Saturday, June 25, 2016

Excerpt from "Hot Stuff", My Current Work In Progress

I haven't edited my work in a long time.  I was digging around and I found this story originally titled "Now We're Cooking" and now called "Hot Stuff."  I suck at titles even though I know they're important.  I forgot this story even existed.  I started it in 2008 and it ended up being the basis for a novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2010 called The Beast and Chernobyl.  The living room scenes in this story ended up being the first chapter in that novel and Jaime was the template I used for Sandy as both are very scattered and smart mouthed.  I even realized this story is tangentially related to a series of stories started by my friend Christine we called The Jenn and Traci Saga as Traci appears as the manager of the lingerie store at the mall.  I like Sandy better as she seems capable of growth, but that might also be because I spent an entire novel fleshing her out.  That novel needs some polish before it's fit for mass consumption.

I like editing this short story so far.  It's kinetic and fast and very visual.  Jaime is a trainwreck of a person but I think we've all felt that way during certain periods of our lives.  The character of Dan was also a surprise.  I don't often put children in my work so I have no idea why he's there except for comedic effect.

I left out the last scene where Jaime and her boyfriend Justin are sitting down to dinner.  I say last in the sense that it was the last scene written in the story, not that it's the ending.  I left it out because it seemed to be going no where and I need to find a somewhere for it to go to.  The rest of the story is a fun read though.

