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Archive for March, 2010

The Hunt

The following post is a work of fiction, anyone who says it has anything to do with them (or someone they know) is completely full of shit. Don’t believe them. They’re just looking for attention or an easy buck. None of this really happened, but it could.

The Large Man Chronicles

The Hunt

Chapter I:  The Set Up

On the day that I made the most important decision of my life, it didn’t seem like there was anything special about either: the day, or my life. There was a lot of rain. I was driving through Nebraska, but not really sure where I was, where I was going, or why.  There were plowed corn fields full of water. Some of them were completely covered with water. In some places you really couldn’t tell if you looking at a lake or a flooded field. I guess all the moisture in the air and on the ground made me think of beer, because I remember thinking that I needed a beer; so again, nothing special… it was pretty much like any other day.

It all started in a barroom, that’s where most good stories start. This was a sort of noir type of barroom. Picture the setting of a Mickey Spillane novel. Lots of mahogany, dark, drink stained hardwood floors, the standard issue heavy glass mirror behind the bar, beveled and etched on its border. There was the muted sound of a jazz coronet playing soft and slow in the background. There were felt fedoras and soggy trench coats hanging limply on the backs of bar stools and table chairs. The smell of spilled beer, tears, and wet dogs filled the gloomy space. I’m guessing the wet dog smell came from the wool garments that wandered in from the rain, but who knows – I couldn’t see the kitchen. It was a joint. If I’m being honest, I’ve never read a Mickey Spillane novel, I’m not even sure if Mickey is an author or a character, but I think you know what I mean: Bogart and Bacall would look like they belonged in a place like this.

Nameless and faceless men and women sat randomly around the room hiding from life in their drinks. All hiding their guilt, their shame, their broken dreams and lost hope under the shadowed veil of alcohol fog and the distant smell of cigarette smoke. People…sitting and standing in a place they shouldn’t be, doing things they shouldn’t do. How can I get in on some of this action, I thought as I walked down the stairs into this den of transgression…this barroom…this joint.

You had to walk down half of a flight of stairs from the street to get to the entrance, then another half flight to walk into the room. If you’re sitting at a table close to the front, as you look up through the dirty windows you’ll see the people on the street only from the waist down as they walk by. Most people walk by places like this never knowing they exist. This is the kind of place where a lonely salesman can find solace, maybe a kindred spirit if you like that kind of thing- I generally don’t. It’s also the kind of place where a restless soul can find trouble. That was me on this day, I was restless, and I was looking for trouble.

Trouble was sitting in the area that I usually choose – the back corner of this smoky, sleazy room. She was all alone. Trouble wore a red dress, black f-me heals with black lace stockings. The stockings tried to match black lace that wrapped around the brim of a red hat that tried to match the dress. Nothing really matched, but it didn’t look bad either. She looked like she’d just been to the funeral of the man she had hoped would die anyway. Maybe the funeral of the man whose life she had ended in a jealous rage or to get at some hefty insurance payoff…a man she may have loved at one time, but grew to and hate the sight of. Some poor sap who bought a bought a two carat diamond eight years ago that turned into a one way ticket on the fate train. Trouble – whatever her story was, looked dangerous. She also looked good:  damn good…so we immediately had something in common.

Because trouble was occupying my spot, I chose a seat at the corner of the bar. I parked my large frame on a padded bar stool and ordered a beer from the young man who stood behind the bar.

“We have about 3 dozen kinds of beer sir. Could you be more specific?”

I let out a deep breath, and then I leaned across the bar into this kid’s personal space, and spoke slowly and quietly:

“Two rules kid. Rule number one: don’t crack wise with me, it’s dangerous. Rule number two: If I bless your flea bag establishment with my presence and my money, and I order a beer; our relationship has become an interactive relationship”. I really drew out “interactive” for effect.

“Therefore”, I continued, “I expect you to take on some of the responsibility towards making this a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship. THEREFORE, (a little louder) you’re going to have to make a few of the decisions. Understand?  So why don’t you try to earn your fifteen to twenty-two percent, and just get me a beer.”

“That sounded like more than just two rules sir… I just want…”

“Don’t call me sir, and don’t bother me with what you want”, I interrupted.

