Heroine Chic

       We were living full and down on the last rope of desperate. It was off 5th avenue,
in the squalor, the ecstasy, outside. The sky was always gun-gray metal for us, can’t
remember it ever being another color, all twisted in the fog of nowhere. New York. May
had been on the streets four months dropping in on the muscled winter, leaving a father
who was raping her and a mom hooked on clean, suburban, pardonable, pharmaceuticals.
New Haven. She grew there. Young waif, I can imagine, bleach white, virgin, porcelain,
unscathed, untouched. The burning orange leaves of autumn. Now the streets were
murdering her. “Fuck,” she said, “you fucked the needle, look.” She put the bowed steel
to my nose and pressed. This is what we do. We pull doors to atriums in the midnights to
shoot. Finding lone pub alleys or splattered windows of lighted buildings where the
tenants all seemed to be dying. Hoboken. Me, my home, industrial, steel, blue collared,
gutters. Dad gone, mom cranking, flipping and indigent. Me, ten starved years full of
good waste. New York, make it here, make it anywhere, that old Sinatra. Anyone can get
a job. It takes balls to make a life without one.

       Hooking. I made her do it. It was the only way to keep it all going. We fought the
first time in a crosswalk. She just shot the last score into her blue arm. I went digging in
the trash behind Hans deli, pissed, where the meat was just beginning to turn. I made her
feel guilty. She never brought up the job word. She knew what we were.

       It was first me. I stood on a corner, 10pm, while the cars stopped and started as if
their engines had minds. A Lexus with burned windows pressed against the curb. The
glass screwed down. I couldn’t figure it, wrapping it around my mind, through the
screaming colors and the shadows off the headlights, turning on and off his face like a
Florida electrocution.

       I just ate a shitload of oxy.

       It was dank, perpetual. I could barely get anything out.

       “How much?”


       “Get in.”

       A plastic brown Jesus stuck to the dashboard and the pewter crucifix swung as if
it was trying to free itself.

       “Cold night, huh?” he said, jumpy and all nervous, as he took the copper zipper of
his dockers between his fingers. My eyes were swinging backwards.


       I could dump him in the park, in the green woods, where only the sewered creeks
would know.

       “Do older men get you off?”

       “Sometimes”… I was coming down.

       He paused, then jerked the steering wheel across two empty lanes nearly
smashing a bum who made a last step of rescue.

       “Turn here.”

       We came to a narrow cold alley that was funneling the wind, and pulled behind a
filled dumpster. I lowered my head and put my mouth in his crotch, using my tongue
around the brown tip. He moaned, shoving his nails deeper in my hair. It took ten minutes
to suck him off.

       May stood in front of the Brumford bank, which had been closed for a month,
whistling above the burgeoning traffic. The free checking banner was waving above her

       “How much you get?”

       “30, I hate this shit,” I disgustingly said, as I put the twenty and ten into her small-
gloved hand, then wiped my mouth. Addicts, fucked addicts. Scams and suckers. These
were our minds, how to keep it all going.

       “Check it out,” she said, drawing my eyes to the flipping of a badge incased in a
black wallet she had dug out of the trash. N.Y.P.D. The kind I’d seen over frosted
windows in dead December, lurking and loitering outside Hassam’s home appliances.
Thirty was only good for one go around.

       We took the El back and forth to get away from the night and ourselves. The
winter was a white rape. I covered her head and arms with my third jacket while she shot,
obscuring the view of the security cameras that seemed to be breeding with every cross of
the burroughs. You could get by the undercovers on these Mondays but after Thursday,
forget it. Levin had pumped the volume of the cops that not one of us could get more than
fifteen minutes.

       Billy had meth. He was cooking it on ocean avenue in a gutted out studio. He was
cranking with Mindy, who had given her two kids away for four hundred dollars and a
ride upstate. It was beginning to snow.

