Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

It's really a "funny" story. It's a story about a guy who "interviewed" me to be his "personal assistant," and stop me if you think you've heard this one before, but maybe, really, indirectly, it's a story about the same day the previous year.

I was little red riding hood, and I was packing a suitcase, and there were clothes in it and makeup and shampoo, but there were other things too. Like the last remnants of any hopeful or optimistic feelings I had about other human beings, and also a drawing. One that I made in first grade. It was a bewildered kitten, surrounded by bubbles staring sadly out a window, blocked forever from the outside by a wrought iron cross. It was framed in a wallpaper sample and there was a poem underneath it about the "peculiar" kitten, and peculiar was spelled with a q, but I wanted you to have it because it was the closest anyone could ever get to "me." And I wanted to say, "I love you," and I wanted to touch the line that runs down your spine and do nothing except be REALLY nice to you for the rest of forever.

So, maybe, really it's a story about, "What a difference a year makes," or,really, how it makes no difference at all. Because I forgot how quickly it goes from saccharine declarations and teenage sentimentality to the sad, bored stare, looking up at you with your hands around my throat. Because it's really just different kinds of sleazy, morally bankrupt predators with metal teeth drawn to the neon sign above my face that flashes "CRUSH ME" at all times of the day and night. And really, I can't blame them, because there's just something about a frown that makes you want to "turn it upside down."

Or, maybe, it's about being a particular "type of girl," in the type of situation that seems "crucial," looking back, in that moment, in your bedroom, with the gun from your closet, cocked and held up to my temple, laughing hysterically, as I whisper, directly into your terrified face, "Give me one good reason not to do it."

But, don't let me get carried away because, REALLY, it's a "funny" story.

***

I see you sitting at the table outside, in between Starbucks and Two Dog Bakery. I know what you look like because you told me. You look like a regular guy approaching 60, except the kind of mustache that's never "ironic" and the aviator glasses you've probably had since the 80s scream, "Men in stained raincoats."

You're holding a shitty looking book, and I'm sure you brought it because you want to seem like "the kind of guy who reads."

"Hi," I say, and you look surprised. "I'm Raye."

"Wow," you say, and your face looks illuminated, "Can I get you something?"

"Sure. Coffee sounds good."

You get up and I follow you inside. The blonde guy at the counter looks really smiley. I order a regular coffee and you pay for it with a 20 from a wallet full up with cash.

"Are you cold or warm or?"

"We can sit outside," I say.

The blonde guy hands me the coffee and we walk outside back to your table. We sit down in silence for a while while you paw at your book.

"I got on this mythology kick," you say, "I was reading a lot about 'Jungian Philosophy' and it put me on this mythology thing."

I smile, and it seems like a vacant, naive sort of smile, but it's really just a veil for boredom and disgust.

"My brother died," you say, "I found this book in his stuff and it seemed interesting."

I start laughing before I can stop myself and you smile in an uncomfortable way.

"Sorry. That's not funny. I mean...I'm not laughing because your brother is dead. I just...I don't know. Why is he? Dead I mean."

You look surprised and smile in the same uncomfortable way.

"Am I not supposed to ask that? You brought it up, and I wanted to know why he's dead so I asked."

You smile, shaking your head. "Drinking, probably. He liked to have fun with his friends."

I start laughing again and put my hand up to my mouth until I can compose myself. "Sorry. I don't know why I'm laughing. Like, I'm genuinely sorry your brother is dead...I'm sorry."

You shake your head like you're trying to shake something off. "It's okay."

We sit in awkward forever seeming silence for a long time before you say, "So, do you read?"

"Ugh, I don't know. I guess."

"I read A LOT," you say, "I think about writing sometimes, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be any good. You know, I read Faulkner or Hemingway, and I don't think I could write like that."

I start laughing again.

"Whaaaat?" you ask, drawing out the word in a "playful" way. A quieter sort of voice. The kind of tone people only use when they want to sleep with you.

"I don't know."

"Whaaaat?" you ask again.

"I don't know, just, like, you don't read Faulkner, you know?"

You look surprised again, less playful.

"I don't mean that in a rude way, I just mean, like, no one 'reads Faulkner.' Can you even name a book by Faulkner?"

"Okay," you say, laughing, I don't read Faulkner. I think I read a short story by him once and it was boring. Hemingway is good though. I like Hemingway. He wrote that story about the father...and his son. That's a good story."

I laugh and do a sort of smile.

"Whaaat," you say.

"Nothing, it's just....It's called Fathers and Sons and like...your description...that's just...funny. I don't know."

You stare at me in a really creepy way, and I look down. "Sorry, I'm not very good at this."

"Good at what?"

"I don't know....talking."

"So," you say, after a while, "When we spoke before, you said you wanted to get out of here."

