by Luis Rivas
Albert knocked and no one answered but he heard noise so he knocked again and then heard, “GET FUCKED — NO ONE’S HOME.” He turned the knob and slowly pushed the door open. Rick was sprawled out on the living room couch, drunk as shit, playing with a very big pocket knife, running his fingers along the serrated blade.
“Yo, sup, man,” Rick said.
“Hey,” Albert said and looked around. “Where’s The Chick?” — The Chick was Rick’s girl. No one knew why she was called The Chick rather than her real name — which few, if any, knew — but no one cared and therefore it was collectively accepted and never questioned.
“Pissin,” Rick said, pointing the knife at the bathroom door in the hallway.
He took a seat and started talking to Rick. Turned out Rick had started drinking right after work with all the other mechanics at some bar in Reseda. That was at 3 pm. It was 10 pm now. Rick had managed to drive over to The Chick’s place. Albert had gone over to meet up for a drink. The night was just beginning.
The Chick came out of the bathroom wearing a small low-cut red shirt and her signature pair of skin-tight black pants that stopped about three inches passed her knees and flared out slightly, revealing her nicely shaped calves. Her lips were bright red with lipstick and her gleaming black hair was in the token rockabilly style, the bangs combed back and mounted like a miniature pompadour, pinned down with a red bow. It was something out of a 50’s movie: classic, elegant. She was someone with which you constantly avoided eye contact with, fearing that you might become insanely obsessed if you ever accidentally stared for too long. But you couldn’t help it; like sneaking a peek at the sun during a solar eclipse, you just couldn’t help it. It was nuts.
“So guys, what’s the plan for tonight?” she said, leaning against the doorway connecting the hallway to the living room. A movie. Out of a fucking movie. All that were missing was a cigarette and a pair of sunglasses.
“A quick gangbang then we go fuck up some faggots,” Rick said.
“Goddamn it, Rick; quit being such a SHIT,” she said, abruptly breaking her elegance and then quickly getting it back by lighting a cigarette.
“Fuck you; I don’t care what you say,” Rick said, not giving a shit, on the couch with his gray tweed fedora covering his eyes.
“All right, let’s go,” Albert said.
He was used to this: to Rick and The Chick and their weird relationship. One minute they were together, seemingly deep in love, next they’d be at each other’s throats, arguing, cursing at each other, calling each other horrible names, using creative expletives, accusing each other of unforgivable things, of fucking this guy or that girl, you piece of dog shit what the fuck, and fuck you you goddamn whore, and don’t you fucking call me a whore you greasy PIECEOFSHIT, and of being right with the conviction most of the time. If your life was uneventful and empty, visiting a tumultuous couple from time to time would somehow always make things more exciting and seem better.
They walked down the steps. She lived in back of the boulevard, directly behind a restaurant parking lot. That’s where Rick had parked. The lot’s parking attendant was looking straight at them. He had put out his cigarette and got up from his chair and went over to them and said, “Going to restaurant?”
He looked Mexican but when he spoke he revealed his true ethnicity of being middle-eastern.
“Naw, Mohammed; no go restaurant tonight,” Rick said.
“Don’t be a dick!” The Chick said.
“Fuck you, I don’t care what you say,” Rick said.
The parking attendant didn’t catch on to the racial mockery but looked agitated anyway. Albert asked for a light and the parking attendant handed him a book of matches. Albert said thanks and the parking attendant took back the book of matches and sat down. They had thought about taking Rick’s car but decided against it because of how drunk Rick was. He had just received his second DUI, not that he cared really but Albert persuaded them against taking the car. The bars were close enough and shit.
The first stop turned out to be Ralph’s. Cheaper beer there, it was communally determined. They decided against bar hopping based on the lack of cash on Albert. They walked straight to the beer isle, hard alcohol on the left, beer on the right. They scanned prices. Everything on the left was too much. Rick stared at a bottle of Wild Turkey 101, contemplating, struggling, observing the light-medium brown, almost copper-tone bourbon, looking at the tan-colored label on the fifth, rubbing his chin, then decided against it and turned around toward the beer. He looked at the Pabst, the Mickey’s, the Coors and grabbed two tall-can six-packs of Schlitz. “On me,” he said and they followed gratefully.
