by Jerry Erwin
Scrawny, hunched-over, pale, and her feet were definitely too large for her bowed, blue-veined legs, yet...
She was undeniably gorgeous.
It all started in her face. A New York, chiseled-model thing. Locally, it was probably referred to as witchy. The nose was slightly large and verging on pointed, but...
Aggressive hazel and looking right through me with a gaze somewhere between pure, childlike innocence, and professional indifference. I hung around her bowling lane to hear those deliciously anxious shrieks of excitement over her most recent spare. I gave her a polite grin, as though appreciating the difficult 7-10 pick-up. But she knew I wasn't being polite, that I was grinning at all those goofy, uncoordinated features of hers that had me hanging around a funky, rural bowling alley deep into the night. I should have just gotten into my rented car and headed back to L.A., but...
I couldn't help but imagine how she would look completely naked and deliciously scrawny in some dark, humid, rural bedroom. I was a hopeless romantic... bordering on sexually dysfunctional.
I knew it wasn't a good idea to have pulled in there in the first place. But I was hungry, and other than the Taco Bell -- which I hated -- it was the only place open in that little Southern town. The grilled cheese I got at their snack bar was edible. Besides, the place had atmosphere. And I was a scavenger for it. It was my life, my obsession, my... problem.
I ended up meeting her in the parking lot. She was driving a beat-to-shit VW bug that was four or five colors. The interior looked like Beirut, and she giggled at some harmless joke I made about it.
" Where you from, anyway?" she asked in that western Kentucky drawl, although it was softer than most.
I expounded brilliantly about myself. She was impressed I was from Los Angeles, and particularly impressed I made such a good living in something as obscure and mysterious as graphics.
"I'd like to own my own business, someday," she was lamenting to herself, not sounding terrifically encouraged. "But, I don't know... I can't seem to get it straight about... ah, I guess if things had fallen together right... over in Russelville... maybe the dry cleaners would have, ah... forget it."
She suddenly waved it off, more to herself than me. And yes, I could understand such frustration, as un-articulated as it was, and particularly so involving the dry cleaning business. My first job as a boy was cleaning up in a dry cleaner's on Saturday mornings, for one dollar an hour for three hours. I hated it, but amused myself by hiding in the back and somehow masturbating against a hot water heater.
"You hungry?" she asked, snapping me out of my tender, youthful memory -- thank God.
"I make a real killer omelette," she smiled. And it was a wonderful smile. Of course, it just might have been a case of the parking lot not being very well lit on a moonless night. She could have been smiling like Hermann Göring. But the next thing I knew I was feeling adventurous and getting into my rented car and following her home.
A pig farm.
Seven miles outside of town. It was much too isolated and quiet out there. Nothing but rolling, dark hills and whispering trees, and the sky... well, I rather liked that aspect of the whole thing. Looking up, with my head straight back, I could see thousands of bright, twinkling stars. You couldn't do that in L.A. God, it was so...
"Cosmic, isn't it?" she said, matter-of-factly. I turned to her as she walked around the front of the VW. She looked up for a moment, then said:
"I suppose I just get used to it, always living here the way I have." And suddenly, her voice was filled with regret, with deep sadness, and -- "Let's go, I'm starved." She was abruptly out of it and moving quickly ahead of me to the humble little house.
My, God, I was actually going into that goofy young woman's abode on the darkest of country nights? Would her parents be home? After all, she couldn't have been more than twenty or so. Should I ask? What if her dad was all liquored-up and beat the shit out of me? But this girl, this Regina -- she had told me -- did have a certain sensibility about her. Didn't she?
The house was -- as they say in the big city -- humble up the ass. A small, white frame box. In the daylight I'm sure you would discover the paint not so white and peeling. The windows didn't look very clean, a couple of the screens badly torn, and the porch creaked loudly on its surely rotting joints.
She looked over at me before opening the door, and said: "You okay?" She could sense my discomfort, my disproportionate concern for her humble home's structural deficiencies. This girl was not stupid. She could clearly see my hesitation about going in, my grappling with the class issue, and she added: "Never gone home and had an omelette with a poor white girl before?" And was there a twinkle in her aggressive hazel eye? I couldn't tell, it was too fucking dark out on that rotting porch.
She opened the unlocked door. Well, why shouldn't it be unlocked out in the middle of the darkest part of the universe? The only living beings around were pigs, and they probably had better things to do than snoop through a poor, white girl's house when she wasn't home. And yes, I could hear a couple of them snorting in the not-so-distance. In that isolated country setting, with thousands of stars twinkling above, and the smell of green, leafy-type things in the air, they were nearly melodic sounds in a most--
They were not. They were a bunch of filthy pigs snorting and I would have to accept it as a part of the... atmosphere.
