Eric Lawson's work has most recently appeared in Maudlin House, Mad Swirl, and Drunk Monkeys. He is the author of the poetry collection About Fucking Time as well as Medusa Coils: 20 Twisted Monologues. Mr. Lawson is also the screenwriter for the award-winning short film scripts Failing Upwards and Die for a Living. He currently co-hosts a weekly podcast entitled Make Your Own Fun.
Getting Laid in Laurel Canyon
A light drizzle slightly obstructed his vision, but Rodney was undeterred. He was on a mission. The fortune teller had told him to follow his divining rod and he would find true love. He wasn’t sure if he believed in true love. He had no idea what a diving rod was, so he was left with what he did know. He was horny, bored, naïve, and heading to a so-called solstice party in Laurel Canyon. If he couldn’t get laid here, amongst the denizens of loose morals, he might as well donate his wang to science and call it a day.
His friends had told him he was crazy. He didn’t care. They told him he’d get lost and that the roads were treacherous in the Canyon during rainstorms. He waved them off. Sometimes you had to throw caution to the wind and go for broke.
He’d heard from a friend of a friend of some creepy janitor at his office that a guy he knew went a party at the particular mansion he was looking for, didn’t come back quite the same and had some fantastical story to tell. There was something about memory loss, something about potent drinks, and something even more farfetched about witches. That part of the tale had made Rodney laugh out loud. Witches? Nice. It was, after all, a Halloween party. No great stretch there, clown shoes.
The guy had told him to enter the mansion, should he find it, and he’d have to mention the deranged survivor’s name to gain access. The guy’s name was Gunter. That in and of itself should have been a red flag, but Rodney was a sucker for a good story. Especially the cautionary tales that lead eager horn balls to risky adventures involving dangerous, exotic women.
He took a healthy swig of a Red Bull and slowed the car down. His friend Adam had given him a special cookie laced with who knows what several hours beforehand to give him “a little fun boost” and he was feeling beyond buzzed and weightless. His aunt’s beat up Buick’s breaks creaked and he craned his neck. Lightning flashed and momentarily lit up the entire hillside. Something caught his eye off to the right. What was that? A street sign or something tangled up in a bush? Was the bush growing around the sign or vice versa? He checked his rearview and backed the car up. He squinted and the letters seemed to jump out at him in the flashing light.
667 Tabernacle Ct. Belated Autumn Solstice Suarez Hosted by La Damned au Trois
“Now, that’s what I call a party,” Rodney mumbled to himself. He parked the car along the side of the road and put in his plastic vampire teeth. The waistband was far too tight and it severely amplified the fact that he badly needed to take a massive shit. The old Dracula costume bit had never failed him yet. It was always popular and always an easy ice breaker to make small talk with the wasted-beyond-belief ladies in attendance.
He hopped out of the car and used his poor excuse for a cape to cover his head from the rain. He made his way through a tangle of overgrowth to an ancient iron gate. He scanned the high brick wall to the left and the right. A distant lightning flash illuminated a rust-covered intercom box and he made his way over and pushed the button.
“Hello?” asked a sultry and slightly bored female voice.
The quickness of the response startled Rodney, but he recovered. “Hi, there. I’m Rodney. I’m here for the party.”
“Party? What party?” replied the voice, no less interested. “Perhaps you have the wrong address.”
Rodney wiped droplets of water from his face. “No. Wait. I mean, I’m here for the Autumn Solstice Suarez. I’m a friend of Günter.” He had a brief moment of panic when he realized he had no fucking clue what Gunter’s last name was. His fears were assayed when the intercom clicked on again.
Another female voice, this one giggling and energetic came over the intercom. “Did you say ‘Günter’? Well, that’s interesting. So tell us, Rodney, who did you bring along with you? Any other brave companions in your group?”
Now, he was getting somewhere. “Nope. Just me.”
A long pause ensued that made Rodney start to wonder if they’d forgotten about him.
A third female voice, sterner than the others, yet far more seductive purred over the intercom. “Well, any friend of Günter’s is a friend of ours. Tell me, Rodney; do you want to be my friend?”
Rodney grinned from ear to soaked ear. “Lady, I’m all about making friends.”
No sooner had he finished his sentence, the giant iron gates began to creak open.
The second, giggly voice returned. “Follow the path to the house, Rodney. Everyone’s waiting for you.”
“Who’s everyone?” he asked, but no reply came from the intercom. He began the arduous hike up the overgrown driveway as the gate closed behind him.
Twenty minutes up and he was still huffing and puffing. He stopped and undid the waistband on his costume. His weight shifted, his bowels flexed, and he farted loudly three times in quick succession. “Damn,” he sighed. “That’s a first impression I’m glad I didn’t make. Better out than in,” he chuckled in spite of himself and continued on his journey.
The Red Bull was coursing through his veins with each lumbering step. His heart was working overtime as a result. This was going to be a night to remember, he surmised. He could feel it. He was wide awake now, which was good when arriving to a secret party at two in the morning. If the party was starting to wane, he’d be the shot in the arm in needed. He belched loudly and massaged his stiff neck. The secret ingredients of the special cookie made him a little woozy.
