Fifty hour week. Fifty hours of mind numbing financial calculation. Fifty hours in the shittiest cubicle of a shittier office with no heating system because Walter Sheridan is too fucking tight to install one. After just a few weeks, Phil here drops any and all physical aspirations. It’s fast food everyday except for when his daughter cooks. Alice. He’s got her picture taped to his desktop. Keeps him going. It’s all for her. All to put her through school. He thinks she’s at school today.
08:47am. Jesse steps out of the baker’s with water and a pack of turkey sandwiches. Someone calls his name. He looks up and spots Alice walking towards him quick as her shoes will allow. She convinces him to pop up to Mr. Welsh’s office, tell him she wasn’t feeling too good and that Beverly has to drive her home. Took some convincing. Jesse’s that kid who spazzes out at anything less than an A- and even then he’s a little blue. Good as gold though, if he says she’s sick there’ll be no question. Alice is that one girl specially reserved for captain of the hockey team. Having said that, she’s got no problem working her magic on this here melvin. Her boobs are nothing special but she makes the most of them for the duration of their conversation. Cuts in phrases like do it for me and you wouldn’t let me get into trouble now would you? Balloons his ego. Fondles the buttons of his shirt with long black fingernails. Maintains a warm, lusty gaze. He’s the one looking nauseous. Miraculous…forty-three degrees Celsius out and still this kid looks like fucking Nosferatu.
“What’s wrong with the car?”
“Clutch is fucked.”
“That’ll cost you.”
“Nah, daddy’ll take care of it.”
They sit facing each other near the back of the bus. Beverly opens a few windows on the way up.
“What time does your dad get home?” asks Beverly.
“Usually around six, six-thirty.”
“Ten hours baby! What do you want to do?” Alice brushes her hair back behind her ears, props her chin upon her knuckles and mulls the possibilities.
“What do you want to do?” she replies.
“Well, we should rent a movie. That’s two hours.”
“Want to go out for lunch.”
“Good thinking, you can’t cook for shit.” Alice smiles sardonically, shoots Bev the bird.
“Alright, that’s another two hours. Do you have any pot?”
“I’ve got a little stashed away in my room but my dad has this friend, Frank, he’s always good for a few bags.”
“Yeah, it’s the sex. Also, this cat Frank never ever gets any girls over there except for, y’know, the odd fossil. We dress right, he’s sure to make a sale.”
“Stop trying to sound like Pam Grier. Junkie slut.”
“I want to smoke it in the tub. You’ve got salts and bubble bath formula right?”
“Yeah. Do you want to go out for dinner?”
“Okay so two for a movie, two for lunch, one for pot, two for dinner thus leaving three for funky dory.”
“How often do we get this much time to just ourselves? We should try new things. We should try everything.”
Beverly fixes Alice with a look of such manic affection that the hairs of Alice’s nape grow prickly. She turns away, looks out to a cluster of ash-grey clouds marring the otherwise perfect sky.
13:28pm. Phil and George hit McDonalds for lunch. Counter and cooking stations lined with Hispanics, caught them on an unscheduled break, have to wait an extra five minutes but the guy at the counter gives them a free box of nuggets.
“I got these two friends…” says George, “…on Facebook, Sam and Gino. Sam like Samantha. Always talking, always hanging out, taking pictures, chick shit y’know. Anyway, it’s become like a twenty-four-seven cock tease. Gino could get work modelling like that.” George snaps his fingers. “And Sammy is the definition of fuckable, I mean she’s no Mona Lisa but pop a plastic bag on her head, bitch is good to go.” He pops a dozen fries in his mouth. Phil takes a swig of coffee.
“How do know Gina?”
“Gino. Met her at church, never would have guessed she was Jewish, looks like Paris Hilton, only pretty.”
“Must be diluted.”
“I don’t believe in dykes.”
“For serious. Women are so tight anyway that lesbianism’s no big leap. Whole thing seems kind of…immature, an alternative to men, children, domestic responsibility. I get fags, y’know, I’m not so insecure I can’t admit a good looking guy when I see one. Y’know, Denzel Washington is a good looking man. Guy from the Hangover is a good looking man.”
“Buddy, if you’re gay, don’t be shy, come out and shout it.”
