A story from Waiting for October
By Sarah Pinborough
It had been a long day shopping, but as Kevin dumped the carrier bags on the chipped vinyl top of the trailer’s breakfast bar, he felt pretty fucking good. He’d got everything he needed, no problemo, even though he’d had to travel pretty far to get the iodine, stuck on the bus next to some greasy fat bitch, her polyester dress itching his skin the whole way. Still it was done now, and the rewards would make it all worthwhile. He tipped out the bag of Sudafed and matches and grinned. Time to get to fucking work.
He had habits to feed and cash to collect.
The still, steady heat that burned up the August air outside had turned the confines of the trailer into an oven, and although the place stunk of ripe trash he kept the blinds down and the door shut. Even before he’d needed to keep the prying eyes of the neighbours minding their own goddamn business, he’d kept his trailer shut up during the long summers. Too many damned mosquitoes swarmed in from the swamps out back of the trailer park, hungry for blood, biting you to fucking insanity.
He looked at the pile of ingredients waiting for him to turn them into ice, crystal, glass or whatever fucking else those tweakers wanted to call it. A bug that must’ve followed him inside buzzed in his ear and he swatted at it angrily. Fucking swamp. Maybe when he’d got more money stashed he’d try and get himself in one of the bigger trailers nearer the front. Away from the flies and the damp and the goddamn white trash.
Ready to get to work, he pulled off his T-shirt ignoring the rank odour of stale sweat that oozed from its pits and his thin body. He’d shower later. Maybe tomorrow before going to his shift at the plant. Who really gave a fuck? You washed and ten minutes later you were dripping like a pig again. No wonder his back was still covered in the zits that had plagued his teenage years and never really left, even though he was pushing thirty in the next couple of years.
Under a cushion on the stained brown sofa his mobile phone burst into life. His personal phone, not his newer, payasyougo business one. Cursing under his breath, he dug around for it and yanked it out. Mike. What the hell did he want on a Sunday afternoon?
“Hey. What’s up?” For a few seconds there was only wet, frantic breathing in his ear before Mike finally got his words out.
“Oh, man. Oh man, I gotta see you. Oh shit man…it’s Carla…I gotta see you man, you gotta come here now.”
Kevin’s skin cooled slightly. What the fuck about Carla? For a second he looked around to where the baseball bat leaned against the door, and then listened again to the hard, shaky air rushing down the phone and reconsidered. Nah, he wasn’t going to need the bat. Not yet. Mikey wasn’t mad; he was worried. Scared.
“What’s she done?”
“You gotta come here, Kev. I need you… I need your… help.” Mikey was whining into the phone. What was the crazy bitch up to now?
“I’ll be right over.”
Leaving the T-shirt off, he grabbed his keys and let himself back out into the blazing sun, locking the door. Not that he really needed to. No one was going to rob him, and if they tried he’d hear the dog before they’d got anywhere near the door. Still it was always better to be safe than sorry and kids could be stupid. Walking past the heavy Rottweiller that was tucked panting under the shade of the plastic barbecue table, he bent to pat him on the head.
“Kill any fucker that tries to fuck us up, Cujo.”
The dog let out a small gruff bark before resuming his heavy, hot breathing, head resting between his paws. The lazy look was a good disguise. There was noone in the park that wanted to mess with Cujo; he had a mean streak of madness in his eyes sometimes, that was for sure, and Kevin made sure he treated the dog with nothing but respect. Anything that could rip your throat out on a whim deserved that.
Mike and Carla’s trailer was two rows behind his, the last line before the swamps, and the midges and flies filled the air along with the stink of the stagnant water. Every time he came back here, Kev’s own row didn’t seem so bad. People that lived in the last row were the trailer trash of the trailer trash people, and that was something no one wanted to be, even in a society outcast from the rest.
He banged on the closed door.
“It’s me, Mikey. Open up.”
