This is the first chapter of a story that I started in 2009 and since put aside. I hope to continue writing one chapter a month, maybe more often if I have time, since I always liked how it started and it just seemed like it needed to be told.
My goal is a raunchy zombie tale, to stay general, but you’ll just have to read it to see what really happens. 🙂
Sleeping With the Dead
“You stupid, ugly whore..” He paused, grimacing at her pock marked face and thighs. Lexi’s lips and eyes glistened from the night’s activities as she smirked and threw herself back on the bed. “Do you think you mean anything to me, or anyone? You’re barely worth the benny I paid you in the hall. You tell me I’m terrible? You lay there like a dead woman!”. He was nearly crying as he said this but she wasn’t listening – stretched on her back staring at the ceiling. “It doesn’t really matter what they say” she thought to herself. She was quite at peace with what she was and how she looked, in general; even though almost daily some jackass would come into her room and try hard to change her mind.
She stared off apathetically, looking at the cracks in the ceiling and humming Xanadu, much to his annoyance. There were only two cracks, but she pretended they were rivers, and they made her remember her childhood in Manitowok, Wisconsin. Manitowok was next to a town called Two Rivers – which she had only visited for parties as a teen – This was a fairly random and meaningless memory to daydream about while being lectured by a naked stranger, but that’s the way her mind worked most the time. After what seemed like minutes, she had gotten so lost in thought and Xanadu, she nearly forgot about the lecturer and his lecture. She rose quietly from the bed, him in the middle of the room – legs wide, tackle dangling, shaking fists, saying something about scruples. Having already got his money and no longer concerned about looking attractive, she sauntered almost grotesquely across the room to her vanity, slumped into her tiny vanity chair and looked back at him blankly through the mirror. He stopped ranting long enough to realize she was bored of him and it was time to go. “Stupid whore” he said again, mumbling as he fumbled with his pants, tottering on one of his excessively hairy, stumpy legs. She laughed to herself as he crossed the room to leave, his reflection a blur in the corner of her eye now as she redid her lipstick for no particular reason. He saw her smiling as he left the room and feeling disrespected, slammed the door so hard her favorite perfume fell off the vanity and broke. Besides the stench of Britney Spears Believe permeating the room, nothing remained of his having been there and that’s all she asked of the asshole types. She was never sure what motivated men like that to go on such tangents or why they let her get to them so easy. She figured it had to do with their mothers, or having been molested by an uncle – she was no psychologist.
This was her third year as a sex worker (as her friends liked to call themselves) and it hadn’t treated her too poorly – considering. Besides dealing with a constant stream of emotionally handicapped men and occasionally women, she had a pretty safe place to do her business. She had just turned 27 a week ago, a birthday that once again passed with just one particular customer taking notice, Cooper – a man due later that same evening in fact. She had a late start at the sex worker business compared to the other girls in the building. Some were on their 20th year, having started at disturbing ages like 16 and 19, and had come into the craft by force or necessity. She had chosen to be here; not a common attribute for women “like her”, but since the results are the same, it didn’t seem to matter.
Her decision had been a fairly methodical one, as all of her decisions are; she was obsessed with book or movie-worthyness in every aspect of her life – a secret little handicap of her own she’d developed after her mother’s feeble attempt at home-school turned into a 3 year movie festival from age 9 to 11. She had gotten so fed up with life as an upper middle class, Jewish, law student – living at home and getting fat on lattés, that she decided to try a life a little more cruel and unspoiled. It would give her character “like in the movies” she thought, and that is has. Her family never valued character and never cared much if she was happy. After her father’s fiftieth refusal to allow her to go to film school, she flunked out of UW Law (University of Wisconsin Law) and gladly told her father to, quote, “fuck himself”.
She always found it pretty odd that she never felt any emotional, cultural or religious ties to her family or small Wisconsin Jewish community, and to her disgust, every now and then when she looked at the cracks in the ceiling, she would think of her grandmother’s tales of Mesopotamia. “The (official) Land Between Two Rivers” Bubby would say, smoking a cigar and smelling like rotten potatoes. Bubby had escaped Iraq during WWII and had a million bullshit tales to tell, but overall Lexi just ended up indifferent and bored of the tales and wanted a way out even more. “Dinah” Bubbe would say (at the time that was her name) “Dinah, don’t you want to be a good woman and find a nice prince to make us some little ones?!”. If “Dinah” had to hear that again she was bound to kidnap a child just to throw it in her Bubby’s arms and scream “Here! Shutup!” – so she left. Her thoughts always get out of control looking at those cracks.
Lexi had realized young, from movies and visiting strip clubs after school, that looks had little to do with sex – and that was good because looks were not something she had. She couldn’t count the hours she’d spent waxing her upper lip or the thousands she’d paid for laser hair removal. She had spent the majority of her life, and to this day, with consistent acne on her back, face and ass, something she attempted to medicate but seemed a losing battle. On top of all her depilatory, acne cream, wax and laser related problems – she had her mother’s nose. From time to time she would convince herself she was a strong woman, made more attractive by her large nose like her hero Sandra Bernhard. Sandra refused to get a nose job even when she was rich and famous and had the money, and Lexi was doing the same right? Except she wasn’t – she couldn’t afford to fix it and the way men treated her, she’d come to no longer see a point.
