To be published in 2018
Monday, August 27, 2018
To be published in 2018
Rafe had spent his entire life in disguise, so despite not enjoying it, he was an exceptional actor, having won critical acclaim and an Academy Award. His popularity went beyond his natural ability though because the quality of blatant animal magnetism that came across on the screen made his following, as many males as females, fanatical, cultish even. Often his NASCAR fans and movie fans were one and the same. It wasn’t that they were necessarily drawn to either films or racing, so much as they were drawn to him.
He never read his fan mail but Rhiannon sometimes did. She would point out to him the differences between the two groups of writers. For the most part, those who loved her were content to be admirers from afar. They were protective of her and came across as normal. They wished her well, they weren’t even especially sexual, they prayed for her happiness.
Meanwhile, his fans wanted to devour him. They suggested perversions they would like to perform on him or vice versa, acts that went beyond mere sex, involving handcuffs and riding crops, candle wax and whipping cream, dog collars and branding irons. They sent pictures of the tattoos of him they had on their bodies. They mailed photos of rooms, or whole houses, dedicated to his film posters and NASCAR paraphernalia. They named their dogs or cats after him, even their children. They joined together for Rafe movie marathons. More than once, a plane carrying an “I Heart Rafe” banner had flown above a NASCAR track or across Lake Norman. Rhiannon’s films had all been extremely successful, each of them going to number one immediately upon its release but all of the movies in which he also appeared had stayed at the top longer, held aloft by obsessed Rafe Vincennes fans, who saw them over and over.
Because of all this, the idea that one of Ree’s co-stars thought she was in love with him was no big shock. Lots of women thought they were in love with him. The difference was that they weren’t all in a position to make his wife’s life miserable. That, he thought, would have to be dealt with.
She appeared on the set, though in the background, on his last day of filming. Even in street clothes, a fitted pink jersey dress with a deep vee-neck, she carried herself with the imperiousness of a queen. He could see how, properly outfitted, she might fit the part of Queen Elizabeth, with her long swan’s neck, round brown eyes, auburn hair and strong features.
When the shoot was over, she approached him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ree make a sour face but then she turned and left, knowing it would be no use to try to deflect him from whatever course he’d decided upon.
“Hi, I’m Malaya Crowley also known as Queen Elizabeth,” she giggled. “I’ve been dying to meet you and today is my last opportunity.”
“Nice to meet you too, Malaya,” - still in the character of David Rizzio, he made a small bow and kissed her hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Should that worry me?”
Slowly and deliberately, he slid one brown hand into the neckline of her dress, cupping and lightly squeezing her breast.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Are you the type to worry a lot?”
“No, I’m the type to go after what I want and let the chips falls where they may.”
He grinned, saying, “I’m like that myself.”
He was still caressing her breast. Her breath quickened and she moved a step closer.
“Maybe we want the same thing?”
He nodded. “Maybe.”
“My apartment is just a few blocks away, do you want to go there with me and see?”
“Give me the address. I’ll come as soon as I get out of this idiot costume.”
He used dissolving solution to rid himself of the sticky gum that attached the beard and mustache, then took a shower, after which, he slipped into jeans and a blue button-down shirt. He always preferred buttons when he thought he might have to make a quick departure. Pullovers came with that moment of blind vulnerability when you slipped them off over your head. Rafe tried to avoid even the slightest of vulnerabilities.
Her apartment was in a complex that would have looked more comfortable on Cape Cod. Gray weathered shingles trimmed out with white shutters. A series of pairs of townhouses separated by garages. He wandered the curving streets until he found 4012 and pulled into the drive.
She’d obviously been watching because she opened the door before he even knocked. It opened directly into the living room – white wall-to-wall carpeting, white and blue patterned sofa and two solid blue chairs, rustic paintings of split-rail fences and clusters of birch trees.
