Beast of Belly..a Burden
He howls loud, especially at night..shouting for release. Yelling to be free.
Pangs and miserable moans..growling..to be heard.
Be still Jackal. I have nothing for you today.
Kicking me with his bent over slate toes..his withering varicose legs; distorted and cadaverous.
With long curled silver nails, he slashes stripes out of my intestines.
Grown accustomed to his pain..I ignore him.
Distressed he pleads..”I wanna get out..Please.”
With a spoonful of sugar and the darkest rum, I try to soothe him. But, he slobbers it out..bubbling the liquor from his blue lips.
Soon after, I run a warm bath of sweet milk and honey. Followed by a gentle massage of Lavender, Juniper Juice and Almond Oil. I had hopes of relaxing him and changing his mood. But, instead the ritual just incited his deviance even further.
He flailed and bawled..cringed and grunted. Contemplated and conspired on his next move. Childishly, thumping me with his fingers.
“Let me out..Bitch!”..he bursts. His bloody tongue spitting and squirting diseased lies. Conjuring up horrid tales while holding my ovaries between his teeth..
He gushes…”I’ll do it Bitch..You know I will. I’ll crush em!”..juices swirling between his slurred speech.
Complacent.. I whisper.. Be quiet Jackal. Not today.
I stroke and press… delicately; to soothe him.
He whines and bellows..elbowing my sides.. kneeing my navel.
“I hate you girl. I fucking hate you.” (with heavy breath)
Alright, Jackal.. I know. Just calm down. Shh..I hold and rock him….
From each side he bumps.. “Li..aaah!!!” he screams. “Let me out..Bitch..let me out!” He tantrums and shakes.
I sigh..Jackal you’re not being fair.. Stop it.
In the evening, I cook a full meal. Fresh greens, and rich grains. A sweet potato pie topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles. Red wine and mint garnish.
My Grandmother’s gold-rimmed china, and the best silver. A beautiful, pink, silk, beaded table napkin, rests on my lap.
Eat up Jackal..it’s good…. I smile.
He groans..and rattles. Every bite I try to feed him..he blows back. I hiccup and burp. Desperately trying to hold the food down.
I fizzle… Stop it! Jackal, Stop it..your gonna make me sick.
I inhale and huff, then return to my meal. Watching the dark sky..and the ivory chiffon curtains vibrate from the open window. Candle wax drips into it’s holder; it’s light beautifully flickering. A peaceful scene. Serene and tranquil.
I raise my fork again.. A small bite I take..
He spews it out..over my chin.
Quickly I wipe, and slam the fork onto the table.. “Dammit Jackal!!! I said not tonight! I just wanted to have a peaceful meal..for once!”
I push myself from the table, allowing the pretty napkin to fall.
Snatch up the plate and utensils… Drown the candle … then toss everything in the trash.
My stomach ripples and shakes.
Angry and silent. Aggressively panting and perspiring I grab my keys, my purse, a coat, the trash, and out the backdoor I go.
Jackal’s skittish and merry..Clapping his idiotic hands.. “Yes..Yes..”
“Fuck YOU Jackal.” I snare.
His heels are pressing into my pelvis.. Upright he stands in me. Straight and Firm. Properly saluting me, in all too familiar fashion.
I toss the bag into the dumpster.
Stomp around to the front. Yank open the car door, drive the car into the garage with door still open. Pull down the garage door. Lock. Then, head down the road.
My breath is uneasy. I’m jittery and edgy. I tell myself to calm down. I try to slow down my breathing and gather my thoughts, but it’s difficult.
The swirling dust and the cool air ignite me. Balling my fist..I scream as loud as I can.. (yelling at the stars) “Why is this happening?!”
With a deep inhale, I shake my head. Quickly resolving that everything, (all of “this”)… is in-fact bull shit. Softly muttering, “I can’t eat, sleep, or be still. I’ll never be at peace. I hate it.”
