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Fiction Funny Romance

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Martin Hernandez was at it again. Speaking to a loathsome crowd that would rather hear music than his miserable rhythmic poems. The bar let him do it because he was a regular drinker there. A regular bum who stumbled in half drunk before picking up a few more glasses of poison. But when on stage, he got more than sober. He became entranced by a higher power. However, this higher power couldn’t save him from the occasional bottle thrown from the belligerently intoxicated crowd. They booed, jeered, and sometimes, cried. Martin loved when they cried. It meant the strings he pulled plucked a heartfelt tune. The crowd didn’t like it though. 

One time, a big burly man, with floppy man tits, and a mash potato gut, wiped his tears and began screaming in anger. He flipped over his table and rushed towards Martin like a raging bull. Martin threw his glass of whiskey at him and it broke just above his forehead, leaving a long strip of blood falling down his face. The Bull stopped, licked his blood and marched forward. 

“Settle down you whale!” Martin yelled, picking up the microphone stand, ready to thrust it into his blubbery gut. “I’m not afraid to use this!” 

For a few moments, the big man chased Martin on stage and Martin, being more nimble, dodged his meaty arms. The beluga man, after a few more moments of chase, began huffing and slowing down. He leaned over and put his hands on his knees. “You… little… little… jester,” he said before falling face first into a table directly below the stage, launching a woman and man off of their chairs. The crowd got silent, until a weasel looking man trotted over and put his hand on the whale’s throat. 

“HE’S DEAD!” 

Heart attack. 

The crowd cheered, then turned to their drinks. 

Two big bouncers came and rolled him away and then Martin finished his final poem and people drank merrily as if Goliath had just been slain. 

“And the mountain sought to be higher

Higher than the sky 

Higher than the galaxy 

But never reached 

Nor catapulted from its position 

Yet, it stays higher than everything else

Except when submerged in water.”

No one clapped. 

They laughed; not at him, but with company present. 

“Thank you!” Martin said, to practically no one and walked off stage to the barkeep. A drink was already poured for him. He swiveled his glass around and heard the ice jingle. He didn’t feel like drinking, but he did anyway. The cigarettes were stinking up the place and Martin added to the stench. 

It was around 2AM when the regular drunkards started trickling out to drive or walk home. The city was a kiss away. 

Martin went upstairs to the apartment above the bar, “The Old Lady.” It was the cheapest he could find. There was one room. A bed sat near the window that couldn’t open, and a pathetic stove and sink near a brownish yellow wall. It was originally painted white. He had room for a small couch and coffee table. Books littered the floors. He didn’t have money for shelves. Piles of newspapers towered up to the arm of the couch. He stole the paper from The Old Lady down stairs, which the old owner, Malcom Crowell, would never read. 

Martin would leave the sports page to Mr. Crowell to plaster it on the bathroom wall above the urinal. He never noticed the rest of the paper was missing. He would just stumble out to the sidewalk, slowly bend over holding his back and take it inside. Maybe he knew and just liked the convenience of not having to sift through it to find the sports page, but Martin didn’t care as long as he didn’t get wise. Which, Crowell was not. A crotchety old man who slammed drinks down for people, though he never got the order right. 

New customers, ones from the college just on the outskirts of the city — looking for the “dive bar experience” — were baffled when drink after drink was wrong. They would even plead with Mr. Crowell, but he just grumbled something they didn’t understand and walk away slowly. 

Most of those kids thought because they spoke to someone “from the hood” once on their Jewish camp retreat or when completing their community service hours in high school, thought they were versed in the “lingo.” Martin didn’t care when they came in, because they would actually clap or cheer when his poems were read. But they got stone quiet when no one else did, or when bulls rushed the stage and died of heart attacks. 

Fights happened often, but not often enough. The loud mouths were given too much time to preach and ramble about government controlling their brains. As if the drugs they shot up had nothing to do with it…. 

The Old Lady is the patron saint of debauchery. It attracted all kinds, but they never left saintly. I guess you could call it the “patron demon,” if that were a thing. 

Martin got a knock on the door and hoped it wasn’t the landlord looking for the rent he hadn’t paid. Jimmy was a real son-of-a-bitch. The type that would con his own mother. Martin said a check was in the mail and that bough him some time. But the bastard will be after him once they bounce. Or maybe they won’t? Maybe the newspaper will publish his story and give him the 300 bones to close the gap. Martin’s rent is $900! You believe that shit? If you rent, yes, yes, you do. 

“Who is it?” Martin says, because his peep hole is scratched out.

“It’s Shelly, you asshole!” 

“Asshole?” Martin says stunned. “He doesn’t live here; he moved out weeks ago.”

“Quit fucking around, Martin!”

“What do you want, Shelly?”

“Let me in, and I’ll tell you!” 

“How do I know Scott isn’t with you?”

