I know you. You’re my friend. Didn’t I see you at that party last week? You know, that one at Jan’s! You’re looking well. Hey, you got a smoke? I know you got one. Here, hold my hand. We got a long walk ahead of us tonight, did you know?
Hey, it’s hard, lately. You got a right to say that, it’s hard. Times are tough. You’ll make it through. See there, in the sky? That yellow fire, moving? We’re landing. Isn’t it beautiful?
No, don’t run. Keep me company. You’re handsome, you know? Just hold my hand, whisper something in my ear, I like that. I like that.
Undone, a thousand furies. Will you just hold my hand and shut up and stop struggling? You’re spoiling the moment. Look at the beauty around you.
We know you
Have you been here before? What city is it, Millicent? Millipede?
She walks back to the party, the man in orbit around her, like she’s got a real good buzz on, and she does, she’s abuzz. Busy bee, hunting honey, fertilizing the stars.
Hi, I’m Millicent.
Where you from, hmm?
Ha ha ha. I like that. Mars. Tell us more about you.
I like long walks on the beach, umm, Shakespeare, Nirvana, crack cocaine, those sunsets that look like they’re bleeding right through the atmosphere, I like black cock and I like Amsterdam, I like the ocean, I like the feel of hot skin. I like poison. I like rhyme. I like your face, Master, you son of a bitch.
Come on, be nice. Tell us one more thing. Uhh, what’s one place you’d like to go that you’ve never been?
Oh, uhh. Hmm. I don’t know? Australia maybe? They have cocaine in Australia don’t they?
The drug market is international, honey.
Yeah. Sure, Australia.
Ain’t she a doll! She’s a prize. Give her some money and she’ll show you some skin. Your own skin.
Dallas, Fort Worth. Tuesday. November Fourth. 4 p.m.
I started this record because I thought, maybe, I was going insane. Like my grandfather did. If I am going insane, maybe writing down what I’ve seen can help to make sense of everything. That’s what I think.
Well, it all started for me after I got fired from that job—
“Joe! Get your ass over here!”
The waitress, Bonnie, is a substantial woman, heavy, imposing. Her voice has the charm of a freight train about it: harsh, and unstoppable.
Joe is skinny. He thinks he’s losing it. He works as the cook.
“Joe, you tell that woman to get out of here!” Joe looks at the woman Bonnie is pointing at. She’s slim, beautiful, dark hair, hunched over a cup of coffee. He wants to molest her, he thinks suddenly. Do things to her. No, he’s just tired. Why does Bonnie want him to get her out? She’s usually the one to throw the drunks out, Bonnie is.
“What’d she do, Bonnie?”
The other customers are trying to be polite, enjoying the drama, pretending to mind their own business.
“She’s a witch!”
Joe goes over to the skinny woman with the dark hair, huddled in the booth.
“Lady, you mind taking your coffee to go? I got work to do, and when Bonnie gets upset, well, that’s that, I guess you could say. You mind?”
The woman looks up at Joe and time stops and he sees it wasn’t wrong to want to molest her. That was natural. She’s beautiful and young.
“You have…beautiful eyes.”
The woman sips her coffee, watching him. Then she says, “I’m sorry, Joe, about making this fuss. You know? I think I will take it to go. Go fetch me a cup will you?”
“Yeah, sure.” But he doesn’t move. He likes looking at her eyes, they’re dark dark brown, with flecks of gold.
“Go on now,” she says, and he goes to get the cup. He should be cooking, but he’s doing this now, the owner isn’t here tonight though. Not too bad a night, really, his feet don’t hurt as much, and Bonnie said she’d have a beer with him later if he…
“Joe!” Bonnie shouts, watching him.
“Yeah, she’s goin’, I’m getting her a cup.”
“Witches ain’t allowed in here.”
Bonnie never talks like this at all, about witches or whatever, but no one seems to mind, even in this good Christian country, though some do stare a bit at the woman. Well, she’s pretty. Nice to look at.
He brings her the cup.
“Here ya go. Sorry about this,” says Joe.
The woman pours her mug of coffee into the Styrofoam cup, but spills some. Joe watches the coffee spill…and then she’s holding his hand.
She’s whispering, in the sexiest voice he’s ever heard, right in his ear. “You can do anything you want. With me, with them. Whatever you want, Joe. You want to fuck me tonight?”
“Yeah,” Joe manages, his voice thick and heavy, confused, lonely.
“You can have me, Joe. You can do whatever you want. I’m not a pro either, just a nice woman, who likes skinny men who are short order cooks, with attitude, who know what they want. You know what you want, Joe?”
He feels like he’s dreaming, but he can’t stop listening. Her voice is…god, it’s better than a drug. It’s like a promise, of something he never even knew he always wanted, epiphany without memory, love without time.
“Yeah, yeah I know what I want,” he’s getting nervous now. “But later, okay, later, later. I gotta go!”
