Storyglossia Issue 28, May 2008.

Must Bite!

by Vicki Hendricks

 

I thought I'd seen everything and survived it—and I was fucking sick of it. I'd been dancing in Key Largo for four years, since age twenty-one, and men were nothing but work to me. I enjoyed women's company—but since women were a dead end economically, I was looking for a dick with major dollar signs flashing. I was ready to pack up for Miami because summer in the Keys was such poor pickings. Then came my lucky night, the night Rex turned up.

Sleaze, the manager, came into the club dressing room to get me, so I knew he'd got a tip.

"He wants the monkey," Sleaze told me. "That be you."

"The monkey?" I caught my breath. "Who is he?" Spunky Monkey was the nickname Pop gave me back home in Indiana, but he was long dead, and nobody in the Keys knew the name.

"Guy in his 40's. Big guy. Wad of cash."

"He asked for Monkey?"

"Yeah. You used the trapeze last number, right?"

I nodded.

Sleaze jerked his thumb toward the bar.

"Cool." I tossed on a robe over my bare shoulders and moved my ass out. I had a real acrobatics performance and I felt appreciated when it wasn't wasted on a bunch of drooly burnouts. The usual crowd didn't care if you could keep time with the music, as long as they could smell your cunt. Tips were lean at Reefers, and a special request meant I could set my own price, the best kind of reward.

I was compact and muscular, and kept up my gymnast skills from junior high. Being called Monkey was a compliment, although, as a redhead, I had less body hair than most of the girls. With big blue eyes, I didn't really look like a monkey.

Rex was facing toward me from the bar, catching my titty action as I walked, what little there was. Attractive, considering he was close to fifty. Had a tan face, salt and pepper hair, and a hard, smooth jaw. About twice my size, sitting down. I was barely a hundred pounds, the smallest chick during off-season. I took my stance in front of him, legs wide, hands on hips, robe thrown back on my arms. It was how I met all the big boys.

"I'm Darlene. Lap dance?"

"Let me look and decide."

He'd seen all there was, since I'd already swung naked with my legs wide open, a foot over his head. But I turned around and bent over, lifting the robe to my waist. The thin chain of the G-string didn't cover my little shaved mound from behind, and I got wet, feeling his eyes hone in.

Pop always told me it was a good thing to enjoy your work because that's mostly what life is made of. Too bad I didn't enjoy it quite enough.

I bent farther and looked between my legs. His mouth was half open, and I got a sudden need for his tongue, like I could come the instant it split me.

"I'd like a date," he said.

I stood up and turned around. "I don't do dates." I always lied to get the price up.

"Never?"

"Not much."

He grabbed my arm as I started to walk away and showed me three hundreds. I asked for four. His place. After work. He'd wait outside.

When I came out a little after two, it was raining and smelled like a jungle, musty and thick, mosquitoes swarming the light under the awning, waiting to bite, tree frogs with their creepy grunts. There was one car, sparkling under the low streaming palms, headlights shining through the downpour, beacons to my fate. He pulled up, and the passenger side opened. I slung my ass on the leather seat.

"Cool Mercedes."

He smiled at my thin wet shirt and held out his hand for me to shake. "Rex."

He turned left behind Shell World, and we passed Blue Fin Marina, then snaked down a long private drive. It was dark. Dripping vines and fronds dragged across my window, and the Mercedes bumped along slow. He pulled under a concrete block, two-story stilt house, and when I got out I could hear the lapping of water out back and caught the scent of rotten eggs that reminds you when it's low tide in the Keys.

He motioned me up the stairs on the side and flicked on a light. We passed sacks of feed and huge empty cages, scratched mirrors, a rope ladder, chewed-up rubber toys, and a large doll, her eyes following me. Rex crooked his finger in my direction, and I climbed the stairs, wondering if I'd get a chance to see what this was all about. He seemed to have a rule about not talking. I could handle it.

Rex opened the door to a Florida room with a built-in bar, lots of shiny bottles on the shelves, sparkling mirror tiles. He picked up a glass. I shook my head. I'd had too much of that sickening champagne at the club. He put his finger to his lips, and I followed him past two closed doors with small barred windows, tiptoeing. Sounds of huffing, snoring, and heavy movement came from inside. Must be renting out rooms to crazy old farts, I thought. He led me upstairs to the loft. The rain had stopped, and clouds drifted over the moon outside the balcony window.

