Saturn in Retrograde I 1:6
Part 1, Chapter 6 of my 2004 crime novel
“ Where in the fuck is he? It’s eleven-thirty. I could kill that little twerp!” Gary sat in the upstairs office of Delcino’s Sports Bar, brooding. Tanner Benjamin had, predictably, decided to take the entire evening off. That was not the agreement. That was not the plan. That was a serious breech of the mores and folkways established between himself, and that little ogre. He looked out the long two-way mirror at the crowded floor. It was Saturday night, it was party time, and they were one man short in the kitchen. That made an already hot, miserable environment that much worse. It was the hostility factor. Every time he had gone downstairs and into the back he could feel it: unhappy employees. It was not what he needed. It was serious violation of--- “The mores and folkways...Tanner Benjamin, you are in serious violation of the folkways.” Three hours from now, Rachel Wasserman would be choking on his monster cock, drunker than a dorm full of sorority sisters, and he would forget about the dickless wonder with the ho-hum expression that had no-showed and left him one man short in the kitchen. He saw this phrase in his mind as if it had been lit up like a Las Vegas sign: ONE MAN SHORT IN THE KITCHEN. It made him want to shit on somebody’s head. He put his palm out and punched it with his curled fist. Daddy had always said you couldn’t trust short guys. “They’re just a tad more vicious, a little sneakier, and psycho. Watch out: they’ll hit you when you’re not looking, sport.” And Daddy was always right about these things.
And it stood to reason, didn’t it? If you had a dick the size of a gum drop, weren’t you much more likely to be hostile, to be sneaky, to be in violation of the...mores? To not give a fart in a high wind about the folkways? But it was okay. He was already fired. Tanner Benjamin was NOT a “team player”. Delcino’s was all about “team players.” It was all about the mores. (He had heard all about mores and folkways in that stupid fucking sociology class he had to take to graduate. The professor, Milt Seebaum, was a skinny, pencil-necked dweeb that must have been on the high side of sixty. But that was okay, because he was getting an A+ in Sociology. He made damn sure Milt Seebaum knew that in advance.) Gary sighed. It was gonna be a long damn night, but he knew what he had to do. As a Manager. As the guy that the boss depended on to made sure everybody hat was drinking here on Saturday left their cares and concerns at the door. It was his job to see that they ate the grill to ashes, drank themselves to stupefaction, and bathed in each others sweat out on the floor. This was America, after all. He walked over to the closet behind his desk and popped open the door. Out in a cat walk area over the ceiling were several boxes of uniforms. He picked an appropriate shirt and an apron. Fun. “One man short in the kitchen, one short man in the kitchen.” he sang to himself. He scratched his balls. He laughed. One short man in the kitchen. “ Not!” He walked downstairs to the dish pit. *** “Hey Milt, how are your classes going?” Milt Seebaum looked down and saw the little, dainty, form of Patricia Ireland standing in front of him. It was unlike her to be attending a university theatre performance, but he let it slide. “Any hidden pools of genius to be tapped?”
“’Fraid not, Pat. It’s been all downhill since the sixties, I’m afraid. I didn’t know you went in for theatrics.”
“Oh,” she laughed. “I like to catch a play now and again. Besides, not like I have much else to do on Saturday night.”
She suddenly got a kind of sly little look on her face.
“Say Milt, how about a little night cap, old boy? Talk about the play? Hmm?”
Pat had a way about her of making even the most innocuous suggestion sound like a coarse joke. Milt started to say no. Then he thought about the lonely living room. The cold bed. The TV. dinner and the old copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which he had read three times. “Sure. Why not. The night is young. Let’s show these whipper snappers they aren’t the only ones who know how to spend a Saturday night. But why don’t we eat a bite first? I’m feeling a little dizzy, child.” Pat grabbed his arm. He marveled to feel the strength of her grasp.
It was sometime later that they pulled up into the low-lying expanse of a darkened, run-to-riot neighborhood. They sat in the car for a few moments, and Tanner collected himself. Everything seemed to be happening too fast. Fast motion. Time to slow down, take things cool, make up some excuse to have to go home. He was going to be a chicken shit, and, right now, being a chicken shit seemed like the safest possible way to operate. “Uh, uh, Sabrina.” Pause. “ I don’t think I can...” He trailed off, letting his words lose themselves in the cramped, stale air of the filthy car. It seemed like this night would never end. And what time was it? He started to look down at his watch, thought better of it, and instead looked out at the house they were parked across the street from. It was a modest house gone to seed in a neighborhood that must have, long ago, seen better days. Inside, what perfect drones were still alive would be nestled all snug in their beds, watching der wittle TV’s, thinking the same series of dull thoughts. What to eat. What to wear. Who to fuck. Was he even a part of any of it? “I can understand if you’re scared, Tanner. Really I can.” He could tell by the sound of her voice that she was lying, rubbing his inadequacies in. She had tasted his soul for one white hot moment, and now she was using that fact against him, using her sex as a means of leverage. Tanner wanted to weep. The neighborhood looked strangely cold, even though the evening was warm. It seemed to have collected it’s odd assortment of strange, broken little dwellings the way a Victorian showman might have collected hydrocephalic twins. It was hard to imagine there was actual life here. “What if we get caught, Sabrina? Jesus, I can’t believe this, I don’t even know who the fuck you are, yet here I am.”