Pausing, to wipe the rain from his eyes, a sound caught his attention. He looked sharply off to his left but saw only shrubs and trees swaying in the breeze. He though he’d heard giggling and light footsteps. He gazed into the darkness and saw only darkness gazing back at him. He shrugged it off and lifted his cape up over his head and splashed his way onto a stone patio.
The mansion was a mere football field away now. The patio narrowed down into a well maintained walkway that lead right to the front door. From the walkway, Rodney could see lights and faintly hear music. Loud, throbbing, trance-like techno music.
“Okay,” he muttered, gaining a second wind. “So far, so good.”
Two immense oak doors met him as he ascended the final steps to the mansion. He was about to pull on the enormous cast-iron knocker, when one of the doors opened without as much as a creak or gust of wind.
A beautiful woman, dressed in a flowing black gown with stark brunette hair was there to greet him. “Rodney, I presume? I’m Mara. Welcome.”
Rodney tried to hide his glee. “Hi, Mara. You’re a witch, I see. My make up washed off. I’m Dracula, obviously.”
Mara smiled as he sloshed past her inside. “Yes, of course you are, dear.”
He stopped a few feet inside as the foyer was pitch-black. He turned around to face Mara, but she wasn’t there. He turned away from the door and several candles were lit and revealed a hallway, several doors, and a grand spiraling staircase to the second floor.
“Rodney, over here,” Mara said, playfully.
He turned to see to Mara about twenty feet away from him. She was standing to the left of two other, equally ravishing women dressed in similar garb. The one in the middle looked slightly older and was also maybe an inch taller with the same flowing black hair. The one on the right was smiling like a kid in a candy store and had the most amazing, curly red hair down to her waist that he had ever seen.
“I’m Eloise,” said the redhead. “My sister here is Sateen. You’ve already met Mara.”
Sisters! His mind raced gleefully. Damn, that’s hot!
Something in Sateen’s face changed and she eyed him warily. “Yes, indeed it is hot in here. This is a drafty place and the wind seems to find a way in no matter how tight we close the shutters. But it never wants for heat. We’ll burn at the stake before we ever let any of our precious guests freeze to death.”
He instantly identified the sultry, yet stern voice from the intercom.
Seconds melted away and they appeared to study each other. He broke the trance first. “That’s some storm out there, huh? So anyways, I thought I heard music on the way in. This is a party, right?”
Eloise giggled and Sateen shushed her.
“Oh, yes. It’s a party, all right,” Mara stated. “The biggest one of the year and you’re just in time.”
Rodney’s eye was drawn to her hand which was hoisting a candle holder. He was certain she hadn’t had one when he came in…or had she? The light seemed to play tricks inside this place.
“It’s a fucking candle, Rodney. We use it so as we can see our way,” she teased.
“Right. Of course,” he sputtered. “Lead on.”
She turned to go and he followed her down the hallway. She opened the third door on the right and they entered an enormous ballroom.
“Wow,” he breathed. “You weren’t kidding.”
Mara chuckled in spite of herself. “I know, right?”
He turned to say something to the other sisters but they were alone. He turned to face Mara, but she had disappeared as well.
“Ha-ha. Very funny,” he said to no one. “I thought this was a goddamn party!”
Out of the darkness, he heard Eloise’s girlish voice yell: “DJ Lycan! Spin that shit!”
With that, the entire room erupted in light and stationary shapes became dozens of costumed dancers, gyrating to the throbbing techno he’d heard earlier.
There was a balcony on the far side of the room and the three sisters were now wearing pointed witches hats and eyeing Rodney intently, all smiling.
My hosts like to keep to themselves, he deduced. He didn’t fret over it long. There were several gorgeous women dancing all by their lonesome on the floor and he was here to mingle.
The first girl he approached who was seemingly by herself, didn’t even meet his gaze when he began to dance in her personal space. She was wearing a nineteen-fifties space alien costume complete with the bouncing eyeball hair braid attachment.
“Some party, huh?” he offered. “That’s a crazy retro getup.”
“I’m Rodney. I really dig your costume,” he said and stepped directly in front of her. “Aliens never go out of style.”
Still, no response.
He decided to test his luck and moved in closer. She didn’t resist so he began to ever-so-gently grind on the side of her hip. She didn’t flinch in the slightest.
“You’re shy, I get it,” he whispered in her ear. “No worries. I gotta say, I saw you from across the room and I felt, like, an instant connection, you know?”
She continued to dance at the same pace. He started to get annoyed at her indifference. He stopped dancing and took a step back. Something smelled off-putting. He felt some wetness on his pant leg. He rubbed it with his hand and brought it up to his face. He smelled it clearly from a foot away: piss.
He leaned in and whispered in the alien girl’s ear. “Honey, I think you need to take a potty break.”
She ignored him and kept on dancing.
“Okay, fair enough.” He turned away. “You’ll be sorry when the Meth wears off, hot stuff.”
The next song was more of a ballad tempo and people began to pair off.
He approached another girl who was dancing alone. She had the same distant stare but her face boasted the most inviting grin Rodney had ever seen. She was dressed as stereo-typical hippie with a tie-dyed shirt, fringe vest, denim skirt, and knee high “fuck me” boots.
