, the thick smoke that rose and blackened the ceiling.

 Staring down at my wife's body, it seemed to be floating atop the pool of blood. I had to have broken every bone she had, had broken the bat in two doing so. The handle was still in my trembling hands the blood spattered wood drawn to the earth by a tremendous gravity. When the weight became a hot pain, I dropped the bat and it landed on my naked toe. The same toe that my mother had stepped on when I was ten years old. The body lay there, the bat in pieces and suddenly the past seemed stillborn and aborted, spitting remnants of itself into my mind and just as suddenly, the present, the naked body beaten into bloody contusions, mouth open and shut simultaneously, eyes pushed back behind the ears, pelvis and ribs jagged, dented and broken like the shiny pans, blood and bile being released through wounds opened by the jutting bones spilling like chocolate and powdered sugar. The present was all too real, bereft of light and shadow. When had I turned the light on?  Past or future; when had I gotten the bat out of the closet? Sound or silence. There was no screaming, no thoughts. Walls were simply walls; blood was simply blood. Death was simply death and prison would simply be prison. 

 I didn't want to go there, wanted to contradict inexorable destiny. 

I'd plead innocent the first chance I got. I dressed, shut the light, walked out of the room and closed the door. I felt a damp cold come over my skin as I kicked the cats harder than usual on my way down the stairs. The creatures cried out unable to stop their tumbling down. I got to the car and realized the dampness was sweat.  I needed a shower right away, something to wash off the fear.

 I got into the car and drove. I had to decide whether I'd show up for work in the morning.  For now though, I needed a motel and regretted not keeping a mistress. Where would I keep her? I thought, amusing the hell out of myself. In a motel. 

 I could always stop at a bar and pick something up, something disposable.

After driving for hours I found a motel, registered under another name and left looking for a tavern. I was miles away from my suburban home and in a dark hamlet consisting of a solitary main street surrounded by a cemetery. It seemed that most of the town was the cemetery with only a few houses scattered among the outlying hills. The main street went on for about two hundred yards and ended abruptly with a bus depot. 

 It seemed the only thing to do in this town was to get out of it, but there was a bar beside the depot and I stopped in. I ordered a whisky, took my glass, moved to a table and sat. The hooch tasted like water and I stopped drinking and pushed the glass aside. The place had the atmosphere of a utility closet smelling of ammonia and the walls carried faded mementos of long forgotten local teams' losing streaks. Between the cemetery and the bus depot, I'm surprised the place didn't do more business. The town seemed like the perfect getaway for murderers and murder victims.

 The motel was at the other end of the street and I'd have to walk back. I'd pulled up behind the motel into a space that I supposed to be the parking lot, but it looked like more cemetery ground just waiting to happen. My car wasn't anything spectacular and I never worried about anybody taking any particular note of it. No self-respecting thief would try to steal it.

 A waitress appeared suddenly and came over to the table wiping her hands on a spotless apron tied around her stick figure waistline over a short plaid skirt. She had cherry blonde hair; a yellow smile and a face that looked bruised and overly made up. She was around twenty but looked fifty. She stood there in front of me and peered from side to side and over my head.

 "You're early," she said. "Cin I git ya 'nother drink?" she looks at my glass sitting on the other side of the table from me.

 "Taste that," I said, and pointed to it.

 She kinda went, "Huh," and picked it up, sniffed at it, and yelled, "Jim!"

 The bartender came out from wherever the waitress had come from and he's wipin' his hands on a towel and threw it behind the bar where he now stood.

 "Yeah?" he said.

 "What do you call this?" she said, and the skinny biker-type with the tattoos creepin' up his neck and down his arms like shirt sleeves is cowed by this zit scarred bottle blonde and he waves her over tellin' her to bring the glass.

 "Right back, hon," she said to me and went to him. I was watchin' all this and he brings a bottle up from behind the bar and pours a straight shot into another glass and she brought it to the table. "Sorry 'bout that," she said.

 "You said I was early," I said, picking up the hooch and sniffing at it. 

 I set it down without sipping. She looked at the watch on her bony wrist.

 "For th'girls. We have a floorshow at midnight. This place can get pretty rowdy," she smiled, and I'm sick of seein' her dull yellow teeth.

 "Floor show, eh? You mean strippers."

 "That's right. People come from miles around to see our girls. You like pretty little ladies with big ol' titties?"

 I don't know whether to say yes or no and I down my drink. It's the real stuff. The first shot must've been the swill they served during the 'floorshow' to keep the rowdies from gettin' outa control. I'm not alone in the place as a couple sit sucking face in a corner booth and a fat bastard comes belching out of the men's room with his hand in his pants.  I get the feeling the place just might fill up. I put a dollar on the table and stand up ready to leave and she pouts looking disappointed, but it ain't cute.

 "You don't like big ol' titties?" she said.

 "Frankly, honey, I was lookin' at your boyfriend back there.  He's kinda cute."

 She's genuinely shocked. "He don't go that way," she said firmly.

 "Too bad," I said, and walked out of the lonely dive.

 There was a car parked in front of the motel. It wasn't a cop car. There was no one on the front desk and I went to my room. There was a knock at the door as I was loosening my tie and I ignored it, unbuttoning my shirt and going into the bathroom to look at the killer in the mirror. 

 I looked at the palms of my hands over the rusty sink and saw they were blistered and I know it's from holding the bat like a death grip. I think about my wife's body rotting there on the bed, collecting flies and big roaches and I was glad I shut the window so bigger animals couldn't get to her, birds and raccoons. I thought about the stupid cats. They'd have the whole house to themselves and I was hoping they'd starve to death locked in it.  I didn't have a guilty conscience. The way I saw it, I had done the world a favor, at least my world.

 The knock came again and snapped me out of the vision of her lying there bloody and bloated. In my tee shirt, pants and shoes I went to the door, then decided to ignore it again. I sat on the bed and pulled my shoes off and the stench of my socks hit me. I couldn't stand it only because it reminded me of her. I got up and threw open the window, sucked in the night air. The knock came again.

 "Hello-oo!" the woman's voice called out, "Is anybody in there?"

  I waited a second or two, leaning on the windowsill. 

 "Hello-ooo!" she called again.

 I went to the door, opened it in the face of a sutured blonde, gigantic tits tearing through a ragged tee-shirt and she's wearing bell bottom blue jeans vacuumed to her hips.

 "What took you so long?" she said like a professional bimbo.

 "What do you want?" I said without introduction.

 She held up a cigarette that I could tell was marijuana, painted a smile on her plastic lips and fluttered the blue eyes with gold eyelashes.

 "Gotta light?"

 "Come in," I said, and stepped aside. 

 She strutted in looking around the dingy room.  The bed, nightstand and chest of drawers were the only furnishings.  The windows had no curtains and the beat up roll shade was flipped all the way up.  There were two lamps and they were both on, the one on the bureau flickering about to take out the fuse and the one on the nightstand's bulb’s so dim it was gonna go any minute. I pulled open the drawer of the nightstand and tossed the book of matches that were the only thing in it onto the bed.  So much for any no smoking policy.  There was no ashtray but the burns on the edges of everything told her it was okay to light up.  She sat on the bed, crossed shapely denim legs and torched her shit.  I closed the door not knowing what to do until she was stoned out.

