The Performers

 

Amy Steak finished the night’s performance by spraying the entire audience with blood. Her character was described as “violently vegan” and “literally sickening”. She laughed maniacally in her ‘meat is murder’ sequined gown while all sorts of queer folk were gagging for their lives. They loved every second of it. Their love was how she made a living, bringing home the bacon. Metaphorically, of course, since she was indeed vegan and consumed nothing of animal origin.

Her roommate, Debra Zillian, also didn’t eat meat, but on the account she couldn’t afford anything more than instant noodles. Debra barged in drag queen Amy Steak’s dressing room while the star removed her vegan Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup and fake blood off her face.

 

“Girl, look how fucking red you look, girl! Are you a shitty communist, Amy? I’ll throw you out of the apartment if you are!”

Amy roared with laughter without ever taking her eyes off herself in the mirror.

“Are you joking? Bitch, you owe me three weeks rent. Your ass is on the line, not mine. And how did it ever cross your tiny mind I’m a communist?!”

 

      “There’s red all over you!”

       “What’s your problem? This is blood, you dumb queen. You have, like, 5 liters of this in your body. Well, maybe not you. There must be some missing in your brain.”

 

Debra Zillian’s drag persona was that of a hysterical, ignorant and aggressive middle-aged Brazilian woman. Unfortunately, out of drag, she was the same. Having that said, it was no wonder her fanbase was minuscule. Those days, if you were perceived as a hateful person in the drag community, your bank account would take notice. Nobody wants to pay for hatred when there’s so much out there for free.

Debra forgot all about her being penniless when coming for the person who was keeping her off the streets. As soon as she remembered she turned into a sweet begging lamb.

 

“Listen, Amy. Gorgeous Amy. I’ll pay you! Do you know Nuno?”

 

“Girl, how many times did your parents drop you on your head when you were a baby? Of course I know Nuno. He’s my fucking agent. I was the one that introduced him to you. Seriously, today you’re even dumber than usual”

 

“Hey, I’m feeling very attacked right now” – Debra whined exaggeratedly

 

“Yeah, who cares? Just tell me about Nuno. I’m getting tired of your voice”

 

“Fine, you wicked witch of the west. Nuno and I have a business date tonight”

 

“You got yourself a sugar daddy then?” – Amy snickered at her friend

 

Thinking of a million clapbacks, the sad looking queen said nothing. She wasn’t sad at all, but it certainly made people sad to look at her. As a matter of fact, what she felt was pure anger. There was a glass of water nearby and it was tempting Debra. ‘Throw me on her face, Debra’, she would hear the water calling to her.

How dare Amy to imply such a thing? Debra was sure that having a sugar daddy meant only through sexual favors could she make money. Reading between the lines, Debra was told she was talentless, ugly and slutty. Of course, Amy meant nothing of the sort, but Debra wasn’t the smartest cookie around. It took enormous amounts of restraint to avoid confrontation and stick to what she planned to tell Amy Steak.

 

“No, I don’t have a sugar daddy” – she paused, breathed in and smiled – “Nuno is helping me to rebrand. He says he sees potential in my drag and wants to help me.”

 

“Potential, yes. He sees a lot, doesn’t he?”

 

Amy Steak’s eyes were dead with irony. She was too busy for that conversation. Even if she were doing absolutely nothing, she would still be too busy. Her fresh face wasn’t fully emerged from her makeup yet, she still needed to spend a good half hour on it.

 

“Soon I’ll get gigs enough to pay you back.”

 

The performer heard enough and turned her body to face Debra Zillian. She was tired. Her feet were sore and her tuck begged to be released. She always became about thirty percent meaner when she was tucked.

 

“Lookie here, you say ‘soon’, I hear ‘I don’t know when’. That’s fine. I’m doing well enough to keep saving your ass another two or three weeks, but not forever. One day or another you gotta stop fighting it and decide if this dream is meant for you or if it’s time to go your own way.”

 

Her words hurt Debra, whose wish was still to throw a drink in Amy’s face. Nevertheless, she persevered. She wouldn’t give up easily.

 

“Come over to Nuno’s place tomorrow night then. Help me decide. We’ll spend all day figuring out a new image for me and the final choice will be yours to make. You are the successful queen after all. Some fans even compare your face to Linda Evangelista’s, you know?”

