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This is a continuation of the Conrad stories, 5 chapters but don't think of it as a sequel to Conrad, just a continuation, events that were supposed to happen that I'm now letting take shape, beware, its a long post
drew

1. In Which Russel Shaffer Asks About Anal Sex

He tapped me on the shoulder
Turning around
(Who is this man?)
"Russel Shaffer
Call me
Russ"
He said
Like a truck driver
Or maybe an auto mechanic
Voice rough and bored
(Probably from smoking
And a monotonous job)
Said I: "What do you need
Russ?"
I was perusing the deodorant aisle
In the back of Wallgreen's
Looking for Red Zone
Russ replied: "Do you
Work at Hollywood Nipples?"
Grabbed a stick of Red Zone Original Scent
Turned and looked at Russ
Blocking my way in the aisle
Name Russel written on his shirt
(I was correct
Auto Mechanic)
"Actually
I'm a co-owner Russ"
Russ stuck his hands
Inside his
Auto mechanic issue pants
He had large eyes
Kind of jumped out at you
Like a mind-reader
Or a 12 year old
Gaping at his first pair of breasts
"Oh
That's even better"
He glanced at the rows of deodorant
Continued:
"Is there any way
I could rent the place out
For a night?
Bachelor Party for my buddy"
(Ah
One of those guys
I hate bachelor parties)
"No private parties
Russ
We always lose money
On those deals
See you around"
I headed toward the register
With my purchases:
A gallon of milk
Said stick of deodorant
Loaf of white bread and
12 pack of Bud Light
Russel followed me
"Are you sure?"
Stood in front of my cart
Resting his hands on the front
"Positive"
I said
He looked back towards the pharmacy
"Well
In that case
Do you know anything about
KY Jelly?"
(What?)
"What?"
I hissed incredulously
Russ scratched his head
"Well
My wife
Wants to experiment
With Anal Intercourse tonight
I've never purchased this stuff before
Figured
Maybe you might know
Something about it
Cause you're in the sex business"
I shook my head
"I co-own a strip club Russel
I don't make porn"
Pushed the cart through him
Toward the register
Said over my shoulder
"Sorry Russ
Good luck with the butt sex"
Used to be
No one but Jerry Diamond
And a select few others
Knew me in this town
Then I open a nudie bar
And every
Sex crazed
Unhappily married
Or single guy
Bachelor party
Knows me and
Wants to be a buddy
Get free lap dances or free drinks
Like some kind of local celebrity
It was ridiculous
Marvin Gomory rang me up
Grinned at me
"I turn 18 on Wednesday"
(Add another to the crowd)
I handed him 30 dollars
Said I:
"Too bad
I don't work on Wednesdays
Have fun though"
(Like I was real excited)
Ran out the door
With my plastic bags and change
I couldn't wait to get home



