Jane trotted down the stairs from her room and said, "They're coming."
I was blank for a second, then said, "Hey, great.... Right?"
Frowning at the carpet, Jane responded, "Yeah, I guess so. Personally, I don't think you and Bekka should have offered to pay for their trip. You're flying them out here, you're putting them up at the goddamn Marriott in La Jolla Village, you're renting them a car.... Jesus. Their daughter is graduating from high school. They didn't win a sweepstakes prize."
Bekka and I had insisted Jane invite her parents to her high school graduation. When she first brought it up to them over the phone, they were lukewarm about the idea. Bekka and I both assumed their hesitancy was based in economics, so we told Jane to let them know we'd cover all the major expenses of three days in San Diego. Jane's initial response to this was, "None of us owe them a fucking thing. They're not poor, if they really want to make the trip, they can."
"Except both Lenny and I really want them there," said Bekka. "If we can encourage them by removing the financial burden, fine with us."
Now, Jane sat down on the love seat with an expression of concern. "There's a favor I want to ask of you guys, though."
"Sure, what's up?" queried Bekka.
"Don't let on to my dad that you know about him and me."
"I won't bring the subject up," I growled. "But if I see him acting in a remotely inappropriate manner with you, all bets are off. I will have no problem telling him I know exactly what sort of person he is, and that I know what he did to you. Bekka and I have spent nearly two years trying to repair damage he did you you, and we've been successful. You're no longer sexually compulsive, you no longer believe the quickest solution to any problem is your body, and your self-worth isn't lodged in your pussy anymore.
"Your father will act in an appropriate manner around you, even --- especially --- if you two are alone together. My opinion of the man is very low, if you haven't guessed. I will be civil and diplomatic with him, and give no hint I'm familiar with what he did you you.... Unless he decides he's gonna get all cuddly and touchy with you and start whispering in your ear. If that happens, your mom will be bringing him home in a bucket."
Jane had a highly un-amused look on her face. She said, "So, you're sure you want them to come out? You sound like you're going to be watching my father's every move, waiting for him to do something remotely out of bounds."
"Look, pet...." I exhaled loudly. "What I hope happens is you and your parents start some solid reconciliation. The estrangement you have with them doesn't need to be there." A thought crossed my mind. "So, the reason they threw you out was they caught you in bed with some dude, right? Didn't your father feel just the tiniest bit hypocritical doing that?"
"Aw, shit," said Jane. "Really, it was my mom who was so worked up. My dad told me later that night he wasn't upset, but it would have looked strange if he didn't appear upset. He told me, 'Crash at a friend's house for a couple nights. I'll get your mother calmed down, and you can come back home.' The thing was, he'd just spent hours looking like he was in a rage with me, just like my mom. I didn't believe he was that good an actor. It was.... Something smelled fishy, okay? Both Mom and Dad have spent hours telling me what a horrible little slut I am, and now my dad says he was just faking it? Well, shit, I'd already decided to head for California. And I did. I called them from the Greyhound station in Dallas, just to say I was okay, and where I was headed.
"My dad was the one who answered the phone. When I told him I was in Dallas and headed for Southern California, he got highly upset, he thought I was at a friend's house. I told him straight up that he was sending some major mixed signals, and I had always wanted to try the California street scene, so I was going. And he said something that blew my mind. He's all, 'So it's over between us?' like I'm breaking up with a boyfriend, not leaving a house where my own father fucks me twice a week. And it hit me like a brick: my father had romantic feelings towards me. It wasn't just him getting his rocks off, in his head, I was his girlfriend. That creeped me the fuck out more than our sex ever did.
"I told him, 'Dad, it is so over. I'm gonna be in California. Besides, when you and Mom caught me with that guy, you called me a slut about three dozen times over the next three hours. So am I a slut, or am I your special little girl, like you've always told me when you finish? You wonder why I don't have a problem crawling into bed with a guy I barely know? Gee Dad, now where would I have learned that acting on my urges is the right thing to do? You always told me that if I felt hot and bothered, I should take care of the problem.'
"He comes back with, 'Yes.... But only with me!' Oh, shit. I wonder what he thought I was doing out in the swamps, nearly every night since I was thirteen. Hunting frogs? That hit like a brick too, he thought I was his and his only. God. He'd been telling me for years that I should always scratch that itch, and being horny was healthy, and I should pursue pleasure as much as possible. He actually meant I should only do those things with him, I guess.
