by RM Graves
“Foster City, Crowne Plaza”, Copyright © Devin McCawley, 2015
“Yo Pussy! You heard? There’s life on Mars!”
Paper-Jo rolls up in the blacked-out with the side down. Mofo likes to chat but this ain’t the time, who knows who’s clocking the switch. I have the bag, he got the papers, swap through the passenger side, say nuttin, that’s the rule.
“Blood, I’ll cut you up, call me that again.” I chuck him the Nike bag — couple grand, maybe a grand light — and click my fingers for the slapper-juice, the ho-motivator. Paper-Jo’s my bredren, I mean for real, or I’d have slit him already. I’m nervous though, one of my bitches bolted and the taking’s down, and I been using – just a little medicine – but Jo has zero tolerance for that shit. Hide the guilt. He’s laughing, cheeky runt.
“Baby bro’, listen to you all grown up. I don’t deal the jobs geezer. I run the chemicals. Makes me Paper-Jo, you run the bitches, so you Pussy-Boss. Be proud, Bredders!” Then he fucks off.
Life on Mars, eh?
Daytime is slow time — not too many sweaties want blowing ten-thirty on a Tuesday — and I’m in the caff, with the bitches. They’re all blissed with their fix, and I’m watching the news.
That alien shit is big all over TV. Little Martians buried up cosy and deep. But wutuff, just microbes? Blood, I seen the pictures. Maggoty little, I dunno, bacteria or something. I’m like, “What? No Little Green Men?
And I ‘member the movie, Martians all get, like, a nasty dose. I mean the tiniest stuff took these alien-tripod-deathrays up the Gary, know what I’m saying? So then I’m thinking, motherbitch, what if? What if microbes ain’t quite so pussy after all? This is the modern day, what if just the “knowing” of them is, like, killer? Eating me from the inside?
Like sometime, I’ll tell a mug I’m gonna hack him up, bad, and that bark just bites. Blood, I seen it, one time dint even need to draw the switch. Kid took a dive just agonizing on that shit…
Now I’m agitated, the news has bust my nut and fucked my day.
But I keep it to myself, know what I’m saying? Stay Icy. Don’t want no fuss, no attention. I’m only fifteen but I know it don’t help to worry the good-folk when they’re getting their fix of skinny latte. We roll in parallel worlds, Us and Them. Never cross the streams. We sell our bad-boy shit and they sell their good-boy shit and as long as we don’t ruin their day? They let us roll on by.
Course, it helps to fuck one up every-now-and. Happy-slap or drive-by, whatever, just to feed the fear. I’m thinking this as I watch a fat-fuck frown at me, slam-nomming his fat-fuck-fix of pie, and I feel the urge, and I’m pondering it. Dark alley. Me, him. Broken bottle. All black and yellow and red. That’d fix the antsy in me.
Then I clock her. Bella. The mousy bint that walked and screwed my weekly totes? She pussycats into the caff with a bundle and I’m like, “Mudder.Con.” I dint even know she was pregnant. I swear.
I got four hoes and that’s more than enough stress, believe it. I got their phones, I got their cards. I got them hooked, free dope at first. I’m the Daddy, I cover their asses. They do their tricks, they pay me, they get fixed, I pay my boss. All happy as sin.
Bella’s clucking. Been off the meds and looks like shit. Skank’s gonna be half price tonight, for real, or she’ll get no work at all. But the kid? This Wriggler’s one week old, I swear, and he’s badass. Lifting his head already, howling like a ninja, little fists clenched.
Bella’s smiling and sweating and shaking. “The hospital made me bring him some clothes, I’m sorry boss. I picked him up and couldn’t put him down.”
I want to smack her up, but the caff is a bad place for that. That’s why she popped up here, I guess. Sisters are all over her. Kid’s doing my nut in. “What you want from me, girl? He hungry? Why’s he making that noise?”
“He’s withdrawing, boss. He was born hooked. I thought you might…”
“What? Fix him up? You dutching me?” I’m up and I’ve grabbed her outside, pushed her into my car. A couple slaps, nuttin too hardcore. Bitch is all weepy and shit. A week in hospital makes you weak. Even while she’s leaking, she’s begging me to fix her up.
Reckon Bella’s my age, maybe less. Looks even younger cos the crack ain’t turned her toothless beldam yet. I know this is some evil merde, but I don’t make the market, I just give the good-folk what they want. I ponder switching her off, selling the kid. I ponder Us and I ponder Them. I ponder the aliens on our doorstep. I dint go to school much, but I’m a sparky little runt.
“I’ll sort it,” I say, “later.”
Night-time is my time, but this night? Twitchy. I got no cool. I know I been using, but that ain’t it. It’s the stars, Blood.
Listen. For me, the dark is my place of work, it’s the office, yeah? Carpe Nochtem, all that shit. And the stars – up ‘til now – they been strictly lights on nobody home, know what I’m saying?
