COLUMN SEVENTY-SIX, OCTOBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
THE SMITH STREET STRANGLER
WARNING! FOR ADULTS ONLY! PERSONS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO READ THIS STORY.
Litzky is a poet and writer of fiction, non fiction and erotica. We call her America's
queen of erotic literature. Susie Bright, editor of the yearly Best
American Erotica books, calls her "Miss Dirty Stories." Tsaurah's
work has appeared in Best American Erotica 95, 97, 99, 2001 and will be
included in BAE 2002. She has also been published in Penthouse,
LONGSHOT, The Unbearables, Crimes of the Beats, Appearances, Downtown Poets, The
Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Pink Pages, Beet and many other books and
periodicals. Her poetry books include Kamikaze Lover (Appearances 1999)
and the recently published Good Bye Beautiful Mother (Low Tech Press
2001). Formerly a columnist for the now defunct New York arts weekly Downtown,
she now teaches erotic writing and literature at the New School University.
I was lying in bed but I couldn't sleep. The red numbers on the clock on the bedside table said 2:27AM. I was not exactly alone in bed. I was surrounded by my sex toys, all three of them: the eight-inch Dynamite Dong, made out of hard, red rubber with a white rubber tassel on the end; the spongy, textured, flesh colored Miracle Man, complete with two perfect round peach balls, which is supposed to be an exact replica of the phallus of David Duchovney, and last but not least, the battery operated MiniMassager that looks like a large white lipstick and is the best friend my clit ever had.
was also in the company of my old blue teddy bear Fluffy. I was clutching him
with both arms to my chest. He has been with me since I was seven. He no longer
has his teddy bear fluff, but he has never abandoned me. Threadbare and shiny
though he is, he is true blue, he has never strayed from my bed.
Fluffy," I mumbled into his worn, little head. "If only you were a smart,
sensitive, six-foot-one, 170-pound man who was truly in love with me."
Fluffy didn't answer.
I had just used every one of my toys; I even used the
Dynamite Dong twice. In the process I had almost completely used up my tube of
Goddess Gush Ultra Deluxe Lube imported from Berlin that cost 30 dollars a tube.
With all my efforts and despite two tepid climaxes, I was still itchy and
unsatisfied. Usually I have a fine time at my little private parties. Tonight, I
must be still too bummed out by that awful encounter I had at Mariah's opening
earlier in the evening.
Mariah's opening was at a gallery on the newly hip Smith
Street. I liked it much better down there when it was all bodegas and mattress
stores. Lately, I don't even like to go down there Friday nights. Instead of
the neighborhood people and occasional serious arty types that I used to find in
the few bars and restaurants, I now find more bars and more restaurants. all
packed with young people who look like extras from When Harry met Sally. Still, it was Mariah's first solo show and
she had begged me to come.
she said, "Get dressed up in a fancy suit, wear your big horn-rimmed glasses,
walk around and tell everyone you're an art critic and think the show is
"I refuse to
play into your insecurities," I told her, "but I will come and lend moral
support, maybe I'll even meet an art critic."
I get there at nine and the Nexus, Sexus, Plexus Gallery is
mobbed. The mob is in a jolly mood, evidence that the wine and beer had been
flowing freely. Mariah's
paintings of the Red Hook waterfront are gorgeous. There were so many people
congratulating her that I had trouble catching her eye. Finally, she saw me and
I gave her the high five. The walls of the gallery were painted a shade of
violent, pissy yellow so glaring that even the eyeballs of the great Henry
Miller would have been shocked. I felt like I was stuck in a crowd of people
stuck inside a giant putrefying egg yolk.
It occurred to me that this jaundiced vision might well be
the result of alcohol deprivation, so I made my way through the crowd to the
drink table. I had just poured myself a full plastic cup of blood red
Merlot---red wine is best for strengthening the heart---when my arm was jostled
and I turned to find myself facing a man of medium height wearing a sleeveless
black leather vest and jeans. He had a craggy Charles Bronson kind of face that
I found attractive. He was wearing a silky, red and pink rose-patterned scarf
tied loosely around his neck, an incongruous touch, but maybe he was trying to
appear sensitive. Or maybe he was an art critic.
"Did any one
ever tell you," he said to me suddenly in a deep smoker's voice, 'that you
have a beautiful neck? "
"Er, well, no," I said. This was a novel come-on.
"And a pretty face too," he added, "extending his hand.
"I'm Roy Smith."
Obviously, I thought, he is a person of real discernment. I
told him my name as I put my hand in his big mitt.
"I'm an accordion player," he said,.