"I told him I was his daughter, not his girlfriend. What him and me did together was physically enjoyable, but I didn't love him, not like he thought I should. Then I kind of twisted the knife. I'd been thinking about seeing you and Bekka anyway, so I told him, 'Actually, when I get to California, I'm looking up a couple I met two years ago. They make porn, and I'll bet they'll give me a job. So I do thank you for teaching me everything you did, it'll help me in my career as a porn star.' He was totally silent for a few seconds, then he yells, 'You damn slut!' and slams the phone down."
I sat there, slowly bobbing my head. "Huh. That would explain how my call to him went the morning after you showed up at the studio. He really did sound like he felt you were a tramp, totally out of control. And what it really was, he felt like you were cheating on him."
"Spot on," Jane said. "Jesus, is how his relationship with me progressed what he did with Mom, too? Did he start off by raping my mom, then playing head games on her so she'd be more compliant? Had he really conned himself into believing I felt romantic love for him? Come on. Um, Dad, you're committing incest with your own daughter, and you started by raping her, then messing with her mind so she'd think it was a good idea. Nobody is supposed to have romantic feelings for a family member,, ever. You're my father, not my boyfriend."
"For me, it begs the question of why he started with you at all. Incest is such a major taboo worldwide, in every culture, I doubt he was thinking that if you two were from 'more liberated Europe' or something, it would be an okay thing to do. Was he just physically attracted to you? Did he have power and control issues? Any idea?"
"Yes," Jane responded. "I really do think it comes down to him thinking I was hot, full stop. In the ten months since I'd started my mense, my body developed fast, and well." Jane paused to snicker. "I'm twelve years old, and I've got a rack women twice my age would be jealous of." Another pause. "Take some comfort in that, Lenny. At least my dad thought I was hot because I looked like a woman, physically speaking. He wasn't fucking a little girl."
"Oh yes he was," I growled. "You were still goddamn twelve years old. Just because your body is treating puberty like a drag race doesn't mean you've grown up emotionally or intellectually. It makes me wonder about his own maturity. You said he had romantic feelings for you. How? There's gotta be some mental synchronicity between two people for a romantic attraction to develop. He was a grown man, what sort of intellectual commonality did he have with you?"
Jane laughed and said, "No clue. And that's at least a partial reason I'd have never felt any romance for him..... Besides, you ,know, him being my fucking dad and all. A year earlier I'd still been playing with Barbie dolls. When he first started with me, I was into Hello Kitty. Yeah, there was no connection between us that would have inspired romantic feelings. Unless he felt that since I now actually enjoyed the physical aspect of what we were doing, we had enough in common to feel a spark of romance."
"Did he really give your your first orgasm?" I asked.
Jane looked pink, but answered, "My first vaginal orgasm. I'd learned how to masturbate two months after my first mense. Me and a friend were talking about our 'monthly visitor,' and she said, 'But check it out, now you can do something really incredible! It's the best thing you'll ever feel!' So, she showed me what to do, and I tried it, and.... Yeah. Wow. Okay, I'm now subject to this horrible, visceral flood from my crotch every month, but there's also definitely a plus side to puberty, too. Now I understand why grown-ups are so damn hung up on sex."
Jane, Bekka, Terry, and myself are at the Hi-Lo, waiting our respective turns at the pool table to play nine ball. Winner stays, challenger pays. We're in conversation with a few of the Angels. At the moment, Big Ugly and Peewee are a bit annoyed with Bekka and me.
"You're kidding me, Lenny," says Big Ugly. "Jane's gotta have wheels up there. What's she supposed to do, take the fuckin' bus?" He and Peewee burst into laughter.
I give them both a cool look and say, "Um, yeah. Or call a cab. Look, have either of you spent any time in Berkeley?" They shook their heads. "Even finding legal parking for a putt is gonna be a pain in the ass. Berkeley is dense and crowded. The city issues these residential parking permits, and they're zoned by neighborhood. Leave your car for too long in one spot, and don't have the correct parking permit, you're getting a pretty hefty ticket."
