The meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality: 202-203
Chapter 1: Stuck
"Hello. How nice to see you all. I'm not sure Ben's here right now. Maybe you could come back later."
John paused on his way out of the house to inspect the cluster of groupies backed up outside the Benson's door. "Well," he smiled. "Look at this. Some women. How nice." Mrs. Benson held the storm door firmly shut and smiled saccharinely at the girls while making shooing motions with her free hand. "Hi!" John said heartily. "Hey, Kim. You looking for Ben? He's right under here! Come on in!" With a sweeping gesture, John pushed Mrs. Benson aside and ushered in the fragrant horde.
The girls, with Kim in the lead, swarmed past Mrs. Benson, through the kitchen to the basement stairway. Two of them, both blondes, giggled. Another two waved ineffectually at Mrs. Benson. The last pair whispered together excitedly. Mrs. Benson caught the words "Rikki Rockett" and "sex machine" as the girls passed. "Girls?" she called. "Would you like something to drink? I'll bring some cookies down in a few minutes. Don't forget now. I'll be coming down in a few minutes."
The girls didn't reply. Kim cut her eyes contemptuously at Mrs. Benson and then led her flock down the stairs.
John easily collected the giggling blondes, one under each arm, and strolled out the front door. "Sorry to miss those cookies, Mrs. Benson," he called over the slam of the stormdoor.
Mrs. Benson never did take those cookies downstairs, which is probably just as well. The scene in the basement had deteriorated measurably. Ben remained in his corner by the keyboard, headphones clapped determinedly over his shorn hair. Rob meanwhile had found an oldies station on the radio, and he, with the groupies, were mass slow dancing to "Strangers in the Night." The whisperers were writhing topless around the pile, kicking over army guys indiscriminately. "Rikki...." they cooed. "Don't you like our dance?"
"We love you, Rikki Rockett. Dance with us."
Rob shuffled in a small circle with his three dancing partners. They surrounded him and insinuated their hands beneath his sweatpants and shirt. Kim tweaked his nipples. One of the whisperers caressed him intimately while the other murmured indecencies in his ear.
"What?" said Rob. "You want to what? Omigod! Desire! This is desire! I don't want to do this!"
"You do, Rikki. You do want to do this."
"Don't you want a taste of something sweet?"
"You want me to have sex with you! All three of you! Right here in Ben's basement! While he works on our new song! But I don't have to! I can have sex with myself, anywhere I want. All I need is some grease, and my own two hands. Or even one hand!"
"Like this? Is this how you touch yourself, Rikki?"
"Or like this?"
"Or like that?"
"Hey! No. I use lip balm. I can do this. I can do this myself. All sex is masturbation anyway."
At this point the two topless writhers joined the group. They pulled Rob onto the pile and thrust their breasts into his face.
"Hey...." said Rob. Further protests were muffled in flesh.
"I'll pay cash," said John handing a wad of small bills to a seedy looking desk clerk. He silenced the murmuring blondes behind him with a look.
"Do you want daily or hourly rates?" asked the clerk smugly.
"Whatever. Just for the night, to start. Ear."
"Twenty-nine ninety-five, plus tax, plus towel fee, plus deposit. Thirty-six fifty." The clerk picked through the crumpled money and pulled out two twenties. He swept the remaining bills to the edge of the counter and made change. "Sign here."
John signed, took the room key and collected his change. "Thanks, dude. I love you."
The two groupies each latched onto one of John's arms and pulled him away. "Why don't you girls go up to the room and get ready? I'm going across the street to pick up some stuff. I'll be right back."
"Ok! You wanna take a bath!? hee hee. We'll be waiting for you, Rikki."
"Rock on! Don't start anything without me."
The girls detached and bounced off. "He's such a dream! I can't believe we're doing this! He's so cute!"
Across the street, John browsed through the liquor section of a Perry Drug store. He picked up a fifth of Jack Daniels and headed to the check out. "J.D." he muttered to himself. With a solid thump he set the bottle on the counter.
"Hi!" warbled the sales clerk. "I need to see an id."
"I'm Rikki Rockett. I eat poopie. Fuck off."