"Hot Stuff"
by Mike Imprixis

Jaime sat on her red leather recliner naked.  The TV was on and she was watching Rachael Ray cooking.  The air was humid and her skin clung to the chair but she didn’t turn on the air conditioner.  Her electric bill was always running high because she liked sleeping in a room as cold as Elsa’s Palace at night.  She draped one leg over the arm of the recliner.  The other was straight out, pushing up and down on the footrest a little, kind of hopping the chair in place.  Jaime began working on her second beer of the day and it was only 10 am.
            Today, Rachael was interviewing Mariska Hargitay on her show.  She was also going to show a shortcut to baking lasagna.  If Jaime had time to cook, she’d actually be interested in learning to make a 30 minute lasagna dish.  It was one of her favorites and her boyfriend actually thought it was sexy when she cooked for him.  Jaime worked most days and by the time she got home, she hated having to drag out all her cooking crap.  Easier to go over to Justin’s house or, better still, just go on the Wendy’s diet. 
            Right now, the boyfriend was at work and would be until later.  She’d thought about showing up at his house, naked, stoned off her ass, and fucking his brains out.  Considering how hard he worked as a supervising manager or managing supervisor or whatever it was, she thought he might appreciate it. 
            They showed a clip of Mariska Hargitay on Law and Order as a tough, no-nonsense cop.  Girls with guns were hot.  Jaime absently traced between her legs with a finger, wet from holding her beer.  It wasn’t like hot in the conventional sense, just different.  It would be so nice to kiss someone right now, Jaime thought.
            The phone rang and Jaime jumped.  She had the portable handset on the armrest of her chair.  She hit the pause button on her DVR and freezed the frame right when Rachael was asking her guest about her role as a mother.  Rachael looked like The Joker with her huge, red mouth open and smiling.  “Yeah?” Jaime said when she answered the phone.  “Okay. . . Okay, yeah.  When’s he comin’ home? . . . Great.  Okay, sure.  Just let me get dressed.” She hung up the phone and put it on the coffee table. 
            Jaime stretched and made a grunting sound.  Sometimes wishes do come true.
* * *
“But why do you have to leave?” Ann said as she was putting on her tank top.
“You told me that Al would be home soon,” Jaime said.  “Didn’t you say he was coming home for lunch?”  As Jaime was slipping on her shorts, she realized that sometimes sleeping with women was more trouble than it’s worth.  Guys rolled over and snored after sex.  Women were wide awake and seemed to ask questions on every-goddamned-thing they could think of.
Ann put her hands on Jaime’s tits and slowly massaged her nipples with her purple manicured nails.  Jaime’s focus was momentarily distracted from getting dressed and beating feet before Ann’s 6-foot-3, 250-pound bull of a husband returned from his fence installation job.
 Jaime didn’t like Al.  He had rough hands and a rough mouth.  During the neighborhood Fourth of July party about three years ago, before Jaime started dating Justin, Al tried to make a pass at her behind his shed in the backyard.  Jaime knew she could take care of herself.  At 6’1” herself, she was built like a blonde version of Wonder Woman, only with more hips and ass and less tits.  Al pinned her against the aluminum siding of his tool shed and grinded up against her, smelling of cheap Coors Light and Drakkar Noir.  Jaime said no and then rumors started in the neighborhood that she was a dyke.  Two weeks later, Jaime seduced Ann. 
It was good at first because Ann was a wildcat, but Ann was also a housewife who felt guilty about what she did.  Ann ran hot or cold depending on where in the guilt cycle she found herself.  Sunday afternoons after church, Jaime knew better than to call Ann for a booty call.  Catholic guilt and suburban conditioning made Ann a crazy fuck in every sense of the word.
“I’ll leave him,” Ann said as her hands squeezed Jaime’s tits.
“I have to go,” Jaime said.  “Could you get my—yeah, thanks.”  She took her t-shirt from the floor and slid it on. 
“I’m serious.  I’ll leave the bastard.”
“I know.  You don’t have to.”
“I want to.”
“You don’t have to.  I don’t want you to.  It’s okay.”
“But we can be together,” Ann mewed.
Jaime put on her watch and saw the time.  “Whoa, baby.  Um, look, Al will be home soon—“
“You love me, right?”
“Yeah, okay.  But you’re married.”
“Let’s just leave—“
“Ann, honey, baby, sweetie—“ Jaime kissed her mouth deep, “I gotta go, seriously.  Text me later.”
Jaime slid on her sneakers and walked out of the house without really looking back at Ann, who promised wholeheartedly to call her when Al wasn’t around and that she was totally in love and something else that got muffled when Jaime slammed the house door shut and walked down the pathway to her beat up old Maxima parked on the street.
As she started the car, Jaime remembered the stories the old dudes used to tell her during the summer nights when she would fish with them off the bridge.  She would let them smoke from her joint and they would tell her about tentacled sea monsters grabbing and pulling her under the water.  Now she wondered if krakens really existed and they were crazy fucks. 
The car had one of those old automated electronic voice systems.  After dinging a few times when she started the car, it said, “Fuel level low.”
“Bitch, I know,” Jaime said.  She hit the gas and drove off.
As she drove, her cell phone rang and vibrated in its holder clipped to the driver’s side visor.  She knew by the ring it was Kenny.
“Hey,” Jaime said.
“Hey.  Are you out right now?”
“Sure.  Why?”
“Nothing.  Just thought you’d be sleeping in later on your day off.  I’m cooking at my house later.  Want anything?”
“Whatever you’ve got is fine,” Jaime said.
“Love you.”