"But the college has gotta have parking for students, right?" asked Peewee. "How can they not?"
"They have some parking, yeah. But you're probably thinking about the massive parking lots SDSU has. Nope. UCB has a student population of thirty fucking thousand. Almost all of them live within walking distance of campus, their Student Housing people stack 'em in like cord wood at the dorms. The parking that is available is first come first served, so if a structure fills up, you're shit outta luck, try another sturcture or leave the car on the street. Only you can't leave the car on the street, you're headed to class, so it's probably gonna be six or seven hours before you're back.... Way longer than the two hours every fucking street in Berkeley is zoned for. Oh joy, another $55 ticket.
"Oh, and UC parking permits, for motorcycles, are $265. Per semester. And UC will tow your ass if your're in one of their lots or structures without a permit."
Jane contributed, "Guys, it's frustrating for me too, not having wheels, but.... They're right. It'll just be a pain in the ass to have a vehicle in Berkeley. Okay, the place I'm moving into? There's 110 residents, and twelve parking spaces. So, my Sportster would have a parking permit on it, and sit on the damn street all the time. I'll be living five blocks from campus, like an eight minute walk, so there's no point in riding to school. So, the Sportster would be sitting on the street for days at a time. Would you leave your putts on a public street, in an urban area, unattended, for days at a time?
"There's times when having wheels would be nice, sort of. I'd love to be able to head for the City, especially on weekends. But shit! Parking in San Francisco is an even bigger mess than in East Bay, even on a motorcycle!
:"The only way I'd have a vehicle would be if, starting in my sophomore year, I got a place to live in Oakland, someplace with private parking. I'd just get used to heading for class fairly early, so I could score a parking space for my putt.... And I'd want a putt, not a car. I'd be covering enough distance to justify having a vehicle, you know? But for this year, anything with a motor and DMV registration would be a fucking headache."
Peewee rubbed his chin and said, "Well, hell, next year, get a hold of the brothers from the Oakland chapter, and check around to see if someone needs a roommate. They'll set you up."
"Uh huh," I leered at Peewee. "Call me protective, but I don't want Jane living in some cracker box on Eighty-Sixth and East Fourteenth. Any of the boys from Oakland actually live in one of the half-decent neighborhoods in Oakland, or are they all on the east side?"
Big Ugly tried to look offended, but couldn't pull it off. He said, "Hey, their Sergeant at Arms, Riley, he lives in this fuckin' awesome place way up a canyon, an neighborhood called Montclair. Seriously ritzy, you know? The Oakland brothers are sorta scattered all over. Their clubhouse is down by Jack London Square, a few blocks off the water. It's a perfect location, totally central. And their bar is on Telegraph Avenue, just north of downtown. Peewee is right, Jane should check with the Oakland chapter for leads on places to live.""
"And you're being mighty presumptive, Lenny," Peewee grinned. "Maybe Jane don't want a roommate. Maybe she'd like a damn place to herself. You'd be surprised at what you can find, if you keep your ear to the ground. Especially in a housing market like the central East Bay. People read the classifieds, see the prices, and freak out. Well, there's affordable places out there, they're just not being listed in the papers."
"And Jane, you're into that punk rock stuff, right?" asked Big Ugly.
"Whatever gave you that idea?" Jane asked with a sarcastic smirk.
"Check it, there's always groups of punk rockers who pool their money and get a hold of a warehouse in West Oakland, and convert it into living space. There's some seriously cool places like that around West Oakland. You ever do any construction work?"
"I know which end of a hammer to hold, and I follow instructions well," Jane shrugged.
"Good enough," said Big Ugly, then he smirked. "Some of them dudes, they look like they can't tie their boots in the mornings without strangling themselves."
"Now you understand why lawyers wear penny loafers," I noted.
Fatso drifted up to give Jane a hug. The two of them were the Book Club for the Dago Hell's Angels chapter. Fatso was rail thin, in his mid-forties, with a bushy mustache and a pony tail halfway down his back. He was by far the most cerebral of the Dago H.A., and was just as avid a reader as Jane. The two of them could park on stools at the bar and gab all night, debating and analyzing and dissecting on any subject, but preferably literature. Fatso, at his age, was one of the calmest and level-headed of the Dago chapter, but was also not a person to trifle with. It took a lot to piss him off, but in a brawl he was far more dangerous than anyone would think. It was his left. Nobody watches the left when they brawl. Fatso had a left swing that was like getting hit with a steel baseball bat.
