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MONSTROSITY:

APARTMENT COMPLEX

ON DEADMAN LANE


Episode 1




K J WALT




Copyright Information

MONSTROSITY: APARTMENT COMPLEX ON DEADMAN LANE

Episode 1

Copyright © 2018 by K J Walt


First Publication: October 2018


Cover design by Pixie Moon

All art and logo copyright © 2018



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission. Such action is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Copyright Law.


All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.


mailto:kjwaltauthor@gmail.com




DEDICATION



To all the people who love a crazy short story that’s got main characters who’re not scared of a fight! That sure does include Rockie!


And to my husband and children for all their support. Love you guys!

A shout-out goes to Kara, Jesse, and Alexander Bettin for their helpful input!






Table of Contents:


Copyright Info


THE INHERITANCE


KIN


A NICE VIEW


NEIGHBORS


THE SLOW STORE


WHAT A FUCKING DAY





Settle down, I don’t think so. Wandering and fighting are in my Gypsy blood.



I’m someone’s heir!



An ancient lawyer finds me and says I’m the heir of a man I’ve never heard of. Now I’m supposed to claim my inheritance.

As unbelievable as this is, curiosity gets the better of me.

It doesn’t take long to find out I had a Pimp Daddy of an uncle. A Pimp Daddy! He changed but he left me an apartment complex that is still shady as sh*t. I have to deal with it even though my Gypsy blood is screaming to move on.

There is no way I’ll stay here.



Moneysaving Box Set Available! These short stories are loosely woven but can be enjoyed alone. This series is for people who like short, humor-filled dramas where the characters aren’t scared of a fight and bullies never win.

Have a laugh and get to The End this evening!

Warning: You’ll find a French bulldog with lots of issues, adult language, politically incorrect characters, and violence. This story could be offensive to some…or a lot of people.



Scroll up and download to read about the unique people who live in the apartment complex on Deadman Lane. Save some Money. Box Set Available!





MAIN CHARACTERS





YOSKA DRAPER – Inherited a mansion that was turned into an apartment complex from his unknown Pimp Daddy uncle, Gitano. AKA Guardian Troll



COMFREY REYNOLDS – Songwriter, Photographer who pays rent with sex. AKA Cookie Maker



ESSIE SOMMERS – Abandoned Teen who is riding for free. AKA Rainbow Teen



JAVIER SOLVAIR – Resident Barefoot, Drug Dealer. AKA Spinning Drug Dealer



ADRIAN FLETCHER – Sexy as fuck Crossdresser who can kick ass. AKA Crossdresser



CARTER MONTGOMERY – Wise, Beautifully Dark Skinned, Symmetrically Perfect Yoga instructor with an English accent. He is calm…most of the time. AKA Darkolicious



SANG SANCHEZ – Asian-Hispanic boyfriend of Carter who also has an English accent as well as a foot fetish. AKA Yellowlicious



RILEY AGUERRA – Big eared guy who is lost as fuck. AKA Big Ears



SHEA BACINO – Troll Fanatic, Beer drinking, Tattoo artist. Yoska is pretty sure she doesn’t own one bra. AKA Troll Lover



SLATE RUTHERFORD – Badass biker boyfriend of Shea’s.



ROCKIE – French Bulldog with Statue and Narcolepsy issues.

(Rockie has some cards and stuff out at zazzle dot com. KJ Walt Designs)



Dracu means fuck in Romanian.



Santa Madre de Tierra means Holy Mother of Earth in Spanish.





MONSTROSITY:

APARTMENT COMPLEX

ON DEADMAN LANE


EPISODE

1


K J WALT



THE INHERITANCE



Yoska Draper




“What the fuck!”


I glare at the address I’ve been given. “This can’t be.” The massive paint-chipped house in front of me cannot be an apartment complex. Number one, it’s a house. A big one, I’ll admit but it’s still a house. Number two, its baby-shit green with orange-red trim. All faded and all hideous.


