I want everybody to buy this book. It comes out in June. I can’t give you a copy yet.
So here is what we are going to do:
1. Share this post on Tumblr, Twitter, or whatever other social media you’d like. (Tag tweets with @wbxylo so I can find them.)
2. At the end of the month, I will select one sharer to win a copy of my previous book The Mosquito Song.
3. Not just any version, though, a one of a kind, hand-pressed copy.
4. Not just any hand-pressed copy though, I will personally draw the cover to the book. Anything you’d like (within reason).
Now read the story and share away!
Sally didn’t drive a Mustang. She rode the bus. Today she sat across from a smelly man with a bag of white socks and whose head might have contained three teeth that were harder than sharp provolone.
Sally wasn’t long and tall. She was short and short. I guess those words share an antonym.
And unlike that other song, Sally could dance.
She polkaed to stay on her feet when the bus stopped more quickly than she had anticipated. She performed a ballet sauté over a beige handbag which was infested with the letters MK. She threw up jazz hands to get the driver to open the goddamned door.
Sally walked up to the third floor of her crooked brick building and paused. There was a man’s belt hanging loosely on the door knob. She held her ear to the door and sure enough she heard it: smooching. She tried to tie the soft-toothed sock-peddler in with the old sock on the door code in a comedic fashion, but couldn’t tell which of her invented jokes, if any, were funny.
That’s the problem with knowing the punchlines in advance. The jokes are all contrived.
Sally jingled her keys at a farcical level and opened the door slowly. The key to the inner deadbolt was missing, so Sally said, “What’d did you do with the key?”
“There was a sock on the door,” yelled Rose, her pretty blonde roommate.
“We leave that key in there. It’s a fire hazard. These double dead bolts are a fucking death trap.”
“I lost my key and borrowed that one. No biggee. It’s in my purse somewhere. If we die in a fire tonight, I’ll owe you a coke.”
“Just put it back.”
“Fine, fuck you. As to my earlier point: there is a sock on the door.”
“There was a belt on the door.” Sally corrected, as she held out the item in question.
“Oh, that’s mine,” said the unidentified smoocher. He stood up to retrieve the belt which caused his pants to fall around his ankles. Sally saw that his boxers were unbuttoned and decided that the dusty radiator was the most interesting place in this room to stare.
Rose inquired, “What about the code?”
“Sock is the code. Belt isn’t a code. Belt’s a belt.” Sally felt like she were John Henry saying that last bit. A man ain’t nothing but a man.
Rose pleaded, “I was out of clean socks.”
The smoocher defended himself. “Don’t look at me; I’m wearing sandals.”
“Code’s a code. I’ve been out of the house since 6:30 this morning. I’m tired. I’m going to read in my room for a bit and then go to bed. If you wanted privacy so bad you should’ve done some fucking laundry or dated a guy who wears real fucking shoes.”
“Oh, so you’re just going to be in your bedroom, then?”
If you needed to describe what grumbling sounds like, you should have been there recording the noises Sally made.
“Oh, and Sally, I ate the rest of your lambchops. I hope you don’t mind.”
Here was your second opportunity to make such a recording.
Sally brushed her teeth for the entire 120 seconds recommended by the American Dental Association. She could hear Rose unfolding her hide-a-bed in the living room. Old springs stretched and groaned. Sally imagined that some of them were poking through the decades old fabric of the exceptionally thin mattress. She hoped those springs would scratch and tear at their fornicating bodies.
Sally muttered quietly as she changed into her sexiest pajamas: an XXL white T-shirt with Popeye comics on the front. “Trapped in my own room, this is my place; she rents from me. Sandal wearing…”
Sally lay down, on her side. She held her Kindle with her outstretched arm and read a bit from Bedtime Stories for the Insomniac. Her arm grew tired and her neck grew sore, so Sally decided to sleep. The smoocher was moaning, but even that annoyance couldn’t keep Sally awake.
Lightning crashed two blocks from their crooked brick building, and Sally awoke to hear the thunder. She got out of bed, shut her bedroom window, and realized her mouth felt dry.
