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Lonelies | Part 9 | Conclusion | Adam Haynes | fiction | Lollipop

The Lonelies

Part 9: The Conclusion

by Adam Haynes
illustrations by Dave Dawson

The rude motherfucker grabbed her breast! Just reached out and took a big squeeze, all the while with this goofy grin on his face. Hey now, she was getting messed up on whatever this shit was that they were smoking, but still, did he think she was some white trash whore like her mother?

"What the fuck is that about?" she said to him, cocking her head and moving away.

He nodded to himself, and not breaking with the grin, made another grab, this time at her other tit.

"Fuckin' creep!" she yelled, and slapped him hard along the side of his head.

...Which didn't help matters at all.

Suddenly she was on the floor and the coffee table was knocked over.

He must have just lunged, his hands grabbing the front of her t-shirt and her back, getting pressed to the floor with him lying on top of her, straddling her.

Before she could react, his knees were locked tight over her biceps, vice-grip style. Fearing the worst, Temptation scrunched up her face and when the blows failed to rain down on her, she peeked up to see what was going on.

He looked stunned, like she herself no doubt did. Like he wasn't sure what to do, like he didn't seem to know what he wanted. He even looked around the room, like he was missing something and couldn't remember what it was. Just you wait 'til I get one of my fuckin' arms free, you fuck, she thought.

Or maybe she'd said it out loud because he suddenly clamped his hands on either side of her head and started kissing her, hard, though thankfully not sticking his tongue in her mouth (she would've bitten it off). Then he ripped open the front of her t-shirt and pulled off her bra so that the straps cut slices out of her shoulders. That had been her favorite bra, too, the one she'd stolen from Victoria's Secret back when she and Lexter were still an item.

Seeing her breasts must've really gotten him excited. His attacking became frenzied, kissing and biting and slapping all at once.

"Oh yeah, baby... you like that? You bitch, heh, you bitch."

He was snickering in this terrible, nervous sort of way and saying that word - BITCH - over and over again, making it sound bigger and heavier every time it came out of his fat mouth. He stuffed one of his hands behind him and started pinching her crotch through her underwear, squeezing it between his fat fingers. "BITCH! BITCH! BITCH! BITCH!" Spit flew out of his mouth and into her hair and eyes.

This was so seriously fuckin' bogus... Of course, it made sense. Will ended up being nuts, so why was she surprised that his friend was off his rocker too? As soon as she'd recognized him, she should've slammed the door in his face. Now she was going to have to summon up some serious Wonder Woman strength to kick his ass before this raping bullshit got any more intense.

She closed her eyes and thought about the bra, about Will turning into such a super fuckin' freak and ruining her opinion of men for the second time in her life, about how now she was probably never going to find anyone to impregnate her and she was going to be stuck with her shitty little underpaying job and her shitty little uneducated life in a shitty little smelly apartment with a roommate who was going more and more psycho everyday, and never be able to go to Zootz on Sundays, and never be able to buy a new car or be famous or thin or ever, ever stop worrying and she was probably going to die before she was twenty-one so she'd never be able to go into a real club and now this COMPLETE FUCKIN' LOSER WAS TRYING TO RAPE HER?

No way. Everything was going to suck ass, but bullfuckingshit if she was going to get raped on top of it.

He moved one of his thighs the tiniest bit in order to get better leverage on the crotch mauling and Temptation slipped her arm out.

Her fist was clenched and stronger than titanium and went into the soft spot of his chin like a wrecking ball.

You don't call a lady "bitch," motherfucker.

He was knocked off balance and she whipped her other arm free, digging her sharp nails into the side of his neck where blue greenish veins were faintly visible.

He was now yelling "WHAT THE FUCK?" And he was punching her too, not as solid and deft as her work, but still effective in teasing her rage gland, allowing her to get more out of control, so upset that everything around her became blurry.

There were terrible noises coming from her, ones that started in her throat like screeching tires.

