reposted here for the rest of the gentlefolk in the community. i have more stories than just "pet", i swear to spud! just let me revise them...
By: Alan Fay
The clouds shifted gently and held the moon in embrace. We said our goodbyes, and more trite conversation followed. I tired of her gossip and politics, but as she went on and on there was a certain beauty to it. She brushed aside the invisible dust that caressed her white flowers on her black skit, and she got into her car. I waved. It was still early, for our kind. My feet hurt the minute I started walking.
The street is an old whore - she smells bad, and drags me out of the house, and leaves me with nothing but this feeling, this isn’t where I should be. Tonight, I was walking with her with the rest of them, this side of Ponce. These men were too crazy to drink - the drunks were all sleeping by now, under proud trees. They would yell and spit and drag their feet, begging her for a place to stay, and a reason to live.
It was in this silent travel that my thoughts would sleep well ahead of my body, and I would get numb and watch myself dreaming. Tonight was no exception. I was tired.
When I got home I tried the garbage disposal again. There was a buzz and some smoke drifted up. It was broken, true. But one should always test for the presence of miracles. I opened the freezer and shoved aside my alarm, and took out a few ice cubes. I poured out some Jameson into a glass and threw the ice into the sink. To hell with all this. Bottoms up.
I groaned in unison with the sofa, and picked up the crossword puzzle. Eight down. A six letter word for life? The doorbell rang. Ridiculous. I took a sip and lit a Dunhill. It rang again. Slowly, I put the cigarette in the ashtray and got up. My hand rested on the knob, but then I put my eye against the peephole. The familiar fish-bowl face was staring right at the door. Why?
"What are you doing here?"
"I was in the neighborhood."
"It's five in the morning."
"Really? Geez, time flies when you're having fun!" Mary was rumored to be mildly retarded. I knew, because I started that rumor.
"Why are you here?"
"I knew you would be up, and I thought you could use some company."
"Well, not really, but you can have a..." She dove past me and opened up the fridge. "...drink." I had no beer.
"Why do you keep your socks in here? Do you have any beer?"
"It's summer, and no." She turned around and made a face, and then stared at me strangely. She made a beeline for the sofa and sat on the edge. She straightened her back and looked around like she was royalty.
"Can I smoke?" I picked up my cigarette and rolled it around in my fingers. I stared at it, thinking.
“Sure." I took another sip and watched her. She fumbled through her purse and pulled out a joint.
"Do you have any matches?"
"Look, here's a lighter. What were you doing tonight?"
"I was at Azul. They were playing music." Her eyes seemed to pop out when she said it. We sat there in silence, smoking. It was calming.
"I danced, and danced to the music!" She suddenly yelped, like a mummy shot out of a cannon and straight into the afterlife. I nearly spilled my drink. "Look, none of that! Be quiet, god-damnit. I really wanted to drink in peace." She pulled hard and coughed. She made a weak smile and giggled. She took another drag and the smoke rolled out of her lips like spaghetti.
"Play some music...it makes me feel good."
"Mary, no - it's late. I'm tired. I've had a crappy night."
"She doesn't want you." Quiet again. I leaned back and watched the smoke dance up into nothing. I looked back at her and took a sip. There were big flies trying to get in through the screen and i heard their big wings trying to bust through.
"You haven't even met her."
"She doesn't want you...and she can't dance."
"She doesn't dance. She hates music." I smiled to myself and she didn't notice.
"What do you see in her?" She pulled on the roach quickly and then threw it into the ashtray.
"I think she's hot." I smothered the cigarette in the ashtray.
"I'm hot." She closed her eyes and put her hands together and over her head.
"But i don't want you."
"Not that, stupid. You need to fix your A/C." Mary wasn't very attractive. She would have made a good backup model in the 1940's. she liked velvet and fake fur. Her heels were modest because she didn't like men to stare at her legs and feet. I watched her casually, while she moved her hips on the sofa and stretched her fingers out. Was she even coherent anymore?
"Mary, it's late."
"You want me to leave."
"...yes...and no." I lied.
"I want to sleep here tonight."
"Then, sleep." She put on her goofy stare again and teased her hair. She visibly spaced out, then came back into the moment again.
"Baby, I have an idea..."
"...it's not a good idea."
"Oh, come on. I'm good. I'm still good..."
"You're drunk and high and you know I'm not going to make you drive home like that. The blanket and pillow are behind the couch. I'll do some laundry and you can have a clean towel in the morning, if you want to shower or something."
"Baby, I don't need a towel." She was rocking back and forth.
"Mary, just get some sleep."
"Baby...please..." She edged closer to me and I watched her slow-motion and gentle descent onto the floor. She was like some svelte, beached whale with brown stockings, guided by some primitive force she was hoping would guide her home.
