ROOMIE - CINDY ROSMUS
Trolls’ night out, Googie thought, staring around the bar. He’d sure picked the wrong night to get horny. Scowling, he picked up his Bud Light.
From the outside, Farley’s fooled you. It looked like a tiki bar: neon flamingos and palm trees against bright pink stucco. You’d think this was Florida. But no... Googie glanced over at the chick by the jukebox. Her ass, in those JLo jeans, reached halfway around the world. This was Jersey.
You can run, he thought, but you can’t...
Horrified, he realized he was close to crying. He shut his eyes tight, sucked down his beer.
“What’cha wanna hear?” Fatty Pants asked the chick on Googie’s right. He cringed.
“You know!” The friend’s voice was equally shrill. From the side, she looked like rat stew.
Like he’d read Googie’s mind, the bartender smirked. He was fiftyish, “Soprano-ish,” wearing an old white tee with a shitload of gold. Without being asked, he cracked Googie a fresh beer. Googie nodded to him.
Over the Nickelback song, Googie yelled, “Pickin’s are lean!” He didn’t care who heard him.
The bartender shrugged. Maybe he liked rat meat. Or thought Googie was no prize, himself.
Shit, Googie thought. He himself was thirty-six, he bet the youngest in here. He worked out, still had most of his dark hair. His devilish goatee should’ve driven chicks mad. His glasses made him sexier. Like Johnny Depp in The Ninth Gate, his wife Margaret had said he’d looked. Back then.
Googie stiffened. You, Margaret had said recently, couldn’t lick his ass! But she wasn’t talking about Johnny Depp. She meant that new guy who’d knocked her up. The “fall guy,” Googie called him.
Absently, Googie touched his cheek. How savagely Margaret had clawed his face still haunted him. He imagined the scratches were still there.
“Cut yourself shaving?” the bartender asked.
Googie winced. Again he looked around. Fatty Pants and her pals were downing Woo-Woos from a pitcher. At the right end of the bar, an ancient redhead was half-asleep. The left end was deserted. In fact, half the bar was empty. As Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” came on the jukebox, all the girls shrieked.
Googie couldn’t take it, anymore. Up the block was a pub, Rosie’s. It had to beat this.
Leaving a shitty tip, Googie grabbed most of his money. He was getting up when the side door opened.
As a new chick came in, his heart leapt. His cock, too. Instantly, he sat back down.
The chick was blonde, petite, dressed real sexy in a halter and short shorts, but in this “little girl” way, like she was playing dress-up. Her age a mystery, since her makeup was cried off. Black mascara had dried on her cheeks. Either she didn’t realize it, or didn’t care.
The bartender took Jager out of the freezer. As he poured her shot, the girl said, “She’s gone!”
“’S about time,” the bartender said.
She was almost giddy, Googie thought. “Sal, you know what this means?” the girl asked the bartender. “I can get married again!”
Sal nodded. Strange as it sounded, he seemed to get it.
Googie saw his chance. “Out of mine!” he said, as Sal reached for the girl’s crumpled five. “I’m buying.”
Googie’s shit tip couldn’t cover the shot. As Googie fished in his pocket for the rest, Sal smirked.
“I’m free!” The girl sounded so happy.
“Piece-a shit,” Sal said.
Googie thought he meant him, till Sal added, “Fuckin’ freeloader. Living offa you all this time. And in that condition.” Sal snorted. “Damn freak.”
The girl was silent. She held out her hand. “Lemme have it.”
From under the bar, Sal grabbed something Googie strained to see. With a clunk, it landed on the bar.
“Thanks,” the girl said. A blade, it looked like, from where Googie sat. “It’s safe, now,” she told Sal.
“Gonna kill somebody...”
She held up her shot. “Thanks!” she told Googie. Then downed it. Like a man. Worse, like Margaret. Googie cringed. He was sorry he’d paid for it.
Sal poured her another. “When’d she leave?”
Ignoring him, the girl smiled at Googie. He imagined those lips encircling his cock. Man, was he horny! Her, too, he guessed.
Her smile widened. “I’m Bridget.” Johnny, he felt like saying. He took off those Johnny Depp glasses. “Googie.”
“You’re... new around here, aren’t you?” she asked him.
The place got quiet, suddenly. Behind him, Googie sensed Fatty Pants slipping more money in the jukebox.
As Bridget got up and moved her stuff next to his, Googie’s heart raced.
“I like... new people,” she said, sitting next to him. Real close. So close, he might’ve been drinking Jager, himself. Bridget’s eyes were brown, unbearably huge. Sad, like the world had taken a big, fat shit on her life, too.
Sal smacked fresh drinks down in front of them. Still staring at Bridget, Googie began sliding his money toward Sal.