"Yeah."

"Do you have a specific goal, or a milestone in mind? A specific amount of money you need or?"

"I don't know. I don't really make plans. I get why people do, but I feel like plans are mostly about constant overwhelming disappointment."

You laugh and shake your head, "Well, let me tell you what I'm looking for.

I lean forward a little to give the appearance of being interested in what you're saying.

"I have a VERY demanding job. I have a weird schedule and I'm under a lot of stress so having an assistant keeps me motivated. I hate doing laundry and that kind of thing so there's that component. Doing stuff around the house. My place isn't disgusting, but it's a typical 'bachelor pad.' There's dishes sometimes and I have a lot of plants that need to be watered. Other times I might want you to do 'research' for me or run errands. And if you're into learning, I might have you build some things. Do you like working with your hands?" you ask, smiling, void of all subtlety.

"Ugh...."

A paraplegic woman, who looks otherwise like an attractive blonde soccer mom with a mean face glides over to the table in a motorized wheelchair.

"Did you see the person in the black Jetta?" she asks. You don't even acknowledge her, you're locked in on me in some kind of rape gaze.

"No," I say, and she looks disappointed, like yelling at people for being inconsiderate to handicapped people is the only cheap thrill left.

"It's okay," she says, "But that's not a parking space. Do you see those white lines?"

I nod to indicate that I do.

"That's where the ramp for my chair goes down."

I stare at her, blinking. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," she says, "It's just, that's not a parking space."

I stare at her for another few seconds until she glides over to a young, unassuming couple coming out of Starbucks.

You look thrilled that she's gone, there's a sort of twinkle in your eye when you say, "Depending on how 'open' you are to other 'chores,' you could make A LOT of money in a short amount of time."

I stare at you blinking and you smile, "What do you think?" you ask.

"What, like, you want to like, pay me to have sex with you or something?"

You laugh, "Well, it wouldn't be just sex. It would be different things. Sometimes I might want you to suck my dick. Sometimes I might wanna use 'toys.' Other times I might just want to 'slide' inside you."

"Oh my god." I put my hand up to my mouth to stop the torrent of vomit from pouring out of it. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god." I swallow a little puke back, "That's like, the grossest thing I've ever heard."

You laugh in a "playful" satisfied kind of way, "Am I making you nervous?" you ask.

"Nervous really isn't the word I'd use."

"Is it the money?" you ask, "Because believe me, that's not an issue, just tell me how much you need."

I see a happy black lab trotting out of two dog bakery carrying a bag of treats for itself by the handle in its mouth and I feel like I'm disassociating.

"Look at it like this," you say, "There's something that you want and there's something that I want, it's good for both of us."

I sit in silence clicking the lid of the coffee cup.

"What if I just lick your pussy," you say, smiling, "I don't even have to take my clothes off.

"Jesus Christ," I say, looking at smiling families walk through the parking lot. "No, Jesus. Fuck."

You look at me smiling, your two toned mustache brushing against your aging, yellow teeth.

"Are you trying to make me throw up? I'm seriously like ten seconds from vomiting. Don't say things like that, like, ever. That's disgusting. Like....fucking disgusting."

You laugh again, "I like that I'm making you uncomfortable. Look, we don't have to have sex, but I'd have a lot of trouble keeping my hands to myself. If you were wearing a short little skirt, or you made a mistake, I might have to spank you."

"I can't really handle this," I say, staring at the ground.

"Well, the fact that you're still here, and the fact that you're so nervous means you're considering it."

I breath in and keep looking down, it's not a matter of consideration, and it's not that there isn't a "magic number," it's just that there isn't for YOU. Mortgaging your house wouldn't even begin to cover it. I don't want to look up, because I can't stand the hopeful expression on your ugly predator fucking face. The way your tongue runs across your decaying teeth sends a chill up my spine, and it makes me feel sick, and sad, and I want to start crying.

"Whaaaat?" you say.

"I'm just....I don't know."

"I would never make you do anything you didn't want. You could come work for me for a day and if you don't like it, you never have to come back."

"I don't know," I say, "I'll think about it," because for some perverse reason I can't accurately qualify, I don't want to hurt YOUR feelings. I feel sorry for people like you in a way that makes me feel sorry for people like me.

"I have to go," I say.

You shake your head. "Just think about your life."

"I'll think about it," I say, getting up, "At least you know what you want," I say, "And even if it's like a slut slave to blow you under your desk at the office, like, if you want that, I want that for you."

You laugh and stand up. You put your hand out in an awkward way between waving and shaking and I just say, "Bye," you say you're going to stay and read and I shake my head and wave.

I can feel your lech eyes on me the entire walk to the car, and it's probably 30 seconds, but it feels like half an hour.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

Think about your life.

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