STORYGLOSSIA    Issue 38    February 2010


Whatsoever A Man Soweth (Bloody Mary)


by Barry Graham



I charged different amounts depends who I sold too. Sometimes I got that really good ganja, that lemon lime sticky shit that smelled like pine trees and I ended up giving it to blonde haired high school bitches for blow jobs behind the dumpsters near the tennis courts. I didn't mind, I was already high, I just couldn't pinch from the bag later unless I made up for it, and I always did. There were two slick haired Italian boys three houses down who paid too much for this southern Cali homegrown bullshit I got on the cheap. I didn't know where they got their money from, but whatever. Fools sow their own seeds, I'm just a reaper. That's what they call me out here. I got that shit tatted on my back, the Reaper.

I didn't really sell that shit to make money. I did it to connect, it's more spiritual. I was like a saint or a guru to those motherfuckers. My dad was killed in Afghanistan four years ago, shot in the throat from friendly fire fifteen feet from an opium field. The feds keep sending me and my momma checks so that's how I stacked bank. Momma put that shit up her nose, but not me, as soon as I hit ten grand I bought a pawn shop off this old Korean dude. I used to wash dishes in one of his restaurants over on 6th and I sold him my dad's old guns and that's when I knew washing dishes was bullshit and if I wanted to make some real dollars I had to make my own way, be my own man, sow my own seeds

I had five more days before the next check came and all my dad's guns were gone except this rusty ass chrome twenty-two revolver. The Korean guy wouldn't give me shit for it, not cash, not a trade, not even a broke ass Playstation without the controllers, but I still got mine. Three guys followed me outside and asked if I'd swap it for a quarter pound. I hardly ever smoked the shit and that's what I told them, but they said I could sell it so I did. It was hard at first because I never left the house except to go to work and I finished high school six years ago, but then I met this pale skinned red headed chick named Annie and shit got a whole lot easier. Annie was a crazy bitch, her momma was a crazy bitch too, but I skipped a whole lot of shit so let me slow down and tell ya'll how it all went down . . .



I picked out the stems and seeds and cut the rest up real good and put the dope into little pink dime bags. I stopped two fat kids on skateboards and asked them if they wanted to get high. I felt like one of those burned out jean jacket junkies in the say no to drugs commercials who stand by the merry-go-round and talk little kids into shooting up. They asked to smell it first and when I held it to his nose the fattest one snatched it from me while his friend kneed me in the nuts. I fell on my back and they took turns kicking me in the mouth then they both ran off in opposite directions into oncoming traffic. I was on all fours spitting blood onto the sidewalk and shoving the bags back into my pocket and some girl, eleven or twelve maybe, held her hand out and asked if I needed help. I wiped the bloody spit onto the back of my hand and she laughed and grabbed it and pulled me up.

"Hi, I'm Annie."

"You don't look like an Annie."

"You don't look like a dope dealer."

"What the fuck do you know?"

"I know you're gonna keep getting your ass kicked if you don't find a new job."

She followed me a mile and a half down 6th until we hit the restaurant. Her tits were small and her little girl hips fell straight down the insides of her black skirt and she wouldn't let go of my hand while we walked.

"You got any more of those little baggies?"

"You got any money?"

"You're gonna make me pay after I stopped those boys from beating your ass?"

I handed her a dime bag and she licked the spit from her palm before she took it and kissed me on the cheek and her lips felt cracked and freezer burnt, but good, they felt good, like she smoked cheap cigars and sucked dick between hits. She left and I thought about her all night while I scrubbed the crusty chicken chow mein off all those goddam dishes. And there were always dishes and the restaurant was always hot and the Korean dude wouldn't use fans. Every time I asked he always rambled on about demons using fans to suck the souls from his ancestors by stealing away all the air. It never made sense until I smoked that raggedy ass Oriental weed his sons used to sell on the side to locals, then I kept losing air and I started unplugging my bedroom fan before I fell asleep.

She was sitting cross legged on the sidewalk reading one of our take-out menus when I got off work. She had the weed rolled in a strawberry Swisher Sweet wrap and she lit it, hit it, then passed it to me but my hands were still wet from the dishwater and my shirt and pants were too and she kept asking for the leftover sweet and sour pork but all the doors and windows were locked so we went to her place on 2nd. She lit two rose colored candles on her dresser and turned off all the lights and we opened the window and climbed out onto the roof and finished smoking. Every time I exhaled I blew towards a group of stars we both pretended was the Big Dipper and she wouldn't stop giggling until we came back inside and fell asleep on the floor facing each other with our mouths open breathing onto each other's cheeks. I smelled sausage when I woke up and the sun was shining and she was gone and so was my weed.