"Oh. I see," her smile faded. "Are you really Rikki Rockett? Well, I still need to see some sort of identification."
"Don't be a shithead. Just sell it to me."
The clerk scanned the store for her managers. "Prove you're Rikki Rockett and I'll give it to you."
"Fine. Go to room number 6 across the street after you get off work. I'll prove it to you. Rikki Rockett is a sex artist and I'm Rikki Rockett. Show me your pussy and I'll give you a bite of my hamburger."
Glancing around again, the checkout girl put the bottle into a paper bag. "Take it, no charge. I'll be over around eight. If you're really Rikki Rockett..."
"Whatever. I love you." John left.
He opened the bottle as he walked to his room. The door was ajar. Inside, John found the two groupies watching tv. He disconnected the television. "There," he said into the silence. "That's better. Nothing."
The girls leaped up eagerly. John took a long pull from the bottle and wiped his lips. "Take off your clothes," he ordered.
The girls peeled out of their jeans and tshirts. "Rikki?" asked one, "can I have a drink?"
"I'll give you a drink. Do something to humiliate yourself first."
She laughed and came closer. The other girl followed. John took another shot.
"Now take my clothes off," he commanded. A girl reached for his shirt. John's arms remained steadfastly at his sides. He bared his razor straight teeth.
"Ooooo," she giggled, and reached for the buttons of his jeans.
"That really sucked."
"Yeah. Boy. Not cool at all."
"What a loser."
"I've never seen a guy so hard to turn on in my life."
"He said he wanted to party."
"Then he just laid there like a lump. What a dork."
"I heard he was so sexy."
"That must have been one of the other guys."
"Yeah. He never got anybody pregnant. Not with that."
"Maybe it was the skinny guy with the long hair."
"Yeah. Let's go back to Ben's house."
"Yeah. Kim must've been bullshitting us. That guy's no sex artist."
"That guy's no sex at all."
"No shit. Let's go."
John stood in the bathroom in his t-shirt and socks ripping pages out of the Gideon. As he shredded pages he spoke, "Amen. Malo a nos libera sed. Tentationem in inducas nos ne et. Nostris deboitoribus dimittimus nos et sicut nostra debita nobis dimitte et hodie nobis da quotidianum nostrum panem. Terra in et coelo in sicut tua voluntas fiat: tuum regnum adveniat: tuum nomen sanctificetur: coelis in es qui, noster pater."
Cold water trickled slowly into the bathtub, which was now almost full. The room was littered with countless pages from the Bible.
"There," he said. "Now it's just right. Ecclesiasters 2:16 is the Bible. All the rest is just commercials."
He disappeared briefly into the bedroom and returned with his pants, a pen and a sheet of hotel stationery. He sat down on the toilet to write:
Dear Generic Religious Institute:
I've been truly saved for only a year after about 25 years on drugs and now I find out I'm dying with the AIDS virus. However I'm not bitter, praise God. It's one of the best things to ever happen to me as far as coming to know the Lord and all His promises. God bless you. Now I'm sure a life of illicit lust for sex and devil-worshipping didn't pay off.
In prison I received a Bible, the New Testament, while in prison. I read the Bible over and over again. Jesus was my only friend. With counselling and the love of my other friends and brothers, I was saved. When I was released, I went to live at my mother's house. She knew I was saved.
Then the devil tempted me again and I used cocaine and it started with just a little and became a terrible nightmare and I lost my truck and wife and job and children and my mother didn't know who I was. I lived on the streets and spent $100 a day on cocaine and I was arrested for violating and sentenced to a year in prison. I still can't remember what happened during that time. I love you. I'm 42 years old. I used to be a White Power skinhead and a member of the American Nazi Party. I had connections with the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. My hemorrhoids are very bad. I gave all this up for Jesus. The very night I was released from prison (for the second time) I went to a kegger at my friend's mom's garage. Later that night, while lying face down in a puddle of my own vomit and urine, in a drug-crazed stupor, I saw a vision. I saw a 200-1200 foot tall apparition of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I crammed him up my nose and was saved. I said Praise God. I said Thank you Jesus.
