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The Tyranny of Whores

Shirley Anne Speck was a whore, and that was all there was to it. No, not Speck. Malone. That bitch didn’t deserve to carry the same name as Richard’s saint of a mother. How dare she treat him this way? Leaving him just because he wasn’t around for a few days. It wasn’t like he wanted to be away when the baby squirted out of her — he was locked up. How was it fair to punish him for something the cops had done? It wasn’t. It was just an excuse. Whores would take any excuse to get out of their marital duties, flaunting it around town, trying to get somebody better. There was nobody better than Richard. Nobody. When would these whores learn?
Some treacherous little voice penetrated the alcoholic haze to remind him that he wasn’t strictly telling the truth there. Mary Margaret Speck wasn’t nearly as saintly as he’d have liked her to be. He wasn’t a virgin birth. His seven siblings weren’t either. Then there was that peg-legged bastard that came around after Dad dropped dead. He must have been giving it to her good to make her forget all the abuse he heaped on her and the kids. She must have been moaning and flopping underneath him every night for her to turn a blind eye to the way little Richard cringed every time old peg-leg opened his mouth to spit out his poison.
Richard cringed away from that image of his mother spread out on a bed like a whore. But why? Why was he hiding from the truth? This was what all women were like. This was all that they wanted. To hurt him, betray him and toss his memory away the moment they had the opportunity. It had happened to Dad, and it was happening to him, too. He’d barely been gone a week, and already Shirley had moved on. She’d taken his kid from him. She’d taken the roof from over his head. He’d come out of prison expecting a welcome party, and all he got was the cold shoulder from everybody. What was he supposed to do? Just take it lying down when some prick in a bar took a swing at him? Would he have been the man Shirley married if he’d done a thing like that? No. She’d have never let him live it down. He wouldn’t have been able to stand the sight of himself. She would’ve wanted him to hit the guy. Maybe pull his knife. That was what she wanted. So why was she acting like she didn’t?
Whores, every last one of them. Just waiting for a chance to slither into some other man’s bed. It didn’t matter if the other man was better or worse — they just wanted somebody. It wasn’t right, the way that women treated men. It wasn’t right that these whores got to lord it over everyone, deciding who gets what and when. Why did a whore have more rights than him? Why did that whore Shirley get to decide that he wasn’t allowed to live in his own apartment anymore? That he didn’t get to lie down in bed with her the way that she was meant to lie down as her husband demanded. The world was all wrong, and these whores were to blame, turning men’s heads and making them do whatever they were asked in exchange for a taste. It shouldn’t be this way. Somebody ought to put things right. Put those whores back in their place. Let them know that they were beneath men and that they were meant to get beneath men whenever they were told.
Richard had a knife. He’d always carried one for as long as he could remember. Sometimes a fight went south, and you wanted something to turn it around. Sometimes you needed to part a man from his money with the minimum amount of trouble. That was what being a man was all about — strength. He was strong, and other men were weak, so he could take what he wanted from them. That was the natural order of things, and if women would just obey that natural order, then everything would’ve been fine. But they didn’t. Women were slick and slippery. They could slide around the side of what you were saying and twist your own words around to make you look stupid. They could lift up their skirts and make any man go weak. It didn’t matter to them that Richard was stronger than them because they had that secret power over men that let them ruin everything whenever it took their fancy. He was done bowing down to it. He was tired of the tyranny of whores. He wasn’t going to go sniffing around their skirts and begging them for what he wanted anymore. He was strong. They were weak. And the rules applied to them just the same as everyone else. Whores would give him what he wanted, or he’d cut up their pretty faces. He’d squeeze their soft necks until they all went blue. He was in control now. He was the one with the power.
His hand rested on the knife in his belt as he finished up the last dregs of rotgut whiskey in his glass. He could feel the texture of the wooden handle, the grain, the reassuring weight of it. He didn’t need the approval of whores when he had this. He was strong. He’d never felt stronger. When he rose up from the barstool, he nearly toppled, but a few steps towards the door put him into a rhythm, and that gave him his balance. He’d been drinking for as long as he could piss standing up; he knew how to handle his liquor. When he stepped out into the cool night, it washed the worst of his drunkenness away. The swaying stopped, his stumbling steps became steady. Stepping out into the darkness was like waking up. The warm feelings of the bar hadn’t left him, but he was wearing them, instead of the other way around, wrapping that cotton-wool around himself as insulation from the cruel world out there.