 She started talking as she exhaled.

 “I've got four pounds of killer shit and no light!  Ain't that a bitch?  Talk about 'water, water everywhere'!” She laughed at herself and sucked hard on the cigarette.  "Smoke?" she said sticking out her smoking hand.

 "No," I said. "Knock yourself out."

 "Is that an offer?" she chuckled.

 I was thinking, how long is it gonna be before I hit her with the lamp and leaned against the chest of drawers to scrutinize the calculated mess of her look.  I got it.

 "You workin' that bar up the street?"

 She blew smoke past her upper lip.


 "That your car out front?"

 "Yup.  I usually take the bus in, but not this time.  Not with this stash.  Ya gotta name, pardner?" she said.

 "No," I said, "My mother was a mute." 

 She smiled at that and her foggy eyes glittered at me.

 "Ya gotta sign?"  She was smarter than she looked and I didn't answer.  "Mine's Virgo.  That's my sign and my name. Usta be Virginia, but in this business, well, you know."

 "Yeah," I said, bored as hell with her.

 "You sure you don't want some of this?"


 "Yeah, you're sure, or yeah, you want some?"

 "Yeah, I'm sure I don't want any."  I lifted my eyes from the floor, "Say, are you horny, 'cause I sure as hell am an' this town is one big cemetery.  I figure that means most people come here to get laid."

 She laughed out loud like a maniac, threw her head back and slapped her big chest hard.  She fell back on the bed and planted herself there facing me and the sound vanished.  Her eyes glittered and she started talking with a weary smile, her face nestled in the big bunch of blonde hair.

 "You're funny," she said.  "I like a guy that can make me laugh.  C'mere, honey."

 I walked over, took the joint out of her hand and crushed it on the nightstand.  There was a breeze comin' through the window and my head felt warped from breathin' in the pot smoke in the cramped room. 

 I flipped the lamp off and the other just blew.  It was dark and the air smelled like a graveyard, acres of lawn and old flowers.

 I heard her zipper and felt a hand on my thigh, long nails lightly scratching me and I dropped my pants and stepped out of them.  She sat up and I pulled the ripped t-shirt over her head of big blonde hair and tossed it aside.  I put my hand through the stiff strands and my fingers got caught like fish in a net.  My other hand cupped a tit and I couldn't possibly hold it all.  I found her lips in the dark and she wanted me to find them.  She was holding my waist and pulling me down onto her.  My naked thigh touched her naked thigh and she pulled at my boxers and I let them slide off my hips.  I had a healthy hard-on and she started to reek of twat.  I wasn't sure if the rickety bed could take much of a pounding but I intended to find out and she was right along with me.

 Virgo left about an hour later but when I woke up she was sleeping next to me.  She had come back; deciding that sleeping with me was better than sleeping alone.  When I saw her lying there I fell back to sleep myself, the sun shining like a disinfectant on my nightmares and soon I'm dreamin' of graves and nobody's walkin' out of 'em.

 Virgo jostled me awake at around seven in the morning.

 "C'mon, honey, let’s go have breakfast.  My treat."

 My eyes crawling open against the daylight came into focus with her face so close that it remained a blur. I instinctively recoiled then realized what had happened.  Her make-up had vanished and the skin had the dry complexion of pale sand.  The lips had no luster and the eyelids were without glittering effects.  The hair was still painted blonde. She had the blanket drawn up to her waist, the breasts like two small children and I looked at the person not the bimbo and felt a cool flush over my face, her stale morning breath an odd relief. 

 "Big Jim makes the best flapjacks on the East Coast.  Whadayasay, pardner?"

 I rolled over and put my face in the lumpy pillow.  I didn't say anything until she jostled me with delicate firmness.

 "Alright, alright," I said and slid from the bed. 

 The dusty windowpane filled the room with hot sunlight, looking out on the hundreds of acres of tombstones.  I was naked already and stank like an Arab.  There was hot water in the shower and I got under the spray and stood there dizzy with warm relief.  I looked down and saw a brown crud washing into the drain and it occurred to me that I had blood on me and I grabbed the bar of soap that was there roughly lathering my body.  I broke out in a sweat under the spraying water and panted my breaths out like brickwork. Suddenly every muscle went lax and enervated, I had to drop into a crouch until my mind and body had the energy to stand and I could go on with the pose of normal composure.

 I came out of the shower about a half hour later and she was standing there in a translucent sundress with no make-up, hair pinned back in a ponytail.  She had a twisted grin on her face and looked like a naughty kid. 

 I was puzzled, and she said, "I'm sorry."

 I said, "What?  Sorry?" grabbing my pants and pulling them on without drawers.

 "I'm starting my menses.  I hope you don't think that's disgusting." 

 She giggled a little and I saw the bed had a big red stain in the middle of it.  I almost laughed out loud but gave her a broad smile instead, put my shirt on and buttoned it.

 "That's okay.  You're a woman, after all.  You've got a right to bleed to death if you want." 

 It was unintended gallows humor and wiped the smirk right off her face.

 "It's not like I have a choice," she said, defending her period.

 I'm feeling like the jerk that got caught with his finger in the cherry pie. 

 "Let's go have breakfast," I said.

 ‘Big’ Jim turned out to be the skinny biker and the waitress was his wife Dixie.  Dixie greeted us by opening the screen door and recognizing me from the night before smiled but didn't say anything that would embarrass me, or the stripper by night-good girl by day.  The place was kind of busy now, tables filled with plates and women with big hair sitting at the tables using the dirty plates for ashtrays.

 "Heya, Virgo!" one blonde brunette called and Virgo said, "Hi!" cheerily. 

 We took an empty table and gave our orders to the waitress, flapjacks, coffee and OJ.  She left and I dreaded any sort of conversation.

 "So you travellin' on business?" Virgo asked casually.

 "No," I said, thinking I'd better tell her something.  "I'm just sightseeing.  I've heard so much about this place I had to see it for myself.  I never saw a town where ninety percent of the population is buried under it."

 She wanted to look dismayed but couldn't help laughing.

 "Yeah, that is kinda interestin', isn't it?  I think they built the town on top of the cemetery, but the damn thing keeps gettin' bigger.  What was it you said last night?  'Most people come here to get laid'."  She laughed again.

 As long as she was laughin' and I wasn't talkin' everything would be fine.  I had no life story to tell.  I figured I'd encourage her to tell me more about herself.

 "Virgo from Virginia, eh?" I said.

 She sat back and pushed out those big fake tits.

 "That's where I'm from," she replied.

 "Any plans on goin' back?"

 "Nope.  I hated it there!  People thought I was a freak, my parents most of all."  She leaned in like she was sharing a secret. "Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful country, but when you're forced to wear rags to school every day and get called a dyke and a tramp you don't get fond of a place."  The words came out as a scorching memory and she turned red in the face as she spoke them. I could see she had invested so much in erasing them and ensuring that no one would call her a dyke again, the other word, I think she still had to work on. 

 The waitress brought two hot plates of cold flapjacks and set them in front of us.

