This girl’s gotta get ahead in the world. I could do porn, but I never liked the makeup those girls wear. I could be a model. There are plenty of photographers who would love to take my photo. I really want to own a club like where I work, but I don’t see how that’ll ever happen. Dancers rely on cash, we can’t get a bank to credit us for a whole club. My roommate comes barging through the front door like an asshole. I wanted peace and quiet.
I put on my headphones so he can’t hear me. So he won’t talk. If I don’t respond, he can’t hear me. So I won’t hear him and he won’t bother me. I have to wear large headphones so he will see that he is not in my head. I keep my back to him. He can’t look. He’s always looking. I am a pretty girl. My skin is perfect. I blink five times but he is still here.
I’m stuck with him. Houses don’t sell when half the nation is unemployed. I can’t afford the place without a housemate. He seemed nice when he moved in. He could pay the rent. He didn’t mind when I told him what I do for a living. His eyes are green and his shoulders are thick slabs of meat. He didn’t make a comment. His body is lean and veins pop from his arms, pulsing with blood. He tells me my outfits are nice. He stays in his room.
When he traveled to fuck some girl, I hoped he wouldn’t come back. Every day he was gone, the radio had a story about a tornado near him. It was just a girl and her dog here alone in the house. I sharpened every knife, twice. I hardly used any extra electricity. I hoped he’d be caught up in a tornado. His body torn limb from limb and scattered all over Oz, or whatever dreamland he comes from. He lives in outer space. He forgets to do his dishes. His face is stubbled and manly. He forgets to put his food back when he’s done with it. His witch lives in Oz and he masturbates to a fantasy of her.
I walk my dog. My pit bull pulls me. Bull-Pull. Bully keeps me safe because he is ferocious. His name is Mars, not Bull or Bully or any other thing. Mars. I don’t know why I got him. He was a cute puppy and I was lonely. Men are unreliable, dogs are forever. I saw that on television once and it’s true.
Here he comes again. Calling planet Pluto! He always finds a reason to come down the stairs. I don’t think he eats when I’m not here. He clomps like an ape. He wears hats indoors. He’s not very smart. He wants food and it takes forever for him to cook it. He doesn’t do anything, why does he eat so much? Dishes clatter in his fingers. I sit at my computer and wait. I’ve told him how to cook faster. He never listens. He is a misogynist. I am wearing a hooded sweatshirt today to cover my face. He tries to peek.
My job requires that men look. They pay a lot to see my holes. Dollar bills fill my garter. I keep my pussy shaved and my tits firm. Men are easy. When I rub against them, they come in their pants and give me money. It’s an easy job but the girls keep telling me I’m too old. That’s nonsense, but my knees get sore if I work too many shifts in a week. I used to work six nights a week when I was in college. My shifts are in the afternoons. Old men and half-blind drunks have dollars for me. I get some weekend shifts, and clubs all over town call me to fill a spot for a skinny, beautiful blonde. My ass is tight, my tits are rock-hard. Who cares if I’m thirty-five?
At work, I’m Dezi or Desiree. The young girls all want my name, they say so. They don’t know it’s a French name. It sounds cool to them. They can’t use it in any of the clubs I’ve worked at in Portland. That’s a lot of places. Those places all respect me and the work I do for them. The girls shake their cute little hips and their tongues flutter, trying to talk me out of my name. I’m a legend in this town. There isn’t enough pussy in Portland to make me give up Desiree. No one knows my real name and sometimes I forget it myself. I got used to being called Dezi. I am surprised when my mother calls; she says, bonjour Adrienne. My father won’t speak to me anymore. He is ashamed.
I need to figure out how to make more money. Even if I am hot, I will need a new source of revenue for the next ten years or so. I should run a club. My knees won’t last long. I have a college degree. I’m smart. Most club owners are just lucky perverts. I can design things. I can write and smile. Pantsuits look great on me. I tried an office job. That didn’t work. I tried retail stores and regular restaurants. I’m best at dancing.
I haven’t had a shift in five days. In the dressing room, I learn I have a new boss, a Ukrainian named Vlad. He bought the place with human-trafficking money. I know this because I saw him once before. I was doing a side job at a sleazy hotel and my client was late. Vlad was below me, in the parking lot. He had five young girls with him. He pushed them into a van. He had video equipment. A gun was in his waistband. It looked like a Saturday night special, the kind of cheap piece of shit you see on punks.