“I know that’s got to be at least five rules now, dude” he replied sarcastically as he poured dark ale out of the closest tap. He slid the frosty beverage in front of me and said, “six bucks”

“Now we’re getting somewhere. May I run a tab…sir?” I asked with returned sarcasm.

 “Fine”

“Thank you”

A society with poorly skilled bartenders is a society in decay. I don’t know much, but I know that.

Since I usually choose a table in the corner when I’m drinking off the day, I was a little out of sorts sitting at the bar. Sitting at a table by yourself limits your availability. Rarely will someone chat you up while you’re sitting alone at a table. Sitting alone at a table means you’re waiting for a person or persons that you know, or it means that you want to be alone. Sitting at a bar, could mean anything. Sitting at a bar is an open contract.  I usually sit at a table because being a sales rep, I spend most of my day talking with, and being friendly to people who I don’t really like. So at 2:00 in the afternoon – when I’m on my time, I choose not to talk…NOT to be friendly. This day was a little different, I didn’t necessarily want to be friendly, but I was looking for a friend. Like I said, I was looking for Trouble.

I took a sip of my beer; it was a respectable little craft brew. It was hoppy, but not too bitter…vibrant in texture and color without being arrogant about it. It was a good working man’s brew – I liked it. I looked in the big mirror and discretely watched Trouble watching me. Trouble was being less discrete. She wanted me to notice her. I played it cool, and looked away. I stared into my beer, looked up at the 19” on the other side of the bar. It looked like a soccer match was on, maybe a cooking show; I wasn’t really paying attention.

Her gaze never wavered far from my direction. This vixen was hunting, and she had the large man in her sights. I was going to be the sap du jour if she got what she wanted.  Ms. Trouble wanted a Large Man trophy mounted over her four-poster. I tried to get my head around the game: a little meaningless, shallow adult fun with a complete stranger on a long road trip seemed like a nice way to spend an early afternoon – as long as it was over by 5:30, I can’t miss PTI. Let the game begin I mused, and may the best man lose.

As expected, about two minutes after I sat down, she walked up to the bar and asked smartass for “another Captain and diet”. What a sheep I thought, the drink of the masses. The only way I could have lost more respect was if she’d asked for a Mojito.  She brought an unlit cigarette to her lips and spoke again to smartass, “Hey Billy ya got a light?”

“My name’s Rick” he replied,” and this is a non-smoking establishment.”

“So what’s with all the smoke?” she asked with a puzzled look on her pretty, but a little over made face.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s the kitchen. We been non-smoking since July – you know that.” he replied.

She seemed a little confused by the information, but dropped the cancer stick back into the pack – gave us both a shoulder shrug and turned to walk away.  Before she got completely turned around, she looked at me and said, “You’re not from around here are you.”

“What gave it away sister? The content look on my face, or my full set of teeth.”

The other men in the joint kind of looked up at that point; I may have uttered that last phrase a little too loudly. I showed no response to their reaction; confidence. I was in a lion’s den, and I had to be the dominant male. I just half turned my body away from Trouble, and started looking at the TV again. Now there was a commercial on with a guy that could only give a deal on these amazing towels for another twenty minutes. Little did Trouble know she only had about twenty more minutes to cash in as well. I was getting tired, it was almost 3:00 and Large Man needed a nap.

She looked around the room as the other patrons shifted back to their tasks at hand.

“A little of both, I guess” she said through a smile as she moved in beside me. “I hate to drink alone” she said, “Do you mind if I join you?”

“I like drinking alone, but do what you need to do; I’ll be out of here in a few minutes anyway.”

“How sad for all of us” she said as she plopped her curvaceous hind-quarters on the bar stool next to me. “I’m Judy” she said as she extended her hand.

“And we’re all impressed” I replied as I took it. “Nice to meet you Judy”. I turned back to the TV.

 Judging by her determination to make conversation in spite of my rude behavior, disinterest and ambivalence were the keys to this woman’s heart.  I had a strategic reserve of both.

Chapter II: The Seduction

 

So here we are, sitting at the bar and saying nothing for a few minutes. She was in continuous nervous motion. I’m not sure if it was feigned, or if she was genuinely uneasy. All of her motion was frenetic – arranging the contents of her bag, draping her coat just so over the back of the bar stool, setting her bag just within reach on top of the bar, and finally, scooting her bar stool to just the right location so that she could be as close as possible to me without actually touching me.

