The new day dawned bright and rosy. A soft breeze fluffed the air. The birdies, glad to be alive, went twittering about their business. An entire family of grown up kids woke from dreams of killing their mother. Intense dreams, deeply revealing of their own psychoses.
Scary, really, to think that real, grown up people with jobs, families of their own, whole unique existences – productive members of society, would dream of stabbing and shooting and gutting and ripping and beating the soil of their very souls.
* * *
Judy woke next to Frank, felt his pulse, felt his forehead, then snuggled next to him. They lay in bed watching the room getting light for a long time. Eventually Judy made coffee and they sat in bed and talked some more. It was like they were just getting to know each other. Later, they made love. It was comfortable. They both got out of bed smiling to themselves.
* * *
Rick woke next to Alice, who shrank from his energy even in sleep. He wanted Roxy so bad it hurt. A woman of substance, energy, intelligence. A real woman, unafraid of being a woman, able to take his maleness. To nurture him as a woman should. Not like this parody of a marriage, this ersatz female just lying there, passive and afraid.
Alice got up, and in her doziness, wasn’t as careful as she should have been, and mentioned Cindy. She asked for it, really. She shouldn’t make him mad. It was a casual mention, about how Cindy seemed to have mellowed over the years.
Something in her voice made him suspicious, and he soon had her pinned down and sobbing as she told him the truth. One more reason why she wasn’t a fit mother. One more reason why she didn’t deserve him, and he was wasting his time thinking she could be taught to satisfy him. He didn’t want just adequate, anyway. He wanted perfection. And Alice had just failed on yet another front. Infidelity. Other women. His own sister.
But it wasn’t really Alice’s fault. She’d already proved herself a failure as a human being, and he no longer expected anything but failure from her. This time it was all Cindy’s doing. It was obvious that Cindy had seduced her as a way of getting to him. It was nothing more than a plot to hurt him. Alice deserved what she got for betraying him, certainly. But Cindy was to blame for the whole sick idea. She deserved the worst.
So Rick set out to kill Cindy. It seemed so logical. If he was willing to kill his mother, what harm would it do to rid the world of another evil at the same time? He only needed to get Cindy and Mom together, and he could take them out with one little device. He’d seen them on the internet. Mini car bombs. Attach them anywhere, timer or remote, magnetic or glue-on. And boom.
Or use a long-range rifle. He began fantasizing complex scenes where the two heads would line up and explode as he caressed the trigger. He could even get into practice by taking out his dear brother Gordon so he could have Roxy all to himself. He dreamed about that for a long while.
* * *
Cindy woke up late, feeling fatigued. As if she hadn’t slept at all. Yet the pills she was taking were supposed to leave her refreshed and alert. She needed several extra Adderall just to get going. Maybe she could blame it on her latest drug cocktail, a mixture of Ambien, Valium and Vicodin.
Bill had already gone to work. The TV news was on in the kitchen. The serial killer was at it again, uncomfortably close. This time it was execution style in the driveway as the poor bastard got home from work. Cindy felt afraid. Maybe it was the serial killer who was menacing them. Maybe they were in mortal danger. She called Bill and insisted he take her off to a resort that very minute. But he put her off firmly with all sorts of business crises he had to deal with at the moment. She was on her own.
Scratching a bad case of poison ivy, Cindy decided that she’d had about enough of Bill’s deer-in-the-headlight reaction. It was obvious that he was getting ready to bolt. His suitcase stuck out from under his side of the bed, his jewelry was missing from his sock drawer, his checkbook was gone from the bill box. A business trip, he’d swear, if asked.
And then he would split and she wouldn’t see him again. She knew it. But he wasn’t going to get very far. She already had a lawyer, just waiting to pounce. No matter where he went, she would break him because he betrayed her, and would continue breaking him for the rest of his life, once for every slut he’d ever touched.
She liked her revenge stretched out. She wanted to see Bill suffer for the rest of his life. And she wanted him to live forever.
* * *
Around 4:30 in the afternoon, Gordon woke up with a hardon, and Laurie cooperated until she got nauseous in the middle and ran off to the bathroom. When she came back, neither of them were in the mood, but they did it anyway, and Gordon lost his erection half way thru. Laurie taunted him. Both Rick and Bill were better in bed than he was. She told him just how much she’d rather marry either of his brothers than to have to settle for him.
When she’d grabbed what was left of the bottle and gone off to the liquor store for more, dressed in only a baby doll top and a thong – with heels, he found a roach and lay back in bed, resting with his arm behind his head to smoke it.. He had two people to think about killing now. Mom, and Laurie.
How? Drug overdose was the first thing that occurred to him. But Allen would be able to handle anything, right up to too much heroin. Outright poison, but that wasn’t his style. It hurt too much. Bashing with blunt objects, well, not women – his mom raised him right. Only in anger, anyway. Gunplay, and he certainly had his choice of guns, since he did a tidy side business selling them without permits. His style leaned toward sniping from a good hiding place.