Rex wasn't the usual trick. He didn't act cool or order me around. He took me in his arms and kissed my neck, breathing hot, and held back my hair to uncover more skin. Normally, I would have broken it off and set some rules, but I was geared up to think that something interesting could come of this, with all his bucks. I dropped my snotty whore act and let myself go. He held my head back and planted the softest kisses on my mouth. His breath was sweet, no garlic, no rotten teeth, no cigarettes. I wondered how he was with mine. I kissed him back and he had to cut it off to get air.

He stripped me down so softly, I felt like I was the one who paid. I held onto the dresser as he knelt in front of me, his fingers opening me up, and tongued my clit. I felt myself melting, legs going weak. He pulled me on top of him and slipped in his hard cock, smooth and wide.

I let him do everything he wanted, not for the money, but because it felt so good—slow hip-slapping, deep penetration, me on top, his fingers pulling at my cheeks. One finger went into my ass, sending tiny jolts of pleasure into the tightness of my cunt. I pulled myself astride to take him even farther in, gripping as I raised myself to the tip, then bouncing down, feeling every inch of him smooth and hot. I lifted my ass and swiveled my body, moving my feet and turning toward his legs for the reverse cowboy, the view of my ass that makes them all come, but he turned me back, saying, "I need to see your face."

He sat up and lifted my ass to his lap with such strong arms, so gently and deliberately, looking me straight in the eyes, that I let my world dissolve. Slow, wet, and warm, he rocked me, up and down softly, teeter-totter, over and over. I was loose as a rag doll, but he held me close and kept me moving, strong and even, until I came from his cock, something that didn't happen often. In all the years since Pop turned me out, I'd never felt so appreciated by a man.

That night he made sure I'd want to see more of him. He knew how good he was, and the attention I needed. I'm sure he'd searched for a girl like me in all the local places, my athletic build and helpful personality, my need to get out of that disgusting club. And a nickname like Monkey. When I told him how he hit on that, I saw the light come into his eyes. I was a perfect fit.

The next morning I opened my eyes to bright sun sneaking through the blinds. I was surprised at the clean tropical style of the bedroom. No sign of mismatched furniture with broken arms or rings from glasses, no scary stained sheets, not even a scratchy couch with burn holes, like most Key Largo guys seemed to own. The bed and nightstands were heavy-duty bamboo, stuff I'd buy if I saw it in a thrift shop. He had orchids and other plants outside on the balcony.

"Nice place," I said when I saw his eyes open.

"Want to stay?"

I tried to calculate a price for the day.

"Come on. Let me show you around."

I started to climb out of bed, but my foot got tangled in the sheet and he caught me before I fell. His hands went straight to my hips. I couldn't resist that tongue. He dug right in, and it was an hour before we dragged ourselves out.

"Now you stand behind me when I open the door," he said. We were outside of one of the two doors on the first floor. I stepped back so I could only see his big body. "Hey, Guys," he called out. "I have somebody for you to meet." He turned to me. "It's okay. They're relaxed."

He stepped aside. I knew these were not going to be humans from the sounds I could hear. There they were, four monkeys, two of them nearly my size, looking at me. The smallest one had a finger in its mouth, like a child. The ceiling was high, must've been two-stories, and there were trapezes mounted on beams. The windows were barred. A few piles of shit were off to the sides, and one wall had a hole punched through the plasterboard, exposing more bars inside the wall. I could see through a barred door in the middle of the wall that there was a bigger monkey in the next room.

"Hear No Evil, Think No Evil, and Speak No Evil?" I asked, pointing one, two, three. "I'm not sure of the order."

"They're not quite that well-behaved."

Two of them came over and I reached down to take the hand held out to me. The long fingers were warm and light, like a sweet pair of leather gloves.

Rex touched their heads gently. "These are spider monkeys, females, Itsy and Bitsy."

"Went up the waterspout?"

"You got it, but don't give me credit for those names either. The other two are Mack and Sweetums, male and female."

I could see what seemed to be penises hanging from three of their asses, but no balls. "Females?"

"Spider monkeys have elongated vaginas. It makes mating impossible, except when they're fertile, every four years. Rape-proofing."

"The boys must get horny."

"Mack masturbates often—although not as much as Big Man." He pointed into the next room.

Sweetums stayed back, but Mack came up and took my hand, putting my fingers into the coarse hair on his back. I started to scratch and he leaned into it. "Don't let him get carried away," said Rex. I took my hand off, and sure enough Mack grabbed my wrist and forced my hand back between his shoulder blades.

"They're willful." Rex pried the long fingers from my wrist and disentangled the legs and tail clutching my thigh. He took Mack's wrists in one hand and pushed his body back with his shoulder. Mack arched and squirmed, making shrill shrieks. Rex tossed him into the mattress in the corner.

"Dash!"