 

Appealing to Amy’s vanity was a bullseye. She agreed to go with a proud smile on her face.

Climbing the stairs to Nuno’s apartment, she was trying to guess what sort of changes in Debra they would think of. Her stubbornness wouldn’t simply go away with a makeover. Debra was angry all the time. Never listened to anybody. She wasn’t a people person, which makes it hard to make them give you money. Amy wanted to help, but knew Debra had to be responsible for herself eventually. Even though she was certain Debra wasn’t a good person, Amy still cared for her.

Amy didn’t bother to knock. It was a nice, white neighborhood. There was no reason for Nuno to lock the apartment door. She opened the door and faced the pitch-black living room. Her immediate thought was ‘please, don’t be having sex’. Debra’s pale ass bouncing on a dick was the last thing she wanted to see that night. Amy courageously flipped the light switch, but instead of two naked lovers, she received the sound of an agonizing scream. Still in the dark, startled by the unexpected bellowing, she took a few stumbles backward. She tried to process what was the wet and slimy feeling on her feet, but it was futile. She slipped and fell with a big thud.

Her ass was on the ground, covered with the mysterious liquid. It smelled of rusty pipes and somewhat familiar. Amy couldn’t see a thing. She was too confused to make up what was happening. It took a few minutes to get up. When she finally could stand up, the door was opened violently. Standing in the doorway was a police officer holding a flashlight. Of course the neighbors called the police! It was a nice white neighborhood after all. He held the light straight to Amy’s face blinding her. While she couldn’t see a damn thing, the officer could clearly see she was head to toes covered in blood.

Amy Steak’s arrest on homicide charges destroyed her career. Nobody could’ve guessed she would kill her manager after he stole her money. It was nothing like Chicago, nobody cared for the murderous performer. She never received visitors, so it was a big surprise when they handed her a postcard a friend sent from Rio de Janeiro. After reading it, Amy screamed so loud the guard dogs started to howl. It read:

“Nuno and I are enjoying the getaway you paid us! Nuno is a bit tired though, he donated some blood recently. The poor thing was screaming the whole time, I even recorded it! All for a good cause. Also, I have to thank you for your advice. I decided to go my own way after all. It’s not personal, Amy. It’s just drag. Now excuse me, I have to go bang Nuno on the beach”

 

Secure Hearts

 

Old lady Elza was alone. She toyed with her unsalted food while inaudible chatter filled the cafeteria. Over the first few months at the Secure Hearts Retirement Home, Elza tried to make new friends as one does. She tried small talk, offering a hand to those who had trouble walking, letting others win at card games. Nothing ever worked. If anything, they began making an effort to avoid her. She could feel their voices whipping gossips behind her back. Since her hearing had declined a bit, she couldn’t make the exact words being whispered. That is until the day a resident decided to be loud and clear.

“Filthy tranny nigger” – the frail lady in a flowery gown spouted

Elza fled the scene. Years had gone by since she was called such horrible names. Bingo night was completely out of the question. She couldn’t face anyone, her eyes stared at the vanilla colored corridor floors as she escaped to the safety of her room. The situation asked for a strong, and prescribed, sleeping pill earlier than usual. Hurt as she was, self-medicating was no longer an option. She flinched at the memory of the day an entire bottle of pills tried to make it all go away but just amounted to the expulsion of her lunch. Elza promised to never allow herself on that same pit of despair and she would make damn sure to live to see better days. Came dawn and Elza went to bed. Alone, as always. However, thanks to that little chemical wonder that put her out like a baby sloth, Elza was the only one to survive at the Secure Hearts Retirement Home.

Her eyes blinked heavily as the sun shined shyly through the blinds. The analog clock ticked five past six in the morning. She had overslept big time. Elza hurried out of bed, breakfast would last two more hours and she took one just to get to the cafeteria. It wasn’t that far; the truth is she was snail like. As she slowly made her way to her delicious sugar-free pancakes and mouth-watering vegan sausages, Suzana, the Brazilian woman whom once had a nasty fit when she saw Elza wearing a red dress, grunted a “good morning”. At least that’s what hard of hearing Elza thought Suzana said, but it was more of an “AAAHRNG”. Nevertheless, she replied with a “good morning to you too, dear” with a smile so warm it could melt the Artic.