"So Jane, rumor has it you've been accepted into UC Berkeley," Fatso posited.
"I have been," Jane replied. "Are you familiar with Haas School of Business?"
"I wouldn't say familiar, but I know what it is. Very exclusive business school, right? Training the next army of Warren Buffetts?"
"That's the place. I'm in. They accepted me, I'll be a Haas student."
Fatso's face split into a wide grin, his mouth open and teeth showing. He spread his arms and bear-hugged Jane. "That is too boss!" he declared. "Damn, you'll be attending Haas! So have you decided what aspect of the world economy you'll be managing like a drill instructor?"
Big Ugly was giving Fatso a confused stare. "What the hell are you talking about?" he asked.
Fatso declared, "This girl will be attending the Haas School of Business when she goes to Berkeley in the fall. To get into Haas, you've gotta be so on the ball it isn't funny. They wouldn't let me use the can there. Haas produces an incredible number of future CEOs for major companies. If you've got a UCB diploma with the word 'Haas' on it, you can write your own fucking paychecks, you know?"
"Of course, you can imagine the culture clash that's going to happen," I chuckled.
"What do you mean?" Fatso asked.
Bekka intoned, "Well.... Okay, first off, Jane has one of their tenured professors convinced she's such a megalomaniac she makes Saddam Hussein look like Gandhi. She was yanking his chain just gently enough that he didn't notice he was being made fun of. Also, we've seen the student population there. Oh my God. I'm sorry, if you're a college undergraduate and you're wearing a tie, it better be because you've got a court appearance after your class."
Jane added, "Yeah, the students I was were such tight-asses they squeaked when they walked. These are the sort of people who iron their Levis, okay?"
Peewee asked, "So, uh, what do they teach there?"
"Oh, wow," Jane answered. "What don't they teach. It's like boot camp for capitalists, only this boot camp lasts for four years. Um, you'll learn a lot of primary economic theories, you will get an intensely good grip on how the stock market operates --- people keep telng me about the logic of the stock market, which I believe is the stupidest phrase since 'military intelligence' --- labor law, employment law, bank structure, how the Fed operates, how the IRS operates, how banks work, how to manipulate the futures market, international finance, how to form a corporation... Whether you want to run a cigar stand or Exxon, you'll lean how at Haas."
"What business do you want to run?" Peewee asked Jane.
"Well.... In fact, I already have a gig set up for when I graduate. A family friend of ours owns, among many other businesses, a high class escort agency. The timing will be right that when I graduate college, the woman who's currently operating the place will be wanting to retire. She'll mentor me, get me going, then I'll take over. Just by its nature, running an escort agency is eighty percent human relations."
"So basically, you're gonna run a stable of prostitutes!" cackled Big Ugly.
Jane regarded him levelly. "If you can charge, and receive, a thousand dollars for sex, you're far out of the range of just being a prostitute. And that's none of the agency's concern anyway. Whatever arrangements a client and one of the girls reach when the date is over is between them.... Although the agency does expect a fifteen percent cut of the action from the girl."
And here comes Short Nick, the troll under the bridge of the Dago chapter. Short Nick is five foot three, insecure, utterly lacking in tact, and has huge issues with women. He's wanted to get in Jane's pants since day one, even though he's thirty-two and she's still jail bait. She rejected his advances, and myself, Terry, Roach, and several other Angels have told Nick to get the idea out of his head. Now he'll shmooze around, not engaging Jane directly very often, but giving her the eye and dropping comments.
Tonight he actually does directly approach Jane. "I heard someplace you sent your boyfriend to prison," he comments.
This remark confused Jane for a second: no, her boyfriend Smiley is probably at home in his garage right now, neck deep in a car engine. Then the penny dropped, and she replied, "No Nick. It was my ex-boyfriend, and he'll be headed to CYA for nine months after school is out."
"What the hell did you do that for? Even if he's an ex, why'd you sic the law on him?"