       I talked like I always talked, trying to make the two miles disappear. “I gotta get
clean,” I said, “can’t do this shit anymore.” But I didn’t mean it. We talked like George
and Lenny in Steinbecks’ old book. It was required reading in Munchen’s class the year
before I dropped out. It stuck.

       “House of our own,” I mumbled. It was the cold that was eating me, drawing me
to somewhere else but here.

       May pulled me across the jammed traffic. We dug our hands in the garbage
outside the red Walgreen sign, looking for receipts. Ten minutes. Shivering. “Here, two
Tide bottles, 18.67. Get the right size this time.” May disappeared through the doors. I
stuck my back in an alcove with the wind crying through my earring, smoking. I shoved
my hands deeper into my pockets, my eyes sinking into nowhere. Two men approached,
one in a lemon parka and blue skull cap. The other Haitian black, taller, crimson coat,
style, reaper. He hung a gold crucifix that carried Christ mid-chest. I stared at the hem of
his slacks that shook in the thirty mile an hour wind, sorrowfully. “The shelters open,
St.Pauls’, sixth and Newark. “It’s going to zero tonight, God loves you.” I caught May
slamming the glass doors, then turning back and giving the finger to the manager in the
window. She ran out into the middle of the street daring the cars and god for the grace to
die. Then she came to me. “The camera, fucking camera”, she yelled, stomping the
ground. She walked about fifty feet then stopped over a sewer grate at the corner. A
bronze car pulled along side. She leaned into the sunken window and got in. I’d kill her if
she screwed him. Half hour. I stood in the same alcove with a red mind. Maybe Montana.
Small garden. Vegetables. Some easy pigs. Monets giverney. Rest.

       May came up, jarring me. “Hey, hey,” she said shaking my arm, “162 bucks,” as
she fluttered and spread it out like a geishas’ fan. We walked to Billy’s and fought.

       “You fucked him.”

       “I told him I was a cop, I should have thought of it along time ago…”

       “You fucked him.”

       “I told you goddamn it, I used the badge. Liar, women.”

       I hated Billy. He was a tweaking little fucker, with a temper on speed. I was here
the last time when he threw Mindy out the fourth floor window because he thought she
was bangin’ a guardian angel. He was cheap, and I was itching. I was the fucked
aftermath of an idea. The cold.

       The apartment was gutted with twisted wires that hung like suicides from the egg-
blue walls. Ripped mud couch in the corner, four milk crates, the smell of gasoline, the
refrigerator up on bricks. Billy was on his back, catatonic on the flaking plaster on the
floor. It looked like a blizzard. It looked like a Gaza bombing. I turned my back when an
oriole slammed its body into the window breaking it's neck. And then I heard hell
coming down the hall. A black tweeker forced himself through the doors. He was cooked
with wide paranoid pupils and a dull blade in his hand. His skull was oversized and

       “Take me God,” he kept yelling, banging my ears and slicing the air with the
metal. May ran to the corner and crumpled, crying. Just a fucked life. Used up. Who
would ever find the bodies. I bent down and found in a blind a shard glass from the only
punched out window. My hand was bleeding. Sweat, Winter. Blood. “Come on fucker,” I
muttered, my lids pounding, trying to eat my eyes. He then mad, electric, made a ninety
degree turn and forced his body through the window. Six floors, no sound. Eerily no
sound. The snows, our winter. I lost May three weeks later. Stairwell, cranked out of our
minds. Hour binge. When I woke, her head was full of cold blood mercy. I climbed the
steps to the top and framed her body in a beatific tragedy, to remember. The sun was
beginning to dump its light off the shelves of the buildings. December was over.

P.L. George lives and writes in oklahoma city. He is looking for a publisher for
three books that are ready. One is a collection of short stories, one an
autobiography, one a journal. He is also looking for a independent filmmaker to
adapt his stories to film. His short story "Dinner" was made into an indie film
by blackcarmediaworks.com last year. Almost all of his writing has been published
both on the web and in print. Any interested parties can email him at

© 2006 Underground Voices