Finally arriving at the cafeteria, poor Elza was out of breath. She needed a moment to sit and rest before digging into the most important meal of the day. Approaching her usual table, a kind sir moved the chair for her. Surely, he stumbled upon the chair causing it to move, but who’s to say it wasn’t intentional? He was also unblinkingly dragging his feet forward and moaning which felt extremely odd to Elza, though she chose to dismiss the behavior as a bad night of sleep for the old sod. She quickly forgot her fatigue and hurried to thank the kindness in that man’s heart, but soon enough he was gone without saying a word.

Now, her Mama taught her never to think ill of others when no ill intentions are plain to see. Therefore, Elza clung to this belief even though she was time and time again deceived and betrayed. Make no mistake, she was no fool. She could see the dog running towards her, but preferred to think he was coming for a lick, not a bite. Moreover, acceptance was the only way to go, so she took those little acts of cordiality to her heart. That is until one of her brand-new friends coughed up theirs.

The same frail lady in a flowery gown was having a violent coughing fit. She looked like a cat with a fur ball stuck in her throat. Alas, it was her own blackened heart that was splurged on the linoleum floors. The woman paid no mind and, just like the chair stumbling gentleman, went on about with a dead gaze. In fact, she was dead all over. They all were. Bingo night was their doom. One of the young and agile residents, aged 75 or so, had been infected while visiting her family and passed it on to all those who weren’t locked in their rooms crying.

Elza adjusted her glasses to better observe the Secure Hearts Retirement Home’s residents hobble around. They were bloodied and bitten. Some of them had limbs and eyes missing. Most of them had their clothes torn. None of them seemed to take notice that Elza wasn’t like them. She was slow like them and, apart from the blood and guts, smelled like them. That old people smell most grandchildren learn to associate with childhood. Elza relaxed her entire body on the chair and drew a sigh of relief. Among the undead, she was safer than ever before.

Ugly

 

“That dating app for ugly people is perfect for you”. Nadia kept replaying her friend’s joke on her head while her crooked finger was swiping right on every profile. Ngandu had just gotten married and became arrogant enough to throw shade on his single friends. Her barely blinking eyes reflected the changing colours of the screen. She was certain he was right, though. Nadia had enormous ears, a witch-like chin and her lips were nothing but a thin line. To find someone just as ugly as she was would be the answer to no longer be lonely.

Nadia recalled the brief time when she wasn’t alone. Thirty-five years and a history of one steady relationship. She was the one who labeled it a relationship, he called it a steady fuck since his wife couldn’t stand him anymore. Six months of crappy sex and the guy disappeared into thin air. Nadia felt that despite being with someone it didn’t seem like the opposite of being alone.

After a few hours, a match happened. Aella, dog-person, Netflix lover. Nadia’s heart raced not from infatuation, but out of nervousness. What to do? Ignore the only person who would have her? Maybe she did the automatic swiping as well. Maybe she swiped right by accident. Maybe she only did it in order to mock Nadia. Their chatroom opened by itself after the match. The stranger called Aella was typing. Nadia was bracing for the worst.

“Hi”

Ten million different interpretations of two single letters rushed through Nadia’s head. Most of them resulted in humiliation and despair. That was the most obvious conclusion since nobody could ever find her attractive. Not her ugly face, disproportionate body, screeching voice, unpleasant smell. Her fingers hovered above the screen up and down. What to say? How could she trick somebody to want her? What were the words she could use that could make up being so damn ugly? The stranger typed again. Maybe she got tired of waiting. Maybe she is angrily writing a message saying how disgusted she is to have seen Nadia’s profile picture. The stranger hit send and a new message came through.

“I think you are one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Would you like to grab a coffee sometime?”

 

Black Role

 

The masked homicidal white man was coming for me. Leading lady Jessica was just a few meters ahead, screaming and calling for the protagonist, Scott. She used to date this other douche Chad, but the antagonist killed him first. Even though I told Chad not to inspect that weird noise, the crazy asshole went anyway. But what actually did him in was that he said something like “be right back”. Rachel, the supporting cast with big boobs, had the same fate. She did the nasty moaning like a goose in an uncomfortable penetrative only kind of sex. Her punishment for not being a virgin was delivered. When I tripped on a branch, Jessica’s golden blond hair started flowing in slow motion.