I did love her once, that sprawled out snoring body on my floor. I finished my drink and grunted as I lifted her back on the couch. She muttered some nonsense and put the back of her hand on her forehead. I tucked a pillow under her head, and pulled the blanket over her. I sat on the floor and stroked her hair.
"Ssh. Sleep." She moaned and drifted into the fantasy. For a moment, guilt crossed my mind, but I wasn't sure why.
There were good times. Mary could be a minx. I liked her style. But the cocaine proved to be too much. She was reckless, and I didn't want anything up my nose. Tonight, she wasn't twisted - I knew that much. She was broke.
I let her be when she forgot what erogenous zones were. She would pass out and I lost interest. There was no joy in fucking the dead.
The least I could do now was give her a safe place to sleep tonight. She deserved that much, as a human being, a wounded being. There was no pity in it. I did not pity confused people. I was constantly confused. I pulled some stray hair from her lips and tucked them around her ear. She made a sudden motion and then sunk back into the dream.
“Baby, get my pillow,” she mumbled, and pointed incoherently, and just about poked my eye. I dodged her.
“The soft one…with the brontosaurus…” Every syllable was spelled out.
“Oh god-damnit,” I stood up. “…the one with the cavemen throwing spears at it?”
“Yeah…yeah!” She almost woke up.
“No, no…just stay there. I’ll be right back.”
“Oh-kay…” She slipped back into the couch.
I went into my room and couldn’t find it anywhere. I turned on the light and the cover was half-buried under some clothes. I grabbed one of my pillows and put the cover on it. Good enough.
“Oh, you’re the best…” She didn’t even open her eyes and grabbed it out of my hands. She held it close. I sat down on the floor. She started to snore loudly.
When I woke up, the first thing I felt was the pain in my back. I lifted myself off the floor and looked up. She wasn't on the sofa, but I heard some noise in the bathroom. The door wasn't shut and I could see she was in the bathtub. She was in her underwear, randomly splashing the soapy water and laughing on her cell phone.
I opened the door to my room. The first thing that stood out was the window screen on the floor. It was bent in half, as if some floating pirate ship had wandered into my neighborhood and fired a cannonball into my home. Then I heard something move and looked at my pile of clothes.
There, staring up at me with a sandal in its mouth, was a raccoon. It looked up at me and we locked eyes. We were trying to decide to fight or flee, in our respective deep realms of instinct.
I was the first to move back to the door, and the bastard bared its teeth and charged at me. But I was suddenly holding the door shut, my knuckles white and hearing it scratch and bite and snort on the other side.
Mary came out of the bathroom and I could see her big nipples through her soaking bra.
"Baby, what's going on?"
"There's a god-damn raccoon in my room!" She didn't say a word and darted into the living room. She came right back with a .45 in her hands.
"Alright, get out of the way."
"Wait, what - no! Where the hell did you - ?"
"Move, god-damnit!" She waved the gun to motion me to move and I got out of its wavering path, fast. She took a step back and then ran straight into the door. It swung open and I watched from the bathroom as the thing rolled back like a tumbleweed. Mary unloaded the entire clip wildly into my room, and I watched my books, movies, and
computer monitor explode. After the carnage, it lay dead in a red stain that grew on the floor. She had shot it twice.
"Mary, what in the bloody FUCK! Jesus Christ!"
"It's cool baby," she flashed a goofy grin and her eyes all popped out. "I got him."
Sparks fell onto the carpet. We stared at each other. I was filled with some much shock and rage I just crumpled to the floor. She sat across from me and pawed my hair.
"It's ok...it's ok...I got him."
"God-damnit," I whimpered. "God...god-damnit..." I was shaking all over. It felt like my blood was gone and I was pumping hot air through my veins.
"Mary, unplug...that..." I managed to point weakly at the monitor. She got up and yanked out all the power cords. It sat there hissing and smoldering.
We sat in absolute silence, pondering our next move. I looked down at my watch. Roughly a quarter past eleven. It was fortunate my neighbors had jobs. I looked out the window. A couple on bicycles casually strolled by. The wind picked up and blew through the trees. We were safe, for now.
"Mary, we've got to get rid of this thing.” She was spaced out, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the body, which was quickly becoming an intolerable mess. The landlady would always stop by and knock on my door around noon, just to get a quick glance into the apartment.
"Yeah...we're gonna have to throw it away."
"Yeah...no shit. What are we gonna do about this?"
"I think it's dead."
"I think that's pretty obvious."
"Baby, you got a box? We can bury it."
"I don't have a shovel..." but I recalled I had some boxes behind the dryer. I fetched one that seemed to be large enough and dropped it on the floor next to the raccoon.
