Chapter 16: Kim
Kim's voice skittered through the damp basement air. Entranced, Bill followed its music. Careful not to make a sound, he crept down the stairwell. Bill watched Kim lift her arm, shrug her shoulders. She was an angel. Her body was a temple. He would sacrifice himself on her altar of desire. She swept her hair from her face. He crept toward her, afraid to upset the perfect symmetry which enveloped her being. Her smile felt like warm sunshine melting the old ice in his heart.
Rob sat quietly playing his bass and humming as John and Ben coached Kim. Unnoticed, Bill watched worshipfully from the darkened stairwell. Although he was in Kim's line of sight, she couldn't see him in the dim light. Her head was tilted down, focused intently on a lyric sheet.
"I'd give up my whole world," murmured Bill. He watched her sing. John adjusted input levels. Ben signaled Kim, solemn as the conductor of a grand orchestra. Kim managed two lines before her voice cracked and John stopped the tape abruptly.
"Let's try it again," grumbled John.
"That was good for a first try," laughed Ben encouragingly.
Bill sighed plaintively as Kim began again. "And I wish, I was a fish ... I wish I ... had your ... ahh, dammit!" Kim's soft voice, so pleasing when she spoke, was unmistakably, painfully flat. She glanced up from the paper in her hands and saw Bill. He smiled and she quickly looked away.
"That should do it!" barked John throwing his headphones onto the table in disgust.
Ben snickered, "Thanks Kim, you're a real pal. You deserve a pat on the back. Ear." He sat down at the mike and began rerecording Kim's part in a high falsetto.
Kim removed her headphones and whispered something to John. Bill crept nearer. Rob glanced up and spotted him. "Bill! Ear! I know you're a fag, Bill!"
"Hi, Bill, I love you!"
"Rob... Hi, John." replied Bill. He looked tentatively toward Kim. "Are you ready to go?"
Kim ignored him and again whispered into John's ear.
"I'm going to go upstairs and call Angela. Ear! Power to your mom, Bill. You fag." John walked up the stairs with Kim close behind. Unwilling to be abandoned, Bill followed.
Except for a stack of dishes rinsed and bound for the dishwasher, the Benson kitchen was spotless. John picked up a cordless telephone and left Kim and Bill to their own devices.
"Hey there, little lady! That was some fine vocal work you did. Keep it up and you'll go far!" Bill drawled in his best John Wayne voice.
Kim glared at Bill with undisguised loathing.
"I've never heard anyone sing about wanting to be a fish the way you sang it. It was really great. You wanna go get a bite to eat? What time do you have to be home?"
"It was shit," mumbled Kim.
"I'm really hungry, but if you need to be home before midnight I'll get you there. Just say the word! I'll treat you right!"
John walked back into the room with an enormous smile. Returning the phone to its receiver he said, "Hey! I got a date! I'm so nervous! What should I wear?" He walked to the basement door and yelled, "Ear! I hate you fags! I'll be over tomorrow morning. I love you!"
A low rumble was the only reply.
"Kim, Bill. I slap my ass and bid you adieu." With that John swatted Kim's blue-jeaned rear and sauntered out.
Kim watched John longingly. "Take me with you."
"I was cold. I wanted to go home," remembers Kim. "He kept talking. Well, you know Bill. God! I couldn't stand it any more. I sat in total silence all the way home. That was when I realized Bill for what he was. That was when I realized I could take it no more. I hated it! I couldn't stand it!!! I new what he was trying to do...
"Yes. I had sex with Bill. I admit it. But it was more like he mentally forced me. He just wouldn't go away. I would have done anything to get him away from me. It was more like he raped me. It was so awful. I really don't want to talk about it.
"Well... In some ways. But you see, haven't you ever done something because you knew that it was the least desirable of all possible acts? It's like discovering a new pleasure born of pain. You have to endure great hardships to reach a new level of bliss. Our relationship was completely meaningless but that's nothing special. Bill was my pain. That's what Bill was like for me, and yet ... now that he's gone .... It's like, I miss him in this really bizarre and sick way. I look back now on those days with tears in my eyes! Hahahaha. Those were the days I was strong and vibrant!! Now, I can't get anything done. I'm so distracted. Now I just sit around all day and write bad pornography. When I was going out with Bill, I accomplished so much. Bill inspired me and I loathed him. I would have done anything to keep away from him, even school work! I was a straight A student while I was seeing him! Maybe someday I'll try to find him. I think he's still alive.
"Hmm, I once had a, well.. I had this wart on my face. And it was there for a long time. Just as I was getting used to seeing it in the mirror, I had it removed. That's how I feel about Bill now. In some really sick and perverted way, I kinda wish he was still around, so I could see him when I looked in the mirror. My secret wart! I would never want anyone else to see it. I mean, I can't stand him, I hated him! He is everything that I despise. And yet, there was something about him... I'm not sure. Never mind.
"Anyways, back to the story, when Bill drove me away for good. He's so gay. He was taking me home from Ben's house. I was cold. I didn't want to admit to myself that I was in a car with Bill. But there I was. And he was acting as if I liked him again. Actually I was pouting 'cause he didn't give me any of his hot ass that night! Ha ha ha! I'm kidding! Bill was like the Alien, especially in bed. You know, in the movie, Alien III? The way he moved. You know, really jerky like. And he'd never go for the big blow. I usually would end up reading books like How to Play Chess or sleeping while he jerked around .... Never mind. I'm sorry.
"So, as he was driving me home we passed this car by the side of the road, and Bill being the great guy he is, pulled over to see if he could lend a helping hand. He said, "Hey! Need a ride?" That's so gay. We ended up giving these two dorks a ride to the gas station. And the whole way I couldn't even think while Bill chatted away. He kept saying "These things happen!" and "So where are you guys from?" over and over. I was about to get physically ill when we finally got to a gas station. This was when the realization dawned on me. The realization that I could no longer see Bill. The realization that I had to drive the Raisin Man away! He was the fly in my ointment, the sand in my sandwich, the spike in my forehead, and I had to pull him out! But I didn't quite have all the pieces of the puzzle put together yet. It was on the tip of my tongue. The two guys got out and Bill said something gay like, "Well, OK! See you guys later" about five times. I could almost taste my true hatred for Bill as I watched him filling up his gas tank and waving to the fags as they made a phone call from a pay phone. Bill finished gassing up his car and went to pay. He also bought a drink and a Butterfinger. I could feel myself on the verge of a grand epiphany as Bill walked back to the car. I wasn't quite sure if I would kill him, or kill myself. He got into the car. He ripped opened his Butterfinger with his teeth. Our eyes met... and he asked, "Do you want a bite?" I said "No." And that was it! That was when it happened. A wave of revulsion washed through my body and mind as I sat, motionless, mere inches from him. It was like being punched in the stomach. I never talked to him again. Well, he kept bugging me until he disappeared. He tried to give back everything I'd ever touched in the hopes of talking with me. I had to say a few things. I explained to him that there was nothing between us and furthermore nothing mattered. But, he wouldn't leave me alone. After awhile I decided to fan the flames a little! Ha ha... You know, send him letters, call his house late at night and hang up, blow him kisses at school, that sort of thing. I had to mace him one time! But he deserved it..."