“Umm, you smell really good”, she said.

So now I’m thinking, OK this is not my imagination-this is on- this is happening. The only things close to a fragrance that I ever wear would be whatever antiperspirant is on sale at Walgreen’s, or Static Guard.  It must be the Static Guard. (I literally swim in the stuff. I create a lot of electricity. It’s a body hair thing). “Thanks’, I said, “You look really good”.  I needed to change the subject.

“Oh my goodness, did you hear that?  You just said something nice. Well thank you sir” the “sir” caused Rick the smartass bartender to look up from his USA Today, and give me a smirk. I gave him the finger, and motioned for another beer.

“You didn’t tell me your name, and tell me the name of that cologne too. If I ever get another boyfriend, or heaven forbid another husband, I want them to use it; I want them to soak in it.” She really drew out soak, to emphasize it. She didn’t need to work at being sexy, but she was – almost too much so. She also just laid out her relationship status. This is becoming too easy, I thought to myself. In retrospect, that probably should have triggered a warning.

There was no way I could tell her that Static Guard was the aroma that was getting her all lathered up; although I was sure she would understand if she saw the reasoning behind the liberal use of that wonderful product. For some reason, at that moment, it just didn’t sound cool. I didn’t know the name of any popular after shave or cologne products for men; I know the lady’s stuff very well. Aqua Velva, Brut, HI Karate? My mind was traveling 1,000 miles an hour. All I could think of was, “It’s called Rene’ Poussaint”, I blurted. “It’s French. You can’t get it here in the states. And I don’t give my name to strangers”. I was trying to distract her from the fragrance subject. I have no idea where I got that name, it just came to me.

“Oh, I’m sure I can find it online. It really does smell nice”, she reiterated.

“So tell me Judy, what’s with the conflicting, flashy red/veiled in sadness, funeral get up?” I ask in a sensitive tone.

“Funeral”

“Oh, I’m sorry – none of my busi…”

“My ex-husband just passed away” she continued over my apology, “Don’t be sorry, I’m not. The last two years we spent together, I couldn’t stand the sight of the man (Bingo!).  I always said I would go to his funeral wearing a red dress. Today I did. But I’m sharing nothing more about me, until I know your name.”

She removed her hat, uncovering a beautiful cascade of Nordic blonde hair. As she set her hat next to her purse, she slowly flung that impressive mane back over her left shoulder and leaned into me for the valuable information.

“My friends call Large Man, you can call me Jim”, I replied as I tried to get back in character.

“Are you just an all round asshole, or is it me? Did I do something wrong? It’s been a strange day, and I just wanted a little company, and you have nice eyes.  I have to say that they don’t seem like they’re the windows to your soul. You have a mean soul. I hope you’re not a salesman.”

“Ha ha ha (nervous laughter) Nice try pretty girl. No, I’m not a salesman. Actually I’m an international forest fire fighter.  And don’t get so worked up, I’m just playin around”.

“An inte…what?” she replied. Her eyes got a little glassy. I’m now thinking I may have pushed a little too hard and hurt her feelings.

I tell her, “I fight forest fires all over the world. It’s really more of a technical kinda gig. People apply my skills, when applying water no longer works. It’s actually kinda boring; I really don’t like to talk about it.”

“Fighting forest fires is boring? Well what’s exciting to you?”

“Talking to pretty girls is exciting” I answer with a smile.

“Now that’s more like it. I …wait a minute… what the hell is an international forest fire fighter doing in Grand Island Nebraska?  There’s not a forest within 500 miles of here.”

Grand Island? So that’s where I was…

“We’re here for a convention. We try to have our conventions in places where we won’t be reminded of all the destruction and sadness we have to face all over the world. Look, I said I don’t like talking about it, can we just drop it?” (Note to self…think about your geographic location when you use the fire fighter thing)

“Whatever, Large Man…so where do you call home, when you’re not extinguishing these boring fires?”

“Home is where I lay my head Miss Trouble…it’s where ever I lay my head”

“Miss Trouble? Not likely Mr. Large Man, I’m not feeling like trouble today”

“Well you look like trouble to me. But in a good way”

“Whatever do you mean, sir?” She asked in a fake southern accent. I think she was mimicking Scarlet O’Hara for some reason. “We’re just getting to know each other that’s all”, back in her normal voice.