Back in the day, when I was a kid and the weed still worked, I could puff myself up high enough to smash them bright little windows and pillage God’s own house. And what a trip. Smash-and-grabbing Heaven. No Fiery Angels. No Little-Babby-Jesus. No God. Nuttin.
And mofo, I can prove that, you know it.
Mother-butt-fucking but. Now I know there’s living shit all over the sky? I mean why not, if it’s here, and it’s on Mars, then it’s everyplace. Waving its fingers at me, sniping on my evil ways. Pushing its glittery microbes in my eyes. Little maggots of guilt.
So I got what you might call a crisis of confidence going down, and then there’s the Wriggler. Screaming, raging. Slugger wants to kick my ass for what I done to him, I can see it. I know I gotta do something. And it’s got to be righteous, it’s got to be… good. Who knows who’s clocking this shit, right now.
Happy hour all sucked off. Maybe four thirty in the AM and the city’s deep-dark and I pick Bella up from a job. Zombied anyway cos I won’t let her get high ‘til she earns me some. Just the rules. We pick up the kid and the bitches are blubbing and begging me not to do it? Dunno what they think I am, or what they think I’m gonna do.
Little slugger’s still screeching. What a fuckass first week on planet earth this kid is having. I got to respect him, though. My bredren used this word to describe me when I was a Wriggler. Tenacious. I love that, it’s fierce.
“You fed him, I mean, ever?” I’m driving dead clean. I can’t get pulled cos I ain’t legal. They’ll do me for that shit. For real. Bella comes on shy, like I’m just another pedo, then takes out her tit. I wanna throw up. Drop all the windows.
We get to planet Good-God, all green and clean windows. I know it well cos sometimes? I chill on these good-folk streets, gawp and ponder on a movie where I was born here, instead of the flats. I clocked a family here once and now I follow them. My private soap, big brother or some shit. All clean, rich and dead happy ‘bout it too. School runs, bikes and balloons. Give thanks on Sunday. I pull up by their what-the-fuck house and wrestle the Wriggler off Bella’s tit where he’s chewing like a milk-burgler.
Every window’s black and you can hear the whole fat manor snoring. Little fella’s screaming like a mofo. Good Boy! I plop him in a Nike bag and drop it on the top step, in front of their fuckass front door, I mean like Number Ten, for real. I rap on it like; “Po- lice!” then peg it to the car.
Bella’s shaking and soaked, but zips when I get in. I’m kakking it, but icy. This is doing the prime directive up the ass, for real. I’m crossing the streams.
The front door flips and “Rugger-chap” — in striped pyjamas, no shit –- steps out huffing. Blinking up’n’down the street, the burly bugger don’t see us, just another car. He clocks the wriggling bag, unzips it and stumbles back, like there’s a bomb in it. Then Missus Milf pops up plucks the slugger out. She’s blubbing ‘bout bad as Bella.
Rugger-chap’s got his fists out, wants to pound on someone. I’m LMFAO. I mean, this bear ain’t nearly as scary as he thinks he is, in his jim-jams! Yelling ‘til the lights flick on all over. But the missus? She already cooing on the Wriggler. All curled up cosy, ready for his new start.
I ain’t dumb. I know they won’t keep him. But, man, the good-folk in this world got shanks for elbows, know what I’m saying? They’ll bang heads together, for real.
I’m all king-cock, but Bella? Blood, she ain’t down with my good deeds. She got a fever in them streaked cheeks. Blazing both barrels of white-eye, snarling and making claws of dirty fingers like she gonna choke me with my boxfresh, motherfucking halo.
I’m like, “The-fuck, girl?”
And that little home-grown, micro-conscience I got wriggling ‘bout down there? Up and smacks me in the face. Then this ain’t no junkie, it ain’t my ho. It’s Bella. Tiny, spent, beat-up. Tenacious for real. And — for the first time -– I seen it. What I done to her.
So I don’t do nuttin when she fucks off out the blacked-out, and pegs it to the good-folk. Down on her knees and all. Rugger-chap, he don’t know where to put them loaded fists, right now, and the missus, she ain’t giving back the Wriggler. Not to Bella in the skank she’s in. So they take that shit inside. All of them. Off the street and slam the door, like, fuck you.
Now, if I done good or not? I dunno, but I‘m psyched and the stars are winking. I seen the light. All these tenacious wrigglers, all over. It’s like hope, innit?
I spark up the car, whack up the boom-boom and fuck right off. Out of the city. Blood, I mean for good. I want to live under a bigger sky, know what I’m saying? UG
RM Graves is an illustrator and fiction writer. His fiction has appeared in Interzone, Flash Fiction Online, Escape Pod, Voluted Tales and Every Day Fiction, among other places. He lives in London with his wife and two children and can be found on Twitter @DreamBuffet.