 "Enjoy!" she said, left and came back with a jug of maple syrup, a dishful of cold patties of butter and the silverware.  She came back a third time with the pot of coffee and a pitcher of OJ that she left on the table.  We waited while she brought the cups and glasses, smiling with that bridge of yellow teeth, and traipse off to service one of the other tables.

 I thought a mouthful of flapjack would get Virgo to shut the hell up but she insisted on talking while shoveling it in, showing off the chewed shit on her tongue.

 "You're like 'The Artist Formerly Known As Prince'," she said spitting past her lips.


 "You ain't gotta name, either."

 "Yeh, that's right."

  If she had laughed it would've been repulsive so she held back and swallowed. 

 We ate the rest of the meal in silence.  I looked into her eyes every now and then and she into mine.  She ate like a cow chewing grass and smiled with the syrupy shit collecting in her teeth.  By the time we were done finishing off the OJ and java, she had the remains of flapjacks stuck to her t-shirt and big chest and only smeared the mess across her cleavage when she tried to wipe it with the napkin.  She looked at herself and was about as attractive as a dirty diaper.

 "I think I made a mess of myself," she chuckled.

 "I think so," I added humorlessly.

 "Have to go back and clean up," she said, pinching her eyes teasingly.

 "Yeah," I said, going for my wallet since I'd notice that she didn't bring any money and had nowhere to put it if she had.  I looked for the waitress who was clucking it up with a table full of what had to be more strippers.  Each one had the anatomy of a socket wrench and hair the color of everything unnatural under the sun.  I tossed a ten onto the table, wiped my chin with the napkin and stood.  Virgo stood with me and raised a pointed finger.

 "Waitaminnit, hon," she said and skipped to the other table, leaned and spoke to one of the floozies.  The woman threw her head back like she'd suffered sudden whiplash, flashed her eyes at me, winked and turned back to the others clucking away as Virgo came sashaying back.  "Let's go, baby," she said, and I was glad to.

 Outside the air had the stillness of the surrounding cemetery as we walked along the barren main street.  She fitted an arm into mine trying to make a cute couple as we were about halfway up the strip of empty storefronts.  They were open for business, but business was apparently dead when a state trooper's Buick turned in at the far corner and cruised past the motel heading in our direction.  The car was slow and noiseless, behind the wheel a pair of sunglasses on a gaunt face that could've been Big Jim's brother.  As the car drove by, the face leaned across the seat and a leather gloved hand waved inside the car.

 "Howyadoin', Virgo!" the trooper called out.

 She half stooped, as if trying to recognize the driver but of course she knew him, had probably licked his balls more than once in her lifetime.

 "Hiya, Ted," she said, in an open friendly way.

 "Who's your friend?" he asked without much suspicion, but enough.

 "My agent!  I'm headed for the big time," she called back, and the guy pulled his head back, opened his mouth and laughed.

 What I thought about then was what had lie on my mind all along. My wife's bloated body in death wasn't any more missed than it had been in life.  The corpse had to be infested with bugs as big as rodents by now. 

 The motel was quiet and still, the place as empty of people as it was of everything else.  The desk clerk was only a shadow lurking somewhere behind a hand and a desk lamp.  He made notes, counted his receipts; god knows where he was getting them from, they had to be history.  If this place had ever been busy I'd missed it completely.  Then I thought of something else as we got to the room's door.

 "Your girlfriends stay here in town?"  It was a cool question.

 "One or two.  Most take the bus to the next town.  This is Cemetaryville.  Nobody comes from here; nobody stays here. People come and go."

 "And die," I noted.

 "Oh, yeah.  That's weird.  People die here, but nobody lives here." 

 She was puzzling over an abstraction as plain as day.

 "One or two, eh?"  I was pulling my shirt off.  The temperature was mild but I was hot as hell.  I pulled my shoes off too.  My feet stank like hell.  I didn't care anymore.

 She winced when she noticed the funk and went into the can.  She pulled her dress off.  She was a sticky mess, the white skin stained with the hard crust of brown syrup.  She hadn't anything on besides the dress and was naked in her white, strapped high heels.  I noted that and thought about gettin' horny, sincerely.  There wasn't anything like hate in me.  There was a cool sense of well-being.  I felt like a normal man. 

I felt like I had to do something impulsive, irrational.  I was wasting my time being a mystery man.  I walked into the john behind her; she was sitting on the edge of the tub, running the old faucet free of rusty water.

 "Virgo," I said, stopped, and waited for her to respond.

 "Yeah?" she said.

 "Marry me," I said with no particular flourish.  It was a request.

 "Sure," she said, water running over her outstretched hand.  The water was clearing and the rust fading out of it, the water rising, getting hotter and hotter.

 She swung her blonde head at me, "When?"

 "Is there a chapel in this town?" 

 That was the Question of the Ages.  I hadn't noticed a cross or a spire.  The tombstones were flat stones.  The hillside had the ornamental stuff.  That made the raised horizon something to see; a parade of stone angels, gigantic men naked and in period dress and colossal winged women naked but for flowing granite tunics, marching in place, silhouetted by the white sky atop the hill of deep green grass.  There were no crosses.  This place had the Devil in it.

 "Sure, there is," she said. "I was up there once, payin' respects," she continued. 

  She slipped out of her shoes and put her toes in the water, she looked at me with her eyes twinkling and smiled. "Care to join me?" she said, fetchingly.

 "You go ahead.  Let's take this slow.  I don't want to rush into anything."

 She looked like she’d spaced on that and got her whole naked body into the tub.  I watched her carefully as she lowered into the rising water.  She was built like a grown woman and I had had and seen it all.

 This was prize hair pie, the Witch of Zenda; someone the Gods had sent to rescue me from my petty worries.  This was the way my life was going to change: a new wife, a new man.  I walked out of the bathroom and tried to get real.  That wasn't happening.

 I went to the window and looked at the low-lying hills, the procession of silver figures in the noonday light.  I didn't smoke but I wanted a cigarette.  I wondered why I didn't smoke; it would be so much easier to hurt people with a burning cinder.  I looked around the room.  There was a clear plastic bag of her shit on top of the chest of drawers, bright green buds that I hadn't seen the likes of since college.  The bag bulged enticingly and there were straw colored papers inside of it.  I couldn't resist the temptation and without requisite, went to the bag, opened it and made a joint.  It wasn't easy, but the flap of paper had ample glue on it to hold the stick together and I used the matches I had found the other night.  The thing torched and smoldered and I puffed contentedly without choking, getting a smooth draw.  I carried it into the bathroom and showed her my accomplishment.

 "How'zat?" she and I said simultaneously, as she sniffed and wrinkled her nose at the aroma of the billowing reefer.  I held it to her lips and she puffed.  She gently closed her eyes and filled her lungs with thick cloud.  When I withdrew it, we both started to laugh.  "You're a howl," she said.  "What's your hometown?"

 "Not around 'ere," I said deliberately.  There was no humor in it. The statement fell flat as death.  She didn't want to laugh anymore.  Her eyes sat wide in her head, stunned.

 "Why won't you tell me anything about yourself?" she asked honestly, and she deserved an answer.  This time I didn't think twice about telling her.

 "Because I'm a murderer," I said.  I didn't say anything else, but I wanted to. 