I broke for the door and Rex pushed it almost closed behind us, but not quite, because he had to stop and tuck a small hand inside. "They like you," he said. "A lot. I knew it. Be careful what you start."

"Don't they usually like people?"

"Not really."

"So where did you get all these monkeys?" I could hear the other one rumbling around, wanting attention.

He locked the door, and opened the next room. A monkey was waiting for us and took my hand in his warm grip. "This is the chimp, Big Man. He's an ape, not a monkey. He was named when I got him. You'll see why."

"I do already," I said. "He's as tall as me."

"That's not what I mean." He used his fingers to sign words as he spoke to Big Man. "Darlene-friend," he said. Big Man puckered up his lips, but I couldn't quite bring myself to kiss him.

Rex took my hand and motioned me to walk out in front of him. Big Man glared but didn't move. Rex turned and signed. "Bye, bye. Breakfast time." He shut the door and locked it.

"You taught them sign language?"

"No, when we bought Big Man they told us he understood signs. I learned some words so I could talk to him, but he never talks back. I think he understands though."

"What about the spiders?"

"They don't pay much attention."

"Big Man must be bored."

"I entertain him. One chimp is hard enough to handle. Come on. I'll get their breakfast."

Rex led me into the kitchen. It was huge, with two stainless steel refrigerators. He opened one filled with vegetables. "I knew they'd take to you."

"I like them too," I said.

I was starving, but I didn't say anything because the animals were waiting. They were hungry and dependent on Rex, and it was my fault that breakfast was late. I insisted on helping. We set everything out on the long preparation table and sink. I washed pounds of carrots, celery, and bags of apples, while Rex rinsed heads of lettuce. We divided the vegetables onto two trays and poured the monkey chow into the five bowls with their names.

Together we served them, first Big Man, then Itsy and Bitsy, Sweetums and Mack. I stood outside the window and watched them eat. Big Man sat and stuffed his face with a head of lettuce, pieces falling from his open mouth, making a big wet mess on the floor as he chewed, showing us how starved he was because we stayed upstairs fucking. Itsy and Bitsy chowed down too, occasionally glancing over their shoulders at me. I knew the feeling, your meals being in someone else's control. Been there.

Rex sponged up the water and dirt we'd left on the counter top, while I made the coffee.

"So where did you get them?" I asked him.

"It was a business."

"Monkey business?"

He laughed. "You got it."

"Circus?"

"No, a petting zoo of sorts, with some shows. The stage and big cages are still outside. It was my ex's idea, Julia. She taught them the tricks and it was fun—for a while. We never made money, spent it all on food and vet care, but she had money anyway. "The Monkey Hut" was her hobby. You want some bacon and eggs?"

"Sure. And then she split?"

"She left me the place and investments so I could take care of the monkeys."

"Ouch," I said.

"She was generous. It was my fault. We never talked."

"She never complained?"

"She might've."

He put a skillet on the stove and went to the second refrigerator and pulled out a package of bacon and a carton of eggs. "They'll smell this," he said. "Ignore the noise. I don't give them meat. Spider monkeys are vegetarian, and Big Man gets too wild. He wants it all."

The bacon had barely started to sizzle, when there was a loud howl. Others took up the scream and then there was pounding, like one was beating a tray. The screeching got louder and one of them started banging on the door.

"Metal doors?" I asked.

"Yeah, don't worry. They'll settle down in a minute."

It took about five minutes, but I thought, fuck, Rex is a kind man to care for all these animals, and I could live in a place like this. He could even make me come, unusual for a man. By then I didn't have any romantic notions. I'd settle for a nice home, some monkeys to play with. I was sure I could still get out now and then with my girlfriends. So Rex was devoted to monkeys, and I was the new monkey. That must have flickered in his mind when he saw me, and I had nothing against it—if enough money came my way.

Over the next month, Rex picked me up almost every night. I got on well with everybody. Rex and I took care of their meals together, and I scratched backs and gave treats. "The kids" brightened up every time I came into their rooms. At dusk, I fixed the strawberry yogurt, oatmeal, and flan combination that filled out their dietary needs. They'd stick their little faces into it or squeeze it through their fingers and lick it off. I felt appreciated, more than I'd ever have expected, more than most of my life.

I told Rex if he installed a big trapeze in the spiders' room, I could swing with them. He had it up in two days, no surprise. I climbed up naked and went into my act, swinging with my ass on the bar, then dropping to hang by my knees. But before I got any farther, Mack swung over and whipped past me, switching from hands to feet to tail and flinging himself to the other trapezes and back again. I couldn't compete. He scared me, coming so close, but he was perfect in his moves. Sweetums joined in and soon they were both swinging fast and switching hands, feet, and tails, synchronizing with each other. I pulled myself up to watch.