Didn't smell too good. Stale. And there was junk all over the place. A home version of her car. She told me to follow her into the kitchen, and I nearly tripped over some plastic toddler-toy.
"Sorry... my kids leave that junk all over the place," she said, moving into the kitchen, pulling a string for the ceiling light -- a bare, harsh bulb.
Kids? An even more frightening image than liquored-up parents.
"I know it's hard to believe," she said, sensing my reaction. "I got pregnant when I was sixteen -- purely accidental. The father is up in Hopkinsville." She went into some funky, unpainted, plywood cabinets and started pulling things out.
"Oh... " I nodded. She pointed me to have a seat at the very old grey formica table. The chrome was rusted.
"It's an asylum," she added.
I nodded again, as if it all made sense. She didn't seem terribly interested in my reaction as she busied herself making omelettes.
"You have any kids?" she asked, while cracking open eggs.
"Oh... no, I don't." Somehow, I felt it was the wrong answer, that Regina would think less of me for not having children.
She didn't say anything, and just kept making those omelettes as if a short-order cook in Denny's. I almost told her to relax, there wasn't a big hurry. Was there? Suddenly I was uncomfortable. Maybe she was in a hurry because her husband would be home soon? But he was up in Hopkinsville, in the loony bin. Hopefully, he wasn't part of some insanity-release program.
"My second husband -- that's my second kid's father, died -- kind of suddenly," she said, while looking out the window. I looked over there, but there was nothing to see but dark, rolling hills... of her mind? A pig snorted.
"I'm sorry," I mumbled.
She looked over at me. I felt too awkward to add anything. She shrugged and turned back to the stove, flipping the omelettes like a real pro. How many guys did she bring to her funky home for omelettes, deep into the night? Oh, shit, was I actually jealous?
"The kids spend Friday nights with my parents up at their place, on Lake Malone. They have a ball there," she smiled. I nodded -- it sounded nice. Maybe I should have been there.
"He was just a bastard." She was suddenly bitter.
I had to play catch-up -- oh, we were back to the second husband. She had a distant, cold look in her eyes, as she added...
"A bastard with a big thing... when am I going to learn?"
It was too personal a moment for me to interject anything. Besides, I was wondering how big a "thing" needed to be in order to--
"Know how he died?" she asked, not waiting for a response. "Killed himself. Went out to the pens and blew his head off. The body fell as flat as cement into pig shit -- actually submerged in it."
"Oh, I'm, ah... sorry." Christ, what an image.
"What are you sorry for?" she asked, more intrigued than sarcastic.
I just sat there.
She shrugged, turned away and said: "He couldn't take it any more and all that kind of... ordinary stuff. Thought his life was a dead end. Well, of course it is, but... so what? That's no reason to go blow your brains out when you got a wife and two kids."
I kind of nodded.
"You must think I'm crazy as all shit, huh?" she said.
"Oh, no... not at all." And I was sincere. She had just been experiencing too much reality for a twenty year old.
"Well... here they are. Best damn omelettes in Mulenburg County." She actually sounded happy about it. I had no choice but to smile and begin eating.
It was good. And she used real cheddar cheese. I was impressed. She seemed self-absorbed in her own plate, and I kept stealing glances at her. She looked good in that harsh ceiling light.
"Want another one?" she asked.
I was blank. Then I realized my plate was clean. I mumbled a no, quickly adding how good it was. She nodded along while putting the dishes in the sink and running water over them. I heard a pig snorting outside. She turned that way and frowned. Maybe it had gotten loose or something? She looked back at me, giving a little wave with two of her slim, very white fingers, to follow her out of the kitchen and into the dark, narrow hallway.
"What's wrong, honey... you look a little disoriented," she said from across the small room. It was only slightly less messy than the rest of the house. A cracked, red ceramic lamp with a yellow bulb made for some weak shadows. Naturally, it complimented her. And the way her little southern voice had said "disoriented" -- as though it were French... oh, man. Suddenly, I was struck by how unlikely this whole thing was, how I could be so aroused in such unusual circumstances with such an unlikely girl.
She moved over to me and softly kissed my lips. It was an affectionate kiss. And she was so casual, so natural as she put her long, thin arms around me and gave me a deep, long one; her small, braless breasts pressing into my pounding chest. She leaned back a moment, grinned, and said...
