Bass-ackwards

Johnny Marsh opened the door to his quad-cab truck after picking up the money Sebastian Motors owed him and tossed the cash envelope on the seat before he realized he was staring down the business end of his own .45 pistol.  Someone in a trench coat and a black ski mask over their face was on the other end.   He slowly lifted his hands in the air.  “Good idea,” he heard in a guttural voice.  “Get in. Slowly.”

He slid into the driver’s seat, hands still in the air.  The robber reached over, and fished Johnny’s keys out of his pants pocket.  The robber handed them to Johnny.  “Drive where I tell you.  Slowly.  Or I’ll blow your brains out all over this pretty ride of yours.”
Johnny did as he was told; he moved slowly to put the keys in the ignition and turned the truck on.  He put both hands on the wheel, backed out of the parking spot and put it in drive.  He waited for the robber to tell him what do to next.

“Pull out of the parking lot and turn left, then take your first left down the alley,” the robber said softly.  “When you get to the dead end, put it in park and turn off the key.”

Johnny’s head was spinning.  No one was supposed to know about the money except his boss and Sebastian.   He did as he was told.  Then he sat and waited.  He thought about his wife Nicole, and tears started welling up in his eyes.  He couldn’t even remember if he had said “I love you” to her when he left the house early that morning.

“Okay,” the robber said.  “Here we go.”

Johnny looked over. The mask was off, and it was a young woman who sat beside him.  She had long curly black hair, big brown eyes, and an olive complexion.  “Now you do exactly what I tell you to do,” she said in a different voice, almost a singsong to it.  “Understand?”

Johnny nodded.  She wasn’t small, but she wasn’t too big either.  If it weren’t for the gun, he thought he might could punch her out.  But he knew the gun was loaded, and it hadn’t wavered one bit with her aiming right between his eyes.

“Lean your seat back,” she said.

Johnny didn’t understand. Why didn’t she take the money and just go?
“I said lean your seat back,” she said as if talking to a child.  “Now.”

Johnny slowly reached down and popped the seat back.  He stayed sitting up looking at her.  She looked him up and down, her eyes sliding over him but that gun never moving.  “You’re one good looking little fucker,” she said finally.  “Lie down.”

Johnny leaned back cautiously.  She scooted over to him and reached down in between his legs with her free hand, fumbling for his zipper.  She slid her hand down into his underwear and started playing with him.

Johnny took his right hand and tried to pull hers away.  “Stop it,” he said.  “What do you think you’re doing?”

She put the gun barrel up to his temple.  “Let go,” she said, again as if talking to a little boy.

He did.  “Put your hands behind your head,” she said. “And don’t move unless I tell you to.”

“Okay,” he said, hating how weak he sounded.

“Lift up,” she said, tugging at his waistband.  He did, and she pulled down his pants just enough to get his penis out of his underwear.

She leaned her head down, not taking her eyes off of his.  She started kissing him, and he felt himself getting hard.  He thought about peeing out in the woods hunting in his native Tennessee, where the temps dipped into the twenties early in the morning.  He imagined her as monstrous, fat, pimply, flat-chested—all the turn-offs he could think of.  But none of it stopped the warmth of her mouth from getting him erect.

“Listen,” he said.  “That envelope you’re sitting on?  It has ten thousand dollars in cash in it.  Take it.  I won’t report you.  Just take it and get out.  I’ll pay my boss back myself. Just—don’t do this.  Please.”

“Please?” she said, laughing as she licked him.  “Am I so ugly?”

“No,” he said.  “But I’ve got a wife, and I don’t—“
“Really?” she said.  “When was the last time you told her you loved her outside of bed?”

The lie left his lips instantly.  “This morning.  Before I left for work.”

“I don’t believe you,” she said, sitting up.

He flicked his eyes down; it was standing at attention all right.

“How hard up to do you have to be to do a guy like this?” he said.

“How hard up were you when you fucked all the girls you had before your wife?” she shot back. “I know your kind—you talk a sweet game but never did it cross your mind who you might hurt.”

He saw a tear start to trickle down her face out of her left eye as she spoke.

He closed his eyes.  “Look, I don’t know what’s happened to you, but—“

“But nothing,” she said.  “You don’t care either.”