No wonder his hands and arms were so huge.
"Are you named for Smith Street or is Smith Street named
for you?? I asked.
"Named for me, of course," he said. We were off to a good
Roy Smith poured himself a glass of the red and we moved away
from the table to the front of the gallery where there was more space. We found
a wall to lean against between two paintings and continued our conversation. We
really hit it off. He said he had read a couple of my stories, although he could
not remember which ones or where he had read them. I was telling him how much I
loved the accordion, and just as he said,
Suddenly the strains of Amazing
Grace played on a harmonica, could be heard above the din of conversation.
The music got louder, and then the crowd parted to reveal a very old man with
silver, grizzled hair wearing tattered clothes. He was holding the harmonica to
his mouth with one hand. The other hand was out in front of him grasping a
grimy, "I Love NY? paper cup. His odors preceded him. Several people drew
back as he passed. I felt only compassion. I rummaged though my purse and pulled
out a dollar bill. As I stepped forward to put it in the paper cup, Roy Smith
suddenly grabbed my arm,
that vermin anything," he yelled. "Dirty, homeless, scum, they shouldn't
let him in a place like this, with educated people. Get ouuta here, you filthy
Spic," he bellowed in the poor man's face.
I felt like I suddenly found myself in a terrible dream. . I
pulled my arm out of Roy Smith's grasp. I stepped in front of him, managed to
put the dollar in the cup an instant before the harmonica man, with a terrified
look on his face, turned and ran out of the gallery.
Two, tall guys, in white tee shirts and beige chinos,
materialized beside Roy Smith.
"What's going on, what was that noise all about? " One
of them said.
Probably, they were the gallery owners. Immediately, Ray
Smith, was only charm and grace.
"Nothing, nothing at all, gentlemen," he said, putting on
an ingratiating smile, "I just got a little loud, sorry??
The bitter wine I had downed had turned to bile in my
stomach. I felt sick. I had to get out of there. Leaving Roy Smith still in
conversation with the two men, I made my way towards the door and out into the
clear, summer night.
Now lying in my messy bed, my body damp and redolent with my
juices and lube and sweat, I still felt sick. Just my luck, I finally meet a guy
I think is hot and he turns out to be psychotic. Maybe I'm just a nut magnet.
Wondering if I would ever find true love,
I jumped up from the rumpled bed and threw the top sheet, the quilt and the pillows on the rocking chair. I put Fluffy and the Miracle Man on the bedside table. Then I commenced to straighten the bottom sheet, pulling the corners tight until the fine blue cotton was smooth and inviting as a
how lifting her breasts
pulled her nipples high and tight
mountain lake on a hot August day. I put one
of the pillows back at the foot of the bed and placed the two lucky toys upon
it. Earlier, I had been frantically working in the darkness, but I went and got
the pink candle for romance in the heart-shaped candleholder, from the shelf. I
lit it and put it on the bedside table so the bed would be bathed in a golden
I put Marvin Gaye on the CD player and lay flat on my back on the bed. I
stretched, pulling my arms straight back over my head, reaching far back into
the night, my fingers searching for the golden apples of paradise. I liked how
lifting my breasts pulled my nipples high and tight. I started to lick the palm
of my hand slowly all over with my hot tongue. I pretended the palm of my hand
was that small, smooth place between a man's balls and the puckered pink
flower between the two globes of his ass. I closed my eyes and imagined a pair
of fat, heavy balls the color of eggplant. I stroked those balls with my
fingers, the firm smooth skin like velvet to my touch. My palm was now very wet
and I put it down between my legs. I found my own perineum, then I moved front
and began dipping my fingers in and out of my open, ready cunt. I reached around
with my other hand until I found the Miracle Man. My fingers got a good grip
around the base and".the phone rang!
way I was getting up to answer it. One, two, three rings, I didn't want to
break the fine rhythm my fingers were beating inside me, I had a good thing
going. My innocuous voice greeting floated out into the room. I heard the three
beeps signaling to my caller that now was the time to leave a message. Then I
heard loud weeping, a woman, wailing and shrieking. After a minute, I could make
out the words, "Colette, Colette, are you there, help me, help me, please,
please," a long litany of pleases, and then the weeping began again.
libido dried up completely; someone was in trouble, someone that knew my name. I
released the Miracle Man and jumped up to get the phone.
is it, who is it?? I cried into
A tiny voice, almost a whisper, said, "Ma.MaMa- Ma-Ma rii
I realized it was Mariah, "Oh God, Mariah, what's the
matter, what happened? " I asked.
