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<<<back to part one

By Wil Forbis
I spent the better part of the next hour venting my rage and consuming four beers in the sixer. In my inner voice, I called Trudy every possible term for female genitalia in the book and wracked my mind as for why she would have lied about getting married. Or was it that she was getting married and simply didn’t care? It didn’t matter, whatever her reasons, she was laughing at me. Laughing at me from her posh office job she’d gained through nepotism, laughing at me from the Asterix Bar while she flaunted herself to juvenile niggers like Lorenzo.

“Eayaaagh!” a voice suddenly called out. I looked up at saw the short, gray haired visage of Mr. Kim staring at me from the doorway.

“Lorry!” he exclaimed. “What are you doing? You pay for this?” He held up an empty bottle of beer.

“Mr. Kim,” I yelped. “I… of course I’ll pay for it. I’m just…” I groped for an explanation.

“Who cares whether you pay,” the tiny man yelled. “You should be working. What I pay you for? Lazybones, you are lazybones!”

“Mr. Kim!” I drunkenly pleaded. "I’m just taking my break. You know I get a thirty minute…”

“You are Lazybones!” he yelled. “You cannot drink on break.”

“I’m not lazy,” I said quietly. "I work 12 hours a day. I…”

“Lazybones!” he barked again. “You think this is a bar!”

“I’m not being lazy!” I yelled, while sending a goal post kick into a nearby water cooler, causing the empty water container to topple to the floor with a loud crash. Lorenzo appeared behind Mr. Kim in the hallway.

“What?!” Mr. Kim exploded. “Now you break water cooler. Get out! Get out of store.”

“Lorry, you crazy motherfucker,” Lorenzo said. “What are you doing?”

“I’m leaving, that’s what I’m doing.” I grabbed one of the two leftover beers and pushed past Mr. Kim “Get out of my way,” I said.

“Get out!” Mr. Kim repeated. “Get out for good.”

“Man, Mr. Kim, you can’t fire that motherfucker,” Lorenzo pleaded. “How’s a niggah supposed to run the entire store by himself? Come on ese’, come back.” His words faded into the distance as I walked out of the grocery.

Goddamn, could this day get any worse? First Julia had ignored me at the coffee shop, then I froze my ass off trying to sleep at home. Then I had to deal with Lorenzo and his damn and Trudy giving me her bullshit. Now to top it off I had no job. I saw a Santa Claus collecting donations for the Salvation Army and I immediately went over and kicked his change basket. “Merry Christmas, asshole,” I growled.

“Don’t fuck with Santa Claus,” the old man said, while collecting his scattered money.

I walked over to Broadway and continued to trudge my way home. My mind was a constant replay of the day's events. I was angry at the world and had to prove myself. Prove myself to Kim who thought I was indentured slave labor. Prove myself to Trudy who thought I was past my prime. And halfway home, I realized what I had to do.

I stepped into a Greek grocery and picked up several pears, an apple and a new case of beer. Upon leaving, I popped open the beer I’d taken from Mr. Kim’s and took a few sips. Then I headed two blocks south and headed east. With several minutes I was in front of Julia’s apartment building.

I hoped that maybe the front door had been open (that had been the case in the past) but no luck. I fumed a bit, scratching my chin, then had an idea. I buzzed up to the apartment of Mrs. Stabowski, another one of Mr. Kim’s usual customers who lived in the same building. After several tries a voice crackled over the intercom. Her accent was so thick I could never really understand what she was saying, but I assumed that it was something like “Who’s there?”

“Mrs. Stabowski, it’s Lorry from Kim’s grocery. I’ve got your delivery.”

The intercom crackled again, most likely a protest that she hadn’t called us. But I knew the old women was batty and could be talked into believing she’d ordered something.

“It’s Lorry, Mrs. Stabowski. I’ve got your delivery. Can you let me in? It’s cold outside.”

I repeated my request two more times before I heard the buzz and was able to push open the door.