"Don't stop," Rex hollered. "I want to see you, not them."

I hung by my arms and swung a little. I pulled my legs above my body in a split across the bar, like I'd done the first night he saw me.

Rex came over and gave me a greedy stare. The trapeze was just high enough for him to reach my vital parts, no accident, and he slurped at me a couple of times as I swung toward him, and then he grabbed. The monkeys kept cavorting around us, but he ate me like a starving man, ignoring them, and I hung limp on the trapeze, all feeling concentrated in one spot. When I opened my eyes, all four spiders were watching, and Big Man was watching from the next room and grunting.

I wasn't sure who thought of marriage first, but things moved fast. A captain friend of Rex's married us on his sailboat, and we put on a party at Reefers. Sleaze got in some decent champagne specially for me. I was glad to be saying goodbye to that place, and all the sucking-up that went with it.

We'd planned on a honeymoon in the Bahamas for a few days, but on the morning after the wedding, Bitsy got sick, and we had to cancel. Rex was afraid to leave her with the sitter, a teenage boy that was supposed to stop by. She didn't look that sick to me, no puking or diarrhea, but she just laid on the mattress and held her stomach instead of eating her breakfast. Rex said that was a sure sign. When we'd cancelled our flight and looked in on her, she'd gotten up and was eating the remains from Itsy. I thought sure she'd faked her illness, but it was too late to worry about it. Rex promised we could try again soon, but the kids didn't like everyone, and they needed lots of human interaction everyday. It wasn't any big deal. The monkeys were more fun than most people I knew.

I had them spoiled in the first week. I started giving them an extra treat or two each day, a cookie or a few crackers. They loved French fries too, but I was careful not to go too far with the grease. None of them would keep a diaper on. I hadn't counted on so much shit. It seemed to pile up more and more, maybe from the treats, or else Rex was falling down on the cleaning. I hadn't bargained on it, but I started pitching in on shit detail. They were mine now too, and they would cuddle and kiss me when I sat with them.

"Why not use the big cages outside?" I asked Rex one day. "We could squirt them out easier."

"We used to. You can't keep neighborhood kids from sneaking around, sticking their arms inside."

"The monkeys seem so tame, even Big Man."

He shook his head. "One time Mack grabbed a handful of a girl's hair. He just wanted to smell her shampoo—but he's so strong. She told her parents he tried to scalp her. The father came back with a gun. Lucky I was home."

"That's crazy."

"Yeah, but when they get that look, like a war going on inside, watch out. One second everything is nice, nice, love, love, and the next, must bite! must bite! flashes in their eyes."

"They're always so sweet to me."

"So far. You can't predict when somebody will get jealous or want one of us for himself. Especially Big Man."

Within a couple months, I was doing more than my share of the work, but hey, it was appreciated. By the third month, things started to get a little tedious. Rex had been unemployed for a couple of years, living on the investments. Now with me around, or so he said, we were running short. I wondered why he hadn't figured that out earlier. He didn't ask me to go back to work, but the Mercedes was on lease, and it had to be turned in. We were stuck with the old pickup that was used for carting the monkeys in cages to the vet and bringing home bags of feed.

Rex started giving sailing lessons at the Yacht Club. Now he was gone most of the day, and every morning during prime feeding time. "Not working" was far more labor than I had imagined. I didn't know his finances were so tight or I might have had second thoughts about the deal. Still, I got to drink piņa coladas and lay around in the sun all afternoon on my own private beach.

Sometimes my best girlfriend from the club would come by to keep up her all-over tan. Danielle was luscious with her tiny shaved mound and vanilla double D's. We'd loll naked on a quilt on the little beach, sucking face and pressing our tits together until somebody's fingers, usually mine, would rove over tender skin. She'd flip to her back and spread her legs, and I'd open her like an envelope, with one finger to her juicy clit, and let the breeze dry her pink edges, so I could tongue them wet again. We ordered in, pizza or sushi, and by sundown we'd have rubbed ourselves raw. Rex had met her, and must've figured we fooled around, being dancer types, but he never said anything. I gave him whatever he wanted, and he did his part.

At first, we went out to dinner most nights. There was so much food prep for the monkeys that the whole day would be taken up by food if we cooked dinner. There were lots of nice seafood places, and we had our favorites. At night, we'd sit at the huge window overlooking our bay and listen to music, gazing out at the stars and the water. He had a light behind the house so we could see the palms blowing and the sparkle of waves. On the first night of a full moon, he turned the light off and we sat there in the dark and waited for the moon to come up. It cast its glittery trail across the water, and I thought it was a magic road leading right to me, where I had found my jackpot.

