The following story is direct kin of another short story to be found on this site, Wickedly Wild
“What would you do you do when your stalker moves on?
For me, I turned to porn. Just conventional stuff. You know, some lady, probably 28, playing some 18-year-old strumpet, sucking dick so hard her slobber is dripping down onto her tits, the camera. Those undercarriage shots, ya know. just a man’s asshole and balls and veiny porn-staple cock, and drool. Its gotta be fake drool. A mouth full of lube to deal with the ferocious acting. That kinda thing. I really liked it when the guy would go down of the chick. The starlet. I ain’t a feminist, not by a long shot, and see this is why. Going down on a chick ain’t giving her power, I ain’t a pussy Muslim turning to Mecca to pray. I’m showing her how I got power over her, ya know. I’m a good person because I eat pussy. That’s all society demands of me to be better than your average red-meat tom brady run-ada-mills. “
“What the fuck you telling her about porn for, she asked how you got here.”
This was the first house Amanda had ever been in that was a full foot underwater. The waterline came up to her mid-shin, a real soup of other people’s literal dirty underwear. The town of Mauckport had been part of a huge dredging accident in the mid-80’s. The state had decided the best method of removing an invasive species of mollusk (a sort of starter fish of invasive species, slowly setting up the required atmosphere for new plants and soon enough new species. Comparable to moss after the ice ages and massive glacial migrations. Amanda liked to think the end of this aquatic migration would be colorful multi-cultural merpeople, who the native euro-American merpeople would attempt to build a wall to keep out.) The activity had its desired role, plus the horrible inconvenience of flooding Mauckport. Once a quaint coastal village, known for its Alpaca farms and drunk-driving accidents, Mauckport became a swamp. The salt water killed basically everything worth living. The diaspora of Mauckport got about two weeks of coverage, with one truly worthless journalist doing a follow up a whole week later with one Evelyn Donnel. Evelyn owned three small yippy dogs and had to save one of them from drowning, a true local hero. She personally wrote to the TV and paper new stations for the full week immediately following the colony’s expulsion from the public eye.
For several years Mauckport sat, a ginger-bread arrangement of double wides slowly eroding in a lagoon. The re-birth of this location had a surprising amount to do with the grunge and later alternative movements. Teens of surrounding towns would come out, get wasted, build a serious of walkways from house to house, loot, and throw concerts and bonfires in the abandoned village. Mauckport became known as Fuckport. And Fuckport was a vibrant community throughout the 90’s. Prom queens, street rats, jocks and nerds, Fuckport welcomed all into its sheltered nest, it became the home of Pacific Northwest bildungsroman stories. Boys became men and women became sluts in societies eyes with each successive visit to the proto-Atlantis. If you were born in the Skagit valley region in 1991-95, chances are your parents shot up heroin, screamed from the rooftops, and conceived you in the swampy terrain of Mauckport. This oasis for teenage sexual awakening was soon overrun with a different, more permanent kind of settler. Like the mollusk’s the town died for, the homeless and ridiculously poor invaded this teenage wasteland and claimed it for their own. Although no one said it, there was something of a myth around why this great migration of bottom dwellers occurred. Town council members and police of surrounding towns still smile to this day if you bring up the conditions of Mauckport. It wasn’t quite pitchforks and torches, but these upstanding citizens seem to have taken it upon themselves somewhere around 9/11 to remove all undesirables and relocate them to this watery grave. Starting with raised prices on cigarettes, they quickly moved to make the sale of 40 oz malt liquor illegal to sell in town limits, and things became easy from there. Essentially just ferrying the downtrodden, who no longer had a reason to hide under the bridges of these towns, to the abandoned coastal town. Just like that, two birds where killed.
“No, it’s ok, the more detail the better. The story isn’t about Mauckport, that shits online, I want to know about you guys.” Amanda said, her hand working quickly to sketch the scene in front of her.
The three men all sat on overturned five-gallon buckets, two blue, one white with one of those lovely old poison labels, the green face with its tongue sticking out. They looked rather similar, like the same person in different states of decay. The man talking about porn was the youth, the babe of the group. Under his LL Bean bubblegoose jacket was a stripped sport jacket, blue collared shirt and skinny silver tie. His face had scruff, but his fingernails weren’t the same black bile color of the others. He was new homeless, which like new money, meant lesser. The man in the middle hadn’t said a word since Amanda had arrived. Most of his time seemed dedicated to staring at his own reflection in the water, picking his nose, and adjusting the grimy beanie that sat crooked on his head. The final gentleman was the picture of homelessness. He was a living Dorothea Lange photo. The wrinkles on his face seemed to be carved with care, his shaggy beard almost touched the waterline, and every time he spoke his words seemed to be propelled by a death rattle.
“Thank you miss…” the younger one said.
“Sanders. Amanda Sanders, reporting for ME magazine” She quickly replied.
“Mmm. Sanders. Like the chicken. You must be a bottom of the barrel girl to get an assignment like this, sent out here to interview vagabonds like us”
“Speak for yourself Zachary, I ain’t no vagabond”
“No, you’re batshit insane old man. Have I told you about him yet beautiful? This dumb fuck is in love with a hurricane. That isn’t a figure of speech, he literally loves a storm.”
“Audrey wasn’t no storm Zachary, she was a woman, a scorned woman, a lover and mother and…”
“Stop saying my fucking name like that old man! You want me to call you Theodore every goddamn time I address you? Theodore Theodore THEODORE!”
