Ladies Close Your Eyes

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'I Want You'

His eyes grazed the floor wantonly, seeing what he’d done. Where he was, watching the moonlight grow and shrink in waves on the cream carpet of his new house. The moon was high and proud now. Cars passed. Their headlights probed the room, their engines made a soothing sound which reminded him of the ocean. The trip to long beach with his parents when he was a kid.

He lay on his side taking up as little room as possible. The window was open, the night was warm but the white sheets were cool and crisp. The bed was all white, the pillow cases, the comforter. It was a fairly new double bed, made of chrome like the ones you get in college dorms. A steel headboard that left gouges in the drywall when the bed moved.

The room was bare, they’d only moved in a couple of weeks ago and the bedroom windows didn’t even have curtains. They were just left exposed, the sky seemed so large from that window but the floor was more appealing.

The bedroom was small and neat, it looked like a guest room in the corner of the house. The closet was empty. They’d still been living out of their suitcases as the jobs they had were only temporary and they might have to move.

“James, are you even awake?”

He breathed in and out deeply but didn’t say anything.

He was facing away from her, she sat up in the bed knotting her hands together. Her hair was tied up in a tight dull auburn bun. Her face was pale, her cheeks a little sallow, with a high forehead. She had a small but bulbous nose that he found cute at one point, with its light spattering of orange freckles. Her upper lip was thin and pursed with a more rounded bottom lip. She had a round face and looked to be in her early thirties. A sheen of some mixture of creams and balms on her face made it hard to tell. She wore a baggy men’s grey sweatshirt to bed, concealing her shape. She breathed in and out wheezing as she wrung her hands making squelching noises working in more cream. Pushing her chin to her chest indignant at her lover’s silent response.

“This is not what I wanted”

James couldn’t help but agree. He breathed in deeply again, closing his eyes. He lay on his right side facing the window, the covers half off. He was a little younger, with sandy blonde hair. His face was long with flat cheeks, a long straight nose and thin lips. He wore just a pair of striped boxer shorts and white t-shirt to bed. He was of average build with a little extra weight around his mid-section.

He sighed again and closed his eyes. Without warning he saw her there, behind his eyelids. Her red hair was vibrant now, she had dyed her hair red and it seemed to glow. Her hair was naturally red but she dyed it a deeper shade to wash out her freckles. He hair was all around his head and he could feel her body on his, her smell, like fresh sandalwood and sweat. Her lips on his, the taste of her spit, her breathe on his neck.

“I need you to be present, all of you.”

He opened his eyes and looked at the egg-shell white wall of his bedroom. The bed felt hard, the air, stiff like a hotel room.

She’s still talking but he can’t hear her. Her words seem disjointed and they become white-noise. He closes his eyes again.
He’s on top of her now, thrusting deep. A cool film of sweat on his back. The window is open. An ancestral chorus of crickets keep a constant metronome. Her body is soft and responsive; she digs her fingers into his back. He buries his face in her hair, slick with sweat. He hates her now for some reason. Her eyes are wide and beautiful, her face like the moon reflected in a puddle looking up at him. A shy smugness that could have been mistaken for rapture on her face. His fist’s ball around white linen, creasing the bed sheets. A sudden sinking feeling, the bed swallowing them. He slapped her once and her face rolled with it and back to where it was returning with an excited smirk.

He snatched at her throat grabbing clumps of her hair in his sweaty fist. Her eyes got wider, her mouth opened. He gripped tighter and he could feel her throat shifting as she tried to swallow. Her cheeks became flush and the look in her eyes became like a long hallway. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she gasped and tried to swallow again. Her face becoming a brighter shade of red.

He opened his eyes again all he could hear was the ceiling fan spinning.

~

The forecourt of the storage lot was well lit. But owing to some recent vandalism, a number of the lights had been destroyed. The owner of the lot of was too cheap to repair them right away. Leaving gaping pools of darkness. Leaving room for the cutlass to cut through unseen by the cameras that dotted the lot.

He’d picked this place for a good reason. One; It was close to his pool of targets. Two; the neighbourhood was one where a question was answered with more questions.

After coming up the embankment away from the Santa Ana river. He circled the cutlass around the side of the lot to where a side gate had been left open. Turning his lights off he passed through the open gate and came along a large storage locker at the far end of the lot. The furthest away from the entrance, connected on only one side by another locker.

