Stacey quickly undressed, lay on the bed and spread her legs, as if indicating she was open for business. Frankie was still too confounded by the religious symbolism and the filth of the room to even notice her lying nude on the filthy bed. He felt suddenly a little like he did while doing acid, with flashes of the past months and his meager and failed search for God, his own addiction, and the pain of this girl’s life and the pimp downstairs. He sat down on the bed, fully clothed, and said he’d really just come to talk to her.
She sat up, supporting herself on her elbows, and looked confused. He began to speak, “It’s not that many months ago that I was where you are now. You shock me and challenge me for a number of reasons. You’re a mirror to me. I take no comfort from your pain, but it’s familiar, more so than this foreign landscape I now call home. Here today, somewhere in your tragedy and pain, I miss this. It’s a very dangerous and broken piece of me that wants to lie down in this bed and fuck you and take your poison in my vein and become one with this world again.
“You make me feel a welcome visitor to a familiar and deadly and foreign land. I see the ugliness of your life and it excites me. I came here to help you, but you tempt me. There’s nothing appealing here to me, but a comfort in what I know and what exists to destroy me. Maybe it’s too much work to be clean. Maybe that’s not who I am at all. Maybe what I am and what is real is right here, right before me. Maybe the filth and your sickness are what I am and all I’m able to be. Maybe I should kill you and kill your pimp and then kill myself. What is the appeal, the sexiness, the need in this tragedy?”
She spoke, “Maybe you should. You’d be doing me a favor, to kill me, to kill him. Maybe you should.”
Frankie confided, “You’re the first person still living your addiction that I’ve encountered since I’ve been trying to live sober. I came to help you, but I’ve got nothing to offer. I’m still as broken and dead inside as you are.”
Hers was a kind of poverty not unlike Alexandrine’s, but Alex had an abundance of spirit, of faith, of love. Stacey had none of these, and in that moment realizing this, Frankie felt a connection to this woman deeper than he’d felt for anyone in many years. Sitting here on the edge of her bed in all this filth and stench and poverty and addiction, Frankie felt at home. He wanted to fuck her and get high. He stood up to unzip his pants. That motion broke the moment. He saw, out of the corner of his eye, the demon, who was as real and clear and alive as he was the night Frankie rolled into this town, as alive as the night Frankie shot heroin in the bathroom of the bar. His confusion built. Frankie wanted this dirty, strange pussy and he wanted to get fucked up. The pimp yelled up the stairway, “You got that other guy coming up in about fifteen minutes, the one who likes you to slap him around. You two better finish up quick. Suck his dick and finish up.”
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