The whole flirtation thing seemed a little odd, but I was so into the moment I let that oddity just go by. She was very pretty, in great shape, she smelled incredible. Her perfume was present, but very subtle. I’m thinking it was Estee Lauder’s Beautiful, but I couldn’t quite tell for sure. It damn sure wasn’t Static Guard.  She was someone you wanted to hug, just to absorb her essence. I could feel myself becoming charmed, but not really thinking that the table was being turned. This seemed natural. It all seemed like it was my idea.

“Wanna play a game?” she asked.

“I’m not into games”

“Oh come on. Humor me” she said, baiting me.

“What’s the game?”

“Best driver’s license picture”

“How do you pick a winner?” I ask.

“We’ll let Rick be the judge”

Rick looks up from his newspaper and says, “I would rather not. Gratuities could be affected.” Then in perfect rhythm pours a beer for me, while filling ice in a glass for another cocktail for Judy. Good physical skills won’t liberate him from my scorn, but it was impressive. Still, people skills are what make a quality bartender. Rick needs to discover this truth.

Judy gives a little animated pout with her lower lip, “Well then, we’ll just have to be impartial, and judge ourselves. It’s a great way to get to know each other. I’ll go first.”

Judy grabs her purse, pulls out a black Dooney & Bourke wallet and removes her driver’s license. I grab my Pulp Fiction BAD MOTHER F… just kidding. I have no idea who designed my wallet, probably the same person that invented Static Guard. I grab my “off the rack” billfold and throw my license on the bar. Judy hand’s me hers.

We both start laughing. These pictures are not good.

“You look like a serial killer”, she says over her laughter.

“You look like a crack whore”

“I am a crack whore” she replies, and we both crack up laughing. Had I been taking a sip, Rick the smartass, unskilled bartender would have gotten a shower; bad timing on my part.

While we’re enjoying our personal little comedy event, the rest of the bar patrons are working very hard to ignore us, but it’s becoming more and more difficult. Judy’s personality is very big, and my physical presence is very large…our interaction was filling up the barroom.

While I’m thinking of an exit strategy, Judy is looking at my driver’s license info, and says, “The funniest thing about all of this is that you’re an organ donor. What’s your blood type?”

“Why is that funny?” I ask. “And it’s B positive”

“I generally think of organ donors as kind, caring, individuals”, she starts laughing again, “I’m seeing a slight contradiction here”. Now she’s a banshee. The laughter is too loud and high-pitched even for me, and I’m thinking I might sleep with this broad. I can only imagine what the rest of the patrons are thinking.

Her last little quip was, “I think someone is sending you a message”

“Oh really” I reply quietly. “If the message is, Take me to you hotel room and ravage me all night long, I’m listening”.

She said in a serious tone, “Well, that’s part of the message, but the rest of the message lies in your blood type; B positive. As in be positive!”

“Oh, I get it…pun intended. Right?”

“You are not as dumb as you look, Large Man”

“And you are not as troublesome as you look, Ms Trouble” I reply looking straight into her eyes – straight into her soul.

“Like I said, I’m not feeling like trouble today. You would be surprised at what little trouble I would be for a guy like you” staring right back into my soul.

“Are we done here?” I ask.

 ”Why yes, I think we are”, she spoke so softly, she almost just mouthed the words.

 I waved my hand at smartass Rick, and threw out those magic words, “Check please” and the deal was done.

“Where are you staying?” she asked as she was gathering her things…hat, purse, a light weight black shawl. It seemed odd that she wasn’t more heavily wrapped with the weather and all.

“I’m at the Warwick, on Pleasant Street”, I said as all the eyes in the bar shifted to me and Trouble. I was a little uncomfortable with the sudden attention, but on the other hand, it could be years before I was back in this town, and hopefully, I would never be back at this joint. Ms Trouble however, showed no discomfort.

In a more quiet tone, I whispered “room 229. Give me a few minutes to get in there and you can come up. I’m assuming you have a ride?”

“Yeah, not a problem but let me get home and change, freshen up. Will about an hour be OK?”