Her hand was out of his neck - there was blood all over the tips of her fingers - and, along with its partner, was throwing tough, wild punches. One of his hands pushed into her face and she bit into it, hearing a crunch and tasting sweat and something spicy.

Using her pelvis, she knocked him off, but in a second he was on her again, punching her hard in the stomach, turning her war cries into anxious squawks.

And then there was Cindy. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the door was open and Cindy standing there staring at them.

"Jesus Fucking God." Did Cindy say that, or was it him? She wasn't sure. She wasn't even thinking, there wasn't enough time, she had to stay one step ahead of the moment.

She wasn't thinking so great a second later when he popped her a good one on the corner of the mouth, making everything fuzzy. She could feel his hands now tightly wrapped around her neck, but she wasn't sure what to do about it.

He'd become a mad dog, growling with foam dripping from yellow teeth. And she still wasn't getting those hands off her neck because she was thinking, damn it's only been a moment but now he has me. She felt herself losing the adrenalized strength, all her Wonder Woman powers; her shoulders and upper arms turning into crusty, stale bread.

Suddenly Jonah was on the floor next to her, his hands at his sides. And something was wrong with his face... It was at a weird angle and looked frozen, waxy.

Then she saw Cindy standing over him holding the serrated butcher knife they'd bought at the Oriental food store on Upper Congress.

Temptation crawled away from him and back onto the couch. She would've put it together sooner if the knife had been red and dripping like in the movies. But the blade of the knife Cindy held wasn't red and dripping, or even shiny. It was Kool-Aid pink.

Temptation watched Cindy move the TV and coffee table and roll Jonah up in the rug.

"I can't believe there's so much blood," Temptation said, still on the couch.

"He's a fucking pig," Cindy said, done and waving out the match she'd used to light a cigarette. She handed it to Temptation after she'd had a drag and lit another for herself.

"Damn, how many times did you stab him?"

"I don't know, maybe thirty, forty times."

Temptation couldn't believe it. Where the hell had she been? "That would've taken you like, such a long time!"

"It did take me a long time." Cindy coughed into her hand. "I didn't even think I was doing any good. All I could see were your eyes rolling up. And you were making gurgling sounds."

"I was making gurgling sounds?"

"Yeah, like this," Cindy pushed her chin into her neck and imitated how Temptation had sounded. Then shrugged.

They smoked until each was down to their filter.

"I didn't know what else to do, you know? The first thing I thought of was to grab a knife."

"I'm glad you did. That motherfucker wanted to rape and kill me."

"I know." Cindy sat on the couch next to Temptation. "We got into this fight last night. He was coming on to me pretty hard at Zootz. Wanted to do this weird sex blood thing."

"Jesus, you're going to make me sick!"

"Chill, chill out. I bet he was going after you because I wasn't around. Fucking animal."

Temptation wasn't sure what to say.

"Damn," Cindy said, "What if he, like, just suddenly got up and came after us, like one of those zombies in a movie."

"Don't say that, you're freaking me out!"

They each smoked another cigarette.

"So," said Temptation, "What do you think we should do?"

"I don't know, I'm thinking about it." Cindy was biting her thumbnail, staring at the rug. Temptation watched her, totally impressed that she could still make her mind work under these circumstances. She was so mature for a thirteen-year-old, and strong too... How could such a little girl do all that lifting and rug rolling? Personally, Temptation felt wiped out, like she'd been placed in the spin cycle too long.

Getting up, Temptation wandered into the kitchen, careful to avoid touching the rolled up rug, and grabbed a plastic bottle of vodka leftover from a party they'd had a week ago. Two shots later she went back into the living room, happy that the alcohol was cutting through the weird drug she'd been given and everything else.

Cindy was on the phone, and held up her hand when Temptation tried to offer her a drink.

"Thanks," she said into the phone, then hung up and turned to Temptation.

Temptation finished another shot and handed the bottle to Cindy who took a small one and then wiped her lips, looking distracted.

"Who'd you call, the police?"

