:: Article

The End of Love

By Jonathan Woods.

Monique had balls. Truly and literally. And a nice pair of tits, all wrapped up in a silvery, clingy, sequined number that made the night feel hot under the collar. I’d seen him at the Stardust before. Sometimes he would sit at the piano and tinkle out an old Liza Minnelli tune. Other times he’d ride a stool at the dark end of the bar sipping an endless stream of banana daiquiris and sniffling quietly. A broken off love affair or too much coke, I was never sure which.

Tonight he sashayed up to me, threw his arms around my neck and kissed me on the mouth. Standing back he fluttered his kohl-blackened eyelashes at me like a bat caught in a bank of floodlights. I never knew he had the hots for me.

How did I react to this sudden confession?

For a second or two I actually considered taking a tumble with him. Just for the experience. A scientific experiment.

Or I could have kicked the living shit out of him.

But when the barman set my Jameson’s down on the bar in front of me, I thought better of both options, tossed back the whiskey and with a smile and a wink said, “Another time, mate.”

The night was still young.

* * *

Down the road apiece, down by the beach where the fogs roll in in early Fall, resided The Cheshire Cat, a rowdy night spot reeking of cigarette smoke and raging pussy.

I pushed my way to the bar, where I caught the barman’s eye and ordered a whiskey neat. The Cat was crowded with sailors, salesmen gay and straight, lawyer types, an ad man or two and a quandary of hot, buxom nurses and free love blogger chicks. Honky Tonk Woman pushed up the decibels.

That’s when I saw her. At the opposite end of the bar. Shiny black hair, plum-colored dress of some languid synthetic material, skin the creamy white of thick cum.

A wave of lust oozed over me like the melted cheese from a perfect enchilada.

The woman’s green insect eyes flicked upward; caught me staring. When our eyes met, her mouth twisted in the cynical smirk of a high school English teacher who’s caught the class president scanning up her dress.

On further consideration she was exotic but not that pretty. A thin thirty-five year old face with a soft Asian nose and thick dark eyebrows in a crowd of younger faces. And as narrow a pair of lips as had ever sucked off a cock. But her almond shaped eyes held me. They were alien, mesmerizing, holding my destiny in their limpid sea-green depths.

I had to buy this woman a drink. Make small talk. Listen to her ironic, post-modern laugh.

But it took me a while to edge and elbow my way to the rear of The Cat through the throng of sex crazed Friday night drinkers. For my efforts all I found was an empty barstool and a lipstick-marred cocktail glass with salt on the rim.

Oh, and a cocktail napkin with a phone number bled into it in blue ink. Scribbled in the upper left hand corner, a crude rendering of a cock and balls was vectored at the phone number.

Was she a pro, a nympho or a slumming angel? Whatever the answer, the napkin scribble had jacked up the night’s prospects. My heart went pitter-patter. My apparatus went apeshit, a berserk orangutan trying to bust out of its cage. Feverishly I tapped the digits into my iPhone and dialed.

On the third ring, a female voice answered “Hello.”

“Where are you?”

Her voice came at me like dry salt rubbed into a wound. It was a medium voice. Not too high. Not too low. But snarky as hell. “Who the fuck is this?”

I told her my name and explained that we had seen each other across a crowded barroom but had not exchanged words because of her sudden exit. But I’d found the graffiti drawing she’d left behind. I was curious to discuss her artistic intentions one on one.

“Don’t push your luck,” she said and hung up.

When I dialed back, the call went directly to voice mail with no message.

I went wild. This sort of thing didn’t happen to me. My face may not be instantly recognized by the toiling masses like W.’s or Saddam’s or Jon Stewart’s, but when I tell people my name, I’m a known quantity, a highly successful and very wealthy L.A. businessman in the social media arena. Women didn’t turn me down.

Wild-eyed I searched the bar crowd for her, even stuck my head in the ladies’ shitter but she had flown the coop.

The forbidden is the most desired.

After that introduction, I haunted The Cheshire Cat nightly. But in vain. The phone number, when I tried it the next day, was disconnected. My life was in crisis. I fired my Chief Operating Officer for no good reason, acquired two speeding tickets doing in excess of 120 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway and made a scene over the seared tuna and truffles at Spago’s.

Miraculously on Friday night a week later like a bad penny she reappeared at The Cat.

I was leaning midway along the bar fiddling with my almost empty cocktail glass and feeling dog eared and dejected. Suddenly she was there, standing at the street-side end of the bar, and wearing the same plum-colored dress. She was talking to a forthright-looking lawyer type dressed in a navy blue suit and smiling.