In a rather condescending tone, Jane said, "Well Nick, I did it because he and a friend showed up drunk at my house one night with the intention of raping me. I didn't want to be raped, so I grabbed a gun and held them. Calling the cops was the only logical thing to do. I wasn't about to just pat them on the head and send them home, Lenny and Bekka weren't around, and I didn't feel like standing there keeping them covered until all three of us collapsed from hunger."
"We'd have been home by then," said Bekka. "We'd have spelled you on keeping them covered."
Short Nick sneered, "You goddamn wimmen, always calling the cops over any little domestic conflict."
"Uh, no, Nick," hissed Jane. "This wasn't some loud argument with my old man over whose turn it is to walk the dog. Me and Lance broke up last September. Now he shows up out of the blue, with a friend, wanting me to give them both some action? Whether I wanted to or not? Fuck Lance, and fuck his friend. They were drunk, horny, and had convinced themselves I'd flop for them just because they told me to. Lance is goddamn lucky, not only did the judge delay the start of his sentence until after school is out, he's only getting nine months. That's for attempted rape, assault, forced entry..... Lance has always been a good little boy, so the judge was damn lenient. He'll start at UC Santa Barbara next spring, and have his life back to normal."
"So why didn't you just party with them?" pressed Nick. "What was the big deal?"
Terry gave Nick her drop-a-motherfucker smile and said, "Because she didn't want to, that's why. What's so complicated about that?"
"Shit, if you were my ex, I'd expect you to help out if I needed to bust a nut," Nick sneered. "You got no respect for the men in your life, little doll."
"You have got to be kidding, Nick," Fatso said, rolling his eyes. "So you think if you date a woman, you now have a claim on her for the rest of your life? Jane and Lance broke up, they were both seeing new people. Jane didn't have Lance's ring on her finger. Why would it be Jane's problem if Lance was horny? She didn't owe him shit, least of all a party with both him and his friend."
Jane added, "They were about two seconds from jumping me. I ran up the stairs to get away from them, and grabbed the gun. Jesus Christ, I'm pointing a fucking gun at them, and you know what they did? They pulled their cocks out. Like I was gonna get distracted and horny just by seeing their cocks. Fucking teenage boys, you can point a revolver at them and they'll still get a hard-on."
"You still don't got any respect for the men in your life," Nick pushed.
With a sigh, I said, "Except Lance wasn't in her life. He'd dumped her in September so he could date some preppy rich bitch from La Jolla. Jane had tried to work things out with him, but he had his heart set on some Muffy who lived up on Soledad. She didn't owe him anything, and she had no reason to respect him. He removed that himself."
Short Nick stared at Jane, then showed his teeth and said, "Little doll, you just don't know your place."
Everybody sort of stared at Nick. Hell's Angels aren't the most socially progressive people, but they don't consider women to be property, either. Terry was getting pissed. She said, "What the fuck, Chuck? Her 'place'? So chicks are supposed to put out for any dumb motherfucker we've ever dated, just because they ask?"
"What's the big deal?" Nick asked with a dark chuckle. "Broads just lie there anyway, the guys do all the work."
Bekka laughed and said, "I've got muscles in my arms, back, and thighs that will refute that statement."
Terry growled, "Nick, you need to shut the fuck up and check your head."
Addressing Terry, Nick said, "What's your problem? Ain't you gettin' no action out of that nerd-boy you're seeing? You know what? I never wanna see him around here again. You can hang around with nerd-boy somewhere else. Don't you ever show up with him again. He don't deserve to be around Angels."
Peewee said, "Gerald's a pretty righteous dude. Mutt says he can be here. Spike says he can be here. I'm kosher with him, he's an all right guy, he's just kinda quiet, you know? So he ain't an outlaw. That don't mean he's a chump."
"He ain't pretending to be something he's not," added Big Ugly. "Yeah, Gerald is a computer jockey for a living. Yeah, he's quiet and kinda dorky. But he's also got some guts, too. And he makes Terror happy, you know? An't nothing wrong with Gerald."
"His intellect, observational skills, and mental dexterity are greatly appreciated by some of us," said Fatso. "Shit, he was the one who spotted when those undercover pigs were here about a month ago, dressed like local vatos and trying to score dope. Gerald picked up on little shit that gave away their game, like one was wearing a damn pricey watch, and both of them were wearing shoes that were way too new. Gerald had seen what car they'd shown up in, and sorta walked past it to take a gander. Sure as shit, there's a fuckin' police radio mounted way under the dashboard, and the damn car was way too clean to belong to some low-riding tweaker."