 There was nothing coming out.  My mouth opened to utter anything, to go on about my wife, my life, my crime, but no sound other than a stammer came out.  She sighed oddly, relaxed her body into the water, the big breasts floating like glaciers, then she put her hand on the side tub's edge and pulled herself up out of it dripping with sparkling beads of dirty water. She kissed me and silently left the bathroom.  I was standing there utterly confused.  She toweled herself off with a dirty towel, wiping herself thoroughly and I thought she was going to leave.

 "What are you doing?" I asked adamantly; coming forth, wanting to kill her, had to.

 "Drying off," she said.

 "I mean—," I started.

 "Don't worry about it," she said, and gave me a curiously innocent glance. "What do you think I am?" 

 What I thought wouldn't've been the answer.

 The trooper picked that moment to knock at the door.  It had to be him, anything else would've made sense and we'd crossed that line.

 "Say, uh—," the Bubbafied voice called from the hall on the other side of the door.

 She recognized it first.

 "I'm not decent, Ted!" she hollered mildly. 

 He heard her. He understood. 

 A few moments went by and she had to open the door.  There was nothing going on.  She didn't have on anything that would constitute 'decent', but she opened it and his eyes didn't pop out of his head, stayed tightly pushed back squinting out of the dark sockets.

 "That your agent's car out back?" he asked, and she closed the door on him. 

 Barefoot and without a shirt I came to the door.  I didn't say that it was my car, waited for him.  "Thet your car?" he wisely asked again.

 "What about it?"

 "Somebody broke into it.  You wanna report it?  They cleaned it out," he said, painfully naive.

 "There wasn't anything in it," I forced. 

 Then I thought about the other side of the hills.  "In fact, if you know a scrap dealer, give 'em a call and let 'em make a supply of tin cans out of it."

 "We-ell—,"  He pushed his Smokey's cap back by the limp brown brim and I wondered if I'd fucked up.  "It jes' so happens that my cousin Ernie runs the scrap yard. 

 He can be here an' tow it off by tonight.” He was serious. 

 I had fucked up, big time.  I wasn't going to sit in this potato head town for another twenty-four hours.  I was going to take my new bride and get the hell out of it.

 "Okay, Ted," I said. "Call him over."  I didn't have time enough to think to say anything else.  I wanted that car to disappear but at the moment I wanted him to disappear along with it.

 "Right," he agreed, and didn't question me any further.  There was pot in the air and the room was as tight as a cigar box, he had to see the floating traces of it.  "I'll have 'im come by 'roun' six," he said and looked at his watch.  "Its eleven now, goin' on 'leven-thirty.  You gonna be in town all day?"

 "No," I said.  "Just tell 'im to come and get it.  I don't have to be here."

 "No-o, I reckon not.  Okay.  I'll call 'im.  He'll pay yuh a hunk'o change forrit.  That's a big ol' can yuh got there."

 "He can leave the money at the desk."  I was trying to speak rapidly but the guy had planted his ass right there and wasn't moving.  I got that and figured he had more goin' on in that pinhead of his.  "Say, why don't you come back tonight.  I'll give ya a cut of it," I said.

 He sniffed the air.

 "I'll take some of that there reefer," he said, and Virgo hurried past me to pass the guy a fat jay.  She'd carefully rolled an enormous cigarette and his eyes became visible and he smiled and had a shiny gold tooth in the middle of his face. 

 She knew him all right.

 "Hereyago, Ted," she said breathily, feeling my uneasiness.

 He took the jay and carefully ferreted it into a secret pocket beneath his belt.

 "I'll be back for that there cut," and I resented the way he said it.

 He'd be back all right.  The guy walked off with a bop in his step and I closed the door.  

 I gave her lean naked body a good long stare before I said anything.

 "You know his cousin, too?" I grilled bitterly.

 She dropped what little she'd used to cover her bushy pubes, her tits hovering motionless pumped up with silicone.

 "Yeh.  He runs the scrap heap, alright,” she confirmed.

 I was getting dressed again.

 "Let's get married, then we can take care of Ted and Ernie," I said, and she followed me around with her eyes, barely turning her head.

 "What do you mean 'take care of 'em'?" she said.

 "That's what I mean.  I mean if Ernie hauls my car in he's gotta do a routine check on my registration and there's some things I'd rather not have known," I explained. 

 She took a tentative step forward.  It wasn't the time for seduction.

 "You mean like your name?" she asked, not coming closer.

 "Yeah," I said, pulling my shoes onto sweaty bare feet.

 "You musta done somethin' horrible," she said in mock horror.

 "I told you I was a murderer.  You didn't seem to think much of it before."

"Yeah, well," she turned her whole body away from me and marched towards her carryall bag.  She said, "I'm a murderer too."

 I watched the two large symmetrical orbs in her backfield shuffle.

 "Who'd you kill?" I asked.

 "That wouldn't be fair, would it?  You ain't tellin' me nothin' 'bout you." 

 She slipped into her too tight t-shirt.  The body was conspicuously forty or older.  She shimmied into her tight bell-bottom jeans and looked at me, winked as she pulled the zipper up to her flat stomach.  She stood on tip-toes as if she wore wearing high heels and said, "Who am I gonna be?  Mrs. Nobody?"

 "You'll be Mrs. Somebody," I said.  "But not the guy who beat his wife to death with a baseball bat," I added gravely, and she pursed her lips in a reflexive curse.

 "Yeah, well, your wife won't be the woman who went back home and blow’d her mother's head off with a double barreled shotgun, neither."

 "That's good to know," I said.  "Come on."

 We took her car, a late model Caddy and rolled along the strip until a wide winding and unpaved path took us up into the hills.  The tombstones drew closer and up close they were chipped and cracked, features faded off and arms, legs and heads were missing.  Whole statuary had been demolished or chipped away.  The cemetery looked abandoned, as if the dead had gotten up and left.  There were big houses here but they looked long unlived in. "I don't get this," I said, driving.  "The only natives I've seen are Big Jim and his wife.  There's not another soul alive."

 "What about the guy on the desk at the motel?" she said.

 "Oh, yeah, him, but where's the rest of the staff?  What about those empty stores?  And these joints?" 

 We were driving through sunshine midst a rural emptiness.  The houses were of plain plank wood and some looked abandoned under construction.  There were no cars.

 "What about Ted and Ernie?"

 "They don't count and besides," I said, "they'll be movin' in.  I guess that's how you get out of this town."  I was being needlessly grim.

 "There's always the bus," she said, deflecting my attitude. 

 That's why I wanted to marry her.  I didn't need this dark cloud over my head.  She was soft as rain, but I wanted the rain to get harder, I needed her to be what she said she was.  If she were a killer like myself, I needed her to be borderline psychotic. There was no way I was going to pull this off without a mess.

 "If Ted is as stupid—," I started to say.

 She cut me off with, "He's burnt."

 "Yeh," I said.

 There was a chapel coming up.  It was set apart on its own grass laden block.  Shaped like an oversized outhouse it didn't look like it got much business either.  The Great Depression must have hit this place, sunk it and buried it. I stopped the car.