"You're really revved, huh?"
Embarrassing, but true. A pig snorted outside. She tensed momentarily, then pulled me back in to her. She kissed really well and was unzipping her shorts with one hand. I was impressed, and hopelessly... revved.
"Oh God, baby, that's great!" She was sincere as I entered her. And yes, her body was white and scrawny and hard and the skin slightly cold, but...
It was the best. Regina was wild in her passion, and yet, so affectionate. It made me want to have her all that much more; this flawed, damaged, and darkly sensitive woman who lived alone on a pig farm with her kids, and...
A pig snorted.
"It's okay, baby." She stroked my face with her hard, slightly cold hand, and to emphasize the point, wrapped her legs up around my back -- like a vise. I pumped furiously, and it was too good, too removed, too...
A pig snorting. Sounded closer than before. I couldn't help myself. I began thinking about the front door being unlocked and one of those pigs wandering up on the porch and pushing the door open with its snorting snout and coming inside, and...
"Come on baby, come on." Regina sensed my distraction, as I had slowed my pace. She dug her big feet of long, sharp toes into my skin, and Christ...
Another snort. And did I hear pig feet on the porch? But maybe it wasn't a pig. Maybe it was a human. A pig-man, so to speak. Her husband -- escaped, insane, horny, and pissed-off?
"Baby?" Regina sounded slightly annoyed, and I changed positions, moving her on her side. She liked that. Me too. It was great, it was highly frictional, it was...
Snorting. Really loud. Oh, fuck. A goddamned pig in the house and it would only be a matter of time before it stuck its snout into the bedroom and right up my...
"Dammit!" Regina's voice -- perturbed. She moved away from me and sat up in bed. I was about to start babbling in defense of myself, when I realized her anger was not directed at me -- thank God. She was looking across the room. I did too.
Oh, shit. A pig.
Standing in the doorway, looking in at us, and that dim, yellow light, reflecting on its pink pig face, gave an eerie gleam to its abnormally large pig eyes. Black and penetrating through us -- well... me, at least. It was full-out goddamned spooky, is what it was. I sat up, prepared to, what? Defend myself? What, exactly, could I expect from a pig, and how would I counteract it? A city boy has little knowledge of such things. And the damn beast just kept standing there, squarely focused on us, as though...
"Every goddamned time!" Regina screamed. "Jesus forgive me, but that motherfucker is always standing there like some sleaze-ball Peeping Tom!"
The pig just stared, as Regina elaborated on her rage.
"I can't bring anyone here! I can't -- Jesus forgive me -- I can't spread my legs like an ordinary woman! I can't just lie back like any other desperate bitch and enjoy the taste of a man's thing in my mouth!"
The pig just stared. Regina was twisting madly all about the mattress, tangled up in the sheets like some lunatic at a white sale, as she said: "Holy Jesus, you know I've been a good mother. But when will that son-of-a-bitch quit pullin' that hillrod spook-shit in the middle of my sex shit?!"
I was seriously concerned.
"Well, it ain't going to work this time, Luther!" She looked the pig hard in his big, black eye.
Luther? Like an idiot, I'm thinking what a good name it is for a pig.
"You've fucked up too many of my Friday nights, you obsessive shit!" Luther snorted twice.
"Don't give me that!" Regina was even more enraged now, and abruptly grabbed me. She yanked me around and clamped her mouth onto my own, stuck her tongue down my throat, and took hold of my you-know-what with her steely hand.
Luther snorted five or six times -- a most perturbed swine.
Regina swung around to him, her hand still firmly gripping me, as she screamed: "Go ahead you bastard, watch! Watch until I get off! Watch until this dumb shit fills me up with his big thing! Watch until I'm screaming in..."
Luther squealed. An amazingly high pitch that had me holding my ears, as Regina continued to hold my...
"Come here, baby!" she tried to sound romantic as she pulled me down onto the bed. There was a lot of husk in her voice as she lined me up over her -- the dumb shit of a lover that I was -- although I was greatly relieved she found my "thing" to be big. But this was no time to be getting romantic, as... Luther rushed up into the center of the room. I started to pull away from Regina, but she held on to me.
"No! No!" she said. "He will not fuck up another Friday night!" She pushed me inside and, Christ, oddly enough, I was as hard as a man could be -- particularly in this man's situation. We proceeded, and Regina's hips pounded into me with such violent fury that I actually feared she would break something, and it wasn't a hip.
