Authors: Jessica Gadziala
yeah baby, stick it in there. Right there. Like that. Mmmhmm. Yes,
baby. Fuck me harder,” I was screaming into the phone. Loud,
obnoxious, porn star groaning. I propped my legs up on the headboard,
looking at my newly painted toenails. Hazard pink. I reached upward,
wiping at a line that had smudged onto my skin. “Fuck. Oh,
fuck. Yes. Yes. Yes!”
could hear his violent masturbation through the phone. The wet,
squishing sound of his hand yanking on his mediocre penis. He was
close. He was always easy. A little bit of heavy panting, some filthy
talk, then just incoherent mewling and he was screaming out “Mommy”
and coming all over his chest.
Oh. I want to feel your hot cum inside me. Now, baby. Now!”
hung up a minute later and held a pillow over my face, laughing. I
tried not to judge. I really did. Everyone has their thing. The guys
who can't get off unless you tell them what a useless piece of shit
they are, how their pencil dick is the most pathetic thing you've
ever seen. The guys who need you to slap yourself hard so they could
imagine they were spanking you because you were such a naughty,
there were men like Bob. Bob with his mommy issues. Bob who Freud
would have loved. Bob with the oedipal complex. Bob who secretly
wanted to fuck his mother.
tried not to judge.
it is really hard to keep a straight face when someone is pulling
furiously at their peter and cries out for their mother in a pained,
little boy voice.
shit was hilarious.
got up and went to my small kitchen, walking straight to the coffee
machine, the panda face toe separators making me arch my foot up
awkwardly as I moved around adding grounds and fresh water.
spent almost no time in my kitchen, save for coffee refills when it
was too early or too late to go out and get it from the closest
coffee house. My oven wasn't even hooked up. My refrigerator had next
to nothing in it but milk for my coffee and leftover Chinese takeout
I had spent a lot of time decorating it. White cabinets. White walls.
Bamboo countertops. Clean. Modern. I had a habit of needing things
neat. Blame the hell hole I grew up in.
was never one of those girls. The girls in the pretty pink dresses
with their perfectly french braided hair, skipping rope, making up
back stories for their barbies. I wasn't the girl who was read
bedtime stories about a snail who wanted to be a triathlete. I wasn't
the girl who was told that she could be anything, anything at all
that she wanted to be.
after a few rounds unsuccessful odd jobs... I became a phone sex
parents would be so proud,” my grandmother sneered when I told
her. To be fair, I only told her because I knew it would piss her
off. I knew it would offend her sensibilities. I was the shame. Never
mind the human garbage that was her son. I was the black sheep. I was
took a work call at her dinner table that night, shoving my beer neck
into my throat,
on it, as I gave the best fake blowjob performance I could muster. I
guess it could be said that I have rather poor impulse control. But
the look on her face had been priceless.
took my coffee out onto my tiny little balcony in my long-sleeved
t-shirt and pink undies. No one would see me from that high up
anyway. Not that I would care if they could. Oh no! There's a woman
in... panties! People needed to get a grip. My bare legs were the
least offensive thing about me.
was getting cool. Fall was coming on with the smell of moldering
leaves and musty dampness. I took a deep breath, greedy for the
change. Hot August was never good to me. Spending my days wiping
sweat from my brow and hoping my makeup wasn't running. The whole
thing made me irritable and short-tempered.
September was finally releasing it's hold on summer and letting
Autumn have it's reign. I could already feel myself relaxing. My body
sinking into the turnover. I could take on the city streets again,
walk aimlessly, spend too much money on clothes and shoes and makeup.
glanced down at my legs, still pasty pale. I had avoided the sun like
the plague. Partly because it was just stupid to crisp your skin for
the sake of vanity and partly because my thigh tattoo was still
healing. It was a black and gray tree, a huge ax sticking out of the
trunk with the proverb, “The ax forgets, but the tree
remembers”. I had been waiting a long time to get it done. A
lifetime really. And now that it was there, I couldn't stop looking
at it. It was probably partly why I never wanted to wear pants.
leaned my forearms on the flimsy railing that better sense told me I
needed to replace before it gave way under my weight one day.
the city lived up to its promise. People milling around in endless
droves. Men and women in suits, tourists with their cameras, the
homeless with their cans or soap boxes. No one giving a good goddamn
about anyone else. No pleasantries. No masks. Everyone was just a
proud asshole. They were my kind of people. They were the reason I
moved to the city in the first place.
years and going strong. I'd come a long way from those first days. A
backpack in my arms full of clothes and what little money I had.
Those days of clawing hunger and filth and cold and fear. Those days
of not having a roof or food or safety. Those days that still managed
to be better than what I was running away from.
sound at my right had me turning. The sound I recognized because it
was the sound my sliding door made every day. Someone was opening the
door to the balcony of the apartment next door. Which was impossible.
Because it had been vacant for the past year and a half after the
last tenant od'd on the heroin he was always stabbing into his veins.
