On the tube, a too-handsome kid with a mic in his face was saying, “I think Mason is the smoothest rider in freestyle. I think his grabs are his strong point, his holy grabs. The reason I’m going to beat him is, I’m better with my shirt off and it intimidates him.” The too-handsome kid laughed.
Miguel stabbed at the channel changer button with his index finger. Missed. With the camera on the dresser and the model changing her panties in the open-doored bathroom, his hands shook. Badly.
Gorgeous and Thompson jumped out of the Lincoln. Thompson popped the Lincoln’s trunk as Gorgeous jimmied the lock of the photographer’s two door Mazda, a sad little car really. Together the two folded the plastic up around Natz and hoisted him out of the Lincoln’s trunk with twin grunts.
“You hear that, Gorge?”
“That liquidy little sound.”
They staggered the few steps towards the Mazda. But when they tried to shove Mr. Natz in the trunk, an arm dangling out of the plastic complicated things.
“If he’s alive, won’t be for long.”
Gorgeous gave Natz’s body a savage shove.
Unfortunate that the jokester iceskating movie had come on just as the model exited the bathroom. That goofy fuck in leather grabbing his crotch to Billy Squire as he skated the rink. The women in the crowd tearing off their shirts and tossing them on the ice.
But with the model before him, Miguel knew he’d never manage the remote. He’d already tilted the bed back on its side and shoved it into the far corner. The model stood up facing the wall. She reached around to unzip her pleather skirt, pulling it down below her ass so that he could see the tail of the phoenix dipping below the hemline of her see-through pink panties.
“Open your legs a little wider.”
She looked over her shoulder. “Why don’t you make me open them a little wider?”
Thompson filled the syringe full of superglue and gave the lock of the Mazda’s trunk a shot. Gorgeous behind the wheel of the Lincoln before Thompson finished. Thompson slid into the passenger seat next to Gorgeous, chortling.
“He ain’t gonna have any luck getting his equipment in that trunk,” Thompson said.
“No luck at all,” Gorgeous concurred.
Miguel fucked Roxy against the wall, from behind at first, not even sure what he was doing. It had been that long. But then she turned, pulling his shirt over his head before guiding him into her again. She wanted his skin against her own; she wanted to rake his back to bits, to come away with his flesh under her nails. She fucked him back, so hard it scared him and just before he came she grabbed his ass and yanked him to her, so there was no chance of pulling out.
“Wait a sec,” Thompson said. “Almost forgot.”
Gorgeous hit the brakes and Thompson ran back to the Mazda. He ran the bloody fingertips of his gloves under the doorhandle of the driver’s side of the photographer’s car.
When Thompson jumped back into the Lincoln, Gorgeous was chuckling.
“What is it?”
“Just thinking about this stand-up I saw the other night. You know the guy, that black guy.” Gorgeous pulled up his shirt and thumped his belly with his cupped palm in imitation. “I’m a sex symbol, ladies! I’m gonna get you pregnant!” He busted out laughing. “You know the one.”
Thompson shook his head as the Lincoln rolled smoothly out of the lot.
Roxy tucked her lingerie back in her bag before putting on plain cotton panties, a sensible and unalluring bra. She stepped back into her jeans and long-sleeved shirt.
In the room, Miguel sat in the chair, bewildered and ashamed. He looked at his camera as if he had betrayed every image he had ever locked inside.
“I’ve never slept with a model before,” he said.
“I didn’t realize either of us did any sleeping.”
He actually looked hurt. Roxy kissed him on the forehead.
A sweet goodbye.
She pulled her car out of the lot, only to park it a half block down the street. She tucked the gun into the waistband of her jeans and ran back to the Motel 6 parking lot. She tried the back passenger side door of the Mazda. Thompson had left it unlocked, just as he’d promised. She gave the gun a last wipedown and then slipped it under the passenger seat, locking the backdoor before shutting it, quietly but firmly. As she ran around the corner of the building, she heard the door to Room 129 open and Miguel’s footsteps as he headed out to load up his equipment.
Her hands stayed steady on the wheel and she parked in the three-quarters empty lot. The giant double doors shone. She entered, the fluorescents blinding. A woman sat in a chair, cradling a man’s head in her lap. He moaned softly. A small girl with her hand wrapped in a bloody towel wailed rhythmically as her mother shushed her.
Roxy approached the Registration Desk. The attendant looked up at her with tired, compassionless eyes before sliding a clipboard loaded with intake forms towards Roxy.
“I need an exam,” Roxy said. “I’ve been…” She choked on the words. She had indeed been raped on the regular—but it had been two years since that first time. Mr. Natz. Then upon his orders, by five of his gang of underlings—Gorgeous and Thompson had been the only two with apologies in their eyes. The men had beaten her, too, and left her locked in the studio apartment with the other women. There had been no police report then. There had been no exam.
“Roxy,” the voice came from the doorway to the examination rooms. Roxy stood up and walked towards the tiny nurse in the baggy scrubs.
In the Sexual Asault Nurse Exam room, she lay naked on the cold table. Her teeth chattered. The nurse said, “It’s gonna be okay, hon.” But clearly she understood that things might never be exactly okay for Roxy again.
It took two hours. The nurse scraped under Roxy’s fingernails for skin cells, swabbed her sex for semen, combed her entire body, searching for a stray strand of thread or a pubic hair. To Roxy it felt right: for the first time in two years, she shared her body with complete willingness, offering it up as the scene of a crime.