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CURSE OF THE GYPSYS
December 25, 2006
I tapped the glass on the snake terrarium trying to find Reggie, George's new pet python. The penthouse was an eruption of vulgarity and kitsch what with its plush and expensive materials contrasting unflinchingly with George's pimped-out, brassy and totally self-consumed rock-producer chic.
"Watch this," George said pushing buttons on his new toy, a 90-inch plasma screen, to explode his new Rap group into my eyes. They specialized in a combo of rock, rap and SKA. Their pimply faces, pimply asses and bejeweled retainers in their teeth looked less than muscial. Regardless, they were the latest hot and IN rock band in all the teen clubs. I abandoned my defenseless body to the purple sequined cushions on the pink leather sofa and listened to the breathtaking chords of Pookie Sparkle, Hymie Dimsdale, Petey Clink, and Spunky Fingers destroying my eardrums.
"They dress like Dragoons but they're really just a group of scruffy, foul-mouthed teens in zombie makeup," George might have said those words, I couldn't hear very well. The floor thumped with the bass. The group cracked off thunderous chords - crisply dissonant and capable of raising the dead, deafening the ears and possibly even creating small earthquakes. These chords were worthy of Strauss at his most florid, Sid Vicious at his most prolific, and Alban Berg at his most atonal. The music, if that was the word for what I heard, was the worst rock music ever written for three guitars and drums.
"I plan to launch them on the Christmas program. They're called the Sploogy-Woogies," George gushed with more enthusiasm than a teenage girl being anally deflowered. George needed to relax.
"For Christmas? Why don't you call them the Heebie Jeebies, or the..." At that moment, Reggie the snake crept up the leg of my basketball pants, out the waistband and introduced itself to me.
"...holy effing, SNAKE!" I screamed, nearly peeing my pants. I tried to jump. Reggie, the monstrous twenty-foot python, wrapped its slimy body around my legs, slithering over my body. My mind screamed - get away from the big, bad, cold, slimy snake. George laughed and lowered the volume on the TV to less than deafening.
"Say hello to Reggie, he's been so anxious to meet you," George said. My mind wasn't processing amenities, just stark, staring terror mixed with bad music.
"You've got a snake in the sofa," I think I said. The snake coiled around and over my body, pinning my arms and shoulders.
"Yeah Reggie, my new pet. He won't hurt you. He's just a big, friendly, sweet snake, aren't you boy. You met Reggie before, you know," George said petting the snake's head. It flicked its tongue against my body raising goosebumps and mild muscle spasms. Please don't let me faint, I thought. If I faint, the damn thing will eat me. I sank into the sofa and wrestled with the snake. It was stronger than me, much stronger.
"Don't feel bad Reggie, he just doesn't recognize you."
"I never met no snake here before." I looked around for a weapon. The only possible weapon I could see was the umbrella on my Margarita or the orange and lemon wedges. I could rub its eyes with lemon or lime and blind it. But then, I thought the snake might thrash and crush me in its blind rage at my silly attempts to kill it.
"Yeah you did. Do you remember Raul Hernandez, Raul the goatherd, Raul with the sticky fingers? That drugged out little hustler who used to hang out with all the bands? Well, ever since the gypsy's curse we don't call him Raul anymore. We call him Reggie. Don't we, my gold and green beauty," George said intimating that Reggie was once Raul. Reggie's forked tongue tickled my ear.
"There's no way that's Raul. Raul had a great trouser snake but no scales like this beast. I knew Raul and this ain't Raul," I said. Again, Reggie's forked tongue tickled my ear just like Raul used to do when he screwed me from behind. The tongue hit just the right spot to arouse my shrinky-dinky from its fear-induced hidey-hole.
"Well you two were my two best butt-boys when the bands needed entertaining. I wish my wife was as tight as your asses but then, she's a slut and you two were just the male equivalent of crack whores," George said over the chorus of an idiotic love song about boy meets girl, girl meets latex vibrator, girl rapes boy and they live happily ever after.
