The Good Cognac
(Magnum Sized Flash! Double the word count!)
By Patrick M. Tracy
(Note: this one has adult language and themes–PMT)
She’s sexy, even holding the barrel of a gun against my throat.
“Tell me your motto—the one they put on the back of your last CD,” she whispers, auguring the pistol up under my chin. She puts her considerable wares against me, pinning me against the wall.
I breathe out, not sure if I’m going to get fucked or killed or both. It’s a lot like the feeling right before you go on stage. It’s electric.
“Too fast to live, too high to die.”
She smiles. It’s predatory. Down low in the belly, my body picks a winner on the sex/death question.
“Do you believe that?” she asks, breathy. Her teeth are very white.
“Maybe five years ago. I don’t feel that…young anymore.”
“Are you afraid, Mr. Highsmith?” She pushes so hard on the gun that I think it’ll pierce through my chin and into my mouth.
“Yeah,” I breathe.
She grinds hard against me, muscles ridged and taught. “What about this? It doesn’t seem too afraid.”
I make myself smile. “As long as he smells the good cognac, he has no fear. Besides, he hasn’t ever cared what happens to me, so long as he gets his piece.”
“I’m going to rape you, Mr. Highsmith. How do you feel about that?” The light in her eyes is a step too bright, her teeth seem almost sharpened in the darkness of the alley behind the club. It’s loud in there, the second band well into their set. No one’s watching us, and if they are, it’s just the frontman getting his ashes hauled before the big gig.
“Rape?” My voice sounds a little tremulous. The soldier downstairs is characteristically unaffected.
She bites my chest hard enough to draw a ring of blood to the surface. “That’s right.”
“Shit. You’ve got the gun, I suppose.”
“That’s right. The gun and everything that it buys me, don’t I? I’ve got you.”
She keeps me on tiptoes walking through the crowded lot. A fan with my face on his t-shirt is too sodden with booze to even recognize me. He smells like vomit as we pass. She pushes me into the big panel van. There’s a moment, just a moment, when I think I could catch her gun hand and fight, but I let it pass. Never was much of a fighter. Not when daddy came home drunk and knocked mommy around, not when I was eight and Uncle Jules asked me to touch his thing in the bathroom at the zoo. I just go along, survive, get through it. It’s only in the songs I write that I can look back and feel strong enough to bear up against all those payloads of horror and weakness.
I let her push me into the dimness of the van. It’s plush enough, some kind of suede-like upholstry. Microfiber, I think they call it. She pokes at me with the gun when I start to back out, feeling shaky and nauseated.
“No, I…I don’t think I want to do this. I mean, it’s fun and all, but it’s starting to creep me out, you know?” I can hear the wheedling tone in my voice, the squeaking of a small animal that knows it can’t escape.
“Keep going, Mr. Highsmith. This is really happening. There’s no room for conversation.”
“I…okay. Okay, listen. I’m happy to get together. Don’t mind a bit, really, but the whole gun/rape thing isn’t necessary. Why don’t you just put it down?”
She puts the barrel of the pistol directly against my left eye. She leans forward, and I’m inside the van, falling backward, losing control.
“This really is going to happen, isn’t it?”
She nods. “It really is.”
“Why?” I sound so lame. My stage persona has evaporated altogether. I’m just the depressed kid that spend all day in his room alone, guitar and pencil in hand. All the artifice and armor is destroyed.
“That’s not question you get to ask me.” She leans back, gun still trained on me. Her legs part, her short dress peeling upward to reveal the nudity beneath. Her legs are long and smooth, the cleft between them well manicured. She guides my face between them. “Down to business, Nicky. You know what to do, I’m sure.” I can feel the cold metal of the barrel on my neck. “If you try anything—try biting my clit off or something, you’ll die before the idea germinates. Understand? You’re mine, as long as I want you.”
There’s no reason to respond. I’m glad she tastes salty, because my mouth is going dry. It doesn’t feel like a joke anymore, if it ever did. Tongue-deep in her, forehead against the firmness of her pubis, she has me under her power, helpless. I do the best I know how, which is pretty good. When I feel her legs flex hard, when the breathing is rough and broken—that’s when the the gun roars. That’s when I’m suddenly alone, face buried in the crotch of a dead woman. When the blood and brains start dripping down from the roof, I start crying. I’m still crying when they find me.
Whenever I try to think about what it means, even now, I can taste her, smell her, feel the muzzle of the pistol against my skin. I can see the vacant expression in her eyes after the brain behind them is shot away. I can feel the chunky wetness of skull fragments in my hair. I can hear the dull fog of nerve damage from the gun’s report. In a moment, and for longer than I can stand it, I’m there again. They have medicine for all of this. They have people who talk to you in quiet rooms, rationalizing things. They say, in time, you can get over anything. I remember a time when I thought that was true. I remember a time when it was all about the good cognac, about being too fast too live, too high to die.