A blonde girl wearing tight light denim pants, furry beige boots as big as Clydesdale hooves, a semi-transparent yellow blouse and oversized dark brown Gucci sunglasses walked toward them. Rick smiled, tipped his hat, waited for her to pass and said, “Top grade hooker.” The Chick shushed him violently. In teasing retaliation he said, “Fuck you; I don’t care what you say.” The hooker didn’t hear any of it and kept walking. They headed toward the counter. Rick was looking around for some reason. Albert and The Chick trailed behind.
“So how’ve ya been?” Albert said.
“Good, you know? Can’t complain. How ‘bout yourself?”
“Fine. Likewise. Thinking a lot,” he said, unsure, embarrassed, anxiously anticipating a response.
“Yea,” she said.
That seemed about right, Albert thought. Things like this were not made to be easy. Feeling the conversation was at a dead end — meaning, of course, that his outcome was probably not going to happen so why bother putting forth any further and pretty much unnecessary effort — he tried to catch up to Rick. The Chick followed. Rick had passed the cash registers and was headed toward the front door, a six pack in each hand. The security guard was looking at something else and didn’t see Rick come until he was a few feet in front of the doors.
“Goodnight pops,” Rick said, smiling with complete confidence, his fedora cocked down and to the right covering his eye, walking out with the beer.
The security guard smiled and nodded to them. They followed Rick without hurry.
It was unbelievable. Some guys, Albert thought: all the balls, all the chicks, all the wit, all the breaks. But that’s how it goes. It’s just a matter of superficial confidence and attitude and luck. Shitloads of luck. When broken down like that, it doesn’t seem too impossible. I could do that, Albert thought and looked at The Chick and thought about shitloads of luck. He felt his stomach start to turn, his heartbeat quickening, the feeling in his chest eating him up like acid. No, he couldn’t; he couldn’t ever attain that kind of confidence and attitude. It just wasn’t there, you’ve got to be born into that, nor could it ever be pretended successfully. It was harder than that.
They followed Rick. He was the one with the beer, the money and direction. Rick had decided on going to his old apartment building right next to the Ralph’s. The roof was the best place to drink at night, looking over a busy lit-up Ventura Blvd, all the people driving impressively shiny new cars cutting each other off, honking, running through red lights, blaring dance music, the sub woofers rattling car trunks and thumping through the night like a modern day war drum, detached just high and far enough from everything to look upon it as something distant and almost beautiful. But the reason was mostly for old time’s sake.
There was a security guard in front of the building that Rick had not anticipated. He walked over to the side entrance and starting climbing over the waist-high security gate. The guard quickly came over and started shouting at Rick. Rick got down angrily. The guard was yelling in Spanish. Rick was yelling back in English, neither of them understanding one another. Albert stepped in and said in Spanish that Rick lives in the building but had lost his key, completely certain that the guard wasn’t going to buy any of this shit. The Chick backed up the story by looking displeased at the lack of trust on the guard’s part. After looking at The Chick the guard paused for a moment, caught off guard by the Chick’s mind-crippling beauty, seemingly entranced, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring of keys and unlocked the door. Albert said thanks and Rick and the Chick walked in without saying anything, looking the part of the angry and humiliated tenants. It worked. The guard stood motionless, drool beginning to drip from his partially opened mouth. He had stared too long at The Chick, like a dumbshit staring at the sun for too long, and was now reaping the consequences, hypnotized, retarded and possibly brain damaged forever. That’s how it worked. It happened all the time.
Rick turned around to make sure the guard wasn’t following. They came upon an unlocked emergency exit door and went in. They walked around the first floor looking for the stairs that led up to the roof. The first floor was huge with hallways, winding and turning. Rick was leading. They had taken a wrong turn and were out near the parking lot.
“Fuck! — ok, ok, got it — here,” Rick said
“It’s cold, hurry!” The Chick said.
“Fuck you; I don’t care what you say,” Rick said.
Albert was looking around. Rick was still leading the way. They went back in the same way they came. This was way too easy. Trespassing in Sherman Oaks. People get arrested for this kind of shit. And then Albert heard something. Keys jingling.
“Shit, man; he’s on to us!” Albert said.
“Relax, dude,” Rick said. “I remember an elevator around here.”