There was a freight elevator that went up to Julia’s loft, but I took the stairs. As I neared her floor, I could hear voices filtering down from her hallway. I timidly poked my head around the corner to see who was there.

Julia’s door was open, and she was standing in the hallway with arms around a tall, dark clothed young man. They were speaking quietly, but I could only make out a few phrases, like “I had a good time tonight baby,” and “Will I see you tomorrow?” I saw her hand travel down his back and caress his ass. He kissed her for what seemed an inordinate amount of time and then said his farewell. She waved at his back as he headed for the staircase, straight for me.

I ducked back from the corner and silently crept down the first row of stairs. Then I turned around and began to loudly clomp back up them, my boots creating a resounding thud with each step. I was midway back to the top when the young man appeared. I nodded to him when we passed and he quietly said, “Hey, dude.”

Frankly, I thought he was one of the more degenerate people I’d ever seen. He looked young, early twenties (I’d figured Julia for 26 or so) and in appearance and general hygiene it seemed he’d just been fished out of a thrift store dumpster. His clothes were torn, though torn along what I understood to be the rules of Manhattan chic, and his hair looked like it had been clipped with a rusty buzzsaw. Jesus, she’s fucking that fleabag, I thought.

I rounded the corner and stopped at Julia’s doorway. Her door was now closed and I was unsure of what to do. I’d had something drunkenly resembling a plan, but Julia’s obvious romantic liaison had begun to throw that to the wind. “What the hell, I thought. I’ve come this far. I went to her door and knocked.

She opened it, obviously expecting to see her boyfriend or lover or whatever he was. Upon seeing me her eyes widened. “Larry!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

“Uhhh…. That’s Lorry,” I corrected her. “Common mistake. But I’ve got your order.”

“My order?” she smiled. “Gosh, I’m sorry to tell you this, Lorry, but I didn’t order anything.”

“Oh for Christ’s sakes,” I feigned distress. “They’re always screwing this stuff up. Are you sure you didn’t order anything? It seems like something you’d order. Fruit and beer. Here take a look.”

“Well…” she began, peering into the bag. “I might’ve ordered this, like, three weeks ago. Have you guys been really busy?” she joked.

I offered an obligatory chuckle. “I’m really sorry. I guess it was some kind of mix up.”

“I guess so,” she said, biting her lip in an incredibly sexy kind of way.

“Look,” I said. “This is my last run of the night. You want to just take this stuff… for free? I can just give some excuse to Mr. Kim. I mean… you might as well, this beer can’t get any warmer.”

“Well…. Sure,” she replied. “Thanks, that’s really great of you. She reached over and took the bag from me.

“We stood there looking at each other for a few seconds in a growing silence. Then she said, “Well okay… bye now.” She made no move to close the door.

“Look, Julia,” I began. “I… I’ve got to get going but…. Well, the last time I was here you invited me in for a beer. I had to take a rain check, but I don’t suppose now…?”

“Sure, sure” she said and swung open the door. “It’s always nice to have a beer after work.”

I entered her loft and had to take a minute to let the place sink in. It truly was an artist's studio. It must have been a good 500 square feet of livable space, sectioned off with wheeled wall partitions. Every corner seemed to have its own personality and was piled high with various odds and ends. A large painter’s canvas was at one end, splattered with several hues of paint resembling nothing in particular. A hanger unit was in another corner with a host of theatrical costumes descending from it. An amazing amount of recording and film equipment lay scattered in another section - microphones, video cameras, an old reel to reel four track, and a slide projector projecting some strange images against the wall. Along the center of one partition was a sofa and next to it a desk with a computer. Across the room from the sofa, next to a giant window with a view of Chelsea, was a bookshelf with what must have been more than a hundred books. In the center of the room, in full view of the sofa, was a large screen TV, lit up with a program.

“Wow”, I said. “This is quite a place you got here.”

“Yeah, it gets me by,” she replied, heading for the kitchen area. “You want a cold beer? I’ve got some in the fridge.”

“Sure, that’d be great,” I answered while she disappeared from view. I took the time to examine her studio in more detail. I looked over the books on her shelf, all academic volumes about acting and art theory, none of which I recognized. Then I walked over to the television to see what was on.