My lips perch..and anger turns into frustration. Frustration with Jackal for not compromising. For not seeing things my way. For ALWAYS getting what he wants.
Mad I turn inward..
“Ya hate me, Jackal? Well, I fucking loathe You! I LOATHE you!”
Tickled he smiles. Rubbing my belly from the inside. “I don’t hate you. I don’t hate you..” he wickedly sings.
He playfully pinches me. Distorting his voice to sound just like mine. Mocking me.. “I loathe you.” Amused…we both laugh.
I get myself together, and pick up the pace; as if aware of my destination. Quickly and swiftly walking. But, soon tired and muddled.
We stroll for miles. With hesitation and confusion, I linger in the darkness. Aimlessly wandering. Kicking rocks in my cowgirl boots. Wanting to return home, but knowing that I won’t be able too. Distraught with what I’ve become but aware of my lack of choice.
“I hate this. I really hate this. But, Jackal’s all I have. I have no one but him.” I whisper between bitten lips.
In comfort, I submit. I breathe.
Anxiously, he sways. I pat him still. Once again, my baby. My only friend.
“I know where we’ll go!” I smile.
I turn the corner to the bus station.. We take the bus for a couple of blocks and arrive at the subway.
On the train..
He dances and hums. I twirl my hair and wring the sweat from my hands.
He squeals the number of stops the train takes. “1..2..3..4..5..
As I rise..he excitedly bops around in me.
“6!!!” he yells. “I knew it! I knew it!”
Off..the train, and a skip of a couple blocks. We march.
Twilight shuffling through the white double doors with the chipped paint.
Dips and twists and Dally Oh’s..pack the box. Lush taverns full of spicy spirits
Lavish Bellies Boast
Beast of Belly..a Burden
A trip up on squeaky stool with turned metal and scarlet slashed vinyl
fogged glasses of Sailor brew and lonesome cherries.
Old smoke a burning…heavy coughs and cruddy cigars
blackened mirrors, dusty shelves and dark wine.
We sit at the bar..drinking and patiently waiting.
A brush of my shoulder and…. “Here we go.”
Jackal quietly listens.
“Hey Sweetness..I haven’t seen you in a while.”
” Hello. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you.” I flirt. Surveying him all over. “It’s him. he’s the one!” Jackal squawks.
“Do you mind?” he motions toward the seat next to me. “No, it’s fine.”
The bartender winks and slides my second drink. “Thanks Harry.” I murmur within my glass
“Uh..I got it.” Handing his credit card out to Harry. “Alright Man” yaps Harry, while giving me a side-eye look.
We talk for a while..until Jackal grows restless.
“Huu-aaa-ah..”I give out a fake yawn. “Okay. I think I’ll call it a night.”
I uneasily rise. Slightly off-balance and slipping off of my seat. Fast, he backs me up and gently anchors me; just like I knew he would.
Smiling he questions. “I hope you’re not trying to drive? I can take you home, if you like?”
I giggle. “Yeah, that may be best. I don’t think I’m gonna make it.”
I flap my wrist at Harry.. He throws the guy my coat..and we stumble out the door.
“I’m parked in the back.” holding me up by my waist. “Your not gonna be sick are ya?” I chuckle.. “Nah, I’m fine. Your not gonna be sick are ya?” I slyly giggle.
A cherry-red pick up truck awaits. “Nice truck” I slither.
“What is that you do again?” I ask. “I work construction.”
“Right.” I smile. “I guess that makes you pretty strong, hunh?” I flirt and squeeze his biceps.”
Blushing, he helps me up into the truck..Gently strapping me in. “Comfy?”
“Yep.. Totally.” I snicker
He locks and shuts the door then unlocks and opens the other.
Once he’s seated I watch him.
Nice looking guy. Clean cut and clear complexion. Kinda plain actually. No jewelry or watch. His knuckles were awfully red, though. A couple of old scars and scratches up his arm. There doesn’t seem to be any other distinguishable marks. He appears to keep to himself, neat from hat to pants..shoes were filthy. But, he’s into construction.. so I guess that explains it.