DAMN, there goes PTI! Oh well, opportunities like this are rare – even for an international forest fire fighter….”Sure Judy, take your time – I’m sure on some level this has been a tough day”

“Don’t be getting all sensitive on me…Large Man…” she replied with a smirk.

“Hey! We’re not friends yet…you’re taking liberties”, I said through a smile. “I’ll see ya in a little bit”.

This was going to be a great ending to a rainy, cold, boring, and unimpressive day. I was going to have time for a quick shower – I could reapply my Static Guard (apparently the new fragrance of unbridled passion). The best part of it was I got the sense that she felt like it was all her idea…I think she was thinking she picked me up.

Step into my parlor …or room 229 whatever you want to call it.

 

Chapter III:  Along the way 

The minute I got in my car, I started having second thoughts. I always do when I’m in a situation like this. Is she gonna want to stay…am I gonna have to buy this broad dinner…is she gonna want to cuddle?

Who needs that crap? Let’s just satisfy some primitive animal needs and get on with life. Why does it all have to become something? Why does it have to become an event? I’m having this argument in my head, and this chick might not even show. Is that confidence or what?

I stopped by a Walgreen’s that was along the way and picked up two cans of Static Guard, a bar of unscented soap, (so as not to clash with the bouquet of the static guard) a three pack of the best protection since the Secret Service…better make that a six-pack, just in case she stays. Then I went to the register to check out. As luck would have it, the sweetest little old lady since Mother Theresa was standing behind the counter in her navy blue smock with the Walgreens ID name tag on her chest. Cindy.

SHIT! I can’t buy sex related products for an evening of decadence from a sweet little old lady named Cindy! My grandmother was named Cindy! My sister-in-law is named Cindy! Those are the only two people in my family I ever liked! SHIT!  Time is becoming an issue, so another store is not an option. I have to disguise this somehow. I head back through the store. I pick up an eight- pack of Charmin, a box of Cheerios, two bottles of Gatorade, a six-pack of Sam Adams (I should have thought of that anyway)Doritos, a box of Whitman’s chocolates…the list goes on.

So now, a fifty year old man who is brave enough to pick up a strange woman, in a strange town, after insulting a barroom full of drunks, after challenging a bartender half is age, has to buy $62.36 worth of useless shit because he’s afraid to purchase a $5.00 pack of condoms from a woman he will never see again. I guess it’s because I have class. This was a true moral dilemma. I don’t face those very often. Because…well…

So I start setting my twenty plus items on the counter. Hopefully this will go quickly.

It did not go quickly. Cindy, the sweet ol gal that she was, was a full service checkout clerk. She not only scanned and bagged each individual item; she gave a review of every item purchased.

Gatorade – beep, as the UPC code crossed the scanner, “ My grandkids drink this stuff like it’s goin out of style”…Dove Unscented soap – beep, “Oh I love the smell of the regular stuff, only soap I ever use”…Sam Adams Boston Lager – beep,  “This stuff is getting real popular here in town, I don’t drink. Church don’t allow it”. Doritos – beep, “This gives you the worst breath in the world”… Static Guard – beep beep, “this stuff works great, but my lord it stinks”. Trojan Pre… For this item there is no beep, just a look. That look: over her glasses, right into my eyes…right into my wretched, hell bound soul.

“Well, I guess I don’t know anything about these” she said, still staring. Damn! This better be worth it!

BEEP!

“Will there be anything else…sir?”

“Don’t call…uh, no Ma’am”.

“That will be sixty-two dollars and thirty-six cents. Is this credit or debit?”

And so it went. Sheepishly, I grabbed my five bags, tucked my tail, and headed for the car. Performance issues could follow this kind of public humiliation.

I get into my “Single King Study” hotel room, and jump into the shower – back to business as usual.  My anticipation is running high. After a copious application of Static Guard to my towel dried chest hair, I put my dirty laundry out of sight in a drawer, put on a clean pair of jeans and a light blue oxford button down. I pop open a Sam and just chill for a minute or two. The steady rain from earlier had settled into to a light mist. Droplets held on to the outside of my window, and sparkled as the sparse traffic passed. I felt clean and warm; it was a nice feeling.  Good times are just around the corner.

At about 4:30, a knock came at the door. My heart started pounding a little, slight metal taste in my mouth, a little shaky in the knees – this was intense.  As I walked to the door, I wondered:  Should I just grab her and kiss her immediately? Should I have a beer in my hand for her? Should I have bought a rose to hand to her? Nah, I got her here with cool, I have to stay cool. This is great!