I get out of my 2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z1L Coupe and gawk at the monstrosity. “This has to be a joke. A bad one. When I see Belcher Andree, I will punch the fuck out of him. I don’t care how ancient he is.”


Although, he did seem serious.


Surely, I’m on the wrong street or something. I read the address again.


Nope.


Deadman Lane. This street name is going to be real appropriate if this is a joke.


The skin on my neck pickles, I’m being watched. I scour the area and see the curtain shift on the house next door. When the shadowy shape of a person sees me looking, the curtain gets dropped.


“That’s what I thought, run and hide.”


It’s good to know my anger can be felt all the way to the neighbor’s house.


I’m startled when the neighbor’s front door bursts open. Out pops an orange-haired female wearing a skintight dress that reveals her curves plus a few rolls that shouldn’t be there. Not in that dress anyhow.


She’s smoking a long-ass cigarette and staring straight at me. “Hello, sexy man. You sure look good standing next to that red and black, mean-looking coupe.”


I am definitely going to beat Belcher for this messed up joke. I give the strange female a head nod and she strikes a pose that makes all of her rolls seem larger. The sun hits her head causing her hair to look like orange flames from hell.


She’s scarily focused on me, but I have to give her credit for knowing a superior sports car when she sees it.


A car pulling up to the broken curb has me scowling that way. My narrowed gaze zeros in on the weasel lawyer. I’ve only met him once, when he tracked me down with the dedication of a high paid PI. I know it’s him. Who else would wear a bowtie in this day? Nobody.


The second he gets out of his car, I’m on him. “What the hell is this?” I gesture to the ugly house. “A ratty house, not an apartment complex.”


His wrinkles fold in on themselves as he frowns. “Settle down, your Gypsy blood is showing.”


My fists tighten. “Not as much as yours is going to if you’re playing a joke on me.”


“I assure you, this is not a joke. It’s quite serious. I would never have called in so many favors to track you down for a silly joke. Let’s go in and I’ll show you what you inherited.” Belcher brushes a few cat hairs from his jacket and then leads the way.


I see a few more cat hairs on his awful checkered jacket but I don’t say anything. I’m pissed and curious at the same damn time.


The steps and large porch seem sturdy. Maybe this won’t be too bad. I relax a bit and follow the lawyer in and then I just stare. The tile entry is brown and red and scuffed to hell.


I gesture to the carpet. “I didn’t know rust, green, red, and black could look that ugly. And what is that awful wallpaper? Did drunk monkeys design it?”


Belcher touches his freaky bowtie as he looks around. “At least it matches.”


“Are you insane?” I whip my arm around. “How does this match?”


“It all possesses a shade of red. Now let’s move along. I have lots to show you.”


Belcher points to a door marked Office. “That’s your new home. The large window is in your office. As you can see, you have two doors. One leads to your office and the other leads to your living area.”


“Wait, I can’t live here. This place is hideous and what’s that smell?” This old man has lost his mind. And what’s with the weird dog statue by the entryway table? If it were real, it would be the ugliest French bulldog ever. Its black paws are way too big for its body and so are its ears. One ear is down showing brown fur and the other is up revealing black fur. Plus, those blue eyes are freaky as hell.


“The papers say you have to live here. I’ll show them to you in a moment.” He points at the only open room. “That’s the lobby. Next to it is the hall leading to the back parking lot. And over here are apartments seven and two. The stairwell is between them. Let’s head up to the next level, shall we?”


I look at the doors marked number seven and number two. “Why aren’t these number one and number two?”


“Because that is the order the apartments became rentals.” At my raised eyebrow, he adds, “This didn’t turn into an apartment complex overnight. As rooms became available, your uncle rented them out as apartments.”


“Available?”


“Yes, your uncle had many friends who stayed with him.”


I frown and flex my hands. “Deadbeats?”


Belcher touches his bowtie as his face turns red. “Lady friends.”


“My uncle was a pimp?!” Now that’s interesting shit.