Jackal pokes me.. “You like him?”
“Ah..I guess. He’s attractive enough.”
I tell him where to go..he follows, exactly.
“Hey..my house is just up that road”..still slurring my words.
“Oh yeah? How long have you lived here?”
“All my life. It was my Great Grandparents house”.
Up the winding road we go.. the wheels popping dust and gravel.
“Wow..this is a lot of land. You live here alone?”
I cough..to hold Jackal down.. “Yes. I live here alone.”
“…..Humph. Pretty nice.”
I stumble out of the car..just to rouse him up a bit. He hurriedly comes to my aid. . up the porch we climb. He helps me up the stairs and holds me tight.
“Just push the door..it’s open”..
“You don’t lock your door?” I laugh drunkenly… “Nope.”. “Why not?” he asked; sounding a bit puzzled. “There’s no need. No one’s gonna come to [this] house. I’ve never had a problem. I guess people just know not to mess with this old place.” Lightly giggling as we enter the foyer.
I interrupt his next question with the sound of one of my boots flailing against the hallway wall. I kick off the other and toss my coat and purse to the side. Wobbling on tip-toes, I face the steps.. Holding tight to the banister with my left hand, and unzipping the back of my skirt with the right. Carefully, stepping out of it,while heading up the stairs. I feel him watching. From the corner of my eye, I peek..”You coming?” and purposefully swinging my hair. Breathy, he accepts. The wood bends as he climbs. I hear his keys cling in his pocket. The rustle of his jacket, tenderly rubbing under his arm. His jeans stiff and pressed and the firm clap of his shoes as he steps.
Ahead of him I stay. Dropping pieces for him to follow…shirt, bra..panties..
At the end of the hall I wait…naked and back facing him in the doorway.
Anxious, I sweat. My chest shivers and rises. Within a slight shake and he’s on-top of me. His chin resting on the top of my head. The zipper of his jacket scratching my back.
“Your very beautiful”.
“Thank you” I whisper.
He places his hands on top of my wrists..holding them gently to the door posts.
Is this your room? “Yes”.
“Can we go in?” My tummy rumbles.. “Yes”. He playfully pauses….”Wait, are you hungry?” and kisses my neck. “Something like that..” I smile
Heavily he presses against me.. His breath is racy. Releasing one of my wrists he pushes open the door.
Sweet scents explode from the room. Dimly lit by the nights sky. The moon; full and bright. The room; dark and bare. Empty, except for the bed in the center. White bedding and cherry wood head-board. Dark chocolate wood floor. Crimson curtains blow in the distance.
“Umph. Simple and Sweet.”. he states. “Yep.” I agree
Directing me toward the bed..we walk. Holding me by my shoulders and caressing down my arms.. “Turn around…I want to see you”.
Softly, I say.. “No. I like you here”. “Oh?” he questions. “I mean, I like you were you are”..I correct.
“Oh..okay.” He begins to kiss me. My shoulders, my neck and the center of my back. Tenderly, he pecks at my sides..firmly massaging my thighs. I (remorsefully) crawl on the bed. Laying on my stomach. Resting and relaxing.
He quietly removes his clothes. Neatly placing his shoes together. Folding over his jacket and pants and carefully placing his shirt on top.
Starting from my feet and ankles, he rubs up. Deep and firm with whole hands. I sigh..and converse with Jackal. “I like this. I really like this. He seems nice, now.” Jackal shushes me. “Shut up girl..I cant hear.”
He massages my back. Affectionately, paying attention to every part. At my neck he nestles; sucking my earlobe then lifting my hair out-of-the-way. I feel his hesitation..
“”What’s this?” slightly raising from me to take a better view. Dismayed, he dauntingly asks “What happened?”
“Ah”..I exhale. “I was in an accident a few years back. I had to have surgery, and that’s my scar”.
“Wow!..you don’t mind do you?” gesturing if it’s okay to further inspect.
“No. I don’t mind.” He further lifts my hair.