Rodney spun her around and dipped her down a mere foot from the floor. When a flashing strobe grazed her face, he saw with much horror that the woman was pushing seventy years in age. He nearly dropped her in revulsion. He regained his composure long enough to put her upright and mumble a weak “sorry” before stumbling away. The entranced woman never stopped smiling.
His fake plastic fangs felt like a steel trap in his mouth. He removed them and stuck them in his pocket. He lumbered over to the wall and breathed heavily. He scanned the room for a refreshment table but only saw the horde of living marionettes on the dance floor.
He was about to ask one of them where the bathroom was, when Eloise put a hand on his shoulder, startling him.
“A little jumpy, I see,” she beamed. “Everything going all right, Rodney?”
He opened his mouth to ask for some water, when she put a glass in his hand.
“You look a little parched, cutie,” she brushed his sweaty hair from his brow. “This one’s on me.” She lifted his hand with the glass in it up to his mouth.
He wanted to ask what was in it but he was positively parched. He tossed it quickly down the hatch and swallowed. Some kind of fruit-flavored mixed drink, heavy on the alcohol, his taste buds declared.
“These people—“ he started.
“Bunch of killjoys, huh?” she interjected. “Everybody’s always full of life when they get here. Bunch of shallow fakers, I think.”
“I mean, nobody says anything when I—“ he began again.
She cut him off again. “Not making any friends, are we?”
He was temporarily tongue-tied and all he could think to do was shake his head.
“I’ll tell you what, Rodney,” she offered. “I’ll be your friend. Would you like that?”
Again, his mouth failed him and he nodded in agreement, like an obedient chimp.
She took the glass from his hand, drank it down like a shot and sighed with relish.
Didn’t I just drink the entire glass? He wondered to himself.
Before he could ask about the glass, she tossed it carelessly behind them. There was no sound of it breaking, much less landing and bouncing. She grabbed the hand which had previously held the glass and placed it firmly on her right breast. “There we are. Now, squeeze, Rodney.”
Rodney was taken aback, but dutifully complied. “Um, that’s exquisite, Eloise. Thank you.”
“You’re damn right, it’s exquisite. And it’s real, too,” she giggled and pulled him into a passionate kiss. Between long, slow smooches, Eloise mumbled: “You’re so warm, so alive…”
Rodney broke away and gasped for air. “Sorry, sweetheart, I need some air.” He turned to go and walked right into Mara’s waiting arms.
The music tempo had sped up again and Mara and Eloise were now grinding on him and were surprisingly strong. Strong enough, in fact, that he couldn’t actually get out from between them.
“Okay, ladies,” he panted. “Rodney needs to use the little boys’ room.”
Eloise reached from behind him and cupped his crotch. “Liar,” she purred into his ear.
“Tell me, Rodney,” Mara breathed. “You don’t need Viagra, do you?”
Rodney laughed in spite of himself. If I did have some right now, maybe I’d take it so I could use it as a weapon to get away from you smothering bitches. He laughed again, but it was a pained, joyless whine.
“Enough!” Sateen bellowed and the other sisters parted. “Have you given him the potion?”
“Yes, sister,” replied Eloise.
Sateen turned to face Mara, hands on hips. “I trust your powers of seduction have not left you, sister?”
Mara pointed towards Rodney’s crotch with both hands. “Behold, sister. He is young, ripe, fertile and very willing.”
Rodney began to feel uber woozy again. He looked down at his crotch and was astonished to see his wang standing at full attention, practically tearing out of his trousers. “Hello, soldier” was all he could muster.
“May I have him when you’re through, sister?” Eloise pined. “He’s such a cutie pie. He has the eyes of a dreamer.”
Sateen rolled her eyes. “If you must, Eloise. But we must hurry, the dawn is approaching. Come, Rodney. Come to me.”
Rodney was utterly helpless. His feet felt like cinder blocks, but he shuffled over to Sateen’s waiting embrace. His motor skills were unresponsive, but when Sateen kissed him he felt safe, warm, and loved. Like a baby being held to a mother’s breast.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Rodney,” she cooed. “The one who seeks me out. You’re so special. You came to me. That doesn’t happen to us every day. Do you understand?”
Rodney mumbled incoherently.
“There, there, dear,” Sateen whispered. “Sateen is here. She’ll take good care of you. I’ll give you what you came here for, darling. I’ll give you what you need.” She ran her fingers through his hair, kissed his neck tenderly, and he lost feeling in his limbs.
Mara signaled the DJ. “DJ Lycan, a lullaby, if you please!”
Rodney’s gaze drifted over to the DJ. What had she called him? DJ Lycan? Well, if he boasted a muted beard earlier, he was wolfing it out hardcore now. His eyes glowed red and his fangs looked lethal. “Great makeup,” he mumbled.
The music slowed to a recognizable lullaby. Rodney remembered the soothing melody from childhood. Before he passed out, all of the other dancers fell onto the floor as if the strings holding them up had been severed by invisible scissors.
He felt the vague sensation of being laid onto a bed. His clothes were delicately removed. Smooth, yet eager hands began to massage his numb limbs. From what seemed like an impossible gulf, Eloise whined “It’s been twenty years, save some for me, you greedy crones.”