She was sitting in the same spot on the sidewalk when I got off work the next night. I brought her out two cartons of sweet and sour pork and she handed me an empty pack of Pall Malls full of money and neither of us spoke while she ate. We went back to her house same as the night before but this time we didn't have shit to smoke. She sold it all in school before lunch time.

No one was home when we got there. No one ever was. She lived with her sister who was gone for weeks at a time doing top secret shit for the Navy and their momma got locked in the looney bin for wrapping a sheet around her neck and tying it to a ceiling fan and hitting the switch and now they won't let her out. Now she carves chunks of flesh from her thighs and babbles on about taking her rightful place at Buckingham Palace as next in line for the English throne. She thinks she's the great great great however many fucking greats granddaughter of Queen Mary I. She says Mary had a baby girl that everyone thought was dead but a secret order of witches hid her out because they didn't want Mary to be executed after she produced an heir and she thinks her and Annie are direct descendants of that bloodline, that almost miscarriage, that demonic mistake. I know. It's some deep history shit, right? That's the kind of shit Annie always talked about when we got high, queens and witches and bloody babies. I knew she was a crazy little bitch but she was really good at selling weed as long as I kept letting her smoke it. And I think I might have loved her, but I was always too high to tell.

I stopped working for the old Korean dude. He paid us in cash every other Friday but we had to pick it up from the pawn shop. Last time I went I bought a portable CD player, just a little something to listen to while I scraped the broccoli and rice off the plates and dipped them in hot water. I stopped washing the dishes months ago. The CD player was broke so I took it back the next day but he wouldn't give me my money, so I went home and unplugged my fan and stuffed it in my backpack and took it to work and left it plugged in all night underneath a dirty ass dish cart. I figured fuck him and his ancestors and his soul and all that, but he never showed back up to the restaurant, not the next day, or the next day, not ever again. Both of his sons died in their sleep.

"That's why the Goddess chose you as the Reaper."

"Why, because I sow all them seeds, I make moves, I make shit happen?"

"Because you bring death."



She took off her tank top and bloody white panties and turned off the light above the bathroom mirror after she lit two baby blue candles. She rubbed two fingers between her legs and smeared the blood onto the mirror. I shoulda snatched my weed off the bed and broke the fuck out, but her fingers got redder and redder and it kinda made my dick hard so I watched her smear fingerfuls of fluids and little balls of blood onto the glass and talk into it like Snow White's wicked step momma, "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary." That's all she said for an hour and a half, then she stopped and fell back onto the bed and cried, so I laid beside her and intertwined my fingers with hers and fell asleep watching the candles burn themselves out and all the blood was dry by morning. And drier the next morning. And the next.



"Everyone has something, right? Everyone was put here for a reason. A destiny?"

"Destiny? Reasons? I'm too tired for this mess right now."

"But what if it's true? It's gotta be true. That's all she ever talked about. She showed me the books, the research."

"Come on Annie, hit this shit and go to sleep."

"I'm serious. Will you listen to me for one fucking second? What if it's me? What if I'm supposed to be the queen?"

"You are. You're the queen. I promise."

"Shut the fuck up. Stop doing that. I need to know."

She pulled her panties down around her ankles while I rolled a joint in a white Zig Zag on top of her Social Studies book, then she kneeled on the floor in front of my feet. She kept staring and I kept rolling more weed and she kept staring and I kept rolling more weed. She said "please" and put her hand on my cheek and I lit one of the white boys and tried blowing the smoke into her mouth but she wouldn't open it.

"I need you. It has to be you. Please."

"Come on Annie, you're cool and all, but you're so young? This shit don't make no sense."

"It's all fake unless there's blood. All these pussy little girls closing their eyes and talking into mirrors. It's all bullshit. Mary only comes if there's blood."

"You know that shit ain't true. And even if it is, I thought that Bloody Mary bitch kills you."

"Normally she does, but not me. It's Bloody Mary, Queen Mary I. She won't kill me. Her blood is my blood. But she has to know I'm the chosen one. I have to use virgin blood. It has to be me. It has to be now."

