4.9.09

Neurotica

So, I've been playing around with the idea of putting a piece of fiction here on my blog. I've decided to do it.

So here is my first piece of fiction ever put in a public forum (semi-public, really - I mean I think only 2 or three people actually read this anyway). It's very rough, but I just finished the first draft and I'm kind of excited. It's long (for a blog post), sorry. I give you Neurotica:

I like men with neuroses. Not, for the most part, severe behavioral disorders or actual psychoses, but harmless neuroses. Clean freaks – very hot. Compulsive hand washers (not the ones with OCD who must wash 26 times in a row) - nice. Men who are very detail oriented, who make the bed in a particular way, keep shirts folded just so, alphabetize everything, and keep the toothpaste tube rolled from the end and never squeeze from the middle – these are the men I go for. I even find myself attracted to men who have never-ending confidence problems, men with food fears – you know, the ones who almost can’t take the mayo out of the fridge to use it because they’re afraid of food poisoning, and men who are a little too attached to their cars. Ben’s a detail-oriented hand-washer with a neurosis about beverages in glass bottles. He refuses to drink from a glass bottle because he’s afraid that, somehow, the glass will chip or break and he’ll manage to swallow some of it. Now, I realize that this bottle thing is bizarre, but it doesn’t matter much because almost everything comes in plastic now, anyway. I’ve told him that a little glass ingestion isn’t fatal. I know this because my sister ate a whole glass grape when she was 4. My mom had to feed her mashed potatoes with cotton in them, but other than having to endure the grossness of eating cotton, she was okay. And now it’s 27 years later, so I think I can say with all confidence that a tiny bit of glass isn’t the worst thing you could swallow.
I think I’m attracted to the neurotic ones because I have a whole set of neuroses myself. I’m a hand washer, too. And I eat small foods in even numbers, unless by doing so means leaving a single, say pea, on the plate alone, then it goes with the final forkful. I have to roll up adding machine tape before I throw it away, and dust is my sworn enemy.
I met Ben at Hold Everything. He was buying a CD rack with label slots. I was buying a hanging shoe organizer. We met while admiring the sweater storage bags. He remarked that they seemed like a good idea. I said they would probably free a lot of space during the non-sweater months. He said he agreed, but that he would prefer if they were air-tight – you know, to keep out moths, spiders, moisture. That was all I needed to hear. I think a star actually fell into my eye.
*****
Jon is a dust hater, too. He also abhors synthetic fabrics and his socks have to be a specific thickness. Honey is Jon’s big thing, though. It’s his own twist on food fear. I’ve never known anyone else who felt the way he does about honey. It’s along the same lines as the glass bottle thing that Ben has, but instead of being afraid of swallowing glass, it’s a fear of actual bee ingestion. If not an entire bee, then at the very least he’s sure that every spoonful of honey is potentially harboring a stinger. Of course he’s afraid of bees even without the involvement of honey, but with legitimate cause because he’s allergic, hence the stinger thing.
I don’t know anyone who’s ever eaten a bee or a stinger in honey, although a kid at my elementary school did swallow a bee out of the air once (I have no idea how), so I can’t say with certainty that it wouldn’t hurt him, but the fact that it’s never happened should say something.
Jon and I met at the doctor’s office. We were both in for allergies. I saw him leafing through an Allegra pamphlet. I asked him if he’d ever used it. He said that he liked it better than Flonase, but that Zyrtek worked the best for him. It had to be Kismet.
*****
Then there was Jay. Jay drew me into the dizzying maze of his mind and, I have to admit, I liked it. He was my crack. If I could have injected him directly into my veins, I would have. It was like a nun losing her virginity with the Marquis de Sade: sweaty, brutal, bloody, hot, and ultimately destructive, but entirely unforgettable.
Jay is actually psychotic. He’s medicated and everything. Sociopathic tendencies manifest themselves from time to time, he’s got a rage problem, control issues, an enormous ego, paranoid delusions, and a mean streak that can leave you winded and writhing in agony.
There’s nothing tentative about Jay, except maybe his grip on reality. Confrontation is his favorite pastime. If I ever disagreed with him, there was a lot of yelling and sometimes throwing, and finally sex.
Jay doesn’t have an endearing, let alone redeeming, quality. He’s a reprehensible human being. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he’s storing body parts in his freezer, especially since I know he has, or had, a collection of my fingernails.