Vlad is fat. He drinks coffee. His teeth are brown. He has a pimple on his bulbous drunkard’s nose. He pulls me into his office. His face is pocked and his head is balding in patches. He is a dog with mange. Vlad says, you need to do more pole tricks. He wants me to bend over and show my asshole more. He knows I’m getting older, but I’m reliable and he can’t fire me. He wants to wear me out and make me leave. I’ll show that fat immigrant. He says my pussy is worn out. I say, I am hot. I hold my tight titties and press them together. He tells me they are like a cow’s udder. I slap my hard ass and he says it is like a deflated child’s balloon with stretch marks. I tell him I can pull down $300 on a Monday afternoon. I tell you what, I am nice guy; I do you a favor. For now. He tells me to bend over the desk. I say I’ll never get wet for him. Not pussy, he says, ass. You are disease, I wear rubber.
He stands on a phone book to penetrate me. This is what they’re for, now that the internet is on cellphones. His penis is large. I didn’t expect that. It takes a while for him to get it in, even with a lot of lube. I have a hard time relaxing my muscles. I say, slow the fuck down, fuckface-motherfucker. He says something in his native language. It takes a few minutes. My asshole opens and he’s in me. He slams inside and my stomach feels knotted. I’m bent over a gorgeous rosewood desk, a real antique, an art-deco from the 1930s. His dick is so big it makes me wet. I want to kill this cocksucker. I stare into a knot in the grain, the only imperfection. The desk makes me like the large cock. Hard, hot piston-action in my rectum.
One, two, three, four, five.
Oh, god, give it to me.
One, two, three, four, five.
Fuck me harder, you fucking Russian.
One, two, three, four, five.
I feel a rush of juice and I scream.
I despise my vagina for betraying me. All I care about is the clean, strong desk, its fine grain; it’s a boxy and sturdy piece of furniture that doesn’t budge. I start to dry out. The finish is smooth and glossy. It cools my cheek and my breath condenses. He squirts more lube, it sounds like a wet shit. I like this desk, I say, one day I’ll fuck someone worth a damn right here. He says I wish to be fucking girl worth a dog’s balls but all I have is you, Dezi. I tell him I’m going to own this place one day. If could shit on his dick, I would, but I got nothing. I focus on the knot in the wood, the size of a pea, it gets larger the closer I move my eye to it. It’s the one weakness in these strong lines, this brilliant design. His body shakes and consonants spew in his gutter language. He pulls out and I fart. I’ll shit lube for a few days.
I work and make money. Vlad watches. The cocktail waitress keeps his coffee mug full. He sends someone to buy a dance in the private room. He thinks I don’t know. I make the guy bust a nut bigger than he’s ever done before. I’m a professional. I bend over at the waist to show a big tipper my stuff and see Vlad talking to some strange guys. Pale men in dark suits. I’m fascinated. Vlad seems afraid of them and I want what they have. I want the power to inspire that sort of fear in a fuckface Russian. They seem to walk, but I’m not sure I see their legs move. I hear murmurs of speech, but I’m not sure I see their mouths move. In the dressing room the girls say they don’t like those men. These girls are all dumb hicks.
On the drive home, the sky is a hideous pink. Stupid fluffy clouds float around. I have a wad of cash. Maybe I should start a business. I could set up something in the basement and pay girls to dance online, hardcore streaming shows. I’m a smart, independent woman. I am a beautiful woman. I will find the answer, but I want that fucking club.
Mars barks when I open the door. I feed him. His jaws are powerful enough to pull a train. They could pulverize bone. I let him outside to crap. I hear clomping on the stairs. I feel queasy. The jerk comes in to cook. I give him my prize-winning smile. My teeth are perfect. I say hello. I say my day was good. He says something about his boring life. I turn away. I put on my headphones and the hooded sweatshirt. There is sun coming through the window. I put on sunglasses. He cooks garlicky food. The stench permeates the house. I avoid his gaze. I point to the headphones. He smiles like a jackass. He’s wearing pants that bulge. I fix a cucumber sandwich, the vegetable heavy in my hand as I slice it. I take it to my room. I sit on my bed. I’ll have crumbs in my bed. I hug my knees and hold my breath. I count to see how long I can go before I pass out. He talks to the dog with a throaty, deep voice. He must be a mental defective. I increase my breath-holding by a few seconds. He clomps upstairs. I exhale. T-shirts and tight pants fill my thoughts. The sweet, sweaty funk when he comes in from a bike ride. I’m wet. I rub my pussy. He can’t know what I’m doing. I thrust my fingers inside. He can never know. He wants to know about this. He’d love to watch, he strokes it thinking about only me. I close my eyes and see his face.