“The coffee is actually kind of nice today.”
“And who gives a fuck if they’re not for real? You’re that one guy who go sees a magician and then shreds all his tricks. It’s fun.”
“Magicians know they’re full of shit. Are you going to eat those nuggets?”
“Nah, you have ‘em.” Phil grabs a few packs of mustard.
Chip scratches the bathroom door. Whimpers with hunger. They’ve been in there for almost an hour now. Sheets of steam billow out from beneath the door, thick like some ghostly discharge. Ectoplasm. Curls up, threatens the fire alarm. Chip is a five year old Dachshund. Acquired the name in light of his fur, milky brown with patches of livanto.
Another lurch of yolk-yellow vomit burns Phil’s throat. This is at 14:02pm when the stomach acids are still fresh. He palms his gut, tumescent and varicose, with his right hand, left’s on the loo. Staff discharge must fly right by the ventilation ducts; air’s ever pungent with piss and excrement.
He asks Walter Sheridan for the day off. Boss responds is that condescending tone mother’s use on their babies.
“What’s wrong Philly? Got a rumble in your tummy have you? Need to take a nap do you? Christ Phil! I’ve worked third floor too y’know and when I did we had to gush bolognaise from our skulls for a day off. You dig?”
And Phil thinks: The day my little girl graduates you’ll gush bolognaise from your scrotum. I’m going to peel your fingernails off. Dig my thumbs into your eyes. Shove your teeth back into the gums. And Phil says: “Mr. Sheridan, you know how much this job means to me. You know I wouldn’t ask unless I was really feeling shitty.”
“Just have your ass back in gear for tomorrow, okay buddy?”
Beverly lies atop a freshly set duvet in black sports bra and underwear, reading an article entitled thirty-three steps to a healthy visage. A voice from the next room: “Okay, I’m ready, close your eyes.” Beverly does so with a fair degree of ennui. Twist of the doorknob. A few awkward steps.
“Alright, open ‘em.” Alice is wearing a frock of expensive black satin with silver sequins and a muffler, also black.
“Now that’s more like it. Let me see the shoes.”
“It’s too tight, I couldn’t get them on. I’ll have to exchange it.”
“Should’ve come to Pilates.”
“I swear this thing was cut for Olive Oyl.”
“Yeah, yeah. What’s next?” Pink leather, sleeveless, cut to her waist, curtained pants, six inch platforms and a diamond collar.
“I think you ought to be getting back to your time machine.”
“I don’t even care what you think. This is fabulous!” Once they’ve modelled their selections for each other Alice reverts back to jeans and a pink tank top.
“Do you have any good wine?” asks Beverly.
“We have wine.” Alice fetches a bottle of red wine from the basement. Is on her way back upstairs when she remembers Chip.
Beverly fingers through Al’s record collection until she spots Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane. Sticks it in. Blasts Somebody To Love at maximum volume. This song is to Bev’s ass what honey is to bumble bees. She shakes it, gyrates whilst reading the case. After the first chorus she pops the case onto the bed, unhooks her bra, bundles it in her right hand and palms it into the corner.
Alice plops half a cylinder of dog food into chip’s bowl when she hear her father’s key in the door. Nausea, heartache and bloodless cold, all at once. Her knees buckle with fear. Fortunately he’s distracted by the music, begins his ascent to her bedroom whilst she tiptoes down into the basement, spilling vestiges of dog meat on the way.
When Phil finds Beverly Marsh she appears to be at the last leg of a striptease. Fists clenches upon her mane, eyes closed, mouthing the lyrics, tits jiggling like jellies in turbulence.
“What the fuck are you doing?” he screams. She doesn’t hear him.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Again, so loud it’s like a razor from his throat. She doesn’t hear what he says but gets the volume. Stops dancing, slaps her palms to her boobs. The colour goes from her face.
“What the fuck are you doing Beverly?” She can’t speak.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
“Wha’? What sir?
“Turn the fucking music off for Christ sake!” She shifts her left forearm across her right breast, presses the stop button and resumes position.
“What the…” He brings a fist to his forehead, inhales deeply. “What the hell are you doing in my house? Why aren’t you at school? Is Alice here? Put some fucking clothes on! Christ’s sake Beverly!”