“Gentlemen, please. I didn’t mean to disturb the natural flow of things here, I’m just trying to figure out what it means to be a citizen of Mauckport in 2016. The yuppies, the human rights people, they are going to eat this story up. You can understand that right, you’ll be famous (Again, murmurs Zachary) you’ll be able to get out of this foggy shithole.” Amanda interjects. None of this is true. There is no ME magazine, there is only her own life, her own search for oddities to pepper her auto-biography with so that someone has to publish it when she dies. This is her families lot in life, always knowing what they want, always having to die to get it. “Now please, left to right, tell me what it is that has brought you to living in this dive?”
Zachary smiles, pleased that he gets to go first, “Sorry gorgeous. I’m still rattled by my turn of fortunes. Can you believe it only took one tweet, then bam, there goes my movie rights, my sponsorship, my acting cred? I mean, sure, it’s a free country, but doesn’t that mean I can call em like I see em? A faggots a faggot, that’s a fact. You sure you never saw my video? I mean I was a meme for Christ’s sake, no way a tight little millennial like you didn’t see it.”
“I try to avoid that side of the Internet.” She spat. She had in fact seen the video in question. Zachary Thompson, aka @ZachgotPussy, had become something of an Internet sensation when he had done a awkward little dance following behind some unsuspecting girl at a pool party thrown by his rich step-father. In the video, Zach sports a full on erection, and does a sort of WWE walk a mere foot behind a clearly distressed woman. The video, titled “Pussy got me like” spread like a shameful STD across the net, and soon photoshop made him famous. The heads of multiple famous woman (always pictured at their least attractive) were pasted onto the walking female. The most viewed video had even replaced Zach’s head, instead having a repugnant picture of Donald Trump following behind a rather nasty Hillary Clinton head. Trump had retweeted it. Why his troglodyte band of followers had turned on him when he called Will Smith gay was something of a mystery, but that was the turning point for Zach. His twitter became a mailbox for would-be female assassins to send death threats. Mountain Dew, which had planned on using him for a superbowl ad, politely changed plans.
“Well, it was around January that Jess stopped following me. I mean, it’s not like NOT being held at knifepoint in a public bathroom was a bad thing, but that sexual tension between us was the real high of the whole fame thing. Then Dick cut me off, said I was bad for business, and mom didn’t even put up a fight. Just told me to leave. So I drove around a bit. Got the shit kicked out of me in Portland, all those liberal fuckpies. So I kept heading north. Credit card got declined in Everett, no one would help me pay for gas. I was hoofing it when I got picked up by some pig, he dropped me off here, what, like three days ago? I mean, can you believe it Amanda? No one would help me out with my gas? They say the American dream is everyone can be rich or whatever, but that isn’t the truth. The truth is anyone can be poor, can be broken. They want you to be rich, so they can tear you down. That’s what they want, they want a scapegoat for all their pent up bullshit so they can slaughter it, me, like some Aztec sacrifice bullshit. Fuck. How’s that for quotable? That’s some headline shit dear. Say, how long you staying in town for, ha, cause uh I got a nice dry spot, and if you want to really know what its like to be a Mauckport resident I can show ya…”
“Shut the fuck up Zach.” This is the man in the middle. This is the first thing he has said. “Listen girly, you’d do best to leave this fucking puddle. We are scum. We aren’t worth pity.”
“What makes you say that?” She presses.
“Cause this kids a rapist, I’m a murderer, and the old fellow is off his rocker. This is where we belong. This is a better punishment than prison.”
“You’re a murderer?”
“I killed my neighbor. No,” He says, forcing her to close her mouth before her next question rolls out. “No names. I regret what I did. I’m punishing myself for what I did. The truth is its easy to kill someone, its easy to escape legal punishment, if you just do it once. If you’re justified. My neighbor, this old couple, had this bitch dog. Yipping, yipping, yipping, all hours of the night. I worked hard miss, I paid my taxes. I fought for my fucking country. I come home, the only parade I get is this parade of fucking yapping from this fucking little shit of a dog. My neighbors, they dote on this little fucker. Bring it steaks from restaurants they go to. I’m eating fucking ramen packets, and I gotta watch this dog on the front lawn eat a fucking steak. So one night I get my hammer, I get my screwdriver, and I do em in like fucking cattle. Quick hole, right through the middle of their wrinkled old heads, and I run. I run to the only place I ever had a good time, I run to the only place no one would ever look for me.”
Amanda breaks the long pause that follows, “So you’re a local?”
“you ain’t getting that out of me girl. Ask the old fuck his tale and get out of here.”
The old man is shaking, his bucket giving off slight ripples as it vibrates. Zachary has gotten up and moved to the farthest corner of the waterlogged room. Amanda’s note pad has the word “screwdriver” written on the top line of a new page. She has taken one step backwards towards the large hole in the wall she entered in.
“I don’t want to take up much of your time darling. It’s sweet and all, we don’t get many visitors here, but, hmmm, you don’t need me for your story.”
“No, please, go ahead.”
“oh, hmm, listen darling, why don’t you go look up hurricane Audrey. My tale don’t mean much if you don’t. I was a babe in Louisiana when she happened to come knocking. She took my mother and grandfolks. I got one real memory of that day, the howling of her outside. God, did she scream, she howled, she was the screams of every woman in the world put together. She sung, that’s more what she did, sung of torment and life and pain and death and sex. She was Eve’s revenge. She was the most beautiful thing I ever could have experienced. I saw Katrina too, I made it back down for her, but listen, Kat was a girl. Audrey was a grown ass woman, she moved in the way only a woman can, her hips toppled towns, her breath brought about tornados across the Midwest, her tears each carried a message, they did. They said love me, love me love me. She was a beauty girl, she was carnage. You gonna be like her one day, its in your eyes darling.”
Amanda turned and ran, her notebook floating in the crud of Mauckport, soon to be another piece of lagoon derelict.