2. In Which I Meet Jerry and Clark for Lunch

Lunch these days was
Confined to the walls of
Randy's
A family dinner type joint
Along the lines of Bob Evans
Or even Cracker Barrel
But not as classy
(If those particular establishments
Are deserving of the adjective
Classy)
Randy's was owned by none other than
Bruce Hickin
Middle child of Corwin Hickin
A balding
Gray man
With long droopy ears
He wore brown cowboy boots
(He was just a good old boy
Right guys?)
Randy's was
Old Country Hardware
4 months ago
Changed into a restaurant
After a Home Depot was
Built down the road
After Diamond's Family Dinner was
Renovated into a strip club
There was an opening for a
Family Restaurant in town
Bruce moved quickly
And his observance paid off
Came into the club
Every Thursday night at 12:30
Received a lap dance from Linda Norman
(A busty
26 year old
Single mother
During the day she ran
A day care center
I have her employed
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday night)
He would then go next door to the bar
Drink a scotch and a Michelob
And go home to his wife Rita
Rita was a cashier at Walgreen's
(With the almost legal
Marvin Gomory)
Bruce led me to the smoking section
Where Jerry and Clark were seated
Jerry smoking a large cheap cigar
(He was a big shot now
Right?)
Clark was strikingly handsome
With a sculpted goatee
Masking the plainness of his face
Pitcher of beer on the table
Clark poured me a glass
As I slid next to him on the booth
As far from cigar smoke as possible
Jerry spoke through
Puffs of smoke:
"How you doin'?"
Tasted the beer
Budweiser
"Not bad Jerry"
Browsed the menu
Chicken tenders with
A side of fries
Salad with ranch dressing
Said: "Either of you
Know a guy named
Russel Shaffer?
I think he's a car mechanic"
Clark folded his menu
"I've seen him before
At Dave's Auto Body"
Jerry ashed his cigar
Added:
"Oh yeah
I know that guy
Dave's his brother
Dave Shaffer
He owns the Toyota dealership too
Russ manages the body shop"
I waved at a puff of smoke
Sipped my beer
Eyes stinging with ashen tobacco
Said: "Oh
Well this character Russ comes
Up to me today
Asks if I work at Hollywood Nipples
I say 'Yes Russ
I co-own Hollywood Nipples'
Russ asks me if
He can have a bachelor party
I say 'No' as usual"
Drank a sip of beer
Jerry's cigar dangled from his mouth
Clark stroked his goatee
"So then Russ goes on to
Ask me
Do I know anything about
KY Jelly"
Drank my beer
"Says he's going to
Butt ram his wife tonight
Figured I'd know about this thing
Because I'm in the porn business"
Like I could not believe it was a true story
Clark stopped stroking his goatee
To pick up his mug of beer
Said: "Well
Russel's a dumbass
He obviously doesn't know any better
Don't worry about it buddy"
Cloud of cigar smoke choked me
I waved again
Said Jerry: "Brush it off
Forget it happened
We need you here man"
Waitress set down chicken fingers
In front of me
Diving in
I was glad I didn't have to talk anymore
Jerry was really pissing me off
"Put out that fuckin' cigar
I can't eat with that
Shit blowing in my face"
Clark took a spoon of mashed potatoes
Nodded
Jerry stubbed out his cigar
Saying: "Asshole"
I ate my chicken tenders
And thought about going home
And going to sleep

3. In Which Kathryn Gets a Bloody Nose

Ran through my front door
Thinking of nothing but sleep
To find my bed occupied by
A naked woman
Spread legged
Handcuffed to the bedposts
(Good Christ)
Said Kathryn Porter:
"Hey babe
I've been waiting for you for
An hour
Where were you?"
Checked my watch
Took off my shoes
"Lunch with Clark and Jerry"
Her body shifted
Handcuffs looked uncomfortable
Removed my shirt and pants
"What's with the
Handcuffs Kathryn?"
Like I was almost irritated
(People are always trying to
Throw this kinky shit at me now)
"I thought I'd
Spice it up a bit babe"
Licked her lips
(What the hell)
I dove on top of her
Like I was entering a boxing ring
Or running through a
Gauntlet maybe
Not really concentrating on anything
Not really thinking
Oblivious
Only hearing every couple words
Kathryn was breathing
"Fast . . .
Now . . .
Oh babe . . .
Ooh . . .
My . . . yeah
Lick . . .
Ow . . .
My . . .
Ow . . .
Stop . . .
Stop . . ."
(What?)
"Stop
Fucking asshole!"
Blood on Kathryn's face
I looked at my fist
Speckled red
"Why'd you hit me
Fucking dick?"
Blood dripping down her neck
(Oh shit)
Ran to the bathroom
Wadded toilet paper pushed
Under her nose
"Where's the key Kathryn?"
Tears welled and
Flowed down her checks with blood
"Nightstand"
Like she was sobbing
Grabbed the key
Undid handcuffs
Laid down on the bed
As Kathryn ran frantically
Throwing on her clothes haphazardly
Like she was trying to leave quickly
Stared at my knuckles
Cracked and red
(What the fuck?)
Laying on the bed
Stared at the ceiling
Woke up an hour later
Kathryn was sitting next to me
Stroking my hair
Rubbed my eyes
"You're back?"
She looked at me
Puffy eyes and nose
"I'm so sorry Kathryn"
Took her hand off my head
"I'm quitting"
Got off the bed
Grabbed her purse and keys
Said I: "That's convenient
So am I"
She walked out the bedroom
I heard her car start
Laid down on the pillow
Woke up at midnight
Just in time for work