Her hand on his wrist was firm. “No,” she said. “This round’s on me.”
By Last Call, Googie had tasted Jager, for real, lots of it. He enjoyed how it tasted on Bridget the most. She’d kissed him, by surprise. Nearly knocked off his glasses. Googie kissed back so wildly, Sal muttered, “Oh, Jeez!” Her tit had slid out of the halter. Googie cupped it, proudly, like he’d won a prize. It was huge, and smooth, the nipple nice and hard. He imagined sucking it till she screamed with pleasure. He got rock-hard thinking about it. Earlier, she’d washed off that crybaby make-up. Without it, she was beautiful. Not like Margaret, who put all chicks to shame, but pretty close. He guessed Bridget was around his age. Old enough to have lived through hell.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she’d said, about that mysterious “she” creature.
“I seen all kinds-a shit,” Googie heard Sal say before. Sal was actually Farley’s owner. He looked around the place like he knew everybody’s dirty secrets, maybe Fatty Pants and her friends’, too.
Googie bet Sal knew Bridget’s “she”-creature real well.
“You a lesbian?” Googie asked Bridget. He was sorry the instant he’d said it.
Her laugh was harsh. “No!” she nearly spat out. “Believe me, I’m not.” Googie considered taking her hand, but decided against it. When “I Will Survive” came on the jukebox, Fatty Pants & Co. shrieked and got up to dance. Bridget froze. It was like she was hearing that old song for the first time. Eyes shut, she swayed to the music, savoring each line. It was like Googie wasn’t even there. What the fuck? he thought. When she began belting out the words, he wondered if they really had just kissed? Or if he’d dreamt it. Had he really squeezed that juicy tit?
“...Think I’d lay down and die!” she screamed. At the side door! Like whoever had fucked her up was right outside. Or up the block. Googie felt like sneaking out the front door. He began to sweat.
When he caught Sal’s eye, Sal nodded, wisely. Like he’d been waiting for Bridget to lose it, for hours.
As the song ended, Bridget asked Googie, “Ever been married?”
“I still am,” he said stiffly. She was silent for so long, Googie felt invisible again. But her “Me, too,” mashed his heart. That was the last song. Sal unplugged the jukebox.
“Let’s go!” he was yelling. Already he’d shut off the A/C, now some of the lights. Fatty Pants and her friends got up, reluctantly, and trudged outside.
“Where shall we go?” Googie asked Bridget, pulling her close. His pants were at the splitting point. “Your place?” He sensed it was closer. In his arms, she shivered. “I guess,” she whispered. Before they left, Sal beckoned Googie over. “She’s been fucked up enough,” was all Sal told him.
It was Googie’s turn to shiver.
“Don’t forget your blade,” Sal told Bridget.
Outside, it was still hot, at 3 A.M. Like sticky, invisible hands were groping you. As he and Bridget walked up the block, Googie kept his hands to himself. Absent-mindedly, she flicked the blade in and out of its sheath. “They say,” she said, “Till you walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes, you can’t say dick about them.”
Before he could answer, she said, “Maybe it’s ten miles.” She stopped walking. “Or the ‘Green’ mile.”
He smirked. “That’s to the electric chair.”
He glared at her. All I want, he wished he could say, is my cock sucked. He was done feeling sorry for her. He was sorrier for his cock, which had gone limp.
A two-family house, she lived in. The first floor. All the lights were on, Googie could see. The a/c hummed.
“You must have a great job,” he said, when they were in the foyer. “You little power hog, you.”
She looked confused. “I’m not!” was almost a scream.
Here we go again, Googie thought, wearily. The door he leaned against suddenly opened from behind. He went flying.
“‘Roomie!’” he heard, from the floor. “You’ve got a date?”
Bridget’s face crumpled. Clutching the blade, she backed up to the foyer door. “No,” she whispered. Weirder by the minute, she was getting.
Googie got up and checked out the roommate. The long black “Cher” hair could be a wig. Makeup over the top, but it suited her. Too muscular for the red sundress, but hey, it was hot out. Plus he liked tall chicks. He caught her checking him out, too, and he smirked.
“You left!” Bridget told the roommate. “Hours ago. You packed up and left!”
The woman shrugged. She smiled widely at Googie, who smiled back. Bridget had a screw loose, all right, he thought. And she still clutched that blade. He wished she’d left it at the bar.
“I’m Antoinette,” the woman said, in her sexy, deep voice. “But call me Toni.”
Behind her, Bridget was starting to cry. “‘Roomie,’” Toni said. “Why so rude? Ask this hunk to come in.”
