Jacklyn Montero is a freelance writer with her pursuing a BFA in creative writing. She’s a Southern California native, currently residing in Central Florida. She always been a fan of science fiction, she hopes to emulate the careers of Philip K Dick and George Orwell.
The bright red ember and sound of burning paper followed by a deep inhale, seemed to be the only thing going on in the world. The old cracked plastic car pinched her legs as she shifted back and forth trying to find comfort in the uncomfortably solemn mood of the night. Her eyes never seemed to settle as the darted through the darkness. Her face was one that had seen better times and her yellow hair seemed to expand every second as the humid air took hold of each strand. Her tank top and shorts were dingy matching the black dirt on her bare feet. The door to their tiny motel room swung open as if by magic the room filled with light.
“Did ya get it?”
“Yeah... yeah. I got it right here.” he said wiping his nose on cuff of his jacket. “I think Jimmy’s prices went up or something.”
The two fell to their knees in the middle of the musty motel room. The rough carpet offered little cushion as they scooted closer together.
“Here Benny. Come on… Come on!”
“Shut up Norine! I didn’t see you go out and get it!”
“I didn’t see you on the corner to get it either.” She plopped back onto the floor and crossed her legs while she gnawed vigorously at what was left of her nails.
“Don’t worry baby, just like we talked about this is the last time. Last time, remember?” he snapped his fingers on both hands twice.
“Promise?” Her voice became soft with an upward inflection that caused a small crooked smile across her face.
Benny seemed to be yanked back as if a string was attached to his back. He gave a heavy sniffle wiping the sweat beads collecting on his forehead. His hands moved like a chef, violently dicing ingredients for a gourmet meal. He chopped at the fine white powder with his, barely legible CAL POLYTECH, id badge.
“You know, baby I was thinking I could be like a model or something. Like all the guys, even after they pay, tell me I’m like, really pretty.” Her eyes darted around the room searching for her next thought. “Like, or! Or ya know go back to school” all five fingers pointed with assertion. “I’m really good at money, I could be a bank manager or something!”
Yeah babe, okay give me your arm.”
“I’ve always totally loved animals, remember how good I was baby, with that cat we found before we lost him. “Her brows furrowed at the center and her lip curled, “Anyway, I was really good huh baby?
“Yeah, hold still.”
“Right Benny? I was good. Righ…” her pupils filled like deep black ponds. Her inhale was like the start of a sad love song. She moved slowly making no sounds, landing her forehead against Benny’s. His jaw clinched tightly not to let go of the shoelace tied around his upper arm. Like a symphony, the needle entered his skin he closed his eyes and goosebumps crawled all over his body.
“Ben, do you love me?”
“What? Yeah babe, uh huh of course.”
“Let’s get married!”
She bounced onto her knees before throwing her body over Ben’s.
“I’m gonna be the best mommy! We’ll have a boy and a girl. Oh my god! We’ll get dog!” her laugh was shrill. “After tonight baby, we’ll go straight. Everything is going to be perfect. I think a house in the hills is perfect.” Norine’s eyes dropped to the floor as her voice became demure, “guys don’t cruise way up in the hills ya know. No one will know me up there.”
“Baby, you know it hurts me too. I hate when you have to do that stuff. You think I like it when you get in those cars. I don’t even wanna know you’re doing. Actually, it’s your choice to get money like that. I only had the idea, you’re the one who said you would do it, so… I’m the one really being hurt, ya know! Whatever. Forget it, no more! We’re going straight. This is the last time I promise you that”
He pulled Norine in as she fell into his chest, for a moment everything seemed to melt away and the room was empty. The only sounds were Ben’s sniffles and the grinding of what teeth he had left. He stroked her hair and rocked her like a small child.
“Tomorrow I’ll get back to school and … and then we can look at houses, this motel blows anyway. Yeah… yeah and… and be straight just like you wanted.” The silence confused him.
“Babe?” His eyes widened “Babe!” he pulled away while Norine’s head slumped over. His fingertips turned white gripping her shoulders so tightly. Her bright blues eyes never looked so clear and so empty. Tears began to run down his face.
“Norine…” suddenly the room felt cold. Not a second after he popped up and reached over her lifeless body for a tiny empty plastic bag. “Fuck now how am I going to score.”