There was an awful stink in Jerry Dairy’s trailer. A stink like something died. Actually, Mary Dairy said that a dead thing in the trailer was entirely possible. She said that Sid the vicious guinea pig had disappeared a week ago and that now he was probably decomposing under the furniture somewhere.
We emptied a can of Glade, but the stink came back in an hour. Even though it was December, Mary Dairy said to go ahead and open up the windows. She figured that was what Jerry Dairy would’ve done if he were there. Jerry Dairy never thought about letting the heat out or paying gas bills or paying any kind of bills really. Jerry Dairy only thought about rock & roll and his rock & roll band, Jerry Dairy and the Cowfuckers. I was a Cowfucker—the drummer. Jack Zero played bass, Hood was on guitar, and Lurch carried the amps. Since Jerry Dairy and Baby Bjork were gone for the week, we were all crashing at the trailer, keeping Mary Dairy company.
We smoked and drank and watched TV. After a while Mary Dairy said she wanted to play Russian roulette with the pills. She got out the different pills and put them in shot glasses with coasters on top so you couldn’t see what they were. Then she mixed the shot glasses all around. We each picked a glass and swallowed the pills without looking at them. Someone got Adderall, and someone got Xanax, and someone got codeine, and one lucky bastard got two fat Vicodins. All I got was a couple crummy white crosses.
The wind picked up and the trailer got colder, so of course Mary Dairy said it was time for strip poker. I didn’t mind it, but after five or six hands Lurch began to grunt. To Lurch cards are just funny little papers with drawings on them. He doesn’t understand poker at all, so he always ends up bare-balls naked by ten o’clock. Mary Dairy decided to give him a break this time and shut the windows. We didn’t want Lurch getting frostbitten jingle-balls or anything. Besides, after four days in the trailer we were pretty much used to it anyway. The stink that is. Not the naked Lurch. A naked Lurch is something you don’t get used to ever. He is almost all balls down there. A massive wad of pimply sack. And he doesn’t mind showing them off, either. Jack Zero and Hood and I told Mary Dairy on numerous occasions that it would be fine with us if Lurch left his underwear on during strip poker, but she wouldn’t hear of it.
“With Jerry Dairy gone,” she said, “I’m in charge of the games. And I want full humiliation.”
Of course she did. She never lost.
So there we were, sitting in the stink with no fresh air and a naked Lurch. Some records by The Sugarcubes and The Count Five were playing at the same time, and it sounded pretty good, like a train full of Icelandic school kids derailing. Santy Claus was on the TV fiddling with elves and going “ho, ho, ho!” like he does. We played more strip poker, and kept at it till late since Baby Bjork was with Jerry Dairy and we didn’t have to worry about waking her up. Mary Dairy won almost every hand, and we sat around in the buff without a bit of tit in sight.
“Well,” said Mary Dairy. “There seems to be quite a quantity of cock on display. And a fair amount of balls too. This might account for the disgusting smell.”
She reached under the coffee table, got out the old Polaroid, and starting taking pictures. I covered my crotch. Jack Zero flipped her off. Hood said, “Zimbabwe.” Lurch just sat there mute and smiling with his legs spread wide. When the pictures came out one by one Mary Dairy fluttered them in the air and blew on them until they were dry. Jack Zero saw a close-up of his wang and tried to grab it from her. They struggled with the picture like you do a wishbone until it tore down the middle, slicing Jack Zero’s package between the prick and the marbles. Jack Zero got the prick end and crumpled it up and threw it in the trash.
“I’ll just get it later,” said Mary Dairy, putting the marbles half in her jeans pocket.
“Suck it when you find it,” said Jack Zero.
“Now it’s time to take your laps,” said Mary Dairy. “I’ll review the photographic evidence while you’re gone. Up and out, losers!”
“Come on,” I said. “It’s freezing.”
“Yeah,” said Jack Zero. “It’s fucking arctic out there.”
“Ar,” said Lurch.
“Too bad,” said Mary Dairy. “You know the rules.”
“Do you want the red buttocks again?” she said.
We all agreed that we did not want the red buttocks again.
“Then go,” she said. “Now!”
