Free Extreme Fiction

Jimmy-1

    Timmy turned the radio down as I slipped into the passenger's side of the car and strapped myself in. Rap music. The warmth of the inside of the car enveloped me like a blanket from God. Jesus how magnificent, that heat. I felt moisture condense on my skin, then roll down my shoulder blades and the back of my legs like rain down a car window. Hallelujah, I was warm again. Halle-fucking-lujah.
    Timmy wore a tight-fitting midnight dress with black platform shoes. Her dirty-dandelion-colored hair was pulled back and pinned in place. She looked pale, like always. She had pockmarks on her cheeks from a hideous adolescence now many years in the past. Her make-up looked slapped on. She was thin, but muscular thin. She was one of those people who held down three different jobs and still never had any extra money. One job was cleaning other people's homes. Another job was delivering cans of soup and chili to area supermarkets. She'd even worked at Matrix Movers a couple of times, which was where I'd first met her. I first got to know her, though, at a black bar in the South End I used to work at called The Bed of Roses.
    Now, before she even turned to go back to Pond's Way, she held out her hand to me, palm up. "Where is it?"     
    "Where's what?'
    "The money."
    "What money?"
    "The...Fuck you, Lomax."
    "Right here?"
    "How much have you got on you? Right now, in your pocket. How much?"    
    "I got a buck."
    "You got a...Get out of the fucking car."
    "If..."
    "I'm not moving until you get out."
    "I've got to get to that party, Timmy."
    "You..."
    "You're going back anyway."
    "Fuck!" Timmy hit the gas pedal, and off we went. "I hate being lied to. Why'd you have to fucking lie to me, Jimmy?" 
    "I needed you to come get me. An old friend of mine was murdered a couple of hours ago almost right in front of me. I'm not lying about that. Someone snapped her neck and left her lying in her own piss."
    "Really?"
    "Yeah."
    "You know who did it?"
    "Not really. Not yet. Someone rich or someone powerful."
    Timmy's tone softened. "That's some tough shit, Jimmy. You okay?"
    "Oh yeah, I'm on cloud nine. I'm dancing on a fucking moonbeam over here."
    "You're going after them, aren't you?" 
    "Yes I am."
    "That's my Jimmy."
    "She was my best friend's wife when we were all in our twenties."
    "What'd you say her name was again?"
    "Karen." I tapped out a cigarette and fired it up.
    "You got another one of those?"
    "Sure."
    "Well, at least I get a cigarette out of the deal, then. You're sweating like a pig, by the way. You ever think of seeing a doctor about that?"
    "I don't have any medical insurance."
    "Me neither." Timmy used my lighter to fire up her own smoke. "What'd they kill her for, some kind of drug deal?"
    "That's what I need to talk to Bobby Harris about."
    "Bobby Harris doesn't know anything about anything that doesn't have to do with staring at himself in the mirror."
    "I heard something about him, though, just now."
    "It's true," Timmy said.
    "You don't even know what I'm..."
    "I have at least four friends who have been with him, and they all say the same thing. It's true."
    "How big do they...?"
    "Annie Bargar told me he can't even get a full erection it's so big."
    "But you've never seen it yourself?"
    Timmy didn't answer but instead trembled slightly like the question disturbed her.
    "You're not even curious?"
    "Yeah, right. There are nights when I'm trying to go to sleep when it's the only thing I can think about."
    "So why don't..."
    "You think I haven't tried? At a party last summer, I got drunk and threw myself over the front of his car while he was trying to leave."
    I chuckled. "Christ, Timmy."
    She nodded. "Pretty humiliating."
    "He's a member of the Seaclears. Ever hear of them?"
    "The nudists?"
    "That's them."
    "Their leader predicted that the Starks would go to the Hyperbowl?"
    "Christ, does everyone in the world know about that except for me?"
    "She's cool. I saw her on local cable once. There was a part of me that was thinking about giving the Seaclears a try but..."
    "But..."
    "I stopped getting naked in public a long time ago. I did go to one of their nudie clubs, though."
    "Naked Fairmont?"
    "In Fairmont?"
    "That's the place. The Seaclears don't own those clubs, though."
