by Tantra Bensko
A dysmorphic Lucky Lavaggio travels ahead in time on the Equinox, using her scrying mirror to foresee her future as an opera singer and jilted lover. Meanwhile, a male Lucky Lavaggio battles the void.
Chapter 9: Lucky Man
Chasing a skirt is all a hound like him is expected to do. He knows he’ll be able to pop a cherry tonight. He can smell it. That’s why he fixed the car up all day long; should have worn sun block. The way the posh motor cranks should impress the right girl. They act like they might go out with him, because they only ride bikes, because it’s good for the environment. Which, granted, it is. They say to their friends: I just don’t know if I can date him. He drives a car. That bothers me a lot.
So, he calls their bluff when they hesitate, and says, sure, he understands, no damage done. He wants a woman who can really heat up the night, anyway, someone he can bone in the front seat. He starts talking about the woman walking down the street, next to them, pointing out her crow’s feet. Says she’s probably like that cause she never got laid. He says it’s so hard for girls to find the right guys these days. They should wait for the real gem, though.
And if they get to where they’re pulling out their chin hairs with tweezers, before they find one, they should just concentrate on their health. Maybe glue a beard over the pesky nubs so people think they’re just being cool. Health is really the most important thing. Invest in a good water filter. Well, anyway, he’s getting ahead of himself. He tells them goodbye and starts to walk off, his hat at a rakish angle, lowering one shoulder with personality. Starting to lope along, whistling.
But when he picks them up later to take them to dinner, to see if they can manage to do something so beneath their morals, they stop along the way and pick up something from that store that they haven’t been able to fit onto their bikes. They need to carry some heavy furniture to the house that they bought. They could sleep in later if he could just drive them to the early appointment.
So, he asks a young lady, with a long braid down her back, walking along the sidewalk, “Hi, there, pretty. Need a lift?”
She says, “Do you think I look like I’m missing a wheel? Like I ran out of gas?”
He steers away from her, suavely, winking at her, and next time he sees a lady with a single braid, notices he doesn’t feel too randy. Luckily, he still gets the urge when he sees the double-braided look. He sees one of those, a redhead, pulls over, and whistles. She turns toward him, and gives her butt a little bounce, higher than it already was. She gives him a sexy sneer like a rock star. He has to have her.
He slows down. She veers toward the street. She turns and looks at his face, searchingly, a couple times. He sings “Wild Thing!” She starts walking to its rhythm, in her tight black leather pants. He honks a couple times for accent to the song, softly, grinning, and she swings her hips along with it, almost lunging. She’s really getting into the grinding of her hips low to the ground. She’s a good one. He’s found a kindred spirit. And she knows it.
She laughs, and comes over toward him, her breasts perkier than he’d realized. He’s throbbing. No way she rides a bike in pants that tight. Definitely of age. No problems. She’s approaching, flashing her white, white teeth, must have had braces to be so perfect. Her lips certainly look well hydrated. He’d like to see them in other positions.
Damn it! There it is again! The giant Void. He wishes it would just get it over with instead of creeping up on him like that, over and over, getting closer and closer every time. Damn damn damn. He says to her, “Get In!”
She opens the door decisively, and covers her head. He does a quick U-turn and speeds off in the opposite direction of the Void. She screams and holds onto his arm, covers her head in it. She’s sweating, he can tell. He knows the studies about how fear makes people get more sexual feelings about each other. This Void thing could work out if he plays his cards right. Meet girls and somehow figure out the pattern of when the Void is going to come after him next.
The Void bounces and he can’t see a thing in front of him. Bam! He runs into a fire hydrant, and water runs all over the car.
He hates to do this so much. He really, really doesn’t want to say this. But he has a reputation as a good guy to hold up. He’s got class. He’s got real style. OK, Babe. What if the Void is just after me and not you? It’s been coming for me lately. You’ll probably be safer if you get out. Grab some money from my wallet for a taxi home if you want. It’s in my front pocket.
Of course she reaches in right away. Just like a chick. His boner goes down a little at the speed with which she is ready to take the money. Then, his boner realizes she has no intention of grabbing the money. She is after something else. It stiffens quickly, and fully. He keeps his eyes on the street.