Scott was her ex-boyfriend who had her dog and cat. He said he’s “done” with her, but after we went on a date, he got furious. Martin thought it would be nice to toss him off a bridge. Oh yes, it would be nice to see him whistle all the way down like an old Disney cartoon and explode into an atomic cloud. 

“He’s not!”

“Prove it!”

“I will if you open the door!”

“There’s the proof. Fuck off, Shelly — and Scott!”

“Listen asshole!” Said a redneck man’s voice. “Shelly said you did her wrong and wants you to answer for your sins!” 

Martin had taken a blowjob from Shelly before she left in her drunk stupor. She apparently told Scott….

“Nothing wrong with my cum, Scott! I’m cleaner than a virgin!”

Scott pounded on the door and vibrated Martin’s studio apartment.

“I’ve got shit to do, Scott! Go back home and taper off your heroine high!”

“Why you little…,” Scott said, after giving one more bass pound. 

Shelly told him in a whisper, “Just forget it, baby….” 

Thank Satan below, he did. 

Shelly whispered sweet nothings to him as they pounded down the stairs. 

PEACE. 

QUIET. 

But not finally.

Martin sat at his decrepit dinner table and pulled out a fresh, white piece of paper. He wrote free hand then wrote the rest at the county library down the street. He had a flash drive filled with his musings and unsold stories. To make money, he cleaned dishes and tables for Mr. Crowell. He got pennies on the dollar but occasionally, he’d hit the “big time” and the local Mexican rag, “Que Paso,” would buy his story about an event. Granted, he translated it into Spanish for them. It was sloppily translated, but they didn’t care. As long as they filled the 500 word block. The ads of liquor stores, Mexican markets, and strip clubs paid for the rest. 

He stared at the white sheet of paper and couldn’t write a word other than one capitalized, “FUCK.” 

He crumpled the piece of paper and threw it against the wall. Opened a bottle of cheap gin (he stole from Crowell cleaning dishes) and poured it into a murky glass. He uttered “FUCK” after swiping a swig. Took out a pack of American Spirits and smoked in bed till he got tired and crashed into a deep sleep. 

A few mornings went by. Martin cranked out a typewriter he found in a heap pile of relics at the pawn shop down the street from his apartment. He also bought a small .22 that looked like a revolver from the 1800’s. Something a prostitute would carry. .22 ammo was hard to come by, but he was fortunate enough to have a fresh shipment slip in during his purchase. The steel-faced pawn shop owner was a chatty buzzard… “Got a mole on my back — the size of a bowling ball. Want to see?” He said lifting his shirt without Martin’s response. It was big and hairy. It almost started talking to Martin like a second headed mutant. “Hey Buster!” Martin heard it saying. “I’ll cut you with my blade!”

Martin hadn’t been back to “Pawn Pals” since. 

He traded in his dead mother’s necklace to buy the items. Plus, whatever cash he could conjure up. It was the age of computers, but the county library banned him after bringing booze and starting a fight with a bum and his stripper girlfriend. They’re allowed to come back though….

“Que Paso” is usually annoyed when he sends his submissions either in the mail or in person with stained and tattered pieces of paper. He would correct his typos, but scrawled them in ugly red ink and illegible penmanship. The editors didn’t care how they received submissions. His drunk disposition didn’t help. But in the end, as long as it’s turned in… does any of it really matter? Especially when one made pennies on the dollar? They probably would take pieces written in pencil on toilet paper. 

Martin would follow a rival author who typed the same shit he did, but in a commercialistic babble he could never conjure: Troy — fucking — Chavez. He would rant and rave about this son-of-a-bitch at The Old Lady. Almost every night. 

“That (hiccup) Chavez thinks he knows what it means to be a writer, but he only knows what it means to suck the scum… the scum of likability — like a good whore does!”

Mr. Crowell would just grumble without expressing any words. He didn’t care. He just wanted to hit his crack pipe off the clock and pass out on his dirty mattress. The bar was always empty by now and the sun shaving the sky. 

“You’ll see dammit! You’ll see! I’m going to be fu—(hiccup) fucking famous!”

Then Martin would go up to bed and pass out without writing a word. 

That was the real tragedy.

His apartment door pounded again. It woke him up from a stupor he’d only dreamed of. He dreamed of a better life. But even in his dreams, he knew it was a facade. Instead of the shabby women he threw around in bed, this dream gave him a woman with bombastic breasts, curves crafted by a chiseler, and an ass plumper than any yoga pant could proliferate. And those lips…. They were meant for sucking. 

But he was awaken by a bastard, or bitch. He didn’t know. Someone who felt the need to wake him up at the early hour of 3:00 PM. 

“Who’s there!” He shouted, without even bothering to look through the ratcheted peephole. 

“It’s—it’s Shelly!”

FUCK. I’m too hungover to deal with this, he thought — while blowing hot, boozy breath into the air of his stale apartment. Where are my cigarettes? He thought. Oh yeah, he smoked them and hadn’t bought anymore. Cigarettes weren’t in the budget. He was sure there were some around somewhere, but was too hungover to look. 

