Chapter 4 Index Chapter 6

Subject:      CODY: THE STAND-IN, Chap. 5
From: (Mithryl)
Date:         1997/07/24
Message-Id:   <5r8olf$>

                          THE STAND-IN

                      By Cody Ann Michaels
                     c. All rights reserved

                            Chapter 5

	Oh god.  He beat the shit out of me.  Smalhausen's friend came to
town and beat me up.  Why?  I didn't do nothing to him.  Why'd he have to
hurt me? 

	Smalhausen said he hadn't seen him for a long time.  But that's no
excuse.  He didn't even know me.  Smalhausen said he wanted me to meet
him.  I don't know why?  I wasn't really interested.  But I said okay.  A
tall, blond man.  He looked right through me.  As if I didn't exist.  Like
I was invisible.  They sat there talking.  About old times.  Going back
and forth.  I tried to look interested.  Every once in awhile, Smal would
refer to me.  I would smile.  Grover would glance at me.  Then go on
talking .  Then we went to lunch.  Afterward, I could barely get up the

	So how do you figure that's a beating? I can hear Martin saying. 
You know there are different levels.  Well, Martin doesn't.  Maybe Smal
does.  He just sat and watched.  Grover took me apart. 

	I lay there on the sidewalk.  Dirt on the street.  As he walked
away.  I hated him.  Fucking bastard. 
I couldn't move for two days.

	Smalhausen fed me soup.  I wanted to die.  You'll get better, he
said.  The second day, I slashed my wrists. 

	Oh Muse, accept the devotions of thy servant.  Muse.  Muse.  Help
me Muse.  Tell me what to say.  What to do.  Make my life complete.  Hear
me, oh Muse, and send me some more of that great stuff. 

	Yes, dear Muse, send me the smoke, the heroin and the weed.  The
crack and the Ice-9.  Give me TW-Ecstacy.  The A-Train and the
Walk-Around.  The speed and the Big D. 

Send me the powder and the puff.  Acupulco Red.  Tobacco Road.
The threshold drugs and the hard stuff.  Make me thy servant; make me fly. 
Make me rise up and come down hard.  Get it for me.  I'll do anything. 
Whore me at 125th and Lex.  Do it man.  I need a fix.  Pop me, oh Great
Muse.  Pimple my arms with gorgeous needles filled with smack and HIV. 
Stick it right in my tattoos.  Make them bleed.  Put it up my ass.  In my
tits.  Under the arms.  In the clit.  Oh wondrous pusher of fallen dreams,
angel of dispair and the big hair and lots of junk jewelry and chains and
dog collar and leash and whip and quirt with the glass nubbin whipping my
clit, give me it.  I, worthless Cody, submit to your unholy whims.  Use
me.  Rip me.  Tear me apart.  I gotta have it man.  I'll sell my soul for
a fix. 

	You already have.  What else you got?

	He sat there on the edge of the bed.  He already knew what.

	It's not worth much, but I'll see what I can do.

	He gave me some smack.

	I never use drugs.  I was working the narco squad.  We nailed him. 

	Cody, you a policeman?  naaaa.  Just a public spirited citizen,
down on her luck.  I had to do it.  Otherwise, they'd have beaten me with
tire irons, hung some sort of rap on me.  I didn't want to do 15 years. 
New York's drug laws are worse than the fed s. 

	You take your life in your hands.  Smal said I made the whole
thing up because Grover ignored me.  Maybe so.  I think he was gay.  Smal
said he lived in X, on the island.  With his gay lover.  Smal says I can't
stand to be ignored.  I'll do anything.  Ma ybe.  Tonight I know I'm hung
over.  This is good stuff.  I'm flying.  I could walk on the roof.  The
wall running round it.  In high heels.  Want to see me?  No, Smal said. 
How's your mother?  Shut up.  He didn't really kill her.  Or Gran.  I
wouldn't h ave minded, but it was all in my head.  I climbed out on the
fire escape.  Where you going?  To the roof.  You can't get there from the
fire escape.  I'll make it.  He was right.  I thought there was a ladder
to the top, but there wasn't.  We were six flo ors up.  I sat down.  Smal
said he was going down.  He sat down next to me.  What's the matter? 