"Doobie, King, and Dickhead would have been getting set up for busts if it weren't for Gerald," said Terry. "He had them made, and got word around about who they really were before anyone did business with them. Gerald kept at least three H.A. our of the clink, in the long run. Try to tell me he's not a good dude to have around."
"Fuck that goddamn nerd-boy!" Short Nick declared. Addressing Terry, he said, "Shit, are you happy with that tiny little nerd dick he's probably got? Does his dick even work? Fuckin' pencil-necks like him make me puke."
Terry pointed an evil grin at Nick and said, "Gerald has a dick like a salami, and he's a fuckin' stud with it. He can wear me out, and that's saying something."
Peewee said, "Besides, it's pretty cool to have someone with some seriously turbocharged brain power around. He can look at shit from a totally different perspective, see shit I'd never think of. Like, did you know taking a shot playing pool is all math?"
"What?" asked Nick.
Fatso smiled and said, "Complex mathematics is not my forte, but.... Okay, Gerald was watching Terry and someone else play nine ball. All of a sudden he says, 'You know lining up a shot, and pulling it off, is all trigonometry?' I asked him what the hell he meant, so he grabs a piece of paper from the bar and begins writing down all this weird, complex math. What it came down to was that making a shot can be explained by math. He said, 'Making a shot involves performing very complex math in our heads, we just don't realize we're doing it.' Damn. That's kind of a cool thing to think about."
"Damn right," Big Ugly agreed. "So Gerald ain't no outlaw, he ain't no brawler, he's a computer nerd. He's still one righteous motherfucker, though."
"And he makes Terror very happy," added Fatso.
"Sometimes five or six times in one night," giggled Terry.
"Oh, so is nerd-boy gonna end up holding a patch with Dago?" asked Nick in an obnoxious tone. "The Dago chapter gonna have a resident computer jockey? Jesus, fuckin' Terror shows up here with a pencil-neck like that guy, and you're all cool with it? What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Gerald doesn't even ride a putt," said Fatso. "No, he's not Angel materiel. That doesn't mean he can't be a friend, like Lenny or Bekka or Terror or Jane."
"Leave it alone, Nick, Gerald is good people," said Big Ugly. "Like Fatso pointed out, he's way on the ball. What's wrong with having a few smart motherfuckers around? Gerald kept a few asses out of slings. He didn't need to, but he did it anyway. That's pretty fuckin' righteous."
Short Nick went silent for a while. watching the game of nine ball with dull eyes. Then he turned to Jane and said, "You know, you ought to show up at your ex's place and give him a little going-away present before he heads to Chino. You owe it to him, you're the one who's sending him there."
Jane looked at Nick with a small grin, then said, "You're absolutely right, Nick. I'll bring him a carton of cigarettes. Lance doesn't smoke, but I'm sure he'll be able to use them as barter for things he wants." She paused. "Of course, his parents don't really like me anymore, so showing up at his house would be a bad idea. I'll just use Lenny's credit card to put some money on his books once he's in."
"That ain't what I meant, and you know it," Nick yelled.
"Oh, I know. But I thought we'd covered that topic already. I don't owe Lance Grisham a fucking thing, least of all that. What a silly suggestion, Nick."
"So you're too special to give up your pussy, little doll?" Nick asserted. "Shit. Like I said, you don't know your place."
"You're working my last nerve, Nick," I said loudly. "You're going to stop speaking to Jane, and you'll stop right now. You are not providing any constructive input to the evening. Leave Jane alone, now."
"I'll talk any way I want to the little blue-haired bitch!" Nick shot back.
I started moving towards Nick, but was cut off. Big Ugly was closer to him, and got there first. He looked down at Nick and said, "Nick, go home. Just go the fuck home. You ain't done nothing except piss people off since you walked up. I don't know what your problem is tonight, but I don't care either. Go home. And if you don't start moving, I'll carry you out to your bike."
Nick looked around at all of us, seething. Then he looked at Jane, yelled, "Fuckin' cunt!" and literally ran for the door. When he was outside, the rest of us just looked at each other and shook our heads.