Sleep, mercifully overcame him.
Harsh, unfiltered sunlight awoke him the next morning. He sat upright in the bed and tried to scream but nothing came out. The sheet that was covering his naked frame was soaked with sweat. “What the hell,” he croaked and massaged his temples.
He wrapped the sheet around him and shuffled towards the bathroom at the other end of the room. He stood at the toilet and quickly realized his urine stream was shooting sharply to the left and into the air. “Oh, come on!” He got his rogue wang under control and stumbled back into the bedroom.
Confused, he looked out the window. No horror movie storm awaited him. It was a perfectly sunny day. He cautiously opened the door and stepped out into the hallway. There on nearby chair were his clothes from the previous evening. Everything had been washed and neatly folded. He grabbed them quickly, slipped back into the room, hurriedly put everything on and was walking down the hallways with slightly less trepidation minutes later.
He came to the end of the hall as it opened up to reveal the enormous wooden banister and spiral staircase leading down to the first floor, foyer, and front door beyond. Not wasting any time, he rushed down the stairs and tried the door, certain it would be locked by key or so other unearthly means. It opened with ease and was not nearly as heavy to move as he thought the night before.
He closed it gingerly behind him so as not to call attention to himself. He looked around at the sun-soaked grounds and there was not another soul in sight. In fact, he heard no sounds at all. No birds, no breeze, no traffic. Nothing. He took the stone steps two at a time and speed walked down the narrow walkway towards the path at the end of the clearing.
Rodney paused around the first bend of the forest path, leaned over and farted loudly three times. His bowels clenched fiercely as if his stomach was pissed off at whatever he’d forced down his drunken gullet during the party. “Nice to see some things still work,” he muttered to himself and smiled.
He glanced quickly over his shoulder into the woods. Nothing moved but trees swaying in the breeze. He could have sworn he heard the familiar giggling from the night before. He was not in his right mind, clearly. Maybe he wanted to hear it to justify his experiences. Paranoia was not what he needed at this particular moment in time.
When he had regained his composure, he huffed and puffed all the way back down the hill. The giant iron gates were open to the street and his car was still parked a few hundred feet beyond them.
His shaking hand put his key in the door and he climbed inside and immediately locked the doors. It felt like the safest cocoon ever. He leaned back against the seat and sighed for what felt like a thousand years. He opened his eyes, farted again, and saw something under his driver’s side wiper. It appeared to be a post it note. He rolled the window down, grabbed it, and held it to his face. It read:
Thanks for being a trooper at our party last night. Sorry if the booze and dancing got the better of you. Glad you were able to sleep it off. Come back any time!
All our best,
Sateen, Mara, Eloise
He crumpled the note up and tossed it against the windshield. “Bitches!” he roared. “What did you do to me? I know you did something?” An acute pain made his temples throb. “Get out of my head!” he screamed to no one. He fired up the engine and pulled away from the curb. He would indeed be back, oh yes. And when he did, he was bringing company to vindicate his story. The lawful, arresting kind of company. He wouldn’t be another Gunter. No way. No how. This was war!
The quaint aroma of piss lodged itself in Rodney’s nostrils as he set his laundry basket on the countertop. It had been two days since his ordeal at the Halloween party at the mansion in Laurel Canyon and he still wasn’t fully recovered. The day he got home he had pretty much slept away the afternoon and night. The following day was a blur of stuffing himself with any and all fast food within walking distance. He was flat out ravenous. What the hell had those bitches (he refused to concede they were anything supernatural) done to him?
The ancient Chinese woman who ran the Laundromat eyed him warily as she lit up her thousandth cigarette of the day. “You not look so good, party boy.”
Rodney ambled past her to the change machine. “Good morning to you, too, lady.”
She seemed distracted by something out the window and then mumbled under her breath. “White boy look like shit,” she breathed, flicking ash onto the faded linoleum.
After making change, he divvied up his clothes into separate washers and dumped in the detergent. He closed the lids and pressed start and leaned against the counter. Within seconds, he was staring out the window, daydreaming.
He faintly heard the old Chinese woman laughing in his direction but quickly tuned it out.
He closed his eyes and he was lying on a luxurious bed with red satin sheets and pillows. He turned his head to see Eloise and her tangles of fire-red hair dangling over his shoulder. He opened his mouth to speak, but she put a finger over his lips and kissed him instead.
Her tongue probed the inside of his mouth as if looking for buried treasure. He became short of breath and instinctively pushed her mouth off of his and gasped for air. She giggled and pushed him back down with surprising force. “Not so fast, mister,” she cooed.
He tried to focus his eyes and take in his surroundings but beyond the bedposts, all was darkness. How in the world were there lights above and near the bed without any bulbs or lamps to be seen?
“Somebody’s ready to make friends, I see,” Eloise purred while taking his boxers down with her teeth. She ran her eager tongue up and down the sides of his throbbing erection.
Without warning, a deep moan escaped from deep in his throat and he felt his eyes roll back in his head. He was powerless to resist and his heart was beating loudly in his ears. The overwhelming wetness of her mouth had overtaken him and there was no going back now. He felt hands all over him. They were gentle at first, but quickly became rougher and grabbed at him painfully, causing him to yell out in pain.
