Authors: Kenya Wright,Jackie Sheats
Did he get closer to me without me noticing?
Only a foot stood between us. This close, his scent drew me to him. I felt like one of those hypnotized cobras swaying side to side out of a street performer’s basket as he plays an instrument to charm the wicked creature.
He’s charming me. No matter how high I am. I’m certain of that.
“We should do this another time.” I turned, walked over to the table, grabbed a bottle, and opened it.
“You’ve got to get to grandmother’s house?”
“Yes, Coco will probably come looking for me.”
She was professional, but she also packed a mean punch. Her grandfather was a Golden Gloves Champion in amateur boxing. Sundays at Coco’s house resembled a sweaty gym of old guys with foul mouths and big hearts. They’d teach us a few self-defense moves when we visited, but Coco’s grandfather had given her a love for fracturing jaws that we’d never gained. Once she’d checked her fiancé’s cellphone and realized he’d been sexting with four other women, and had been having unprotected sex with two of them. He’d come home to a boxing event that he had no idea was being scheduled right in his living room.
Although I didn’t condone violence I had to admit that as I helped her move out, seeing the douche bag jump out of the way when she came near, sort of put a flutter in my heart. Since then, Coco had gone to anger management, yet there were few times when I worried that her sobriety would be tested.
If she came up here and spotted Dr. Sheep hovering near me she’d probably step in.
“Are you okay?” He sounded like he was right behind me.
Chugging some of the water, I glanced over my shoulder, saw that he was barely an inch away, and accidentally spit the cool liquid out on him. It sprayed on that lovely linen shirt and dotted his face.
“Shit. I’m so sorry. Let me help.” I smacked the water away from his face, not meaning to hit him, but just sort of brush it away.
He flinched and edged away. “I’ve got it. No worries.”
I watched him grab a napkin from the table and wipe his face and shirt. “We should really do this another time. I’m so much better sober.”
“I’m high too. It’s fine. Just relax. In fact, do you want something to relax?” He dug into his pockets and showed me a glass pipe done in royal blue and white lines. At the top of the pipe sat one big white star surrounded by red.
I put the bottle of water down. “Is that the Cuban flag?”
“You have a good eye.”
I squinted my eyes and really studied him.
He could be Cuban, but what kind of Cuban name is Sheep? There is none. Maybe he’s mixed. What the hell? Why does it matter? Just figure out the project and go back downstairs, before Coco comes up here and goes loco.
I laughed out loud. Dr. Sheep edged back with a worried look on his face. Granted, I’d just spit water all over his face and then slapped him repeatedly in an effort to get the stuff off of him. I’d be weary too.
“Sorry.” I coughed into my hand. “Allergies.”
“When you have allergies, you laugh?”
“Oh. No. You know? Let’s just go on with the commission.” I tapped my chest. “Like I said, just ignore my silliness.”
I scanned the rooftop for the empty wall, which was what I should’ve been doing when I first got up there, instead of munching on snacks or drooling over him. “I don’t really see anything to paint on, besides the wall surrounding the door. Is that where you want the mural? Or. . .” I looked down on the ground. “Would you want the roof’s floor painted?”
“You would do that?”
“Of course. I would paint on anything that has empty space to get my voice across.”
“I bet you got in trouble a lot as a kid for drawing on the walls.”
“That’s an understatement. I have so many juvenile vandalism charges, the law should be named after me. I kept the cops busy one summer. There was a point when this particular officer just took me to the side and offered me a commission. He begged me to stop and so I took his commission.”
He chuckled. “What did you create?”
“I did a big castle for his little girl’s bedroom. A few of his friends asked me to do some others. It helped me get some extra cash during high school.”
“No, not the cop’s commission. What did you create when you were racking up all of the vandalism charges?”
“Nothing big.” I shrugged and picked up a chocolate ball.
“Come on. What did you draw?” he asked. “Every street artist has that one thing they kept painting over and over when they were a kid stumbling around on the blocks. What was yours?”
He shrugged and took a few steps closer to me. “Just wondering.”
“None of it’s impressive.”
“Try me.” He dug his hands into his pants.
“I used to draw Mickey Mouse with a huge penis.” I chomped on the ball and swallowed.
A loud roar of laughter came next. “You just became my most favorite person at this party. Mickey Mouse with a big one? I love it.”
“I have no idea how it started. I just did a long series of these. Mickey with his pants down. Mickey squatting over a fence and taking a dump. Mickey gripping his penis as he stands outside of a window and watches Donald Duck shower. And in all of these images, Mickey Mouse had a huge. . .one. Clearly, it’s a great combination, right?”
“I’m sure Minnie would agree.”
“Well, the cops didn’t like it. They had some poor guy patrolling certain courts at night, and I got caught red-handed. Paint cans all around me. No mask. Flip flops on so I couldn’t do a good chase. I was an amateur then, trying to emulate the big boys.”
“And there could’ve been some penis-envy on your part.”
I raised my eyebrows under the mask. “Excuse me?”
“Don’t all women wish they could be re-birthed as men?”
“Do all women wish they could be men? You’ve got to be kidding me.” Annoyance hit me.
“Well, don’t they?”
“I don’t know. Maybe, you should ask yo mama?”
He opened his mouth in shock.
Fuck. Relax, Red. This is business. Talk professional. Any response that includes “yo mama” is not an appropriate one.