The jingling keys grew louder. Rick and The Chick were in front. Albert was busy keeping an eye out. They kept walking, unaffected by Albert’s paranoia. Then he slowed down and stopped so he could hear exactly which direction the sound was coming from. He looked to his right and saw the guard looking angry and walking fast going the opposite direction. Rick and The Chick also saw the guard and decided to walk faster. Then Rick made a sharp right and said, “There!” They pushed the up button and got into the elevator. Inside, Rick pushed the numbered button highest up and toward the right. Albert cracked open a beer and drank fast. Sober is a hell of a way to get caught. His nerves settled, the door opened and they got out and went to the left. Rick seemed surer of his direction now. They made a left onto another hallway, then a right, another left and found a door labeled “ROOF ACCESS.” They went in.
The air that high up was colder. The night sky was saturated with tiny stars, speckled like a horrible case of glowing-white acne on a black face. The dark hills opposite side of the boulevard were invisible, blending in with the dark sky. The moon shone down high up from the west. They could see most of the Ralph’s parking lot to the right, a bar’s parking lot directly under them and the closed antique shop across the street.
“How much money you think a place like that gots?” Rick asked, referring to the antique shop but not really asking anyone specifically.
“Not much — 1 to 2 thousand, tops,” The Chick said. Then, “it’s a small shop too; they probably don’t even have an alarm.”
“All the places on the boulevard have alarms,” Albert said.
“Mom-and-pop places wouldn’t bother. Think about it; what do they need an alarm for anyway? It cost money. It’d be a lousy investment. It’s not like anyone’s gonna fucking bust in and steal an old grandfather clocknshit,” The Chick said.
“The Goodwill up the street has one,” Albert said.
They drank without saying anything for a while, staring at all the people under them.
“We need a new scheme, a way to get some cash, fast,” The Chick said.
“Cars,” Rick said.
“Yea, man. People would pay big bucks overseas for a chopped-up 56’.”
“That’s complicated,” Albert said. “Where do we find buyers for stolen cars?”
“I know people. Overseas, too.”
“Let’s do it,” said the Chick. “I’m tired of working, waiting tables, making shit.”
“What about drugs. Acid. Everyone wants it. No one has it,” said Albert.
“I gotta piss,” said the chick, backing away, beer in hand, toward a dark corner. Albert and Rick kept looking at the boulevard. Rick was fully absorbed by the combination of drunkenness and deep thought. Albert raised the beer to his mouth and glanced at Rick, saw that the coast was clear, and quickly looked at The Chick, squatting, her long hair falling over her tilted, concentrating face, one hand holding onto the beer the other positioned on the ground in front of her for support, her black panties stretched around her knees, still managing to look amazing. Albert looked away. The sound of the piss hitting the floor started off soft and consistent like a babbling brook but then quickly grew louder and more spastic, almost roaring like an impending waterfall.
“We need a lab n shit. Complicated right there,” Rick said, still remembering the topic of selling drugs.
“Illegal, hardcore porn. Horses fucking 13-year old boys on Acid. We supply the acid and the horses. Helluva profit.”
“I couldn’t do any of that shit, man. No part.”
“Morals are expensive.”
“I guess so.”
“Just think about it though: I know a lot of sick fucks that ask about that shit. Willing participants, too. The demand is staggering. The sale is guaranteed. And plus I work at the porn shop — free, discrete distribution right there.”
“Are you guys serious?” asked The Chick, getting up, pulling up her pants.
“We should leave soon.”
No one knew the time. They walked down the boulevard, going right back the same way they came, passing the Ralph’s, the Taco Bell and the bank. The cold wind was not bothering any of them anymore. They walked up to the old abandoned pool hall.
“Wasn’t this place almost burned down?” Albert said, looking at the boarded-up windows, the blackened tips of the building, trying to read the graffiti.
Rick had already begun trying to figure out the easiest way to get in, scanning for loose boards or openings. He found an opening above where the main entrance once was. He stepped back, looked both ways as if he were about to cross the street and ran toward it, hopping once high enough off the ground to grab onto the opening. The Chick rushed under him and helped him get over.
“How’s it looking?” Albert asked.
“Dark. Can’t see shit. Someone throw me a light.”
