[Archive only, and note – not for audience reading, by order]
On Writer Forum the Halloween contest draws to a conclusion. Contest overwhelmed somewhat by the great controversy, a debate thread – concerns some ‘authors’ who voted for their own stories:
‘Bastards,’ ‘Lowlife,’ ‘vile swamp creatures,’ ‘bottom-feeders’ cry a host of critics. And my story, it too – languishes in last place with a single vote.
Suggest this may be the half-bake version, final paragraph requires unravelling, I am sure.
Write: 2 hours, written in American to disguise authorship, yet critically omitted replacement of single speech marks by double-helping QM, a fool, fool error…probably why I lost.
Tidy up, take to 2000, send to Esquire or somf..x
[Adult theme, swearing and bad thoughts.]
Erika returned from the hairdressers, and modeled – surveyed herself before the long corridor mirror. Yes, this fringe was certainly an improvement, she decided, and grinned behind her curtain of fringe, a snip at $125. She really should tell her mother, she thought, and also tell mom how she borrowed the debit card from her purse, embarked upon a shopping spree. She was so ditsy, she would say, mommy I spent $80 on a dress, $115 on shoes. She would perhaps not mention the fresh, and tribal, tattoo gracing the base of her spine. Ouch, it was very sore to her touch, although Rat, the tattoo artiste, he was a dreamboat, so funny in his own tender, and spider-webbed way. Erika had great plans for their evening together.
She turned, and bumped her guts into the door handle of her bedroom – here on the upstairs corridor. Damn it, she said, I suffer for self-expression, and she laughed. Instead, and sensibly, Erika crawled the length of the corridor, smelled her way long the landing on her journey toward the distant kitchen. She was very, very, very hungry and hoped she might find an adult to fix a sandwich, and a soda – for her thirst.
Mom hopped the staircase in slippers, she turned the corner of the banister, piles of washing clasped against her chest.
‘Christ the Lord,’ she screamed – at the vision of a girl, or a slug, creeping at her feet. ‘Erika, you brat, frightened your mother. I love your hair, by the way. Have you seen my debit card?’ She stared at the daughter, ’Actually darling, I don’t suppose you have.’ Mommy chortled, and continued her drudgery, until obviously, she returned to her kitchen and to her handcuff lifestyle.
That foolish woman, thought Erika, all she ever does is wash clothes and vacuum floors, why does she not get a life?
‘Would you like a sandwich, baby?’ Mom cried, now from downstairs. She was elusive as a wisp, her rasping voice carried to the top of the stairwell. Erika mountaineered down these stairs.
‘Yes mother,’ she replied, ‘give me cheese and mayonnaise and a coke to go.’
As Erika negotiated the final step, she arrived at base camp, or lounge area as it was called. Upon the sofa her brother Lemsil gurgled inside his oxygen mask, his fingers twitched rapidly over the controls to his computer game console, such a loser with his cancer, thought Erika.
Finally, and her own fingers rubbed raw by fittings, Erika hopped to the high kitchen stool and ravaged a sandwich, munched great mouthfuls of hair. She considered the brilliant turn of events, an identifiable anorexic intolerance due to hair’s inhibition of her swallow facility, and she choked on cheese and on hairspray. Erika slipped mother’s card back in its purse.
Meanwhile, this mother looked outside over the sink, out the window, her face held in her palms. Hearing the cough she turned.
‘What is it tulip, baby-doll, is it the crusts?’ said Mom.
‘Why did you not cut the fucking, god-damned crusts off my sandwich?’ said Tulip. ‘And where’s Dad?’ she said.
As ever, Dad was most probably laid under the bonnet of that wheelchair in his mechanics workshop, his garage, or sleeping on his bed. Did Dad ever find any time for Erika, the son of a bitch? She laughed aside her crust because grandma really was a bitch: her whiny advice, her wrinkles, fifty dollar bills exchanged at Christmas. What kind of exchange rate was that for Erika’s precious attention and presence at funerals, and during Thanksgiving dinners in grandma’s smelly trailer?
