The air was humid and chilled as we walked through the university district toward his apartment. My shaking hands shoved deep into the pockets of my jacket, wrapping it around me tightly. Cold moisture on the insides of my palms, fore boding the violence to ensue. I’m watching him, a stalking shadow, as he continues to stop every so often, and turn to see that were still following him. Hands in his khaki pockets, framing the indecency in between. The pathetic wavers of his steps. The fat little feet that carry him. The wind that blows the greased up strands of his black hair across the oily forehead. The bitter taste of my intent, showering me with cold animosity.
I’m resenting the idea, of being boxed in his apartment.
I’m concerned about video cameras in generically furnished lobbies.
I’m imagining late night, meddlesome neighbours.
I’m visualizing the axe, in Shes purse.
I’m thinking about, how entirely cold I feel. Not winter cold. Empty cold. Vacant cold.
The front steps to the small building, lead up to a door, no lobby. It’s cheap and run down, the buzzer hardly even even works and I’m relieved. Walking down the rank smelling hallway and stepping into the warm apartment, my heart is beating so hard it hurts. Pounding against my ribs. A rattling little cage. I want to scream so loud the entire pitiful city would hear me, a wretched wailing. Maybe someone would come tear me from this chaos. A big hand to pluck me out of this night terror and rock me back to sleep. The searing reality of this moment, as he closes the door, and I accept, yet again. This is no dream. The settling of it inside, and my mind directs itself to that other place as Butterball leads us toward his bedroom.
The room is small and disturbingly vacant. White walls bearing no pictures. Just a creaky bed and a beat up, dusty computer desk. A folding lawn chair beside it, and I sit down, eyes chasing each corner of the room. Cross my legs, and ask if it’s okay to smoke in here.
She, sits down on the bed, bouncing a little as if to test the mattress, while grease pot, over in the doorway, watches with a learing smile. The beige pants barely masking the pitiful tent of his tighty whities. Eyeing him through the smoke of my cigarette, I ask if he has anything to drink, he nods and shuffles away to go fetch.
I turn to She, and in a quiet whisper, tell her to put the axe in her jeans. She does it quickly, carefully placing it along her lower back, and covering the exposed bit with the halter top. Her jeans are tight enough to hold it up, but loose enough to hide the handle, which is good, because Pudgy has come back bearing a bottle of Crown Royal whisky and a couple glasses. Sitting down next to She on the bed, he hands me one of the cups and I dive into the liquor, asking if he has any mix. My hands shaking as I twist off the plastic cap. The spiced heat filling my nose. Thank the world for booze. No mix, he says. Sorry. If you’d like, I can ask my roommate to go to the store. The sentence he just uttered, tightening my chest into professionally tied knots. Choking slightly on the burning shot I just kicked back. Roommate? Roommate.
“Uh, yeah, sure.” I say, desperately trying to stay visibly relaxed. “Can you ask him to grab me a pack of smokes too? Du Maurier light king size, cool?” He seems a little annoyed, but I don’t care. My minds racing , with this unexpected snag. Damn it. Just get him the fuck out of here.
I’m guessing, at the most, we’ll have twenty minutes to jack this guy. Twenty minutes. I can hear their fussing argument as he sends him out the door and it makes me nervous. I can tell Mr. Roomie has disdain for the fact, that were even here. Mildly sympathetic to his companions pervy little indiscretions and I whisper to She..
“Your going flirt with him, get him off a bit okay? act like, I don’t know, your going to massage him or something, whatever it takes, for him to get into it, and close his eyes. The moment he does, the axe. You know what to do. I’ll do the talking.” She nods, her face full of this, kind of, conviction. Happy to be directed. Always. I feel like a brick of cold ice, as he saunters back into the room. Rubbing the under side of his belly with his hand, and pushing it into his pants as he walks up to She. The swagger in his walk, overly confident and swiftly cut him down.
“Hey, buddy. Calm the fuck down,” I say, holding my hand out, a kind of sick laughter comes out of my mouth, and it surprises me.
” Sit the fuck down. We haven’t even talked money yet, money always comes first you horny little shit.” He’s a little put off, shocked, at my sudden curt. Surprisingly intimidated, as he quickly pulls that vibrating hand out from inside his pants, and reaches into his back pocket for the wallet. Disappointment scrawled across his fat little face. Settled again, when the facade of my smile splashes across my face again, and ask him,
“So, what do you want her to do? She’ll do anything for the right price. Anything you want…” my voice trailing off and I don’t even know who’s talking anymore. This conniving voice a distant echo to the Angie sleeping within. A muffled backdrop to the deep cave of my insides. Is this really happening. Yes. It is, and I watch him squirm with a pulsing fluster, as he empties the entire contents of his wallet on the computer desk next to me.
” I want it all.” His eyes wide, the sausage fingers quivering. The shine of his forehead and bulbous nose in the light of his desk lamp.
My hand reaches out and violently swipes the bills into my lap and proceeds to count them. Four hundred dollars. My eyes darting back up to meet with his. Watching She, peering out from behind him, wrapping her hands over his shoulders, rubbing his chest from behind. The words breaking free of this tarnished mouth. Those black venomous lips.
“Four bills should do it. Do it just fine.”