And the bitch is on the floor talking about, “Call the police! Someone please call the police!” And I say, “Bitch, you better shut the fuck up!” And the fucking owner Ray is yelling at the bouncers, “Don’t let those freaks in here again!” Motherfucker, we wouldn’t come back to your shit hole if it were the last club on earth! “Fuck the beach!” I yell as they throw us out. It’s a lame town if Rhonda ain’t here and they all know that shit! My friends and me just might stay home from now on.
So we say fuck that joint.
“Fuck that joint!” Bebe says.
“Fuck that joint!” Jane says.
“Fuck it!” I say.
“Fuck that joint!” we all say, together, in harmony.
So Bebe says let’s go to Club Deep where we’re big fish in a tiny pond. I agree. Jane agrees. We’re heading for booty music land but decide to stop at the Irish pub and have three beers each, one apple Martini each. It’s the World Cup in France and a couple of games are on. An Irish man from Guatemala tries to chat my ear off about the game.
“I used to play in Qesaltenango. Quite good I was. My pa was a big fecking wanker who only believed in work, so I had to quit. Spent the rest of my days with a bottle, I did. So, where you fine ladies from?”
He asks as he is feeling up on my leg. Horny old fool. If he feels long enough he’ll get a surprise.
“I’m from Wisconsin,” says Bebe. That lying bitch is from Philadelphia. “I grew up in a farm. I fell in love with Miami the first time I heard the name. ‘Miami.’ Say it.”
“We had a farm,” the Irish man says. “With lots of cows and sheep and chickens. I fecking hated it. All that labor? Are you kidding me? You don’t have sheep in America do you?”
“Say it! ‘Miami.’ Yes we do! We had cows and pigs and bulls.”
I laugh. Bebe slaps me on the arm. Jane can’t keep from laughing either.
“Did you ever fuck a chicken?” I ask the Irish man in jest.
He smiles. His hand is going higher up my leg.
“Of course I feckd’ a chicken!” he yells, slamming his free hand on the bar.
We laugh. Every one laughs. Jane is on the floor. Bebe Is disgusted.
“You fucked a chicken?”
“Yes I did. I feckd’ lots of chicken. All boys on the farm had to feck at least one chicken. It’s common knowledge.”
I look at Bebe. “Did you ever fuck a cow? It’s common knowledge.”
The Irish man’s hand is up my skirt and when he feels my very “hot” dog his eyes begin to tear up. He jocks it one time and his drunken ass
falls on the floor. We laugh like schoolgirls pointing fingers.
Pretty soon we are on our way to dance hall land when we run into Mary Misery going the opposite direction. Her blue mascara is running.
“What is wrong?”
“Why are you crying?”
“Are you crying?”
“Why are you crying?”
“Do you need a drink?”
“You need a drink.”
“She needs a drink!”
“Let’s get you a drink.”
I grab her by the arm and I lead because I am the leader of these chicks with dicks. The Lord knows we can’t afford the operation.
“I am crying because I hate love,” Mary says, laying the palms of her hands over her eyes.
We are walking arm in arm. All drunk, all sappy.
“She hates love,” I say.
“Did you hear that?” asks Bebe.
“She said she hates love,” repeats Jane.
“Why do you hate love darling?” I ask.
“I hate love,” Mary says, and we listen intently. “Because it hurts, and it is poison. And it always lets me down.”
“Did you hear that?” I say. “She hates love because it hurts!”
“And it’s poison,” Bebe follows.
“It lets us down,” agrees Jane. “How true. Fuck love! And what is love?”
“What is love, Bebe,” I say, leading them past the Eurotrash and bums.
“Where are you taking me,” Mary says weeping more, like a little girl lost in a department store.
“I have Xanax!” Bebe says, nonchalantly.
“Give me, give me!” I pop one.
“Where tha fuck are we going?” asks Jane.
Bebe pops one. Jane, the quiet one, pops a half and gives the other half to Mary.