Sometimes we'd put on Mack's leash and take him out with us behind the house, where he could be fastened to a rail left from the tourist attraction days. He really enjoyed the fresh air, and he would sit in a palm that slanted near the edge of the water. He'd flirt, throwing me kisses, and I'd unhook him and let him cuddle next to me and pick through my hair.

Our eating at nice places and star-gazing got less and less over the weeks and months. Rex started to watch TV sports in the den a few nights a week. Sometimes he went out with his buddies, leaving me there to sip my drink and count the stars alone.

One night I thought one of the spiders was using another as a punching bag. When I opened the door, Itsy and Bitsy were grooming each other, Mack and Sweetums were swinging, and Big Man was racked out in the other room playing with his toe. The door between the rooms was closed as we generally left it. They all looked up at me, like, "What's your problem?" I think they could hear my footsteps, or see me in their mirrors. It was all a trick to get my attention.

These ruckuses began to break out more in both rooms. I'd go in to check on them and scratch backs, bring treats. Mack or Big Man would often sit there and masturbate, looking me straight in the eye. Sometimes the females would finger themselves.

I could sign a few phrases I'd learned to Big Man, but he just stared at me. He was stubborn. They were bored, poor things, him especially, because he was smarter and more isolated. I wanted to swing with them and get some exercise, but when I mentioned it to Rex he said that was too dangerous if he wasn't home. I knew he was right. I saw them when the softness in their eyes turned flat and hard, like there was something wild ready to break out. That's when I'd race for the door.

Rex went out two nights in a row one week and I was really pissed. He had a friend down from Miami, but I was almost mad enough to head over to Reefers and see some of the regulars. I started to get dressed and then I thought about them—the regulars—and remembered the smell of that place. I wasn't that angry. Big Man was making a racket as usual, so I pulled a chair into the hall where he could see me to quiet him down. I knew the best way to stop boredom, so I slipped off my shorts and panties and put my favorite finger on my button and gave myself a nice twinge. Big Man seemed to know what I was doing. His eyebrows went up and he whimpered. When I started to breathe hard, he began to huff. He was jacking off, standing on the other side of the door. I wondered if this was a bad idea, but I didn't stop. I was almost there. I came and moaned out loud, and Big Man wasn't far behind. I was glad I hadn't left him alone. He was my friend.

I put on my shorts and got another drink. Big Man was whining, so I took a look and decided to let him out. He was calm, and he knew what the leash meant, so it was no problem to hook him up and lead him to the back patio. After he sat for a while in his palm, he came down to sit on the bottom of the lounge chair and I gave him pieces of ice from my drink. He stood behind my back and groomed me. I don't know what he found there, but his cool fingers picking through my hair was like a massage. We both enjoyed it. I wasn't sure if Rex would like the idea, so I didn't mention it. It wasn't like Big Man would try to escape. He'd been born in captivity and he knew where his meals came from. He was more civilized than most of the regulars at Reefers. It became our little secret. Every time Rex left, Big Man got out.

As the nights turned cooler toward Christmas, Big Man would sit next to me and doze off with his head on my chest. He'd wake up drowsy and look at my face. Nice, nice! glowed in his round eyes. But the animal was always close. Sometimes he'd jump, as if I'd hit him, and his lips would curl back. Must bite! Must bite! was fighting to take over his brain. I'd get out of his way until he settled down. He wasn't so different from the guys at the bar. You never knew with men.

I started to get suspicious of Rex. He didn't have much time for sex or monkey tricks, started spending every day at the Yacht Club. Since the snowbirds were down, it made sense that he had more work, but I thought he might be seeing another woman. If you think it, it's true, they always say. Maybe she was a snowbird, and this was their yearly rendezvous. I had my own girlfriend, but I didn't like that Rex was sneaking around and leaving me home peeling bananas all day. I wondered if that was his plan all along, find some sucker for the monkeys so he could be with his girlfriend. Maybe she didn't like monkeys and I was his chance to make a break. Maybe that was what his wife did to him.

The difference was that Julia had money. She left him with investments and the house, and still had enough dough to take off. He was pretty much stuck with me, unless he wanted to leave with nothing. I started to think I could do without him fine, but even if he left me with the place, finances would still be lousy. I'd have to take care of the monkeys and go back to spreading my ass.

Finally, one night Rex stayed home with me, and we had a drink on the patio like the old days. I had several drinks. Big Man was making a ruckus inside, and I knew why, but Rex ignored it.

