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There’s a reckless streak in me I can’t control. It makes me do dangerous things. I know it’s wrong, but I always fail—no willpower at all. The thing about Wayne, I tried to keep my distance, but he was hot, sexy in a middle-aged sort of way. He reminded me of some of my father’s friends. I thought we were kindred spirits.
‘I dream about you at night,’ he said, his voice husky, low. His breath smelled like clove gum and cigarettes.
‘I dream you do everything I tell you.’ He stepped into the small office in the back, came back with a Polaroid SX70, smiled and handed me the camera.
‘I want you to go into my office, pull down your panties, spread your legs and shoot a photo for me. You know what I want. Something really hot.’ The phone rang. He picked it up. ‘Wayne’s Volkswagen Repair.’ He turned back to me, leering. ‘I’ll make it worth your while,’ he said.
I sat on the cold metal stool at the counter, legs crossed, black skirt riding up my thighs. It was a long way from Shangri La. Fenders and transmissions littered the floor, tools hung on pegs nailed into the walls, and half-rebuilt engines balanced on benches and worktops. Every surface was covered with a layer of greasy dust that mingled with Wayne’s ever-present cigarette and made the air heavy and hard to breathe. What was it about these sleazy places? I felt sick. My stomach bottomed out with that familiar, crazy swirling. Sickening, but I still craved it. Bad girl with a bad habit. Very very bad.
I clutched the camera, watched the dust particles swirl in the light shafts from the open door. I could leave, follow the light right out to Lakewood Blvd. Get away this time, before I got in past my depth. Instead I looked inside to where the light ends, where it spotlights the Rigid Tool calendar with a naked ‘Miss July’ hanging in the place of honour behind the cash register. Someone had given her a moustache. My head hurt from the loud banging, rhythmic, like a clock striking, going all the time. Wayne’s two Mexicans pounded metal out back, competing with 40 mph traffic on the street. The Golden Oldies station blared out the hits.
I couldn’t hear myself think except to think that Wayne was waiting for an answer. To think that I should get out now, be that lady my mother raised me to be. Cold hands. Cold heart. My mother. I could never tell her; she’d never understand about this. About why I do this. Over and over! About how crazy I get around the wrong kind of man, a man like Wayne, so crazy when he smoothed his black hair back from his face, and wiped the sweat on his greasy jeans. Slumming, that’s what she’d call it.
But me, I never listen, I’m too busy dreaming about how his blue work shirt is half unbuttoned. I can see the thick hair on his chest and the pocket of his shirt that says ‘Wayne’ in big red letters. Crazy for his smell—his hands—big hands, calloused, black in the creases. I wondered what they’d feel like on my skin. I wondered what he meant by ‘I’ll make it worth your while.’
Wayne looked right at me as he hung up the phone. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘What’s it gonna be?’
Originally published in Cultural Weekly
© Alexis Rhone Fancher 2013
Find Alexis Rhone Fancher’s work in BoySlut, High Coupe, Gutter Eloquence, Tell Your True Tale, Good Men Project, Bare Hands, Poetry Super Highway, Le Zaporogue, Rattle, and elsewhere. Her photographs, published worldwide, include the covers of Witness and The Mas Tequila Review. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013, she is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. www.alexisrhonefancher.com
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