Belcher looks wildly around. “That’s confidential information. No need to stir the residents up. Please, let’s proceed.”


That old dog. No wonder the color scheme is so wild. All kinds of stains can blend right in.


We enter the stairwell and the lights flicker. “Is this safe?”


“Perfectly. If you’ll notice, the stairs are wide and strong. So is the hand rail.” He ignores the light show during his sells pitch.


Something shady is going on. “Why are the lights flickering?”


Belcher coughs and then mumbles, “There could be a ghost or two living here.”


“What the fuck? Don’t tell me there’s some demonic shit going on here. I swear to God, I’m not staying here if that’s the case.”


He makes a choking sound and moves faster. We get to the second-floor door and Belcher opens it and heads on in. I follow with a scowl.


He glances my way. “Not demons, just ghosts.” I give him a hard look. “Non-threatening ones.”


I look around and can’t get past the smell and the ugly. “You never told me what that smell is.”


Belcher touches his tie with twitching fingers. “Some things are better not known.”


Well that’s shady shit for sure.


As we walk down the carpeted hallway, I notice the numbers are out of numerical order. Five, six, four, three. A strange buzzing comes from apartment six. I stare at my non-informative lawyer and he just shrugs.


Each apartment has a window that faces the long hall. The only thing that stops it from being totally bleak is the sunlight pouring in from windows on the front of the house that are directly across from each apartment. It’s an interesting way to let light into each apartment. “Heavy modifications here.”


Belcher touches his bowtie again. “Many businesses remodel homes but the old charm is still here.”


Now the crown molding, I’ll admit, is pretty nice. As we head back to the creepy stairwell, a melody strikes up from apartment five. I enjoy the sound until the stairwell door closes behind us. I know better than to ask Belcher. He doesn’t seem to know much about the occupants.


The lights flicker as we move to the last level. At a cold touch to my ass, I start climbing faster. I nearly push Belcher out the exit door. A door that has a doggie door in it. A smart dog will stay out of the stairs. There is some spooky shit in the stairwell.


My heart pounds wildly and my blood pressure is close to grave level. I stare at Belcher. “Did you feel something cold and creepy in the stairwell?”


He guiltily fumbles with his bowtie. “No.” He gestures to the two rooftop apartments. A drop of sweat runs down his cheek.


He knows this place is fucked up.


I look at the apartment numbers. These are number one and number eight. My uncle must have been too lazy to change the numbers after the last Lady retired.


I give a snort as I look at the rooftop patio. Uncle Gitano Draper was more than likely too depressed at the loss of all that pussy to even think about something as trivial as number sequence. I know I would be. Ugly guys have to pounce on the few good opportunities that come our way. Getting laid is a special event. One to be cherished.


I scan the rooftop patio. It’s large and goes in front of the two apartments as well as along the sides of each one. It looks well cared for.


“You’ll notice the craftsmanship of this rail. It is quite an asset,” Belcher says as he rests a wrinkled hand on the wide rail that safeguards the patio.


“Yes, it is.” A scent catches my attention. I’ve smelled it many times. I move around Belcher and study the plants living along the side of apartment number one. Flowers, vines, and marijuana. I turn to Belcher. “Is pot legal here?”


He rubs his bowtie and another drop of sweat races down his cheek. “No, I’m sure it’s just a plant that has similar features. Let’s see apartment number eight. It’s vacant for the moment.”


“That sure looks a lot like marijuana,” I poke.


He fumbles with the key and I smile. Messing with him is fun. I step in after Belcher and take in the tiny apartment. “What’s the square footage?”


“Five hundred.”


“Wow, I’d get claustrophobic if I had to live in here.” Live in five hundred square feet of ugly wallpaper and crazy red, black, and orange carpet, no thanks.


“You’ll be glad to hear that your apartment is seven hundred square feet,” Belcher says.


Was that a smirk in his voice? Maybe he has bigger balls than I thought.