    "Sure they do."
    "Rick Erly. The slob who made Rogue Town. He's the one who started those clubs. His first couple of  movies were outgrowths of what happened at Naked Fairmont."
    "That's right. You're right."
    "So what's it like?"
    "It's cool. It's like every ten minutes someone else gets onstage, first a girl then a guy then a girl then a guy, and they're all nude. The only thing onstage is this old, wooden coat rack, and every performer goes onstage wearing a robe, and they hang their robes on this coat rack, and then they're naked."
    "Kind of a ritual kind of thing, huh?"
    "That's right. That night, some fat old Santa Claus looking bastard read some poetry that was just awful. We couldn't wait for him to finish. Then there was this girl, this young woman. You have to be eighteen-years-old to even get in the place, much less get onstage, but she couldn't have been much older than that, and she played a guitar and sang, and you just wanted to cry her songs were so beautiful and she sang them so well."
    "So who all'd you go with?"
    "A group of us, like four of us girls."
    "Did any of you get up onstage?"
    "Bonnie Gletcher did. She's the one who talked us all into going in the first place."
    "What'd she do? What was her act?"
    "She sang like she was doing karaoke, only there wasn't a karaoke machine. I think she just liked the idea of getting naked in front of a bunch of people. Plus, there's the fifty bucks."
    "They pay you fifty bucks to get up onstage naked?"
    "That's the deal."
    "Christ. Have I been out of touch or what?"
    "It costs you ten bucks to get in, and they pay you fifty bucks to get up onstage and perform."
    "We're going. Right now."
    "No fucking way."
    "Are they even open?"
    "They're open twenty-four-seven."
    "You wouldn't stand naked in front of a bunch of people for fifty bucks?"
    "Not all the way. I'd go topless. I'm too old for that other stuff."
    "You're right about the cops. They're everywhere. That's the third cop I've seen so far."
    "One just passed us too, going the other way."
    I pointed to the paper cup between Timmy's legs. "That beer?"
    "Sure is."
    "I don't suppose I could have a sip."
    "I don't give sips to liars. Not only that, but it's really old and there's not even that much left. I'm just sipping this to wet my whistle. So you saw her, your friend? You saw her dead?"
    I nodded. "Someone twisted her skull completely around on her shoulders."
    "No one's after you, are they?"
    "No, uh-uh."
    "So what'd you do when the cops got there?"
    "Never talked to 'em. I was coming down the stairs while they were going up."
    "That was some shit you saw tonight, Jimmy. I saw a dead man once in an alley behind a bar."
    "I've seen a couple myself, working the bars. I've seen some really bizarre shit over the years, I really have."
    "I just about tripped right over him. He'd been shot to death, although I didn't see a drop of blood. I couldn't sleep all week-end just thinking about it. I felt sick like I had the flu. By the way, we got to stop somewhere before we get back to the party. It'll only take a second."
    "With you, nothing ever only takes a second."
    "I told Modesto I'd pick up something for him. You seen him lately?"
    "Modesto? Not for years."
    "He ain't looking so good these days."
    "No wonder. He never exercises, and he eats like a fucking pig."
    "He's not a pig anymore. He's lost a lot of weight."
    "Christ."
    "Yeah, and...Jimmy?"
    The inside of her car was so goddamned warm. I'd been out in the freezing cold for a couple of hours wearing only a jean jacket, and now here I...For the life of me, I couldn't keep my eyes open. My body, all by itself, began to curl into the womb position. "I'm sorry, Timmy. What'd you say?"
    "What was your friend's name again?"
    "Karen. I knew her from when I...I...uh..."
    "What? You're mumbling."
    "What are the chances of my slipping into the back seat for a quick couple of winks, huh Timmy?"
    "Hell no. You stay up here and keep talking to me. I didn't drive all this way just to hear you snore."
    "Well, yeah, but..."
    "If..."
    And that was that. The fog of sleep thickened into a glop that clogged all my senses, and I went out.    
    

                                                                               CONTINUE