“It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Fucking Deathwish”
story by Mabel Harper & Emrys Webb
written by Emrys Webb
Rory stood in front of the Bitch Pit’s full-length mirror, gave his long forelock a toss.
“Dang, Rory,” said Yulia, as she walked by with Matt D. and Matt G. Many of the loft’s denizens knew Rory by name now. “Lookin’ good.”
Rory shot a pinup-girl wink over his shoulder, got an enthusiastic response from the departing group.
“Whaddaya think?” Fabiana crouched on the ground next to him, shoving items in her loosely organized makeup kit.
“Perfect.” Rory had asked for dark lipstick and a smoky eye; the outfit they’d come up with from Fabi’s stash was a tube top, torn tights, and a pencil skirt. The stiletto boots Rory himself had brought over from his closet at his mom’s house in Springdale. He’d bought them two years ago at a thrift store in Ravenswood, had no idea what to wear them with—till now. “How’s my hair?”
Fabi straightened with pomade on her palms, ruffled and scrunched his mop till it stood up in a tousled cloud, the front hanging loosely over one eye. “I wanna fuck the shit out of you.”
“Some other time, doll,” Rory purred. “Right now, we hunt.”
Rory and Fabi found Richard Pilkey in the dive bar Pilkey always went to after work, on the same stool he’d sat on every day since they’d started stalking him. His eyes followed Rory and Fabi as they entered. Rory surveyed Pilkey’s broad face, his small blue eyes, his thick shoulders, and smiled, then leaned over and made a show of whispering in Fabiana’s ear. Fabi giggled loudly.
The two of them settled onto stools not far from Pilkey. “Hey,” said Fabi to Pilkey. “Wanna buy us drinks?”
Pilkey studied them, waved the bartender over. “A round for the ladies.”
“PBR for me,” said Fabi. “Rum and Coke for her.”
“Your friend not talk?” Pilkey asked.
“She doesn’t speak English.” Fabiana murmured in Rory’s ear, something that sounded like swishwishwishwishwish, and Rory responded in kind. “She said you’re cute.”
Pilkey chuckled. “What’re your names?”
Fabi thanked the bartender for their drinks. “I’m Fabiana. She’s Rory.”
“Name’s Dick,” said Pilkey, leaning on the bar, shifting his hips to face them.
Rory and Fabi cuddled up to each other and smiled.
It wasn’t the dirtiest motel room Rory had ever been in, but it was close. “Just follow my lead,” said Fabi over her shoulder as she trailed Pilkey into the room. “Rory’s new to tricking,” she explained.
“Thought you said she didn’t speak English.” Pilkey sat down on the bed, scooted back against the headboard, unfastened his belt.
“She understands a little.” Fabi looked at Rory again. “Estás lista para hacer una hamburguesa de carne de Dick?”
Rory smirked. He didn’t really know Spanish, but he could understand just enough.
Fabi hung back, shut the door, locked it, bolted it. She took Rory’s hand, pulled him over to the foot of the bed, started making out with him. Rory made little shy whimpering sounds. Fabi bit his lip, kissed his ear and neck.
Pilkey started to masturbate.
“So. Dick.” Fabi scanned Pilkey head to toe, flashed a feline smile. “Playtime’s one-fifty per hour—per girl. Two hundred for anal. Yo, by the way…don’t I know you from somewhere?”
Pilkey hesitated. “Dunno why you would.”
“I could swear… You famous? I think I’ve seen you on TV.”
“I don’t think—”
Fabi gasped then, a mock epiphany. “Oh my God, that’s right! You were on trial, weren’t you? For beating up a girl.”
“I didn’t beat up no girl,” muttered Pilkey. “He was a fuckin’ tranny. Got the lying faggot back to the motel and half fuckin’ naked before he told me what he really was.”
“What a shock! You poor thing.” Fabi smiled coldly.
“I ain’t no faggot,” grumbled Pilkey. “Look, why don’t you just shut your mouth and do what I’m paying you for?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Rory cut in, as Fabi pulled up his skirt and fondled the bulge in his panties. “You might not like it as much as you think.”
The look on Pilkey’s face was priceless—abject panic, thinly veiled by disgust. “What the fuck is this?” He scrambled to his feet, struggled to zip up his pants.
“Come on now, Richard.” Rory advanced on him as Fabi moved to block the door. “Why should a big guy like you be scared of a cute little thing like me?”
His hand spasmed at his side. Pilkey doubled over with a cry of pain, then stared down dumbly as a red stain grew on the front of his pants.
He made a run for the door.
Another twitch of Rory’s hand, and Pilkey fell flat on his face, feet clubbing in his shoes, fingers contorting as bone spurs erupted through the skin of his hands.