“Yessir.” She goes to retrieve her bra only to discover that’s it’s fallen behind the wardrobe, right in the corner, beyond her reach. She tries to explain this to Mr. Morgan but can only stammer. After a few seconds she starts sobbing. After a few more seconds mascara lines her cheeks but she’s won’t move her hands.
Phil considers hugging her but thinks better off it. He picks out one of Alice’s shirts for her and turns away whilst she changes. It’s too small for her but she squeezes into it and doesn’t complain. He gives her a handkerchief; she thanks him but decides not to use it when she spots some dry snot.
“Beverly, why are you here?”
“I needed a day to myself. Al said you wouldn’t be home ‘til late.”
“Is she here?”
“Use the copy?”
“If you were my daughter I’d smack the shit out of you. Do you have even an inkling of what your parents have sacrificed so that you could have a good education?”
“I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry sir.”
“Bev, I’m going to have to call your parents.” She starts shaking her head.
“Bev, you did a stupid, selfish thing and you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. Okay? I’m going to ring your pa.” She makes a run for the door but Phil slaps his arms around her chest, lifts her easy as if she was a bundle of quilts, cups her ass thus letting her body flap onto the duvet, wraps his hands around her wrists, pins her. Now Beverly really starts wailing.
“Get your hands off me! Get your filthy fucking hands off! I’ll tell my dad you touched me!”
“Go ahead, Paul knows me, Paul trusts me. I’ll be sure to tell him about your cussing and your lying. Or, you could behave yourself; accept responsibility for your actions. What’s it going to be?” Beverly sheds the last of today’s tears and nods.
“Good lord saw fit to give you a mouth young lady, how’s about you stop being a baby and use it.”
Phil’s on the phone to Paul when he clocks a few bits of meat trailing off towards the basement door. Paul says he’s on his way and hangs up. Alice, who has been pacing back and forth for the past five minutes hears her father’s footsteps across the kitchen floor. The basement consists of a desk, a freezer and two cabinets. In a flash, she shifts all the stuff in one cabinet to the other and squirms inside. Phil comes down the stairs, each step so heavy and deliberate Alice wonders if Beverly squealed and he’s just trying to scare her. She can hear her own heartbeat. It’s pounding so strong she thinks he must be able to hear it. Shit. He could’ve heard it from the kitchen. She’s could shit herself she’s so scared. She considers smashing her skull into the cabinet wall to curveball her father’s wrath. But all he does is scoop up a half empty tin of dog food, leaves and locks the door behind him.
16:48pm. Sam and Rebecca are out for a stroll. She halts at whimpering from the ventilation shaft above the living room window of number fifty-nine, goes to investigate.
“Come on, it’s none of our business.” Thinking of this guy’s voice I can’t help but wonder if his balls dropped properly.
“Quiet!” No car in the driveway. She walks up to the living room windows and peeks inside, nothing. She hollers at the shaft: “Hello.” Through a plethora of snot and tears Alice replies: “Hello?”
“Do you want me to call someone?”
“No, no, no, it’s fine!”
“How did you get stuck?”
“I’m locked in.”
“Who locked you in the basement?”
“My dad. I’m not supposed to be here, I hid when he came home and he’s locked me in. I’m so cold.” She goes off again, sobbing, shaking.
“What time does your dad get home?”
“He is home!” Alice is wailing now, starts banging her head against the cabinet walls.
“Stop that okay! Don’t get hysterical. What’s your name?”
“Good. Nice to meet you Alice. I’m Rebecca and I’m going to sort this out. Where’s you dad?”
“I don’t know. I think he’s asleep. Heard him go upstairs about an hour go. Hasn’t made a sound since.”
“Okay well, that’s a start. Is there any way that we can get to you?”
“I’m here with my friend Samuel.”
“Hello.” Hollers Samuel from the sidewalk.
“No, but there’s a spare key in the bowl of stones.” Rebecca steps inside the conservatory, locates and large nettle green bowl filled with white, blue and mauve stones. She shuffles through the stones but finds nothing.
“Alice, I don’t see anything.”
“It’s inside one the stones.”
“Dad never told me.”