"Raul had his ass surgically tightened," I said. The snake tightened around my body as if it wanted me to stop talking. Reggie, the snake succeeded in trapping my legs and lay it's head on my chest. Its unblinking eyes stared at my face and flicking its tongue while its head moved up and down with each of my breaths. George could see my impending panic attack. He went over to the bar.
"George, George, if you don't get this, god dammit George, its cold. It's slimy and, and, and, your snake is scaring the bejesus out of me. I don't wanna yell and scream do get me a drink, a big drink or I'll tell you the truth about that bunch of assholes you call a rock group. They're a pathetic pile of untalented garbage," I said while my voice kept rising in pitch. The snake licked my chin and slithered around my neck. I tried to grab the snake's head but it dodged. George prepared two large margaritas, one for each of us.
"I call these sacrificial virgins because there's enough alcohol in them to make you forget you're being thrown into a volcano." I drank it all. It had too much fruit, too much sugar but just enough alcohol to calm my nerves.
"You likey? I can be your topless waitress," George giggled and drank. He refilled our drinks.
"Better, better, Look George," I drank, "I'm listening to some rap crap by untalented peckerheads and letting the biggest damn python I've ever seen in my life crawl on my body. Why did you ask me over here?" George laughed and picked up a remote control. At the click of a button, the awful rap noise switched to Rod Stewart singing golden oldies. I didn't care much for golden oldies but anything was better than that pretentious rock crap noise. Reggie tasted my margarita with its tongue. I thought its eyes crossed. I just closed mine and finished the second glass wondering if a drunken snake would fall asleep. George filled the glass a third time.
"There, does that calm your poor delicate senses? They say music hath charms to sooth the savage beast." George set two pitchers of margarita mix on the coffee table and joined me on the couch. The alcohol let relax me. I even got use to Reggie's scaly skin against my soft pink skin. He didn't feel repulsive or disgusting anymore; Ah the wonders of tequila. The damn snake kept sneaking sips of the booze. I could see it getting progressively drunker.
"Rod Stewart and a drunken snake; a night to remember, a night to tell my grandkids," I said.
"Oh Oh Oh, Oh! No more Stewart," George pointed to the TV screen.
"Watch this! Watch this, I have to show you the nightclub band I found. Wait until you see it," George bounced with delight and pointed to the image on his huge TV. The Sploogey-Woogies returned and played a plaintive ballad interrupted by screams of semi-religious chanting in a guttural dialect that I didn't understand. Suddenly, the band stopped playing and made the most sickening retching noises. In just seconds, they vomited onto the stage and when the music started again, they stamped across the stage splattering as they played. I sat there stunned. The snake kept winding its body around my legs.
"We went from Sploogy-Woogies to vomit queens?" I wanted Rod Stewart back. I didn't care how old or how awful he sounded. He had to be better than this trash.
"I know what you're thinking. You're thinking how despicably vulgar, how juvenile, how decadent this is. And how it's all overdone, but I have to tell you, the audience loves that shit. You should hear their renditions of some classic 40's love songs. It would rip your heart out."
"I don't know what to say, George. They sound like just another bunch of screaming teens vomiting onstage and stomping their boots through the mess. Didn't somebody do this with melons and fruit already?" I tried to be nice but this group had ventured beyond the boundaries of nice and into the realms of tasteless prurience and fathomless crudity.
"Aw you're just being silly, Look, I know it's all just a little too, too outre' for most people's tastes but they aren't the ones who buy records. Besides, it's really fake vomit. Maybe in ten years I'll let them pull that stunt for real. Right now, I don't want them to peak too fast. What do you think of changing the name to Pimples Scarred Butts? Reggie and I like it but they don't. They want M'Tumbo M'Beke's Shadow Force but I wouldn't let them, they're too white for that name. I just need your opinion." George said nonstop, never breathing. Even my alcohol-addled brain gasped for breath at his logic. My eyes rolled upwards in sarcastic spasms at George's commentary.