P.S. Help me please. Oh God...
Water leaked over the sides of the tub onto the grimy floor, saturating the Book of Job. John reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a few army guys and some change. "Make a wish," he said to the army guys and threw them into the water. "Now change," he mumbled and flipped a quarter into the tub. "Heads I win," he said, as he watched the waves ripple concentrically toward the edge, where they bounced back toward the center. The ripples from the army guys encountered the ripples from the quarter and a small area of stillness appeared in the tub. John stared. "Hollow eyes," he said. "I'm getting outta here." But he didn't move, he just stared. The hollow eye stared back.
The two giggling blondes, no longer giggling, straggled down the basement stairs. There was no sign of Mrs. Benson. Kim looked up as they entered.
"How was it?" she inquired.
"It wasn't," one replied.
"It didn't," said the other.
"It was probably you," Kim said scathingly. "Rikki Rockett has very high standards."
"Bullshit. He shut himself up in some sleazy hotel room with a bottle of Jack Daniels. He sat there on the bed with his pants around his ankles and read the Bible. We did everything. He never even got hard."
The girls who had attempted unsuccessfully to seduce Rob glared at Kim. "None of them can," said one of the topless writhers.
"I think this Rikki Rockett stuff is bogus," said the other. "This one gets hard, all right, but nobody can touch him but him. This is too kinky for me. I like to party but this is weird. I'm outta here." She pulled her shirt back over her head. "Coming, Megan?"
"Yeah, this is bogus. Let's go over to Jason's and play Nintendo."
"Cool, yeah, let's go. Later, Kim. You can have your Rikki Rockett. I think he's more like Rikki Rodent."
"Good, go," said Kim. "You're boring anyway, and you have ugly tits."
"Fuck you, too, honey," said Megan, and the four girls stalked upstairs.
Rob looked up from his manipulations. "Are they going?"
"Yes. Now it's just us. We didn't need them and their damn fat pimply asses anyway."
Rob giggled. "Where's the Vaseline?"
"Here, dear Rob. Right under here. Let me help you, Rikki."
Rob recoiled. "No! I don't need any help."
"Are you sure? I'm very good at this."
Kim took a step back. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing! I'm fine. I'm great! I've got an idea." Rob chortled and gestured towards Ben, who was still diligently working at the keyboard.
"What?" whispered Kim.
"Help Ben. He's got a twelve inch penis. We wrote a song about it."
"What? Since when?"
"Really. It would be hilarious if you went over there and started having sex with him."
Kim snorted scornfully. "He's content recording. I don't have anything he wants. I should have gone with John."
"Right. He probably won't even notice. Try it."
"What's the point? If he doesn't notice?"
"You never know with Ben. One day he's a nympho. Next day he's a hermit. I think today he's a nymphomaniac. Go for it! Just do it! You know you want to. The image is nothing. Your thirst is everything."
Kim nodded thoughtfully. "I do want to."
She walked innocently over to the mixing board. Ben remained engrossed. She touched his shoulders. Ben adjusted the volume levels. "Ben?" asked Kim. She turned to Rob. "I don't think he knows I'm here. Since he had the - accident - he hasn't been the same."
"That's ok. Just take off his pants. Or something. You know Ben, he's such an exhibitionist."
Kim gave Rob a strange look, "When did you become such an expert on Ben's sex drive?"
"Ha Ha! Everybody knows that!" Rob picked up his bass and played an arpeggio.
Carefully, Kim moved in front of Ben and got onto her knees. Her hands roamed over his busy body. Ben adjusted his headphones. Kim unbuttoned Ben's pants. She looked hopefully up into his face. "Ben? Rikki? Remember me? Do you like this? You used to. Before the ...."
Ben ignored her.
"He smiled! He wants it! Get down with him! Whip out that hot curly weenie" Rob laughed.
Kim opened Ben's jeans. "My god!" she gasped. "You're right!" She caressed Ben's enormous organ. "He really does have a twelve inch penis! How ...?"
"All things are possible with Rikki Rockett," Rob intoned.
Ben rewound the tape and looked though a stack of sheet music.