"Colette, Colette, could you come over?? She started
"But what happened," I wanted to know, "Are you
"N-n-no, no, I don't think so, I don't know," she
"Listen to me, Mariah, may be you should call the
"No, no police, no police, please come over. I need you,?
"Ok," I told her. I looked at the clock, It was 3:30 in
the morning, but that didn't matter.
I pulled on jeans, a sweatshirt, sneakers. I blew out the
pink candles. My romance would have to wait for another time, Mariah needed me.
I grabbed the same red brocade evening bag I had been carrying earlier. My
wallet, drivers license, money, Tylenol, and the tube of Astroglide I carried
with me everywhere, were still inside. I locked the door to my apartment and ran
down the four flights to the street.
My second hand Toyota was parked five blocks away. When I
first moved here under the Brooklyn Bridge, the neighborhood was always deserted
at night. I could park anywhere. Now it is all condos and co-ops and tourist
buses and overpriced restaurants. In the old days I felt like a pioneer on the
waterfront, now I feel like a survivor from a vanished world.
I walked to my car, got in, and headed up old Fulton to Court
Street. Mariah lived in a three- room apartment on Pacific Street close to the
corner of Smith. There were no parking spots on her block either. I had to park
up by Sackett St. Walking down Smith, I passed five new restaurants on one
I rang the bell and Mariah buzzed me right in. I walked the
two flights to her apartment and knocked. I heard her steps come slowly down the
hall and then she opened the door.
She was wearing a long, shocking pink chenille robe and her
face was all puffy and so pink from weeping that it was practically the same
color. Her lipstick was smeared all over her lower face and her eye make-up ran
in black spider legs down her cheeks. Her neck was all chafed and red as if she
powdered it with blusher, Her long, blonde hair which had been done up in an
elegant French knot for the opening was undone and snarled up like a birds nest.
She was a wreck. Even though she looked all roughed up, I didn't see any blood
and she was standing. The back of her robe was wet and the underarms were stained
with sweat. We hugged each other and then, "I'm so glad you're here,?
happened, what happened," I asked as we went into the living room and sat down
together on the orange Fifties couch she had got at the Salvation Army. "You
look like a horror but you don't seem really hurt. "
think I'm injured, more scared and shook up? she said.
'so, what happened, tell me already," I said.
She started to cry a little bit then, "It's just that I feel like an idiot, I asked this guy up here," she said.
?You think, I haven't done stuff like that," I said, "even if I did see Waiting for Mr. Goodbar twice."
relaxed a bit, then she combed her hair back from her face with her fingers, and
"It started at
the gallery," she said. 'the opening was winding down, people were leaving.
I looked around for you, but didn't see you. I thought maybe you got lucky.
Anyhow, this guy came up to me, he was wearing a black leather vest,
sleeveless, and he had these kind of sexy, muscled arms. He was kind of cute in
a rough lumberjack kind of way,?
Oh, no, I thought, my stomach started to heave like it does
when I get frightened.
"He was wearing this fancy scarf with flowers around his
neck," she paused as if remembering.
"Go on with the story," I said, trying to appear calm.
"Anyhow," he told me how much he liked the show, said
he'd grown up around here and some of the paintings were of places he was
familiar with, and then he said I was very pretty and I had just the most
It was a good thing I hadn't eaten anything because if I
had I would have thrown it all up over both of us.
'then," Mariah went on, "he asked me if I'd like to
go over to Angry Charlie's and have a cocktail, I said, "Yes, why not??
After all I deserve a little fun. When we got there, we both had Margaritas; the
Margaritas there are so strong they make you hallucinate. He told me his name
was Roy Smith and Smith Street was named for him."
"Very funny," I cut in. "And then he said he was a
saxophone player in a jazz group. You know I've always had a thing for horn
players, anyhow we had a few more drinks and I invited him up here, Usually I
never do that right away, but he seemed so cute and I had my opening to
"I understand perfectly, " I interjected.
"He was just so flattering, he said my neck was as delicate
as the stalk of a flower." Mariah paused and shuddered, "Oh how could I have
been so stupid to ask him back."
I gave her a little hug.
'stop blaming yourself, after all you were in a super excitable
state," I said.
She nodded her head and continued, "As soon as we got upstairs, we started to make out right
was so hot
the juice between her legs
here on the couch. He was sucking my
tits, very passionate, maybe too rough but? here she paused again,
'sometimes I kind of like it like that?
nothing to be ashamed of Mariah," I told her, 'sometimes I like it like
She started to giggle and I knew that whatever had happened
to her, she was going to be all right.