It’s hard for me to imagine now how I ever got involved with him. I was attracted to him first because he wouldn’t touch the elevator buttons with his bare hands, then because he cleaned his glasses, with cleaner, several times a day. The real addiction started with his hands themselves, though. Always immaculately kept, not professionally manicured, but clean, moisturized, and with tidily clipped nails. And he has these huge, turgid veins supplying blood to his long fingers. I wanted to put them in my mouth.
I met Jay at my lawyer’s office. He’s with the same firm. I told him that I’d seen him on the elevator, that I understood his aversion. He told me that I should go out with him. He seemed like a pig, but I agreed to go out with him. The first date was typical until we got to his house.
A car was parked in his driveway. Jay pulled in behind it and got out of the car. After he’d unlocked the six deadbolts in his front door and told me to make myself a drink while he took care of the car, he left me in the doorway. The screen had only just slammed when a loud thwack startled me. Then another. I opened the door again to see Jay ramming the parked car.
In an obvious string of events, the owner of the violated vehicle appeared from a neighboring house, and started a fight. For some reason I ran out and tried to stop them. Jay shook me off, looked me in the eyes, and winked. My heart fluttered and I submitted to the alpha male. It’s embarrassing to admit, but he brought out the worst in me. At least I can say that I didn’t watch Jay pummel the poor idiot who’d committed the unspeakable act of parking in the wrong place.
I went inside. Jay wasn’t even breathing hard when he came in. His hair wasn’t mussed. The only discernable result of the beating he’d inflicted was a fine spray of blood on his white shirt. Gross, but impressive. He ripped the shirt off, literally ripped it off, and threw it, along with his tie, into the trash.
Egomaniacal body obsession had led him to work out, well, obsessively, and it was obvious. I mean wow. It became evident how he’d been able to beat the hell out of that guy with such ease. I wanted to bite his stomach, lick his collarbones. He said I could.
When I got home, I bleached my counters. It’s the equivalent of a post-coital cigarette for me. Then I turned down my tidy, hospital-cornered bed, slid under the sheet and pulled the duvet up under my chin. I snapped off my lamp and closed my eyes. I couldn’t think of anything but Jay. Jay’s hands on my hips. The taste of Jay’s blood in my mouth when I bit his bottom lip.
That was the beginning. And like any good addict, I didn’t admit my problem. When my friends asked about him, I carefully omitted the crazy. “We went to dinner at CafĂ© 36, then went back to his house.”
When I started getting questions about our sex life, I just said that it was great. The general public didn’t need to know about the controlled bloodletting, rubber fetish, bondage, or the swing. All of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially the swing. Jay had hooks on chains of all different lengths hanging from the ceiling so everything was adjustable. I’ve actually thought of doing something similar in my own home because it was so terrific.
Jay’s behavior became more and more violent. At least from my perspective. I’m sure he’d always done insane things, I just saw them more often. He got into fights. He stole things, and mind you, he’s an officer of the court, broke things, vandalized buildings, he even set a car on fire. I never tried to stop him after the first time. Everything he did made my pulse quicken. A junkie with a vicious habit for almost a year.
Then one day, his fits stopped being exciting and started to seem infantile. And then Jay started to scare me. I found his fingernail collection and a pillow stuffed with hair (I don’t know who the hair belonged to – maybe lots of people) and started to wean myself off him. As I cut down on our time together, I started to notice things disappearing – underwear, my toothbrush.
The last time I saw Jay was when I told him I didn’t want to date him anymore. I went to his bedroom to look for my underwear. I opened his sock drawer and discovered, much to my horror, that he’d been taking my bloody pads and tampon applicators from the trash. And apparently for a number of months. He had them sealed and labeled in vacuum bags. I left them, and everything else, and walked away.
It’s truer to say that I ran away. I moved that same night. I called all of my friends and we moved all of my stuff into Jon’s garage. I chose Jon’s garage because the cement on the ground actually shines. And there isn’t even one cobweb, not anywhere.
Then I rented a truck and found a new place to live. Later on I changed my name and moved again when I found Jay in my driveway one crack of dawn rifling through my garbage.
I’ve learned to stick with the average neurotics. One good thing about the whole Jay debacle was that Jon and I got back together as a result of putting my things in his care. Honey phobias may not be intoxicating, but at least I don’t have dreams that Jon will julienne me while I sleep and stir-fry me with snow peas and baby corn.

2 comments:

hannahjustbreathe said...

Whoa... This both intrigued me and utterly freaked me out! Perhaps the sign of a compelling narrative. :)

Dorothy said...

Thanks! I hope it's a compelling narrative. I hope I can cobble it into something less abrupt. We'll see. Editing has never been my strong point...