Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 105 - Roger Hobbs


I had a dream about her last night.

She was lying next to me in bed, her back turned, and I reached out to touch her. I did, and I listened to her snoring. I tapped her harder, wanting to wake her, needing to tell her something. I’ve forgotten what I needed to tell her. I’m not even sure if I had something to say; I just needed to speak. When she turned around, she wasn’t my girlfriend. She was a pig, with a vicious, snarling snout. When I woke up, I remembered she was already gone.

A pig can eat up to two hundred pounds of human flesh in a single day. You have to remove any jewelry first and the teeth, because the pig has a hard time with those things. Then you soak the body in alcohol, because pigs love the taste of whiskey. If the pig is hungry enough, its teeth will go right through the bones. After three hours, there will be nothing left. It’s like the body never even existed. I saw that in a Guy Richie movie once. I guess it’s true.

When I met her, she wasn’t even on my radar. She was just another face in the crowd. We met at a party for one of my friends. She wore too much makeup, like she caked it on before party. She was uglier than I expected her to be. She took me out under the bridge and we fucked. I grabbed her as she writhed under me and, when I kissed her, it was like looking into a well.
That was three years ago.

Last night, she was out drinking in the lobby of a hotel downtown. She drank tequila, and when she drank tequila the liquor would go right down to her cooch and set her on fire. She didn’t know I was there, watching her as she stumbled around the room. She sat at the bar in that blue dress I bought her and drank frozen margaritas through a straw. She did this once a week, now. Soon, one of her boyfriends would come in fresh from his wife or girlfriend and take her upstairs. I don’t drink anymore.

From the day we met, I have not slept with another woman. She made sure of that. She started with everyone she knew, and told them every secret I ever told her. She told them every confession I ever made and broadcast every weakness I ever had, to make sure that if I left her, I would have nowhere else to go. Then she slowly started working her way into my friends. She started with the people I lived with, my housemates. She told them stories about how I had broken her heart and shattered her trust. In her world, she was the victim. She moved on from my friends to my co-workers. She made sure that without her I couldn’t be anyone, and then, when she had taken as much as she could, she met Jeremy.

He was the first, as far as I know. He lived in her building. He was tall, with long brown hair and a girlfriend back in California where he had dropped out of college a few years before because of drugs. She met him when she wasn’t talking to me. They first had sex at my graduation party, while I was waiting in the white room under the soda machines watching my only friends do cocaine off of a cosmetics mirror. For those few hours, I drank Evan Williams from the bottle until I passed out. For those few hours, I felt like I didn’t exist.

She called me that night and showed me where he had bitten her. She held out to me all the bruises on her neck and her breasts, and the little white marks where his teeth had sunk into her skin. She invited me back to my room so I could smell him on my bed and in her hair, over my desk and in my shower. Then she put her arms around me. The whole time I thought of nothing more than what I wanted to do to her.

Last night, I watched from across the room as Jeremy walked up to the bar in his cheap jacket and tie. When he took her in his arms, he bit her gently on the neck and I could imagine the blood gushing into his mouth like a pig tearing into human flesh. I watched as he took her to the elevator without saying a word. In the morning, I would get the bill for the room and I would pay for every drop she took from the minibar.

Blood alcohol is a finicky thing, because it does different things to different people. Some people get loud, some people get quiet. Some people get happy, others get sad. But everyone is subject to certain effects after a few drinks, and that doesn’t matter who you are.

You have to hit a .03 to feel anything at all. The blood rushes to your face. You can’t concentrate on complicated tasks anymore, and your coordination starts to fade away. When you hit a .08, you can’t drive a car or play the piano right. By the time you hit .11, you’re staggering and slurring. At .21, you can barely walk. At .31, most people black out. At .35, you’re unconscious. And finally, at .41, most people go into a coma and then slowly die. For a two-hundred pound man, it takes more than fifteen drinks in less than 40 minutes to reach that level of intoxication. For a hundred pound woman, it takes less than 5 ounces of ethyl alcohol.

I watched from my table as their elevator slowly rose to the twentieth floor. I ordered a glass of water and waited for Jeremy to come back down the elevator. She always stayed after she fucked one of her boys. She liked to drink and masturbate after sex, and smell him all over her covers before she changed them. He came back down with wet hair tied in a ponytail. When I was sure he was gone, I took the elevator up to the room and got ready.

I went on a business trip a week ago and purchased a syringe from an anonymous needle exchange in a distant city. They’re free because they give them out to heroin addicts to stop the spread of HIV. Five days ago, I put the syringe in my coat pocket and tried to forget it. Two days ago, I bought a bottle of pure ethyl alcohol from a city shopkeeper who would never remember my face. At the bar, I watched her drink five margaritas before Jeremy arrived. Five minutes before, I checked my medical chart and confirmed that her blood alcohol content was at least .25, just enough to make her flushed and sleepy after an hour of rough and violent sex.

When I entered the hotel room, she was already asleep on the bed. She was completely naked, her neck and chest bruised and the mattress soaked with sweat. She was sprawled out over the covers, her vibrator still in her hand and a few empty mini-bottles of Grey Goose on the nightstand. The untouched condoms were on the dresser where I knew he had ignored them. I knelt beside her and listened to her snore like the loud grunting of a pig.

“Hello,” I whispered, without expecting her to respond. “I guess you expected this. If you didn’t, you should have.”

A female pig weighing a hundred pounds has 3.3 liters of blood. Blood has a density of 1.06 grams per milliliter. Alcohol has a density of .79 grams per milliliter.

“I just want you to know what it feels like to be trapped so you can never escape.”

I filled the syringe carefully with the alcohol. No one has ever had blood alcohol content above one percent, so I had to be very careful. One percent blood alcohol is 9.46 milligrams per gram.
“I bet you think you’re the victim, but you’re not.”

I gripped the syringe. I did the calculations in my head. Convert liters of blood into milligrams. Multiply. Divide. Subtract. Fifteen milliliters would bring her to .51.

As I located a vein on her leg, her eyelids started the flutter as if she wanted to wake up. As I pressed the plunger down, I said:

“I just want you to know what it feels like to not exist.”

BIO: Roger Hobbs is a writer in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Hit-and-Run Magazine, and The People’s Weekly World. Reach him on the web at

1 comment:

Al Tucher said...

Who knew that those calculations could be so noir? Good job.