“No!” – Jessica screamed in a pitch so high it was meant only for dogs to hear

The killer slashed my gut open with his generic sharpened weapon and my insides flew in the air. Running like the wind away from our nemesis, and my very much alive and agonizing body, she muttered the words “I’ll never forget you” and then I died.

Once that was done, I just went home and grabbed a peanut butter and nutella sandwich and some apple juice. I was already in my jammies brushing my teeth when the most awesome woman in the world, my roommate Taraji, came home.

“Tara, my love! Your face, I like it. Awesome timing too. I just got killed, so I have some free time to snuggle you” – I jumped into her arms like a newlywed bride

“Yeah, Shonda. They killed me too” – she put me down gently as her skinny arms trembled with my weight

“Oh, don’t tell me! Do not tell me! The killer was your pimp. Am I right?”

“Nah, this time the abusive baby daddy to my second child did it. And I’m pretty sure yours was the main white guy”

“You know it. Either the apparent hero or the guy who we all thought was dead turned out to be the killer. Maybe both. Are you hungry? I have some chicken leftovers”

“Thanks, love. I’m sick of chicken. All I ever get to eat while in character is chicken and watermelon juice. I have to gulp it down while telling the white folks how great it is and that I don’t mind the stereotype. I much rather have steamed vegetables and a can of grape soda to break the healthy vibe”

“Grape soda? Tara, I have some bad news for you…”

“Shon, please, don’t tell me. Don’t take grape soda away from me too. Take my life like some John does every single time, but not grape soda.”

“I’m so sorry, Tara. I didn’t know grape soda was that important for you” – I told her without a single drop of irony in me

Taraji dropped her tired body on the couch and let out a sigh. She had seen so much ever since she went from being the bitchy teenager, who is also surprisingly a cheerleader, to an addict forced into prostitution. She made an effort not to burden me knowing my roles spared me from it all by being killed right in the first act. Maybe it was better to look down and see your intestines being used as a rope to choke another character than staying alive. Taraji began to hum that song by the Bee Gees.

“Oh no, not ‘Staying Alive’ again. When you hum that song, I know it’s serious. Talk to me Tara, don’t leave me in the dark again” –  I kneeled beside the person I adored the most and took her hand

“It’s not about grape soda”

“I kind of figured that out”

“Shonda, it might come as shock to you, but I don’t like being beaten, raped and humiliated in every story I’m in”

“Oh, my! It is indeed a shock! Winston, fetch me some brandy to settle my nerves!” – I emulated my best rich white lady accent

“I ain’t joking, bitch!” – Tara giggled. The sound I wanted to hear

I sat next to Taraji on the couch never letting go of her hand. She was my only family. We met when we were just wee little girls on secondary roles with no lines. While the cop main character chased a street thug for dealing drugs on the corners of the projects, we were there to establish a ray of hope and innocence on the eyes of the policemen so he wouldn’t shoot the black man. It was all very weird and we began to meet to talk through it all in between roles. She was there for me when I was a generic African immigrant giving life advice to the troubled protagonist and I was there for her when she saw herself being replaced by a white woman when her role got lines on the sequel. Whenever she was feeling upset, I simply had to make her laugh.

“In all seriousness, I get where you’re coming from. We’ve had it bad, being background faces without a voice and all. But now I feel like we are being punished for getting too close to the main guys. My sole purpose for existing is being the black person that perishes to motivate the survivors to carry on. I don’t own the story”

Taraji jumped up like her ass caught fire. More than her ass, her eyes were on fire, as if she was cooking an idea like prime pizza in a stone oven.

“But what if we did, though?”

“I’m listening”

“What if we owned the stories? We’ve been analyzing how stuff works all this time, we know the works. It’s simply a matter of opportunity, see? We jump in when there’s a breaking point and make our names. You, for an instance. You can begin the investigation right after the first murder happens and never read demonic books out loud”

“I could finally become the killer!”

“What?”

“Stab a fork in their eyes and eat with spaghetti as if they were meatballs”

“Hey, um, ok…”

“Use my victims’ fingernails as pendants on a necklace”

“Yeah, we’ll talk about that later, love. Believe me, we will. First, we need to tell the others. Text Viola, I’ll phone Davis. We revolt at dawn”

Taraji could be the disposable secondary characters in their story, but never in mine. She always was, and would ever be, my leading lady.