“Sorry.” I combed my fingers through my hair. “I’m just saying. I think lots of men would want to be reincarnated as women too.”
“I doubt it.”
“Hey, you get to have children. Don’t you want to experience a pregnancy or even the birthing process?”
“Absolutely not. It looks like it hurts.”
“Fair point. I bet it does. And then, men are so freaking wimpy while women are super strong.”
“So you’re saying that that a woman’s vagina makes her strong?”
I shook my head. “Let’s just get back to the commission. So, you want me to do the floor or that wall by the door.”
He stepped closer. “Were you a fan of Mickey Mouse?”
“No, I was a hater of the rat. I never got to go to Disneyworld.”
“You had a rough childhood?”
“Living in Florida, its pretty much child abuse if you don’t take your kid to Orlando once.”
“How do you know I lived in Florida all of my life?”
“I’ve read your interviews.”
A little bit of tension filled me. “I don’t talk about my childhood or life in my interviews.”
“Then, I guess it was a good guess. Regardless, how was your childhood?”
“Do I need to have a good childhood in order to do a mural for you?”
He laughed. “No.”
“Good.” I clapped my hands. “So where do you want the magic to go?”
“On the wall by the door.”
“What do you want me to paint?”
“Anything that inspires you.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Really. I just have two requests.”
“What are they?”
“I want to watch you paint.”
That same electricity sparked around us. Weed did lots of things, but it didn’t form magic. Anticipation rushed through me. Which was odd. I didn’t like people to watch me while I worked. It was a solo thing.
But for some reason, I got excited at the idea of him behind me as I painted the wall’s surface with my art.
It could be hot. Erotic even. In the most innocent of ways of course. Nothing would happen. Just paint and sweat and moans. . .I meant moans of pleasure. Okay. I’m going to drink more water.
I got another bottle, rushed to twist off the top, and guzzled down a bit more.
“Can I watch you?” His question almost made me choke. There was sex in those words. Hot, bodies-sliding against each other sex. And although other times I would shy away and put my focus back on work, this moment I didn’t feel like it anymore.
Had I not earned one fun fling? Had I worked hard, every night—taking as many side jobs as I could to afford to buy my cans of color? When was the last time I’d been truly laid anyway? Three years, maybe. Five, if I used Mary’s method, and not count all of the bad sex.
“Yes.” I winked. “You can watch.”
“And my second request—”
“It better not deal with my clothes being off,” I blurted out.
“Umm,” he paused for a few seconds. “Is having you paint with your clothes off, an option?”
I grinned. “No.”
“Well, then my second request is that you paint the mural tonight.”
“Say what? Tonight? That’s crazy.”
“My staff will bring up anything that you need.”
I checked my watch. “Most stores are closed now.”
“That’s fine. I have my own art supply room. You’ll have any color you desire.”
“You have your own art supply room?”
Who is this guy?
“What is your room filled with?”
He stirred a little. “Spray paint mainly.”
“You do graffiti?”
He said that too quickly. He’s lying again. But why lie?
I considered the pipe themed in the Cuban flag. “Are you Cuban?”
“Do you not work for Cubans? That must be pretty hard in Miami.”
I ignored his question. “Are you?”
“What type of Cuban name is Sheep?”
“Uh. . .It’s my father’s name. I’m half Cuban, and—”
“What type of doctor are you?”
“What type of doctor has an art supply room full of spray paint?”
“You’re not letting me answer the questions, and you haven’t even seen the supply room.”
I placed my hands on my hips. “You said it would have anything I desired. What’s really going on here?”
“You ask a lot of questions.”
My gut swelled with unease. I scanned the area again—roses, chocolates, flowers, and a lip licking man under the stars. Coco’s voice rang in my head.
“Remember. We stick together. We don’t separate. Just because they’re smoking weed, doesn’t mean they always keep their drug use natural. There could be crack heads in there, waiting to rape a high female.”
I walked around him and hurried to the door. “I’m going to have to say no to the commission. Sorry. Thanks for everything.”
I gripped the door, ready to rush out if he came any closer. “Goodnight, Dr. . .Sheep.”
“Can I just get a minute more of your time?”
“Sorry, you know how the story goes.” I gave him an innocent wink. “I have to get to grandmother’s house. She’s probably super worried.”
“Maybe you should wait. I have Pierre bringing up another bag of some really good ganja. You could take your friend some.”
“No way. The wolf told Red to pick flowers, just so he could run interception, eat grandma, and put on her clothes.”
“He was a smart wolf.”
“But then the wolf ate Red.”
“Why, my dear Red.” His voice darkened to a hot, wicked tone. “Do I look like I would eat you?”
My fingers shook around the knob, and it wasn’t nervousness. It was the sort of shake that only a burning need could incite. Sighing, I opened the door. “Yes. You do look like you would eat me.”
“And I bet you would enjoy every second. I’m a hungry wolf.”
“Goodnight, Dr. Sheep.” I headed out the door.
I glanced over my shoulder. “What?”
“My name isn’t Dr. Sheep.”
“Gee, really? Is it Sir Elephant or Captain Caterpillar?”
“No.” He frowned as if he was unhappy about confessing it. “My name is Wolf, and you asked what I do, I used to be where you were. I’m the one who made your path possible. You ever heard that name out in the street?”
Wolf. It can’t be. Wolf. No way. No one knows what he looks like. Anyone could lie.