Just to keep life interesting, I’m going to start posting short excerpts from the book I’m working on. Maybe once a week or so. Herewith, first few pages of chapter one.
1. The Messiah Horse
Polly Jean was standing over the man, nudging his shoulder with her bare foot.
“Get up,” she said.
He had passed out on her floor the previous night, and though he wasn’t dead, he wasn’t waking up either.
Polly Jean didn’t know his name.
She nudged his shoulder again.
Finally, he opened his yellow coyote eyes.
“You have to get out of here.” Polly Jean said.
“That’s not nice,” he said.
“Probably not.” Polly Jean said.
She noticed his teeth were mossy. Also, there was a network of gin blossoms around his nose.
Polly Jean turned her back to the man and shuffled three steps sideways to the kitchen area. She put the teakettle on. Birdy, Polly Jean’s 76-pound rust-colored dog, let out one low bark that Polly Jean understood perfectly: Birdy wanted the stranger out same as Polly Jean did.
“I know,” said Polly Jean, rubbing Birdy’s crinkled forehead.
“Where’s the can?” The man had gotten to his feet and come to stand too close to Polly Jean. She felt like a tower. She saw white flakes of dandruff in his dark, oily hair.
“Right there,” Polly Jean pointed to a narrow door.
He made a sound like a garden gnome choking on a rake handle and went into the WC.
She wished he’d told her the nature of his appetites before she’d let him pick her up at the Safeway in the strip mall that fringed the town of Deerhound, Maryland. But this was often the way. Polly Jean was tall with shoulders broader than her hips. Some people called her handsome, no one called her pretty. Polly Jean had never been entirely sure why these physical characteristics attracted masochistic men, but they did. She’d had seven lovers, two of these husbands, and they’d all been masochists. Which is why she hadn’t been with anyone for sixteen months until the small goateed man had accosted her at Safeway. After some half-hearted small talk about a town in Canada known for its artichoke production, the man had asked Polly Jean if she wanted to come to his place. She’d insisted they go to hers
“I have to feed my dog,” she’d said.
After getting over his fear of Birdy, the man had made a fuss about Polly Jean’s trailer, saying how nice and homey it was
“Yes, it’s fine, it reminds me of the circus.”
“You work in the circus?”
“No. But I like the feeling of circuses even though I don’t approve of circuses with corrosive animal training methods and have boycotted them for the last twelve years.”
The man hadn’t volunteered his name and Polly Jean hadn’t asked. It wasn’t characteristic of her to care so little about a man she was about to bed. But that was fine. Polly Jean wanted to change.
Polly Jean had excused herself and gone into the bathroom. When she’d emerged, the man had been completely naked, his thin, cheap clothes shed like snakeskins on the floor. He had almost no body hair and his half-erect penis was enormous.
“Could you please squeeze it?” he had asked.
Polly Jean had tentatively squeezed.
“No no,’ he had said impatiently, “harder, much harder.”
Polly Jean didn’t require a great deal of wooing and had always been easily aroused, but this was not fun. She withdrew her hand.
“Spank me?” The man had asked.
When she refused to hit him, he asked for a drink and, not wanting to seem cold, she gave him one. Then another. He was possibly in the late stages of alcoholism and didn’t hold his liquor well. Polly Jean asked him to leave. He got up to walk to the door but he was too drunk. He fell down and passed out.
Now, he came out of the bathroom with water dripping from his goatee. “I guess I’ll be going.” “I guess you will.” Polly Jean said. “Goodbye,” she added as she locked the door behind him.
She watched through the front window as he got into his large yellow car and drove away.
“Breakfast?” Polly Jean turned to her dog.