Lemsil wheezed into his gas mask and scratched at his tumor. This evening he was the leading driver in the Le Mans 24 hour rally. He loved speed, the thrill of driving, and tonight was Tuesday night. Of course, Dad would go to his factory soon enough for a shift of bovine slaughter, and Mom, she would be salsa dancing, again. Maybe if that goth creep of a sister got out the house, an hour or two, he could wear everybody’s underwear, spend his precious last me-time in their suspenders.
Erika felt her way from the kitchen, past the tall lamp stand, and sat on her brother.
‘Get off me, you cunt,’ said Lemsil.
‘Oh, I thought you were a human being,’ she said, and flicked crumbs into his working eye. The pair slapped, tickled, then enjoyed a silence together.
Boots kicked at the front door. Erika leaped for joy because Rat Spider had arrived on his motorbike. She rushed to the door, cried ‘Mother, I am arranging flowers at the youth center,’ and slammed the door. She spread upon the pillion seat, like a wishbone.
The couple thundered through high trees, up long the valley highway. They stopped briefly roadside, and made love rapidly. Rejoining the highway their motorbike arrived at the incomplete Canyon Viaduct, the bridge that one day would link two states, yet was incomplete due to central government restrictions in the wake of the transgender washroom controversy. Rat revved the engine. Around them stood the Goths of Freedom County. On the other side waited the Emos of Apache Reservoir.
‘We can do it, baby,’ said Rat.
‘Are you sure, honey,’ said Erika, her nose poked through her fringe.
Headlights lined the far side. Their leap through space – captured by photographers – a magnificent second of suspension, until they crash-landed. The bike thumped the concrete, Erika tumbled from the back seat in a first bump of deliverance, whilst the second bump took Rat over the side of the bridge and to his death.
‘Oh my god, I’m pregnant,’ she screamed. Then remembering the condition of her brother, she regained a modicum of composure. Surely utilizing Rat’s harvested organs, Lemsil might be cured of his cancer and the entire family, and also Dad, might live life like the people they once were when Christmas was real.
The county helicopter retrieved the battered corpse from the base of the pine tree, and Rat in death wore an expression of great curiosity, though his nose was broken. The motorbike was left among the pines for many weeks. Erika stroked at Rat’s lifeless palm inside the ambulance, recalled the life story, his years in the orphanage, and quest to secure a suitable Emo fionce to match his tattoo and piercing lifestyle. Lights flashing, they rushed to Woodside Park Avenue and her ailing brother secured inside his bedtime oxygen tepee. Meanwhile Erika dialed the abattoir on her cell phone, and messaged mom, and Mauro, her dance partner.
Lemsil caught the elevator upstairs. He selected father’s leather braces, his grey socks, and from mother’s bedside drawer he withdrew the silk camisole and one of many purple vibrators. He wheeled towards Erika’s bedroom hoping to find critical elements to enhance his fantasy outfit, knew somewhere in that wardrobe lay the Snoopy French knickers. Yes, yes he had everything now, grabbed the Marilyn Manson gilt–framed photograph from her bedside, and wheeled toward the corridor mirror to perform his transformation, pleasure himself exquisitely before a raid to the refrigerator. He lifted his buttock, squeezed into the snoopy knickers, twisted his features through the camisole neck.
‘Lemsil, Lemsil,’ cried his sister, come quick, we have acquired the parts for your brain transplant,’ she called.
In a great panic, Lemsil sought his escape and he power-wheeled toward the elevator shaft. He tumbled through space, and thumped upon the roof of the elevator cabinet. The cabinet had naturally returned to the ground setting. Erika heard the thump, and she rushed to the elevator, pressed the buzzer marked One. Rising to the bedrooms she heard a crunch and squelch as Lemsil was compressed in bedwear.