Sally reached for the doorknob, paused a moment, walked to her closet, slid a pair of pants under her comically oversized Popeye T, and opened her door.
She paused again and listened for any noises coming from the living room. The proverbial coast seemed clear enough, but fuck them anyway. This was her place. Sally walked past the bathroom. Its door was shut and the sink was running.
She was able to breathe more easily now, safe from coitus.
Sally went to the refrigerator and looked for her lemonade. Rose had left a dirty plate on the top shelf with a post-it attached. It had “Thanks” scribbled on it in big letters and more words below. “You could show your ‘thanks’ by doing a fucking dish once in a while.” Sally found the lemonade carton and drank straight from it. She finished the last drop and pushed the box into the trash. It stinks in here, she thought. She saw the masculine silhouette of the hated smoocher, sleeping on his side on the uncomfortable pull-out bed. She also saw that the front window was wide open, and her sill was getting covered with rain.
Sally walked around the ersatz bed, and slammed the window shut. “Hey dipshit,” she started, “didn’t your mom ever-“ Sally trailed off as she turned to face the smoocher. The sheet that covered him looked wet, but not with rain. The shape beneath it wasn’t exactly the shape of a man. Not anymore.
She grabbed a corner of the sheet and slowly pulled at it. It stuck to the man’s head, and reluctantly peeled away. Sally didn’t need to see anymore.
“Fucking shit!” she yelled.
She ran towards the door, and pulled fruitlessly. “Bitch replace key,” was Sally’s best attempt at a sentence.
Sally grabbed the only weapon she could find, a long handled Swiffer sweeper. She sprinted down the hall, past the open bathroom door, and into her bedroom. Where did she leave her keys? She remembered jingling them loudly. They weren’t in her work pants pocket.
Sally felt a hand on her shoulder, jumped into the air, and turned around swinging her Swiffer like a broadsword.
Rose deftly dodged the cleansing blow.
“Rose, what the fuck?”
“Sorry, Sally, I’ve got to break my lease early,” Rose stated calmly, if not apologetically. Her teeth were the size of golf pencils.
“Rose, what the fuck?”
“Oh, the teeth? Aftereffect of feeding. Sorry about that.” Her teeth returned to human proportion.
Sally kept the Rose creature at a distance with her Swiffer.
“So, I’ll get out of your hair soon, honey, but I’m going to need my security deposit back.”
“What?” Sally was full of questions.
“People don’t carry much paper money these days, so every little bit counts. You can just write a check out to cash, if you’d like.”
“Rose what the fuck happened to you? Are you a vampire? Because you are always in the sun, and-”
“I am neither a vampire nor a dust bunny,” Rose said looking down at the Swiffer. “I am nothing whose name would mean anything to you. Feel free to call me a ghoul or a Ramblin’ Rose, for all I care. I would just like my security deposit.”
“If you break the lease early, you aren’t entitled to… I’ll need to find my purse.”
So, Sally found her purse and the checkbook inside, and wrote a check out to cash for eleven hundred dollars. She handed the check to Rose the ghoul, but did not let go.
“You’re not going to kill me?”
“No siree, Bob.”
“I’m gonna buy you a horse, Sally. You want to count its teeth?” She ripped the check from Sally’s fingertips. “Thanks.”
“Don’t cash it for a couple of days. I need to move some money around.”
“Wait, what am I supposed to do now. You know about this mess… and him?” Sally desperately wanted Rose to leave, but more desperately wanted to make sure that she didn’t have any reason to come back.
“Call the police.”
“Won’t I blow your … cover?” Was that the right word?
“Rose did this, honey.” Her Aryan features became darker and more exotic. “I am Roshan.”
“Okay.” Sally said this thing, feeling anything but.
“See you never, kiddo.” Roshan paused at the doorway, removed a key from her pocket and opened the door, leaving the key inside. “I’ve been waiting to say this for weeks: Sally, go round the Roses.”
“Ehh, you’re young.” Rose said this and shut the door.
Sally called the police, and went to the fridge to open a bottle of Pinot. She pulled the sticky note off the dirty dinner plate.
It read, “Thanks, this was the tastiest lamb sacrifice I’ve had in a long time.”