I opened the door…

Chapter IV: The Harvest

… and there she was. I have to say she was a very impressive representation of the female species. She stood there with a huge smile, wearing a pink t-shirt from a bar somewhere in Daytona, under a brown leather, waist length jacket. Her faded jeans were snug and low on her hips, but not too tight. Her high dollar brown leather cowboy boots completed the ensemble magnificently. She was holding a black leather bag in her left hand – kind of  a cross between a brief case and an overnight bag. It looked like the kind of bag TV doctors used when they made house calls.  It was amazing how much better she looked dressed down; this was indeed an accomplishment, because she looked good back at the joint. Damn good. It was hard to believe she could improve that look in jeans and a t-shirt.

I jokingly extended my hand and said, “Hello, I’m the Large Man. Won’t you please come in?” I opened the door a little wider, bowed down deeply and with a wave of my right hand motioned her into the room.

I guess my mock chivalry must not have impressed her, but my deep bow did give her a better target. All in one motion, she stepped into the room, dropped her bag, and brought her knee with extreme force right into the middle of my face. As my nose exploded with blood, and just before my knees buckled and I hit the floor, she quietly closed the door and threw the dead bolt. Ever the romantic, I remember thinking just before I lost consciousness…damn! This chick likes it rough.

I came to in a white fog that was only in my pounding head. I was very cold; my shirt had been removed along with my shoes. My nose and lips were still bleeding; I had the acrid taste of my blood in my mouth and throat. I was duct taped to the desk chair that came with a desk and a king sized bed in my modest little room. Blood was matted to the hair on my bare chest. I was not comfortable. I looked up; she was lying on my bed watching TV. She heard me moan, looked over at me and smiled, “You just got your ass kicked by a girl”, she said with an amused tone.

“What are you doing?” I asked, “Did I do something wrong?” I couldn’t breathe through my nose, so wrong sounded more like “Wong-uh”.

“I’m getting mixed signals here, I thought we were gonna comfort each other a little. I’m completely into experimentation, and God knows I respect your right to express yourself, but I’m in real pain here”, I said.

She swung her legs over the side of the bed so that she was sitting and facing me. “You’re a real funny guy Large Man. You have a quick wit. I bet you just entertain the hell out of your fellow fire fighters.”

“yeah well…about that, I wasn’t being completely honest when I told you that” I was reaching, beginning to get my wits about me, and beginning to think that she may have a different agenda for this meeting.

“No shit! You mean you don’t travel all over the world applying your brains to natural disasters?” she barked…she did those finger quotations above her head when she said “applying you brains”. I must have used that line earlier.

 “Tell me, Large Man (finger quotes again), what exactly do you do? Cause I’ll bet you your life that you’re a two-bit hack salesman – probably traveling the mid-west selling paint, or floor covering.”

Damn! She was good…hey wait a minute…hack?

“Actually, I’m a cop…” before I could finish the sentence she kicked me in the chest, knocking the air out of me, and turning my chair over backwards. As I fell back, my head bounced off of the heating and air conditioning unit under the window. If you’ve never experienced anything like this; let me assure you, it hurts.

She stood over top of me with her boot raised, ready to kick again. “What you are; is a joke.”

“Well then why did you pick me?” I asked, barely able to breathe. She stepped back and smiled as I finished my point. “You’re the one that came on to me the way I remember it! Huh? What about that? There was a whole bar full of guys, but you came to me” Offense Large Man, you’re gonna get out of this.

“It was your content look, and full set of teeth, remember?  You’re not local; it will be a while before you’re missed. I would be surprised if you’re ever missed. And don’t act like you weren’t looking for someone – anyone, the minute you walked into that dump. Anybody could see it – a blind woman could smell it”, her reply was spit at me like snake venom.

She walked over beside me and lifted my chair back up right. She was really strong. “Speaking of smell?” she grunted as she turned my chair to face her again, “Static Guard makes you smell worse than a cheap Chinese restaurant dumpster, and Renee’ Poussaint is a TV news anchor from Washington, DC”(Okay, that’s where I got that) she kicked both of my shins sequentially as she said “D” and “C”.  I was running out of strength, I needed to figure out a way to fight. I wasn’t so crazy about her boots anymore either. 