“Love you, too.”  She closed the phone shut and put it back in the visor.
* * *
            Jaime drove around for a while before going to the beach.  It was a weekday and there weren’t many people there.  She parked and walked to the boardwalk.  As she leaned on the railing overlooking the beachgoers below, she heard a voice behind her.  “What’s happening, Hot Stuff?”
            Great.  Fucking great.  At least whoever this douche was didn’t ask about the weather up there.  She was so sick of guys flirting with her and saying inane things about her height, thinking she hadn’t heard that crap a million times before.  She turned around slowly and saw no one.  “Down here,” she heard the voice say.  She looked down.
            And there he was, a kid about 12 years old.  “Shouldn’t you be in school?” Jaime asked.
            “It’s August,” he said.
            “Shouldn’t you be. . . not here?”
            “Where should I be?”
            “I dunno.  Fine, whatever.  My name is Jaime, not Hot Stuff.”
            “I’m Dan.  You’re freakin’ fine though.”
            “Yeah, okay.  You always flirt with women. . . ,” she paused and then said, “Almost 10 years older than you?”
            “The girls my age can’t appreciate a guy like me.  They don’t understand that I can’t be tied down, know what I mean?”
            “Ain’t that the truth,” Jaime mumbled.  She smirked and shrugged her shoulders.  “Want a Coke or something?”
            Dan said, “That’s how you know you’ve made it with the ladies.  They buy the drinks.”
* * *
Jaime got back home at around three.  Her place was still a mess.  The TV was still frozen on the image of Rachael Ray talking to her guest on her show.  She checked her phone.  The voicemail notification was blinking.  Two new messages.  She pushed the button on her phone.  Probably came when she was hanging out with the kid.
“*BEEP*--Jaime, it’s Heather at the office.  Bob needs that list for King Washer.  I know you’re on vacation this week but if you could please email it to us, that would be great.  Thanks, bye.”
“*BEEP*--Bitch, where are you?  I’ve been calling for like three weeks.  I’m running out of cigs and I need you to get some from the Rez.  Call me.”
Jaime fell backwards over the armrest of her recliner and collapsed.  She didn’t so much sit back into the chair as much as she just fell into it and hoped it caught her.  Fucking bastards, can’t anyone just leave me alone? she thought.  For two years, she’d been working at the office and for two years, her boss could never seem to find a list on his own.  Sure, she made a notebook with all the lists.  She filed them on the computer in three different spots.  She set up all sorts of places where Bob could find his lists but even on her day off, he couldn’t find it.  She felt like she was being spread further and further apart.  Last week, she had a nightmare that she was drawn and quartered by four emo kids riding Vespas.  It didn’t hurt but goddamn was it annoying.  The other message was from Traci.  Jaime had to go buy cigarettes.  Good excuse to leave the house again.
Twelve year olds have it made, Jaime thought as she closed her eyes and listened to herself breathe as she sat in her chair.  They just go to the beach and play in the sand all day.  Dan turned out to be a cool kid.  His mom was at the pavilion and when she saw Jaime, and she apologized for her kid’s fresh mouth.  But Jaime didn’t care and she was happy to talk to them.  Jaime didn’t even remember what the conversation was about but she just sat there and made believe she was normal like these people and not a complete and total mess.
She picked up the remote and unpaused the show.  Then she paused it again.  Jaime stared.
She loved Rachael’s figure.  Good round ass, curvy in the right places.
Jaime let out a long sigh and unpaused it again.  Then she paused it when she saw Mariska’s face.  Full lips, nice cheeks, short dykey haircut.  Jaime imagined being a perp on an episode of Law and Order and being locked up in the interrogation room with Det. Benson and her new partner, Det. Racheal.  All handcuffed and nowhere to go.  Jaime threw her head back slightly.  She didn’t even realize what she was doing until she was halfway in.  Thank God for DVRs.
* * *
Jaime saw Traci smoking in front of her store at the mall.  Jaime had taken a chance on the fact that Traci would be working today and there she was on one of her twenty 3-minute smoke breaks.  This part of the mall had an outdoor courtyard so even though smoking was frowned upon, Traci could get away with it without having to be outside of earshot or eyeshot of the store she managed.  Since Jaime had quit buying cigarettes (but had not quit actually smoking them), the only time she could get any was when she was making a delivery to Traci from The Rez.
Traci looked over in Jaime’s direction, took the cigarette out of her mouth and said, “You goony bitch, where the hell have you been?”  They hugged.
“Working.”  Jaime handed two cartons of Marlboro Menthols to Traci. 
“Thank fucking God for small miracles.  I was running so low on cigarettes, you have no idea.  I called like—“
“I know,” Jaime said.  “Trust me, I know.”
“What’s been going on?”
“It’s complicated.”
“Fuckin’ stop with the ‘it’s complicated’ crap.”  Traci inhaled the last bit from the butt she had lit and tossed it into one of the potted plants in the courtyard.  “By the way, we’re having a sale inside.  All of last season’s bras are on sale.  You could use some new panties, too, I’ll bet.”
“I wish I could.  Kenny likes seeing me in that frilly crap—“
“When am I gonna meet this guy?  I’ve been up here from Florida almost, what?  Five months?”
“Six, and I’ve been dating him a year.  I told you—“
“Whatever.  Look, come inside and I’ll hook you up.”
“Nothing over twenty-five dollars, okay?” Jaime said.
“I promise, you won’t spend more than twenty-five dollars.  Besides, it’s always fun fitting you.  It’s like working on a high-rise.”
“Bitch.”  Jaime laughed.