"I swear, the little bastard is getting worse," said Peewee. "Always gotta cop an attitude, always gotta talk shit. What the fuck is setting him off all the time now?"
Addressing the pool table, Jane said, "It was me, tonight. I'm sure you'll all agree Nick has some serious issues with chicks. Well, my ex-boyfriend is headed for a visit to the pokey, and it's because of me. I don't think Nick gives a fuck that I was defending myself, or that Lance was totally in the wrong. Nick just knows a dude is going to jail. And to Nick, the only reason he is, is because I didn't give up my pussy to him, like I'm supposed to. Nick views chicks like other people view rental cars. They're interchangeable, they're property, and they should be available whenever you want one."
"Don't let Nick aggravate you," said Fatso. "As you saw, we'll let him run his mouth for a while, but we do get tired of it. If he'd gotten really crude with you, I"d have thrown him out the door myself."
Bekka was looking thoughtful. "Nick has issues, obviously. I'm curios about the source of them, though."
"Shit, he's just bugged because of his height," said Peewee. "A lot of short dudes are really insecure, you know?"
"Yes.... But I'd think for Nick, a lot of that insecurity would be neutralized just by the fact that he's H.A. The club let him in, which means he's got a lot on the ball. Short men often feel as though their manliness is in question. I'm sorry, but if you're an Angel, you should have no doubts about your masculinity."
"His height certainly contributes to his problem with women," I speculated.
"But women aren't that hung up on how tall a buy is," said Jane. "There are short male sex symbols. Look at Paul Williams, or Prince, or Glen Danzig. If Nick thinks chicks reject him because of his height, that's his issue, not one chicks have. Haw, chicks reject him because he's such a fucking troll."
Big Ugly said, "I heard the first time you came here, Nick was trying to hustle you. Was he all crude and shit?"
"No. He was just.... He was trying to hustle me in this really smarmy, Seventies singles bar kind of way. I kept waiting for him to ask what my sign was. And I kept dropping obvious hints that I wasn't interested, too, I kept reminding him, 'I'm sixteen.' That didn't bother him at all."
"Yes, and he was thirty-one at the time," mused Fatso. "He had my curiosity piqued, as to why you were so interesting to him. Did he think you'd be easy to manipulate because you were young? Did he hope you had.... Okay, he's a little too young for you to get a daddy fixation on, but maybe a brother fixation? Or is he just so intimidated by grown women he can only relate to an adolescent, a girl who hasn't reached intellectual maturity?"
"Or, he's just a fuckin' creepy little troll," said Terry. "Figure he knows what the fuck statutory rape is, and how statutory rape laws work. The little motherfucker might get off on that, banging some fuckin' young chick and thinking, 'I'm committing a fuckin' felony right now' while he does it."
"A very interesting twist for sexual danger junkies," I laughed. "No handcuffs, no hot candle wax, no whips.... Just getting a thrill, simultaneously fucking an underage girl and calculating the amount of prison time you'd be facing if you get caught."
"I just got tired of having to repeat myself," said Jane. "My ex-boyfriend tried to commit an act of violence against me, and I had him arrested. And Nick kept pressing me that I should have gone along with it. How many times, in how many ways, can I say, 'Not no but fuck no'?"
Terry was sitting there with an angry look, showing her teeth. "With fuckin' Nick, women are always wrong on a subject. A chick will never tell him anything, on any subject, and have him say, 'Yeah, you're right.' Naw, to Nick, we're all dumb-ass fuckin' bitches, and we ain't never gonna tell Nick what to think." She laughed. "Remember that movie 'The Stepford Wives'? That's the fuckin' universe Nick wants to live in."
Peewee burst out in laughter. "Nick doesn't want an old lady, he wants a fuckin' collie! Docile, obedient, does what you tell it to.... Shit. Is it against the law to fuck a collie? Nick could meet his dream girl by going to the Humane Society."
After we all finished laughing, I pointed out that yes, inter-species sex is frowned upon by both society and the law. "There's a lot of sheep ranchers in Wyoming who are felons, and don't even know it."
"I'd make a Scotsman joke, but those are rubbed into the ground," grinned Big Ugly.