"You are going to burn in hell for this, George. Do you know that?" I joked.
"Now just because you're Scotch-Irish, don't go all religious on me. I happen to know that you're one of the biggest heathens on the planet," George laughed and drank his margarita.
"What's the reason you wanted me here?" I asked. George giggled. I set the dregs of my margarita aside and picked up a clean glass. George filled it.
"I told you, Raul and the gypsy's curse."
"...the gypsy's curse? You never said anything about a Gypsy curse. You are so pathetic when you lie. Honest George, if your life depended on it, you couldn't lie your way out of a paper bag." We both giggled for a couple minutes. Reggie's head drifted away from us. It licked the salt off the glass.
"Wait, wait, now that the snake isn't looking, it can't hear you," I giggled again at my idea of a deaf snake. I didn't wait for George to comment.
"Tell me the truth. Why did you get a pet snake and don't try to pass it off by telling me that it's Raul and some gypsy cursed him. One of those trash musical groups you represent must love so much they gave you a gift." George got up and brought over two pitchers of margaritas. My liver quivered at the thought and several brain cells cheered. George took a deep breath.
"Raul showed up at my door one night, naked and frightened and crying and bleating. Oops, I said bleating, I meant bleeding. They really beat his ass, you know." George snickered drunkenly. I wanted to fold my arms but Reggie wound his body around them, slid up under my shirt, across my bare chest. It tickled and I laughed. The damn snake flexed and ripped my shirt apart.
"You rotten son-of-a-bitchin' snake, that was my best shirt." I grabbed the snake's head and bent it around. I think they call it drunken bravado, you know, grabbing a python by the head. It wound around my chest and squeezed hard. I let go of the snake and pulled my shirt off completely. Reggie stayed curled around my half-naked body. George smiled.
"Who beat him?" I asked.
"Your body must be warm. Snakes like that. Just relax, he's harmless and such a sweet snake. Ain't you big boy," George laughed and settled himself into the bejeweled cushions. I petted Reggie. He, wait a minute, here I am calling the snake he and not it. Anyway, he curled up tight against my body. Not snake tight but caress tight. This snake never stopped slithering around my body.
"One night late, well after I started my beauty sleep. In fact, as I remember, it was close to sunrise when the guards called me to the lobby. A car pull up in front of the building and two gypsy boys threw Raul's unconscious body at the door then drove away. The security guards recognized Raul and called me. We carried Raul upstairs, washed him and put him to bed. He slept for over twelve hours." He stopped talking and reached over to poke Reggie. The snake looked directly at George.
"Hide for a while, please Reggie," George said. Reggie slid off my body and into the cushions of the sofa. I felt cold and lonely. George pushed some buttons and images of several naked young men dancing lewdly appeared on the huge TV screen. Raul was in the middle of them.
"Remember Raul, the little four foot six petty thief who used his gymnastic skills to steal? Well, I caught him on this tape. He doesn't like to see his former self." George let the tape run for a several minutes. We drank. I could feel my body flush red from the alcohol. Pickled like a shrimp in brine, I thought.
"I slept with Raul and whored with him. I always wondered how he could stay so drugged up and yet not have needle tracks. He certainly was fun," I said. I felt cold and lonely without Reggie hugging me.
"Not any more, he's all green and gold with slit-shaped yellow eyes. Here Reggie, here Reggie. He likes you. At least he likes to curl around boozed up bodies because they're hot and sweaty," The snake popped its head and rubbed against me. It curled around both of my arms but stopped and looked straight into my eyes. I sztuck out my tongue and let the snake lick it.
"Go ahead, snake, curl around me all you want," I said. I swear the beast almost smiled at me. It curled around my arms and legs letting its head come to rest in the middle of my chest. I could move just enough to drink the margarita.