Funny how things changed. Until the problems with Carla, Mike had lived right up the other end of the park, near all the facilities and where the front of the homes had little gardens fenced off and the residents made sure they whitewashed their trailers at least once every couple of years and kept their rows free of litter. Shit, if it wasn’t for Carla, Mike would probably have moved out of the park completely by now.
Kev had only come to know Mike from working for a while on the same section of the plant. That’s how he’d first met Carla. She’d brought Mike in his lunch every day, back then. Thick cut sandwiches and a flask of fresh coffee, her hair pulled back in a ribbon, pretty pink lipstick matching the flowers in her homemade summer dresses. All the men would stop and watch when Carla brought Mike his lunch in a kind of awe. Where the hell did a man find a wife like that? That’s what they were thinking, Kevin included. And all the men would watch when Carla waved and walked away, because as well as being an angel, Carla was one fine sweet piece of ass.
The door opened an inch, Mike’s eyes peering fearfully round the edge before his arm came out and pulled Kev into the gloom. He shut the door behind them and paced in a little circle, his hands rising up to his head and then back down again in frantic little movements.
“She just wouldn’t shut up, Kevin, she just wouldn’t shut up and she just kept cussing me and telling me to get her what she needed and I was telling her she needed to break this, she’d done two days she could do some more, but she wouldn’t shut up and she didn’t even look like Carla any more…”
“What the fuck are you talking about, Mikey? Get to it.”
Mike stared at him, his face pale under untidy dark hair. His tongue flicked out over his lips and for a moment he looked like he was going to cry. “I think I killed her, Kev. I think I killed my Carla.”
Kevin felt that slight chill on his skin again. Carla dead? His brain felt sludgy.
“Where is she?”
Letting out a whimper, Mike stopped circling and stared over at the plastic sheeting that hung down separating the kitchen area.
“Her fucking teeth had started to fall out, Kev. I mean, Jesus, she just needed to stop with all that shit but she just wouldn’t try and then she just wouldn’t shut up…”
Pushing past him Kevin lifted the sheet and stepped in. There was sawdust and various cupboard doors spread around. He almost smiled. Mikey didn’t belong down this end of the park. He cared too much. Who the fuck put a new kitchen in the shitholes down here? People like Mikey, that’s who. One new door hung away from the wall unfinished, and looking down Kevin could see why. The required screwdriver was sticking out of Carla’s neck.
“Holy shit, Mikey.” It was hard to keep the disgust out of his voice. Carla alive had been looking pretty fucking rotten recently, but Carla dead was worse. The skin that had prematurely wrinkled and aged now hung slack from her face, postules on her cheeks still leaking slightly from where she’d probably been picking at them in her junkie anxiety, and her wide yellowing eyes stared dully at the ceiling as if she couldn’t even manage surprise at her own violent death.
“You say she was trying to go straight?”
Mike’s breath hitched a little, wet and slick. “No…not really. I was trying to get her to stop… I was trying… I was trying to get her back, my Carla back…not this thing… and I thought if I made her stop long enough…” Mike’s voice drifted off as the slow weight of what he’d done settled on him. After a pause, he was stronger. “I wanted her to tell me what fucker had got her into this. I wanted to know who gave it to her.”
Kev felt goosebumps rise a little on his slick skin. “And?”
“She wouldn’t say. Now I’ll never fucking know.”
His heart thumping too hard with relief, Kevin looked down at Carla, and bit his cheeks to stop from laughing right out loud. Carla gone. Really gone. Thank fuck for good old Mikey “cause Kev knew, he’d known for sometime, that Carla was going to spill one day soon, and then Mike was going to come for him. That was why he’d started keeping the baseball bat close to the door. Just in case.