Three days and the smell was foul enough to send me down to the super
and bang on the door until he got his drunk ass up to check things
don't think they had ever even put an ad up for the vacancy.
the door was opening, and a man was stepping out onto the small
space, five feet from me. Invading in my perfect little privacy.
looked over at me. He wasn't supposed to fucking look at me. Those
were the rules of the city. But he was looking at me.
was tall and wide, shoulders like a linebacker, and solid down the
middle. Arms that strained against the material of his black t-shirt.
His arms, I noticed with a deep sense of appreciation, were covered
in sleeves. Black and gray ink. He had on loose fitting bluejeans,
the unmistakable rectangular bulge of a cigarette pack in his front
had a strong square jaw that gave him deep cheekbone hollows. His
hair, long enough to need to slick back or tuck behind his ears, was
black as were the severe-looking eyebrows over his shockingly pale
blue eyes. There wasn't a hint of laughter or smile lines. His lips
didn't look like the kind that found amusement easily. In fact, he
looked like he probably spent all of his time scowling. He was
six-feet and three inches of intimidation..
my new neighbor, the psychopath.
that I could expect any different in my neighborhood. In my building
in particular. For all I knew, there was a meth lab one floor below
just waiting to explode and take us all down with it. That was the
kind of place I had set up camp in. On purpose really. I could afford
a better place. Phone sex operators actually make bank.
you just going to stare at me all day, or are you going to introduce
yourself?” he asked, his voice a deep, gravel sound.
he wasn't supposed to look at me, he definitely wasn't supposed to
speak to me. Neighbors didn't get to know one another. They didn't
show up with a welcome pie. That was small town comfort stuff. This
was the big, bad city.
I sure as hell wasn't the girl next door.
I said, turning my attention back to the street below. The yellow
cabs speeding by and slamming on their breaks. The lights changed and
huge hoards of people crossed the intersections at the same time.
know if you're going to keep dressing down for me,” he said and
I fought the urge to glare at him. “I prefer thongs.”
there was the double swoosh of the door opening and closing.
sipped my coffee, fully aware that he was probably sneaking glances
at my half-bare ass through his glass door, and not particularly
caring. Go ahead and stare at it. I have to spend endless hours
running on the ancient treadmill in the makeshift exercise room the
complex boasted of to keep my shit jiggling just the right amount.
For nothing other than my own vanity.
I had a new neighbor. It didn't matter all that much. I made it my
business to mind my own goddamn business. I ducked my head if someone
entered the hall at the same time that I did. I couldn't point anyone
out in a lineup. But I knew things.
the couple across the hall consisted of a dominant wife and weak
husband. The nagging that woman was capable of was impressive. The
guy on the other side of me was a hermit and a good three-hundred
and fifty pounds. He had groceries delivered and made meals to post
on his pretentious foodie blog. The people below had three teenage
boys who had knock-down, drag out fights daily.
the end, it didn't matter that he was new. I would find out his thing
soon enough. His drug habit. His drug dealing that brought around all
kinds of unsavorable types around that I
to be aware of. The pets. The psychotic banging on the walls.
Whatever his deal was, I would find out sooner rather than later.
went back into my apartment. My living room was a pale gray color
with all white accents. White sofa. White coffee table. White cabinet
I kept my television on. The brightness felt clean and safe. Almost
hospital-like in its sparseness. I had no use for knickknacks. I got
my news and fashion fixes online. And I kept my clothes clutter in
the luxuriously large closet I had sacrificed a few feet of my
already small bedroom to. I didn't need that much space to sleep. But
I did need space to hang the endless dresses and jeans and shirts and
the shoes. Oh, the shoes. My room itself was painted with thick
horizontal gray and white stripes, ten inches thick at each turn. I
liked it to streamline from the living space and hall.
inside of my closet, however, was painted a bright, crayon yellow.
Shoes were stored in their boxes on the floor, four boxes high
underneath the massive closet system I had bought online. Bright
colors spilled out of the drawers and down from the wire racks.
reached in, grabbing a red off-shoulder crop top, a pair of black
high waisted jeans, and a pair of patent leather heels that matched
the shirt. Night would be coming on soon enough and I needed to be
days were fine. The days I spent taking calls, cleaning, looking
around online, watching TV. The days I kept busy. The nights were the
hardest to get through alone in a small apartment with the memories
making the walls close in tighter. The memories that could fill up a
room and drown me in them.
almost never stayed in. I was never 'not in the mood' to go out. It
didn't matter if it was a Monday night. It didn't matter that I was
always alone. It didn't matter. I needed to get out and in a city
that never sleeps, there was always something to be found to do.
put my clothes on the counter in the bathroom, which wasn't really a
counter at all. I had had the typical square cabinet torn out and
replaced with a long oval ornate antique table with scalloped edges
that I had painstakingly painted white then distressed, then painted
a pale robin's egg blue, then distressed again until the white was
peeking through. I had a guy cut the hole for the sink and put the
thing in place in front of an enormous floor to ceiling mirror. I put
a small upholstered stool in front of it and used it like a vanity to
do my makeup, kept in a white box that opened into a dozen little
compartments. The walls were the same robin's egg blue as the table.