The Chick threw over a book of matches. Rick lit up and hopped out. He told The Chick to go in first. She took off her high heels and he helped her over. She appeared light. Rick followed and then Albert got over. It was dark. All the boards were blocking any light from the street. Rick lit another book of matches and everyone searched for some newspaper to burn. Everything appeared damp. The smell of urine wasn’t too bad. The Chick found a big pile of semi-dry newspaper. Rick had found an empty Corona 6-pack box. They lit that up. They started making things out. The mud-caked carpet under them was still pretty burned up but still intact. All the pool tables were taken. There were only two pieces of furniture: a bolted-down stainless steal restaurant sink and a counter. The stinging smell of shit was hard to handle near the sink. This is probably where the bums took their shits right here. It makes sense, Albert thought, seeing how close the pile of newspaper was to it.
The light ran out. Rick threw a lit-up book of matches into the pile of newspaper. Everyone fanned it to get the flames to grow. Thick brown-gray smoke started coming out of the fire. They walked around, randomly pulling at anything that happened to penetrate from the darkness. There was some gray light coming from the far back of the building, illuminating an outline of a doorway. Rick lead with a burning chunk of newspaper. The light was coming from the only graffiti-ridden-and-shit-smeared window that hadn’t been boarded up. Albert and The Chick were looking out the window. Rick was walking around and stumbled upon the bathroom. There were a few cars in the pool hall’s parking lot. Albert turned to look at The Chick. The light lit up her face with a dreary glow accentuating the form of her cheeks, her thin nose, her flawless eyebrows, making her hazel eyes sparkle like steel under moonlight — sparkling so much that it gave off the sad illusion of tears. Rick was smashing something in the other room.
“I hate Sherman Oaks,” Albert said.
“Why?” The Chick said.
“Too many goddamn rich white people.”
Rick had overheard Albert and was walking toward them.
“It’s not all rich, ya know? There’s culture here.”
“It’s all shit, man; every last condominium, every last trendy bar: no culture here, no heart. Just cash and trends,” Albert said, shocked by what was coming out of his mouth, feeling the sting of embarrassment crawl up his spine but combating it by saying fuck it.
“That’s my home, man; this is where I grew up. There are memories, stories, all KINDSOFSHIT with meaning here. You can still have heart and culture and be rich at the same time; I know some cool ass dudes with tons of cash that are chill to kick it with. Good people, man. I guess it’s different for someone that didn’t grow up here.”
“Rich people aren’t like everyone else. It’s different. Always will be. They’re worse than us, heartless, phony. They bleed differently,” Albert said, stopping for a moment. “Fuck em.”
“I agree,” said The Chick, nodding her head in the light.
“I apologize, Rick. I’m drunk,” Albert said.
“It’s cool, man,” he said turning around, heading back to the place with the newspapers, smashing things on the way.
The Chick was watching Rick walk away, a mixture of longing and disappointment upon her face. Albert was looking at her, cracking open one of the last cans of beer. They heard Rick jump up on the wall and out of the pool hall.
“You think I pissed him off?”
“No, he’s fine — just drunk,” The Chick said and lit up a cigarette, turning toward the window, her face glowing ghost-white in the gray light.
Albert threw the almost full beer at her face. She dropped her cigarette and was about to yell at him but he rushed up to her and covered up her mouth with his hand, pulling her in real close, pinning her hands down tight. She muffled viciously, screeching and yelping like a hurt dog. He banged her head against the window, once, twice and then moved her over to the wall cautious of the probability of the window pane breaking. He repeated smashing her head against the wall, the loud thumping in perfect rhythm. Her eyes tried desperately to find his but he was busy unzipping his fly, trying not to get any skin caught. She got one hand loose and started hitting him in the face, pulling his hair, digging her nails in anywhere she could find, scouring for an eye, a mouth, anything, desperately trying to fight to breathe. Her hand landed in his mouth. He bit down hard until he felt the salty warm trickling of blood collect in his mouth. She yelped even louder. He tried breaking her neck, twisting it until the sound of a snap like in the movies but there was no snap just a continuous long stretching sound. Her hand grew slightly limp but she was still breathing and yelping. He pushed his thumb in as deep as it could penetrate into her right eye. It was squishy like a tiny wet vagina. He was hard as a rock.
He forcefully bent her body over, making sure to bang her head one more time against the wall. He pulled down her skin-tight pants with astonishing ease. Her panties went half way down with the pants. He took it out, gave it a few strokes, spat on it and rammed it in. It was difficult getting it in all the way but the spit, sweat and spilled blood helped. He made sure to bang her head against the wall with each thrust.