4. In Which I Go to Work

Walked through the back door
Hollywood Nipples
Into the dressing room
Girls in underwear lounging around
Waiting for their turn to
Go on display
Not as exciting as it once had been
Didn't even look at them anymore
Upstairs to the office
Where I was hit in the face with
Cigar smoke
(Jerry was supposed to go home
An hour ago
But better he's here)
Opened the office door
To see Jerry lounged back in his chair
Puffing cigar in his lips
Hands behind head
Blond hair in his lap
I turned around
Shielding eyes
Saying: "Jerry
I'm selling you my shares of
The Club"
Jerry's eyes snapped open
Sandra removed herself from under the desk
To say: "Can you ask Kathryn
To take my next spot?
It's in 15 minutes"
I held onto the door
"Kathryn quit Sandra
You'll have to do the
Spot yourself"
Heard her stand up
Rustle of fabric as skirt was
Pulled on
Sandra: "God dammit
We need more
Fuckin' dancers
I can't handle this every
Hour and fifteen minutes shit"
Stomped through me out the door
Heard a zipper go up
Turned around
He was still puffing on the cigar
Said Jerry: "What did you say?"
I took a seat on the desk
"I'm selling
You my shares of
The Club"
Ashed his cigar
"I don't have that kind of
Money right now
Buddy
That'd be like
Two hundred Grand"
Pulled the cigar out of his hand
Stubbed it in the ash tray
He glared at me
"I'll give it to you
For 50,000 straight up"
Jerry stood up
"I don't even have
That kind of money now
You're gonna have to stay on
I'm getting out of here
Give me a call tomorrow and
We'll talk this over"
Grabbed his leather jacket
Walked downstairs
No doubt to give one of the girls
An early lift home
(Jerry is still undeniably a pervert)
And I was fucked
I couldn't afford to just give my shares away
(Even though 50 grand is practically
Doing just that)
I decided it was time for a drink
Made my way through the club
Past blue red and purple breasts
Wrinkled oily dollar bills
Into the bar next door
Clark was running the shift casually
In t-shirt and jeans
Our bar was called
The Whiskey Stool
Jerry came up with it
Thinking it suggested sitting down and
Having a drink
I think it more properly suggests
The after effects of drinking the next morning
(I had too much to drink last night so
I left a whiskey stool in the toilet this morning)
Clark seems to agree with me
Whenever a customer leaves him
With "See you tomorrow night" or
"See you next week"
He swiftly responds with
"You'll see us tomorrow morning"
Followed by a wink
Only a select few have picked up
On his little witticism
He was wiping off a freshly cleaned
Beer mug in the sink
I greeted: "Hey Clark"
He put the dry glass on the rack
Flipped the towel under the bar
"Labatt's?"
I nodded and handed him
A couple bucks
Slid me mug and said
"I didn't know you were
Working tonight"
I sat down and took a sip
Two other men were
Grouped at the opposite end
Not speaking to one another
Just drinking and smoking
Eyeing the door in the back of the room
That led to the multicolored flesh heaven
"Yeah I had to come in tonight
But
I'm quitting
I think I'm gonna take a vacation
I really need to get out of here
I can't put up with this any longer"
Clark grabbed another glass and
Poured himself a beer
(We don't run a very tight ship)
"Just take a vacation then
You don't need to quit"
He stroked his goatee
I swiveled back and forth on the stool
"I just plain need out man
This is fucking with me too much
Between you and me . . ."
Clark nodded
I took another drink
"I was fucking Kathryn this afternoon
Right after lunch
I kind of went in this trance
Didn't realize what I was doing
Next thing I know
I'm punching Kathryn in the face
Blood all over my hands
She stormed out of the room and quit the club"
Took a gulp
Said Clark: "Hit Kathryn?
I don't know man
Why don't you just take a
Vacation for a little
Go on a cruise or go to Florida
Sit in the sun
Come back and
Give us a try again
If you still want to quit
I'll buy your shares from you
Jerry's going broke
He'll never have the money
To buy you out"
I finished my beer
Stared for a minute into
The foam lined mug
Checked my watch
"Alright then
I'll leave tonight
And you can take over
Managerial duties as of now"
I looked down toward the end of
The bar
Said: "Sorry boys
Bar's closing now
Finish those drinks and
Get out of here"
They looked at each other like
What other choice did they have but
Go next door
Didn't even finish their drinks
And headed toward the back door
Clark dumped them in the sink
I hit the switch on the sign
The Whiskey Stool was closed