Used pop. We are all used pop.
“Pop it honey,” I tell Mary.
“But where are we going?” she replies.
“But where are we going,” repeats Bebe. “Pop, just pop.”
“We are going to the Lost Weekend,” I tell her, grabbing her tightly.
”Because our weekends have been lost.”
“I need fresh air,” Mary says, and then pops.
“Cleavelander,” Bebe says. “Let’s go to the Cleavelander, it has an outside bar.”
“I have a joint!” Jane says.
“Who has a joint?” Bebe looks back and snatches it.
“I had it,” Jane says.
“I got it,” Bebe says and puts it in her mouth. “It’s mine now.”
“Bitch,” I say. ”Share bitch! Share!”
I have a lighter and I snatch the joint from Bebe. I light it and we smoke it on the way. Fourways.
“Each bitch must take light puffs!”
“A joint will not do shit for me!” Bebe exclaims.
“It’s laced.” Jane the quiet bitch says.
“It’s laced?” Bebe and I yell.
“Laced joint,” I say. “They smell like Clorox!”
Arm in arms all four, and we finish the joint. We reach the Cleavelander bar and I order a Cutty on the motherfucking rocks with lemon shots for each. It’s happy hour. Mary has a Rum and Coke and Coke. Bebe has another Martini. The quiet bitch Jane has a Long Island. They make me sleepy. Mid drinks we gather up our finished eyes and encounter our sad bitch Mary.
“Talk!” I say.
“Speak,” says Bebe.
“Talk,” repeats Jane.
“It’s Jesus,” Mary says, weeping into her drink.
“What about Jesus?” I inquire.
“He won’t get up.”
“He’s sleeping,” Bebe looks around the table. “He’s sleeping and he won’t wake up?”
“I don’t think he loves me anymore.”
“We’ll wake him up and ask him!”
“Let’s go, girls,” I holler. ”Fuck that bitch Elaine Lancaster.”
“I don’t think she’s arrived on the beach just yet.”
“Let’s go bitches!”
Arm in arm, once again, we finish our drinks and take a cab to Mary’s. When we arrive at her place we pay the cab more money than we should
and glide up a staircase to her second floor shack and Bebe falls and stumbles and we laugh and she says, “I think I’m gonna throw up!”
As Mary opens the door to the apartment we find her man, Jesus bastard, on the floor, naked, with a needle sticking out of his left arm. She’s in denial. She sits next to the corpse and shakes, shakes, shakes it.
“Honey,” Bebe says. “Stop shaking him. He’s dea—“
“Shut up! Leave her alone. Let her be!”
“Shouldn’t we call an ambulance?” Jane, the quiet bitch says.
I take my two bitches on the side. “You have to let her deal with it.
We’ll call them in the morning.”
“Won’t he smell?”
“We’ll spray deodorizer.”
“Where is the fridge?” Jane says, the one who’s never been to Mary’s.
“Thadaway!” I say, pointing to the kitchen.
“Oh,” she says, wandering off.
Mary holds his face, kisses his blue lips and shakes, shakes, shakes him all in the same order. He is all blue and is quite reminiscent of the alien on the Fox autopsy video. I light a cigarette and sit on a gray easy chair.
Meanwhile Bebe is trying to turn on the television with the remote control so she can play video games. She keeps turning on the stereo by mistake and the very, very, very famous Whitney Houston song, “I Will Always Love You,” comes on at full volume.
“Did you know it was written by Dolly Parton for a Burt Reynolds movie called The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas?”
“No shit,” says Bebe, fucking with the remote, trying to turn it off.
“Do you think,” Mary says weeping, “do you think if we put him in the bath tub with some very, very, very cold water and ice, he’ll wake
“I’m not sure honey, but we can try.”
She cries like I have always wanted to cry. Sometimes I want to fill oceans with my tears.
“Will you, will you help me? Please?”