As I test the faucets in the bathroom and kitchen, the lights flicker, and a cool breeze blows over my shoulders. Almost like a lover’s caress.


I glance over at Belcher, his hands are twitching. “Well, now that you know the place is in good shape, I recommend we head downstairs to conduct the rest of our business.”


I take another look around the place and admire the crown molding. It’s beautiful even if it does seem out of proportion to the tiny ugly space.


This time the lights don’t flicker in the stairwell and I don’t get molested. Life is looking up. Maybe I imagined getting touched. The more normal this place is, the faster I can sell it.


I notice the doggie door on the door at the bottom of the stairs. I feel sorry for any dog that has to live here.


The second we exit the stairwell, I hear, “Ah, that’s nice. Just push your bum out a bit farther.”


“Like this?”


“Yes, just like that.” The voices have to be coming from apartment seven.


I walk away and when Belcher catches up, I ask, “There aren’t any more working girls here, are there?” Working girls could make it harder to sell this monstrosity.


“No. The last one retired a decade ago.”


I give Belcher a doubtful look and then ask, “What’s the rent on these apartments?”


“Six hundred a month,” he answers.


“Six hundred! That’s too low.”


A man pops out of the lobby and heads over to us. The guy is well built but there is no way his nearly shoulder length hair can cover the fact that he has huge distracting ears.


He frowns down at me. “Who are you?”


“Yoska Draper, the new owner.” Saying that felt better than it should have.


“You can’t raise the rent. This place is old as dirt. You should lower the rent,” Big Ears says.


Belcher touches his bowtie yet again. “We don’t have time for this. Mr. Draper and I are conducting business. Please leave.” If I had a shovel I could scoop up the disdain dripping from Belcher’s voice.


Big Ears squeezes the knobby, dark-purple tension ball in his hand and snarls at Belcher. He then turns to me. “Give us a break, won’t you?”


I could do something. It’s not like I’ll be keeping this place. “I’ll think about it.”


Big Ears steps in my personal space. “I really want you to lower the rent.”


His voice isn’t threatening, but still. I don’t like people getting in my personal space. I’d really love to punch him in the face. “What’s your name and what apartment are you in?”


“Riley Aguerra. I live in apartment two.”


I look him over. “Tell you what, Big Ears.”


“What the shit?!”


“Listen up, I’ll lower your rent to five hundred a month if you’ll let me punch you in the face three times a month.”


His mouth drops open and then his eyes turn contemplative. After a minute, he says, “It’s a deal.”


I grin. Big Ears has no idea what he signed up for. With that done, I glance over to see Belcher rubbing his nose with his middle finger. He’s looking straight at Big Ears, who is mouthing, ‘I got my rent lowered.’


This building must draw loony people. Its past is a good testament to that and the present proves the trend is continuing.


Big Ears heads to his apartment with a light step as Belcher and I go to my new front door. Actually, I have two. He pulls out a key ring full of old keys and points one out. “That’s to your place. It will open the door to your living space as well as the door to your office.”


I take the keys. A strange warmth spreads through me. The old metal feels right in my hand. No, that can’t be. I throw off the feeling and unlocked the door. I step into the apartment and that strange feeling hits me again.


What’s with this place? I focus on the microscopic space. It’s a lot like number eight, only a bit larger. Ugly like the rest of this monstrosity.



KIN



“There is no way I could have kin who liked the way this place is decorated.” I turn to Belcher. “Tell me why Gitano Draper thought I was his nephew.”


“Let’s go into the office,” he says.


On the way, I spot a picture on the wall and do a double take. I step back and look at it. It’s a picture of me and my father. One taken for a newspaper when we were part of a traveling fighting troupe. My heart lurches at the sight of my father. He was a good man. One of the best.


The clearing of a throat reminds me why I’m here. It’s time to learn more about this supposed uncle of mine. A pimping uncle, no less.


