by Rex Breathes

There I was caught between a transvestite and the devil, both drinking martinis, while I had only a Calistoga to defend myself. As the transvestite (towering at six foot eight, including her screaming blonde hair piled higher than a nose bleed) grabbed my leg above the knee, the horned one laughed and ordered plates of pasta for himself and the attack of the fifty-foot transvestite.

The piano player gave us knowing looks and nothing but show tunes–Cole Porter, Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein. Soon I was talking with the transvestite and the dark god about pussy, shaved pussy, have you ever shaved a pussy . . . And each time I said the word, pussy, the transvestite became more excited, even though he’s gay. So she/he and the devil went to the bathroom so they could raise Cain, and when they returned the transvestite applied my eye make-up for the evening . This was only the prelude to our journey into the bowels of Deacon X’s Fetish Night.

We ambled through Old Town as winos and drug addicts crouched in fear sensing: This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but with platinum hair blotting out the whimpering sky. At the door, all I had to do was mention the words “Exotic Magazine” and the cover dropped from ten bucks down to seven. New power flowed in. The eye make-up was working already. With the world famous transvestite, Snickers LaBarr , at my back and the devil by my side, I was ready to kick some booty. We entered.

Inside the blackness, creatures known and unknown met with my made-up eyes. A man in hospital scrubs and a gas mask shuffled around with some appendages hanging off his hands that looked like road kill possum. What did I care, flanked by a transvestite with legs of steel ending in pointed pumps registered as lethal weapons. If she doesn’t get ya the devil will. We took a table ringside and soon I was prancing to the music of Deacon X–techno-gothic-sludge–and burying my face in Snicker’s foam core cleavage. This was easy since she had about a foot on me and all I had to do was dance right into the damn things jutting out like the proud fatherly faces at Rushmore. ÔMy behavioral change was completely lost in the black sea of fetish fashion eccentricity. There was a. woman walking around wearing a python, and not much else, above the waist. A man had a dildoe attached to the snout of his gas mask. While an anorexic-of-the-month woman was absolutely Zebra-esque wearing skin tight black striped pants and black latex body paint striping her tiny torso. She was clutching a small Frankenstein doll.

“What’s that?” I inquired.

That’s my boyfriend,” she replied. “I like to keep him close at hand.”

Hearing the dread B word, I slumped away–hungry tiger on the prowl. Alas, I would not be feeding on the smallest, boneyest woman in the den tonight. I decided to search out something fleshier I could really sink my teeth into and growl. That’s when I saw her–stunning vision in white knifing through the black lace and stockings and corsets, oh my!. My nurse–black hair, white skin and whiter uniform that buttoned up the front–was coming to heal me with her latex gloved hands. I shivered in silence. Had the dark god answered my plea? I looked over at him and he smirked, yes, maybe, see for yourself, nimrod.

Nevermind the naked breasts, freshly body painted, jostling through the heavy, liquored, strobe light air. Or the perfect buttocks smiling, undulating, walking and talking through the sheerest black nylon. She was here: the solution to all my problems, my reason to live, the answer to my existential horror and dilemma: Why am I here? I was no longer caught between the rock thighed transvestite and the hard faced devil. I was sitting next to my nurse and asking her if she performed any surgical procedures.

No, “ she said , as some slobbering fool she collected at the door just to buy her beer all night, licked her latex hand.

Soon we were dancing, and dancing, and dancing. And though her breasts were not hovering at eye level, I held her top-button-undone cleavage in my made-up eyes like a sick man learning to walk again. Walking, hell, I was satyring on air as my nurse gave me that meaningful eye contact only a professional healer of the sick can do. She was, after all, none other than the world famous caberet performer, Miss Mona Super Hero, out for the evening with Teresa Danzine,” dressed as the naughty school girl. I reminded myself, I’m a professional 1’ve got a job to do here, as my nurse led me around by the nose hairs.

Between dances, we caught all three acts for the evening. The black-haired twins doing their dance of Narcissus gave me the most, while Miss Mona was tweaked by the bald woman strapped to the horse, taking her punishment from the man in the dick-for-a-nose gas mask. And though I tried to break free of my nurse’s deep suture control, I could not see anyone but she: glorious and radiant in white, floating through the sinewy malaise of black, wearing her perpetual, “I’ve gotcha,” Cheshire Cat grin.

2:30 A.M. snuck up on us like a black cat. What to do? The transvestite and the devil had taken a powder and I was on my own. Clamps, suction, sutures, please, I had open wounds from a bad relationship that ended worse and I needed to heal. Miracle. Miss Mona invited me to accompany her, Teresa and a man from Mexico to his waterfront apartment. We were out the door. I was walking arm and arm with my nurse. We were talking about cats. I was thinking I might even let mine out of the bag. But somewhere between Couch and Davis, as we passed the place where I first sat down between the transvestite and the devil, she took out her scalpel and cut the sky cries Mary’s, is where she works, with the dreaded, awful, crushing B word. Suddenly, I was old and feeble. My ankle ached from the night of dancing in my high heeled boots. I was ordinary. Flattened. Pancake. The stars have no mercy for fools like me. (After all, the fault lies not in the stars, but in ourselves.? I heard the devil and the transvestite laughing in my techno-cooked ears over plates of pasta.

Gazing out at the murky, sullen Willamette river from the Mexican man’s apartment, I stayed just long enough to realize, I don’t need a nurse. Wrapped in my twisted brave cloak of existential angst, like Camus “Stranger,” I hobbled back across the railroad tracks on Front Street and noticed for the first time, all the black shit between the ties is solid fucking rubber. Besides, mine were all stashed in my bag back in my truck. Traversing the tracks took me back on the right side where events and people become stories I tell.. for money.. .word whore that I am.

I went to visit a friend stuffing AM editions of the daily rag into plastic bags for delivery and tryed it out on him. Yup. It was already just another story to tell of me, the nurse, the transvestite and the devil at Deacon X’s Fetish Night.

I sucked on a juicy, organic navel orange and swallowed all the sweet, temporal juices down. Better to have loved for an hour than never to have loved at all.

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