I stand up and we all three carry him to the bathtub and turn on the cold water. After Jane had made herself a sandwich, she brought a bag of ice. We wait until the tub is full of water and dump the ice in. And Mary shakes, shakes, shakes him. “Honey, please.”
His track marks are like tiny black on black impressionist paintings leading to a demonic museum of modern art. I don’t know shit about Art, only that it hurts. This whole scene reminds me of Operas and ugly art and shit like that. And then she does the most beautifully sad thing I will see in all my drag days. Poor little sad Mary, in her own homemade Misery, picks up a sponge and wipes his ugly queer face. And I don’t mean queer in a homo way either! Pretty soon, following suit, we are all bathing the corpse. Jane is still eating, watching us and awwwing.
“Missed a spot,” the quiet fat bitch says, pointing.
As I wash his arm with the yellow sponge, I am reminded of my abusive, alcoholic father’s old saying, what was it? “Why don’t you live through your books instead of trying to be such a goddamn faggot?” He was fucking right!
When there wasn’t any more ugly, white body parts to bathe, we left Mary with her corpse love so we could watch some TV in the living room of death. The door is cracked and she goes through the same motions of weeping on his neck while holding his already rotten, pale heroin arm and sponging his face.
When Mary met Jesus, we hardly ever saw her. She stopped hanging out with us and fell down his hole full of hard drugs and assholes. Mary loved him more than anyone could ever love anyone. Or maybe she was just in love with the idea of love. I don’t know what she saw in him. He was a desperate homosexual with a weakness for chocolate. Jesus was. He just loved watching trash television and sitting around and I don’t think that betters anyone. He was charming and that’s all I saw. And the sad thing is that he took advantage of her. She used to make him breakfast every morning. When he first got to the beach, he didn’t have a car and she drove him to his job in downtown Miami working for a fabric store. He never really gave a shit about her. He cheated on her and even gave her the woo! And she fell for his shit cause she’d be like, “Oh, but Rhonda, you just don’t see how he treats me when it’s just me and him…” That’s all she’d say. And I’d place my right hand on her left cheek and wonder. Mary is one of my best friends in the whole wide world. But she really needed a wake up call about love and how it’s hardly ever so cozy or sweet.
I wasn’t surprised when she told me what happened. How he got that job at the escort service. That’s just the type of job a lazy whore would get. At first, Mary was in denial about it. She’d stay up nights, worried. “He’s assured me he is not hustling, but dancing for wealthy queer parties on Collins!” She always fell hard in love like she will never love again. She has that desperate love.
So when Mary found out he was hustling, well she just broke down. Hustling in South Beach is like playing Russian roulette with four bullets in the chamber. The BUG is everywhere on the beach. And would you believe she stayed with him? Of course she did. She’s one of those people that when their heart is set on loving someone, they will love them no matter what. And your lover is coming at you with an ax slicing off your arms, but you love them more. So I don’t have any arms, I still have my lips. And maybe your lover has you on the floor kicking you in the face with their black leather boots. You love the pain and you love them more for it in the morning. It’s like one time we were at this club and we went into the Hip Hop room just to listen to this one slow song by D’Angelo and you could see it in her eyes; the hunger to be wanted. I realized I’d rather be despised.
Afterwards, when she stopped dressing in drag, and totally sold us out, I ran into her at the Mix and she pulled me aside and said, “Honey, I realize his love is my life. Did you know I fall in love with him more and more each day? Did you know?”
She was on a lot of drugs. I remember being afraid for my friends and me. The world was changing. Miami was changing. Change fucking scares me.
Top image by Nathaniel Tetsuro Paolinelli
About the author
Fawzy Zablah was born in El Salvador in 1976 and raised in Miami. He is the author of the short story collection Ciao! Miami and the novel Rarity of the Century. His short fiction has appeared online at 3AM Magazine, Acentos Review, Hobart, and Expat Press. He lives and writes in south Florida and blogs regularly for The Times of Israel.