In every wardrobe hides an item of clothing that magically confers a gift on its owner: the exquisitely cut suit in which you are a warrior; a pair of heels that reconstruct your walk into a look-but-don’t-touch strut (with matching attitude); the softest mohair jumper whose feel on bare skin is a soothing balm that warms you both inside and out. These can transform your appearance and behaviour and so should be treated with circumspection and respect, for they can lead to unsettling… adventures.
My good friend Belle worked in the Book & Burger in a small town not far from Missoula. She was a sparky and good hearted woman – quite petite in a chunky way – with a mane of very blonde hair. She was well-liked locally but her real source of respect and fame was her way with cars. She fixed, drove and raced them with great skill. To be specific, she – and her family – were obsessed with the Dodge. By family, I mean parents, uncles, cousins. Her ex-husband was not so keen. The cars were her children so maybe that’s why he became an ex.
There was no siren, no news bulletin, our town just filled like a glass under the tap, before anyone could say the first word of alarm.
Jane wrinkled her nose, knowing that the bar’s smoke would stay on her skin even after she’d showered. Still, she wandered further into the bar, letting her eyes adjust to the shadows. The walls were a classic black; she wondered if it was due to a lack of imagination or a need to showcase a hard outer shell, to prove its authenticity. Some of the wallpaper was peeling and exposed a light brown paint. A scratched mirror hung near the hallway that lead to the bathrooms, and a pool table sat under one of the few lights, unoccupied. Budweiser flashed in red, seemingly timed with the alternative rock. She had heard of this place, but had never been, and she knew she was overdressed.
Fat Tanya was on duty the night the robbers came into the store. She shot dead the big one holding the knife with the old .38 revolver that was kept under the counter by the till. His companion, a small guy, fell to his knees and begged for mercy. Tanya sat on him until the deputy sheriff arrived from Baker.
The smell of onions reminded him of her. He made another teary-eyed slice to the thought of her hands, smelling of the morning’s cut, reaching down between his legs to make sure he was ready. To make sure he was alive. To make sure he was exactly as she wanted.
The first time I saw that ruffian he had his hands tied in front of him. He was clutching a little wooden crucifix. Even from that distance I could see he was shaking, but as a painter what interested me most was the contrast between his skin – they had stripped him to the waist – and the dark tunic and hood of the executioner. I remember thinking that if it weren’t for that trembling he would have made me a magnificent martyr – St. Lawrence lashed to his gridiron, or St. John in his pot of boiling oil.’
She unties him and tells him to lie on a small, dingy bed, just big enough for one person. He’s compliant by now and weakened enough to say their phrase, “Yes, Love.”
The hospital administrator’s door was open, I knocked anyway. “Come in, sit down,” she said. Marion hired me as a junior radiologist at Atlanta General Hospital almost twelve years ago. She'd been a guest at my wedding. About once a week, when the hospital cafeteria was too crowded, we walked across the street to the Fresh' n' Crisp and traded gossip from the hospital grapevine. I sat down and waited. When she looked up from her computer she wasn't smiling.
David didn’t really want to fuck him. Not that he wasn’t hot—one would go so far as to call him objectively and conventionally attractive. He seemed nice enough, polite if not charming. He’d opened the conversation with a friendly though tired one-liner, and had yet to send an unsolicited dick pic. And, if Grindr was to be trusted, he was only a ten minute walk away...