 

The Golden Fuckhouse: Goggles

My name is Beyoncé and I’m the night shift janitor at the high-end love hotel “Golden Pink”. Us staff call her Golden Fuckhouse or, just affectionately, The Golden. This is where that one percent folk come to get their freak on. I don’t even have to worry about finding one of my mates and her boo doing the nasty. Nobody I know could afford a night at the Golden without trafficking human organs.

One of the rooms has a fully functioning Belgian chocolate fountain. I cannot distress how messy it gets. Chocolate gets everywhere. Once a week, Rafael, my absurdly short Brazilian co-worker, wipes chocolate off the ceiling at the “Sweet Temptation” quarters.

“Three hours, Bey! Three hours of my life I spent cleaning chocolate and porra off a motherfucking ceiling.” – Rafael whined during our break

“What’s “porra”?”

“Jizz”

“I should’ve known that”

“How much longer will this last? I mean, I’m a good employee, not even illegal. It feels like a punishment since I barely reach the ceiling. They could promote me and I would be useful in some other area that didn’t involve semen”

Rafael is young, full of dreams. Leaving Brazil was due since he didn’t like the prospects of a 35-year-old life expectancy being transgender. He also left searching for a better place. Somewhere he could pursue his dreams of becoming a Waterpark designer. It’s a bit of a revengeful desire since he still isn’t allowed to ride most of the slides for being too short. That embittered his soul.

“Raf, you better start liking the job you got. Make some money first and go work someplace else”

“You know how hard it was for me to find someone who would hire me. I don’t want to go through that humiliating job hunt anytime soon. Besides, what’s the matter in aiming for a promotion? Are you scared I might dethrone you, Queen B?” – He said with a sly smile.

“Fuck off, Raf. My mom was into African studies during high school. She first heard “Crazy In Love” when the birth certificate papers were done, ok? Not my fault my Korean ass is called Beyoncé.”

“I think I rubbed salt in an old wound, eh?”

“Just shut up”

Our break was over and off we went. Rafael is simply a summer child. He hasn`t understand the true nature of The Golden yet, but soon enough he will. The thing about rich folks is they don’t hold back. There is no reason not to be or do what they want since they have no one to impress. Other than the other rich folks, of course, but all of those who come to The Golden seem to be the same. It is commendable, obviously. People being who they are with no shame whatsoever is beautiful. The real shame is I’m the one who has to clean up the porra afterwards.

I’ve seen and cleaned my fair share of cum. At first it would disgust me, sure, but I got used to it. Now I just picture the little swimmers in a panic like “Where’s the goddamn egg, Linda? You told me there would be an egg” and Linda would be like “Shut up! We’re all gonna die! You’re the fucking egg*, Rachel!”. Would I it were just cum, but at The Golden’s “Wet And Messy” room things get, well, wet and messy.

I remember my first time at the “Wet And Messy”. I wheeled my cleaning cart through the staff corridor away from our prestigious guests’ sight. Being around poor people tends to kill their mood, as I’ve been told. The guests who last used the room had already left. It is my job to be swift and leave everything pristine clean in case someone else comes asking for the one I`m in. I turned my keys and opened the door to a pitch-black room. I reached for the light switch. My hands touched a gooey substance and my stomach turned. Cleaning cum was one thing, but touching it with my bare hands was not on my paycheck. I flicked the lights, it wasn’t cum.

Shampoo was the mysterious goo I touched. In comparison, they are actually very similar both being a white and firmer form of liquid. Except, you know, the semen part. The whole room was covered in shampoo squirts. It smelled quite nice, probably was some fancy brand one couldn’t find at a drugstore. There were also pieces of rubber I figured were the cadavers of balloons since some of them weren’t popped.

I wiped my shampooed hand and put on my gloves because I wouldn’t be fooled twice, no ma’am. As I reached to pick one of the shampoo covered balloons it decided to self-destruct. My whole face was covered in expensive shampoo someone used for sexy times. I thought my humiliation was over, but no. An under covered agent was blended in the Shampoo to infiltrate the enemy. I found the cum after all and the cum found my mouth. This was the day I started using facemasks to work. Next time I see my manager I’ll recommend Rafael for the “Wet And Messy”. The kid has to learn The Golden ways one way or another.