Kim took a closer look at her discovery, "I don't think he knows I'm here." She shivered. "I've never seen anything like it."
"Oh, yes, he does! He knows. Ha Ha. He loves it! Give it a kiss! Rikki Rockett loves that sort of thing. Its pretty funny, too."
Kim repositioned her body between Ben's legs and took the distal third of his engorged organ into her mouth. Although his erection throbbed at her touch, Ben's face remained impassive. Kim sucked expertly on Ben's cock. A thread of saliva trickled unnoticed from the corner of her mouth. Ben leaned forward to start the tape and feverishly worked with the equalization knobs. Kim, surprised at his sudden movement, gagged and coughed. Rob laughed.
"Ha Ha! Too much for you! Hey! Hey, Kim. Why don't you strip and get down to business! Ha Ha"
Kim stopped and looked up. Her eyes were glazed and bloodshot. She stood, removed her clothes, and rubbed cat-like against Ben's erection. He leaned back in his chair and listened intently to the music in his head. "Do you like what you see, Rikki?" Kim trembled with passion and fear.
Rob scooped up a fingerful of Vaseline and almost dropped his bass. "He's hot to trot! Ride that beast! Ha Ha! He's such a sex artist!"
Kim straddled Ben.
The phone rang. Rob oozed over to it. The bass slipped out of his hands. "Hello? Just a minute. I dropped my bass. I'm so greasy. Ok. Hello."
"Rob? This is Janet. Are you alright? You sound funny."
"Hee hee. I'm fine. Just a little slippery. You're in Washington! I forgot. I'm so greasy. How's the conference?"
"Oh .... I'm an idiot trolling for idiots. My presentation was all lies. They loved it. Who cares? How are you?"
"Greasy! Like I said."
"How are John and Ben? Has there been any improvement in Ben's mental state?"
"Ha Ha! I bet he feels pretty good right now. Oh boy!"
"Really? That's good. How about John?"
"John's dead. Well, not yet. He's locked himself up in a hotel room with a bottle. I think he's about to become a dead person. He's such a fiend!"
Kim knocked over a stack of reel to reel tapes as she mounted Ben. She let out a long, low moan.
"What was that?"
"Uh, that was the television. We're watching a movie. It's really bad. I mean it's a porno."
"Oh? That's nice. What do you mean, ` John wants to be a dead person?'"
"What? What are you talking about! Oh, my god! Go for it, Kim! Ha Ha! This is great. Oh, John? I was kidding. I mean, I don't know. He's not here right now and neither am I."
"Where is he? What have you been doing?"
"Doing? We did just like you said! You were so right. We wrote five new songs! You're really going to like them."
Ben smiled to his music. Kim held onto his shoulders for support and slid slowly down onto Ben's engorged penis. "Oww!" she cried and lifted herself up. Rob began to laugh again. A few drops of blood trickled down Ben's thigh to the floor where they landed next to the ever expanding edge of the pile.
"Rob? Hello? Rob? What's so funny?"
The phone clunked to the floor. "Oops!"
"Rob? Hello? Are you OK?"
Rob picked up the slippery phone. "Sorry. Oops!" The bass slid out of his hand. "I'm so greasy! It's great! I found desire. It was right here all the time. Right in my pants! Imagine that!"
"I beg your pardon? What do you mean, 'desire in your pants?'"
"I can't let go! Now that I've found it, I can't let go, but it's so slippery. I have to use both hands. It feels so good when I use both hands."
Kim cried out, "Oh God! It's huge! Oh God, Rikki Rockett! I can't take it! You're to big! You're to hard! You're to weird!"
"What was that?" asked Janet.
"Is she ill?"
"She's doing a fine job."
"Is she helping you record?"
"No. Yes. I don't know. She's kind of in the way, but it doesn't seem to bother Ben. You know," Rob whispered, "he really does have a twelve inch penis. I thought it was just a joke. It's no joke! It's huge!"
"Wait a minute. What's going on? Tell me exactly what you see right now."
"I can't let go. I'm so hard. I'd like to use both hands but then I'd drop my bass..." The phone clunked to the floor again. "...or the phone. Sorry."
"Where is Kim right now?"