Belcher points to the chair behind an ancient but sturdy wooden desk. I have a seat. The antique chair is surprisingly comfortable. A quick scan reveals several pictures of people I don’t know. I take a closer look and recognize Big Ears in one. He’s posing with a group of people in the lobby of this house. What is special about these people?


Movement catches my eye. I look out the office window and see a young teen glance into the lobby and then head for the stairs. She’s cute with wild stripes of blue and purple in her bleached hair.


Belcher clears his throat. “That is Esmeralda Sommers. She is in apartment four and is the only resident who can’t be kicked out for not paying rent.”


“What? Why aren’t her parents required to pay like everybody else?” What kind of favoritism shit is this?


Belcher touches his bowtie and shifts in his chair. “I don’t know. All I know is that your uncle made it clear to me that she stays and that a bank account Gitano opened has to have seven hundred dollars a month put in it for her use. He may have felt sorry for her. From what I understand, her father is unknown, and her mother left a year ago and has yet to return.”


“A year! Doesn’t she have some relative who can take care of her?” Who the hell leaves a child without protection?


“Not that I know of. Your uncle and the other tenants have been watching over her. Now it’s your turn.”


“My uncle must have been insane. Are you sure we were related?”


“Yes.”


“What did he die of? Old age?”


“No. He was shot down in a mall by a female sniper.”


“No shit!” That’s unbelievable.


“She was shooting older gentlemen.”


“Why?”


“Because an older drug lord killed her mother.”


“Damn!”


“Yes, it was a shocking ending. Very unexpected.” Belcher opens his briefcase and after shuffling through it for a bit, puts some papers on the desk in front of me. “Your uncle was extremely interested in genealogy.”


“That doesn’t prove anything. Those sites rely on people for information and we all know people lie all the time.”


Belcher nods his agreement and then points at the papers in front of me. “These papers say you are the son of Vandlo Draper.”


“That’s true.”


“Well, Gitano was Vandlo’s older brother.”


“My father never said anything about having a brother. There were no stories, not anything.”


“Gitano told me he left home on bad terms when Vandlo was only three years old. He looked for his family a few times over the years but never caught them. He came across newspaper clippings sometimes but with them always moving it was impossible for him to find them. After a while he gave up and settled in this town. He knew you and your father had been here and he hoped you’d return. He bought this grand house to wait in.”


“Grand?”


Belcher reddens. “Ninety years ago it was and it is still sturdy. A testament to its craftsmanship. And that is what makes it grand.” He waves a hand. “Now back to the proof. Look at that picture.”


I glance at the pointed-out picture. My eyes widen when I see a face much like my own in the crowd. Sharp long nose, close-set eyes, and hair that proudly stands up and sticks out at all angles.


Belcher says, “I see you understand why you are his heir.”


I look the aged lawyer over. “He didn’t have any children?”


“Only one and she died in a gunfight at the age of twenty-two.” At a look from me, he adds, “She was rather feisty.”


“I’d love to have known a cousin like that.” Damn, death by bullet took out daughter and father.


My usually cold heart aches. I’ve missed more than I realized. I had family here. My grandparents and my uncle died before I got to know them. But Gitano was here. And now I’m here sitting at a desk he used to man.


I bet many fights broke out in this house when Gitano was a pimp. His life must have turned boring after the last Lady retired.


Belcher pulls out a few more papers and hands them to me. I give them a quick scan and then grin at the twitchy yet devious man before me.


“You knew I couldn’t raise the rent and you let Big Ears believe I could. You even let us strike a deal.”


A wide grin spreads across Belcher’s lined face. “I hated Riley Aguerra on sight. The feeling is mutual. We repel each other.” A gleam enters Belcher’s brown eyes. “Hit him extra hard for me.”


Oh yeah, Belcher Andree has a mean streak. I can appreciate that. “I’ll do it.”


Belcher grins showing aged teeth that should be sharp. Looks are very deceiving. He snaps his briefcase closed and then straightens his bowtie.