“What kind of accident was this? It had to be a very bad one. The scar stretches from the back to the front of your head. With your hair..though..it’s not noticeable.”
Too free and rambling with his words and questions, I grow weary and bury my face in the bed. “Oh. I’m sorry. I don’t want to offend you. It’s just..that..”
I stop him before he continues..”It’s ok. Really. I understand.”
He rubs his finger along the ridges. “Is this metal?”
Wow..your lucky to be alive.
“I know.” (dryly).
“So did they..”
“Look! can we please get back to where we were before you found the scar? I’ve heard and answered the same questions a thousand times before. I uneasily plead..Please?” while stiffening my body.
He leans to the side of me..trying to get a glimpse of my face.. Hovering at my shoulders…”I’m sorry. Really, I do apologize. I can be an idiot sometimes. Forgive me?”
I turn further away from him and secretly smile.
He ducks around me, sheltering me. “You are really pretty.” I’ve never met anyone like you.”
Jackal coughs and laughs. “Eek..Bullshit. He’s bullshit..Gal.”
“Do it..Do it. Do it”
I moan, instead of replying. Arching and curving my back. My body heats and pulses.
He gently moves with me.
I moaned more; rolling back and forth against him.
“Wow..your getting hot.” excitedly kissing my neck. He tries to move with me..at my pace, but can’t catch up. He wraps his arms around my waist to hold me and pull me closer.
I release more.
“Your skin is so warm..your really heating up”.
Entranced, I could barely hear him. He kept trying to view my face but my movement was making it difficult.
My head grew heavy and disjointed. I twisted back and forth, vibrating and shifting. My belly tightened and narrowed. Deeply inside me it tucked. Forcing my breast up and my shoulders back..
I grieved and mumbled. Whined and uttered.
He tries to grab hold..”Be still. Be still.” Frustrated, he forcefully tries to restrain me to enter me.
In the distance I heard him seek…”Are you alright? Hey, what about me? What did you say? What’s the hell going on?”
Up me Jackal scurried, scrambling at each side of my breast, whirling through my ribs and into my spine. Hurriedly tumbling about. He whizzed and bustled. Causing my body to rise and fall in inscrutable ways. Bony lumps poked through my skin. Contracting and constricting simultaneously.
Moans turned to groans.
Passion turned to fear.
Groans soon turned to hollers..
Hollers turned to limp prayers….”Our Father Who art in heaven hallowed be thy name..thy kingdom come..thy will be…”
Out of me he leaped. Jackal climbed into the spaces of his speech and left his lips dangling. Each side of the man’s jaw twisted. A slow stream of liquid fell from his eyes, while his pupils stayed on me. We watched each other as Jackal riddled his body.
Permeating each sector, perforating his pulmonary artery. Sipping from his spleen and chewing on his liver. Continuously searching. “Where?..Where?” I hear him call out. Ducking underneath his left Kidneys. “Where is it? You sick bastard?” He spins around his bladder, up to his large intestine and then around his small intestine..plucking it with his index finger..He sniffs. “Ha!” He snatches another piece of it with his nail. Licks and clicks his tongue. “Yep.”
Behind his small intestine hid a filthy secret. A war crime long forgotten. A sin he thought he paid for. Vowing never to repeat or speak of the atrocity he committed 20 years ago…he assumed it was over. He went to church almost every Sunday. He prayed every day. He repented; (he thought).
But, each night the ghastly deed would enter his slumber. A history and tragedy constantly retold. A haunting of a memory that he had so hoped would end. But, not because of its content, because of his embarrassment. A shameful secret forced to be divulged.
It was in Mahmudiyah, South of Baghdad, he and five other soldiers were drinking and playing cards a their assigned checkpoint. One soldier spoke of a young Iraqi girl he’d often seen doing chores in a house just up the road. He obsessed over her to the group and boasted of how he’d been hunting her for weeks. He suggested that they all go have some fun with her. A couple of more swigs..and it was a go.