So we went. Out into the ice and snow to jog twice around the trailer park. Those were the rules. You lose, you run. And we really ran. We sprinted through the stinging wind as fast as we could, slipping here, sliding there, trying to hug our chests for warmth without losing balance and falling down. Only Hood was fucked up enough to enjoy it; he bounded from curb to curb, flapping his arms like a crazy stork and spewing out his usual nonsense in white puffs:
“Ho-yah, whew. Mogadishu. KnowhatImean? Man, it’s like, and damn. Kelly Bundy. You know?”
It was no mystery who got the Vicodins.
Lights came on as we streaked past the trailers. People looked out at us and quickly drew their curtains. One lady in a droopy Santa hat raised a glass of something and toasted it against her windowpane.
Back at the trailer, Mary Dairy was pacing around, yelling into her phone.
“Where are you?” she said. “And where the hell is Baby Bjork?”
We put some clothes over our shrunken parts.
“You’re what?” said Mary Dairy. “You’re where?”
Her face was very red.
“I’m going to kill you,” she said. “Do you hear me? Hello? Hello?”
“What’s the matter?” I said.
“He hung up,” she said. “He fucking hung up on me.”
She dialed a number and waited.
“Pick up, bitch,” she said. “Pick the fuck up.”
It must’ve gone to voicemail, because Mary Dairy said: “Bitch, I know you’re with him, and I just want to tell you what you’re in for. First, I’m going to ram a ball bat up your sloppy cunt. Then I’m going to rip off your tits and feed them to your ugly-ass dog. See you in ten minutes, whore.”
Mary Dairy took a beer mug out of the sink and smashed it on the floor. Glass went everywhere.
“Did you cocksuckers know where Jerry Dairy was?” she said.
“We were under the impression,” I said, “that Jerry Dairy was taking Baby Bjork over to his grandparents’ for the holidays.”
“Bullshit,” said Mary Dairy.
She tried to shove her feet into some boots, but they wouldn’t fit.
“Fuck it,” she said, kicking the boots aside. “And fuck you guys. You know he’s been fucking that skank.”
Her face scrunched up into a mass of wrinkles and she started to cry. Then she howled a terrible howl and ran outside barefoot. The car peeled away and Hood closed the door.
“Jerusalem,” he said.
Mary Dairy was right though—we did know about Jerry Dairy. We’d known about Jerry Dairy for some time.
“But why would he call here and start trouble with Mary Dairy?” I said.
“Shitdrunk,” said Hood.
“Probably. But what about Baby Bjork? He wouldn’t take her to that skank’s house, would he?”
“I wonder,” said Jack Zero.
“I wonder, too,” I said.
When Mary Dairy came back her shirt was shredded and her face was scratched and bloody. She screamed at us to get out.
“Your feet are bleeding,” I said. “And they’re frozen. Sit down.”
She sat on the big chair and sobbed into her hands.
“Where’s Baby Bjork?” I said.
“Who?” she said.
“Your baby. Where is she?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t even ask the asshole.”
She moaned and cried and snuffled through her snot-caked nose.
“Oh, God,” she said. “Oh God, oh God…”
I cleaned up her feet and Hood said comforting things like: “Nicklefunk. All in a pinch. You know? Who needsthebum?” Jack Zero brought a can of cold beer over and held it against her swollen cheek. He poured some between her lips, but most of it dribbled out. She smiled and laughed a little.
Just when Mary Dairy seemed to be getting better, Lurch came out of the kitchen naked and blubbering. He slowly unfurled his massive forearms, revealing the gnarled corpse of Sid the vicious guinea pig.
Days later, as he packed his things in the lingering stink and prepared to move out of the trailer, Jerry Dairy admitted to having found Sid dead in his cage. He’d removed the stiff corpse and tossed it under the sink, missing the garbage can.
We stood around not talking and not looking at each other. Baby Bjork was on the floor, rolling around in the dirty laundry. Mary Dairy glared at Jerry Dairy, and Baby Bjork squirmed in one direction and then another.
“Shit,” said Jerry Dairy.
Dan Morey lives in Erie, PA where he relentlessly pursues the longnose gar, great northern pike and mighty bowfin in the weedy waters of Presque Isle Bay. His writing has appeared in Giant Robot, The Red Raven Review, Eyeshot, The Big Jewel, Smokebox (forthcoming) Lumen, Tempus, L.A. Miscellany, A Reader’s Guide to the Underground Press and the Erie Times-New.