"Well, when Raul woke the day after, he had four small tattoos of snakes on his body, one on each forearm and the other two on each thigh. He carried on something terrible so I gave him some drugs and let him sleep it off," George stopped talking to drink. I shifted my body and the snake's body.
"The next day, I noticed that the snake tattoos had grown from six inches long to almost completely winding around his legs and arms two or three times. At first, he didn't talk but then with a few choice drugs, he claimed that at night, the snakes talked to him in his dreams. He swore they were alive. We took some measurements and the snake tattoos grew hour by hour. Well, I had to ask him what happened the night before they threw him out of the car."
"Raul hated tattoos. He hated any mark on his precious body. Are you sure that a tattooed Raul isn't going to pop out of your closet with a raging hardon declaring his love and hitting me up for drugs, is he? Just thinking about Raul makes me horny," I said. Reggie the snake tightened against my body like a hug.
"No not bloody likely. Raul told me the story. That night he planned to boost five bars of gold bullion passing through a warehouse. He had the gold in his backpack and ready to boogy when the old woman showed up." George animated his talk with his hands and arms.
"I am ka-WEEN of the g-g-geep-SIES she yelled at him with the worst gypsy accents he said he every heard. Now Raul might have been only five foot two but he was 165 pounds of solid muscle and he feared no one, especially a screaming nutcase of an old lady. So he yells back. 'Old lady, you so ugly that even the devil don't want your wrinkled and ugly body, even the rats run from your face.' But she's not scared, she screams back at him. 'You ignorant little piss-ant, I Olga Hezchekendorfer, last of the great gypsy ka-weens, keeper of the dread secrets of Czyczyk am not to be insulted by rude boy.' With that, Raul said he laughed so hard, that he almost wet his pants. Here's this crone about 90 years old, holding a crooked walking stick and screaming at the top of her lungs like a banshee. He just picked up the backpack and ran but he made the mistake of looking back to flip the old woman the bird and ran right into her sons. They stood six-foot eight and weighed in at well, Raul said a half ton each." George was up on his feet doing a good pantomime of the gypsy and her sons. I laughed hard and helped Reggie wrap his long body around my torso several times. He had my arms trapped and began to slip his head down into my gym shorts and jockstrap. George continued.
"That wasn't too smart," I said. Reggie tightened his coils around my shorts and jock yanking them down my legs.
"Hey," I squeaked, "stop that," I yelled at the snake. Reggie eased up. I pulled his head up to mine and wagged a finger at his non-existent nose. "You better behave," I said. I wrestled the snake as it slithered and coiled around my body. Hell, I was so drunk; I let the damn snake undress me. I laughed and George laughed at me while Reggie tickled my naked body for several minutes.
"You have a nice set of muscles there Dude. Reggie likes muscles. But I got a story to tell and damn you, you're going to listen. The next thing Raul remembers is that he's bent over a sawhorse, legs akimbo, getting the shit fucked out of him by Nico and Dimtri both of whom together have the IQ of a kumquat. I mean mouth-breathers all the way. They just slobber and drool all over Raul's humpy buns while they're having at him. He said they went on for hours and finally he passed out. When he woke, he remembers the old woman standing over him with baby snakes. 'I curse you thief, she says, I curse you with the curse of the snake' and she puts a snake on each arm and each leg. Then her two boys, still naked and hard smack him upside the head and the next thing he remembers is hitting the ground in front of my apartment building." George finished the story out of breath, panting and drinking.
"So where is Raul hiding and how far did those tattoos of the talking snakes grown and cover his body?" I asked. I felt Reggie make the circuit around my body twisting his scaly body over both arms and legs. He gripped hard enough to sting. I was so drunk that I no longer cared. He settled around my torso continually rubbing my crotch. Thoughts of "God that feels good" ran through my alcohol-addled brain.
"I told you, he never left. In fact, you set him up that night, didn't you?" George said. He wasn't joking anymore.
