Post-coital Tristesse — Word Count: 22,739

“Well then,” Bruce said, coming up behind Elizabeth and placing his hands on her waist, “looks like it’s just you and me.”

Elizabeth nodded, her body stiffening at Bruce’s touch. “Uh, Bruce, I hate to ruin the moment and everything, but is that — is that a can of peaches in your pocket, or—”

“No,” he said, his voice low with desire. “No, it’s not a can of peaches.”

Tears began to roll down Elizabeth’s cheeks as her body was racked with uncontrollable sobs.

* * *

Enid finally came to and pushed herself up from the sidewalk onto her hands and knees. Tiny pebbles stuck to her cheek. She brushed them off and squinted in the bright sunlight. The back of her neck felt hot and sunburned.

“What the fuck?” she mumbled groggily, realizing she was in the courtyard in front of her condo. “How long have I been passed out?”

She ran a hand through her unkempt hair. It felt like a rat’s nest. She sat up and made a halfhearted attempt to smooth it down. It wasn’t any use.

Getting to her feet, Enid grabbed the handrail of her front steps and slowly climbed them, trying to ignore the screaming pain in her muscles and her massive headache. Fumbling with her key, she finally swung the door open and stumbled inside.

“Brandi?” she called. “Nevaeh? Mommy needs one of you to prep a needle.”

But there was no reply. Wandering into the living room, Enid spied her boyfriend of the week passed out on the couch. She placed a hand on his wrist, feeling for a pulse. The last thing I need right now is for some fucker to OD on my couch, she thought. Enid was relieved to find a pulse, even though it was faint.

“Brandi? Nevaeh? You better get your asses out here right now,” Enid called, her voice getting louder. “You better not be hiding again!”

She climbed the stairs to the second floor of her condo, glancing in each of the girls’ rooms. There wasn’t any sign of her kids anywhere. Enid slumped against the wall in the hallway, sliding down it to sit on the floor. She pulled her knees up to her chest and buried her face in her hands. Where are they? she wondered. And why can’t I remember anything from last night?

* * *

Jessica swung around the pole, a bored expression on her face. This sucks, she thought to herself. I know it’s a Monday afternoon, but I was expecting at least one paying customer in here. Look at me dancing for Courtney Fucking Kane. How fucking lame is this?

Out of the corner of her eye, Jessica could see Courtney putting away another line at one of the tables that surrounded the stage. “Pay attention, bitch,” Jessica yelled. “You might learn something.”

Courtney looked up at her with red-rimmed eyes and extended a middle finger in Jessica’s direction.

“Oh, that’s is it!” Jessica screamed, using her momentum from swinging around the pole to push herself off the stage. She landed in a crouch right in front of Courtney, hopping up and grabbing a handful of Courtney’s tacky hair.

“What the fuck?” Courtney yelled, trying to get out of Jessica’s grasp.

In response, Jessica wrapped both hands around Courtney’s throat and began to choke her. Courtney snarled and jumped up, struggling against Jessica and knocking over the table and three pristinely cut lines. She pushed Jessica back onto the stage, falling on top of her and beating Jessica’s head against its black glossy surface.

Jessica rolled over on top of Courtney and wedged a knee into her stomach. Courtney gasped for air as Jessica knocked the wind out of her.

“Don’t you ever do that again!” Jessica screamed, grabbing another fistful of Courtney’s hair and yanking some of it out this time.

Behind her, Jessica heard a loud round of applause. “Now, this — this — is why I come to the Unicorn Club.”

Jessica looked over her shoulder and smiled brightly. “Hey, Mr. Collins,” she said, letting go of Courtney’s hair and waving to him.

Mr. Collins sat down at his regular table and flagged down one of the waitresses for a drink. “By all means, continue,” he said, waving a hand at the girls. “It was just getting interesting.”

Courtney pushed Jessica off of her and sat up. “Fuck this,” she said, hopping off the stage and walking toward the dressing room. “I’m out of here.”

“Yeah, you better run, bitch!” Jessica called after her. Then she turned to Mr. Collins and smiled sweetly. “The usual?”

Mr. Collins nodded. Jessica began to grind up on him, slowly moving up and down. “Hang on a minute,” he said, digging in his pocket. “Here, put these on.”

He handed Jessica two yellow barrettes. She rolled her eyes and stood up straight, pinning back each side of her hair so that she looked like Elizabeth. “Better?” she purred, moving back down to Mr. Collins’ crotch.

“Much better,” he said, sitting back in his chair and eyeing Jessica’s ample cleavage. She moved her hands behind her back as if she were going to unclasp her bra top, then seemed to think better of it and placed both hands back on either side of Mr. Collins, leaning in toward him.

“If you want to see everything, it’s going to cost you,” she whispered in his ear. He dug into his pocket again, producing a crumpled five-dollar bill and roughly shoving it into Jessica’s g-string. “Thank you,” she said demurely, turning away from him and unhooking the bra, then smiling over her shoulder at him before flinging it in his face.

What a fucking moron, Jessica thought, the bored look returning to her face as she writhed around on Mr. Collins’ crotch. She felt a hand on her ass and turned to look at him over her shoulder, a warning expression on her face. “If you want to do that, we’ve got to take it to the VIP room,” she said.

Mr. Collins backed away, both hands in the air as if he were under arrest. “Sorry, Elizabeth,” he said. “I was just thinking about all those times in The Oracle office and I got a little carried away.” He shoved another five-dollar bill into Jessica’s g-string.

Jessica sighed and turned back around, shaking her breasts dangerously close to Mr. Collins. Lila’s wrong, she thought. Grinding up on one old, rich peen has to be better than grinding up on a hundred old peens a day. It might be time to unleash my “Elizabeth” act on Marshall the fifth!

Sweet Valley

Winston shoved his car keys into his pocket. The parking lot at Kelly’s was packed, unusual for a Monday evening. Guess we’ve all had a shitty day at work, he thought. I can’t believe Elizabeth wouldn’t shut up. And what was with all the crying?

He passed a beat-up car with two frightened-looking little girls sitting in the backseat. They caught his eye, seeming to silently plead for help. “Who would leave a couple of kids in a car while they go out drinking?” he asked himself out loud. Oh, well, not my problem. Some people just shouldn’t breed.

Inside, Winston pushed his way up to the bar and threw down a couple of bucks for his usual PBR tall-boy.

“Hey, Winston,” the bartender greeted him, popping the top on the can. “Some broad was in here looking for you earlier.”

“Oh yeah?” Winston asked, laughing. He took a sip of his drink and looked around the bar. “I guess someone’s looking to get laid tonight, huh?”

“I don’t know,” the bartender said, shaking his head. “She didn’t look like one of your usual girls. Said she knew you.”

Winston shrugged. “Did she say what her name was?”

“She did, but I don’t remember,” the bartender said. “Monica, Maggie, something like that. She looked like a soccer mom with a stick up her ass, to tell you the truth.”

“Maria?” Winston asked, his eyes wide behind his large eyeglasses.

“Yeah, maybe,” the bartender said. He nodded at Rick Andover farther down the bar and poured him a pitcher of Miller Lite.

“I have to know if it was Maria,” Winston said urgently leaning over the bar. “How long was she here? Did she say where she was going?”

The bartender came back to Winston and wiped up a spill in front of him. “She didn’t say anything. Left with some dark-haired guy,” he said. “She was pretty trashed.”

Winston narrowed his eyes. So she was here with Michael Harris, he thought. Why would she come around asking about me, only to leave with him? Is she trying to torture me?

* * *

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03 2011

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