The fantasy was rapidly turning to nightmare, and he forced himself to open his eyes. To his horror, he realized he was on the floor of the Laundromat, three grown men were forcefully holding him down and his pants were around his ankles. Oh God, please no, he pleaded with himself, but he already knew what had happened.
The old Chinese woman stood over him and laughed in his face. “Pervert white boy like to make sex with detergent bottle!”
Rodney knew without looking that the wetness on his crotch was, in fact, detergent and that his fantasy had gotten the better of him the worst way possible.
“You’re a sick bastard,” said a heavy-set black man who was holding him down.
“Can’t be doing that in front of my damn kids, asshole,” a redneck in a baseball cap said, also with a good grip.
“I’m sorry,” was all Rodney could manage.
The Chinese woman tossed his wet clothes out onto the bushes outside the front door. “You not sorry. Pervert never sorry. You can’t come back here no more, okay? Take his sorry ass outside!”
The two men dutifully picked Rodney up and dragged him out the front door. In seconds, he was feverishly rapping himself up in a sheet and making a b-line for his car, dragging his clothes basket all the way.
“What the hell, man?” he repeated several times to himself as he fumbled for the keys. “What the hell happened at that goddamn party? This is not good. Nope. Not good at all.”
The next night, Rodney made his way down to Slick Rick’s, his favorite low key dive bar. It was hole in the wall dive bar with a tiny parking lot and no TVs. It was perfect place for him to down a few drinks in the company of strangers who wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.
He ambled into the place and bellied up to the bar. “Heineken,” he called down to the bartender, who nodded and placed the bottle in front of him seconds later.
An ancient jukebox in the corner was playing “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” and it seemed to alternate between being too loud and too quiet.
Three haggard looking older women were playing pool in the corner. When the chorus of the some came around, they each held their pool cues like microphones and pretended to sing together like a trio.
A grizzled Kenny Rogers-looking guy was face down on a nearby table, mumbling about aliens and tinfoil hats.
Lastly, there was a cute girl in glasses, maybe mid-twenties, quietly reading a book, and nursing a mixed drink.
Why not? He reasoned, took a swig of his beer, and made his way over to her table. Not all women are psychos. She seems harmless enough. But what the hell is she doing, reading of all things, in a place like this? He stopped about three feet short of her table. “Hi there,” he offered a small reassuring smile. “They sure do play this song a lot, huh?”
The girl looked up from her book. “I’m sorry?” she asked as the three old ladies belted out the chorus yet again.
“Do you mind?” He asked as he pointed to the other empty chair.
“Oh, sure,” she said and closed her book and set it down. “Have a seat.” “I’m Rodney,” he said and smiled.
“Aram,” the girl said and took a sip of her drink.
“What are you reading?” he said and gestured towards her book with his bottle.
“The Witching Hour by Anne Rice,” she said flatly.
Rodney’s blood ran cold. “Oh, you don’t say. Is it a…scary book?” He tried to regain his composure and smiled meekly.
“I guess,” Aram said and shrugged. “I’ve seen scarier things in real life.” She smiled for the first time. “In fact, it’s way funnier than I thought it’d be.” She took another drink. “In fact, it doesn’t seem like Anne really did her research. I mean, all that my heart bleeds for New Orleans and old world Caribbean voodoo crap…” She trailed off and laughed to herself.
“Right, right,” Rodney heard himself say in agreement. He lifted his bottle for another drink, but was slightly horrified to see that he had already drained it. He suddenly didn’t want to talk to Aram anymore or hear about her funny, creepy book. He wanted out of there. “I think I’m going to get another beer. You want anything?”
“I want you to look at me when you address me, Rodney,” Aram said and heavily accented his name.
He looked up from his empty bottle directly into her eyes. Something had changed. Was it her face or her demeanor or was he losing it?
He blinked and looked around the room. The bartender was frozen in place while pouring himself a drink. The jukebox had stopped and the three old ladies were standing directly behind him.
“See anything you like, Rodney?” asked one, who slowly morphed into Eloise.
“This is a tacky place. Even for you,” said another and she morphed in Sateen.
Rodney was aware that he was gasping for air. “What…what the hell?” he wheezed.
The last old lady walked around the table and sat on Aram’s lap and merged with her body, becoming Mara. “I think you mean ‘who the hell,’” she said and laughed. “You only had the one beer. You seriously couldn’t put it together that Aram was just Mara spelled backwards. I’m disappointed.”
Eloise giggled. “No brownie points for you, Rodney. Want to come back to the house and…dance some more with me?” She took a step towards him.
“No way!” Rodney yelled. He found his footing and started backing away from the table. “Maybe we can start a book club together,” Mara said.
“He will come to us of our own free will, sisters,” Sateen said calmly, and used her magic to refill Mara’s glass and took a drink.
Rodney was nearly to the door but didn’t dare take his eyes off the sisters. “Stay away from me…” It was meant to be forceful but was uttered more as a whine.
Eloise snapped her fingers and a little black book appeared in her hands. “We can schedule a playdate if you want. I’m free on Saturday,” she giggled as a pencil scribbled in the book on its own.