"What are you, stupid?," Cindy shook her head patronizingly. "I got it taken care of."

"How?"

"I asked the USF if they'd help us out."

Temptation gaped.

"See," Cindy said, "This is why it's good to be friends with everyone."

Temptation hadn't realized that Cindy chilled with the USF boys these days. "So they're gonna help?"

"Yup."

"Why?"

"Because we're tight. You know, and it gives them something to do and proves they're bad-asses."

"Did he tell you what they'll do with the body?"

"You don't want to know."

"No, I wanna know."

Cindy sighed. "He said they'd probably cut him into pieces and feed him to their pit bulls. Thinks it'll make them tougher."

Temptation barely had enough time to make it to the toilet.

"I told you you didn't want to know," Cindy said.

Temptation decided to go to work, since it was time and she really didn't want to hang out and watch the USF soldiers arrive to take away Jonah's body.

* * *

It had started snowing during the day and now there were thick drifts all along the sidewalks of Congress Street. By the time she made it to Abraham's, her Docs were completely soaked. Hopefully the leather wouldn't crack like it had with her last pair.

The sign on the door said closed and Temptation walked in anyway, figuring someone was joking around.

Once inside, she realized it was no joke. The place was empty - really empty - and the music was off. She just stood there, looking around, unsure what to do.

"I'm sorry, we're closed," Vinnie called from the back room. When he saw it was Temptation, he nodded. "Shit, I forgot to call."

"What the hell happened, Vinnie?"

"Jesus, what do you think happened? I got closed down."

"What for?"

"What for? Get this, not for suspected prostitution, not fire marshal bullshit, not health code bullshit, but suspected drug trafficking. Can you believe it? I didn't even know what the cops were talking about." He threw his hands up in the air, looking pitiful and defeated. What a total fuck up.

Temptation was surprised at how sorry she felt for him, like it was this overwhelming force. "God, I'm so sorry," she said, putting her arms arms around him and taking him into her bosom where he promptly started crying like a baby.

"You were right, Tempt, right on the money. I'm a big time loser. You know, I'm probably going to go to jail and shit."

"It's okay, you're going to be alright." Temptation stroked his hair. She felt so calm. Why was she feeling so calm?

"You know what the funniest part was? I never even actually landed a trick for any of those girls the whole time we were open. I spent all that time and money getting them off the street and cleaned up and fed so they'd look real pretty, and then whenever one of them little whores got close to scoring, I'd get in the way and call it off. I'm such a fucking wimp."

"You were never meant to be a pimp." She held him tight and continued stroking.

"God, and when your mother heard, she threw all my shit into the street. Can you believe it? Everything I own is getting snowed on right now."

"Don't worry about my mother anymore." Temptation took Vinnie from her breast and looked into his face. She'd never noticed before, but this close, he had the face of a cherub. He really did. Was she going nuts? No, she wasn't. She was acting the way a good person acted. She was acting with feelings. "Come on," she told him, still amazed at how together she felt, considering everything that had gone down in the last two days. Maybe it was because of everything that had gone down that she was feeling this way. "You're not going to go to jail. If they had anything on you, they'd have already taken you in. You can find another job, no problem. I'm already on food stamps." She was done with Cindy, even though they were best friends. She was done with that. She didn't even want to think about it.

He was looking at her with so much desperation, so much need, his shoulders slumped and his tubby body curved inward. "What do you mean?"

Temptation wiped some tears off his face. "What I mean is I'm going to take care of you. We're going to make it." She forced a smile and then he gave a timid one which made her smile even brighter.

And that's how it worked. There was no such thing as right and wrong or good and bad, there was just doing what you needed to do and trying not to get caught and trying to be a good person in a way that you felt a good person should be.

Yeah, she wasn't going nuts, she was growing up.

Coda:
Will's Birthday

The next day, after morning group check-in, he called Jesse's parent's house on the pay phone in the community room. The Trilofon, the anti-psychotic he'd been on since last night, was helping, making him feel slightly more grounded, more real.