In bright desert sun, the team, holding tight to their weapons entered the home. Taking hostage the girl’s family in one room, while raping her in a another. Three of them repeatedly raped and tortured the 14 yr. old girl. In a fog and confused, he was unsure to take part. So, he watched. At one point, a comrade asked him to hold her ankles because she was rapidly flailing about. He obliged. He watched uneasy yet excited. Dumb, numb and struck. Dazed he was unable to hear the gunshots in the far bedroom. To drunk to hear them announce that it “was his turn”. “Tony, come on man..you want some of this..?” Unresponsive, he just watched.. He watched when they shot and killed her and cautiously backed away as they poured kerosene and lit a match. Hot from the flames off of the burning bodies and drenched of sweat and blood, he fled with the rest of the pack.
He later testified at the civilian trial, that he was traumatized with fear. He was already dealing with the stress of war and death. He explained that he was afraid of his fellow officers. Of course never admitting that he was more fearful of what they would think of him, if he had protested or sought help. He told himself, that it was nothing he could do. “This is war. There’s no discrepancy in war. Is there?” Comforted for years with his response repeatedly asserting his self-proclaimed declaration…”It was his duty as a soldier to maintain a violent nature. It is necessary in war. He vowed once he had served his time, he would leave it all behind.
So he did. On the straight and narrow he lived. Never once in a brawl, a dispute, or ever to lose his temper. Upright and correct. A Misguided Hero in the eyes of his Commanding Officers and a Silent Soldier to his country.
But Jackal knew. He knew it as soon as we walked into the bar. He sensed it. He called out to the immortality (damnation). He heard the death, lies, and transgression. He found the sin..just like always.
Bit by bit Jackal gobbled each morsel of terror. He cringed in delight with every abomination he swallowed.
Suspended in silence we tracked each other. His gaze panicked and petrified. Paralyzed and stiff.
Me amazed and torn. Tired of the trauma and being used as the beast’s portal. So much I’ve seen and been exposed to. No happiness for me. No man is without sin but the weight of judgement is heavy upon me.
A balancing act. I juggle the sins from hand to hand. Jackal weighs them and Jackal convicts.
At last, he’s finished. Jackal burps loud and cackles as he climbs up from the man.
“Here I come, here I come gal”…he yells, proudly.
My eyes water. Dare I admit that I shed tears. No tears have bled from my eyes, since the accident. Jackal keeps me strong. We do a duty that must be done. No exceptions.
All crimson and grisly..he hangs from the man’s tongue.. He winks, then flies through the parts of my teeth, lovingly patting my cheek before he enters.
As soon as he places his feet upon my tongue..my breath returns. I deeply inhale to help him along the way. Easy he slides and slips into my belly.
Motionless The Man sits.
I carefully back away from him. Scooting off the bed and unto the floor. I Grab a neatly folded outfit from underneath the bed. Jeans, t-shirt, wind-breaker and sneakers.
Solemnly, I dress myself then redress the Man.
His lifeless body is rigorous but I manage. He stares at me; speechless. His lashes flicker and his eyes stay wide. I’d like to comfort him, but I know I can not. I slightly smile and push him back onto the bed.
“You’ve been punished for what you did in Baghdad!” I reassuringly yet assertively say.
“You are without a soul, which means you are dead. Shortly, you will regain movement of your body, but it will only last for a brief while. You have to do everything that I say to make your transition easier.”
His pupils began to dart.
Listen carefully. As soon as you gain strength in your legs you must immediately leave my home. Get in your truck and go! I intensely watch him, nodding my head for him to agree.
If you do not leave on your own, your time left will be painful. Your speech is limited so dare not speak of this to anyone.
His face starts to twitch. Sadly, I view him.
Before I left the room, I bent to whisper in his ear…
“Such a shame, you were a handsome coward.” I cluck my tongue and whisper more…”You’d better RUN…as soon as you can and as FAST as you can. Victimized Souls are known to claim Salvation in this house.”