Mike looked up. ”I figure I’d better call the cops. Hand myself in.“
”Are you crazy? That bitch fucked up your life enough already. You can’t do time for her as well.“ He paused. ”You would never survive a long stretch, man. You know that.“
”No fucking buts.“ He stared at Mike long and hard. ”We both know you didn’t call me just so’s you could call the cops.“ He grabbed the electric saw from the newly fitted worktop. ”This is what we’ll do. Cut her up and then fucking throw her into the swamp. All in bits like that the alligators will have her eaten up in no time. Gone like she was never here.“
”But Jesus man, that’s Carla. My Carla.“
”No it isn’t. Look at her. She hasn’t been your Carla in a long time.“ His nose crinkled a little. ”You probably put her out of her misery, man. She was never going to break that habit. She was in too deep. Everyone could see that.“
Sweat was breaking through the thin fibre of Mike’s vest top. ”But won’t people notice that she’s gone? Won’t people…’
“No one gives a shit what happens to people down here, Mike. You know that. I’ll just put it around that you’ve kicked her out. No one will ask questions. Trust me.”
Mike nodded. “Okay.” He swallowed hard. “Let’s do it.”
“You got any more of that plastic shit?”
Mike nodded, his face pale.
“Then maybe you should try and cover up as much of your kitchen as you can. And I think we should strip.”
After five long minutes prepping themselves, they locked eyes and Kevin fired up the saw. “You hold her. I’ll cut.” There was no way that Mike was going to be able to do the dirty end; he’d puked his fucking guts up once already and they hadn’t even started. Jesus. “But hold her good. Let’s get this done fast. Then as soon as the sun’s down we can dump her. We’ll take some of those old cupboards out too. Anyone watching will think we’re just ditching trash.”
Kev figured that Mike held it together pretty good all things considered. Cutting down from her left shoulder and between the dried out tea bags that had once been the most lusted over pair of titties this side of the Keys, Kev gripped the saw that juddered through the bone, and by the time the top of her torso fell heavily away, both men were covered by the dark, sticky spray. The heat in the kitchen was getting stifling and even Carla’s dead blood stunk rotten against their naked skin. Mikey gagged but held it down. Kev was pretty impressed. He was fighting the feeling himself and he was fucking glad the bitch was dead.
“You okay, man?”
Mike let out a small hysterical giggle. “No, I’m not shitting okay, but don’t for fuck’s sake stop.”
Looking down at the wreck of the body, Kev knew his own limitations. If he cut through her gut then they’d have to deal with all those slick fucking entrails coming out and he’d seen enough movies to know he didn’t want anything to do with that. No way did he want to be picking up her guts and stuffing them back inside her. He’d cut her legs off and be done with it. Four pieces was enough. The alligators could do the rest of the fucking job.
It was all over in ten minutes and his hands still red and wet, Kev pulled two beers from the dirty refrigerator, cracking them open on the side. Mike downed his then staggered to the john covering his mouth. By the time he came back out ten minutes later, Kev had got Carla’s quarters tied up in trash bags.
They downed a second beer each before Kevin spoke. “Guess we’d better clean up. You on nights tonight?” His voice sounded surprising normal. But then he felt pretty good, all things considered. Carla was gone. Dead and gone. And he hadn’t had to do a thing.
“Yeah man, but I can’t fucking work, not after this… can’t I just come back to yours and …”
Kev thought of the ingredients sitting in his own trailer and the customers he had waiting, needing him to get his job done. “No. you gotta work, man. You gotta pretend this fuckedup shit didn’t happen. Pretend you just kicked her out.” He finished his beer. “Pretend long enough and you’ll believe it.” He looked around him. “Now let’s get this shit cleaned up. Then we need to shower, dress and dump all this crap in the swamp.”
By ten he was back in his own trailer, crushing up the Sudafed tablets, his shoulders aching slightly from clearing out Mike’s kitchen and Carla’s remains. Mike had gone to the plant, and although he was shaken, Kevin could see that he wouldn’t talk. His eyes were too clear for that. For now at any rate, they were safe.
Scraping the pile of powder from the chopping board and into the bowl of alcohol, Kevin whistled. He was feeling pretty fucking good. The problem of Carla had been resolved and he was in the clear. Hallyfuckingluyah. And he’d learnt his lesson. Don’t shit in your own backyard. Not with someone like Mikey. He didn’t need people from the plant knowing about his other income, and as he would never be so fucking stupid to take the shit himself, no one even suspected that he dealt in crystal. And that’s the way it would stay.