"Kim's on Ben's lap."
"What is Kim doing?"
Kim cautiously lowered herself again. At the half way point she stopped to catch her breath and nibble on his nose. She caught her lower lip in her teeth and thrust herself downward. Ben said, "No no. I'll have to do that track again." He reached forward to rewind the tape and gently eased Kim's torso to one side. "Excuse me, Kim." She moaned again.
"She's trying to have sex with Ben. She hasn't learned yet. All sex is masturbation. She'll figure it out eventually."
"What!? She's having sex with Ben? Right there?"
"Sure! It's great!"
"Rob, what are you saying? Ben and Kim are having sex and you're watching?"
"Our minds are as one. We are one self. We can't be alone. Rikki Rockett is always alone. It's so obvious. I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it sure feels right. Hey Kim, I think it would be funnier if you were upside down and had your hands tied behind your back and a steak through your heart!"
Kim was concentrating on her task, and seemed not to hear.
"Something's very wrong here. I think I should come home before something awful happens, if it hasn't already."
"Ok! Bring me some lip balm. I'm almost out. I've got lots of Vaseline, but I prefer lip balm. Mrs. Benson won't buy me any lip balm. She only buys me Vaseline. Omigod! That's great, Kim! Keep it up! Ha Ha."
"Rob, listen to me. I'm coming home. Don't do anything stupid until I get there."
"Ok, and when you get here we can light Ben's dog on fire!"
"Sure. NO! Just don't hurt yourselves."
"Ok! Rock on!" Rob hung up the phone.
Kim rocked steadily across Ben's lap. "Oh, Rikki! You're so huge! It feels so good! Oh, yes!"
Ben stirred. "Dammit! I have to record that again." He stood up and removed his headphones. Kim held on tightly. Her body continued to gyrate. Ben unceremoniously pulled out and stuffed his reddened cock back in his pants.
"Rikki!" she squealed.
Ben set her down on her feet next to the pile. He smiled. "Hi, Kim!" He moved forward as if to kiss her chest then suddenly lunged for her left nipple. She screamed in pain as Ben's teeth severed her flesh. Ben straightened, blood dribbling at the corners of his mouth.
"Monkey madness, all around. Turtles flying off the ground! Screaming monkeys will kill your sleeping fish!" sang Rob.
Kim stared in shock at Ben's deranged, bloody smile. He turned his body to face the pile, and as he stood, his cock, like the Incredible Hulk, burst through his jeans and a pale stream of sperm shot onto the sleeve of a bathrobe.
"Monster!" shrieked Kim. She turned in a half circle, tripping on electric cords and knocking over army guys.
Ben spit Kim's nipple onto the pile and sat back on his chair. He pushed a few buttons and replaced his headphones. "I'm hungry!"
Kim stumbled over the edge of the pile toward Rob, who was still playing his bass. "Kim! You're really Jammin! You're dancing at hyperspeed! Ladies on the town in the hyperzone are dancing at hyperspeed. Ha Ha."
"You're all crazy! You're all FIENDS!" Kim put a hand to her bleeding chest. At the sight of the blood flowing from her breast, Kim bent over and vomited on the pile. She pressed her hand over her wound and ran upstairs. Her naked buttocks flashed pearlescent in the dim light.
She flung open the basement door and burst into the kitchen, where the Benson family sat eating dinner. She stood in the doorway waiting for someone to acknowledge her. No one raised an eye. Their utensils rose and fell mechanically. Kim flung both hands out wildly, sending drops of blood splattering all over the table and onto Steve's face. "Ahkghk! This whole family is dead!!!" she yelled.
Mrs. Benson offered Steve seconds. Steve declined. With a curious look, he turned his head toward Kim. "Excuse me," said Kim, "Can I please borrow a knife?" There was no reply. She snatched Mrs. Benson's steak knife and turned back to the basement. The door was locked. She pounded on the door yelling, "You bastards, I'll get you for this!" Moving for the front door she grabbed Mr. Benson's coat and ran into the street.
Rob picked up Kim's clothes. Using her lacy underwear, he wiped his bass and hands clean. Then he tossed her panties onto the pile.