“You might not be having as much luck with your assault if you let me out of this chair”, I whispered through my clenched teeth and my recaptured breath. “Why don’t you cut me loose, and let see how we get along”.

“Sure” she said as she confidently stood up, reached into her little black bag and took out what looked like an Exacto knife, and cut the tape on both of my wrists, and from around my ankles. “You need a minute to get yourself together…cop?” she asked.

I lunged at her with my arms in front of me, kinda like Superman…like a Large Man torpedo. She simply stepped aside, used my momentum to push me to the floor, and as I turned over to face her she kicked me in my left knee, shattering the kneecap. If you’ve never experienced anything like this, once again, it really hurts. I screamed a deep, throaty, guttural scream that only made my head hurt. She straddled my chest and pushed a pillow down on my face to muffle the sound until I stopped.

So much for my fight, so much for offense, I knew I was beat.  “Okay,” I spoke as put my hands up in surrender, “you win. What do you want?”

“Thanks for the concession there Large Man, I was really wondering how this was all gonna work out. It’s nice to know you’re willing to work with me”. She moved over to the chair that I was most recently bleeding on, and sat down. She rested her forearms on her knees, looked down at me and smiled.

 “As for what I wanthmm… let’s see…two kidneys, at least a portion of your liver, and quite possibly your heart, if the timing works out okay”. She was very direct, and I’ve always admired that quality. Most people you meet in bars just prattle on and on. Under different circumstances I think we could have been friends.

I grunted out through my last few breaths, “I thought that only happened in New Orleans and Vegas.”

“Yeah, well…that used to be the case. Thanks to our 43th President, hurricane Katrina, and a bad economy, I have been forced to pick up shop. I had to become more of a hunter” she said with a chuckle. “I’ll bet you voted for Mr. W didn’t ya. How’s that workin’ out for ya now Big Man?” As she was talking she walked over to her bag and pulled out a small syringe, popped the cap off and jammed it into my thigh. And that was that. The last thing I saw was her looking over me…still smiling.

I had enough strength left to nod a weak affirmation of her “W” statement, and then it went black. My life didn’t pass before my eyes, there was no light that I gravitated to, things just went black.

Right before I began the “Big Sleep”, I could feel her dissecting my body, but I felt no pain. I was a little embarrassed however – I totally got my ass kicked by a girl. She was really small too. What a scam. She totally tricked me. Turns out there was no funeral that day, no ex-husband, she was a Venus Fly Trap in a red dress.  She played the “driver’s license game” just to figure out my blood type, and I guess call her organ trading associates and work out a deal.

 I felt like Marion Barry, the former Mayor of Washington, DC who left his office in disgrace when he let a woman talk him into smoking crack in front of a hidden camera in a hotel room. His weaknesses were women and drugs. For me, it was just women, so I guess that’s something.

“That damn bitch set me up”, Marion cried out in shame as he was cuffed. It was recorded on video tape for all to see. That quote was the punch line of many a joke for a long time. I know how you feel Marion…I know how you feel.

****

Prologue

I should have died under better circumstances. I didn’t deserve to go out like this. This chick was mean, just a heartless human organ eating ghoul. I just wanted a little comfort, a little “shelter from the storm” as Bob Dylan would say. She could have at least had sex with me before she killed me. What would it have hurt? I ain’t braggin, but if she had, she probably would have changed her mind…I’m just sayin. The way I see it, she refused my attempts to reach out to her. She just wanted to sell my organs on the black market – for money. At least morally, I think I was the winner here.

 Here’s what really sucked…

Judy harvested all the vital organs from my body, BUT, my kidneys were riddled with stones, rendering them useless. Also, it turns out that my liver was more pickled than David Crosby’s pre transplant organ – again, useless. The timing didn’t work out for the heart transplant either. By the time a match was found, I had been long dead. That robust, passionate, semi-unconditionally loving heart of mine was just a brown bloodless, lifeless blob of mush. So this whole shameful ordeal was all for nothing. Given the condition of my vital organs, I probably would have died in a couple of months anyway.

Wrong place at the wrong time I guess. Damn Katrina! Damn economy.

To be con…(oops)                             The End

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