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December 22, 2023 Fiction

Safe Word

Garth Miró

Safe Word photo

Fuck you, I didn’t see a goddamn thing, officer. I didn’t see him running down to the corner store, or a gun, and I didn’t hear him screaming “you think you can just fuck up people’s lives and get away with it,” or “you fucking little bitch, you piece of shit, slut, backstabbing, filthy little whore” either. Maybe I have some sort of medical problem. Amnesia, or one of those more obscure diseases where you lose control of your senses for a brief moment, and that moment happened to be the exact one you’re inquiring about. I went on like this with Officer Retard for another fifty minutes, until he got so mad his face turned deep lobster red and he hit me, and then his officer buddies took him by the arm and dragged him from the room, for any more of that and the whole interrogation would count for shit. Ah, how I loved the law.

Ron was my cousin. He had this young wife who everyone knew slept around; every man in town had seen guys sneak up to their apartment on the fifth floor, late at night, ring the doorbell three times, then two times quicker, for Ron worked as a security guard, he was usually gone until around six the next morning, so they, whoever those men were—no one ever actually admitted to going themselves—had quite a bit of time to fuck and suck and pull her hair, choke her like she liked, because she really was quite the honest sexual partner, and had no problem telling you, or not you, but other men, that she liked these things. And for the less experienced men, well, she was even generous enough guide them, taking their hands and placing them on her hips, her ass, her tits, and by the end of one evening with Cindy, she really did have a good business going, they walked out of that apartment whistling, feeling as if they’d learned to fuck like gods.

I felt bad for poor Ron. Sometimes you love someone and you can’t help it, and sometimes that person you love is born with a sexual appetite that simply cannot be satiated by one single partner, or ten, though must state here that I didn’t think anyone really held this against her, at least not the men, there was a group she’d turned down that brought up morality, family, even God, but they were quickly dismissed as jealous and likely small-cocked, she was simply a modern woman who knew what she needed, knew life, understood the animal in us all and was unashamed by it. Now, the wives of the men, they did have their qualms. In fact, most of them got together at King’s martini bar on Wednesdays and talked in circles about how much of a slut she was, that it wasn’t their fault, or husband’s fault, at least not entirely, what could you expect from men when a woman as beautiful as that allowed them to come over and act like beasts, they couldn’t compete with that and didn’t want to. Fuck her. They sat around and got drunk enough to say what they really felt, and that was that they should hire someone to kill the bitch. How many families should she be allowed to rip apart? It wouldn’t be too far a stretch to say she had ruined at least a few good upstanding households, the right kind of people, and had made powerful enemies, people who in a small town such as theirs could make things happen, and then make those things that had happened go away, disappear, and they were sure if they waved some cash around, pooled their money and waived it in front of the right noses, that one of these pathetic bastards, jealous of being fucked and chucked—men’s hearts were weak like that—since Cindy made it a rule not to sleep with the same man more than twice, that some pathetic bastard would be more than happy to take her off the board. Men were stupid, practically monkeys, their emotions ruled them like young vain kings, and appealing to their insecurities it wouldn’t take much to turn them into killers.

It was last month when I heard they’d finally found just the right loser to carry out the job. Kelly O’Hare, Christ, the guy who was so stereotypically Irish I was sure he’d never eaten anything but potatoes, he was always drunk, his baseline was drunk, and then there were times he got some money and took it into the bar, yes, King’s, you’re probably starting to see where this is going, he got drunk on top of his baseline drunk, became violent, beyond stupid. He was lonely, and so manipulating him was as easy as sitting down and letting him go on and on about how life was unfair, that no one understood what it was like to be ugly, his house was small, shabby, and his boss refused to give him more hours, how could a man survive like that? He just needed someone, anyone, to give him a shot. He’d had his little fling with Cindy, maybe the first woman who ever paid him any attention, but adhering to her rule, she had dumped him, and just a week later had taken up with his brother. He’d always been jealous of Kerry, but this put it over the top. The women came up to him and pointed out just how disrespectful it was, they were on his side, they saw potential in him and were willing to give him a shot. Eight hundred dollars was all he needed.

It was finally my turn around Christmas time. Sure, I was just one more cock in an endless line, sneaking up to that apartment, but I was not above free pussy. I’d be the first to admit I had my weaknesses. I’ll also admit here, I did feel somewhat rotten about going up those stairs that night. I’d been married three years, but Cindy had been sitting at the end of the bar looking as fine as ever, and she was giving me the eyes, and she’d practiced those eyes so many times on so many men it might as well have been witchcraft, which many of the women in town swore she dabbled in, the witch, the demon-fucking whore, they all spread the story that the noises heard from that apartment were without a doubt the sounds of a woman fucking an animal, likely a donkey, not that they could ever explain exactly how they would know such a thing. Anyway, I went up to her, and fifteen minutes into talking she was on about ropes and handcuffs and hits of acid. I went for it all. We had our fun, and around three in the morning, she wanted to go down to the bodega for cigarettes and those Venezuelan empanadas Kristo made special. After about an hour, I went down to check on her. I saw everything, put it all together in a moment, knew what was happening. Kelly shot her three times, all in the chest, then ran away, screaming as he ran, a bunch of insane bullshit it sounded like to me, but I was still coming up from the acid, so I couldn’t be sure, and anyway I was never going to tell the cops a goddamn thing, no matter how much they pried. That wouldn’t solve anything.

They took me in and gave me the usual speech about how it would help me to help them, that it didn’t look good I was there fucking this woman who’d just been killed, maybe they needed to call my wife, and I wanted so bad to turn the ratfucker in, expose all those bitter jealous bitches, put them and Kelly in prison to rot like they deserved, but I couldn’t, because I knew they were connected, and would deny everything, and when a woman goes against an entire town, a small backwards town filled with people who feel they’ve been left behind, when she exposes them in their lies and jealousy and denial through pleasure, it never works out for her, so I had a different plan. I knew if my cousin had one dependable thing inside him, it was that he could be wildly violent, and his violence came from misplaced loyalty, and he was loyal to Cindy now. Loyalty was why he’d been discharged from the army, why he was a nighttime guard now, without a gun, not trusted to have a gun, just a flashlight, and I knew that was enough, that he would take that flashlight and use it the right way in this situation, keeping it off, keeping everything in the dark while he used the butt to smash Kelly’s face again and again and again until it looked as it should, a bloody pulpy mess, a pitiful tangle, until all his body could think to scream was the one thing that would surely connect him to Cindy and their affair: her safe word.