I was unhappy to see Rex finish eating, make himself another scotch and get comfortable back out on the lounge chair without a word of thanks for the dinner I made. I sat down on his lap anyway, giving it one more cheerleader try. I massaged the back of his neck, licked at his lips, and ground my ass a little into his groin. But he kissed back without pressure, his eyes glazed. I sucked on his neck and he pushed my face away, going back to shallow kisses, his arms straight at his sides, hands flat on the couch. Things had changed, but it wasn't my fault. I gave up on foreplay and undid his belt and zipper, slipping to my knees on the floor, thinking I could work him up for a good ride, at least. I sucked him till my jaws cramped. He pumped me for a couple of minutes before his cock fell out.

I didn't make an issue of it because I didn't want to hear any lies. I tried to act normal and talk about all the cute things the monkeys did that day. Then I asked an important question. "What will the monkeys do if something happens to us?"

"I guess you'll be here when I'm gone," he said.

"Great. I can't handle them."

He took a drink of his scotch. "Don't worry. I have a big life insurance policy. You can get any extra help you need. These guys could live to be forty."

"Forty! How much money?"

"A million. My wife set that up too, so the monkeys would be taken care of, no matter what."

"That was pretty generous, but if they live till forty—"

"She has plenty of money. She felt responsible for these guys, even though she hated them."

"Hated them?"

"Yeah, I don't know why. Big Man scared her one time, and she never forgave him."

"What did he do?"

"Nothing. She said he was going to do something."

I figured Julie just wanted out. If you had money everything was easy.

We both kept drinking. It was the only thing we enjoyed together anymore, but it made me hostile.

"So what are the monkeys and me supposed to do all the time when you're gone?"

"Shh. You're too loud."

"So what? Nobody around here."

"You'll wake them."

I got louder on purpose. "Well, they're in this too. You don't spend any time with them."

He whispered. "I have to work. Somebody has to."

"You don't make much."

"I don't wave my naked ass in anybody's face."

"You sure?"

He gave me a disgusted look. I didn't ask again. It didn't matter what he was doing. It was how he tricked me, setting me up to think he had money, forcing me into the boring, shit job he was sick of.

After that night, the million bucks wouldn't leave me alone. It taunted me every morning when I cut vegetables, and all afternoon, when I scrubbed shit off the walls and windows, slimy lettuce from the floor, washed sour soggy monkey biscuit out of all the water bowls, and scraped yogurt and oatmeal from the windowsill. After about a week I realized that although Rex was a lot older, I couldn't hold out till he died. Nothing was the way it was supposed to be. I was cheap help for a man trapped with wild children who would never grow up.

I started my training plan. I concentrated on Big Man because he could do the job alone, and the others would follow his lead. I had our wedding picture blown up huge, and cut Rex's face out of it to mount it with a stick inside a shirt and jeans that I got out of the dirty laundry. I stuffed it with Rex's underwear. I padded the stick with foam rubber so it looked like a neck, and put an "X" on the left side where the jugular would be. I sewed a set of cock and balls to stuff inside the pants.

I fried up a pound of bacon, and put it into the refrigerator, knowing the shit was going to fly if I had to do much rewarding. I coaxed Big Man into the kitchen on his leash, signing, "Bacon, bacon, Big Man." I had a strip inside the oven, and I stood in front of it with the dummy. "Big Man, bite," I said and signed it to him. I pointed to the "X" and signed it again and again. "Big Man, bite."

His head moved high and low from side to side. He sniffed to find the bacon, but the whole room was filled with the smell. I held the dummy near his face and signed "Bite," pointing to the "X." "Bite," I signed, "I give bacon."

I signed bite and bacon, bite and bacon, but he didn't get it, or pretended not to. I was aggravated. I took the dummy and bit it on the "X," shaking my head like a shark in a frenzy. I opened the oven and grabbed the bacon to flop it on the dummy's neck. I shoved it at Big Man and he bit lightly—all he wanted was the bacon—but it was a start.

I opened the refrigerator to get another piece. Big mistake. Big Man grabbed the platter and pushed me down. The leash came right out of my hand. He sat on the floor and ate the whole pound in thirty seconds. I realized I had little control.

The next day I hooked Big Man outside. I wanted him to know that the bacon was all mine and he would only get it if he did what I said.

I brought out the bacon and set it on a table outside his reach. He went wild. He jerked at the chain and his eyes bounced from me to the bacon and back. I dug into the back of the broom closet and got the dummy and stood there signing and saying, "Big Man, bite. I give bacon."