Instantly I stepped backward into the crowd, ducking behind a blonde rehab job in a boob-gripping T and camouflage capris. What my father used to call clam diggers. The blonde eyed me suspiciously. Was it my intention to goose her in the ass? Or grab her Prada handbag and bolt for the door?

Following Plan A, I slipped quickly down the back hallway past the pissoirs marked His and Hers to a locked door painted black. A stolen key did the trick and I stepped into a foul smelling alley. A hot dry Santa Anna wind whipped between the buildings, sending a Coke bottle banging and clanging down the alley. My nerves sizzled. My bladder throbbed. I unzipped and peed. Moments later I eased relieved into the driver’s seat of my cobalt blue Maserati parked cattycorner to the front entrance of The Cat.

It was midnight when she and the lawyer left the bar. Her pale skin seemed to pulse in the high-sodium streetlights. A cab dropped them at a bleak complex of stucco apartments over which loomed a thick carapace of fog that had crawled up from the beach.

I parked and followed on foot, almost stumbling into them where they had stopped to kiss and grope in a narrow passageway between the buildings. From the shadowy end of the passageway, I watched them skirt a wind-swept swimming pool in a central courtyard and disappear into the coffin-shaped doorway of a ground floor unit.

I hung in the shadows as the night ticked its way to dawn. The lawyer left at first light.

The next day I rented an empty second floor apartment with an unobstructed view of both the front door and bedroom window of Jade Travail’s apartment. That was the name on her rental agreement according to the super. I’d slipped him five twenties to grease the skids. The name sounded phony.

My deal with the super was month-to-month in cash paid in advance, no paperwork, no questions. The only furnishings I dragged in were an aluminum patio chair with Day-Glo-striped nylon webbing, a small fridge and two pairs of high-powered binoculars, one for daytime, the other night vision.

With a supply of Amstel light in the fridge and flip-flops on my feet, I settled in for a period of observation.

The Beach View Apartments was a dreary place. In daylight the stucco was cracked and crumbling, the walkways and pool deck marked with gum smears and other more sinister stains. An odor of dog poop and crotch rot hung like a heat inversion over the four wings of the complex. The Santa Anna wind whipped scraps of newspaper, condom wrappers and orange peals into the algaeous swimming pool.

At dusk, like a vampire, the woman of my dreams appeared. A glittery sea green dress recalled the skin of a sea snake. As she crossed the pool deck toward the exit, I stepped out onto the balcony of my apartment into full view. She pretended I didn’t exist, or worse transmuted me into a deformed dwarf with an erection.

When I followed her in the Maserati, she made no attempt to have the taxi driver throw me off the scent. One night she went to the movies. Alone. Other nights she wandered aimlessly through the mall or worked out at a sports club. She met no one.

I maintained a discreet distance. As if some alien force field kept me at bay, I held back from confronting her, blurting out some mad blather about love and lust and destiny.

Each day for a week I ordered three-dozen red roses delivered to her apartment. The next morning they floated like dead birds in the pool.

Friday night she returned to The Cat, where the young lawyer waited expectantly at the bar. Again at midnight they emerged and hailed a cab back to her place.

By the time I got up to my apartment and into position with the night vision binocs, the only light in Jade’s apartment was in the bedroom. The bitch had left the curtains wide open. Except for the mattress on its metal frame, the room was bare and featureless, empty of any personal human touch.

She and the lawyer were naked as jaybirds and as wild and uninhibited as a pair of copulating cats on crack. Their rutting was relentless, gymnastic and rococo.

After a while I could hardly stand it. Sweat poured down my face. A burning rash erupted on my chest and arms. My head throbbed. My eyes burned. I couldn’t stop watching. I couldn’t bear what I saw.

With a final seismic tremor the lawyer shot his wad and collapsed on Jade in a bramble of limbs and sweat-drenched flesh.

“Bastard!” I screamed. He hadn’t used a condom.

I rushed from the apartment, barreling down the stairwell in the empty night, and raced around the pool to Jade’s apartment door. The door was locked. I pounded on its metal surface until my hand ached. But no one answered. Finally I crept back to my observation post and, to the sound of the wind whistling and whimpering around the hard angles and through the narrow passageways of the complex, fell into a dreamless sleep that might have lasted for days.

The next evening, when as usual Jade left her apartment, I didn’t follow her. Our relationship was at a crisis point.

Another hundred dollars in folded twenties secured the super’s passkey.