She’d changed into a satiny cream-colored floor-length gown with straps over the shoulders and a plunging neckline. She instantly moved into him, putting her arms around his neck and her mouth on his.
He was glad she was a down-to-business kind of woman. It would mean less time he’d have to spend here if they could by-pass the flirtation dance. Which wasn’t to say he didn’t take his time to bring her to a state of heightened lust. He kissed her mouth and face and throat, then moving down to extract a breast from her gown, sucking and rotating his tongue around her pebble-hard nipple.
She was unbuttoning his shirt and unzipping his jeans.
“Let’s go to the bedroom,” she whispered.
He pulled her gown up and slid his hands slowly up her thighs, one moving to her mound. A finger penetrated her inner sanctum, came out again, wet with her juice and lightly massaged her clit.
“No, let’s do it right here.”
She didn’t protest.
He stepped out of his jeans and shrugged off his shirt, then pulled her to the floor. He kissed her, then spread the sections of her loose top apart to reveal her breasts. His tongue teased and taunted her nipples. His hand teased and taunted its way down her belly, tickling her inner thighs. He turned his body so that he could bury his face between her legs, licking and sucking and circling, until she was writhing below him. Then he came up and entered her, stroking slowly and smoothly, drawing out the anticipation for them both. Her legs came around his waist as her hips rose to meet him.
“Oh, God,” she cried, “now, now, please, now! Fuck me hard! I’m going to come, I’m going to come!”
He let himself go then and rode her until they both lay satiated on the white carpet.
She rolled over to him. “Oh, Rafe, I’ve dreamed about you making love to me for so long.”
He cocked one black eyebrow. “I think you have this all wrong, Malaya. Making love is what I do with my wife. What I just did to you was fucking, the same as I’ve done with probably a thousand other women, most of whom I forgot within hours, as I will with you.”
Her eyes grew wide and shocked as his words sunk in.
“Something you should always remember, Sweetheart – there is a world of difference between a partner and a piece of ass.”
Her mouth twisted in fury. “You bastard!” she screamed, hurling herself toward him.
He rolled on top of her, holding her down with his thighs. He held her wrists with one hand, reaching for his jeans pocket with the other. She heard the “thwick” of a switchblade opening. She screamed again, this time in fear. She tried to scrabble away but he held her fast.
The knife carved a small R between her breasts, the tail of the last stroke curling under the bottom of the left one.
Blood began flowing down her chest.
“It’s not too deep,” he said casually, “you’re not going to bleed to death but it probably will leave a scar.”
He watched for a moment as she lay sobbing on the floor, crimson blood soaking into the white rug.
“I have a rule, Malaya. It is inviolate. No one screws with my family without paybacks.”
Then he got dressed and left.
Ree was lying in a lounge chair in front of the pool. She didn’t look up. He stripped and leaped into the aqua water wanting to dispel the scent of sex and Malaya’s musky perfume.
When he got out, he took the lounger next to her.
“Trina is in the house,” she commented.
“Trina’s seen me naked before.”
They both lapsed into silence until her curiosity won out.
“So, did you talk to Malaya?”
“I don’t think she’ll be giving you a hard time again.”
“You didn’t hurt her, did you?”
He laughed shortly. “I didn’t beat her up if that’s what you mean.”
“No, I’m not suggesting that. You’d never be that unsubtle. You’re far too devious.”
“Let’s just drop it. It’s over.”
She knew it would do no good to keep at him. Once he considered the subject closed, he wouldn’t budge.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
When I was young, the "n" word was in pretty common usage. I never heard the mothers say it much but the Dad's did - the factory dads and the trucker dads and the mining dads and yes, even the doctor and lawyer dads - in other words, the Archie Bunker dads. I also heard people called Kikes, Wops, Spics, Dagoes, Hunkies and Polacks. There never seemed to be much malice associated with those labels and, honestly, the members of those groups themselves were often the worst offenders.