“Okay, Joe, I’ll see you later,” she says, and she kisses his cheek, and it burns a little, and he goes back into the back and ignores Bonnie’s shouts and cooks, cooks, cooks, stops thinking, it’s better not to think.
She’s there again after he and Bonnie leave the bar around the corner, 3 a.m. and Bonnie is drunk, kissing him, and he’s kissing her back, leaning against her truck, when he sees her, standing on the sidewalk. He breaks away from Bonnie, and Bonnie sees the other woman.
“What do you want, you bitch?” says Bonnie.
“You,” says the woman with the dark eyes.
“Get the fuck out of here. You fuckin’ witch. Fuckin’ devil worshipper.”
The woman says nothing, just looks at the pair of them.
Then the thin woman with the dark hair and the gold-flecked eyes says, “Joe, you promised.”
“What did you promise?” says Bonnie. “Huh?”
And Joe follows her. And Bonnie shouts after them, as he follows the darker woman, follows her away.
“Who are you?” he says.
“Where you from? New York?”
“Long ways from here, Joe. But I like Dallas.”
The night is alive with stars.
“You’re so beautiful,” says Joe. You’re not supposed to say that to a beautiful woman, he knows that, but he can’t help it.
“Thank you,” she says. “You’re not so bad yourself.”
And he reaches for her, and she catches his hand and licks it, looking at him, and her eyes are scary now, they’re deeper than he thought, he knows he’s not going back to the restaurant. He’s not going back to anything he knew before.
She reaches behind his head, and she strokes it. And he leans back, into her touch.
“Skinny man,” she says.
“Yeah.” His eyes are half closed.
“You know what a woman is?”
“You’re a woman.”
“You know what a man is?”
And he feels something in the back of his brain whirring away, responding to her hovering fingers.
“What do you want, Joe?”
And he seizes her, kisses her, tastes her skin, salty and with a little alcohol, and mint, stuck to her lips, and gums, and tongue.
“Where are you stayin’?” he says.
“Over here,” she says, and he notices there’s a car there, yellow and black, hovering, like a symphony of the first pall, the stage before death that is memory, they are in the back, fucking, in the sleep of the mind, his body part of hers, and she is a wilderness.
He screams, or cries out, it’s not a sound he’s ever made, and the car vibrates in response, as they shimmer down the road towards the cheap motel.
We know you, 2
So, how ya doin’ Millicent?
Good, master. Fine. How’s you?
Doing your work?
Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
How many you got now?
Eleven, huh? Not bad. Not bad.
Hi, I’m Millicent. What’s your name? You know what makes society? Other than alcohol? Ha ha ha. Here, have another, it’s on me. No, seriously though, you know what makes society? It’s loyalty. Are you a loyal kind of person?
You are? You sound like the kind of man I’d want to know. Definitely.
You know what a poem is, baby? The yellow in the sky? The king knows, for he knows it hurts. That Joe he might be a good pawn, for I like his face, but is there something that we know better than the flesh of men? It’s music. It is the sound of speech, of stars, and the eaters, their bellies in the dark.
Hold me tight.
We came from far away. Thank you, I should have said so earlier, thank you for your succor, the taste of your skin and blood, though we have not taken much, it is beautiful and sweet, and though we do not really need it, it is needful all the same, full of need.
Is it wrong to practice? We need to stay strong, with our hands, with our whispers in your ears. Isn’t it part of what you dream of, anyway? What you hope for in the darkest nights? The flash of a thigh, a warm mouth?
We’ll give you what you want, and take what we want. Isn’t that fair? And if you’re a little different afterwards, well, that’s life, isn’t it?
Tell me who your mother is. So I can watch her dance. Under the moon.
Sometimes I get tired. It’s lonely. That’s why we need you. We’re so lucky to have found you on Earth. We’re so lucky because the sky is so cold…
Hey, you ever hear the one about the vampire that couldn’t drink blood because he was hypoglycemic? Shit, I forget the punch line to that one. Anyway. We don’t have to go yet do we? Master?
I mean I kinda wanna stay awhile, do some more drugs, have some more sex and you know, learn some things.
What do you want to know?
I want to know how to be like you.
You already can fuck like a bunny. What else you want?
I want to be able to do things. I want to be able to dig down, under the world. Find stuff, treasure. Rip right through the world and dig up the goodies. That makes me so wet, thinking about it.
We need thirteen.
Then I’ll get thirteen!
Can you really deny a beautiful woman what she wants? We may have many genders but she’s all woman just the same, hungry.
I know this will probably mean I’m gonna die. We’re running from the king. Time running out.
We stand in the parking lot, the thirteen men whispering secret words, beautiful words, bowed low to the ground, like Christmas ornaments, and she does the right dance and I join her, flickering, ready to slip through…
It’s gonna get hot. Look, if some nasties show up looking for us, and they will, just scream a lot, okay? And let them eat you for a while! We really appreciate it!