 There was a sign out front in a cheap letterbox announcing the sermon; "GOD HEARS OUR SILENCE," it read.  Somebody had to have to put it there. 

  I parked and we got out of the car looking back and forth and then over at each other.  I came around and we walked in together.  The joint was dark inside but there were pews and we walked to the front.  There was an unadorned alter of dark wood standing woefully alone.  There was a priest here. He knelt in the furthermost corner praying, not mumbling but mouthing something in some forgotten tongue.  He dressed in a black shawl that he must've worn for every occasion and from the musky scent of it, every day.  The windows of the place were shaped like church windows but there wasn't any stained glass in them, or any glass.  I did one of those "A-hem" numbers and the guy caught on.  He got up off of his hands and knees and came over to us.

 "What can I do for you?" he said without introducing himself.

 "We'd like to get married," I said.

 "Very well," he said, "that'll be fifty dollars."

 I pulled out my wallet and handed him a fifty note.  She was standing next to me and he'd come up behind the alter.  "Let me see," he pondered.  "How would you like to be married?  This is a Universalist Church.  I can perform any ceremony."  He was proud and we were impressed, but not that much.

 "The one that says, 'I do'," I said.  "And 'man and wife' at the end, well, you can skip that part, just cut to the chase and say 'done'."

 "Not the sentimental type, eh?  Okay, pal, here it goes.  By the power invested in me, cet'ra, cet'ra, I now pronounce you man and wife.  You may kiss the bride.  Congratulations."  He walked back to his corner, resumed his praying.  We looked at one another and caught hands.

 "Was that legal?" I whispered.

 "Wasn't somebody supposed to throw rice?" she queried.

 "I guess the church is as good as the law.  We'll settle it later.  Right now, I've got something else to do.  It's a busy day.  We might want to stop at Big Jim's and get some lunch."  How could everything be so fine?  It was like nothing had happened yet, and yet it all had happened in the past.

 We were leaving the church and the guy came behind us, "here ya go," he said, passing me a document.  It was a marriage certificate, made out to, 'to whom it may concern'.  That was good enough for me 'cause the guy was also Justice of the Peace.  He was legit.  

 He shook my hand like a different man entirely, came into the sun and scanned the unmoving horizon with his hand held above his eyes.  He smiled, patted his belly.  

 "About lunchtime, folks.  May God be with you," he said cordially, and went back inside. 

 We were married, Mr. and Mrs. To Whom It May Concern.  Unfortunately, it concerned the Law and neither of us knew how much the law knew about our respective crimes.  Ted seemed unaware of any Police emergency.  He was not the standard.  We thought someone might have caught on to one or the other of us.  My wife lying in her spilled sack of blood and filth, Virgo’s mother, a friendless old woman in a wheelchair, her bloody skull fragments sprayed among her dusty china dishes.  Virgo was telling the truth but she was hardly a hardened killer and neither was I.

 I drove back into town and began to dig how it worked there. 

When you needed service someone appeared, otherwise they were preoccupied somewhere else.  A slow, quiet town that really wasn't mournful, just soulful.  I changed my impression but not my disposition.  I pulled up in front of the gun shop.  There were guns and rifles visible through the storefront window neatly stacked in place on racks and in cases throughout the store.  I got out of the car and she questioned my purpose.

 "What's this?" she said.

 "Guns, baby.  I'm gonna do a little Ted hunting." I said.

 She said, "What?" softly and came behind me, the pitter-patter of high heels on the concrete pavement.

 We went in the store and the proprietor was nowhere in sight.

 "Hey!" I called out.

 We stood there looking at each other when the voice called back, "Hey, yourself!"  And the short fat man dressed from the waist up in blue blazer and tie and from the waist down in hunting togs and tracking boots came waddling out of the back room holding a .38 snub nose, his fat finger carelessly on the trigger.  He set the gun on the glass countertop between us admiring the gleaming black metal adoringly.  "I was jus' cleanin' 'er.  She's a beaut, ain't she?  Precision steel.  That's a woman for ya, all metal."

  "A-hem," I go, and he came out of his daydream.


 He stood as erect as he could.

  "How much?" I said, pointing to the .38.

  "Her?" he coughed into his hand, more than aware of his not so very subtle pitch.  "Oh, four hunnert," he said.

 "I'll take it," I said.  You take credit cards?"  They both looked at me like I were crazy.  "Okay," I opened my wallet onto a few hundred, peeled out four bills and handed them over.

 "You want bullets with that?" he said.

 "Yeah, yeah," I said. He never brought up anything about a permit, he was just happy to see cash.  He tossed me a few boxes of brass at cut-rate prices. 

 He was smiling lovely, countin' his change of fortune when Virgo pulled out a wad of her own.  I'm surprised after the naive bullshit she gave me outside.  The guy likes the sight of money, so much for any objections from me.

 "Let me get a Lady .45," she said, pointing to a blue steel pearl handle Colt classic sitting demurely in its own pristine case.

 "Right away, ma'am!"

 This guy could be the town's only fruit and he ducked into the back, comin' back with a fresh boxful of pistol, lifting the lid and showing her a polished white metal piece inlaid with a salmon colored mother of pearl grip.  It's a sharp piece, all lines and curves, built to shoot straight and hit hard.  He gives it to her for two fifty and I figure he ain't a fag.  Anyway, with all these guns around, he's a dangerous motherfucker.  So he sucks up to my wife and gives her plenty of ammo too.

 "Does he think we're gonna go huntin' or somethin'?" I asked her, as we got in the car.

 "There's a range not far from here."

 "This is civilization after all." I cajoled.

 "This is Cemeteryville. S'just like any other place."

 "Amen," I said, driving up the street to the motel. 

 My car was still parked out back so I U-ied and drove on to the bar-cum-topless joint-cum-diner.  The waitress was as cheerful as ever and we sat where we wanted to.  We were going to eat, not talk about our lives of crime.

 We were sitting there having some water.  The town had surprisingly fresh air and good water.  Both were as empty as a clean glass.  "Where ya headed from here?" I said, on her all friendly like. 

She looked surprised because now we were together.

 "I was goin' t'New York.  How'bout you?" she asked, worrisomely.

 "New York City sounds fine.  What's there for you?"

 "I gotta—," she came in on me. "I gotta drop somethin' off," she said with her lips. 

 I sat back and gave her an incredulous glare; she sat back and gave me a look of self-contentment.  She had to deliver some pot. Okay.

  "Then what?" I said, continuing.

  She shrugged a weight off her shoulders. "Then I'm free!" she said.

  I was sitting back.  I shifted and sat back again.

 "You're free?" I said flatly.

 "Yeah, I'm...”

 She wasn't free.

 We ate turkey sandwiches on dry wheat bread. We didn't talk.

 I looked at her mouth making a lumpy paste out of it, getting used to it.  I didn't want to eat much because I didn't want to shit myself when I pulled the trigger.  Time crawled by in arduous minutes.  We were done and having sodas.  The day was warm and the bar's front and back doors were open.  The street had a bright hollowness to it, the sun bouncing its rays off the flat surfaces reflecting back into nobody's eyes.  The town was blind, the people in it habitually silent.  ‘God Hears Our Silence,’ was the preacher's sermon.  He'd hear a couple of loud gunshots too.

