Falling Short of the Absolute Truth: The Shot

In the history of folks who are difficult to track down, Nicholas Reynolds would go unmentioned. This is not to say that he is an easy man to find, far from it; it’s simply that no one is looking. He has no ex-wives seeking back alimony, no long-lost children looking for a bone marrow match, no friends.
What he did have, was time. All the time in the world, actually. He sat on this stoop or that; sometimes he sat by the fountain of Neptune that marked an entrance to Wilhelm Park, and he watched people rushing this way and that. He had nowhere to be, unless it was Thursday. On Thursdays he had to see Lisa Lisa. If he missed that appointment…well, he didn’t want to be late to see Lisa Lisa.
This day, by coincidence, happened to be Thursday, and Nicholas was making his way across the park. He moved slowly, stopping to be sure a passing squirrel had not made an insulting gesture, then moving on.
He was wearing, in the fashion of Fort Orange’s homeless, multiple layers in spite of the heat. His outer layer was once a fine wool coat, but was now so stiff it served as more of an armor. (If you happen across Nicholas Reynolds in the streets, be sure NOT to ask him how he got his coat so stiff. You’re both better off not breaching that subject.) Beneath the wool coat he wore two hoodies, one arguably red; the other faded from yellow to black as you worked your eyes up to the crown of his natty head. Between his yellow/black hoody and his dry, calloused skin was an Oxford shirt, of unknown pattern and color. His legs bore a pair of long johns under two pairs of holey jeans. His footwear varied depending on the week.
No one approached Nicholas and offered him alms or a friendly face, and he prefered it that way, especially on Thursdays. Lisa Lisa’s home was on the other side of town, and he dared not be late.
The afternoon heat did not penetrate his many layers, and a chill worked its way over his flesh. His teeth chattered, and he shook as he walked. If anyone had cared to notice, they might believe he was terribly ill and try to convince him to seek medical help. But no one cared. And he wouldn’t have heeded their advice, because it didn’t matter. He had made it to Lisa Lisa’s house.
He stood in front of the brownstone, shaking, scratching at his hair. In his mind, a battle raged. Part of him wanted to turn and run away, never to set foot in that building again. The other side knew he would cross that threshold, would succumb to his needs, begging at Lisa Lisa’s feet; but perhaps it would be different this time. Maybe he could gain the upper hand?
He walked up the steps, hesitating with each one, then knocked softly on the door. Maybe she wouldn’t hear. Maybe he could still walk away. But she did hear, and he could never walk away.
The young man greeting Nicholas at the door was new. The old Door Man was a fat, old fool. Now there was a young man, tall and thin. He had dark hair swept dramatically to the side, and a pencil thin moustache. He was dressed like Nicholas’ grandfather and held a bottle of cheap rum in one hand. When he spoke, his voice was deep, wizened. Maybe he was older than he looked.

“Welcome, be you friend or foe?”
“What?” Nicholas’ response was more of an alarmed grunt. There had never been questions before. Nicholas was not good at tests.
“Be you friend or foe? Never mind, it’s a joke.”
“Oh.” Nicholas didn’t get it.
“Are you coming in?” The wise young man took a very long pull off his bottle of rum. “I don’t want to let all the air out.”
Nervous at the thought of being turned away, Nicholas practically jumped into the foyer. The air inside was crisp and cold, and he wrapped his arms around himself and all of his layers to stay warm. They climbed stairs to the second floor, where a bench ran the length of the hallway. They both sat on the bench facing the first door on their left. From the other side of the door came the sounds of sex.
Grunting gave way to moaning, which gave way to a manic giggling. God was thanked numerous times, and there was a loud thud. Robust laughter, deep and throaty, then the door opened. A boy, no older than 19, stepped out into the cold hallway. He was naked to his socks and sweat poured down his body. Four deep scratches ran across his abdomen, beads of blood coming to the surface in places. The boy was strong and well muscled. He made no effort to hide his still erect dick as he walked past Nicholas and the wise young man. He seemed almost proud of it, watching it bob up and down as he moved.
The door remained open and Lisa Lisa’s voice came floating out among the miasma of sex and blood. She called Nicholas’s name, and he reluctantly entered her bedroom. She was laying on the bed, naked as the day she was born. She did not look up at him as he walked up to her footboard. She was instead intently studying her small, pink nipples. She licked her pierced lip with a pierced tongue, flicked at something invisible on the tip of her nipple and spoke to Nicholas.
“Sit.” Her voice was soft, pretty, but commanding. He sat on the floor, his eyes level with her ample hips, her clean-shaven lips just out of view. Sensing his eyes on her, she shifted, giving him a better view. He felt a stirring in his long-johns, but it quickly died down.
“I need my shot.” He averted his eyes from her nakedness, even as she jumped down from the bed and walked past him. He could smell semen and vaginal fluids as she rushed by.
“Sure, your shot,” she threw on a silk robe, tied it tightly around her waifish waist. “Tell me, Nicholas, what are you willing to do to get your shot?” She walked up behind him, he still sitting cross-legged on the floor, and pushed her small breasts into the back of his hoody-covered head. “Because that last young man just fucked. The shit. Out of me. He earned his shot. How are you going to earn your shot?”
Nicholas swallowed hard, turned his head slightly, “I won’t do sex.”
Her laugh was loud in his ear, and he winced, pulling away from her. “I won’t do sex.” Sometimes he found that if he just repeated himself, people understood him better.
“I don’t want sex from you.” She walked over to her nightstand, running a finger across the lid of wooden box. “You know what I want from you, yes?”
“I will kill.” He rose to his feet, lifted his upper layers to expose part of his belly. “Give me the shot, and I will kill.”
With fingers that ended in talons more than nails, she opened the box, pulled out a large syringe. The liquid inside was straw-colored, nearly opaque. “I’ll give you the shot, then you’ll kill?”
Again, that internal struggle. He could refuse the shot. He could remain how he is; or he could take the shot, over-power her, then steal all the shots. He would never need her again. Instead he acquiesced, offering his rough flesh up to her impossibly sharp needle. She plunged the needle into his muscles, and depressed the plunger.
As the change came over him, she whispered in his ear a name: Lana Oliver.



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