Yeah, getting Carla hooked had been pretty stupid but seeing her everyday, her ripe body outlined through the cotton of her clothes, had driven him crazy and how the fuck else was he ever going to be able to fuck her? He hadn’t even planned it. He’d been finishing his shift and she was walking back from bringing Mike his lunch and they’d walked together. Fuck, he could remember how hard it was to keep his eyes on her eyes and not those fucking peachy tits as they’d talked. He couldn’t remember the shit she was saying, something about starting a fucking family, but he could remember her tits and the way his dick had been getting too hard in his pants.
He’d invited her in for lemonade, and she hadn’t been sure, he could see that in her awkwardness, but she was too polite to say no. They ended up having a beer and it went straight to her pretty little head, and then they were talking about their teenage years and he was making her laugh and relax, and she said how she’d smoked some weed when she was in school and she’d never laughed so much since.
And then it came to him. Just like that. He told her he had a little rock of cannabis saved for a special occasion and why the hell didn’t they just smoke it and laugh this hot afternoon away, and although he expected her to say no, she’d said yes, what the hell, a little weed never did noone no harm, did it?
He’d loaded two pipes. His with the hash, hers with the ice. He lit his first, letting the strong sweet smell reassure her, and then he lit hers. And oh boy, did she rush. She took to the ice like she was born to it, and it took to her right back. Within minutes she was touching herself and him, and all afternoon he fucked her every which way he could and she loved every fucking depraved second of it. Women on ice will fuck like whores every time and Carla was no exception. He’d done things to her he’d only ever dreamed about a woman letting him do, and by the time she came down they were both bruised and exhausted.
She cried then; oh fuck did she cry, before scurrying off to scrub herself clean before her beloved Mike came home, but by then Kev didn’t really give a shit. Who the fuck took drugs from a virtual stranger? Especially a woman that looked like that? A stupid cunt, that’s what she was, and when he’d shut the door behind her, he never expected to hear from her again. But the ice or her shame had got its hold on her and within two days she was back, not able to look him in the eye, but the trembling in her hands told him everything he needed to know.
Yep, he thought, carefully filtering the liquid, those first couple of months of feeding Carla’s habit and banging her icehorny ass all afternoon, had been fun, but then the crystal got hold of her outside too and then she stopped looking so good.
He’d still given her the dope for free; he didn’t want her running her rotten mouth to Mike, but he didn’t want to fuck her anymore. Sometimes he’d let her give him head, but desperation was never a turn on and if he wanted to fuck a junkie then there were better looking ones that he could choose from. One of the perks of the job.
But now Carla was gone, and business could get back to normal, no harm done. A weight had lifted from him, and Mike had been the one to take care of it. Life was fucking funny sometimes, the way it turned around.
He looked at his watch. Halften. He’d be lucky if he had any shit to sell by tomorrow at this rate.
At two a.m., one batch of ice was finally ready for the next day’s needers and Kev was just about to go to bed when Cujo barked outside. Nothing major, just a couple of low gruff warning growls. Irritated more than worried, Kevin stepped out into the humid night. Cujo was at the end of the trailer staring out towards the swamp, his whole body alert.
“Cujo? What’s up man?”
The dog didn’t respond to the low call of his name, but at least stopped growling. After a couple of seconds he whimpered and then sat, his head cocked slightly. Kevin watched him carefully for a minute before shrugging and going back inside. Whatever the fuck was bothering the dog it obviously wasn’t that big a deal. Maybe the alligators were moving around in the swamp. The thought made him smile. Goodnight, Carla. Sweet fucking dreams.
He stripped down to his pants and lay on the untidy bed in the dark. Fuck, he was tired. It had been a long fucking day. Beside him, his phone beeped, and checking it he saw it was a message from Mike. Saying thank you for what he’d done. Tossing the phone to the floor, he shut his eyes, letting his mind drift to sleep, a small smile on his face. Yeah, it was a funny fucking world where Mike was grateful to him for helping deal with Carla.