At first all I saw was a lone figure making strange jerky movements of what looked like an empty stage. Then I recognized the lone figure as Julia and the empty stage as one of the areas at the other end of the loft. Music was playing in the background and she was doing what looked like a very skillful dance to its rhythms. And she was completely nude.

“What do you think?” Julia was standing in the doorway with two open beer bottles in her hand. She was obviously asking my opinion of the video.

“It’s… ummm, very unusual,” I said, unsure of how to handle myself. I liked it, but I had the impression I was being asked for something more.

“Probably not your thing is it? You don’t seem like much of a performance art fan.”

“Well, I like dancing and everything. I used to work down at the 24/7. It’s a dance club in mid-town. But it’s more hip-hop, top 40 type of stuff.

“Oh, yeah. I’ve been there a couple times. You want to sit down? Here’s your beer.” She used the bottle to wave me over to the couch

I walked over, grabbed my beer and sat. She took a seat next to me and sipped out of her bottle. “I don’t want you to think that I’m some sort of egotistical bitch,” she said. “I mean, sitting around my house watching videos of myself. It’s just… I like to look at old performances… to see what I can do better.”

“No, no, I wasn’t, I wasn’t thinking that at all,” I hastily replied. “I mean, it looks great. You look great.”

“Well, it’s not a big deal, really,” Julia said. “A lot of people seem to think I’m kind of…. self absorbed.”

“Yeah, well…” I started to reply. “Some people have said the same thing about me. Old girlfriends, mostly.”

“Hah! Well fuck ‘em,” Julia said, a grin wide on her face. She held up her beer. “Here’s to self absorption. Cheers.” Our bottles touched.

“Yeah, fuck ‘em.”  I said.

“Yes…” Julia spoke again, but this time in a strangely quieter voice. “Fuck them like these goddamn fucking cockroaches!’ she ended the sentence with a yell, staring at a flittering creature on her table. Quickly she reached behind the sofa and brought out a can of bug spry. But instead of gassing the insect with the canister’s fumes she used it as a club and smashed it down on the roach with a loud crunch.

“Fuckin’ beasts,” Julia said. “I hate them.”

“Boy,” I said, a bit taken aback at the fanfare she’d put into the process. “I’d hate to get on your bad side.”

“Yeah!” Julia said, laughing. “Ain’t I a bitch?”

Thing’s seemed to be going well, and I managed to use some newly found confidence to launch into a comfortable conversation with Julia. She had no trouble pontificating upon her favorite subject: herself. But I didn’t mind. For the moment, she was one of my favorite subjects. The conversation flowed smoothly and we soon found ourselves several beers into the night. I’d managed to move closer to her on the couch. Though she was facing me in a cross-legged position, I was able to unobtrusively but my hand on her shoulder and began caressing it in an absentminded way.

“Lorry,” Julia began when I started doing this. “You didn’t really have a delivery for me tonight, did you?” She gave me a knowing grin.

“Well… no,” I said sheepishly. “How’d you know?”

“Oh, a girl has her ways. Plus the receipt in your bag of groceries said it had come from someplace called Balasi’s.”

“Fuck!” I laughed. “I can’t believe I forgot about that. The receipt… Look, I hope you don’t think I’m a weirdo or anything. I just… well, I see you around all the time. I thought… you know..."

“No, really, it’s fine. It is”

“Really?” I asked.


I leaned in and kissed her. Her response, though not exhilarating, was accommodating. I leaned my body over, continuing the kiss and ran my hand along the side of her body, eventually resting on her breast. She let out a long, “Mmmmmm…”

I repositioned my body so I was lying on top of her, though she was still pretty vertical on the sofa and continued to use one hand to fondle her. Her hand found it’s way to the back of my head and ran its way through my hair. Kissing her neck, I ran my hand along the inside of her thigh and felt her crevice through the thin fabric.