“Can you please let me in!” Shelly shouted into the silence. 

“Is that fuck face there?” Martin said, exasperated.

“No, I promise,” she said, sheepishly. “Me and him are through. Done! He’s dead to me.”

“Right….”

“I mean it, Mar!”

“What’s your proof? How can I know he’s not putting a gun to your head and telling you to say all this? It’s happened before.”

“Fuck Scott! He’s a hopeless loser! A loser with a small cock!”

“Is that supposed to convince me? I knew this already. And if Scott were standing there, that piece of shit would agree his wang was an oversized clit!”

“Just open the door, Mar! Please!”

And there it was. The proof. She was alone. Martin opened the door. But as he did, a swift punch hit him across the face. 

“Shelly! What the fuck!?” 

She didn’t respond and only began kissing him. They savagely ventured to the bed and fucked like animals. She sucked like a vacuum over a thick rug. And he licked and sucked to the center of a tootsie pop. They finished off the night with bootleg gin he’d taken from good ole Crowell, two joints, and tapered off with a cigarette (he found in between his dresser) before sleep slapped their faces.  

Martin awoke to his cat, Jenkins, laying and purring on his chest. It was a comforting morning. Shelly was asleep and docile and the sun petered in like an invitation to joy. Shelly was curled away and turned to the other side. Martin just laid there, watching the ceiling fan slowly churn air. A helicopter beginning to take off. For some reason, he thought of Mogadishu. 

Then he looked around and saw crushed papers littering the floor. Yup. The joy rescinded its invitation. The hangover always resets the mind in the morning — but only for a second and then REALITY rushes in. That Troy Chavez, Martin thought. I bet he’s all happy writing stories for Aunt Susans who’re looking for something to read to distract them from their terrible and rich husbands. I’ll get that son of a bitch one day, Martin thought. ONE DAY, his stories would surpass his rival. A rival who didn’t even know he was in competition with. But we are always in competition. Money is earned… and awarded to winners. Not losers who couldn’t sell a damn story to the devil. 

“Shelly!” Shouted Scott from the door. GREAT. “I know you’re here, damnit! I see your moped down stairs! Open up and let me eat that piece of shit! Open up!”

Shelly jolted awake and began grabbing her things and looking for places to hide. Except, there was nowhere to hide in this broom closet. 

Scott kept pounding and pounding and pounding. 

Martin sat in bed. Jenkins ran away as soon as the shouting started. Martin didn’t know what to do. He was fed up and should have never let Shelly in in the first place. But here he was…. 

He reached for a cigarette and took a hit of gin from an opened bottle on the floor. He lit the cigarette, but as soon as the paper started receding, Scott kicked in the door like a cheap B-movie actor. His mouth frothing with spittle and his face, lava red. Or maybe Firetruck red? Who cares. He was madder than shit. 

“Who do you think you are, Martin! Who in the hell do you think you are! Bumping uglies with my girl! MINE!”

Shelly stood there with her shirt covering her breasts. She managed to get on her jean shorts. Her bra and panties were somewhere. 

Jenkins came over and walked between Martin and Scott, and without thinking, Scott booted him into the wall. Jenkins sat there motionless for a few moments but shook back into consciousness, slowly. 

Alternatively, Martin stormed towards Scott like a lightening bolt and lunged his fist in his crooked, patchy bearded face. A large crack sound flared and Scott’s head launched into the wall. He lumbered to his knees and smashed his head face first onto the hardwood floor. 

Out. 

Cold. 

Martin stood there huffing with rage. Convulsing up and down. He looked down on Scott without any pity and lifted his foot as high as he could.

“NO! STOP!” Shelly shouted, her shirt falling to the floor exposing her breasts. 

Martin took one look at her and turned his attention back to Scott’s comatose body, and threw his foot down with so much force, Scott’s nose and neck snapped against the floor. 

And like a switch being flipped, Martin walked over to Jenkins who was limping but OK, petted him and put him on the bed. Then he picked up his cigarette that was floating smoke into the air, sat down on the couch and took a large drag and blew it into the ceiling. Shelly stood there as still as Scott. 

GREAT. 

SILENCE at LAST. 

And just like that, Martin got up and started clacking away on his typewriter like a whirlwind. 

September 18, 2022 00:03

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2 comments

N Navsky
17:10 Sep 29, 2022

Your opening lines pull you into your story and work. The character of Martin was surprising and troubled. Realism was present. I liked your description. "They booed, jeered,and sometimes cried." Your main conflict was shocking and the scene vivid. "The Bull stopped, licked his blood and marched forward." The drama continued at Martin's apartment. His life of grit and drama revealed his persistent personality. My favorite paragraph was the quick poem read after the bar scene. The sentence "They laughed..." seemed awkward. But, your story...

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Troy Chavez
01:53 Sep 30, 2022

I appreciate your comments and review! I loved your story as well! I liked the mythical and mysterious elements of dreaming throughout.

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