 

Individuals

 

Oliver walked funny. Sometimes he went too far right and then too far left. It was problematic, he despised the way he walked. Another passerby is hit by him. He punished his leg with a slap and ordered himself to just get in the coffee shop already. Such a klutz. His hands were a total different issue. Fingers were all crooked and strangely fat. They looked like sausages, which reminded him that he was starving.

“Chocolate cake, please.”

Just after ordering he realized his mistake. His inner voice was giving him the scolding of a lifetime. Chocolate cake on a date? Are you serious? What kind of image are we going for, Oliver? He has to think of you as mysterious, independent. We talked about this when you were setting up your online profile. Cake screams neediness! Fix it, fast!

“I’d like a spoon, if that’s ok”

His crooked and fat hand awarded him with a facepalm. He was on the verge of tears. The inner voice went for a sarcastic comment this time. Now you did it, Oliver. A spoon. Very mysterious indeed. He’ll think you also like to eat soup with a fork. Bravo. Were you always that special? Pray tell. Maybe as a sand eating child you hit your peek and it’s just downhill from here.

While Oliver reflected upon his entire life staring at a spoon, his date arrived. A Punjabi young man wearing black. He smiled at Oliver and was walking straight ahead to meet him. He seemed confident, but appearances tend to be misleading. Not noticing a huge sphere of a person, he bumped into a pregnant lady coming in. He threw himself on the ground and kept apologizing while clutching at her feet. She released her feet from his grasp and just fucking left. Pregnant people have no time for bullshit. It’s hard enough for them not to pee their own undergarments, let alone deal with weirdos. This weirdo in particular recomposed himself and sat awkwardly in Oliver’s table right in front of him.

“Y-you must be Holiver”

“Oliver”

“I’m so sorry, Olivier!”

“Oliver”

“Yes, yes, of course. I’m Terrence. Sorry! I’m a pile of nervousness. Can’t do anything right”

“That’s okay, I’m als…”

“I am really sorry. I ruined it already, haven’t I? You came all the way here for nothing. I am nothing! Sorry!” – Terrence pleaded while Oliver stared in a blank expression.

Oliver absolutely, without a fucking doubt, hated being interrupted. He wasn’t one to get mad, he just shut down. Terrence kept going on and on about his mishaps, his unforgivable mistakes and flaws. Oliver just waited patiently until his date was out of breath and there was a chance to reply. Half an hour later, that moment arrived.

“And that’s why musicals helped me through my depression crisis” – Terrence concluded and gasped for air to continue his rant.

“I’ve had a pretty rough one” – calmly stated Oliver

“What?”

“Depression crisis. The last one was awful. Terrible. I couldn’t stand the sight of anyone. I already live alone, because… you know. Gay black man, religious family. My house became a pigpen because I wouldn’t get out the bed to clean. The only thing that kept me pushing forward was my dog. If I didn’t feed her, she would’ve died. She was always there though. Even when I stopped taking her outside she wouldn’t bark or get mad at me. I knew she was hurting to see me that way, so I sought help. Just like musicals to you, my dog helped me through my depression crisis”

Oliver let all that out and expected Terrence to get up and leave. If not, he would just start talking about himself again. He understood why Terrence would need to express his hardships, Oliver himself needed that as well. He just waited, expecting nothing positive of this situation.

“Oh, that’s nice. Dogs are wonderful. Please, go on”

Oliver did go on. They discussed the difference between dog people and cat people, their families and whether Tyra Sanchez deserved that crown or not. Regardless, both of them agreed she was indeed the spawn of Satan. Terrence ordered a strawberry shortcake and offered Oliver some. The two men shared a piece of cake with a spoon.

 

All Ears

 

The doorbell kept pushing my cow shaped slipper covered feet forward. My drowsy mind was singing The White Stripes all the way to the front door. I’ve been thinking about my doorbell, when you gonna go the fuck away and stop ringing it? I looked at Evelyn, her radiant puppy like face. I should have guessed this irritable bowl syndrome of a person I’ve known barely would be here. She giggled and pressed the doorbell once more. My fists were begging me to knock out at least two of her teeth.

 

“Aggie, Aggie! I’ve come to see you! Aren’t you happy I’m here?”