He started making his hooting chimp noises, trying to coax me, full of glee.

"What does Big Man want?" I said. "Tell Darlene," I signed.

He continued to hoot and I held the dummy near him. "Kill Rex, get bacon," I said. "Kill Rex!" I handed him the dummy but not the bacon. "Bite Rex!" I held out a strip. "Kill Rex!"

Finally, he curled back his lips and ripped a chunk out of the rubber. I grabbed two strips of bacon and stuck them at him. He grabbed them with his hand and shoved them into his mouth. Then he grabbed the dummy and ripped every shred of rubber off the neck.

We went on half the day that way, with several repaired necks, moving down to the genitals, until I could barely say the word bite and he'd have his teeth on the dummy tearing the rubber away. After he'd shredded all the parts, I let him rip out the stuffing and toss it around.

His animal nature was taking control. I played up my role as his pal, chaining him in the kitchen one day, giving him all my attention. He sat on a chair, and watched me wash and cut fruit and vegetables all morning. After a while, I heard him make a familiar grunt, and when I turned, he was pumping his cock. His eyes were soft and his lips were curled in a smile as he came on the seat of the kitchen chair. He was with me all the way.

I decided the best way to do it was in one big rush. I'd unlock the doors while Rex was having his coffee, and wait for Big Man to find his way into the kitchen when I started frying the bacon. I'd sign "Kill Rex," behind his back, and in the few seconds that Rex had to live, he'd think he was meeting his natural fate, the fate he deserved for betraying his children. The county would take all the monkeys away, most likely destroy them, but I tried not to think of that. I'd be free with the million. Nobody would suspect me. The crazy guy with the monkeys had been asking for it for years.

I didn't waste any time. That afternoon I put the dummy clothes in the wash and threw the foam rubber in the trash, burned the photo face. Nobody would be able put all that together.

The next morning Rex was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper. I'd unlocked the cage doors while the monkeys were still asleep. I told Rex I felt like making some bacon and eggs. As soon as I said the word, the hooting started. Big Man went wild and the others followed. Rex shook his head and kept reading.

The bacon barely started to crackle when Big Man came leaping through the door. I don't think he even saw me sign. He knocked Rex to the floor and bit into his throat, tearing away flesh, much easier than he had the rubber. Blood shot out and he kept on biting and spitting out the pieces. Rex dropped, unconscious in seconds. It was more horrible than I'd imagined. Big Man moved down and tore up his cock and balls, yanking them off with his hand, ripping the sack with his teeth. I was frozen.

Big Man didn't forget the bacon. He looked at me and I jumped aside, and he picked up the half-cooked pieces three at a time and stuffed them into his bloody mouth. Mack, Sweetums, Itsy, and Bitsy were in the doorway watching, excited. I started toward the door to make my break down the stairs. Big Man finished with the bacon, and he leaped to block the way, with must bite! in his eyes. I grabbed a sharp knife off the sink, but he reached for my wrist and twisted. The knife fell to the floor. "Bacon!" I yelled and pointed toward the stove. He turned and let loose, and I ran the opposite direction into the monkey rooms and slammed the door, to wait until they'd all settled down.

I didn't count on Big Man locking me in.

I was at their mercy, caged for hours. I had to pee in the corner. I wasn't anywhere near as strong as they were, and obviously no smarter, because there was no hope unless somebody came to the house. I thought they might get bored eventually and let me out, take care of me, as I had taken care of them, but they seemed to have no interest.

They were all banging around in the kitchen—no doubt, eating all the food, tossing pans, breaking dishes, and yanking out drawers. After a long time, things got quiet. I woke up at dusk. Big Man's face was at the window. Maybe he wanted me to fix the yogurt and oatmeal. I went to the door. "Big Man, let Darlene out," I said and signed. "Big Man, unlock door."

He looked at me and got a big grin, pulling his lips out, snorting and mocking me. His hands came close to the window and he moved his fingers. I couldn't believe it. The chimp was signing. "Darlene kill Rex."

"No!" I signed, "Big Man kill Rex!"

He started with that chimp laugh that made my skin crawl, a piercing mocking hoot. "Darlene kill Rex," he signed and laughed. He bent down then, and I thought he was unlocking the door. I wasn't sure I wanted out. But that wasn't it. His face came back up and he was holding the sharp knife in his teeth by the blade. It was covered in Rex's blood. "Darlene kill Rex."