5. In Which I Might Know What I Want

Went home and
Made reservations on my computer
For a plane to
The Gulf Coast of Florida
(Seemed like an
Innocent enough place)
Flying into Tampa Airport
I'd find a decent resort when I got there
Delta Airlines flight 652 to Tampa
Takes off at 9:35 AM
Woke up at 6:00 brushed my teeth
Threw on a hat
Threw some shorts
Swimsuit
Some T-shirts
Book
And a pair of sunglasses
Into a suitcase
Grabbed credit card
Jumped in car and
Drove to Columbus with
A quick stop at the local MacDonald's for
A Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit
Supersized to three hash browns and
Huge cup of coffee
I had an hour drive to Columbus
Turned on the radio loud
"How does it feel to be one of the Beautiful People
Now that you know who you are
What do you want to be
And have you traveled very far
Far as the eye can see . . ."
Tapped the steering wheel
Waiting for the build up
Sipping coffee
Tapping the steering wheel
Now:
"Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man
Baby you're a rich man too"
Pulled into the airport singing and
Happy
Left the car in long term parking
Ran through the metal detector
Browsed through the news stand and
Bought a blank journal and pen
I decided to do some
Self exploration through writing
On the plane ride
I had nothing else to do but read
The only book I had was
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"
Figured I'd save that for
The beach
Sat down in a waiting chair
Anticipating the boarding announcement
I was row 22 seat C
Typical shitty wing seat
Either aisle or window
Flight Attendant called out
Boarding for people with children
First Class
And Gold Members
(How do I
Get to be a Gold Member?)
Looked at my watch
9:05
Then they called out
Rows 20 and above
Filed on past the forced friendly stewards
With my big carry on
Banged down the aisles
Crammed in overhead and
Took my window seat
Where I wouldn't have to be disturbed
Until Tampa
Pulled out journal and pen
Fancied myself on a strange torpedo
And tried to
Write some gonzo journalism
Plagiarized a few
Hunter S. Thompson lines
Then decided it wasn't working
Because I
Didn't know what I was doing
So
Put the pen down
Staring out the window at the wing
And got an idea
Put pen to paper and
Composed
"Tentative Desires:
I want to be fat for a couple months
I want to get stung by a jellyfish
Because I heard it hurts
I want to shoot heroin
Just because
I want to meditate for 5 hours straight
And realize it was pointless
I want to take a shit in a gas station bathroom
Without wiping off the seat
I want to have a conversation in a foreign language
And understand what is being said
Even though I don't know the language
I want to meet someone with AIDS
Have them touch me and not cringe
I want to walk 10 miles a day for a week
And stay for another week
Wherever I find myself
I want to work in a factory
And experience boredom for 8 hours straight
For shitty pay
I want to step in dog shit
I want to roll my own cigarettes
So I can feel like a cowboy
I want to sell all my shoes and only wear
One pair of thong sandals everywhere
I want to talk to a priest
I want to write a book and fail
Just so I know how hard it is
For Now"
Closed the journal
Flipped up seat tray
Looked at watch
9:45
Looked out window
Bagloaders running beneath the plane
(I could have sworn
We were in the air)
Engines whirred and kicked
Men ran out from underneath
(It was gonna be a long flight)
Hopefully
Hunter S. Thompson would save me
At least a little boredom
Shot off runway like a torpedo maybe