*This is a piece I wrote about six years ago, thought I would drop it here and see what kind of feedback I would be able to elicit. Enjoy!
She was born from a toxic pool, churning with secrets and madness of a life she could not understand. Never understanding what had gone wrong. All I know is what it made her into. The hardest women I have ever come across, with the soul of someone born long before her time. A woman I cannot leave. I fear her more than death. The woman I love. She makes me call her Scarlett.
Scarlett won’t tell me much about herself, but what she does breaks me down. She always says things so casually. It’s as if she doesn’t realize her own morbid existence. How it would destroy anyone else but simply makes her, her. More beautiful, less commonplace, everything enticing.
I met her one night in a dark, smoky gentlemen’s club. Dark red leather booths spilled over with vermin and politicians. The men take on a different meaning to her, one of many traits I can’t figure out. I don’t want to. I love her all the same. I watched her that night, enticed with wonder at the beauty and mystery that formed her smoky green eyes and supple skin. Intoxicating.
A wealthy looking man sat in a crushed purple chair. Behaving very much like a teenage boy, his eyes flashed wild with desire and lust and his hands twitched with every gyration. Scarlett moved her tight body in a slow circle around him, the veil of green sheer fabric brushing over his balding sweaty head, enticing him all the more to reach out and caress her firm buttocks. Good man, he knows the rules. You look but never touch. The rhythm of her hips and flashes of red sheen on her creamy skin hypnotized me. I couldn’t stop staring. I felt like I was watching a ceremony instead of a lap dance in a dirty club.
As she faced the flustered wriggling man, she carefully curled her leg around his shoulder in one painstaking and beautifully executed move. I imagined having her to myself, holding her soft creamy skin and firm muscles close to me, her leg wrapped around my shoulder, the smell of her sweat and leftover perfume. The man began making ridiculous faces. She finished her dance and pulled money out of his fly with her teeth. I wish I had known that night what she would rapidly become to me. Who she really is.
“How can you keep doing this? I told you I would take care of you, didn’t I? You can get a regular job if you want, just stop hooking.” I pleaded for the um-teenth time. This conversation always ends the same.
“It’s what I do, you can’t understand. No worries, Love.” Calm and casual, she continued hemming her already barely-there dress while my jaw hit the floor. “I’m careful, you know that, so relax and roll that joint. I’m almost done here and then I’m all yours.” She smiled at me over her shoulder, a smile that told me it would be a really good night if I did as told. I was too pissed off to control my tongue tonight, though.
“Help me understand then! All you ever say is ‘it’s what I do’. Stop blowing this off.” I sat in the chair by the table and shakily started rolling a joint.
“Ugh, isn’t it enough I come back to you every night?” Scarlett set down the sequined black fabric and walked over to me sweetly. She slid easily into my lap, kissing my bottom lip and tenderly pulling on my hair, she quickly helped me forget my frustrations. “I’m here with you. That’s a lot more than anyone has ever gotten from me. Trust me.”
We stopped talking about her choice of profession and continued what had become our typical evening. Long nights filled with laughter and the weightless cloud of whiskey and pot rolling carelessly over our heads. Nights like this I can see something in her that makes me realize there is more to her than she will ever give me. Or anyone else for that matter. I don’t know what to make of it, but I keep an open eye. Scarlett is meant to be alone and I’m certain I’m just a passing phase. It’s not what I want. Scarlett makes the rules.
I watch her dance three nights a week in that shitty club. I watch her muscles tense and release with each graceful movement and sultry gyration. I try to interpret what each dance means. That’s the kind of woman she is. Everything has meaning and purpose, even the worst things. Scarlett tells me that if we are strong enough, the worst things we experience define our best characteristics. I wonder what characteristic she attributes to prostitution and stripping.
The only time I can’t watch her in action is when she’s on the streets. I ask her about her pimp and she tells me she doesn’t have one, she is self-employed. This is something she decided to do on her own. I don’t understand. I can’t. Scarlett is strong and unafraid of the filth in the streets. She is stronger than me and we both know it. Any other man might be intimidated, but not me. It makes me love her more.
She keeps her own apartment on the other side of Brooklyn and refuses to give it up. I am reassured that it’s for the best and I’m better off letting her keep it. “You can accept this as our reality, or you can accept being alone.” It’s her way or no way.
“Can I, at least, come see your place? I want to know what’s in there.” As I tickle her thigh, she squirms away and giggles. She is so sexy without makeup and costumes. When her guard is down. Her coppery hair covers the pillow forming a halo of fire in the late morning sun. My very own Hell’s Angel.