The banging on his trailer door woke him with a start, sweat itching at his skin. Fuck it was hot. And who the fuck was that, waking him up in the middle of the night? They wouldn’t fucking do it again, he thought pulling on his trousers. That was for fucking sure.
Flicking on the light in the main living area, he was glad he’d tidied all the shit away before going to bed. It was probably Mike outside, just finished his shift and wanting to talk. Always wanting to fucking talk, that was Mikey. It was more than time to cut that friendship loose, especially after today. The door banged again.
“Hang the fuck on,” he muttered, undoing the bolt and yanking the door open, a swarm of swamp mosquitoes flooding into the light.
He stared. It seemed he stared for a long time before the thing on the doorstep spoke, breaking the illusion that this must be some shitting fucking dream.
“I need… I need a fix, baby. I need you to fix me up….”
His own breath locked in his lungs, Kevin stepped backwards, revolted, and Carla followed him inside. She’d pulled herself back together as best she could, but as she moved the wet, sawn edges of her jigsaw puzzle body slipped and slid against each other, showing flashes of her red, dead meat.
“This isn’t real. This isn’t fucking real.” Kev spoke the words out loud trying to hold his brain in one piece at least as well as Carla was holding her body together.
His back bumped into the breakfast bar, halting his progress, and she manoeuvred herself awkwardly forward, one hesitant step at a time until she was right in front of him.
Kev felt his stomach flip and turn and drop in the same second. Oh fuck she looked so real, her yellow eyes staring right into his, and a small yelp escaped him. She stank of the swamp and in the division between her breasts where he’d sawed them apart earlier that day he could see some small fronds of plant life poking through.
“I need some ice, baby, I need you to ice me up like you always did, baby. I need it so bad…and Mikey wouldn’t let me…”
Her tongue was still pink as it poked out, the words almost guttural, her breath stagnant like the water she’d dragged herself from, but the desperate whine in her voice was all Carla. All junkie Carla.
Resisting the urge to giggle or throw up, Kevin took a deep breath. Maybe this was just a fucking dream. It was natural he’d dream of Carla and the ice tonight. Maybe he should just see the dream through. Yeah. That was it. Or maybe he’d just tripped out on all the chemicals. No need to freak. No need to LOSE HIS FUCKING MIND. Just keep his head down and give the fucking nightmare what it wanted.
Slipping past her, not wanting to touch, he kept his vision forward and opened the fridge. His sweating hand shook way too much as he pulled the box out. He hated the solidity of it in his fingers. It was too real, too fucking real. Did things in dreams, even tripped out ones, feel this real? Don’t think like that now. Just a dream, man. Just a fucking dream. Putting it on the breakfast bar, he reached into one of the cupboards for a pipe, trying to ignore the happy damp sigh from the Carla thing as she saw the drugs.
Trying not to look at her, but fuck it’s hard not, and look how fucking hungry for this shit her dead eyes are, he stuffed the pipe with rocks and handed it over. The arm that was still attached to her head and neck grabbed at it, locking it into her dead mouth, the other reaching for the box of matches. Her damp fingers soaked the box, the match only fizzing slightly, and not able to watch her angry frustration, Kevin grabbed another box from beside the stove. His own hands were shaking so badly that he almost dropped the match as he lit it. Some fucking crazy shit dream. Maybe he should wear gloves when mixing the chemicals from now on, oh yeah, maybe that’s what he should do.
When the pipe was lit, he stepped back, his gaze drawn onto Carla, despite himself. Her eyes shut as she blissfully drew the heavy smoke in, Kevin watching in horror as it leaked out through all the gaps between her reassembled body parts. When she finally opened her eyes again, he was crying. There was only so much of shit like this he could take.