 We were back in the motel room.  Virgo was smoking some reefer and I was trying to avoid the scent.  I closed the bathroom door and inside broke the gun open loading it full of shells, closed the cylinder, broke it again, checked the rounds and closed it with a flip of my wrists.  I looked at myself in the mirror, didn't see anybody I knew.  I came out of the john and she had her cartridges spread out on the bed.

 "You don't mind gettin' involved in this, do you?" I asked, politely.

 "You kiddin'?  That Ted is a jerk and I could use some excitement."

 She held the gun unloaded, holding it like a weapon.  I sat on the corner of the bed holding my gun in my lap.

 "How long's it been," I said, kinda.  She looked right at me.

 "Four years," she said.  She looked at her ammo.  "Four years ago I walked into that old shack.  The place wasn't fit for an animal.  I had all this hate in me, hate for what she'd made me become." She was watering her eyes.  "I'm not a good person," she said, weakly.

  "Yeah.  You're rotten like everybody else." 

 I leaned forward and kissed her.

  "I've seen the bottom," she said teary.

  "We've all seen the bottom.  Some of us touch the bottom. Some sink to it and stay there.  Some use it as a jump off to get to the top. But the bottom's always there. Whether you see it or not." 

 I put an arm over her shoulder. 

She sat and I sat with guns in our hands. 

We were waiting to hear a truck, put our arms around each other, lie back atop the clips and dozed off.  It was an unusually restful sleep.

 We awoke to the sound of grinding cables.  I peered out the window.  There was a tow truck lifting my car with a hoist.  That was a start. 

 I let that go by and the car was pulled up on its rear tires.  I went down to meet Ernie who was coming around to the motel's lobby.  He looked just like Ted, only instead of the tan uniform it was gray oil stained coveralls.

 "You the guy?" he asked when he saw me in shirt and jacket.

 "Yeah," I said.  We didn't shake hands.  His were filthy.

 "That'sa good car ya got there.  I'll give ya fifteen hunnert straight," he said, looking confident.

 "I'll take three grand."

 "Oh, yeh?" he said, looking through me.

 "Yeh," I said.  "It'sa good car.  You might get five G's for it, maybe more."

 "I don't sell cars," he said indignantly.

 "Ted said you were square.  Should I tell'im you ain't?" I twisted him.

 "Alright, alright," he said, a joker for a con man.  He'd lose his shirt in a big play.  "Here ya are," he pasted crisp bills into my hand. 

The car was clean, maintained.  He'd sell it for sure.  I assured him that it wasn't stolen and that the paperwork was in the glove box.  He nodded to that, like he cared.  Counting the bills into my palm, he gave me a sly look 'cause Ted was comin' around for his cut and a percentage of that would no doubt wind up back in Ernie's hand. 

"Welp," this guy said, "Guess I'll be seein' ya'roun'.  Missed ya Sat'day night."

 "How's that?" he got out of me.

 "'Cause usually everybody in town heads over t'Big Jim's for the floorshow.  Ted said you was Virgo's new manager or somethin'."

 "That's right," I said, puttin' the cash in my pocket and keeping my hand there.  I had the gun beneath my jacket and was feeling the weight of it.

 "Welp, it's nice t'see new faces now'again," he said, as lightly as he could, turned and walked away.

 "Say, Ernie," I called after him.  He turned back at the lobby's door.


 "Gotta card?" I asked for seemingly no reason.

 "Oh, yeah," he said, and came back as if he'd forgotten his business etiquette, fishing one from his coveralls' pocket.  "Here ya go," he said, and passed it over.  I glanced at it. There were two locations listed.

 "This your home address?' I asked.

 "Yup, an' m'number.  Jus' gimmes a holler if you get some more steel you wanna unload.  I'm like the Japs, I'll take whatever ya got," he grinned.

 "Yeh," I said, and grinned sourly back at him, "Remember Pearl Harbor."

 The guy at the front desk was standing there and I'd hardly noticed him.  Once Ernie had gone around to his haul, I slipped the guy a Franklin.  The guy remained a black hole but a gleam of sunshine escaped his gravity.  I went out and watched Ernie pull off. 

 The sun was making its slow plummet, the ground darkening.  Street lamps were pushing their dim beacons against a fading daylight.  I went to the room and there she sat still holding her gun in her hand.  It was loaded.

 "Listen," I said, setting my gun on the chest of drawers, "When Ted gets here, I want you to get him alone.  That shouldn't be too hard."

 She didn't like the connotation of that and took offence immediately. I was kinda right though.

 "What should I do then?"

 "Keep him alone.  Offer to give him a blowjob, get him all hot and bothered. Take 'im 'round back to the parking lot.  It's just a field of dead weeds back there.  Get on your knees and 'im happy.  Make 'im pay ya and don't give 'im a deal.  Give him the time of his life," I was ramblin noisily.

 "What's with this givin' Ted such a good time?" 

 She was smart enough to know when she was being used and smart enough to know when it was useful.

 "I'll come behind him and blow his brains out, then we'll look up Ernie.  Blow his brains out too.  Can't let him do anything with that car."

 "You're crazy," she shook her head in bemusement.  I guess I was.

 "Let's see what you're gonna do," I suggested.



 I grabbed her by the head, pushed the guns aside and pressed her face into my crotch.   She pulled my zipper down and put my cock in her mouth, licked it long and slow over and underneath and swallowed it whole.  There was enough time to get things done.  We'd skip town if we didn't have things to do.  There was no way to escape a murder rap when the evidence was so overwhelming, but you have to be caught before they can sentence you, and I didn't care about being caught. I was worried about getting away; starting a life where one had barely existed before.  She was in my boat and my cock was in her throat, Mrs. Whatever.

 She spit cum and swallowed some.  She was a real pig in her table manners.  I didn't have any thought of the past anymore, like a door had closed.  There was nothing there, just air, lots of air.  That I could always breathe was my hope.  We'd see about that. 

 I pushed her back on the bed.  Her jeans were a hassle to pull off in a hurry and we were lying on a pile of hard shells.  The knock at the door was a respite, though I wished I'd heard the car.  He'd pulled around back and I'd rather she went to meet him, but he was here now, for his jack.

 "This is the play," I whispered.  "We take him out for a drink. I'll split an'," I stopped.  She had her index finger pressed to her fat lips.

 This whole thing was going wild and not a damned thing had gone down.  I packed my piece and she cleared the bed, picking up the shells more carefully than she bothered to clean up herself.  She was in the bathroom with a carryall bag that she’d brought in while I was sleeping.  She changed clothes without taking a shower.  She might smell a bit, but that'd be a change from the stiflingly clean air.  I didn't smell so bad.  I didn't care about that.  Ted would smell worse than both of us.  I waited for her, leaving him outside the door.  He didn't knock again.

  She did a brief woman's ritual and came out looking only slightly painted beneath a lot of paint.  The eyelashes glistened and all.  The lips had sparkle.  She put her hair in a fat ponytail and bopped along in fresh jeans and oversized t-shirt.  Her tits remained very prominent; there was no hiding them.  She had her .45 beneath her shirt, tucked in her jeans at the hip.  She wanted to use it too, but there was only one victim so far and I had to pop him.  She was only the bait. 