"We soon," she went on," had all our clothes off,
except he was still wearing that leather vest, and oh yeah, that flowery scarf
around his neck. I was on my back, and with my knees drawn up. I was so hot; the
juice between my legs was bubbling. I wanted him to taste the steaming stew in
my little lava pot, but when I asked him to eat me, he put his hand over my
mouth, like to shut me up. Then he raised his hips and plunged his fat cock hard
into me instead. As he moved it in
and out, I looked down, it was very white, like he had scrubbed it clean.
Otherwise he kind of had olive skin except for his balls. They were so huge,
they were a yellow color like grapefruits and they were just as big.
"Oh, come on,
Mariah," I interrupted, "It was those Margaritas, you must have been
She shook her head, "No, I swear, he had a cock like a
horse and those big yellow balls. I was super excited. That vest he was wearing
wasn't cured very well. It had that funky leather smell. I smelled pretty
funky too. He was sweating a lot, his skin kind of smelled like nutmeg. I closed
eyes so I would not be distracted by visuals. I just wanted to smell those
smells and feel that big tool drilling into me. All of a sudden I felt something
across my throat. I opened my eys. He had that scarf off and had somehow slipped
it around my neck. He had the end crossed as if he was going to tie it.
wait, what are you doing?? I yelled at him.
make it so much better for you," he said, he was breathing hard, panting.
"You'll really enjoy this." He was smiling down at me with this ugly smile like
Jack Nicholson when he was the joker in Batman. "You should have asked me
"He was hurting me bad, he was really hurting me, then I
don't know how I did it, Colette, but I knew I had to stop him. I just pulled
my pelvis back from him so he was outside me and I kneed him as hard as I could
in the groin. He screamed so loud, I thought the ceiling would fall down, and
then he just rolled right off the couch onto the floor. I found myself standing
above, kicking him and kicking him. "Get out, get out," I screamed. I
thought he would get up, push me back, but he just lay there whimpering as I
kicked him some more. I grabbed his jeans from where they had fallen on the
floor and threw them on top of him."
"Boy, you were
brave," I interjected.
"I was out of my head," Mariah answered. "I grabbed the
phone off the coffee table, "I'm calling the police," I yelled at him,
"Get the fuck out of here!" He sat up, he said nothing but he was shaking
and his eyes were kind of rolling around in his head. Then he just stood up,
pulled on his jeans, grabbed his sandals and ran out of the door. He left the scarf though, there? ,?
She gestured, and I looked down. It was beside me on the
"I couldn't believe, he was gone," Mariah said. "I
double locked the door, and then I just collapsed, My whole body was sore like I
was the one who had been kicked and kicked all over, I got hysterical, crying,
and then I thought to call you."
you did, but you know, Mariah," I said, "you should go to the police, the
next woman this guy tries that on might not be able to fight back. You know, I
met him too, earlier, at the gallery, only he told me he was an accordion
And then I told her about how Roy Smith had tried the
beautiful neck, pretty face line on me and what had happened when the harmonica
man came into the gallery.
really something," said Mariah, "Him going around saying he's a musician
and then abusing the old musician, but Colette, Why should the police even
"Looks like you're going to have some red bruises on your
neck," I said, "and besides, I'll go with you. I'll tell the cops about
what happened, how he behaved so crazy in the gallery. We can go first thing in
Mariah, "I'm so wrecked, what time is it anyway??
"It feels like it's almost morning," I said.
Mariah glanced down at her wrist, "I can't believe I?m
still wearing my watch. Five thirty in the morning, can you believe?
I have to take a shower; his stink is all over me," she said. 'thanks
so much for coming here. You'll sleep, over, right?? she asked.
friends forever, Mariah, after all," I said, "and, yeah, sure, I'll sleep
over. We can go to the police station when we wake up." I realized how totally
exhausted I was. "I'm wiped out, I'll just go lie out in your bed," I
"Oh yeah," said Mariah, "it's queen sized, we should
be comfortable there." Mariah went into the bathroom and I went into her
I strip down to my underwear and collapse on the big bed underneath the solitary window. I watch the sky lighten behind the trees and telephone wires that I can see outside the window. I became conscious of the shy singing of the early birds as counterpoint to the sound of the water running in the shower. I think about how sometimes the world seems like such a sad, forlorn place, filled with so many lonely creatures wandering round who get desperate and crazy, me included. When Mariah comes to lie down beside me, she smells of Dr. Bircher-Bonners Peppermint Soap. We hold each other, but we do not sleep, as the morning grows bright around us. ##
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