My guts froze. The handle of the knife had my prints on it. But It was impossible that he could know that, a coincidence how he was holding it. I had to get that knife. I kicked the door and banged with my fists, and he ran off. I sat down on the floor, drained and horrified. But then the door opened slightly. Big Man had unlocked it. I looked out. Nobody there. No knife. I didn't think the police knew sign language or would even listen to a chimp, but they would take the knife for evidence. As the beneficiary of a million bucks, I was in trouble.

The spiders were lounging all over the couch. Groggy, greedy monkeys, limbs dangling. Liquor fumes were thick, and bottles broken, so they might've been drinking. There were gummy bears and peanut shells ground into piles of crap on the carpet, a banana peel hanging on a lamp shade. I walked past it all into the kitchen. Garbage, blood, and shit were everywhere. The refrigerator was open and empty, milk and orange juice cartons smashed, pickles and ketchup and lettuce trampled on the tile floor. They'd eaten at least two days worth of carrots, celery, bananas, oranges. A fifty pound bag of monkey biscuit was dumped in the corner and somebody had peed on it.

A river of blood showed Rex's body had been dragged under the table. I looked and held my breath. Besides the torn and bitten flesh of his neck there were clearly knife wounds, the throat slit from the right ear to the mangled, stringy part on the left, the head nearly severed. I gagged up the small amount of food in my stomach. Everything was wrong. I wanted Rex back. He hadn't been so bad. I heard something behind me and stood up. Big Man walked in and signed, "Darlene kill Rex."

"Where's the knife, Big Man?"

He started to laugh. He'd been waiting for his chance, playing me, just like I'd thought I was playing him, and Rex had played me. I bent over and gagged some more. Big Man was staring at me. He kept laughing until that animal look came into his eyes. He pulled his cock and it grew out long and hard. He sat on the chair and worked his pud, my chance to search for that knife. All I had to do was find it and wipe off my prints. Without evidence, nobody would believe a freaking ape.

I got down on my hands and knees and raked through the slimy trash with my fingers. The knife could be anywhere. I tried to think like an ape, but my brain was dead. I would never find it like that. Big Man was too smart. The only way was to convince him to show me. I didn't have much time.

Big Man was rocking and grunting. His come squirted out onto the chair. He nodded off and I let him doze for a few minutes while I took a last useless look around. Then I stood across the room and called his name.

"Darlene wants knife," I signed and shouted. "Darlene wants knife." I turned my back to him, slipped my shorts and panties down, and bent over. It always worked with men—or so I'd thought. "Darlene loves Big Man," I said. I bent farther and signed between my legs. He grinned and hooted, showing his mouthful of long yellow teeth and dark gums. I had his attention.

I bit my lip and sucked up what I had left of squeamish feelings. If Big Man was smart enough to hide the knife, we could make a deal. "Get knife," I signed. I pushed my finger inside myself to be sure he got the message. He bounded on top of me in a second and I clenched, prepared to be stuck from behind, like I'd seen the monkeys do it, but instead he spun me around and opened his gap of a rotten mouth and plastered it over my face. He'd been watching me and Rex. His teeth cut into my nose and chin, and the hot stench of broccoli breath poured over me. I convulsed hard and broke lose, jerking my head back and ejecting a slug of phlegmy bile that landed on his furred thigh. He snatched it up quick, cupped it into his mouth, and swallowed it down like an oyster appetizer, then pulled me forward onto his penis. It tore in, pointy and hard, like a knife. Knife. I wished it was the fucking knife. He huffed and drooled onto my face, and I wondered how many times I'd have to let him fuck me to give me that murder weapon.

Big Man finished with a long grunt, knocked me sideways to the floor, stepped on my throat, and dashed out of the room. I choked and gasped. Any more weight on that foot and he'd have broken my windpipe. I must have blacked out because it was dark when I opened my eyes.

No Big Man. No knife. I dragged myself up and walked through the hall to the living room. I could hear him in there messing around. Moonlight from the window showed him cross-legged in the corner. I snapped on the light. He was finger painting with crap on the wall. No knife. He turned and looked at me. His shitty hand dropped to his lap. His prick was hard. It dawned on me then, that I had no elongated vagina for protection, and he would rape me whenever he pleased. I turned and ran for the door, but he leapt onto my back and pinned me. My face hit the tile floor and teeth cut through my lip. His pointy knife ripped into my ass. It wasn't worth the million.

Copyright©2008 Vicki Hendricks

Vicki Hendricks is the author of noir novels Miami Purity, Iguana Love, Voluntary Madness, Sky Blues and Cruel Poetry. She enjoys adventurous activities and exotic travel and has made nearly 600 skydives on three continents, all useful research for her novels, short stories, and non-fiction. She lives in Hollywood, Florida, and teaches writing at Broward College.