I look around at the ugly wallpaper and cringe. “Look, I don’t think I’ll be keeping this place. Gypsies don’t settle down.”


“They can if the circumstances are right. Give it a little time. If you decide you want out, I can put it up for sell.”


Movement catches my attention. I look out the office window and see a firm ass in a tight skirt. I glance up to see a slim waist partially covered by super long, shiny hair. I then look down over that tight ass again and then across the curviest legs I’ve seen in a long time. Six-inch stilettos finish the package.


My junk leaps to attention. “Hot damn. Who’s that?”


Belcher snorts. “That’s Adrian Fletcher. He lives in apartment three.”


“What the fuck?”


“He’s a crossdresser.”


“Oh, now you know something. You couldn’t give me information on the smell of this place or on most of the tenants but that tenant you know.”


Belcher stands and touches his bowtie for the hundredth time. “Well, Adrian is memorable.”


“Damn right. That’s the prettiest fucking guy I’ve ever seen.” If I was bisexual, I would go for that. I might have to lower his rent to get some and I would have but since I only like women, my junk has lost all interest.


Belcher heads for the door. “Let me know if you want to sell the apartment complex.”


I follow him to the exit. “I do. Start looking for buyers.”


He looks uncomfortable and a little let down. “It could take a bit. This is a unique place that will need a special buyer.”


“I understand. The quicker you get it on the market, the better.”



A NICE VIEW



As Belcher leaves, a cute curvy female waltzes up to me. I think of the crossdresser and look this possible female over carefully. My junk starts to rise when I get an eye full of deep cleavage. I have no doubt this one is all female.


With my looks I don’t get a lot of pussy. Tonight, I’ll masturbate to the memory of her perfect cleavage.


She smiles sweetly at me. “Are you the new owner?”


“I sure am. Yoska Draper. And you are?” Sexy as sin.


“I’m Comfrey Reynolds. I live in apartment five.” Her dark-brown gaze rakes over me and returns to the boner that is begging to be released from my pants. She bites her lower lip and then raises her gaze to mine. “You look a lot like your uncle. Only more virile.”


She has no idea how virile I am. A pretty thing like her is probably playing me but flirting never hurt me. “How did you know Gitano was my uncle? Can you read minds?” If so, please strip for me. I’d love to see your hourglass figure before I leave this monstrosity.


She giggles. It’s a melodic sound that lightens the air around me. “No, silly. He talked about having a nephew named Yoska a few times.” She glances down. “Oh.” She hands me a basket. “I almost forgot. I brought you a variety of homemade cookies to welcome you home.”


Home. That strange heat from earlier floods my chest. It must be heartburn or something because this is not my home. I’ll get some fish oil pills. That should fix my chest problem.


I raise the basket and enjoy the delicious scent coming from it. “Thanks for the cookies, Comfrey. How did you know I was here? I haven’t seen you.”


She pushes a blonde curl behind her ear and smiles brightly. “I saw you from the second-floor window and recognized your family’s features.” She gestures toward the basket. “The cookies were no trouble. I love to cook. I’ll see you around.”


I watch her generous hips sway all the way to the stairwell door. She turns and gives me a smile before she disappears into the freaky space.


Crazy. She must be mentally challenged to be happy living here.


Movement has my head swiveling to the right. I jump and nearly drop the basket. “Fucking hell.” The French bulldog statue is heading my way.


“You scared the shit out of me.” Freaky blue multi-hued eyes are locked on the basket. “You like cookies enough to reveal yourself, then a cookie you’ll get.”


I reach into the basket, grab a cookie, and toss it. The dog patiently waits for the cookie to get near her and then she snatches it from the air. Her body shimmies as she eats it.


I laugh and then go inside my temporary home. I set the basket on the tiny kitchen counter. My stomach growls so I eat a cookie. “Mmmm, these are the best fucking cookies I’ve ever tasted. No wonder the dog dropped her statue pose for one.”