“No, you can’t. Besides, there’s nothing interesting there, anyway. Just a bunch of old junk that I tote around. Oh, and a few dead bodies.” She crinkles her nose in anticipation of being tickled. As we roll around on the bed she pins me roughly by my wrists and wraps her legs into mine. I am immediately rendered hopeless and delighted.
“Hey, how the hell did you do that?” It was too quick for me to realize what she was doing until it was done and I couldn’t move a muscle.
“What’s wrong? Too much for ya, doll?” Scarlet kisses my forehead and then my eyelids softly in turn. Snickering a little, she releases the hold and nuzzles into my neck. “Sorry, Baby. I’ll be gentler next time.” Slipping her hands mischievously down my sides she pokes right into the one weak spot I have. Again we roll and laugh and tickle until we are out of breath. I notice moments like this, though not often. Shows of strength and agility that I am sure she tries to hide from me. It all makes me wonder, who is this woman that has stolen my heart? That I don’t really know but can’t live without?
I decide to follow her one night. She tells me that she is heading over to the corner of Marley Avenue and Hendrix Drive. We’ll just see about that! I wait for about 20 minutes after she leaves before hopping on my new Midnight Blue Harley Dyna Glide and heading to Marley and Hendrix. I don’t know if I am more upset with her or with myself. I knew it’s what she does and I told her I could accept it; on the other hand, I have offered her an out and she refuses to take it.
As I pull up a few blocks from my target I notice a decent amount of streetwalkers and pimps. Guess I’m in the right part of town. I hide my bike behind a rusted out dark colored Civic and pull my hood over my head. “Hey there Handsome, where you headed so quickly?” Immediately, I am spotted by a 250-pound, lumpy, scantily dressed, fuchsia colored prostitute with few teeth and quicken my pace to avoid the nauseating proposal.
“Fuck off Lady.” I don’t move my head to look at her. I need to see with my own eyes what Scarlett does when I’m not around. I turn down the alley that will lead me to the street corner in question. Hiding among the garbage, eyes watch me stride past anxiously. I hear the prostitute call me an asshole. I don’t care. I am three steps away. Scarlett is supposed to be here. I can hardly calm my quickened breath and shaking hands. I have never spied on anyone in my life. This is crazy. This is love.
She’s not there. Not unless she added a short black wig and 100lbs. I am consumed with relief and rage. I didn’t want to see her standing there on market, but where the hell is she? How could she lie to me? I don’t know what to think. That fucking bitch. Maybe she’s with a John. I’ll hang out for a bit. She’ll show up soon enough. I’ll have time to calm my nerves. Kicking a flaccid box out of the way I sit on an overturned garbage can.
The prostitute with short black hair paces back and forth. She is on something heavy. A car full of college boys opts to take a skinny blonde in a paisley mini-dress and leave her there alone. She pulls out a small burnished vial and puts it to her nose. Pacing again, she adds a sort of skip to her stride. Similar to a child playing hopscotch, but with more of a drug induced carelessness. Some twenty minutes later I watch her amble into a black BMW and disappear into the night. Now I am alone. Too bad she didn’t drop her little goodie box.
“I was there for two hours and you were nowhere to be found, how can you think I wouldn’t be pissed off?” I slam my hand on the table as if to finalize a point in a heated court hearing. “I want the truth, now!”
“I am not at liberty to tell you anything. Take it or leave it, which is ALL I can say. I suggest you take it at face value.” She holds a cigarette in her teeth and lights it slowly, watching the swirls of smoke get caught in the draft and dissipate. “Drop it.”
“No damnit, not this time. You give me the answers I need or you can get the fuck out of my apartment!” A comment I regret saying as it spills from my lips. I knew from day one that with Scarlett, a statement like this one was a death sentence. As I came to my realization Scarlett grabbed her coat and for the sauntered toward the door.
“I was beginning to wonder how long it would take.” I almost didn’t hear her say it, but I did.
“How long what would take?” Not that I expected her to answer, and I was right, she walked right out the door and shut it tenderly as she exited. I have always prided myself on patience and empathy but this triggered something in my gut that I was previously unaware of.
Remaining stone still, Scarlett came back to grab her purse, and I leapt. I flew across the bed and grabbed her throat. Another ceremony of passions. As my large fingers squeezed her tiny esophagus she clawed at my hand. Her flailing held rhythm but not resolution. No one would miss her. This siren of the streets. I love her so much.
It occurs to me now that I should have remembered some of those shows of strength and agility from earlier tussles. Scarlett’s body relaxed against mine. I thought I made her lose consciousness. I was dead wrong. Her arms flew up between mine so quickly and with such force that I lost my balance completely. I fell backward onto the bed and she was on top of me just as quickly. There was something in her eyes I had never seen. Primal.
