[Excerpt from ‘Blood Rain,’ Volume II of my Memoir.]
“That was the roar of the beast,” she said, strumming her hand through crotch-ooze and licking sticky bittersweet from her fingers. “You opened me up like a dead fish.”
An hour earlier we had been strangers sitting on stools at a beach bar. When the lights blinked ‘last call’ she wobbled outside and asked me to hold her Moped steady while she took aim and swung a leg up over the seat. With a crooked smile she jerked a thumb inland over the bridge and motioned for me to follow her home.
I lagged a block behind in my Volkswagen as she straddled yellow lines and drifted around corners, fearful that she would wipe out on the curb or a tree and not sure if I would stop and help her if she did. Just talking to the cops and paramedics when they arrived would likely earn me another DWI.
I had been idling at The Driftwood since two o’clock that afternoon after an aborted attempt to apply for a job. Want ads always set my teeth on edge but I needed gas and beer money and stock clerking in a gift shop at the airport I figured I could handle. It was 95 degrees in the parking lot at the St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport and by the time I changed clothes in the cramped VW I was sopping wet and livid with frustration, not a good time to try and explain in an interview why I had no address, no phone, no references. Fuck the job! I squirmed back into faded cutoffs and went in search of a bar with cold kegs and frosty mugs.
She skidded to a stop in the driveway of a split-level ranch house and hoisted her scooter up over the kickstand. I pulled in behind her, cringing at the thought of a jealous husband coming home unexpectedly in the middle of the night. “No,” she assured me, “I’m a granny-nanny for 92-year-old Mae and I lock her bedroom door once she falls asleep. She can’t hear anything anyway.” And with that she turned Jim Morrison up full blast kicked off her sandals and dropped her clothes on the floor.
Two frolics and a pair of rugburns later I wanted to roll over and sleep but she found a roach and waved it under my nose.
“I wasn’t sure if I could accept you it’s been so long, four or five years. Good thing I had some Vaseline . . . You haven’t seen anything yet. I used to have this little muscle down there and I could work it good, like a lemon squeezer . . . Lived 20 years in New York and oh boy did I have lovers, mostly musicians, five o’clock in the morning after a gig, the door was always open . . . Had three husbands too but I got rid of them. Last one drank, no furniture. His stepson threw me out the window. The kid was on drugs and his sixteen-year-old sister was a prostitute, tried to seduce her own father for money . . . Whenever the old man got thrown in the slammer I never went to bail him out, three or four days of peace and quiet.”
The tip of the doobie glowed and crackled as she took a deep whoosh and held her breath, her breasts squishing and slipping across her tummy like deflated jellyfish. “Jo…sie,” she exhaled, “my name’s . . . Josie.”
“You sure Mae won’t wake up?” I asked.
“Mae fell and broke her hip, picking up leaves. I told her to wait for the yardman on Tuesday but she’s obsessed, her bones are brittle . . . I give her vitamins, she heals fast . . . She doesn’t understand the clock anymore but she has a sixth sense. Same time each day it’s time to rake leaves, so many hours after the sun goes down it’s time for bed. Mornings she tries to fix her own breakfast but when the eggs are done I sneak over and turn them off . . . I get along good with her, spend time with her. She only pouts when I tell her she’s had too many cookies. Ten minutes later she’s forgotten . . . As long as she keeps busy she’s happy. I don’t let her get bored but she gets depressed when those religious stations are on, preacher-man raining down fire and brimstone. Mae always wants to send them money and gets mad when I hide her checkbook. I change stations when she goes to the bathroom. She doesn’t know any better just thinks the program has ended . . . And every day she’s out there picking up leaves again. She’s got that one tree in the front that always drops a few for her. If it’s hot outside she just takes off her dress and scoots around in her slip.”
Josie breached and arched her back, still babbling nonstop. Mounting and humping her from behind was like trying to ride a porpoise.
“In France I had some doctor and lawyer friends, homosexuals, they always like to have a woman tag along with them, ya know. We would go to a fancy place, restaurant or dinner party, and boys would suck them off under the table, sometimes only sixteen years old . . . With my last husband I might wake up with a coke bottle up my ass, nothing shocks me anymore. If what you do no matter what gives you pleasure, okay. But if it involves pain it’s kinky and that’s not okay . . . You coming back tomorrow night with another hard-on?”
Outside under the cover of a heavy fog birds were just beginning to chatter. I let Yaja out of the car for a sprint around the yard and she quickly found a pile of leaves to poop in. When you’re curling up at night in the back seat of a small Volkswagen with a sizeable German Shepherd you never turn down a bed. I would be back, and I wasn’t interested in small talk.