She stood at my penthouse window, staring out into the black morning.
“It would be a great view, if this shit hole town had one” she said taking another drink. The drunken swaggering was a bit more pronounced but her speech was still unaffected. I was maintaining, but the roar of that crushing amber fluid was fighting me all the way down the line.
The glass had gone missing. Now I was drinking straight from the bottle, sitting on the edge of my huge bed and watching her glorious backside, wondering about the secret she had mentioned in the bar downstairs.
“Yeah, view, and…….......You peaked my interest down at the bar, care to share?”
She turned “Oh, that” swaying over to the bedside table,she set her drink down, then stood before me.
She took the bottle from my lips, had a long pull, handed it back and began to fumble with my belt. Dexterity was proving to be a monster in her drunken state.
“This will go a whole lot better if you could offer some assistance.”
I loosened the belt, removed it, and unzipped.
She had my pants to the floor and was bending down toward me.
Eyes rolling back into my head, I began to feel alive.
She stopped, stood from her knees and began undressing. Slowly unbuttoning her top, she said, “Tommy scarred me, and I love him for it. He turned me into something more than a woman, I’m a living story!”
She was overly theatric, drunken on more than the bourbon; it seemed, drunk on life.
“We’ve all got stories to tell” I said raising the bottle to my lips.
“No, that’s not what I said.”
Her clothes dropped around her and my eyes bulged as they adjusted.
I took a huge gulp of liquor then began registering exactly what was standing before me.
“Tommy……. did THIS.... to you?” I stammered forcing my eyes to focus on the lines across her body. She smiled coyly and said sheepishly
“Do you like it?”
Her entire body was covered in neat, perfectly lined columns of words, sentences, paragraphs. They started at her right collar bone, marched across her torso, her arms, down over her navel and onto her legs, finishing at each of her ankles. She held her arms out at right angles as if draped in Persian finery and turned slowly, modeling her novella for me. Words extended across her back, down over her buttocks and onto her thighs, again ending at her ankles.Built like a speedster, She was sleek in all the right places and bulging where she should: A goddamned marvel of modern breeding but no longer a blank page.
She stepped closer to me and set her thighs firmly between mine, took my left finger and moved it along her clavicle where the story began. I read aloud as she sipped from the bottle, her long silken hair falling away from her cloudy eyes and tumbling down her back.
“She shakes and she moves me, a thunderclap of beauty that splits me open and spills out the world.” I went silent reading to myself as she spoke the next few lines aloud, easing me down upon the bed like a soft beautiful anchor. We made love. Each place I touched,she recited what was written there. Luckily there were some titillating passages in just the right spots.
“Tommy did this to you?” I asked again
“Tommy” she said lying outstretched on the bed as I read her magnificent flesh.
“You two must have had some real wild times when he rolled through here.”
“He wrote this over a period of six months, each time he came through I stayed here in this suite and he would write me . He never touched me with anything but a latex gloved hand and his tattoo gun.
You’re the first man that has seen me naked since Tommy went away.”
“Why me?” I asked still reading.
“I thought you were him down there in the hotel bar. I figure I loved him. I promised myself that if I ever saw him again I would have him. Once I realized you weren’t Tommy I had already decided to go through with it, you were just the right guy at just the right time and place. I figure you make a good surrogate.”
She lay there drunkenly as I scanned the words across her breasts. They swirled like whirlpools about her areolas and nipples. I paused for a moment and looked up into her eyes, sober I would never have said it, but I was far from sober.
“Do you know what these bumps; these dots of flesh are around your nipples?” She slowly shook her head.
“It’s brail for ‘suck here’ ”
She smiled lazily, “Yeah, Tommy wasn’t very funny either”
“So I’ve heard”
The story was decent, I suppose. Well thought out and plausible, though I must admit I could see the ending by the time I reached her left knee cap.
I spent the entire night reading her between passionate interludes. She was beautiful and full of life.
The road curled under my wheels pulling me downward as the stars jeweled above glinting through wisps of grey clouds. The only feeling I can describe at the back of my brain was relief. A sense of weight lifted and becoming lighter as I sped further away into the blackness. I had left her in the voyeur of the Scunthorpe sighing back tears as I pulled out into the dusk. There was a shivering sensation through my skin as the thought of her sitting in that bar waiting for my meager return brushed through me. I turned up the stereo and let the image drown in a barrage of bass and guitar.
And this was my road map of the south: Each town with a hotel, each hotel with a woman more delectable than the last and each woman with a wild tale scrawled into her skin. The stories were becoming more in depth, more intriguing. There was a stretch through Mississippi where he had strung three women together as a seamless trilogy, a philosophical tale of astrology, the occult, murder, weird orgies, loss and redemption. The main character flowed perfectly from one woman’s body to the next. Each thinking that she was the sole possessor of his story.
Through Alabama Tommy went on a sci fi and fantasy jag. Four women made up an epic of space combat and magical conquests.
In Louisiana He wrote an introspective study of life on the road. Strange ramblings and silly observations of the human condition as an alienating force, Tommy was branching out and finding his own style.
His work was gripping. I watched his voice develop from woman to woman. He had become a full fledged wordsmith and I was the only man who had read his work.
He never slept with any of them. He never touched them with anything other than a vibrating needle and each one loved him for it. I had become a surrogate, a stand in for Tommy, driving the point home like an exclamation mark and reading his words.
And each time I left to promises of calling, tears and a woman swearing that she would meet me in the bar my next time through.
But none of them could ever tell me why. Why they would submit themselves to hours of torture just to be some strangers novel. They each tried in one way or another but none of them could verbalize what it was that drove them. That singular allure, that point of inspiration that collapsed them down around another human’s twisted whim was unobtainable for them. There was only the common thread of quiet desperation, of loneliness tinged with a dark emptiness too immense to face. They each unknowingly wore it like a badge of misfortune and warped pride. They wore it in ink carved below the skin. They would wear it happily until their corpses would be consumed in flame, those old words stored in urns and lost forever. They would bleed words across their torsos until thier flesh eroded in the grave.