Inside, it was ice-cold and nice. Chinese red walls, white lace drapes, cream satin furniture. “You like?” Toni asked Googie. He nodded. “It’s all mine,” she said. “And she wants me to leave!” In the doorway, Bridget sobbed quietly. “Give me that!” Toni said, like Bridget were a child. She held out her hand.
Reluctantly, Bridget handed her the blade, which Toni slipped in her pocket. “That’s a good girl,” Toni said. When she added, “Bring us two beers,” Bridget turned and headed for the kitchen.
“Don’t mind her,” Toni said in a conspiratorial tone. “She just got out of the worst marriage.” She squeezed Googie’s arm, making his hair stand up. “Anthony was such a brute.”
Can you blame him? Googie wondered. With a nut job like that?
Toni nuzzled his ear. “You’re cute,” she said. “Guess she’s out of luck!”
As they rushed to the couch, Googie feared his cock would explode. There was something about her—he couldn’t explain it—maybe that long hair brushing his shoulders, maybe her demanding touch...that he couldn’t say no, if he wanted to.
Toni’s kisses were rough. Not like any other chick’s. Googie’s glasses went flying. His mouth felt raped, and he wanted to rape back. Wanted to tear the dress right off this bitch!
Later for you, he thought, about Bridget. Even worse than a nut job, she’d turned out to be a real Sad Sack. From the kitchen, you could still hear her sobbing. Toni got up, suddenly, shoved Googie aside. “Where the hell is that beer?” She headed for the kitchen. “Hey!” he heard her yell to Bridget.
Plus Bridget had lied to him. Said she was still married.
Anthony was such a brute...
Married or not, there they were, on that photo on the wall. Googie squinted, to see the photo better. He shouldn’t have bothered. A wedding pic so cheesy, it disgraced the room. Hubby was no prize. Brute, my ass, Googie thought, smirking. A real queen, this guy looked like, like you couldn’t tell who was the chick. Toni was gone so long, Googie learned the photo by heart. Actually, he thought, Hubby could be Toni’s brother. They looked that much alike. Hurry up, bitch, he thought. He was losing his hard-on.
Back Toni came, suddenly, with two cans of beer. A sweaty mess, she was, hair all tousled. She cracked her beer, gulped the whole thing like a man. Before Googie could crack his, she lay back on the couch, lowered her dress, which looked drenched. Her tits jiggled out, then settled, like jello. Boob job, Googie thought, smugly. No wonder somebody was jealous. He sucked her tit, stopping suddenly. She tasted coppery, strange. But there was nothing not strange about this bitch.
She gripped his head, and guided it lower. The “hot munch,” she wanted. Not his favorite meal, but if he ate her out, she would have to do him back. And she had juicy red lips. Googie smirked.
Up went the dress.
Again, that coppery smell. Meaty, almost.
“You like?” A beautifully-shaped twat, she had. Like a work of art. Even without glasses, Googie could see that. “You like?” sounded almost mechanical. From the kitchen came this... gurgling.
As he looked up, Googie’s heart raced. “What’s that?”
Toni gripped his neck, hurting him. “I asked,” she said impatiently, “if you like?”
A sound, like someone was drowning...in something thick. Human gurgling, like somebody was hurt bad.
Somebody who’d been gone a long time. Since they got here. Somebody who was...maybe...
Googie tried to sit up, but Toni tightened her hold on him.
Blood, he’d been smelling. Tasting. Like with the Jager, earlier, he was tasting...Bridget! As it dawned on him, Googie smelled his own sweat. Despite the powerful a/c, he was soaked. His throat ached.
How soon, he wondered, till he was next?
When Toni looked in his face, he smiled so widely, his jaw ached. He had to smile. His life depended on it. She relaxed her hold on him.
“Yes!” he had to tell her. “I like. A lot! A whole lot!” His mind raced. “It’s a beautiful pussy,” came out as a squeal.
“It cost plenty,” Toni said. As she guided his face back down there, Googie’s ears rang. The brute was that strong. Against his will, he started to cry.
“After all,” she told him, “You only live once.”
BIO: Cindy is a New York textbook editor by day, a hardboiled Jersey female by night. Her fiction has appeared in Black Petals, The Beat, The Cynic, Red Fez, Zygote in My Coffee, Hardboiled, NVF, MediaVirus, The Monsters Next Door, Out of the Gutter, Devil Blossoms, 13th Warrior Review, and Beat to a Pulp. She has four collections of stories out: Angel of Manslaughter, Gutter Balls, Calpurnia’s Window, and No Place Like Home. She is the editor of the e-zine, Yellow Mama. She is also a thrill seeker, a Gemini, and a Christian.
One to Watch: THE MELODY by Jim Crace
3 hours ago