“Funny, huh. Do you trust me?”
“No. Not at all.”
She smiled, then let her hand stray over to his lap.
“Then the feeling is mutual.”
Suddenly, she was on top of him, grinding, running her fingers through his hair savagely. She opened his mouth with her tongue, jabbing it down his throat in one delicious, wet thrust. He had her jeans down in bare minutes, clutching her as she unzipped him, and they managed to guide him in. They began to rock, furiously, and she kept asking him, her voice rising to a piercing shriek, and then falling suddenly in husky guttural, “do you trust me? No...Do you trust me?...no... No! No! Ah, ah, ah!”
He managed to bounce her meager frame with increasing violence, feeling the warmth of her womanhood spread out across her lap. Suddenly, she thrust her arms over her head, and her blouse was hastily flung aside. Her breasts were much larger than he had first realized, and glistened with sweat in the moonlight. This was perfect, he reckoned. This was ecstasy. This was how sex was meant to be. She forced him to stop for agonizing moments, long enough to lean against the dashboard, and kick her legs up and to the left in a position that made it, miraculously, possible for her take off her skintight jeans, as well. Now she was as naked as the day she was born, in his arms, in a parked car in the middle of some quaint neighborhood. Suddenly, the intense dementia of absolute intoxicating pleasure exploded behind his eyes, and erased all doubts. He came furiously, screaming her name, crushing her taut torso to his own. She rolled off of him a moment later, his seed dribbling from between her legs. “Do you trust me now?” He looked at her. He was bathed in sweat, gasping, shivering in the post-orgasmic glow. “No. But...I’ll do what you say. If you can do that for me again.” She reached over and stuck her finger between his slackened lips.
“A n y t i m e .
N o w ... ”
She pulled out the nickel-plated revolver. It looked as evil as death in the darkness.
Bill and Roger sat on the couch, merrily stoned. The ball game had been completely forgotten. On the television screen, a young woman was bent down on all fours while several men had sex with her.
“Hey good buddy, I sure am glad you came over now...” Bill sounded as if he had just woke up from a deep sleep and found himself in someone else’s house. His statements were punctuated by a kind of sniggering, choking laughter, and then long moments of silence where he simply maintained stoically and looked as if he was undergoing a wave of paranoia. Roger had tossed back much of Bill’s beer by now, and was enjoying the video. The young women on the video was getting a good screwing by some biker buddies of his...real classy gents. Real men. They called that sort of party a turning out. “Hey man, get me another beer.” Bill blubbered for a minute. He was somewhere between laughter, panic, and real annoyance at being talked to like a slave in his own goddamn house. But Roger, quite frankly, had always sort of made him nervous. Even when he came by to do “odd jobs”, or help with remodeling the house. Roger made him nervous. His hands were too big, rough, his muscles still discernible beneath a few extra pounds of American Fat. He sputtered, “Well...get it yourself, motherfucker.” He had sounded amiable, but Roger said, “No. Don’t think so Bill. Not this time. I want you to get it for me. See, I don’t think you know who I am. Man, I could order your head in a basket, Bill. That’s a fact. I use to ride with the Outlaws, man.” Bill was stoned, but he wasn’t stoned enough, at this point, to not know that Roger was fully capable of beating the hell out of him. And Roger had been to jail before. And he must have already been half-lit when he came over. “ See Bill, I just like to see your fat, crippled ass waddle over to the fridge. It makes me horny.” Bill burst out laughing. “This ain’t a joke, Bill. Now go get me a goddamn beer before I break the only bones in your face that ain’t ugly. Now.” Bill got up, the entire room dancing circles around him, and if he had been any less lucky than what he already was, he would have keeled over onto the carpet in a useless heap and let Roger Atkins stomp his head into the floor with one size -eleven shoe. He made it into the kitchen, barely, lights exploding in front of his eyes. He reached for the handle of the fridge, and as stoned and drunk as he was, he understood, in an imperfect way at that point, that he had just been humiliated. But the dope-addled content of his brain hadn’t yet put the reality of the situation together in a way that was absolutely coherent. He turned. For a moment, he almost forgot what he was doing. As he had turned, it was as if he had trails of tiny cartoon stars and sparkles engulf him. He thought that if he simply kept twisting around, he might be able to conjure enough of them to lose himself in their strange magnificence. “Hey Bill, what’re you doing? What about my beer?” Then he remembered Roger, and he moved, with much difficulty, forward over the dirty linoleum. “Hey Bill, old buddy, did I ever tell you about the time I fucked your wife?”
Sabrina had simply climbed from the car, naked as a jaybird, and walked calmly across the street, as if she had already been programmed for this particular assassination (he no longer had much doubt this was what it was going to be.) Her white body looked surreal, framed against the image of the suburban front porch; even stranger, considering that she was carrying the gun. She had, he thought, at least stopped to slip her shoes on before she got out. He smiled, in spite of things. Maybe this was just some sort of bizarre joke. She walked up the darkened driveway, and a motion light suddenly came on, flooding the entire scene in stark, white visibility. She turned, put her arms up as if to suggest surprise or joy, and then motioned for him to follow. He got out of the car on wobbling legs, shaking. He was sure he was going to end up in the can.