 She kissed me and I checked my perspiration.  It was fine.  I had my gun in the small of my back.  I opened the door. Ted had waiting impassively.  He lazed against the opposite wall, stoned.

 "Yeah, Ted?" I said, resentfully.

 "About that car o'yers," he commented in an uppity way, like he wasn't completely off duty, like he'd heard me whispering.  In his condition, he might chalk it up to paranoia, but in that condition paranoia could become very real.  He could get spooked and do something we hadn't anticipated.  He could be a psycho for all we knew.  He was Ted, the local deputy; he was Barney Fife, patrolling one street and the surrounding hills.  He was a trooper but they'd assigned him to the graveyard.

 "We were just goin' out.  Care to join us over at Big Jim's?  My tab."

 "Let's go," he said hardily to that.

 I put my arm around her and he noticed that.  I didn't know what that meant but the bastard had to die.  He was Law Enforcement. 

 He wasn't alone, either.

 I was the jackass. We got to the place and another trooper was talking up the waitress.  This guy had stripes on his sleeve.  The gold buttons clashed with his blue uniform but he was a real cop, wearing the big fat star to prove it.  He wore a hat much like Ted's, but his was stylishly clean suede, not weather beaten felt. 

 We took a few seats and waited in each other's faces until the waitress picked up on us.  This guy in blue was standing at the bar having a beer.  He nodded at Ted as the waitress was returning with a tray full of open bottles.  We drank to each other, became pals, but we couldn't ice this other guy out, so Ted brainstormed.

 "Heya, Captain.  Folks, this here's captain Cooper." he said with a sense of discovery.

 "Heya, Ted.  Folks."  He tipped his hat and acknowledged the lady at the table.  "Mind if I join ya?  It's gettin' a’ might crowded in here," he said with an affected drawl. 

 I looked around and couples were occupying the other tables.  There were seats left but it was his prerogative to be full of balls.

"Sure, Officer," I said, glad handedly.  "Pull up a rock." 

 Ted laughed, like I knew he would at a lame crack like that. 

 That made the captain think we really were together.

 "Much 'bliged." He dragged a chair over and sat in it. 

 We were going to pretend to have a conversation. 

 "You're new in town," he said.

 "This is my husband," said Virgo, clutching my arm with just the right timing.  Both troopers looked stunned.  This was to be explored.

 "Well, well," he said, "Mister, eh," he tried.

 "Just call me Virgil," I said, impulsively.

 "Virgil and Virgo," said Ted, unnecessarily.

 Blue boy’s smiled at that. He might'nt have been as smart as he looked.

 "How long you in town, Virgil?" The captain said, pulling on his beer.

 "I came to get Virgo," I said, sipping mine for affect.

 "How long?" he said, prying and he knew it.

 "Four years," I said quickly.  I had fact and fiction sorted out. I wasn't being outwitted.

 "Congratulations," he said blandly, adding, "You weren't here Saturday night, to see the show, I mean."

 I'm sorry," he paused.  "I don't mean to be outa line.  I hope I didn't offend you."

 I was offended, but how could I show it. 

 I said like a Baptist, "I don't go in for that sort of thing.  That's Virgo's livelihood.  I try to keep that separate from our marriage."  It was almost the truth.  We'd have to cap both cops and she knew it and I knew it.  The Captain was a good excuse for me to split.

 "Say, Ted," I said, overriding Cooper's overbearing gaze.  "C'mere, lemmetalktoya.”

 I ushered him away from the table where he anticipated enjoying the talk.

  I said, "I've got somethin' for ya.  Thanks for gettin' me out from under that heap.  The damned thing was puttin' me in the poor house."

 I was bullshitting and Ted knew that.  He went along with it because it was a mask to keep Cooper out of our faces.  We'd be as boring as bowling buddies until the captain decided to do something else with his ass. 

 I looked into Ted's face without saying a word.  This was the level of conversation we'd had so far.  Virgo was getting into her bubbly thing and captivated the Captain in a split second.  His face made bewildering changes.  She had brought up the marriage thing.  He didn't believe she was a wife, so she had to convince him.

 "What're ya givin' me?" Ted said, stupidly, reaching his hand out.

 "Not here," I said, ignoring his hand and playing it off.

 He looked at his hand, laughed nervously, and was digging getting dug. 

 Virgo had the Captain's ear but we had his eyes.  She had his hands too, was smart enough to talk him into going outside with her into the comfortable dark of the open-ended street.  The bus depot could be used for a little necking and I guessed the cop wasn't the man I supposed him to be.  He was going out to fuck my wife.  I could have killed him right there, but I'd still have to kill Ted.  Cooper disappeared with Virgo, under the pretense I supposed of being pals, but she didn't have the known scruples.  She carried herself like a tramp but that was changing, the rules were breaking.

 She took the cop around the back of the depot.  Inside, drivers were napping, a solitary dispatcher off on a coffee break that might last years.  The busses were cold metal husks with big tires that smelled of humanity dead and alive.  Road kill collected in what was left of the tread, the balding Goodyear’s sporting hairy trophies of their long journey.  

 There was a parking space that led onto a fenceless park of deep untended flora.  What flourished within it was anybody's guess, but at its center was a sinkhole that connected to the sewer line. 

 If there were a need to fix the water main, if god forbid Cemeteryville flood, there would be nothing to wash away.  The plague would be humiliated.  An old Pine tree held the group of dense weeds together, what constituted the town's "park".  What it was called, god only knows, the name of some dead relative of the undertaker. 

 Mutant fauna had moved in and come out of the festering earth and the green weeds buzzed and chirped loudly, whole bushes lit up with lightning beetles.  The old Pine's needles were sprinkled throughout the leaves and the floor.  She told him to sit down and he did, at the base of the old tree which was as broad as a couch.  He folded his knees, folded his hands and looked through the branches towards the stars.  The sky had dimmed and he thought he'd see those big white titties in the moonlight.  The couple was far enough away to preserve his bullshit reputation and reinforce hers.  Ted wanted his cash and I had a problem giving it to him.  It was the bait to lure the bait.  I'd intended on setting him up with a rendezvous that he could bankroll until the end of the line but his captain had gone and snatched the prize right from under him.  I was stuck with him and he might ride out of town once I'd given it to him.  I hailed the waitress for two fresh beers.  He was waiting, on that he could get in line.

  She managed to hide herself among the brush and giggled loudly and crudely so that he thought fetching her was the point.  He had a broad grin and used his big hands to push aside the hanging shrubbery of the tall stalks.  She was skipping around outside of the growth as he trudged through the thick of it, thinking like Tarzan to impress Jane with his animal ways.  He found the discarded t-shirt stretched out of shape by her big solid boobs and figured the game that much more enticing.  He heard the female grunts and giggles that she was faking like bad sex.

  He stepped to the edge of the sewer hole holding the tee smashing the aroma of the sweaty armpits into his nostrils, didn't turn around when her naked feet snapped through the brush, feminine odor mixing with sewage waste.  He took a deep breath. 