“Your face! The cops. I’ll bring the police!” Rodney screamed for lack of anything better and ran out the door and into the night.
“The more the merrier,” Eloise called after him. “Cops are so cute. Bang, bang,” she mock shot the air.
“Let him go, sisters,” Sateen said and took another drink.
Mara patted the sides of her face. “My face? But I used the anti-wrinkle spell just like you guys.”
Sateen snapped her fingers and the jukebox began playing the same song again.
“Oh, I love this one,” Eloise said, snapping her black book to disappear, and began dancing in place.
“Of course you do,” Mara said and rolled her eyes.
The three sisters began to leave the bar.
“Witchcraft!” muttered the Kenny Rogers-looking drunk. “I knew if I stuck around this place long enough, I’d see it again…”
Eloise took a tinfoil hat out of her pocket and placed it gently on his head. “Shh…” she whispered, placed her hand on his forehead, and he passed out again.
“Goddamn hippie witches,” the bartender said and took a picture with his phone. “I got proof now. I’ll sell my story and they’ll make a movie.”
Sateen turned and said: “You need to read more!”
Mara’s hardback book shot across the room, smashed the bartender’s phone to pieces, and then smacked him in the face until he was unconscious.
Eloise sighed as the sisters left the bar. “These guys are no fun anymore. I miss Rodney.” “All in good time, sisters,” Sateen said and smiled. “All in good time.”
Officer Vargas slowed the cruiser down and craned his neck to read the addresses. “This overgrowth is unreal, even for Laurel Canyon. What the hell? You seeing all this, Sampson?”
The other policeman, Sampson, turned off the CB and rolled down his window. “We need to wrap this up, dude. My shift’s almost done. Kickoff is in an hour. What’s that address again, sir?” He looked back over the seat at Rodney.
Rodney rolled his eyes. “It’s six, six, seven Tabernacle.” They had been up and down the street for almost an hour and hadn’t seen any such side street.
“I hate to cry bullshit, sir,” Vargas sighed, “but I’ve been up and down this street a million times on my watch and I’ve never heard of it.”
Sampson tapped on the dashboard. “Okay, one more pass and then we double back so I can take a leak at that 7-11 down the hill. Sorry, sir.”
Rodney rolled his eyes and sighed. “Rodney. Just call me Rodney.”
“Okay, fine,” Sampson retorted and opened a mini bag of Cheetos. “Do you mind if I take a minute out of this stupid-ass witch hunt to take a piss, Rodney?”
Vargas laughed his ass off. “I honestly doubt he gives a shit, man.” He took a swig of an enormous energy drink can. The cruiser started to pick up speed.
Rodney suddenly felt an acute pain in his stomach and he doubled over. Within seconds, he was sweating and breathing in quick shallow breaths. “Pull over!” he whined.
Sampson turned and looked back at him, fingers covered in Cheetos cheese dust . “What’s up, little man?” He hungrily licked the cheese from his fingers. “You see something?” Sampson’s demeanor changed when he saw Rodney clutching himself. “Hey man,” he said to Vargas. “Pull over here. Dude doesn’t look so hot.”
The very instant the car came to a halt, Rodney unleashed one hell of an ass bomb. The heinous fart made the entire back seat vibrate. It lasted for several seconds and he strained, grunted, and tried to breathe the best he could.
“Damn!” Sampson and Vargas cried together. They both exited the car and held their hands up to their faces.
“What the hell did you eat, boy?” Sampson was laughing but visibly distraught.
Vargas held a handkerchief over his nose and mouth. “That is not natural!”
Rodney leaned back against the seat and caught his breath. He closed his eyes and tried to regain his composure. When he opened them again, his eyes focused and he saw the sign, clear as day, about ten feet off the road from where the officers were standing. It was the same sign he’d seen the previous weekend, minus the party information. He climbed out of the car and began to stumble forward.
Vargas removed his handkerchief and tested the air.
Sampson watched Rodney leave the car and shuffle towards them. “Aw, now what?”
Rodney paused and pointed up the hill towards the unseen mansion. “Now, we walk.” He brushed aside a tree branch, exposing the giant iron gate and brick wall. The gate was open and Rodney walked through it, not even bothering with the intercom.
“The kid’s got an eye like a hawk,” Sampson muttered.
“Come on,” Vargas said. “Let’s get this shit over with and go grab a beer.”
Sampson fell in line behind him up the drive. “Don’t have to tell me twice.”
They were resting near the top of the hill, just around the bend from the walkway to the mansion.
Sampson came stumbling out of the bushes. “Whew! Thanks, fellas. I don’t think I could’ve waited another minute. My back teeth were floating.”
Vargas looked to Rodney. “Anybody else need a piss break?”
Rodney sighed impatiently. “I’m good. I just want to get this over with. These witches are gonna pay for what they did to me.” He punched his fist into his palm in his best fake tough guy mode.
Sampson zipped up his fly. “Witches, huh? Well, if it’s more than just alcohol mixed with some local Goth girls pulling pranks while their parents are out of town, I’ll buy you a beer, sir. Even a Heineken if they have it.”