“Sam, help me look.” After a few minutes they find a purple one that opens up and sure enough, there’s the little bronze key.
“Okay” Says Rebecca. “We’ve got the key. What next?”
“When you open the door the kitchen’s straight ahead, key’s on top of the basement door, left of the kitchen entrance. Just slide it under and I’ll do the rest. Ten second job.”
“Got it, okay, I’m coming in.”
“No you’re bloody well not.” Pipes Sam. “I won’t have you breaking into a strange man’s house. I’ll go.”
“Fine. Here’s the key.” Sam goes to slip the key in the lock, hesitates and steps back outside.
“Your daddy a big guy?”
“No, he’s short and fat, kind of pot bellied too.”
“Ah.” With that Sam opens the door and heads inside.
“He’s got a shotgun but I don’t think it’s loaded.” Within a minute she’s out of the house. Hugs her saviours. Starts crying again.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“It’s alright.” Says Rebecca. “What are you going to do now?”
“I got to go back inside.”
“Your face is kind of Picasso right now. He’ll catch on straight away. C’mon. Let’s get some coffee and pie.”
Alice sits with her cup of coffee (lots-a cream, lots-a sugar) having devoured her steak and onion pie. Cup to mouth, she eyes her new friends. Rebecca can’t be much older than twenty and Sam here has to be in his early fifties. Won’t take his hand off Rebecca’s chair, is also wearing a wedding ring. Alice can’t decide which bothers her more. A camera dangles from his left shoulder. Can’t be her usual nosey self in light of the situation. So, she decides simply to enjoy the view, Rebecca’s naturally pouty lips, her eyes like the finest sapphires and curly blonde hair. As far as Alice is concerned, Rebecca has absolutely perfect boobs. Ample enough for play, humble enough for sexual intimacy. All of this is only enhanced by the fact that Rebecca is an adult. Sam here’s a limey. Immigrated to teach advanced I.C.T at the university where he met Rebecca who’s doing a course is Philosophy. Sam’s passion is photography. Keeps his camera with him at all time, snaps anything and everything, anyone and everyone, he deems worthy of artistic merit. He consider Rebecca her to be his muse.
Once Rebecca’s made certain that Al’s hunky dory they decide to stay another half hour and chat. Sam gets the waitress, whose name tag reads “VICKY”, orders three more coffees and a turkey sandwich for himself. Vicky got here straight from school, burnt out from studying, preoccupied with one of the boys in her class, doesn’t bother with customer service 101, doesn’t acknowledge the customer, doesn’t smile, scribbles the order and splits. She brings their drinks and Sam’s sandwich, he tells her he ordered a chicken sandwich so she exchanges it, he tells her he ordered a ham sandwich so she exchanges it, he tells her he ordered a turkey sandwich so she exchanges it, by this time Vicky’s boss wants a word with her. Sam tells her that’ll do. He and Rebecca exchange a smile.
“Cunt.” He says.
“Tell us more about your home situation.” Says Rebecca.
“Not a lot to say really, mom died in an motor accident when I was three, dad’s had to work his ass off ever since, bitter about it, guy’s got such a bad temper. You guys have no idea how much I owe you. I wish I could give like a reward or something but I’ve nothing to give.” Sam and Rebecca exchange a looks that makes Alice a little nervous. Rebecca turns back to and says: “Now that mention it, there is something we could use you for.”
“We’ve been planning this photo shoot for a little while. It’ll involve Sam, yours truly and a third party. You up for it honey?”
“What does will this shoot involve?”
“The beast.” says Sam.
“The one with two backs.”
“Siamese twins?” Sam bursts into such hysterical laughter that the rest of the caf?tops and stares. Stamping his foot on the floor, slapping his knee. Rebecca giggles but knows to cover her mouth.
“No you twit. Fucking. Fucking is the beast with two backs. I do, amongst other things, erotic photography.”
“Oh. Oh gosh. I know I said I owe you big time and I do but I could never do anything like that.”
“This business would be strictly recreational; the pictures wouldn’t go beyond you, me and Rebecca.”
“Thank you very much for the coffee and pie. I ought to be heading home now so, goodbye.” Alice rises from her chair and moves for the door.