“Mmmm… no, Lorry. Don’t do that," she said, while still rubbing the back of my head. I took this to mean that she didn’t want to be penetrated. Maybe it was her, ummm, "time?"

“That’s cool,” I said. I leaned back away from her so I was positioned on the couch by my knees, towering before her. I removed myself from my pants Then I leaned back over her, positioning my penis in front of her face. “It’s okay,” I said, caressing her head.

Faced with my monument she looked away so that I could not see her eyes and she made a sound. I thought that I’d really blown it, like she was going to cry or yell at me. But it was worse. She was laughing.

“Hah… hah, hah, No… I’m sorry, I can’t do this. This is silly. Hah, hah, I’m sorry…”

“What are you laughing about? What’s so funny?” I mewed.

“No, I’m  sorry…” she said, still giggling. “Hah, hah…”

“What? Can’t you just…? I mean it’s just that you’re so beautiful. I…” I pleaded.

That sent her into hysterics and her chuckle turned into a series of guffaws. She rolled on the couch with laughter. “No, really, Lorry,” she said trying to speak. “I’m sorry, you just don’t understand.” She put her hand on my abdomen and tried to push me away.

“What’s so fucking funny,” I yelled, bringing my open palm crashing against the side of her head. She spun off the couch and her head bounced on the hardwood floor of the loft.  She looked up at me, blood coming out of her nose and panic in her eyes. “Lorry,” she said softly and seriously. “You’ve… got… to… leave.”

“You think this is funny? You think this is a joke.” I returned myself to my pants and stood up.

“I’m sorry Lorry,” Julia said while sitting up on the floor. “I shouldn’t have… let’s just say you’re not my type.

“Fuck you!” I screamed and brought my boot up against her face. “You think this is a joke? Is this a joke?” I grabbed the insect spray and sprayed it in her face and eyes. She coughed and sputtered, blood coming out of her mouth in a fine mist. Her leg jerked beneath me, knocking over one of the mannequins. It hit the floor and came apart in dozen pieces; plastic limbs going everywhere.

“Here, bitch” I said menacingly. “Need a hand?” I picked up one of the mannequin’s hands and brought it down on her. Flesh split about her skull. I smashed it down a few more time, bludgeoning her face.

“You know what, Julia?” I said. “You were right. You are an egotistical cunt!”

Weakly, she rolled over, a pool of red forming around her body. One of her eyes turned up at me. “You… won’t…” she began to speak. “You won’t get away with this.”

“Oh yeah?” I retorted.

“No…” she said. “You’re going to pay… I know you’re going to pay.”

"We'll see, bitch. We'll see…” Calmly I brought the mannequin arm down on her mouth, cracking teeth. The I began a series of blows to her face, repeating them a dozen, two dozen times. When I was done, her head was like a cracked egg, its crimson yolk spilling across the floor.

I did my best to sidestep the lake of blood forming around her twisted body and stood back to examine myself. I still held the mannequin’s arm in my hand, and my fingerprints were painted on it with what looked like spackled raspberries. My jacket, though somewhat bloodied was surprisingly clean. I found my way into her bathroom, a small offshoot from the kitchen area and cleaned myself, my jacket and the mannequin arm, making an attempt to be extraordinarily thorough. Then I went back into her living space and wiped my fingerprints of the beer bottles and any other area I thought I might have touched. Thank god I never came on her, I thought to myself. Then I’d really be fucked.

I did a preliminary check of the body. I'd heard stories  about police tracking down killers by skin their victims had managed to claw off their bodies. For the most part, Julia had never had the chance, but I used a toothpick from my Salvation Army knife to scrape the undersides of her fingernails just in case. Then I did what I could to wipe her fingernails clean, as I knew that fingerprints could imprint themselves on the polish of the nail.

Standing back I felt pretty secure. If no one saw me leave I figured I had a pretty good chance of getting out of this unscathed. In the back of my mind I was aware of the problem with Julia’s lover: He’d seen my come up the stairs - but I figured he could be dealt with later. He might even make the perfect patsy. Something about his appearance said “Criminal Record.”