Rodney started up the walkway, and then turned back towards them for dramatic effect. “For the last time, my name is Rodney.”
“Let’s go, Rodney,” Vargas said and the three of them moved quickly down the walkway to the front door of the mansion.
Rodney was about to knock when Vargas grabbed his hand. “Let us do the talking here, okay, Rodney?”
Rodney nodded, somewhat relieved.
Sampson raised his hand to knock, when it suddenly opened and Eloise was standing in the doorway, eating an apple. “Hey, officers. What can I do ya for?” She turned and saw Rodney and her face lit up. “Rodney? Hey! Welcome back!” She moved to give him a hug but he took a reflexive step back.
Vargas took off his sunglasses. “We’d like to ask you and your sisters a few questions, Miss. Are they home?”
Eloise nodded and tossed her apple core into the nearby rose garden. “Come on in. I just made some Raspberry iced tea.” She turned and the others followed her inside.
“See, she knows me,” Rodney muttered to Sampson.
“Shut up,” came the whispered reply.
Sateen and Mara came from a room down the hall and meet them at the foyer. They were both wearing overalls; their hair was neatly pulled back into pony tails, and had paint smears all over their clothes.
Sateen stepped forward. “Hi, I’m Sateen. I’d shake your hand but we’re repainting our ballroom. I’m a mess. This is my sister Mara.”
“Hey, delicious,” Mara said to Rodney.
“What seems to be the trouble?” Sateen undid her pony tail and her long, luxurious, brunette hair tumbled down over her shoulders, like some kind of slow-motion film noir close up. Morticia from The Addams Family’s much more attractive sister, maybe.
The officers were momentarily taken aback. Vargas spoke first. “First things first; do you three know this man?” He pointed at Rodney.
“How could we ever forget Rodney,” Sateen offered.
Mara smirked and Eloise giggled and left the room.
“Okay, good,” Sampson interjected. “Was Rodney here at a party you held last Saturday night?”
Mara undid her pony tail as well. “Rodney? Oh, he was here, all right. In fact, you could say he was the life of the party.”
That made Sateen chuckle, but she quickly recovered. “Yes, he was here at our Halloween party. He got really drunk and passed out. We let him sleep it off in a guest room and the next morning, he left. What’s going on?”
Vargas jotted some notes down on a pad. “Rodney here claims that you three drugged him, held him here against his will, and withdrew a pint of his blood as well.”
Eloise returned with a pitcher of iced tea and some cups. “Well, we made out if that’s what you want to call it. But I wasn’t the only one. Rodney just has…that special something. He really knew how to work a room. Tea anyone?”
Everyone took a cup and she poured some for all.
Sampson took a drink and sighed. “None of you slipped Rodney any hallucinogens or narcotics? Not in his drinks while he was dancing or while he slept?”
Mara drained her cup in one long sip. “Look, if he was on anything, he got it way before he came here. I mean, the dude did stumble in here at, like, two A.M.”
Vargas jotted more notes. “And the party was still going on at this time?”
Sateen eyed him carefully. “It was winding down. Look, we have a lot of work to do. This place is ours but it’s quite the fixer-upper. The lighting is poor during the evening and we try to cover as much as we can in the daylight hours. Are we being accused of anything?”
Sampson looked at Vargas and then nodded at Rodney. “Our boy here seems to think that you three are witches and you sapped his precious bodily fluids to prolong your unnatural lives. As crazy as it sounds, that’s the statement we have. Any response to these, uh, allegations, ladies?”
This made the three sisters howl with laughter.
Mara took a step towards Rodney and he recoiled. “It was a Halloween party! They were costumes, you dill weed.”
“No, no, it was a setup—“ Rodney started.
Sateen cut him off and looked right into Vargas’s eyes. “Okay, fine. Look, for the record, we are not witches. We’re not Wiccan, we don’t have a Necronomican we worship in our basement, and we don’t ride brooms, officer.” She took a drink and glared at Rodney, smiling all the while.
Mara looked right into Sampson’s eyes. “I think somebody’s having wet dreams after watching too many episodes of Charmed at night.”
This made everyone laugh. Everyone except for Rodney, who scowled in frustration.
Eloise drank the remaining tea straight from the pitcher. “I can’t even stand the wannabe Goth chicks that clog the Galleria every weekend. They dress all in black with black eyeliner and black nail polish and have lame fantasies about having Robert Smith’s babies. It’s like, get over yourself, already, you know? They mostly hang out a night because their parents can’t be bothered to be included in their children’s lives anymore. Tell me, Rodney; are they witches, too?” She winked at him.
Everyone chuckled again.
Vargas closed his notepad. “Well, I think we’ve got everything we need here. Sorry to waste your time, ladies.” He paused to make eye contact with Rodney. “Let’s go.”
“Oh, it’s no trouble at all, officers,” Sateen smiled. “We’re always happy to help.”
Mara reached into her overalls pocket and pulled out a business card. “We do party planning on the side, if you guys ever need such a thing.” She handed the card over to Vargas. “That’s the website. You can find the link from there.”