I eat another one but then stop. They are too good to be wasted as a meal replacement. They should be eaten as an exquisite treat.


I look in the fridge. It’s cold but empty. But then, my uncle did die six months ago. Yep, Pimp Daddy has been gone long enough to grow plenty of mold in his refrigerator. But there’s none in this one. I’m grateful to whoever cleaned out the old food.


My stomach rumbles again. Louder this time. I rub my slightly rounded belly and then head for the door. There’s a store across the street. In no time, I’ll be back with some food. And some fish oil pills.



NEIGHBORS



The second I walk out the front door, I hear, “Hey, sexy man.”


Hell no. I cautiously glance to the left and see crazy, hungry eyes looking me up and down. I give her a slight nod and then walk down the steps. I make sure not to look her way again.


I hear the thud of fists hitting flesh and look to my right.


Adrenaline pumps through me as I watch two guys fighting. They must have been taking a breather when I walked out the door. I watch them swing with power. Each score some good hits but the older one, who looks to be in his mid to late thirties, has a natural flow. A powerful one.


They get farther into the yard and the older one dominates. He keeps hitting the younger guy in the face until the twentysomething male falls to his knees. One kick has the younger, inexperienced male flying backwards.


The winner sees me watching and smiles. “Yo, homie,” he calls as he walks over to me.


I go on alert, but I keep my muscles relaxed enough to appear laid-back.


He looks me over. “You look like Gitano Draper. You have to be kin to that great man. Are you his nephew, Yoska?”


“Yes.”


“I’m sorry about his passing. He was respected by all in this neighborhood.”


The guy on the ground moans and then starts crawling away. My uncle’s admirer looks at the guy but doesn’t go after him. He turns back to me. “People fight me for my title. King of the Fist Fighters.” He wipes his hand on his jeans and then extends it to me. As we shake, he says, “I’m Jose, I live in that mansion. Yours is a bit bigger but with the balls on Gitano, he deserved the biggest house in this neighborhood.”


“Hey, you sexy men. Need a little fun?” I glance over and see that my neighbor on the other side is still on her porch and she’s posing and looking our way. Smoke is wafting all around her giving her a devilish appearance. She slips her long-ass cigarette in the spot where her tooth is missing and flicks it up and down.


Jose glances her way and after a salute to her, he ignores her. “That’s MaryJo. She’s showing you her talented tongue. Strong from what I hear. She’s a thirsty one. Real thirsty.”


My eyes widen. “Oh.” She’s a player.


“Yes, she likes any dick she can get. You being stocky and powerful is going to heat her up.” Jose glances at her and then back at me. “She’s clean as long as you wear a condom. My cousin visits her when he’s desperate. She’s a guaranteed deal.”


“I’ll keep that in mind.”


“Hey, if you ever need a website designed, I’ll cut you a deal.” He gestures to his house. “My son and I work on websites from home.” He looks at his fight reddened hands and smiles. “Fighting doesn’t pay the bills.”


A car pulls into Jose’s driveway. A pretty female waves at us. The young man with her just stares at me. He looks a lot like Jose.


Jose nudges my shoulder. “That’s my beautiful wife, Carmine, and one of our sons. That one is Manuel. See you later, Yoska.”



THE SLOW STORE



My stomach has me heading to The Slow Store which is across the street. After dodging vehicles, I make it across the street and step inside the door and then freeze. What the hell kind of store is this?


Plants are hanging all over the place, it smells weird, and there are two seriously disturbing men sitting on a couch. One is too swollen to see straight and the other is naked, showing all his wrinkled, hairy glory to the world.


There are also three strange looking people who seem to be working here.


The red-haired female in the back working a press of some sort spots me and jumps. “Whoa, did someone order a troll? A life sized one!” She shudders. “It can’t be ours. That thing will scare the shit out of me every time I look its way.”


“What are you talking about, Jane? There aren’t any trolls in here,” says the male with a bushy blond unibrow who is watering a plant.


“There sure as shit is,” Jane says as she points at me.