All the blood talk made my stomach hurt and I doubted my dick would get hard even if I wanted it to but it did and I did and she cried and I cried and she bled and she waited for midnight and lit two more baby blue candles and she rubbed between her legs and smeared the blood and said "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody" for an hour and a half and nothing happened and she cried and I held both hands this time and blew out the candles before I fell asleep and all the blood was dry by morning. And drier the next morning. And the next.



I went to the pawn shop to pick up my last check. I thought he knew it was me that killed his sons but he didn't so he shook my hand and asked me why I stopped bringing him guns and we talked about egg rolls and the Korean War and he asked if I still wanted to buy the spot and I said yes. I didn't know shit about buying a pawn shop so I found a lawyer from the phone book and met him at his office and we got shit all figured out. With the money I had left in the bank I could take over ownership in two months and I did. I went to my dad's grave and thanked him for the money and told him I'm glad blowing up unarmed Afghani school kids was finally good for something and I promised to name the place after him and I did. Dead Poppa's Pawn Shop.



I ain't seen Annie since the night she made me take her virginity which was cool cause I stopped selling dope and all she did was make me wanna smoke it. A black haired burnout kid came to the shop and swapped a forty-two inch TV and a bullet proof vest for twenty-five bucks and a set of twelve inch Rockford Fosgates. I made him sign a slip and copied his driver's license and sent him out the door and just when he closed it Annie opened it back up.

"Where you been? Why'd you stop coming over?"

"I'm doing big things. You know where I'm at."

"Come over tonight. We need to talk."

"I ain't getting involved in that shit again, Annie. I'm keeping away."

"I'm done with that, I promise. I just need to see you."

"Alright, I'll be there when I close up."

"You got any more stuff you need me to sell?"

"No. I'm going legit."

"You only think about your goddam self. What about me?"

She threw a quarter ounce on the counter and it smelled like laundry soap and she called me a pussy and left. I got to her house at twenty minutes to midnight and all the lights were out except for two cream colored candles in the bathroom.

"I thought you said you weren't gonna pull this shit again."

"I'm not. This is different. Was that shit I gave you any good?"

"Good enough. So, what's up?"

"I'm pregnant."

"Fuck, Annie. You didn't tell me this shit was gonna happen. I don't— "

"It's alright. It had to happen. It's taken care of."

She told me to leave the bathroom and I did. She closed the door and locked it and I heard her crying and screaming and she wouldn't open the door and she wouldn't stop screaming and I heard her hit the floor and the screaming stopped so I kicked the fucking door in and she was passed out naked in a puddle of blood with a metal curtain rod still stuck to her hand. There was blood on the toilet and the bath tub and underneath her fingernails and lips and between her legs and the mirror and the walls and all over the curtain rod and I threw up green and brown shit all over her legs and kneeled beside her on the tiled floor.

"Come on, Annie. Wake up. What the fuck? I'm calling 9-1-1."

"Don't. Please. I'm okay." Her voice was too soft and too slow so I still called.

"You need help. You need — "

"Help me up. Help me stand."

I did and she wouldn't stop bleeding. She hunched over against the sink and scooped puddles of blood from between her legs and smeared them all over her body and all over the walls and all over the mirror and the dead baby blood mixed with the period blood and the virgin blood still on the glass and I fell back into the bathtub and hit my head and threw up again and I fought my eyes to stay open.

"Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary."

"I told you that shit don't work Annie. I read some books. You're history's all wrong. Queen Mary was a Catholic. She burned women at the stake for being witches. They wouldn't help her save her baby. They wouldn't — "

"Fuck you. You're lying to me."

"No I'm not. I promise. Let's go to the hospital."

"No, you're a fucking liar. You're just like them . . . Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Come on bitch. Show yourself. It's me. It's Anne . . . It's you. It's your fault. She won't come because you're not a real fucking Reaper."

She was crying and bleeding and she took the curtain rod and stabbed it into my chest and I slipped further back into the bathtub and my eyes blinked in and out of consciousness and I saw more blood and the candles flickered and holy shit there she was in the glass. Queen Mary. And the blood and the glass was broken and the flame from the candle and the blood and Mary and my eyes and my baby and her heartbeat and the Queen in the mirror she was in the fucking mirror and Annie wasn't moving and the dried blood made fresh blood and my chest was closing and my eyes and my eyes and Annie stopped breathing and the fan at the pawn shop was left plugged in.



Copyright©2010 Barry Graham


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