	Oh Smal, I'm so fucked up.  Why does everyone have to be so mean?

	You mean Grover?

	No.  He's a jerk.  Everybody!

	Like who?


	She had a hard life.

	Well, so have I.

	But you had opportunities she didn't.

	Like what?

	Well, you got an education.  She's a dropout.

	But she did drugs.

	So did you.

	What difference does that make?

	You figure it out.

	I stood up.  It was meaningless.  I'm going down.

	He followed me.  I could hear his steps on the metal fire escape
steps.  We crawled back in through the window.  What do you want me to
wear?  Black leotard.  The rest.  I dressed slowly.  It was true.  Kelly
was white trash.  I always felt a little bit embarassed when I was with
her.  Especially when she had me on a leash and was whipping me.  To make
me behave.  It was true, I had had a better education.  Private school. 
Studies abroad.  She had dropped out in the ninth grade.  Done time.  She
had two kids.  Two different fathers.  I was a successful columnist.  My
drawings appeared in Vogue.  Cosmopolitan.  Having someone like me under
her thumb must have been a real turnon.  She walked me up and down the
bar.  Who wants her first?  I noticed Smalhau sen watching from the
shadows.  What did he think?  Did this turn him on?  Or was he embarassed
like me?  Or for me?  I had to get into his head. 

	Why?  He didn't mean anything to me.  What did I care what he
thought?  Or didn't.  Maybe he didn't think anything at all.  Just
watched.  I was so tired.  I wanted to lie down.  Kelly prodded me.  Get
up.  Move.  I followed her out of the house.  We dro ve down town. 
Another show.  I knew I was going to die. 

	There was a limousine waiting.  I was driven to a house in Rye
where Grover and his friend were waiting.  With brass knuckles.  They had
a long list of grievances.  Against Smalhausen.  Apparently.  And
apparently they had gotten it through their heads that the best way to
pay him back was through me.  Like I was his weak spot.  It was a nice
house.  Smalhausen's friend did interior design.  He set himself up real
good.  It was a great place to be beaten to a pulp in. 

	I saw a good deal of the furniture that night.  They really had it
in for Smalhausen.  I took in a lot of pain.  Especially from Grover.  Sid
was even more vicious, but in a quiet sort of way.  Subtle.  Self-evasive. 
I began to remember all the other ti mes Smal had put me between himself
and his pain.  Especially with his mother.  Now he was doing it again. 
The old lady had hated me.  I guess I repressed it.  She didn't like me
hanging around her son.  She wanted him to have a good woman.  And I was a
slut.  I asked Smalhausen about the crooked saddle.  What did he mean?  He
had to think.  I wrote a poem once.  About a donkey with a crooked saddle. 
And now it's come back to haunt me.  Grover.  You know what he reminded me
of, I said.  Sunday.  The man who was Sunday at the end.  When he gets
bigger and bigger.  I felt like that.  When I was gazing into him.  What? 
When I was looking at him.  Sizing him up.  You weren't in any shape to do
it.  No.  That's true.  I did sort of faze out there for awhile .  How
weak he is.  Who?  Sid.  Sid wasn't here.  Sure he was.  He was looking at
you through Grover.  Didn't you notice?  Sort of. 
What kind of a man was he?
I don't know.

