The shop is closed, has been for three decades, but he knocks anyway. Four heavy thumps nearly tear the flimsy screen door off its hinges. The taps disturb the awkward stillness in the old building, rattling the dust mites off cracked neon wall trim and warped tables. Fried Frieda and her ceramic pal Burger Bob haven’t seen this much traffic in the thirty-two years since the restaurant’s closing.
“Knock, knock,” the man huffs, “anybody here?” He taps again.
A glass hula-hooping figurine falls off its wooden pedestal, shattering in pieces on the checkerboard tile. Another would topple the whole six-foot shelf. “Who are ya?” I ask, my fingers tracing a heart with a smiley face on a dirty mirror.
“I was told to meet somebody here. Uhh… A Mr. Hayes?” That name I haven’t heard in forever. I need to update my profile.
Clearing my throat, I say, “Yeah, hold on a sec.” Through chapped, barred windows I can only make out the man’s silhouette. I walk the trail of broken plates and lightbulbs over to the door. “You know, from the stats you gave me on Facebook, I pictured you to be a smidge larger.”
“You won’t be disappointed.”
I unlock the door to face a husky, the total package. His legs were the size of tree trunks, and he could put an entire buffet bar across those broad shoulders. Sure, his acne scars and lazy eye would keep him from winning an award for most attractive assailant, and his being on the short side – 5’9” probably – but that didn’t matter much in the long run.
Our handshake seems to last hours. At this point, I would not be surprised if I didn’t have an unbroken bone left in my limp hand. His eyes were cold silver, and his black hair shined in the cloudy sunset. “You must be Dawson.”
“I got your payment safe and sound.” We take a seat inside on a couple barstools, and I’m surprised he doesn’t fall through the shitty thing.
“I’d give you a drink, but I’m afraid all I have to offer is some warm piss.” Small talk is not my strong suit. I release an ugly giggle before locking my lips.
He gives me a concerned look and shakes it off. “You know,” he scratches his head, “I don’t usually engage in this sort of thing with my clients. I find it easier to come in, get the job done, clean up, and get out.”
“So you do this often? I figured I was the first.”
Dawson chuckles. “You’d be surprised what people ask for.”
My mouth runs like a river. I can’t stop. “How long have you been doing it?”
“Not for long. About a year.”
“So it pays well, I reckon? I mean, you’re getting $5,000 from me, and that’s just for an evening of fantasy.” Fuck me. These lips need sewn shut.
He evades my question and places his hand on my thigh. Dawson’s warm hands feel like freshly grilled beef patties against my jeans. “Look, let me grab my bag from my truck, and we’ll get started.” He hands me a black tube. “Usually I add this in secret to my clients’ drinks, but seeing as the only other option you have is a glass of piss, you’ll have to take it straight.” He claps my back. “Drink up.”
It would have tasted better with the piss. The concoction chewed against the back of my throat, lingering there as I gasp and choke. I feel it ooze down my gullet, scorching everything it passes, until dropping into the pit of my stomach. My stomach quickly bloats, and I want to vomit. But that’ll cost extra.
Dense rain drops fall against the tin roof of the rickety restaurant, and if it were different circumstances, I would call it almost romantic. Dawson returns with a plump red bag, his drenched clothes clinging to his sinewy frame.
“So? How was it?” He unzips the bag and places a roll of duct tape and plastic ties on the bar.
I imagine myself sporting that sexy half-grin, all alluring and unfazed, but all I can muster is a sheepish, beaming smile and a runny nose. The only place I can find for my clammy hands is pressed firmly against my crotch. To Dawson, I must look like some hormonal, strung-out youngster; he would not be too far off with that description. “It was fucking awful, but I downed the thing,” I admit.
Dawson has all his tools lined up on the table. The golden sheen of a machete and glossy surgical tools glisten with every flash of lightning through dusty windows. His duct tape is covered with pink unicorns. At least he has a nice sense of humor.
“You… you drank the whole tube?” Dawson rips a strip of unicorn tape with his teeth and wraps my hands with it.
His words are slurring, my vision fuzzy. “You didn’t tell me not to…?”
He buries his head in his hands. “Shit, man. I’m –” He begins to pace. “Fuck! It hap –”
“Dude, dude, dude, duuuuude, slow the hell down. I can’t make sense of a thing you’re saying.” But from the look on his face, he can’t understand me either.
Suddenly a little clown with donuts for eyes and a wig of bright pink curly fries hops into view. The small guy has been hiding in a pile of ripped magazines all this time. Who would have known? I try to dodge a blue ball he hurls towards me and fall off the bar stool. My tongue turns to cotton as the clown pecks my cheek.
A team of bopping toy soldiers dressed in drag vigorously shakes my head until I see Dawson again. “Mr. Hayes.”
I can’t help but stare at his pink lips. Reminds me of a guy I fucked last Hanukah. We were just about to kiss when he toppled his chardonnay on my lap. I never got that stain out. The memory brings tears to my eyes; I can’t stop laughing.
“Listen to me, Mr. Hayes.”
“It’s Ryan,” I lick his nose. “Baby, why are you still dressed? It’s only fair after I had to take mine off.” I cross my arms around his thick neck and go in for a kiss, but he pulls away. Rude.
Every blink grows heavier and heavier, until at last I drift off to sleep, joining my new friends Elbur the Clown and the toy drag soldiers in the cotton candy bushes.
“Shit,” Dawson mutters. His words faintly echo in my head as I drift in and out of consciousness. “He wasn’t supposed to take all that GHB. What an idiot. Or didn’t I tell him?” I feel my wrists and legs tighten together in the duct tape. “Well, a deal’s a deal. The money’s still green.” Then: “Surely it’s not enough to overdose. Surely not. Fuck, I should have asked Ben about the dosage.” A crack of thunder steals the rest of his speech.
Right as I fall to sleep again, he rips my clothes off. My hard dick springs out of its cage like a drooling jack in the box. My paralyzed body and frenzied mind aches for him. I’ve never felt so horny and horrified in my life. It’s a shame I can’t be conscious to experience the evening of brutal pleasure a cold $5,000 bought me.
The next thing I feel is splitting pain in my gut and his calloused hands and tongue raping in my ass. Then he sinks his fangs into my thigh and releases a throaty gurgle. He promised there would be no nasty transformation, but then again he said he was a sexy brunette over six feet tall.
This is not at all romantic as I imagined.