On the third ring, Jesse herself picked up. "Yeah, hello?" In two years, her voice still sounded exactly the same. He wondered if his did.

"This is... this is Will. Will Hastings."

There was a long pause on the other end.

"Oh... Will... This is really unexpected."

"I know," said Will. "It's been a while. I was calling to ask your parents what your new number was."

"Oh yeah, well, I've moved back home for a while. Will, I haven't seen you since..."

"Yeah, the prom." He was biting into the side of his lip with the phone jammed against his ear.

There was more silence on the other end. "That was... Are you doing better?"

"Well, you know, my mother died."

"I heard about that. I'm sorry."

"We weren't that close."

"I know. I'm still sorry. I'm sure it was still hard to go through."

"Yeah, it's been hard." And saying it really made it sink in. It had been hard. All of it. "I live down in Portland now."

"Yeah, I heard. Jonah's down there too, right?"

"Uh huh."

"How is he?"

He shrugged. "I think he's turned into kind of an asshole."

The silence went on for so long he thought maybe she'd hung up.

"Listen, Will, it's hard for me to talk about this..."

He waited.

"I'm sorry about the way things went between us. It all got so fucked up. I really didn't know that you felt that way about me. I don't why, but I always thought you were gay... I didn't handle it well."

He didn't argue. "Don't worry about it. I heard you got married."

Jesse groaned. "Oh man, that didn't last long. He's in Tennessee now and both of us got thrown out of the church. You know, personally, I thought it was all a bunch of shit anyway."

"You should come down to Portland. I mean, I don't mean, like, I'd be weird... I just mean to hang out and stuff. Like we used to."

"Oh, well, right now I'm real busy. I'm going to College of the Atlantic. Can you believe it? I spent my whole life thinking of ways to get out of Bar Harbor, and now I'm living back at home and going to that hippie school. But what I'm saying is I need to focus right now. Keep things low key, know what I mean?"

He told her that he did.

"Hey," Jesse said. "I don't mean to change the subject, but did you see the new Winona Ryder movie, Reality Bites?"

He thought about it. "No. She's still your favorite actress, huh?"

"Of course. Well... It's not that great, the movie. Winona's really good, but the rest is more of that Generation X shit."

"I know," he said, "I know."

"Remember those weekends when we'd rent all those Winona Ryder videos and just watch them and hang out?"

"Yeah, those were good times... I'm sorry things got so out of whack."

"Listen," Jesse said, "You weren't the only one. I wasn't with it either...."

He said nothing and wiped tears from his eyes with the back of his hand.

"Listen," Jesse said again, "I really gotta go, I've got a class. But I'm glad you called. Ever since... you know, I've been sort of afraid of you."

"I didn't mean to scare you," he was crying, very, very quietly.

"And it's your birthday, isn't it?"

"Yeah." That's right, it was his birthday. He looked around the empty community room. Outside the large window, the sun was shining off the new snow and making everything super shiny.

He was twenty years old.

"I'm surprised you remembered."

"Of course I remembered. Listen, I gotta go. Bye."

"Yeah."

They both hung up.

Later, in the afternoon, after a long day of group and individual therapy sessions, he was back in the community room, sitting at the long table and waiting to go to the cafeteria for dinner. In front of him was a stack of blank Xerox paper and a black felt tip marker. He picked up the marker and looked at it. It didn't look anything like an Apple PowerBook. The room was very different from a bungalow in L.A.. He took a piece of paper from the stack. The Trilofon made his hand shake, which made it difficult to form the letters, so he had to be very meticulous when he wrote

The Lonelies

then put down the pen. Everything was so different now. He'd have to write a new book. He had no idea where to begin. That was okay, he'd started over before.

An orderly came over and told him it was time. He stood up, folded the paper twice and held onto it tightly. Everything was going to be the way it was supposed to be. He had faith that, whatever happened, in the end, it would all be fine.  


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