Come on, Smal, cut it out.  You must remember something.  He shook his
head.  Well, your hour's up.  Come back Tuesday.  Okay.  Be sort of nice
in the Cotswolds. 
Cut it out, Cody.  I'm not going.
okay.  I just said...
I know what you said and it's irrelevant.
Why don't you ever look at me?
I can't.  The light's too strong.
It's dark in here.  What do you want for supper?
For twelve years he could have just asked, ever since his father died, and
he always refused.  The old lady fed him anyway.  He was just an excuse
for her to cook something.  Grover and Sid lived in the south of France. 
Grover did design work and Sid did something or other.  His mother would
ask about them.  Do you ever hear from Grover?  no.  Tha t was the end of
it.  She began to talk about the latest medication she was taking to
control her bowel movements.  You could hear him banging me against the
trailer side as he listened fitfully.  Wham wham wham.  You could always
tell when his mother was onto something about her insides because it got
translated through his fists.  I was sort of a shield against incoming. 
It was like frantic.  I never knew anyone who could hit like that.  Until
I met Grover.  Wow.  Talk about Smalhausen.  These people w ere on to
something.  Maybe it was the fireflies.  He brought me fireflies and an
ant.  It came running across my keyboard as I was writing.  Talk about
bugs.  This one was a masterwork of Japanese art.  It had diodes out to
here.  And these incredible pi ncers.  All contained in an object that was
no more than a sixteenth of an inch long.  It disappeared into the
keyboard.  I didn't think very much of it at the time, but later when I
turned out the lights, I saw the fireflies.  There were dozens of them. 
Floating about the dark room.  Like stars.  But not wham wham stars.  That
I had to get hit to see.  Real glowing objects.  Lighting up the room in
odd places.  Fireflies.  Where do you get fireflies in Manhattan, I
wondered.  Then I remembered.  Smalhau sen's friend.  They must have
ridden in on his jacket.  And then I remembered the ant.  Something was
up.  But what? 

	Smalhausen was out of it.  Smal?  Who was Smal, anyway?  I seemed
to vaguely remember reading something about him.  But what?  They broke me
to their discipline.  There in the Alps.  I was falling into a deep
cravass.  House of Smal.  What is it?  Where?  Smal's House of Varieties. 
Walk right in.  Boardwalk.  Chelsea.  Battersea.  Smal's House of
Potatoes.  Get it right.  Selling sputs on the street to make a buck. 
fuck who cares. hissssssissss
down my golden slippers.
hatessss isssss
won't come out.  puppets away there in the dark.
you used me, Smal.  I should hate you for that.
Maybe that's what I'm supposed to do.  Hate you.
?What's it feel like?
a tumor
the way it hurts
my arm
I don't feel it but I know it's there. 
it got in under your skin
the red mark
what are you going to do about it?
if it's there, it's there.
What about chemotherapy?
It's just a scratch.
We could use shock therapy
get away from me.
I have this internal deadline I have to make.
when the dna runs out and the brain goes squishy.
Where's your brain now?
She had to think.  Left shoulder blade.
What's it doing?
Playing around with my neck.
It'll be like a spa.
It will not.  It...
You don't know, do you?
You got to let it ride, man.
Let your brain flow.
It's got to get out of its box
and rock
or it rots
You've got to move off dead center
flow on out.
Kelly called.
uh what did she want
to see if you got here alright.  She was concerned.
About her fee, I suppose.
Don't be that way.  Slap.
What way do you want me to be?
Smal, I said, you're doing it to yourself.  Ditch the old lady.  But he
never listened.  She needed him.  From way I saw it, the old woman needed
him about as much as she needed a sixth tit.  I forgot to mention, she has
five of them.  It's no big deal.  Lots of old women in the trailer park
have them.  Gran had four before she had three taken off.  It was just
before my Dad died.  I guess she thought she didn't need as many any more. 
Gran's like Wotan.  She's blind in one eye and the other is pretty str
eaky.  But she sees enough to get around.  And participate in the Indy. 
Oldest woman on the circuit.  But Smal's ma is pretty fast, too.  She'll
outlive us all.  I know it.  Look at Gran.  She's already killed my father
and half the Luftwaffa.  They fly circles around the camp.  Like
fireflies.  Straffing the motor court.  It gets annoying sometimes.  Old
Nazis make great target practice.  Gottedemerung it's not. 

Mr. Mulhaney across the road was gundownned a couple of days ago in one of
these fly byes.  Also it breaks the windows and makes the dogs go crazy. 
Are we coming in, please?  Smalhausen get down.  Geez.  This is
rediculous.  You saved my life.  Forget it .  Do you know what Smal's
gratitude is?  I didn't need his sticky jelly.  Oh, but I did.  I ate it
up.  Too bad you're a girl.  Afterwards, she was satisfied.  Didn't matter
where it happened.  Action at a distance, if you know what I mean.  Smal
and his mum.  Feeding off him.  Through me.

Chapter 4 Index Chapter 6