 

“What the fuck do you want?” – I asked as politely as I could

 

“Oh, don’t be like that, Agatha! I just came by for a quick visit – the short and cutesy twenty four year old pouted”

 

“You inconvenient brussels sprout, it’s four thirty in the morning. You are neither a drug dealer nor the occasional sex worker to come for a “quick visit” at this hour. What the bloody hell do you want?”

 

That’s when Evelyn looked down and realized the irony I’d set in the porch: a welcome mat. Her eyes were starting to well up, but her inhumanly broad smile never faded.

“I want Verona, Aggie” – she pleaded

 

You see I got this problem, I need help trying to solve it, because needy friend after needy friend that drags me down sorrow lane I still listen. Stories of all kinds do me in without failure. I’m fascinated by the intricacies of human interactions. That meaning, there I was, again, getting the kettle ready to serve some chamomile tea. Last time t’was English Breakfast and a guy with father-daughter problems involving a teenage obsession with a TV show about aliens and bow ties. Evelyn’s case was much simpler: love. An infatuation that marked six months already.

Verona and I met seldom through a friend of a friend. We didn’t have much in common. She disliked RuPaul’s Drag Race, so there was no point in pursuing that friendship. But Evelyn always rambled on and on about how they were a match made in heaven. Evelyn and Verona loved the same underground loud music, frequented the same Italian ristorante that also served Korean barbeque and hated Ryan Gosling with a passion. What intrigued me was how Evelyn came to such a conclusion about their like-mindedness when not a word had been spoken between the two of them ever since they first met at work six months ago. Still, I served her tea.

“Evelyn, I showed you the Wikipedia page for the thing you have already. Can you please drink this and go home?”

 

“Please stop joking around, Agatha. I’m serious this time”

 

“It’s not a joke, it’s a serious medical issue. Erotomania makes you believe someone loves you even though there’s nothing between your asses. It’s about time you moved on and seek therapy. Bother someone that charges a hundred bucks an hour with your fake romance”

 

“Silly! Verona and I had lunch at her place two days ago. How about that for erotowhatever, huh?”

 

“Lunch, eh? I’m all ears”

 

Again, I was pulled to the story. They all knew that I fell easy into temptation, that’s why they didn’t bother about visiting hours anymore. Exhausted as I was, my addiction to a good plot left me awake as if just did a shot of Earl Grey Black with double sugar.

“Aggie, you would not believe if I told you she came to my desk and asked straight away if I wanted to have lunch with her! I was astonished! You know how amazing she is, right? And also so cool, beautiful, smart. And her cute little ears! Have I told you about her ears?”

 

“Evelyn…”

 

“Right, right. We went to her apartment. Nicely decorated, very edgy and eco friendly. She is just that person, you know? She worries about the environment. Anyway, she cooked us some pasta. ‘Us’! It’s so nice to say that at last! Even her kitty ate some too. She is a persian I think. White and fluffy. Oh, Aggie, we talked about so many things! Politics, films, music… We really hit it off, I can feel it! But she hasn’t called me since, Aggie. Please help me. I need her and I know she needs me too!”

 

“Yes, right. I’ll just grab some more tea and you can tell me all the details, ok? Be right back”

 

“Sure, Aggs. Thank you for being such a great listener. But hurry up, my future depends on you.”

 

Her smile was as broad as ever, but the rest of her body was so petit and compact. Evelyn, to me, was always the picture perfect of what the baby of the Joker and Harlequin would be.

 

“It does, doesn’t it?”

 

I went to the kitchen and did what I had to do. I returned and let her talk some more. She told me about the trips to Greece they would take together. The wine nights they would host at their first apartment. Even wondered who would she choose to be the godmother of their first child. Perhaps me, lucky me.

There was a knock. The police came in and took Evelyn screeching. They thanked me for call, asked if I wasn’t hurt and left.

My bedroom TV was still talking the same piece of news since I woke up at four thirty with Evelyn’s doorbell. Last night a body of a young woman was found along with her white persian cat. Tragic. The apartment had been broken in, the victim tied to a chair and force fed a romantic meal. Horrendous. Police figured it was another victim of the Van Gogh killer. Both ears cut off and nowhere to be found, just like all the others. If it wasn’t for that peculiar ear fetish maybe I wouldn’t have figured out Evelyn murdered Verona. Just maybe.

Tragic, but it was worth my time. The story was really good.

 

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