“She’s dying you know. Just sad that her mother has to bury her.” An elderly voice on the phone was talking to Kurt as he shifted, uncomfortable in his chair. The phone call was far from being done.
“But Kerry the calico is getting along just fine with the others. I miss Larry. That hairless fur ball was” she directed her voice to the cats “ear muffs my lovelies...He was my favorite. He really loved to nuzzle under my chin and sleep while I watched the price is right. Did I tell you I went on there once Kurt?”
“Ye-” he stopped himself. He knew he had to endure this to get what he wanted. “What? Really? When?”
She talked, he shifted, she talked some more. The conversation went on for another half hour. Kurt was in his room sitting on his bed that lay directly on the floor. There was not much in the room, his only other shirt also on the floor and his untied shoes at the front of his bed. There was a long, dirty mirror facing the bed for the rare occasion when Roxy would come over. He liked watching them fuck in the reflection.
The old woman was still talking. His gaze met his own in the mirror. His cheekbones were protruding out like icebergs on his face. And like icebergs, what was underneath was far worse.
“Nana I need money.” Kurt said sternly interrupting her story about yet another cat.
A long pause on the other line. “It's all gone my sweet boy. I've been living off social security now. I got a little carried away with the cruises and gambling. I'm sorry.” She began to cry. “I'm sorry I couldn't take ca-”
He immediately hung up.
“Fuck!” He screamed into a scantily furnished room. Flinging off the bed and on his knees he pounded his fists on the carpet until he finally met his gaze in the mirror in front of him again. His blue eyes were red from crying. He swept his blonde hair out from in front of his face. He knows what he has to do. I've been selling with him for years. He reasoned in his head. He said this to himself countless times before. Slipping his yellow socks into some old Vans he waited for the 18 at the bus stop in front of his house.
He's known me since I was a kid! Hell, he's the one that sold to me in high school! He thought about late night parties. Watching the sun come up with his bros, all the cheerleaders. He boarded the bus. It was empty except for one big bellied hairy dude in a mesh shirt, exposing his overstretched nipples. The guy was checking him out, hard. Smiling as politely as he could, Kurt quickly looked away. He could feel the guy turning and watching him walk all the way to the back of the bus.
Kurt thought hard not to look, sat down and immediately looked out the window. In the reflection he can see the mesh shirt man still turned around. He was in cut off, black short shorts and black leather boots. Kurt felt extremely uncomfortable, the man's gaze was potent.
His eyes locked with the mans in the reflection of the window.
“Headed to Croc?” The strangers voice was a lot deeper than Kurt was expecting. He quickly shifted from disgusted to kissing ass. Kurt knew the game.
“Yea! Totally! Yo bro! Nice shirt man!” Kurt let out a short laugh that sounded a little forced.
The man wasn't smiling any more. In fact his stone cold stare made Kurt miss the creepy, I'm undressing you with my eyes look.
“Good. He's tired of you not having a phone.”
“A couple of more sales and I can buy one. You heading over too?” Kurt asked trying to change the subject.
“You could say that.” The man walked over and sat on the seat in front of Kurt. There was a big dip in the man’s bald head. He couldn't tell if it was a birth defect or caused from a weapon.
A few more stops put them a couple houses away. The walk was awkward and painfully silent. Kurt recognized the gate at the run down 2 story Daddy Croc used as a trap house. The grass was yellow and dry. The cactus didn't mind the heat or neglect, though. How similar to life this lawn was. The violent dont weather the hard times better than most. Kurt opened the door and was rushed with the smell of cigarette smoke and air freshener to cover it. The two together only made matters worse.
Daddy Croc was in a chair facing the door. It was like he was staring at the door the whole day just waiting for Kurt to come through it at any moment. He was about 6 feet tall, black guy with a beard in a wife beater and boxers, sweating a bit from the heat.
He looked at Kurt as if he could read his mind and was not happy.
“Look who the fag dragged in.” Croc glared in contempt.
“Hehe hehe” a weasley freakish laugh came from a near stick of a man in the far corner. Rick, one of Crocs oldest pushers, was a disgusting toothpick of a man but he always somehow lead the boys in sales.
“Daddio! How goes it boss.”
“Cut it out! I know when you walk through that door with your tryna be cool attitude it's because you fucked up. A big ass birdy told me you’re short.”
