Cutscene: People Send Postcards

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Gold Against the Soul Part 0.5

Warning: Rated hard R for sexual stuff.

I've been off junk for a few months now and all I want to do is fuck. When I'm using, my sex drive drops down to frankly pathetic levels. I convince myself I don't actually enjoy the act, and then I get clean and once I'm done shitting out my organs and sweating out all the salt in my body, I want to fuck everyone I see. I'm in the restaurant now and the waiter is coming up to me and I want to grab his inseam and squeeze, not too hard, and ask if bite is à la carte tonight. If I wasn't with two handsome dinner guests, maybe I would. Business before pleasure.

I look good tonight. I'd be stupid not to. I spent a fortune -- fresh haircut, new jewelry, the fakes that look better than the real kind, new silvery-pink dress that clings tighter than a pinch, new shoes that click instead of clop. Only the handbag is old, and even then, "old" is purely relative. I don't do vintage when it comes to purses. Across from me are two white men, one in a charcoal suit, one in brown. Both suits are Italian, I'm pretty sure. I want to fuck both of them. Normally white men aren't my thing but the fact that they own such nice clothes is reason enough.

The one in the brown suit doesn't say a word all night. He looks at everything. His plate, his buddy, the waiter, me, other people, the exits. I know not to bother him, so I don't. He rests his hands on the table every now and then and they don't even twitch. Totally still. I find myself staring every now and then, as if the second I look away, he's gonna do something, and I'm gonna miss it.

The one in the grey is Andrei and I know him from the time I sucked his cock as a favor to somebody. One of my daddies was doing business with him and I got told to show him a good time and do the hostess date thing and I guess he didn't really understand what it was about because as soon as we got alone he pretty much grabbed me by the head so hard he left fingerprints cut into my skull and fucked my face until I nearly threw up. By the end of it I couldn't even speak, I was sputtering up thick saliva like a broken derrick and I could feel the swelling inside my neck like I'd just been inflated. I wanted to kill him. Now, business is business.

"We're in agreement, then?" I push ice cream around on my plate, making a tiny mess. I'm the only one who's ordered dessert, but fuck it, this is the one meal today I'm not going to immediately force back up, so I deserve it. My discipline has been excellent lately -- much better than when I'm on smack.

"One question," Andrei says, raising one of his broad hands. He looks so white it's almost like a racist cartoon. He has fair skin that he sunburned the shit out of, probably trying to tan. His hair is blonde and slicked back and to the left and his lips are pinker than the inside of my chatte. He has blue eyes that are so bright they look fake. My eyes are so dark they're nearly black. He has a scar near his temple where his hair's too scared to regrow. He purses those cunt lips of his and asks, in English, "Do they speak this here?"

I reply in Russian. "They don't speak this."

I didn't speak Russian the last time he was here. I speak it now. I taught myself. I'm good at a whole bunch of things, but that's the thing I'm best at. Like I said, my discipline has been through the fucking roof. His eyes bulge a little, blue ringed by white, but otherwise all he says is, "Your pronunciation sucks."

"I don't get a lot of practice," I reply, and smile like I want to fuck. Then I eat the rest of my ice cream.

"Whose dope is this?" he asks, and the severity of his tone catches me off guard, like a spank on the subway. My spine stiffens a bit and I breathe through my nose and I make sure my thighs are locked together.

"Andrei," I reply, frowning. "It's mine." I lick my spoon and put it down. The metal tastes funny when it's barely cooked.

He doesn't like the answer, and neither does his quiet friend. They exchange a meaningful look, but they don't say anything. They might have. I feel stupid, now. If I hadn't shown off my language skill, they'd blabber away and I'd just reapply my lipgloss like nothing's happening. Stupid. Andrei looks back at me. So does the silent one. I've met guys like him before. I know he's not a negotiator, he's not a high-roller. He's a contractor. He's getting paid because if the deal goes wrong, he's the one cutting out my eyeballs with toenail scissors in a warehouse somewhere as a warm-up for the actually nasty part.

"It's a deal," Andrei finally says, and we reach over a candle to shake hands. I smile, he doesn't.

"One condition," he says, as he settles back into his chair. I blink. "Who knows where you found this shit, so we're taking a risk buying it. You do a favor for us now. You take a little risk, too."

I swallow and try to hide that I'm doing it. "Yeah?" I say, faking non-chalance. I'm not drunk enough for this. I can actually imagine possibilities. None of them calm my nerves.

"My cousin Vasily," Andrei says, with a gruff snort as if even saying the name exhausts him. "He's in some trouble at home. He needs a place to stay for a few weeks while I smooth it out. He stays with you. You take care of him, make sure he doesn't get in any more trouble, okay?"

I want to pee a little I'm so relieved. As it is I don't even sigh. "Deal."

Andrei nods a few times, knowingly, and then says, "You know what we do if this stuff is a rip-off, right?"

I shrug, bored. The prospect of getting fucked up or murdered for this being a rip-off doesn't bother me because it's good stuff. I've chewed one of my old purse's shoulder straps to shit trying to avoid getting a train to Inaba and having a taste. "Kill me?" I ask.

Andrei laughs, and the quiet man smiles, just a little. "No, no. Kill you? Mariko, you're silly. This is a bad time for us. Profit margins are down, because all the kids don't want to buy good smack and pay fair prices, they just want to cook up shit in their sheds and get high off cleaning solution and birth control pills, or whatever the fuck. No. My friend here," he says, motioning with a hand, "he rapes you until you get pregnant. You work off your debt until the baby comes, then we sell it, and then we kill you." He pauses, I guess for emphasis, and then says, "Pleasure doing business with you. How about we go for a drive?"

My throat hurts already.

-Mariko Ohmukai, 2011

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