Luther watched... and squealed... and ran around in tight, manic circles. And as distracting and embarrassing as the situation should have been for me, Regina's unrelenting assault had taken me away, until I found myself screaming out as loudly as the pig. So great was Luther's anguish with my carnal release, that he went running from the room and out of the house. As I exhaled the longest, most satisfying sigh of my life, I could hear him snorting and squealing madly all about the yard.
"Oh, baby... baby, that was wonderful... " Regina cooed like a delicate fawn into my chest.
Luther was still running around outside -- snorting -- coming by the bedroom window every so often, banging up against the wall in his pig anger. Regina seemed to be making an effort to ignore him.
"You know... " she began -- very sweetly, as though still in the afterglow of her violent pleasure. "I was actually thinking about selling this dump and getting out of here. Maybe go out to a place like Los Angeles, and... you know... do something different with my life... "
Luther banged into the wall. She shot a pissed-off look that way, then gave my stomach an affectionate pat and was sweet again. "My kids would like moving to a big city... there ain't nothing for them here to look forward to except bowling and smoking cigarettes."
Luther banged into the wall -- exceptionally hard, rattling the glass. I sat up in bed, seriously considering the idea of getting all my clothes together and...
"I'm sure I could find some kind of work out there." Regina was self-absorbed. Luther crashed into the wall again, and a picture of a very caucasian Jesus fell to the floor. She was on the verge of losing it, but kept trying.
"Maybe if I, ah... packed the kids up in the old bug and made my way out there, say... on Wednesday, you could let us stay on with you awhile until I got settled on my own, and..."
Luther nearly brought down the (north wall), was it? I was grateful for the distraction.
"Well, what do you think?" Regina was staring into my eyes as hard as she had the pig's, and her sweetness was rapidly draining out of the equation. She was demanding an answer -- the one she wanted. I felt pressured and attempted a diversion.
"Luther's a good name for a pig." I even manufactured a smile. She just looked at me as though I was from Mars.
"The pig doesn't have a name," she said, as if it was common knowledge.
"Luther was my husband. The one who blew his brains out, who's body fell into pig shit."
"This nameless pig," she said bitterly -- oh, God, what the hell did I walk into here? -- "This is the pig who was there when Luther stuck the barrel of his favorite pistol into his mouth and pulled the trigger. I guess Luther was so depressed from life having no meaning, besides being hopelessly stupid, he was thinking maybe the pig could talk him out of it at the last minute."
"Do you believe in... you know... restless spirits?"
It was time to get the fuck out of there. But her bright, hard eyes had me in their grip.
"You mean... ghosts?"
"No. I mean restless spirits. Luther would be too stupid to be able to come back on his own. But you know what I believe?" A little gleam came into her eye as she leaned in closer to me. Oh, God, I didn't want to know, because it would only distort an already unlikely evening into a potentially dangerous evening. But I had no choice. I was in her bed on a pig farm out in the middle of pure darkness, as she said...
"I think... that at the moment of his death... the immediate instant after his brains flew out the back of his head, and just an instant before his body fell into pig shit... Luther's soul -- well, let's just say spirit or energy or something, because I think he was probably too stupid to actually have a soul -- you know -- like animals?"
I nodded along -- eyeing my pants on the floor.
"Yeah, well... I think his restless, stupid energy went into that pig that was rolling around in the mud... and he's been hanging around here ever since -- and particularly on Friday nights -- spying on me."
I just sat there, wanting to be polite, but what would be the polite thing to say in this situation? "Have you considered having the pig exorcised?" No -- keep quiet -- locate your shoes.
"I bet you think I'm crazy as all shit, now, huh?" she smiled mischievously.
"Well, I think that..."
Slam! We both jumped. The window broke. That did it. Regina broke, too. An explosion from the bed: sheets, hair, arms and legs flying. A naked, heated frenzy of rage, and I dove for my clothes, I got dressed faster than a speeding bullet as Regina stormed out of the room screaming...
"That's it! That's it! That's fucking it! My best chance in God knows how long to get out of here, and that goddamned pig screws it up!"
She was in the kitchen, yanking open drawers, rattling metal things about, then storming out of the house and down the porch, yelling unintelligible profanities and deeply held personal beliefs that had been betrayed by a cruel and godless fate. I threw on my shoes, rushed into the living room, and peered out the window.