Jade’s apartment was as empty and dour as a roadhouse bar on Sunday morning. Off-white walls painted so long ago as to be beyond memory. A cheesy chrome and Formica dinette set in the dining nook. An electric kettle next to an open box of green tea on the kitchen counter, dirty mugs and spoons in the stainless steel sink.

In the bedroom a mattress and box springs on a cheap metal frame were the only furniture. A dozen glittery cocktail dresses hung like exotic skins in the closet. The bathroom counter was strewn with makeup containers and applicators.

I went from room to room turning off the lights. The glow of the city cast a dull, empty luminosity across the snarled sheets that testified to the previous night’s frivolities. I crawled into the closet and pulled the sliding door closed. It was as if I was enclosed in the timeless, dimensionless eternity of the womb. Odors of female sweat and eau de cologne crept up my nose like ancient memories. I waited, suspended in embryonic stasis.

The clank of the deadbolt lock snapping open startled me from a half doze. High heels tapped like a blind man’s cane across the tile floor of the living room.

The bedroom light flashed on. Next instant the closet door flew open with a bang. A long barreled revolver pointed directly at me.

“Don’t shoot,” I said as I stumbled out of the closet, my hands held up and open at shoulder level. “It’s only me.”

She motioned with the gun. “Get the fuck over there against the wall with your hands raised. If you move from there I’ll blow your dick off.”

I obliged. We stood maybe three feet apart, me with a quiver of fear shaking my body, she with an ironic smile twisting her lips.

“All I want to do is talk to you,” I said. “Find out why you left your bedroom blinds open last night when you knew I was watching. Find out what makes you tick.”

“What you want,” she said, “is to fuck me silly.”

I couldn’t deny her conclusion. Tonight she wore a silvery bit of nothing that barely caressed the tops of her thighs. Her jet Chinese hair was teased into an exotic pouf.

“You’re strangely beautiful. Impossibly erotic. The girl of my dreams.”

“I know who you are,” she said. “I Googled your name.”

“Then you know I’m rich.”

“I know you’re a genius at business. A great white shark. I’ve been looking for someone like you.”

“Well then…” I started to lower my hands.

Oomph. Without warning her foot shot out in a Taekwondo slider kick to the gut that left me bent double and vomiting.

“I told you not to move.”

While I moaned and messaged the pain from my stomach muscles, she set a small plastic container with a screw top on the floor in front of me and stood back.

“Take down your pants,” she said.


“Take down your goddamn pants!” Jade waved the pistol erratically.

Moments later my pants and Jockeys lay scrunched at my ankles; my cock hung limp and shriveled.

“Now masturbate into the cup.”

“You must be kidding.”

She wasn’t. But hard as I tried, I couldn’t get a hard-on.

“Maybe this will help,” Jade said. She sat on the edge of the bed and spread her legs. After a little fiddling she eased the barrel of the pistol deep between the flaccid lips of her cooze. I grew instantly rigid and seconds later spurted into the plastic jar. Simultaneously Jade moaned, her body shivering in ecstasy.

I stood there holding the little container of my jizz, my cock in retrograde, my cheeks flushed.

“I’ll take that,” she said. I handed her the container of cum.

“What is this? Some kind of science experiment?”

“I’ve a client who’s been looking for a sperm donor with a history of brilliant but ruthless business acumen. You fit her specifications perfectly. She’ll pay a fat bounty and a bonus.”

As I fumbled with my pants, Jade stepped close and jammed the end of the pistol barrel under my chin, pushing upwards until I was starring at the ceiling.

“When you leave here I want you to get in your car and go home. Don’t try to follow me and don’t hire anyone to look for me. If I find out you’re doing that, I’ll kill you.”

When I was back on the street, the hot Santa Anna had died down. It was late. No cars passed along that lonely street. A swath of ice-cold stars stained the night sky, the lifelessness of deep space.

But I was alive. And in the days ahead my stolen DNA would be inserted into an egg deep within an unknown vagina and would grow into a person that might actually look like me, a person over whom I might pass a disinterested glance in the midst of a crowded café or while sitting reading a newspaper in an airport lounge waiting for a flight to Tokyo. I felt the lightness of immortality tingle my nads.

Turning in the direction of the beach, I began to run. I was born anew, raised up from the ashes of love.


Jonathan Woods is the author of Bad Juju & Other Tales of Madness and Mayhem. When not writing he works part time at a small art gallery: Dahlia Woods Gallery.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, April 26th, 2011.