I check my lip-gloss in the bathroom mirror; gently run the tip of my tongue along it like I’m a bomb squad guy handling a hair-trigger explosive.
The gloss is called “fierce & tangy,” and for good reason. I like my assets to pop, I but also need them to tell the world I’m too good for most any man coming along. That’s sexiness. That elicits desire. To a large degree, it’s also implied violence.
I feel good about the gloss. I rub my palm across my five o’clock shadow, hear that sandpaper stubble work like it could abrade away a callous, put in my dentures, crack my knuckles, suck in so I can button my mini-skirt and roll out.
I feel like fucking someone up, but I’ll do for a coffee instead.
Beach humidity is a bitch on my arm hair.
I always forget to shave my Popeye bulges when I’m shaving my thighs. I don’t know why. Quirk, I guess. Still, I strut down the boardwalk and make sure to bend and snap a time or two before I get to the open-air cafe. Lot of lustful eyes trolling around here tonight. Lord knows I’m tired of being lonely and I don’t care how lame people think Legally Blonde was, the life lessons in that flick are tried and true. Bend and snap it is, then.
The cafe is more of a counter with an overhang and four illegals working industrial Keurig-type machines. Don’t care. Ronnie sets up shop on the far stool, so I slide one hand along the wooden countertop, tapping my nails against the lacquer as I go. The illegals stare—probably looking at the I ♥ beer tattoo on my shoulder—but no one will take my order.
“Speak English, anyone?” I ask. All eyes fall on one dude. Makes sense; he’s the barista-looking illegal, so he must at least understand words like “two cream, two sugar,” “Americano” and “get me some fucking coffee.”
I just stare right back until he and his piss-poor mustache dare to make eye contact with me. “Hey sweet cheeks,” I say, “Grande coconut almond latte, non-fat, whipped topping. Comprende?”
He smiles and nods. Missing two teeth. Somewhere, somehow, he didn’t comprende something rather important.
I see Ronnie down on the far end, one arm slung on the countertop as he laughs at my conversation. Ronnie’s smoked so many cigarettes in his life you can hear the layer of ash which has settled in the base of his lungs puff and swirl with every horse giggle. He has all of his teeth, but they’re more yellow than the thong I’m wearing. The crotch of it reads Achtung! and I just fell in love with it in the store.
Ronnie jerks his head in that way he has and I strut over. Take the stool next to him. He undresses me
with his eyes real quick, and I let him. Would I ever let him round second base? No. I respect myself too much to let my dealer juggle with my merchandise, but if he slips me an extra pill in exchange for me letting him drink in my goddess-ness a tad longer than I’d like, so be it. I’m at peace with being treated like a sex object.
“What’s new, pussycat?” Ronnie says and sparks up a smoke. A wash of cheap whiskey comes with that word, pussycat, and I like it even less. His bloodshot eyes twirl in their sockets.
I take the smoke from his lips and mouth thanks. I drag deep; feel that burn cleansing away any negativity I might have. Then I say, “I hate the term pussycat. I know I’ve told you before.”
Ronnie smiles but he’s eyeballing the smoke. “Must’ve forgotten. You gonna ruin my cigarette with that lipstick of yours?”
“Lip gloss, Ronnie. Lipstick is for demure women. Lip gloss is for feisty and adventurous princesses.”
“That so?” Ronnie says and sips a coffee. Black. No sugar. Under his breath he says, “Why you wear it then?”
“Beg your pardon?” I ask, uncross my legs and lean forward. Pussycat got claws, motherfucker. If you’re hinting at my candy, the old me is gonna snap something awful.
“Nothin’, nothin’.” He waves a hand at me. Shooing away a fly.
I lean back, adjust my cock and balls since they slipped around when I felt aggressive and finish the smoke before pulling a twenty out of my bra. “I assume you have my prescription?”
Ronnie still hasn’t lit up another cigarette. He glares and scratches his head. “I do, but I should mention the price has gone up.”
“Big mark-up. Is there a whiskey shortage Yahoo News forgot to tell me about?”
Ronnie giggles, shuffles all that lung-ash again. “Somethin’ like that, yeah.”
“How about I come back when you’re sober, Ronnie? Maybe you’ll know how to treat a lady then.”
“My turn to ask beg your pardon?”
“You heard me,” I say, seeing Ronnie’s face and flashing back to memories of my father. “I’ll come back when you’re sober.”
“Price just went to forty.”
I stand and see the illegal barista is four stools down with my latte in his hand, frozen still by how loud Ronnie and I are getting. I look back to Ronnie and, in a whisper, I say, “I’ll find someone else. You’re cruel.”
“Fucking tranny,” Ronnie says. “Sell ‘em some help with their delusions and they call you cruel. What is this world comin’ to?”
Ronnie holds his hands in the air in that universal I’m confused look and my urge to drink coffee is overwhelmed by my urge to fuck someone up. I swing with the right cross that I was known for in the Navy boxing league and Ronnie’s face spins on his shoulders before he drops to the boardwalk. Lights out.
And just like when dad would be the way he was with me, I get overcome by that rage and strut over to Ronnie.
“Motherfucker, I’m gonna eat your bitch ass alive—” I stop; do my breathing exercises. In deep and slow through the nose, out fresh and cleansing through the lips. My fierce & tangy lips.
I want to do good in this world. I want to be better than I was yesterday. I want to not do unto others as they have done to me. I have put a negative out there in the world. I must also put a positive. Two positives. Leave the world better than I found it.
Breathe. Breathe again. I look at the illegal barista and he is standing there, mouth agape. I look down at Ronnie, see his mouth open, bleeding.
“I’ve got it!” I shout. Gleefully jitter and clap my hands. I reach down and in one swift heave I yank out Ronnie’s two front teeth. Bloody, yellow pebbles in my hand. I walk over to the illegal barista. I grab my latte from his stone-still hands, and set it on the countertop. I grab the barista by his wrist and slap those two teeth right into his palm.
I smile big and bright. “Make good use of ‘em,” I say. I take my latte and start to saunter off into the night. Then I have epiphany, rush back to Ronnie, search his pockets until I find the pills and his wad of cash, then I saunter off into the night.
Ta ta, bitches.
Bio: Ryan Sayles is the author of the forthcoming releases Subtle Art of Brutality and Warpath through Down & Out Books and Disordered Mullets, forthcoming from Weekly Weird Monthly. He’s the author of more than two dozen short stories online, in print and in anthologies. He may be contacted at : VitriolAndBarbies.wordpress.com