“Wait.” Rebecca stands and pulls a card from her jacket pocket, tells Alice to call if she changes her mind. There’s also a web address.
“We don’t make this kind of offer to just anyone, you’ve got a real spark Alice. It was nice meeting you.”
www.thirdeye.com. Segments include nature, urban, people, animals, food, astrology, miscellaneous and the beast. You must be a member to view anything with people and everything in the beast. It costs $7.99 a month, Alice signs up under the username virgobaby1994. Rebecca has fifty pictures on here. Alice downloads every one to her hard drive and cancels the membership. Once she’s got them, she spends a good couple of hours looking at them, scrutinizing every lush detail. She’ll have masturbated to every picture at least once before the school year ends. In the meantime, she splits her word documents in two, pastes an image of Rebecca in the first half and does her homework in the second. Does it in her Information Technology class when she gets the corner seat.
Day after the shit storm. Alice finds Beverly with a severely bruised ego. Mrs. Marsh sobbed through the night. Mr. Marsh screamed ‘til his brain throbbed, ‘til the neighbours complained, ‘til his larynx splintered. Alice books a day at the spa for two, pedicure, manicure, swimming pool, tropical steam rooms and an inappropriate massage.
The weight of the relationship shifts to Al’s shoulders. Little by little, she’s to restore it to its glory days. Her heart’s not in it though. Beverly’s charms are stale and prosaic in comparison with those of Rebecca. Al hasn’t the courage to say anything so she just smiles her fake smiles, laughs her fake laughs and makes fake promises. Together forever.
Perving on Rebecca, dosed by her loveliness, Al can’t escape the fact that her lips and her body are only a phone call away. So much fear and shame associated with that number. She keeps telling herself it’s not pornography, it’s art. Keeps failing to dial that number all the way. Nine out of ten.
One Tuesday, Beverly asks Alice to go see the movie “Kick-Ass” with her at 15:30pm on Saturday, Alice agrees. Cut to Wednesday night and Alice can’t sleep. So, she watches a little TV. Chats to fellow narcoleptics online. Looks through old school and holiday snaps. Inevitably, she does away with family and friends, turn to the apple of her eye for comfort. The hunger’s been swelling inside her for more than a month now. Long story short, something pops and she dials those digits. They arrange to meet at 12:30pm. Shoot should finish at 13:30am thus giving Alice a good two hours in which to get to the cinema.
Alice sits down and crosses her legs, Sam follows once she’s made herself comfortable.
“Sure you don’t want a drink.”
“I’m good thanks.”
“Maybe a little. Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. I like that.” He smiles. His teeth are so crooked Alice can’t hold his gaze for more than a few seconds. She smiles. Re-crosses her legs. Looks away.
“So,” she says, “How’s this going to work?”
Beverly sits in the cinema, small popcorn in one hand, Pepsi in the other. Cell phone vibrates, she puts the popcorn down to read the text, apparently Phil’s sick and Al’s stuck looking after him for a few hours.
“Hey Bev!” she looks up to see Jesse standing there with a pack of toffees and a milkshake.
“Oh, hey James. What’s up?”
“Jesse right. Isn’t that a girl name?”
“Not if you drop the i. They still sound the same though. What brings you here?”
“What do think brings me here Jesse?”
“Are you here to see a movie?”
“I was going to see “Kick-Ass” with Al but the fat bitch isn’t coming. You?”
“Who you with?”
“Oh, I just came by myself.”
“Perfect, you can come see “Kick-Ass” with me.” With that Beverly stands and makes her way towards the auditorium. Jesse trails behind her, speechless at his own luck.
Phil here is royally pissed off. Alice called to say she was going to town with Beverly thus leaving him with the laundry. He checks all the pockets in case one of them left cash or whatever. Comes across a card in Alice’s jeans. Phone number and a web address. Pops it in his back pocket and carries on.
Phil considers computers an extravagance. Doesn’t have one at home so he checks the site out from work. Charges his membership fee to the company. The site is a bank of artwork. Phil considers art an extravagance. His viscera tightens when he enters the beast…a lexicon of little blonde girls, scantily clad, kissing, caressing, strap-ons, fisting, mud wrestling, baby lotion etc. That’s just the first page. Realizing where he is he panics. Closes the page and returns to his work, decides to get in half an hour early tomorrow, to browse.