“Jesus, Richard,” Rory groaned above the screams. “You sure are a whiny little bitch. Fabi?”
Fabi produced a roll of duct tape from her backpack, rolled Pilkey over and wrapped it roughly several times around his head, covering his mouth.
Rory stood over Pilkey, poked the man’s side with the toe of one of his boots. Pilkey stared up at him, bug-eyed and whimpering, tears streaming down his face. “Gross,” mused Rory, tracing the sole of his shoe over Pilkey’s cheek. “You know what’s funny? I was actually scared I’d feel bad about this.”
Pilkey reared up, grabbed at Rory’s leg with his ruined hands.
Another twist of Rory’s fingers, and both his elbows bent backwards with a crunch.
“I guess you’re wondering why this is happening to you.” Rory stepped over Pilkey, perched on the edge of the bed. Rested his hands delicately in his lap. “Since I’m a sucker for a good teaching opportunity, I’ll bring you up to speed.
“Samantha Nuñez wanted to have a nice night out like any other college girl for once. You assumed she had a vagina; she told you she didn’t before things got to the point of you finding out on your own. Unfortunately for Samantha, things had already gone far enough—mostly because you’re a borderline-rapey piece of shit—that your tissue-paper-thin concept of your manhood was threatened. So you decided to assert your manliness, your toughness, your dominance, by kicking the living shit out of a hundred-and-twenty-pound woman and leaving her for dead in a room not too different this one. And for that, a jury let you off on a plea of self-defense.”
Rory chuckled through his teeth, toyed with the hem of his skirt. “I mean, Jesus, Richard. If you were having such serious doubts about whether or not you were a man, you could have just asked me. ’Cause I’m happy to enlighten you on that point.” He leaned over, peered down at Pilkey. “You’re not. What you are is an animal. A brainless, worthless, stinking, shitting, quivering piece of meat.”
Pilkey made a garbled sound into his gag.
“You disagree? Well, in that case, I’m gonna give you one chance to convince me there’s more to your life than fear. That you contribute something, anything to the world besides mindlessly maintaining your pointless pissant existence. Look at me, Richard—up here, Richard—right in my pretty eyes, Richard—and give me one reason I shouldn’t butcher you like the dumb beast you are. Just one. You can do that, right? It’s not asking much. Here’s how this’ll work: Fabiana there is gonna pull that piece of tape off your face. And when she does, I’ll give you about two seconds to talk. So you’d better get ready, ’cause this is your one and only chance of getting out of here alive. Got it, Richard? Here we go. You better make it fucking good.”
Fabi leaned down, slashed the duct tape with her switchblade, ripped it off of Pilkey’s mouth.
Pilkey sobbed. “I have two—”
“J/k,” sang Rory. “Don’t care.”
His hand contorted.
Pilkey gagged and convulsed, bubbles forming underneath his skin.
“Relax, Dicky-Boy.” Rory got to his feet. “You were dead the minute I learned your name. There’s nothing you could have said or done to change your fate.” He bared his teeth, struck again. “Except left. That girl. Alone.”
Pilkey’s bones twisted and splintered. The bubbles underneath his skin grew, forming angry stretch marks.
“The stupidest mistake you people make,” Rory went on, “is thinking we’re weak. Thinking you can gang up on us, deny us rights, basically bully us out of existence, and we’ll just go quietly, because we’re too few and too frail to fight back.” He crouched over Pilkey. “Bro, if you only knew. There are so many pissed-off queers in this world. Some of us use labels. Some of us don’t. Some of us haven’t quite figured out who we are yet. But we’re here, and we’re sick of the shaming, intimidation, and violence.” Rory straightened. “And not only are there more of us than you think—so many you can never get rid of us all—but some of us, as you can see, have motherfucking superpowers.”
The rest of Rory’s pent-up rage rippled out of him in a wave.
The vague mound of flesh that had been Richard wheezed shrilly as it swelled up like a balloon and burst with a deafening POP.
A wave of heat and moisture engulfed the room. Warm pieces of Richard coated Rory, the walls, the floor. The splattering sound it made was dull and uneven, like a clumsy bass-drum lick. An eyeball, retina still attached, bounced over and rolled to a halt beside Rory’s foot. Rory lifted his boot-heel and crushed it.
He came to his senses gradually, as if rousing himself from a dream. Fabi was hunkered down by the door, her face and clothes streaked with gore, her dark eyes round and glued to his face.
She stumbled forward, caught Rory—Pietà-like—as his knees went out from under him.
The look on her face, as it loomed in his darkening vision, was pure awe. Her words came in a breathless whisper—
“You truly are a god.”
NEXT CHAPTER: CHAPTER FORTY-ONE
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