"OK, now what?"
"Silly, we put it in the box." Her eyes popped out again.
"Just...pick it up and drop it in."
"Just...pick it up..." She seemed confused. I certainly didn't want to touch it. It was obviously diseased, probably rabid.
I went into the kitchen. I found a pair of tongs that I had used last summer at the cookout in the park, and a pair of plyers. The distance to the thing didn't seem sufficient, so I slipped into the moldly latex cleaning gloves I had on the edge of the sink.
She started laughing when I walked back into the room.
"Are you gonna cut it up? What are you doing?"
"I'm going to put it in the box, god-damnit."
"Oh-kay." She rolled back away from it and kept laughing to herself.
The thing was heavy. After a few minutes, I had managed to get it on its back. Its eyes were still fierce, and its claws were sticking straight up like it wanted something, like it could rip off a piece of my skin on its way to the grave. I stopped trying to move it and stared at it. For a moment, I saw the appeal of taxidermy.
"Well, put it in the box, god-damnit," and she kept laughing, obviously proud of her clever impression of me.
"Fine, fine, I will." It took effort. I ended up putting the box on its side and rolling the creature in. Mary was hyperventilating.
"That's too funny," she finally stammered out.
"What's funny? That you destroyed half my room and I'm the only one trying to get rid of this thing?" She sat up and put on her serious face.
"Baby, baby,” she picked it up and moved towards the front door. “I’ll carry the box outside."
"You're not going out like that."
She looked down and suddenly became aware that she was still only in her soaking panties. She dropped the box on the floor and it landed haphazardly. She walked past me and I stared at the bottom of the box, which was slowly being covered in red spots.
Mary came back out of the bathroom in a few minutes, wearing a silky black dress that seemed to cling around her belly uncomfortably. It looked more like a kimono. She took out her compact and applied some powder. Then, some lipstick. Then, she adjusted her hair and smiled at me.
"Are you done? We're burying this thing, you know. Not attending its funeral."
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh, geez, I don't know, Mary - dead raccoon in a box perhaps...that you're supposed to carry outside?"
"Baby, don't get mad...do you have a shovel?"
"No, I don't. We went over this."
"Are you gonna dig a hole with your hands?" she put her hands in front of her and dug furiously at the air.
"No...I figure we can just chuck the box into a ditch or something."
"There's no ditch around here."
"There's the park."
"The kids are playing in the park!"
"No, the kids are in school."
The box was starting to soak through. How could such a little thing bleed so much? I picked up a towel out of the dryer and put it under the box.
"Alright, I get this side...lift." I opened the door and checked the hallway.
“Ok, it's clear. Let's go."
“Wait, I forgot my purse.”
“God-damnit, go and fetch it…” She dove back into my apartment. She came back out with her oversized bag, the thick strap slung between her breasts.
We walked it down the stairs and out to the yard. We crossed the street and I set the box down and surveyed the park. A car went by slowly, but then sped up and went away. We took it down the hill.
"I think that over there will work. There's a bunch of trees there. We can just leave it there and cover it in leaves."
"I dunno about that."
"Do you think it's too close to the road?"
"Well, I'm just saying...it's gonna smell bad."
"Eventually. But by then it's no skin off our back if the police find a dead raccoon in the park and nobody knows who left it there."
"Alright, if you say so..."
We managed to drag the thing over to the trees and I sat the box down. I looked inside and the thing was still dead, and still staring up at me. Its claws were down at its side, as if it had finally given up.
I lit a cigarette. I walked away and left Mary staring at the box. The clouds drifted peacefully across the sky. It was a hot day, and i felt my sweat mix into my eyes and made me squint. I felt relief.
I turned around and Mary was in the process of dousing the entire thing with some lighter fluid.
"What the hell are you doing!"
"It's cool, baby, we're gonna burn it up!"
"Mary, Jesus fucking Christ - no!"
It was too late. She lit the edge of the box with her lighter and the entire thing went up like a firecracker. She backed away quickly and watched her work. Then she turned and gave me a goofy grin.
"Great, just great. The cops will never see this."
"They can't trace it back to us now! It's cool."
"Right - everything is peachy-keen now. God-damnit." I was far too tired to fight it. We watched it burn. The smell was terrible and the smoke started getting thick. The box was now engulfed in flames, and was soon going to be an idle heap of smoldering fat. It crumpled in on itself, like a closed fist.
"Let's get the hell out of here, c'mon." She followed me back up the hill and we sat down on the park bench. The thick black smoke went high up into the air and above the trees.
"Ashes to ashes!" Mary giggled. "It's kinda cool." I wanted to say something but the heat started to make me stupid. I just stared at the fire, hoping my mind would just shelve everything and process it later.