08:31am. Walter Sheridan calls Phil into his office.
“Noticed some interesting activity on your unit yesterday.”
“Don’t act like you don’t know. That site, that Third Eye thing.”
“Oh yeah, just overheard one of the guys talking about it, took a little look.”
“Spent a little of my money in the process.”
“What? Of fuck! Yeah, that’s right. I signed up and forget to cancel. I’ll do that right now. Anything they took you should take out of my pay cheque.”
“No, no, no. That’s fine. I was just wondering, did you get a good look at the site.”
“Not really, like I said, I was just kind of curious.”
“Well, I did get a good look at the sight. Found some real cool stuff on there, emailed it to your work account, you should check it out.”
Phil opens the first of sixteen links. See his little girl on her knees, topless, fifty-six year old man’s erect cock digs deep into her cheek from the inside. He vomits on the keyboard. His breakfast continues to waterfall across the carpet and into the trash can. Link two of sixteen. She’s got the tip of her tongue right between his balls. Link three of sixteen. She’s on her back on the bed, he hold her ankles at shoulder level whilst he sticks her. Link four of sixteen. A squirt of viscid semen across her stomach. Link five of sixteen. Alice fondles the boobs of a young woman; they look at each of lovingly. Link six of sixteen. Alice and the woman kiss. There’s a mistake on this one, the woman appears to be looking at the cameraman, not Alice. Link seven of sixteen. The woman is melting ice cubes into her tits. Link eight of sixteen Alice suckles the woman’s erect nipples. The woman is giggling. Link nine of sixteen. The woman has slipped her fingers right into Al’s pussy. Link ten of sixteen. The woman is elbow deep in Phil’s baby girl. He whips around and falls to his knees, hurls his eggs back up and into the bin. He’s done. He’s out of there, never to return. Had he stayed, he would have seen link eleven of sixteen. Alice getting her wrists and ankles cuffed. Link twelve of sixteen. The man and woman pouring hot wax on her chest whilst she’s blindfolded. Link thirteen of sixteen. Alice suckling the man’s big toe whilst he exchanges a kiss with the woman. Link fourteen of sixteen. The man sodomizing the woman on a desk. Link fifteen of sixteen. Alice licking the woman’s succulent labia, which is extra thick, like a ring of especially tender beef. Link sixteen of sixteen is the three of them waving into camera and smiling.
Phil stops by the library. Prints off link one of sixteen, tapes it to Alice’s bedroom door for when she gets home. He goes into the attic, gets his shotgun, a box of shells, loads it and returns to his daughter’s room. Waits. She arrives home six hours later. Fixes herself a cup of coco, takes it into the living room and turns on the TV. Fine. Phil stands up, gets halfway downstairs when he realizes she’s watching one of her old cartoons. Whiff of nostalgia. Takes him back to when Mary was still around. Alice. Anything and everything your baby does makes your heart swell. Her selfishness and sinful ways have left him broke and humiliated. Regardless, he can’t stop loving her and he can’t put a bullet in her.
Rebecca suckles Sam’s balls whilst he reads the morning paper. He uses this time to discuss the election ‘cause Rebecca here has no business discussing politics. Someone twits the doorknob.
“Yes.” Obviously Sam says this. No response.
“Go get that will you Becky.” She slips her lips off his scrotum. Walks around his desk, across the office, unlocks the door and opens it. Phil recognises her. Grabs her mane and puts a rusty steak knife to her throat. She screams so he jabs her with the handle, hard, and she shuts up. Sam moves to get his Johnson back in his pants.
“Don’t move or I’ll cut her throat. Who runs the site?”
“You’re a model.”
“Yes, but I’m also the manager. What the bloody hell do you want? I want you to get my daughter’s pictures off-a there.”
“Yes! Yes! Whatever you want, just don’t harm my girlfriend!”
Once everything’s taken care off, Phil punches Sam in the teeth. Hurts his knuckles so bad he stops by the hospital on the way home. Spits in Rebecca’s face. Goes home to give his daughter a hug, tell her he loves her and that she can tell him anything. Wonders if he remembered to take that picture down off her bedroom door.