She continued in the mirror, refreshing other cosmetics that would soon enough be rubbed off. She looked long and hard at herself, squinting and pushing out her upper lip to see if the light revealed any mustache she’d missed. It was time to get up and get dressed, and because it was Cooper’s night, she’d agreed to dress like a school mistress. The outfit he bought her didn’t fit, even a little, and her “large, but not in a good way” breasts were pushed up like water-balloons on the verge of exploding in their captors impatient face. She joked to herself that if she kept wearing outfits like this they would explode and imagined the mess on the walls. “God what a stench” she gagged, remembering the perfume and forgetting the splattered flesh. She bent down to pick up the glass, choking, retching and simultaneously sympathizing with the men who had to smell her neck up close.
Cooper’s night was always Monday and he hadn’t missed one in all her 3 years. She didn’t know his first name or where he lived and he wouldn’t tell her. Through all his adoration he still insisted on some sense of anonymity. She was sure that behind behind his priestly white collar he was a cop, spy or escape convict – or maybe it was just something about his eccentric personality that made him seem to be more than he put on. For the first year he visited her as a beacon of hope, trying to convince her that (the christian) God loved her and still would if she quit her dirty deeds. She’s pretty sure he chose her because she’s Jewish, some kind of a sick double challenge, though he wasn’t really like that. He was never too preachy or judgmental and would even laugh if she joked that the Old Testament speaks highly of whores and “where would Jesus be without his harem” in the New Testament. It wasn’t long before the fact that Cooper was a man overcame the fact that he was a man of God. She wasn’t sure why but she had never charged him for his visits and never told her boss (Madame Lucy as she liked to be called) that he visited for any other reason than to spread the gospel. She insisted on being incapable of favoritism but she surprised herself a lot.
She made the bed nicer than usual and sprayed it with Fabreeze in a feeble attempt to cover the stench of Mr. Ranting Hairy Leg man. She laid out on the bed again staring at the ceiling while she waited for his knock. She thought about the first time a man made her feel beautiful enough to sleep with – she’d gone to a club called Marcy’s as part of a radio show internship (she didn’t tell her father about that one). They broadcasted from the music booth, playing music for the girls to dance to while giving callers lap dance passes for guessing strippers’ tit size. A man walked up to her, looked right at her tits, smiling, and said “38 DD”, he was right and she was hooked. She returned often looking for that same disgusting leer and found she preferred it to her professor’s disappointment or father’s disgust. Minutes passed when she realized her eyes were drooping and Cooper was late. She looked at the clock next to her bed, “15 minutes late” she thought. She started to feel hurt. Something she had not felt since she was a little girl, not hurt like the time her mother slapped her for using a dildo in the family bathroom, hurt like when her dad told her she was a terrible, useless daughter because she wanted to go to film school. She started to hum Xanadu again to distract herself when Cooper finally knocked.
She smiled gleefully, but quickly pulled it back, gaining composure so he wouldn’t know she cared. “Come in…” she groaned grumpily. He entered slowly and nervously – as if he was waiting for a shoe to hit him in the head. “Sorry I’m late” he frowned and closed the door quietly, standing up against it with his hands behind his back. He looked worried. His forehead was more wrinkled than usual and eyes seemed lower on his face. He was pretty much the goofiest looking guy she hadn’t charged for sex, not including her second cousin when she was 12 (a Bat Mitzvah can make a girl do some strange things). He was extremely tall, 6’5” at least, his eyes were wide set, voice deep and teeth large. He had terrible posture and his clothes always fit too big, but he looked like a young Tom Waits and that made her hot. The best part about him was how unaware he was of his charm. That made him within her reach, something she couldn’t say for most good looking guys. She realized she was staring and remembered to look aloof again. He smiled a little and seemed to come out of a daze himself. “I can’t stay today Lexi, I just came by to say that, and ask …” stammering “…if you wanted to come with me for the night you could”. She was a mix of hurt and confused, feeling rejected from sex but flattered by the prospect of going anywhere with him outside the room. “I don’t know if I can” she said “I have a lot of things to do before tomorrow morning. You know the mayor comes by on Tuesdays”. She was lying, kind-of, and really did want to go, wherever it was. He smiled a little, speaking carefully “Lexi, you know I know that the Mayor comes to see Madame Lucy, not you, not that he shouldn’t see you… anyway, I’m sure she can wash the sheets without you. Besides I’ll have you back by early morning on my way to church”. She rolled her eyes, “church, whatever” she mumbled to herself, “Ok I’ll come, just give me a minute to change. Where are we going?”. He looked increasingly nervous and a little excited, “I want to show you something I think you’ll appreciate”.