I was trying to warm my bony ass upon a cold drift-wood stool at the Fat Pelican, when Megan walked in wearing a delicate black dress that the sea wind wouldn’t dare tear off. Megan was more than a Pelican confessor, she was a colleague; she never gave a breathing fuck about the addictions, physical afflictions or mental illnesses of parents, she was only wanting, waiting, even panting for the moronic miracles of two, maybe four students that could be possibly snared within the terminal web of her passion. I was fascinated by her, more than fascinated; I was madly in love with her, and I’d only known her for nine gestating months before the tragedy.
She sat beside me with a fleeting glance. Most of the denizens were standing, screaming about what had happened, perfectly oblivious of us. I didn’t know what to say to her, but she said it for me.
“Hey David, wow, this shit is growing some serious wings.”
“Yeah, some of it,” I said.
“You know all of it,” she told me, and she was right.
“I’m sorry Meg.”
“Why the fuck are you sorry? I wasn’t even there.”
“I know, but I already heard about Julian’s diary.”
“Wow, that was fast, I never even get a chance to fucking read it. Mae, give me a shot of Old Crow, with a red Bud chaser.”
Mae was fast and Megan was faster, swallowing the sad marriage within a minute. She slowly unhooked her hair and her long red mane began to burn through the dim, doomed space; a blessed lantern lighting the drunken darkness, giving migraines to the bitter Mermen and failed fathers flanking us.
Megan lit a Salem, and I couldn’t help brooding upon her brand. I never knew she smoked. I never smelled it. I nodded and she proffered one. I quit smoking two years ago, but when she lit it for me I felt the smooth arms of hell welcoming me home once more.
“David, it’s men like you that created telepathy.”
“My silence was always notoriously transparent.”
“Is that why your wife left you?”
You sagacious little slut, I nearly said, instead I raised my shot glass. “Cheers.”
“That was a cunt thing to say David, I’m sorry.” She palmed my right hand, which was clenched on the bar’s scarred skin. Her own skin was cool, clammy and so terribly tender, a small biography of lifelong, relentless terror. My dick stirred with the sudden intimacy. She was probably still fucking with me; she was smoking Salem’s for Chrissakes. Who the fuck knew what other casually cruel spells she had in store for my bony ass? As far as I felt, my heart was just another chew-toy, like Julian’s.
“When did you first fuck him?” Not why, but when, it was a ninety yard fucking pass of a question. Try catching that one, my darkly damaged beloved.
“I didn’t first fuck him, I sucked his cock,” she said, before ordering another round for both of us. She lit another Salem and added, “It was the coldest cock I’ve ever tasted. I sucked it long and hard for nearly twenty minutes, even breaking a sweat. It still tasted like a fudge sickle. And he didn’t even come, which bummed me out; cold heart, cold cock, minus the cold cum, the formula shall remain tragically incomplete.”
She caught the ball alright, and tore it to pieces with her teeth. I downed my shot of Old Crow and it swam coldly down my throat, into my belly, forever failing to be warmed.
“So what did he say about me?”
“What do you mean?”
“David, bullshit does not become you. One of your strong suits, that and your gigantically sad fucking eyes. I swear, you have the baby black holes of a molested child. Did your Aunt ever suck your cock?”
“Yes, I read it.”
“He loved you.”
“More than you do?”
“Maybe, in a more distorted way.”
“So you are in love with me.” She lipped another Salem and pushed the pack towards me like a malign passport. I took another, of course. “Distorted,” she echoed, “What a disgusting fucking word.” She lit her cigarette and buried any remaining disgust in smoke. I decided to bare my soul, what was left of it anyway.
“Yeah, Meg, I fell for you the first time I met you during lunch break, you were theorizing about the lonely orgasms of Flannery O’Connor, and my heart has been a fucking hostage ever since.”
“That’s nice, David, why didn’t you wine and dine me? Separation still too fresh?”
“Maybe. Perhaps I’m a fucking coward; perhaps Julian is the true romantic.”
“Was, you wannabe amputee. What exactly did he say about me, what do your dirty little cookie-jar-hands remember?”
Ok, she wanted it, so I gave it: “December 17th, 2012, My English teacher Megan Winnow is a profoundly sad little woman, yet her urine burns brighter than memory. Megan shall be my long companion, and I shall be her Uber-Death Translator, she will never be afraid before the shivering turn, our brains are impervious to pain and our hearts are impervious to hell.”
“His last entry,” she said. She gazed into her empty shot glass like a gorgon and when Mae asked if she needed another she turned Mae into stone. Like the clockwork of all ruined lives, the TV’s over the bar were suddenly wearing her face, her smile, a smile so bright it drank the whole, hacked apart purgatory of the Pelican for ten timeless seconds. After her smile were the even brighter smiles of her dead, and the face of Julian, Julian the true romantic, Julian who knew the hidden temperatures of Megan’s mind and body, Julian, the Iceman never cometh, Julian, the Uber-Death Translator.
Megan finished her beer in the cathode silence; the frail, black flower of her dress had withered into seaweed from the thousand putrid thoughts around us. She smiled at me, not the blinding network smile that held all our ravaged souls rapt, a smile that spoke again of another Megan beyond her bitter words that terrible distances bred. She kissed me, laying this memory on my tongue, and left forever without paying.
Bio: Chris Benton was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina where he still resides until his parole. His stories are lingering at A TWIST OF NOIR, PLOTS WITH GUNS, THRILLER’S KILLER’S ‘N’ CHILLERS, THRILLS, KILLS ‘N’ CHAOS, BLACKHEART NOIR, CRIME FACTORY, AND SHOTGUN HONEY He can be found on Facebook…