The Collection

While I procrastinate over the “Lucky Number Seven” blog post, here’s a flashie/short story that I like. If you’re looking for a scapegoat for this experience, then blame Gary Henry who rescued it from obscurity on my ‘short stories’ page and declared it to be good on Twitter.

I’ve always felt that a person who suffers from innate nastiness deserves a break. If that’s not possible, then getting their just desserts seems like an acceptable alternative...

WARNING! This story contains images of a sexually explicit nature.

Jason Crote was surprised to find himself in the library.  It seemed like just moments before that he had been staggering towards his truck, well fired up on bourbon and a stiff line of coke.  But here he was, sitting on the floor, his back against a row of bookshelves in the fiction section, on the very spot where he had picked up that Devlin woman. She of the big tits, tight ass and all-encompassing lips. He shivered at the memory.  She hadn’t liked his rush to get into her panties and had clocked him one with a Jack Daniels bottle.  He’d dumped her at the side of the road with a split lip and an eye that would bloom into something truly spectacular by morning.  Bitch.  But that’s the trouble with women.  Gagging for it one minute, fighting you off the next.

He looked round, easing a crick in his neck as he did so.  Something seemed out of place.  To his left,  he could see desks and computers framed at the end of the aisle of shelves.  Beyond that, dark windows. That figured.  It had been late evening when he headed for his truck. But then what the fuck was the library doing open at this time of night?  He glanced down at his left wrist.  The big diver’s watch that was his constant companion,  even when he was buck naked and in full action, was missing. It had left a pale outline of itself, developed on the film of his skin.  His boots were gone, too.  Spurless but authentic with big heels for height.  His feet looked pale and small, set off against the dark denim of his jeans.

“You okay, Cowboy? Y’all look kinda undressed for a visit to the library.”

The woman was leaning against the opposite shelves. Long-legged, short-skirted, big-breasted, almond-eyed.  Jason took her all in. She was hot.  But black, damn it.  He hated them good-looking colored women.

“Ah’m fine.”

Wasn’t how he felt. He was more jittery than spit on a hot stove-top.  But he wasn’t going to tell her that.

“You in the library often?” she said. “Ain’t seen you before, honey.”

“Yeah, Ah come in here all the time.”

She pushed away from the shelves and stepped towards him.

“You don’t look like no big-time reader to me, Mr Cowboy.”

Jason felt suddenly at a disadvantage sitting on the floor. He got to his feet.  And wished he hadn’t. Without his boots, he was a good half a head shorter than her.  Damnation.

She pursed her lips.  No lipstick, he noticed. She looked him up and down.

“You sure look well muscled, hon. ‘Spect you’re well hung, too?

She raised a finely-plucked eyebrow in gentle enquiry.

“Sure am.” He grinned.  Safer ground.

She said, “There’s a mighty good book just right there, behind your left ear.”

He turned his head before realizing his mistake.  Never let the bitch feel in charge.  That rule had worked for him since he had been old enough to talk.

“’Ulysses,’ she said, “ James Joyce.  Know it?”

Irritation flared. The woman was standing in front of him now, hands on hips, swaying slightly as if testing her poise. 

“I only mention it because I have no doubt that Mr Joyce would appreciate the fact that I came to the library this evening wearing no panties. Judging from his writing, he was a man with a broad mind and all-encompassing tastes.”

The anger guttered and was extinguished, replaced by an equally familiar sensation, this time centered in his groin.  Man, this woman was hot.

But now her midnight, come-to-bed eyes were  sputtering like the free end of a high-tension cable.  She leaned forwards, holding him in her thrall.

“I hear tell you like girls with no panties,  Jason Crote.”

He jerked back, as if she had struck him in the face.

“How the fuck d’you know ma name, bitch!”

She laughed.  A long, rich, rolling laugh.

“If you’re worried about me knowin’ your name, Cowboy,  then wait till you hear what else I know about you.  How about the names of all the women you’ve screwed with, and screwed, in your miserable life.  Especially the ones that you beat, left pregnant and robbed?”

The sexual high that had taken over his body was scythed down before it could climax.  Anger surged in to fill the gap. The feeling was almost as good, maybe even better. The bitch had stepped over the line. She deserved whatever was coming.  He felt the adrenalin, his muscles thrummed, he was almost dancing on the balls of his feet. Then she put her hand on his chest.  Long fingers, carefully placed in an arch over his breastbone.  He felt, as he always did in this kind of situation,  like a coiled spring.  The familiar surge of unfettered pleasure, the climactic of violence.  Except this time, nothing happened.  He couldn’t move.  He looked down at her hand.

“Take yore hand off of me, bitch.  Else Ah’m gonna kill you.”

“Ain’t gonna happen cowboy.  I guess you ain’t strong on irony. In any case, you an’ me, we got some issues to resolve.”

He felt beads of sweat jostling on his forehead, puddling in his eyebrows, running down either side of his nose.

“Fuck them issues.  Nobody messes with Jason Crote. You take yore hand off, then we’ll see who’s in charge here.”

In response, the woman increased the pressure on his chest. He backed up until he could feel the hard line of a shelf biting into his shoulder blades.

“Now here’s the best bit, Cowboy,” she said. “Take a look to your right and tell me what you see.”

Rule or no rule, he had to turn his head.  He peered down the aisle, sweat stinging eyes and blurring vision. He could see the shelves set along the side wall of the building.  In the center of his line of sight, there was a picture in a frame. Big.  Unfamiliar.

“What do you think that is?” She asked

He squinted.

“Fuckin’ picture.  Photograph. Fuck knows. Looks like…looks like, Star Wars or some fuckin’ thing”

“That ain’t no picture, Jason.  That’s a window.”

As he turned his head back towards her face, the world slid away from him.  The library dissolved, became something else.  Metallic, brightly lit. The woman had changed, too. Her almond eyes were still there, but the hair had gone.  And she was green.

He opened his mouth,  but could make no sound.  He felt her hand move on his chest and looked down.  Long, long fingers, sliding down.  As they went, his clothes fell away, like fog in a wind. Down over his six-pack and then sliding to one side.  He felt overbearing sexual pleasure and found himself looking into the single, unseeing eye of that part of his body which was more important to him than any other.

A faint click and high pitched hum made him look up. The woman had something in her free hand. He didn’t care. This was Nirvana.  The ultimate high.  Then she spoke.

“My comrades and I travel the galaxies, Jason, studying life forms.  My task is to record details of courtship and mating rituals.  Mostly, specimens are released unharmed, but every now and then I come across something which I desire to add to my collection.  Our technologies allow us to remove organs and instantly preserve them in their natural form.”

He watched, eyes half closed in ecstasy as her free hand dropped down and vanished between his legs.  Her face came close.

“Don’t worry,” she whispered,  “you won’t feel a thing.”

Unfortunately for Jason, the Shil people (for she was one of these) are renowned, in galaxies near and far, as terrible liars.





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