Kurt clenched his teeth and tried to figure out how one of Crocs men found out. He forced himself not to look at the large man. Instead, he just looked away, “Two hundred…”
“Two hundred!? I gave you five hundred to sell!”
“Hehe hehe” Rick was enjoying the show in a almost slumped over posture.
“I'll make it up to you, Roxy came with some friends out of town, there was a lot, pretty girls! I wanted to show them a good time! Look at it as an investment! They know where to get more if they need to!”
“They aren't even from here Kurt!” Daddy Croc said wiping the beads of sweat off his bald head.
“One girl was talking about possibly moving here.”
“Possibly? Great investment! You lost 200? That shoulda been 2k! I'm not your personal bank! I'm not handing out loans I’m pushing drugs!”
The big man was behind Kurt, guarding the door. He looked at his boss, “Croc, remember Steven? I know how he can pay off his debt.”
Rick went wide eyed and hastily grabbed a video camera that was on an ashy tv stand. Croc scanning Kurt up and down, moved his hand onto a pistol that looked like the most expensive object in the house.
“Get in the basement.” Croc ordered.
Kurts hands immediately flew into the air. “Whoa, hey wooo! Calm down! We don't all need that! Why the basement?” He knew exactly what Croc wanted from him. His mind raced. “We can just-”
“Shut the fuck up and get in the basement! I been thought about this since the moment I seen you.”
“But-” Croc cocked the pistol. “Ok ok, I'll go.” Kurt couldn’t summon the jovial tone. Like a dog with his tail between his legs Kurt walked as slow as he could, mind still racing. Ever the fighter, Kurt changed his approach.
“Y-you know, I've been kind of curious.”
Daddy Croc’s face lit up, “Oh yea?!”
“Yea! Roxy has been eating my ass and stuck a few fingers in there. I wondered what it would be like, you know, to go all the way.”
“Oh it's going all the way. And I'm going to watch it on camera over and over. You'll be an internet sensation. I hope I can get a little bit of internet money from this. You been nothing but costing me.”
Croc shoved him into the door and pushed up on him before he could open it. He licked the back of his neck and smelled his hair. Kurt could smell the lingering saliva, it smelled of cheap beer and bologna. Kurt grit his teeth. He knew his life was built on apologies and IOU’s but nothing like this.
Croc opened the door into his face and yet another laugh from Rick. Kurt was shoved down the stairs into a room with a sheetless, yellowed mattress and a tripod.
Rock and the large man walked in behind them before Croc waved them out. “Get out of here. You can watch it when I’m done but I can't stay hard with anyone else in the room.” Kurt’s mind was still racing.
Croc started taking off one sock then he glared at Kurt. “Well?”
A hard swallow and a few quick blinks and Kurt began undressing slowly. He thought about consensual sex, the foreplay, clumsily taking each others clothes off. People never understand each others belts. How the bed always appears welcoming. This bed appeared to him hostile, a rectangular boxing ring for two men.
“Get on the bed and say something dirty.”
Kurt was finally naked. He fought through panic for focus. An idea flashed across his mind. He lay on his back,
“Come over here and choke me daddy.”
Croc’s face once again lit up. He moved in for the kill. But who was the prey?
Kurt thought about the ring, a cage for fighting animals. He remembered when he lost fifty bucks to Croc. When Dan Hardy lost to Ian McGregor through a choke. A leg choke.
Croc leaned over him. Croc’s hand snapped to Kurt’s neck in anger. The look on Kurt’s face was supposed to be fear. Kurt took his left hand and wrapped it around the back of Croc’s head. With one hand he pulled Croc's arm further towards him, this knocked him off balance and bringing him closer. Kurt’s right leg wrapped and locked his foot behind his left knee and he squeezed. Kurt’s teeth were rattling and tears came down his eyes as his free hand pushed Croc's freehand back to prevent him from freeing himself. There is a feeling you get when a choke engages tightly, like the soft click of a closing padlock. Kurt settled in for the kill.
Croc had no balance. His body was half on the bed in a clumsy manner. His eyes bulged from their sockets and through his dark skin one could almost see red. He was foaming at the mouth and, some number of intense heartbeats later, he finally went limp.
Kurt held that pose for what felt like a lifetime, just to make sure the job was done. He shoved the body off him. A tiny, disgusting moment of victory in Kurt’s life. There were knocks on the door that evolved into dust rattling fist pounds. They gave way further into kicks and suddenly the tiny moment was gone and the room flooded with armed, angry men.