"No, I didn't. I didn't even know what the heist was. It was all Raul's planning," I said. We both were suddenly sober and suddenly humorless. I stared at George waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"With your help and duplicity, you did. You warned the old gypsy and her sons. I bribed the bank officials to see your accounts. The gypsy's have been depositing money in your account for two years," George said. I thought about getting up but Reggie held me tight.
"That's all a lie, how could you know that?" I bluffed at George.
"The son of the Bank president is the lead guitar in the Sploogy-Woogies. You'd be amazed what success will buy and as we both know, success in this business is all hype," George said. I tried to get up but Reggie had me pinned.
"Tell your snake to release me," I said. Reggie didn't budge.
"No, he's already marked your body with his snake essences," George said. He picked up a pair of wiggling snakes from a crystalline box. He set them on my arms and legs while Reggie kept me bound. When he finished, the snake released me.
"Raul's transformation lasted five long days as his arms and legs withered and his body grew to snake-like proportions. You weren't there to keep him, listen to his crying, his despair. It was during that time I contacted the Gypsy and explained the situation. The gypsy says you'll have about thirty minutes. These are fast acting little bastards," George stepped away. Reggie slithered off my body. I stood on wobbly legs. I could feel the strength draining from my arms and legs as the snaky tattoos grew and encircled my arms and legs. I stumbled back onto the sofa.
"Why have you done this? Raul was just a drug-addicted thief. He always knew I would sell him out for money. We pimped each other out for money," I said. I stared in horror as my feet began to wither and shrink. My hands no longer felt strong. My insides twisted and contort in pain.
"But Raul never double-crossed you with lies. You sold out your buddy, now you get to share his fate. Reggie once was Raul, but we don't talk about that much anymore, do we Reggie," George said. The snake reared itself up to look George in the eyes and then slithered around his body.
I wanted to object but my voice didn't exist anymore. I looked down and my torso had grown longer. My arms were shorter by half and my feet had turned to vestigial flippers. I could feel my ribs and vertebrae doubling and tripling as my internal organs began to stretch out. My body thinned. My neck lengthened. George watched me flopping around on his sofa. Reggie slithered around my ever-changing body. I fell forward as my hands and arms disappeared into my torso. A terrible and painful stretching pulled my body longer and thinner as I ceased being human. Hard, tough scales formed over my soft skin. My face stretched out, ears disappeared, head flattened and my jaw grew thin and flexible. Teeth formed and my tongue grew outlandishly long and split at the end. My shoulders and hips lost their shapes and merged into my lengthening body. I could feel myself stretching out eight, ten, a dozen, then fifteen feet. I twisted around and watched in horror as my human genitals slid inside my scale-covered body. I writhed in pain as my genitals change, transformed. I waited for George to say something, but deep inside my brain, I knew what was happening. Not only had I become a snake but also I'd changed sex and become a female snake.
Fires of snaky passion raged through my body. Reggie slithered next to me at the ready. We coupled for several minutes, hours maybe, I lost track of time. George played a loop of goof-assed music on his big screen. When I became aware of the world other than sex and mating, Reggie was slithering into his terrarium to eat the rats that George must have put there. I slithered after him and learned how to encircle and crush rats until they died. Christ, I must still be drunk from all those margaritas to enjoy eating a live, deliciously hot-blooded rat whole. Stuffed and drunk, I passed out.
Today, like all days, I woke up on a bed of soft sand, in a terrarium, in a museum, with a fat kid wearing a chocolate-stained sweater tapping on the glass. I lunged at him and smacked the glass. Hurts like hell when I do that but the kid peed his pants and that gives me reason to live. Olga the gypsy and her two humpy sons visit every week to point and laugh at Reggie and me. It's not too bad being a snake. They feed us gerbils and hamsters, occasionally a rat. Rats taste so good. Someday, I'll get out of here and squeeze the life out of that gypsy. Just the gypsy, not the sons. Someday, someday...
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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