Rick was gone. He was walking down Ventura Boulevard, going nowhere, just walking, smoking, drinking, thinking, fuck that goddamn beaner, that pieceofniggershit cocksucker, man whatthefuck; fucker don’t know shit about nothing.
Albert took it out of her. He punched the back of her head as hard as possible. She stopped moving completely now. He spat at his dick, felt nauseous and threw up. It landed on his dick, some of it — a good yellow-white chunk of it — splashing on The Chick’s ass. This was not a bad thing. He slid his index and middle finger into her asshole, the vomit acting as a lubricant. He took out his fingers and was about to smear them in her hair but then thought about something. He grabbed her head and turned her face toward his. Her eyes were closed, making her face look innocent like a kid lost in deep, peaceful sleep. He smeared the shit and blood on his fingers on her eyebrows, banged her head against the wall and forced his cock into her tight, dry asshole. It was good. Albert almost came but held on, determined to make it last as long as possible. An overpowering sense of purpose flowed within him.
The Chick started to regain consciousness. She mumbled at first and turned her head around trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Albert was still working away. Her eyes widen as panic flushed her face. She opened her mouth wide, inhaled and was about to scream. Albert pulled out and shoved his right hand into her mouth. She bit down hard. There was a crunching sound. She had her hands free and was striking Albert numerous times in the face again, scouring his face for soft spots, openings, eyes. He dug his nails into the bottom part of the inside of her mouth, right under the bottom-front teeth, and pulled down fast and hard. There was a loud pop. Her unhinged jaw dangled, blood spraying out from either side of her torn-apart mouth. Her eyes rolled back into her head and her body fell limp again. It looked orgasmic. Albert felt the warm sensation of piss on his leg pouring from the chick’s cunt. He laid her down on the ground, gently placing her face down on her stomach. He randomly found a loose iron rod lying next to her and picked it up. He got on top and started working her ass again, iron spear in hand. As he came, he rammed the rod right into the back of her head with so much force that it caused the chick’s body to shake all over like if in a seizure and her asshole erupted hot black shit all over his dick. He got up, tore a good chunk from her shirt and wiped himself. He zipped up.
Albert looked out the window. The parking lot was empty. It was a quiet night. The lights from the parking lot shone through the window and down on the chick’s twitching naked body. Albert was waiting for her to stop twitching before taking off; he wanted to make sure she was dead. And even then, even covered in shit, bloody and dying, she still managed to look good somehow. Real beauty is truly incomparable, Albert thought, pulling back his foreskin and double checking for any left over shit. He was good though. He climbed up and hopped out the same way he came in. Rick was no where in sight. Albert took off walking down Ventura Blvd.
There weren’t too many cars now. It felt like 11 pm. It probably was. He walked over to Fatburger. Albert was hungry but doubted his hunger a little bit so he only ordered a baby fat burger and a coke. No fries. If after the tiny burger, he’s still hungry then he’ll order another one. And so on. His appetite varied dramatically and was therefore untrustworthy; also, he hated wasting food. This method was smarter.
As he was finishing his second baby fat, he saw Rick walking toward him.
“Yo,” Rick said, looking sober.
“You sober?” asked Albert.
“Listen, man: I killed the chick.”
“Yea, raped her ass, broke her jaw and speared her head; it was a mess. Shit everywhere.”
“Yea, well, shit happens.”
Rick went to the ordering window and got a king burger, large fries and a large coke. Rick had a better gauging of his hunger. Albert was finishing his coke. Rick looked up from his burger, swallowed.
“Hey, seriously, where’d the chick go?”
Albert couldn’t think of anything to do or say. He looked at Rick, drank the last of his coke through the straw and shook the cup, hearing the ice sloshing around inside. He threw it at Rick’s face, turned up the table and ran into the middle of the street. Rick was on his back. Two guys were helping him up. Rick kept saying, “WHATTHEFUCK! WHATTHEFUCK!” Albert was in the middle of Ventura blvd when he saw a pair of high-beamed headlights coming at him. It was a black Lexus SUV, 2004, going a little over 60 mph. Albert was thrown about 5 feet backwards. The driver got out, looked at his car first, inspected the damaged hood, bumper, windshield and then walked over to Albert. He got out his cell and called the insurance company. Rick and everyone from Fatburger came over. They formed a circle. If Albert were alive at that moment he probably would’ve felt embarrassed because of all the attention.