I come in a rush of juiciness.
I wash my hands five times to forget.
I need to do something. I need to do something now. I clean. The dog shredded the stuffed monkey I bought. I sweep the stuffing. I mop the kitchen and polish the hardwood in the living room. I wipe my computer monitor screen. I find five books to get rid of. I find three shirts and two pair of shorts I can part with. Five and five in a box at the street. Five keeps me alive. Mother will be proud that I’m purging the clutter. I’ll do the garage later.
I want the nightclub. I can run it. The fatass Vlad has no business there. I know this town and how things work. He does not know shit. I must have that club. I must or I will die. This idea repeats. It repeats and becomes a hard knot in my chest. It will not go away until I have what I want.
Vlad calls and wakes me up. He wants me to work. He wants to work me to death. Shower. Makeup. The bathroom is covered in grime. G-string and blue jeans. I feel shame for my life. Wash my hands five times. Sweatshirt and sunglasses. I make coffee for my thermos. I must have the club. I feed the dog. My hands are dirty. I wash them until they are clean. Upstairs is silent. Good.
It’s a sunny Saturday. Portlanders don’t stay inside on nice days, not even to look at my hot snatch. A few nobodies sit at the bar. I dance in open space. With no tips, I don’t show my tits. I sway, hypnotizing myself. I have too many things. I should get rid of it all. It means too much. Special books, the panties I wore when my cousin François touched me the first time. I had little tits and fuzz on my pussy. François smelled funny. He was scared when I grabbed his small, pink dick. I have tests from college. I need to study them. People will steal my ideas if I throw the old notebooks away.
Dezi. Hey, Dezi. I see Vlad down on the floor. A thin man with pale skin and dark eyes is at his side. Empty tables stretch to the far wall. Neon fades in the sun. Vlad says something about being sexier. I stare at the man. Something is in my head, a tone. It’s like when I learned to tune a guitar in music class. The new sound matches the one in my head. The two become one. Vlad’s friend is staring at me. We lock eyes. I start to salivate. I feel warm. I don’t understand. This is not normal. I can’t stop it. I don’t want to stop it. Vlad is talking. I don’t listen. The man wants to know my desire. I say I want the club. He says I can have it. He says I have to kill Vlad. I say okay. He says a key to the club will be in my car after work. I should kill him soon. Soon is best. Tonight, I say.
Vlad is yelling at me to dance. I’m barely moving. I look at the man. He has no expression. He whispers something to Vlad, hiding his mouth, a confidence. I hear it, he tells Vlad it’s time to get more girls and drugs. I know what’s going on more than Vlad. He looks pitiful now. A customer puts a five dollar bill in my garter. Five to stay alive. I show him my asshole. I open my pussy and show him that. My knees are aching, but I give him a show like I haven’t done since I started. I finger myself. I make him smell it. I suck the finger. He is my last customer. He takes out another five and I let him put it between my ass cheeks. I pull it out from the front. I give him a coy-kitten routine and lick the bill, a third makes fifteen. He’s the last man to pay for my skin.
I drive around. My minivan makes me look motherly. I stop at a pawnshop. I purchase a foot-long, razor-sharp knife with a bone handle. I buy a sharpening stone for appearances. It’s for my husband, I tell the clerk. He likes knives, I say, he’ll like it sharp. The clerk puts it in a box. My husband will like that, I say. I flash my million-dollar, award-winning smile. He takes my cash, three fives and the smell of sex parts. He gives me a look. I put my sunglasses on so he won’t remember my eyes. I kill time.
The club’s lights go out. The last drunk leaves. Girls meet their johns or dealers or jealous boyfriends. I open the box. The blade cuts the cardboard. There is a little rain. Puddles litter the alley. The backdoor light comes on with a motion sensor. The key works. The club is lit with neon signs. Vlad is in his office. Sweat pours from my armpits. I open the door. I hide the knife behind my leg.
Where you been, he says. You leave in middle of your shift, you stupid bitch. You think you have job now? How you get in here?