He parked the cutlass behind the locker so it couldn’t be seen from the road. Despite the road being a good hundred feet from the locker and the lot itself shaded by a row of California ash, he didn’t want to take any chances.

He got out of the car.

The generator hummed as it lit a single shadeless bulb in a steel and concrete box. The inside of the storage locker was thick sheet metal with a thoroughly scuffed concrete floor. It was a large 10’ x 30’ locker, equally the size of a two car garage.

The locker was empty but for a row of chairs facing the wall, and a metal office table pushed up against the adjacent wall. In the middle of the room, directly under the bulb was a weight lifting bench with a small stool next to it.

Next to the office table stood an ornate end table which didn’t seem to fit into the rest of the minimalist décor of seemingly found objects. Atop the end table sat an old vinyl player. The record was already spinning. He lifted the needle and dropped it again.

With the stock screeching noise, the music started to play under a blanket of terse crackling.

“How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)

The one with the waggley tail”

As the music played the room seemed to change. It turned around, the corners got brighter, his chest swelled with a feeling of nostalgia.

On the desk was a large wooden chopping block. A nail was neatly hammered into the corner, a cockroach with a piece of string attached to it going round and around it.

Along the chopping block lined precisely was a selection of tools in order of size.

A scalpel, an electric razor, a serrated bread knife, a claw hammer and a rubber mallet and chisel.

He turned back to face the opposite wall.

The chairs were facing him now. A row of four, two rows deep of plastic folding chairs. Facing him in the small room, almost like a classroom. In the chairs were what looked like mannequins.

“How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)-

-I do hope that doggie’s for sale”

They faced him. Their fingernails were all painted red. Their mouths open, lips painted red. Their faces were warped, with black handprints all over them. Their happy eyes dull and vacant. One posed with its hand to its mouth missing a pinkie. The next with its arms crossed and its head tilted slightly to one side it’s face badly burnt. The next had its hands on its lap its head facing down. The last one had its arm’s by its side and it looked straight. The row behind were blank and expressionless.

He knew what that meant.

“I must take a trip to California-

-And leave my poor sweetheart alone”

On the wall she towered above them, his Jesus of the moon, his red queen. He wanted to kiss her dirty feet. Her eyes glassy and vacant pierced a veil of matted jet black hair. Her feet, dirty porcelain, still and perfect. The feet of a forest nymph, walking barefoot.

Her jaw was partially exposed, a line of white teeth protruded from her rotting mouth. Dingy off-white bone behind shrivelled grey skin.

She hung from the wall, naked, like a trophy, like an altar. He looked at her and thought of Christ in the back of a pickup truck or strapped across the hood with a crossbow bolt through his neck and smiled. She was perfect, she always would be.

“If he has a dog he won’t be lonesome-

-And the doggie will have a good home”

She’d always be his, always and never. A delicious melancholy rose up inside his chest and back down again into his guts. A gripping, biting sadness making the hairs on his arms stand up on end. That feeling of coming so close and never quite reaching perfection. The joy came from trying and emptiness would come from success.

She has dyed her hair red. He heard a voice say.

He turned back to the table.

He picked up the portable electric razor and turned back towards the class, letting his hands drop by his sides.

“How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)-

-The one with the waggley tail”

The hooker from before was laying across the weight bench, which was positioned centrally in front of the class. The bench was flat and her hands were zip tied above her head. Two separate rings for each hand connected a third zip tie tied to one of the metal struts on the headrest of the bench.

Her feet were similarly tied, two rings for each ankle and a third tying them together and to the base strut of the foot rests.

She was falling in and out of consciousness. Her head would have been lolling back and forth if not for the cling-film keeping her head rigidly in place. It was wrapped tightly around her head and around the headrest of the bench. She had a small cut above her right eye where he’d hit her. A small amount of blood had pooled and already dried under the cling film. There wasn’t much swelling and it could easily be covered with some make-up. He carefully cut a large mouth hole so she could breathe. But otherwise her face was completely obscured, only leaving her hair and naked body exposed on the cold bench.

He didn’t want to see their faces, especially their eyes.

“How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)-

-I do hope that doggie’s for sale”

It was mid-august but in the dead of night and in a cool concrete and steel box it was like a meat locker. And that’s what she looked like, meat. Her skin drawn and pale like a canvas. Dry sweat, her skin was cold to the touch.