“Why don’t you just go now, Carla?” He pushed the box across the breakfast bar. “Take it all with you if you want.” There was a whine in his own voice and he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it one bit. Why wouldn’t she just fucking disappear like bad dreams were supposed to?
Carla leaned over the breakfast bar and Kevin moaned, knowing that her legs would be standing upright, bloody stumps visible, as her body tilted away from them. Her tongue darted out between her lips.
“Oh but baby, now I need something else…You know what I need…”
He stared at her confused for a moment, before with dread he took in her posture; torso forwards, ruined breasts squeezed together between her arms, and then realised what she was doing. It was a disgusting parody of flirtation.
“Oh no.” Bile rose steaming into his chest. “Oh no fucking way, you dead bitch…” He stumbled backwards towards the bedroom as she found her legs again and came round the breakfast bar towards him. “No fucking way…”
“But I’m so horny, Kevin, you know the ice makes me horny and you always used to want to fuck me so bad…” She grinned, and something from the swamp wriggled out from under her tongue. “And now you can fuck me all night Kevin…. And I can fuck you and we don’t have to worry about Mikey any more…”
And then she was touching him, swamp breath on his skin, and squeezing his eyes shut, Kevin hid somewhere deep inside with what was left of his sanity.
The next morning, he woke with a start, rolling out of his bed and onto the floor, stomach heaving before his eyes were even open. Flashing revolting images filled his head. Carla’s dismembered body riding him. Carla forcing his head down… He shook the mental picture away. Fuck man, that dream was something else. Too much fucking something else. Shivering and fighting waves of nausea, he sat on the floor for a few minutes before trusting his legs to stand. Outside the sun shone brightly and he took strength from it. Fucking Carla was dead. That was the truth, and however real that nightmare had seemed, it was only a dream. Nothing more.
Going into the kitchenette, he paused when he saw the ice box still on the side, not in the refrigerator. Okay. So maybe he’d been sleepwalking. No big deal. In fact, that helped some things make sense. It would explain maybe why the dream had been so vivid. His heart pumped with relief. Yeah, that did make sense. Thank fuck for that.
Putting the drugs and pipe back, he grabbed a tin of food and went out to feed Cujo, but the dog was gone. Kev called him, but there was no answer. After five minutes he came back inside, shut out the heat and threw the can into the bin. Fucking dog. He should have kept him on a chain. He’d been meaning to but never got round to it. Still, he’d be back when he’d finished chasing some bitch no doubt, and then he could go fucking hungry. For a little while at least. His bare foot squashed something slimy and he lifted it.
A swamp slug. He stared at it. His stomach chilled. He remembered it wriggling out from under her tongue. Right in that spot.
The day never really settled down after that.
When Carla came the second night, her tongue was turning black and she stank worse than before, her flesh sweating and stinking, stomach swollen with gases. His mind cracking as he watched her shuffle into the trailer, Kevin figured that death and decomposition hadn’t really slowed her down much. Hadn’t slowed her habit down either. He’d never really thought about how much ice could really get you before, but now he was. Oh now, he was thinking about it a whole big deal.
She had Cujo with her, one of the dog’s hind legs missing where maybe a swamp alligator had bitten it off either before or after he was dead. That didn’t seem to slow him down much neither. His growl was still vicious and Kev reckoned his bite would be too.
While he was getting her fix together, Carla told Kevin in no uncertain terms what Cujo would do to him if he tried to leave her. Not that it would count for much, because she’d always find him. She needed him too much. And wasn’t that what he’d wanted? For her to need him? And now he had her. Forever.
He watched her taking in the ice, and then watched as she came towards him, displaced hips wiggling, cracked mouth oozing dirty words that not so many months ago he’d fantasized too much about hearing her speak, and now made his soul tremble. Watching her coming, seeing his future ahead of him, he finally knew that there were many kinds of nightmares and sometimes they were real even if they still only came at night.
Laughing and crying, he reached for the pipe and stuffed it with crystal, managing one long inhale, hoping it might just make it bearable, before he felt her clammy hands on his trousers.
– THE END –