“Oh, hey, thanks,” he replied. He held the card up to read it. The card had a cartoonish illustration depicting a drooling dog, eagerly gaping at a computer monitor. Underneath, was the website address followed by the all-important slogan:
Pavlov’s Blog Once you come inside, you’ll beg for more
Vargas smiled widely. “That’s a hell of a tagline you have there. What kind of parties do you arrange?”
“Anything you want,” Eloise cooed.
Rodney rolled his eyes at the obvious come on. “Oh, please…”
This seemed to ruin the moment sufficiently and Mara took a step backwards, implying she was going back to work.
Sampson handed his cup to Eloise and gave her a quick wink for the effort. “Thanks for the tea.”
Eloise grinned like a wide-eyed school girl and curtseyed. “Raspberry is the bomb, right?”
“’The bomb’? Oh, come on!” Rodney took a step forward but Sampson grabbed his arm. “You guys can’t be buying this! They’re lying! You’re under their spell! Can’t you see what they’re doing to you?”
Mara put her hair back up in a pony tail. “Don’t be jealous, Rodney. If you want my number, all you have to do is ask.” She smiled at him and raised a mischievous eyebrow.
Both police officers chuckled at this.
Eloise clapped her hands in excitement. “You can be my boyfriend, Rodney. You can move in tomorrow, if you want. This place is old and empty.” She gestured with her hands, emphasizing the vast foyer. “You can fill it up with your joyous warmth. I know you’re an idea man, sweetie. Whatever you want to do, I’m game.” She took a half step towards him and he flinched.
“Damn it!” Rodney roared. His chest felt tight and he needed fresh air like it was going out of style. “Leave me the fuck alone!” He pulled free of Sampson’s grasp and walked back out the front door.
“Come back any time, Rodney,” Sateen offered and smiled.
“Ladies,” Vargas said and tipped his hat. Sampson smiled, waved and followed Vargas back out the door.
The officers caught up with Rodney halfway down the winding driveway. He was doubled over again and was sweating and panting, obviously fighting for each pained breath. He was beat red and was waving them off, as if to warn them of something.
“There’s our boy,” Sampson wheezed. “You’re lucky those fine ass ladies don’t sue you for libel, man. From the looks of it, they’re super wealthy and can afford a team of very vicious lawyers.” He smiled and rubbed his neck in deep thought. “Some serious eye candy up in these hills, for real. Every last motherfucker’s getting laid in Laurel Canyon these days but Latrell Sampson. It just ain’t right. Why can’t there be more domestic disputes up in here?”
“Tell me about it.” Vargas pointed in Rodney’s general direction. “Hey, is this asshole gonna gas us out again?” Vargas got his handkerchief out as a reflex.
Both men took a cautionary step back.
Rodney stood upright and clutched at his crotch. “Oh God, it fucking hurts!” he moaned in agony.
The officers took a step forward.
“Stay back!” Rodney warned. “I don’t know what they’re doing but it’s bending my cock!” He seemed to be working over his penis through his jeans and wouldn’t let them inspect it.
“So now they spiked your tea, chief?” Sampson shook his head. “It’s over, Rodney. Give it up, okay?”
The pain became unbearable. Rodney stripped his clothes off. When he took his boxers off, his penis began rotating rapidly in a propeller-like motion. He tried grabbing onto it, but he couldn’t hold on for very long and it would begin to violently twirl again. “Oh, fuck me! Make it stop! Oh God! Why? Jesus, it hurts!”
The officers were horrified, baffled, and frozen to their spots.
A disheveled man with a Rip Van Winkle beard down to his knees and torn clothing appeared from the woods and approached Rodney. “Only one thing seems to work with this,” he bellowed and slammed his knee into his pin-wheeling groin.
Rodney fell in a heap on the ground breathing and holding his overworked wammer-jammer. Almost a full minute passed before he was able to speak. “Who…who are you?”
“I’m the gardener,” the man stated in a hushed tone. “My name is Gunter. Please be on your way before nightfall. The hills in these parts become…treacherous after sundown. I can say no more. Good day.” With that he disappeared quickly back into the forest.
Rodney screamed at the top of his lungs as another powerful seizure overtook him until he went hoarse and from then on, could only moan.
The officers tried to cover him with his jacket but he wouldn’t be consoled.
Sampson called after Gunter and stepped off the drive to question him. “Where’d you run off to, old man?”
Vargas raised his walkie-talkie to call something in to his dispatch but his mouth wouldn’t work and he just stared at Rodney in astonishment. His eyes glazed over and he turned back in the direction of the mansion. “I hear you, Mistress, Sateen. I will bring the stag boy back to you at sundown to work in your stable as it pleases you…” He drifted off and then he slowly turned, mouth agape, to watch the sunset.
In the nearby forest, a wolf growled.
That would be DJ Lycan, Rodney surmised.
Sampson screamed in fear and pain. It sounded like he was running in circles. His scream was abruptly cut off and then all was silent.
Rodney’s situation was a total loss. He could only lie on the ground, and stare at the setting sun. Was he completely crazy? Would anyone ever wander into this place to rescue him? Was his propeller penis still in working order or was it now merely a parlor trick for three bored witches? And lastly, the sixty-four-thousand dollar question: What in the bright, blue fuck were in those cookies, Adam?