Johnny cautiously reached with his left hand and wiped the tear from her cheek.  She leaned down to kiss him some more, but sobbed first.

“Look,” he said.  “Just get up and climb out, and I’ll forget this ever happened.”

She looked up at him, her eyes hard and wet.  “I don’t want you to forget.  I want you to remember every second,” she hissed.

He kept his eyes shut.  I’ll let her do me, but I won’t come, he thought.  She can’t make me.
He heard her unzip her own clothes. Then he felt her move the gun from his temple to his ear.  “Don’t try to be a hero,” she whispered.  “That only works in movies.”
He felt her slide on top of him and start moving on him.  He heard her moan with contentment.  “Just the right size,” she whispered.

Johnny felt tears start leaking out of his eyes at how she felt to him.  “Please stop.  Just stop.  Please.”

She started pumping herself slower.  “You scared now?”

He nodded.

“Good,” she said. “And don’t even think about holding back with me—I can go all day if I have to.”

Johnny started shaking.  The steel in her voice was unmistakable, even through her whispers.  He let himself think of Nicole—maybe if he imagined it was her, he would come faster and end this nightmare.

But she wouldn’t let him.  “Don’t think about her—you can only feel me moving up and down on you,” she said.  “Just enjoy it while you can. I’ve been told I’m very good.”

Johnny felt his breathing start to pick up.  She noticed it too. “Am I good?” she whispered.

He shook his head no violently, dislodging the gun from his ear.  He opened his eyes and reached up to try to strangle her, but she leaned back just out of his reach.  “Do you want your last thoughts to be of me?” she said.  She put the gun barrel between his eyes.  “Get ready.”

He couldn’t help himself—he started sobbing.  “Go ahead and shoot already,” he said.

She started moving faster.  “Oh, you don’t mean that.  I can feel you getting harder and harder.”

He cursed himself in his mind.  She was right; he could feel it building up, too.  She slowed down again.  “Me first,” she said.

She moved the gun from his head. She leaned down and started kissing his neck. He started panting at how hot her mouth felt, and she quickly moved to his face and kissed him hard.  He felt her clenching around him, and then he felt himself coming too, with her tongue in his mouth.

He heard her drop the gun on the floorboard.  He realized she didn’t need it now—he was so weak he couldn’t hurt her if he tried.

She sat up.  He opened his eyes, and saw her licking her lips and looking at him.  “Keep your money,” she said.  “I got what I wanted.”

She moved off of him and zipped herself back up.  All he could do was lie there.  She climbed out of the truck, then turned and looked back at him.  “When you fuck your wife tonight, all you’ll be able to think about is me,” she said.

“Go to hell,” he said.

“Meet you there,” she said.

She backed away from the truck and slammed the door.  The sound jolted him; he sat up and searched furiously for his gun. He found it underneath his feet, but by the time he sat back up and looked for her, she was gone.

He zipped himself up, climbed out of the truck and ran up the alley to the street, the gun hidden beside his thigh.  He looked up and down the street but didn’t see her.

He turned and ran back to the truck, got in, and popped the seat back up.  Suddenly he realized he could still smell the scent of sex.

He barely got the truck door opened and out of the truck before he threw up, leaning with his hands on his knees.  He kept puking until all he was doing was dry heaving.  He finally stood up and leaned back against the truck, breathing hard.

He wished she’d taken the money—then he could at least get her arrested for theft without mentioning the other.  But it was still sitting there, big as life.

He slowly climbed back into the truck, put it in gear, and backed out of the alley.  He pulled into the street and went straight to the bank with the money.  He went through the drive through where they knew him and where they took all the bills even though he should have had to go in.  Then he continued on to his next sales stop.

That night, as Nicole was crying in the bed and he was crying in the bathroom after throwing up again, he wondered how long he could go without telling her. He thought about getting his pistol out of the truck and just ending it all now.  But instead he just went back in to their guest bedroom and fell into an exhausted sleep on the comforter, not even turning the bed down.

 

 

Julie Whitehead is a MFA student at the Mississippi University for Women.  Her creative work has appeared in several journals and is forthcoming in Conclave Journal.  She has been a university lecturer, a freelance writer, and a disability examiner.  She lives in Brandon, MS with her husband and children.

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