Dawn was breaking, and there was a low-lying mist hovering over the hills, and then, breaking through that mist, was Regina -- naked, enraged, and holding a huge butcher knife up over her head and running (really fast) behind Luther. The pig was squealing, Regina gaining on him, the knife looking disproportionately large in relation to her small breasts, her chiseled-New-York-model face, and her frustrated dreams of a better life for herself and her kids, all because that pig couldn't keep his snout out of her sex shit, and...
I carefully ventured onto the porch. My car was parked on the opposite side of the road, a good hundred yards away. I couldn't help but think that if Regina's rage were to turn even one degree in either direction, I could never make it off her pig farm before getting slaughtered myself. So, like an idiot, I just stood there, looking off into the distant hills, into the mist hovering over them as the dawn grew lighter, and...
Gruesome pig screams.
She caught up to him with her oversized knife. I tried to concentrate on the view, on the trees and sky and mist and...
Accelerating gruesome screams, punctuated with equally gruesome yelps, as Regina's big knife was surely plunging into the beast again and again and again, and...
I covered my ears. Although it was muffled, I could still hear the slaughter going on; the continuous, ultra-high-pitched screams, with a sub-rhythm of dull hacking and stabbing. Finally, a uniquely gruesome kind of silence. I took my fingers out of my ears and was afraid to move, afraid of what I might see if I turned around. Yet, I very much wanted to move, wanted to get the hell out of there, before...
"Well, that's that!"
I jumped, instinctively held my hands up to my face as I jerked around. Regina, standing there in the gray light of dawn, completely naked and calm, with a nearly serene smile on her... blood-splattered face, and arms and hands and stomach and breasts and the knife... still hanging in her left hand.
"I should have done that a long time ago." she shook her head to herself. "But, you're older than I am. You know how attachments are, even the most... ordinary ones." She looked back over her shoulder, to the slaughtered remains of... Luther? Oh, fuck. I, of course, had no intentions of looking over there. I was focused on my car. And with that huge knife still in Regina's hand, it might as well had been a thousand miles away.
"So... what do you say?" Her voice brought me out of it -- kind of. I looked into her bright, dark eyes. They definitely had a gleam in them. She was in a very good mood. A very up mood. But the knife remained in her hand. I couldn't keep myself from staring at it, at the thick blood that slowly ran down its long blade, and...
"Gary?" She smiled, snapping me out of it.
I just stared at her.
"Is it a yes or a no?"
"What?" I was lost.
"Me and my kids coming to stay with you for awhile in Los Angeles until I can find work?"
"I'll keep you ass-high in omelettes," she grinned. A delightful grin, really, filled with life and hope and affection. But, my God, the knife was dripping all down her scrawny, bowed leg, and...
"What? Is there a problem?" Her bright, dark eyes flashed at me. And did I just imagine her hand gripping the knife tighter? Oh, shit.
"Ah... no, not at all," I said. "Ah, look... you go inside and get dressed and, uh... shower." I turned away, not wanting to emphasize the obvious. In my peripheral vision I saw her look down at her blood splattered body, and nod. Good. I continued...
"And, ah, pack up whatever things you'll need, and we'll go by Lake Malone, was it?"
She eagerly nodded, her blood-stained nipples shriveled up in the cold, damp air. But I had momentum...
"And we'll pick up your kids and go right out to L.A. I have an extra room, and..."
That was enough. She went running back to the house; her skinny, bowed, and blue-veined legs looking like some graceful, abstract animal moving swiftly through the mist.
I waited until she got inside, then...
Across the road and to my car, running all the way, fumbling with my keys, and I'm sure I wasn't very graceful, abstractly or otherwise. But run I did, managing to jump into the drivers' seat and get the right one into the ignition, praying to God it would start, and yes, that wonderful engine roared, and I floored it out of there.
I didn't want to look in the rear-view mirror and see that pig -- Luther? -- lying in the yard, butchered and bleeding. But, perhaps I could imagine the possibility of his tortured (stupid) spirit finally being released? To some pig heaven? And as I flew across the Mulenburg county line I certainly could imagine -- fuck that -- I could see...
Regina's face when she washed all that pig blood off her body. I could feel how good she felt, how wildly liberated she was with the sight of it swirling down the drain, igniting divine visions of a better life in a faraway land where people had souls, and barnyard animals were not allowed in the house. Yes, I could see and feel the most glorious morning of her young, frustrated life. But then, she heard my car roar away, and the blood swirling down the drain ignited a rage in her so great that I'd feel it all the way back to L.A., and through many a sleepless night. A justified rage of betrayal that sounded a lot like...
A pig screaming.
©2001 by Jerry Erwin