His face was slick and mask-like now. All his features buffed flat. His hands moving on their own directed by the silent eyes. He crossed the room towards the bench. She didn’t move.

He took her face in his left hand and she exhaled. He grabbed her under her chin to stop her head from moving against the cling film. Then he started.

At the side of her head just above her left ear he started to shave her mousey brown hair. Taking his time, delicately shaving it strand for strand to the bare flesh. He wanted her stripped completely. A blank canvas, perfect. He’d have to start from scratch. He took great care to turn her head and shave the back, that was always the trickiest part. Working around the restraints.

“I read in the papers there are robbers (roof, roof)

-With flashlights that shine in the dark”

Her dry brown hair littered the concrete floor. He took the time and dusted around her head and neck with a brush to remove any unwanted hair. He swept up unwanted hair from the floor into a black trash bag which he rested next to the metal desk.

He opened a side draw in the desk and took out two match books, both empty.

He opened them both placing a tuft of hair from her head in the box on the left and closing it. The other box lay next to it empty.

“My love needs a doggie to protect him

-And scare them away with one bark”

The cockroach was still circling the nail, the string getting tighter as it progressed around the corner of the cutting board.

He looked over his tools briefly, tempted to touch them but it wasn’t quite time.

He returned to her side, this time sitting on the small stool. Her breathing was laboured. The sensory deprivation had taken her ability to talk, or maybe he hit her too hard. She didn’t have anything to say. She could scream if she wanted to.

He didn’t really care how she felt, her fear wasn’t what he wanted. She was either telling herself this was all a dream, or she’d prepared herself for this and resigned herself to stoicism. Either way didn’t matter.

“I don’t want a bunny or a kitty

-I don’t want a parrot that talks”

He took her chin in his hand and forced her mouth open, she relented almost immediately. He took a small pen torch out of his breast pocket and used it to inspect the inside her mouth. He lifted her lips with a finger to get a good look at her teeth. He was wearing blue surgical gloves. Adding to the feeling of being at the dentist put her at ease. A still fearful ease, a rabbit on its back.

He tutted and rose from the stool crossing the small room back to his workbench. It was a heavy metal desk, the type used by file clerks and it had two deep side draws on either side. He opened the left side draw and took out a roll of fresh cling and closed the drawer again.

He strode back over to the prostitute on the bench. He paused for a moment. Bending over her he began to unravel the cling film, affixing it to the back of the bench beneath her head.

“I don’t want a bowl of little fishies-

-He can’t take a goldfish for a walk”

He took a deep wheezing breath through his nose and began to rewrap the cling film around her head. Starting at the top over her eyes and forehead. Carefully getting lower and wrapping it tighter each time he passed over her head.

He watched her as he wrapped. Her body contracting and relaxing. Her obscene fake breasts moving like two large Ping-Pong balls attached to a string. She swallowed a dry clod of spit and gasped before he wrapped it over her mouth.

She struggled at first, but she was very weak. The current was too strong, she started to feel limp. All her limbs becoming numb and heavy lumps of cold pressed meat. She started to feel distant, she shrunk backwards into the dimly lit theatre of her thoughts, sinking down into a black silent sleep. Her own words in her ears whispering to her without making sense.

It was easier than she thought, her words slurring, phrases she couldn’t understand repeated over and over in her head. She couldn’t open her eyes.

He watched as her body became limp, he knew she wasn’t faking. There were no lies here. Just pure bold truth.

“How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)-

-The one with the waggley tail”

She was perfect. Her still body lying naked on the bench. He wanted to take a picture but knew he couldn’t the memory would have to be enough.

He darted back over to the bench and picked up the scalpel and eagerly rushed back to her now still body.

He started cutting.

He cut away at the cling film around her mouth. Once he’d cleared all the cling film around the bottom of her head and neck, he opened her mouth yet again. Forcing a clamp inside to keep it open.

“How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)-

-I do hope that doggie’s for sale”

A few brisk steps back to the workbench, he placed the scalpel back in its place neatly. He took a deep breath pacing himself as he leant forward with both hands on the cold metal desk. The cockroach had wrapped itself around the nail tightly, it’s little legs kicking as it chocked to death. Finally, he assembled himself and picked up the mallet and small chisel and turned back.

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