Once again I was shocked by how efficiently she overpowered me and left me vulnerable to her whims. She stared into my eyes intently, savagely. I was breathing hard enough to move the single strand of red hair that had come loose in battle. A very large part of me was terrified and unsure of how much longer I had to live; another part was incredibly turned on and calculating different positions and role-playing adventures we could have.
“I told you to drop it, I didn’t want you to get hurt. You should have listened to me.” Her brilliant green eyes actually looked sad for a brief second.
“What the fuck does that mean? Scarlett!? Let me up.” Trying to prey on her theoretical emotion for me, I lifted my head to kiss her and she slapped me. It wasn’t a dainty lady slap either; this was a drunken sailor bitch slap. My head jerked to the right on impact and a small stream of blood shot out across my navy blue comforter. Not a good sign.
“You’ve left me no choice; a part of me will always regret this. You were better to me than anyone has ever been. Thanks for that, but some things are out of my control.” I could feel her hand slip down into her boot and pull something out. My head was pinned in my arms somehow, the anticipation almost too much to bear.
Slowly, Scarlett came close to my face, as if she was moving in to kiss me, I was hoping she had grabbed handcuffs or a vibrator. Tugging on my bottom lip with her teeth, which usually means we’re having sex whether I like it or not, she shifted her weight back against my pelvis. I have literally never been harder or more confused.
In an extremely sultry motion, she pulled out a long piece of cloth we had recently been using to blindfold one another. Maintaining her firm holds on me, she tied the cloth around my eyes. I could only hope for what was next and what the night may have in store. More importantly, what else she may have to play with.
I’m too turned on to be afraid anymore. Fantasies of what might come next flash through my mind. I hadn’t noticed any other bondage but she continued tying my hands and feet to the posts of my bed. As this is another part of our games and I haven’t become aware of the gravity of letting her have complete control until it’s too late. Damn, she is good!
I hear what sounds like her crying quietly. “What is it? What’s wrong, I thought we were just getting started?” A weak attempt on my part to direct the outcome of the situation.
“You know, I was starting to think we could make it a while, you’re great in bed and you made me feel like a real person again. Like you saw past the outer layer and into what makes me the real me.”
So damned casual, it’s infuriating! Her weight shifts to the left and off the bed. I hear her padded feet shuffle over to ‘her’ nightstand, open the drawer, and close it softly. She never slams anything. I love that.
“Scarlett, this is me, we’re in love. I love you! I don’t understand what is happening. Take the blindfold off and we’ll talk. Let me loose. We’ll figure it out together, we’ll be strong together. You are the only thing that makes me feel alive, keeps me going. I wasn’t even alive before you.” I strain to hear her move without fruition.
The panic rises in my stomach and starts to churn with a vengeance. Something so primal in my core warns me to run, fight or flight. I pull against the bonds in panic. She’s tied them so well that I only end up tightening the knots and shredding my wrists in the end.
“I may have loved you if I knew what it meant to love. I accept what I am and make sure I am taking care of myself no matter what that means for you.” She is right next to my bed, close to my face on the right. Her breath is calm and steady. Her hands are working around my arm.
“What? What the fuck are you Scarlett? What the fuck are you doing?” One last surge of adrenaline floods my body and sends my hips straight in the air. Blood trails down my arms as the handcuffs dig deep, I can feel small pools filling in my armpits. Oh, shit.
I hear her switch to the other side of the bed. She opens a package and puts something cold around my arm. I can smell something reminiscent of rubber. What the fuck is she doing?
“I don’t understand.” I pant through gritted teeth.
“You don’t need to. It won’t matter soon. Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.” With that said she got to work and inserted a needle in my arm. It doesn’t hurt. I feel nothing. When she told me to drop it she was trying to save me from her. Damnit, I should have listened.
Simultaneously, she kisses my forehead and injects a massive dose of something toxically wonderful into my arm. Something warm and wet hits my cheek and slides down into my ear. Again she bends down and kisses me on my face and neck. A kind of kiss I have never felt before. Something hardly from this world delivered by a holy vessel. I let my mind go where ever that sensation might take me when it mixes with the foreign wonder of modern medicine.
As I look down and see her crying silently, I am immediately drawn to the pool of blood forming on the light blue sheets of my bed. Scarlett slowly sets a shredded bloody pillow down next to the nightstand and a Colt .45 equipped with a silencer on the bed next to her. Gingerly, she reaches up to pull the ropes from my limp hands. She takes my hands in hers and kisses each digit in turn. Wiping tears from perfect eyes, Scarlett lays my hands down and walks over to a large black case, opens the top and removes a prehistoric looking bone saw. I should have dropped it. I should have listened.