He should just walk up to the front door, shoot Allen, and then walk into the den and interrupt Mom’s afternoon programming to shoot her in the chest with a shotgun. That way he could have the last word. He would see her reaction. He would shed a little tear and ask forgiveness in a whisper, right before blowing his own head off.
As for killing Laurie, well, he could do that any time he liked, simply by pressing her gently underneath a pillow as she lay comatose in bed. Maybe tonight.
* * *
Down at the club, Bill went inside scratching furiously at his poison ivy. He walked up to Sam and Dave’s table and pulled out a chair. Sam started bugging him for more money not to kill Mom. He brushed it off. “Now I want you to hit my wife, Cindy.”
“Not so fast. You no have finish paying off hit on Mom,” Sam said.
“Can’t cancel. Told you before.”
He stalked off when he learned Roxy wasn’t coming in.
* * *
Ben came into the club for the very first time that night, rueing the cover charge and declining to get more than a soda water. He was uninterested in buying a lapdance. He’d called the FBI and been told to come into the club and see the two agents who would listen to what he had to say. He went up to Sam and Dave, ready to tell them everything, but it was the two guys his boss Rick had brought around, potential clients that had wanted to grill him. He hadn’t liked them, and didn’t trust anything they said. So they were Feds? Hmm. He thought quickly, and then gave them a CD and walked away before they could ask any questions.
* * *
Allen came in. He’d been to see Alice, carefully timing his visit to avoid her jailers. She gave him her cellphone, which had dozens of pictures of the contents of Rick’s study. Especially his diary. Allen was very anxious to help the Russian mafia get the better of his ex landlord. He’d figured out that they had a counter-scam and were planning on taking Rick for everything he was worth, and kill him into the bargain. So he was helping them out with information. Allen couldn’t do enough for his new friends. He even included a little something extra on his weekly protection payments.
He went over to see Gordon once he was done with the mafia. They weren’t such good friends yet that he wanted to hang out with them.
“So,” Gordon said, waving the waitress over. “How’s it going with Mom?”
Allen looked a little glum. “Okay, I guess.”
“What’s wrong?” He ordered the usual. Carmen tossed her hips as she walked away. Gordon noticed.
“Well,” Allen said, putting his head in his hands, “she’s a sweet old girl and everything, and she really needs me. It’s just that,” he looked around. “Well,’ he said, “I’m not getting any.”
Gordon dropped his cigarette. “Whoa, buddy, that’s my mother you’re talking about.” He paused to let it sink in. “Is she, like, frigid? Dried up?”
Allen winced. “I don’t know, man, I’m telling you she’s not letting me touch her. Not before the wedding.”
“Have you set a date?”
He hung his head. “No.”
“But you, like, want to, um, do her, right?” Gordon couldn’t help being curious. Carmen was back with their drinks. He tipped her a twenty and copped a feel. She winked. He winked back.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Allen shrugged. “She’s pretty hot for an old lady, I guess. I’ve always had a thing for older women.” He took a sip of his drink. “It’s just that I didn’t think what that would be like when I was older myself. The wrinkles must be like a vulture’s.” He looked seriously at Gordon. “You know, your mom is like my mom to me. It kind of feels like incest.” He took another drink. “But I figure, old people don’t have sex, so I won’t have to deal with it much.” He lowered his voice. “Right now it’s kind of painful. It hurts when I visit the club, you know? All that pussy walking around and I’m not getting any.”
“I know how you feel,” Gordon said. “When I got a vasectomy I had to abstain for two weeks. It was almost impossible. No jerking off, nothing.”
“Yeah,” Allen said wonderingly.
“In fact, I didn’t last more than 24 hours. And boy did my scrotum swell up. Lasted about a week. Frightening.”
“Hey, too much information. That’s going to put me off sex for awhile. Thanks, man.”
“Sure. You’re welcome.”
Later, they were in the bathroom, sitting in adjoining stalls. They were working on an eight-ball, passing the ziplock back and forth under the partition. Gordon thought for awhile. “You know, if I can be of any service, you know, just tell me,” he said in a way Allen picked up on.
“Really?” Allen grabbed his own crotch and squeezed. He had tears in his eyes.
“It’s okay,” Gordon said. “I know what it’s like to go without. I don’t mind.” He paused. “Just this once.”
They squeezed into a single stall together. Gordon sat on the john with his pants on, Allen stood between Gordon’s knees, his pants down.
“Hey, this’ll be a hand job only, okay?” Gordon stated, just to make sure.
“Yeah, yeah, no problem,” Allen insisted.
A few minutes later he asked Gordon to use some spit. He did. Then Allen asked him to cup his balls. Gordon did, laying a finger tenderly on Allen’s anus.
When it was over, Gordon dodging a real wallop that hit the wall and slumped toward the floor, he noticed a tender look in Allen’s eyes.
“Hey, don’t fall in love with me, okay? It was just a hand job.”
“Yeah,” he sighed, “but don’t you feel…?”
“No.” Gordon reached behind Allen and unlocked the stall door. “Sometimes it’s not mutual, okay?” he said to be clear, and pushed Allen out the door.
* * *