Weak men would have been weeping about now, but Richard had learned to channel all his misery into anger. Sobbing never helped anything. Getting angry did. Angry men got things done. He had an enemy, and he hit them. He had a barrier; he smashed through it. It was what he’d always done, and what he’d always do when a problem presented itself. But tonight’s problem — the problem of whores — was altogether too abstract to present such a simple solution. He couldn’t break all the whores of their bad habits in one night. He couldn’t round them all up and re-educate them in the correct way to treat a man. It just wasn’t practical. He needed something that he could do right now, something to set the world back on its right course, to knock the whores from their reeking thrones and put men back where they belonged, on the top of the food chain. He had to do something. Set some example. He needed to let the whores know that one man in the entire world wasn’t scared of them. He wasn’t afraid they might snatch away their filthy offerings. They’d already taken everything from him, and he was still standing. They had nothing left in their handbags of tricks.
As his mind wandered through the spiky maze of his drunken fury, his legs carried him on unguided into the city night. There were few people out this late and this far from the safe neon lights of the main streets, but here and there, he caught a glimpse of them in the lamplight. The homeless, the police, more drunks staggering home just like he should’ve been, if he’d had a home to stagger back to. Men, just trying to live their lives under the oppressive thumb of the whores. He sank back into his reverie and drifted a few more blocks, circling slowly back towards the bar.
She’d been gone when he got out of prison the first time around after that bar fight put him away. That had been a bad time in his life — no welcome party, no smiles, no wife, no kid. The whore had upped stakes and left him before he’d even met the brat. He could forgive her leaving during the next sentence — a year and a half was a long time to wait — but those few weeks back then? That was unconscionable. How cruel did a whore have to be to treat a loving and kind man like that? A man who’d done nothing to her but put food on the table and a roof over her head, when he remembered to go to work.
Running away after he got locked up that first time was wicked. He’d never forgive it, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what came after. When he went crawling home from jail to his momma and his sister, both those filthy whores had taken the other whore’s side. They wouldn’t tell him where she’d gone. They wouldn’t help him reclaim what was rightfully his. They were the worst ones, those two whores. Those two betrayers. He’d never speak to them again if he could help it. Whores siding with whores against the men they ought to love above all others. It was despicable.
This latest betrayal, the news that she’d shacked up with somebody else even though the government still said they were married, that was what had brought all the old bitterness back. He was so willing to forgive and forget, but the whore just kept on twisting the knife that she’d jammed in his back. She just wouldn’t let him rest for even a moment. She was intent on keeping him suffering. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. He hadn’t done a thing to deserve it.
When he blinked his blurred vision away — not tears, just a little bleariness from the booze — Richard realised he’d made some wrong turns along the way. The bar was nowhere near here. He had wandered close to suburbia. There were condos all around. It was quiet out here, too quiet by far for his tastes. It made the hair on the back of his neck stand up, like he was just waiting for something to happen, some sound to fill up the silence. He was turning to leave and seek out someplace less unsettling when he saw her walking to her car. A whore. Strolling around at two in the morning, she had to be a whore. No good woman would be out at a time like this, no mother or virgin would risk themselves in the dark of the night. This was a whore, just like all the other whores who’d wronged him, and this was his opportunity to make an example of her.
In a few brisk steps, he closed the distance from the edge of the car park to her spot. In that same flurry of motion, he drew the knife from his belt. She must have caught a reflected shimmer of the steel in her car window because he could’ve sworn he didn’t make a sound. She didn’t look like the other whores he’d known, with her pretty blonde hair and her eyes bulging wide, but she was one. He knew in his gut that she was. He lifted the knife and got ready to make his statement, to show them all that he wasn’t going to take it anymore. Then she screamed.
All the silence was stripped away. All the warmth and power that the whiskey had tricked him with vanished in a rush of cold adrenaline. The scream carried out and echoed off the walls of the condos. Lights started to go on in the windows. They were going to see him. They were going to stare at him, just like this whore was staring now. With a gasp, he turned and ran as fast as his legs could carry him. He ran and ran until the air in his lungs felt like fire, and still he tried to go faster. He was two blocks away when he ran straight into the side of a police cruiser.
It just wasn’t his night.

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1 Comment

  • Linda J Evans

    Reply Reply November 11, 2019

    Great reading!

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