His reflexes are super quick. The adrenalin from what her hand is doing makes it easier to drive, paradoxically. But he knows he has to make her go. He nudges her out of the car and swerves away from the Void. Maybe this isn’t going to be great for dates, really, if it comes to this again. When is he going to have time to get laid before the Void gets him? No, he’ll win. He’s bigger than it is. His boner certainly feels like it is.
The Void reaches it face down into his pants and licks with a ferocious delicacy. He strikes off his list the importance of getting his license plate up to date. Always satisfying to strike something off a list. Says the Void.
* * *
Lucky wants to sing with her driver, to talk with him, as they used to. She slips farther down into her seat, into the loudness of silence paid per hour.
“Pervert!” Lucky yells out the window. “U-turner. Only perverts make u-turns.”
They are going to the airport in another city, because, well, it has a cheaper parking rate than the close one.
Love has demons living in its hair.
Lucky’s going to dock the housekeeper’s pay.
Lucky keeps her at the house as much as she can, under her scrutiny. She only allows the housekeeper to speak Spanish to the tenants, who are required to think she doesn’t know English very well at all. Lucky rents to no tenants who speak Spanish. Above the door, the sign that says “Visitors Not Encouraged” is always vivid, and carved deeply, a few insects living in the little holes in the wood, watching them with their bug eyes. Living their tiny lives, day after day, until they die.
The edges of her mouth pull up. But it isn’t pretty. She keeps her face turned toward the window of the car, and hopes the reflection doesn’t bounce back and intersect her driver’s optical nerves and brain.
People swoon when pop stars sing. And they are all shot with those camera lenses in their videos that make them look taller, and thinner. Then there’s the skinnifying post-production too. She knows the pop stars then go home to narrow mirrors so they don’t have to deal with the dysmorphic changes every day.
Everyone automatically contrasts her, and everyone else, to pop stars, who cheat by making themselves look so thin, and all their photos airbrushed. When she doesn’t have a chance, doesn’t have a chance to look like them. She wants to announce to the world that truth. They are using lenses to look thinner.
She ducks her head instinctively when a crow flies closely over the car, a long thick tornado of black wings. She never knows why she ducks her head, like when they go under bridges, when they go under. She holds it higher when the next crow flies over close to the roof of the car, and turns her eyes slightly to see if the driver noticed her bravery. He doesn’t. She hopes another crow flies over so she can show off how long and secure her neck feels when it does. Come on, crow! She wants to be a black, silent, not exactly dead bird.
Lucky asks the driver how much longer it will be. “Ah, Ma’am, not much farther, now. I’ll bet you’re excited to go perform.”
“I wish you were going to hear me sing. Do you have to call me Ma’am?”
She wants to put him in a great big bubble and keep him like Dungeonella. But not with her, of course.
“I’ll pay you when I get back, if you’re there waiting for me by the plane on time for whenever it actually comes into the airport. I’ll be the last one out.
“Listen for messages, and I’ll let you know at least a day ahead of time, when it will be. Listen every day, not sure when they will go to you. Could be any hour of any day. Listen for me.”
She pulls his wringlettes out from over one of his ears, and tucks it behind it, and nods at the open orifice. He moves back, and straightens. “Ma’am. . . .How much are you paying when you get back? I have more bills I hadn’t expected since moving out.”
She enjoys forgetting the Madam Butterfly opera she has been practicing. The characters of the opera break up in her brain, crumble, the emotions splinter, and the shards waft through her. They have served their purpose at the boarding house.
The Mirror leaks secrets into its case. At the airport, she dismisses her driver with an anti-kiss.
She’s curious how the deluging ceiling at the house is going. She giggles and shifts her weight. The housekeeper will have her hands full with water flowing down from upstairs. Should keep her out of trouble.
She waits in the lounge, drinking wine, and eating snacks, until it’s time to take off. She talks to no one, just watches herself drink, avoiding looking in the mirror of the lounge, pondering.
The lounge is pseudo-fancy, with a slightly peeling white mass-produced tiger statue beside the mirror. The mirror has no overly liquid places, that she finds, anyway. It is modern. But, it is wide. And wide mirrors make us look wider.
Copyright © 2014 by Tantra Bensko