The pale man is there, sitting across from Vlad. His suit looks fresh at three in the morning. I hear him in my head. No words, but his sound sings with my sound. I know what to do. I say, I’ll do whatever you want if you give me my job back. I walk around the side of his desk. I sway and he opens his legs for a lap dance. His arms are resting on the chair. I know he’s got a gun. I lift my leg and rub his crotch with my foot. He gets hard. I see his eyes go soft. I say, you like that? He murmurs and runs his hand up my thigh, leaning in to reach my dry, cold cunt. His jugular is in my face. I can smell it. The buzz in my mind becomes an aria. He finds my panties. He closes his eyes. I swing the knife and slice his neck to the spine. His eyes pop open. Blood geysers from the artery. He tries to speak, but blood gurgles in his throat and pours down to his lungs. I swing the blade backhand. Vlad’s head falls to his shoulder, held by a flap of flesh and spine. The song is so beautiful, cellos chime in, dulcet tones resonate in my pelvis and I’m wet. Vlad’s blood streams down my face.
The man is behind me. He tells me to stay still; I close my eyes. My nipples stiffen. I feel a writhing muscle on my thigh. Another wraps my waist like a constricting snake. A voice rings through my mind, my voice. I am one of them; I am theirs; they are mine. I think of tentacles. I feel one in my front hole. Another enters my back hole. They move deep in me. They pulse and slide in and out, first one then the other. There’s a hissing rattle sort of noise. My eyes clench shut. The sound sneaks up my spine and into my head. Both tentacles go deep into me at once and throb in an alternating pattern. I see a bright light behind my eyelids. It is warm. I forget the blood and everything. I start to come. It starts with the light in my mind then moves through my body. I am radiant. I am perfect. I tell the light that I love it. It tells me that I am part of it, I will serve it and it will help me. I come until I collapse in a puddle of blood on my favorite desk. My eyes can’t focus. I drool into the blood.
The man helps me cocoon Vlad in plastic wrap. We put him in the back of my minivan. I cover him with trash I carry in the back. The man tells me he will clean the office but I must get rid of the body myself. I shower in the dressing room. Hot water cleans my hair, pink rivulets swirl in the drain. The club is mine, mine, mine.
Blood is caked under my fingernails. The hacksaw is in the garage. I have a plastic bin full of clothes. I force myself to empty it into a garbage bag. Vlad lost most of his blood while I was passed out from coming. Less mess. I hack off his head. I spit in his eye and drop the head like a rotted melon. I separate the limbs at the joints and cut meat from bone. The torso is a problem. I don’t have a tool for that. I stab it with my knife. I’m not a good butcher. I go into the house and get Mars, who hasn’t been fed since yesterday. He likes the fat and meat. He doesn’t care if my butcher job is half-assed. He’s starved and his chewing noises fill the room. Mars loves me so much. He loves me more now that he’s got so much fresh meat. I push the torso in his face and his powerful jaws rend skin and muscle from bone in a wet tear. I sit in the backseat while he eats. I am exhausted. I lie down. I fall asleep to the rhythm of his jaws.
The jerk is in the garage. He is yelling and flailing his stupid arms. Mars is barking. The jerk is angry. His anger upsets me. He’s wearing his stupid bike helmet. He says, what the fuck did you do? What the fuck is this? I’ve made a bad mess. I’m a bad roommate. I got blood all over his bike. My teeth go on edge. I look at him and flash my million-dollar smile. I’ve done the world a favor, I explain. He does not smile back. He does not ask how my day was. He turns to exit.
The knife slides between his shoulders as through soft butter. There’s a slight pop when it pierces a lung. I pull the knife from his back. I grab his hair and pull his head back. The knife slices his neck to the bone. I’m stronger than I think. Maybe it’s the adrenaline. It feels good. He twitches. Blood pours all over the floor. Another mess.
I kneel down. I look at his eyes. They are hazel and perfect. I’ve never looked into his eyes. I smell under his arms. He smells of soap and his man smell, sweet and musky. My heart goes hollow. I close his eyes. My vision blurs with water. Why did you have to do this, you asshole? Why did you never make a pass at me? You could have had this body, this beauty, a piece of ass beyond any you’ve ever known. That would have changed everything. I cradle his head. I cry. His hair is soft; his face angelic as in sleep. My heart hardens and feels like a brick of coal. Tears fall from my eyes into his eyes. Mars’ face is in mine, he feels my pain, he wants to protect me. He licks my face. He isn’t afraid to whimper and press his body into mine. But he can’t protect me from myself. I wipe my eyes and sop the dead man’s blood.
I lick his lips. He tastes metallic. Mars raises his ears; he’ll be hungry again soon.