But, eventually, we began to realize that those terms were demeaning and for the most part, they faded away with the younger generations (which was me back then). I don't think I ever used the "n" word in my life unless I was quoting someone and being critical of their lack of sensitivity.
Now there are questions about whether or not there is a tape floating around of the president of the United States using the "n" word but really, what does it matter if there is a tape? Do any of us doubt the he has used the pejorative label many times in his life?
For God's sake, his entire campaign and presidency have been built on a foundation of racism. Muslim bans. Separating little children from their families at the border despite our laws saying they have a right to an asylum hearing. Putting Latino babies in cages. Allowing his federales to turn cold hoses on Native Americans for protesting a pipeline that threatens their water in the harshness of a freezing winter. Calling African nations "shithole" countries. Rescinding the sanctuary given to 59,000 Haitians (all of whom, he claims, have AIDS). Giving a pardon to a bigoted sheriff who ignored the legal system. Deporting retroactively, Hispanic veterans. Mexicans are rapists and murderers (that was practically the first campaign allegation he made.
Trump's NFL statements are all about racism. His favorite put-down of blacks is that they are dumb. Maxine Waters is a low-i.q. wacko. Don Lemon is the dumbest man on t.v. "He even makes LeBron James look smart and that's hard to do" ha!ha! Omarosa is a crazed dog. Other women are fat pigs. Lying whores. Nasty women. And of course, sexism is the other face of racism.
I believe Trump is taking America down into the sewer and degrading our language is one way to do it. Make it, and us, ugly and hateful to one another. Calling our free press the enemy of the people and fake news. Vilifying our law enforcement officials and our criminal justice system and our intelligence agencies. "Deep State, witch hunt, hoax." Pressing compliments and admiration on despots like Putin, Kim Jung Un and Duterte while criticizing decades long allies like Canada and Britain and Germany, the NATO Alliance, the G7.
Common understanding of our language defines who and what we are. Now we speak in two languages. Both are English but one is the language of democracy while the other is the language of demonization. America simply can't prosper when we are two enemy camps firing lethal word missiles at one another..
Thursday, August 09, 2018
I've belonged to Twitter for years but I've seldom paid much attention to it. I think my blogs do appear on my Twitter account but I'm not really sure. When I checked in recently after quite a long time, I had forgotten my password and had to request a new one.
As a column writer, I'm used to editing to make a piece precise and compact but even with the increased characters Twitter now allows, small darting statements just aren't my cup of tea. I know you can link and click onto articles but then why is that any different than any other social media platform?
I've learned to dislike Twitter even more now that so many, including our president, have weaponized it.
Recently, some social media has taken at least a lukewarm stand against the malevolence of the flat out lies of Alex Jones and his InfoWars site. I consider Jones to be a source of slander and dishonesty, part of what is dividing Americans, stoking hate. and promoting violence. Twitter has basically decided that anything goes on its platform. It isn't up to them to monitor the information they deliver to so many believers. If is is untruthful, well, that's part of free speech. They say Jones doesn't violate their standards but how lax must those standards be if InfoWars' vileness fits within them? What in the hell would you have to do or say to be rejected?
I have been an anti-censorship proponent all my life but even in our no-limits society there have to be some lines which are too far to cross. Even the First Amendment doesn't allow you to cry fire in a crowded theater and that's essentially what Jones does. Denying that the murder of 21 first-graders at Sandy Hook ever happened crosses that line. So does the declaration that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child trafficking ring in the basement of a pizza shop (which resulted into a Jones supporter taking a gun into that shop looking for a basement that doesn't exist). So does stating that 911 was an inside job on the part of our government. Those are all simply untruths but it is amazing how many people follow and believe this loony conspiracy theorist.
So my question to myself is what to do? Should I simply write off Twitter and delete my account or should I engage and become more active to use my, admittedly minuscule, voice to join the fray and pit my principles against Jones and Trump?
Retreat goes against my grain so I'll probably stand and fight with no hope of making much of an impact.