 He'd been raised on the hill but his parents’ deaths had left him an orphan.  He'd been taken in by the foundling home run by old Mr. and Mrs. Ingles, grew up admiring the sharp uniforms of the Officers and state troopers that would often stop by the home to return the runaways and wayward girls, teen-age delinquents and young drunkards.  He became a cop, too, made Sergeant quickly and was well known if not much liked when he joined the local troopers as captain.  He'd volunteered for the graveyard shift, felt himself to be more on the outside looking in, watching old folks and transients die of loneliness and boredom to be buried in the sprawling cemetery.  He came Saturday nights to see the floorshow like everybody else.

  The 'Floor Show' consisted of rude crotchless lap dancing, the moist pussy leaving scented stains on many a tourist's trousers, spread open on the tables to be touched and prodded, bouncing tittles in a man's face, hot naked ass practically fucking him in public, all for laughs.  It was only a few dollars for something one could vividly recall when love wasn't readily available.

  Tonight was Cooper’s night.  He'd always liked the one called Virgo, had held those melons in his hands on many a Saturday night for ten, twenty bucks a squeeze and she'd let him finger her baby lotioned pussy while she gyrated her fleshy ass in his face, rubbed her flesh against his chest, ground an open toed platform of painted toes into his stiff manhood, burned her lustful sneer into his leering eyes. 

 He was about to turn around; the funk of her shirt had him pumping his hard dick in his hand.  He had his eyes shut tight and she could barely see his face in the shadows of the pine branches.  She had hands that felt like smooth cream on a man's skin.  Her fingers replaced his on his tool and she knew how to manipulate it to make it swell gigantically, to make the balls push and ache with lust.  He was blowing his breath in big chunks.  The hand was only the beginning; it would lead to more and more pleasure, softness, and wetness.

  He had a big Smith & Wesson revolver in the holster at his side.  Undoing the buttons of his fly made him sigh and smile with growing satisfaction.  His pants, gunbelt and all, dropped to his ankles.  He was choking his turkey furiously while she tickled his balls and four bullet holes put his lungs out of action, his chest stopped heaving and his balls drained their fluid at her feet as the dick went soft. 

 She shoved his arms, which were unprepared for a sudden jolt, shot him in the nuts as he fell and put a bullet between his eyes with a lucky shot.  He exhaled blood and that was all, couldn't help flailing the useless limbs as she stepped back and the muddy dirt gave beneath his footing.  She kicked the soles from under him, stubbing her toes, chipping the painted nails and he sank into the sewer hole and made very little noise.  There was the slush of the undertow and then nothing.  Shit flowed from inland out to sea, the water's current driven far below the earth, keeping the cemetery green and the air fresh, moving in subterranean courses that carried the diseased sludge away.

  There were six shots and Ted had his .38 in his hand, throwing his hat to the table. 

 He maintained to the slow moving patrons, "Stay inside," before going to investigate behind his revolver.  Big Jim pulled a shotgun from behind the bar.  The depot hadn't awakened, invested as it was in overtime and sleeping on the job.  Whoever was working, wasn't there. They were driving.  These guys waited their turn, that's all.  They slept through life otherwise.  They hadn't heard shit.  The place was made of thick plate glass, shatterproof and soundproof because busses are big, noisy and dangerous.  Ted didn't know which direction the sound came from, but he thought Cooper would be along any second to back him up.  Big Jim stayed at the bar with his shotgun.  He was the braver, smarter one.  I didn't let Ted go out alone.  My wife was out there, as Jim kind of indicated by pulling his wife towards him in a hug of assurance.  Ted had stepped off and I was coming behind him.

  "Virgo!" I hollered, and he looked startled. 

 He wanted to find the captain and was wandering further from where the shots seemed to have come from.  I called for Virgo again as we found our way onto the back street, the other side of the pasteboard cutout town.  This was Cemeteryville proper, the original main street before the other side had been built up using all the cement they had.  This was dry and parched terrain, like the sun had baked it through and robbed it of any atmosphere and nourishment.  The rear of the bus depot lay here; this was the side of the town's occasional crime.  This was the back windows and vacant lots, disused porches on a dusty extinct dirt street. 

 As we walked along, I saw giant ta-ta's at the end of the road.  It was Virgo, standing topless about fifty yards away and she glowed because of her enormous breasts of stretched white skin.  It was like a UFO topped with the unruly blonde hair that she had let out of the ponytail.  Clearly visible and straight-ahead, the only sane thing was to move towards her.  The backsides of the buildings were charred by some forgotten refuse fire, disrepair was nothing, things had rusted past their vintage and become only things, curious in their stone-like appearance. 

 I scoured the darkness with my eyes; it would've been impenetrable if not for the incidental light from the other side.  The air here was a natural smog, dust that never settled, living things.  Dirt and flies buried atop one another like gravel. I was following Ted as he was making vigorous strides towards the savior figure that was my wife, with her arms outstretched waving at us.  Things looked bad, with her topless and the captain nowhere.  He holstered his revolver and I hadn't drawn mine.  We reached her beside the so-called 'park' and she hugged him, then me with her bare buxom bosom.  He liked that, liked it so much that he must still have been thinking about it when I got behind him and asked, "Where's the captain?"

 He whirled on me and she shot him in the back.  He spun on her and I emptied the snub nose into the small of his back.  He turned again and she shot him between the shoulder blades.  He dropped to his knees with his gun in his hand, fingers lax.  I took his revolver and put a bullet through his forehead with it. 

 He was staring at me, not seeing a thing.  She'd gotten quick with the automatic’s ammo, had another clip in her piece and parted the back of his brain.  I stepped off because he was spraying blood.  We both aimed at the wobbling figure sunken to his knees, face permanently startled, hands open and empty.  We both fired at his head and it burst like an apple under a hammer blow. 

 I was afraid Big Jim might get bold with his shotgun but my more realistic fear was that he had a telephone.  We trotted up the desolate back road, ignorantly with our pistols in our hands, spent casings on the ground behind us.  I threw the trooper's gun into an open sewer line and it buried itself in the moist ditch.  I wanted to reload and shoot someone else right away, simple as that.  I was already getting sick from withdrawal.

 She looked good bounding along with her high breasts and golden hair.  Healthy and in shape for a smoker.  I kept up with her, but rounding the far side of the motel and catching my breath, I said, "You drive."

 She said, "Wait," and ran inside.  It was a long ten minutes before she came out with the carryall slung over her shoulder. 

 "I got everything," she said, tossing the bag into the backseat of the Caddy.

 She got behind the wheel, stabbed the key in the ignition and made the engine growl.  

 "We'll take Route Three.  It's not on the map."

 "What is it?" I asked, holding my chest, trembling, putting the .38 into the glove box.

 "It's an old Indian trail, used mostly by old Indians.  It cuts north into the mountains."  

  She backed the car without benefit of lights. Big Jim would be phoning the Sheriff.  

 “We can drive back down the east coast from there.  Cemeteryville ain't that big.  I hear from above it just looks like a hole."

 We were on Route 3, cruising fast under the stars and surrounded by fields of swaying grass.  There were mountains ahead and the rough road lifted.  Beyond the one or two faded street lamps a bus was arriving as another pulled away from the depot and headed west. There were no other lights for miles.


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