First, I inherit a monstrosity from a Pimp Daddy of an uncle and now I’m being called a troll by a female I’ve never seen before. I’m ugly but I don’t look like a troll. “Forget this shit.”


I turn to leave and the older woman with a decorated white beehive hairdo, stocking some strange shit on a shelf nearby calls out, “Wait.” She comes over and pats my shoulder.


The rainbows and smiling suns in her beehive are hard not to stare at.


“Don’t take Jane’s words to heart. She can’t see well.”


“Who is it, Mazy?” Swollen Eyes asks.


“It’s the new owner of the apartment complex across the street,” she calls out.


“How do you know?” Blond Unibrow asks as he keeps watering plants.


“Because I saw him go in with that sneaky looking lawyer a couple of hours ago.”


“With your vision?” Blindy in the back asks.


“Did you have eye surgery done, Mazy?” asks Swollen Eyes.


“No and no. I used the binoculars like I always do.”


“So, you found them?” Blond Unibrow asks.


“Yes, Simon, I found them. Will you all hush so we can meet Gitano’s nephew. What’s your name, hon?”


“You forgot his name, didn’t you?” Naked Man says with a knowing grin.


“Of course, I forgot. That was months ago.”


Mazy and the others look my way expectantly. What a weird-ass group. Glad I won’t be here long. “I’m Yoska Draper.”


Mazy snaps her thin fingers. “That’s it.”


“Better late than never,” Blindly says.


“Who’s late?” Swollen Eyes asks.


Blindly is coming our way. She has more freckles than I’ve ever seen on one person. She stares hard at me as Mazy asks, “What are you looking for, hon?”


Blindly jumps in, “You don’t look like a troll up close. You need some nut milk?”


My gaze unwillingly drifts over a pair of hairy nuts. Her mind can’t be going where mine is. No male nut milk for me.


“Pecan, cashew, almond. I can create any kind. I blend them with herbs too. I can help any health issue. First quart is on me. I’m sorry I mistook you for a troll. I recently started vision exercises and they require I go without glasses. And with Shea being into trolls, I thought she’d ordered one.”


She pauses and waits expectantly. What the hell does she want me to say? And who is Shea? I look back at Naked Man. Nuts. I don’t look down this time. Proud of myself, I shift my gaze back to Blindly. “No milk.” At her disappointed look, I add, “Thanks, though. I’m just looking for some food.” I glance around. “Normal food.”


“We have lots of that,” Mazy says. One smiling sun comes close to falling out of her beehive.


“And we have lots of edible plants,” Blond Unibrow says as he walks over. “I’m Simon. It’s good to meet you, Yoska.”


I catch myself staring at his bushy unibrow. He could hide a lot of shit in it. I force my gaze to his. “Nice to meet you.”


A timer dings loud enough to have Blindly jumping. “Oh, Harley, your salve is ready. I’ll be over as soon as I can.”


Naked Man leans forward and asks, “Need some help, Jane?”


“No thanks, Earl. Just relax while your nut milk rests.”


My mind runs a hundred different directions with that, but I leave it alone.


Naked Man shrugs, leans back, and starts chatting to Swollen Guy about bees and honey. A beekeeper, that makes sense. A careless beekeeper, that is.


I let Mazy show me the store as Simon goes back to tending plants. He has the greenest thumb in the USA according to Mazy. I’ll admit the plants do look good.


With healthy cold cuts, natural cheese, whole-grain bread, mustard, and mixed green lettuce sure to make me shit, according to Mazy, I’ve got all I need. Nope, I get some fish oil pills that Mazy swears are the best for my ticker. Now I’m done.


Her white beehive hairdo swerves as she looks over my groceries approvingly. “I’m glad you bought from us. Staying healthy is important. My second cousin, Tilly, told me she heard about this guy dying from eating processed lunchmeat every day for five years.”


“What else was he eating?” I ask.


“Nothing. The report said relatives were quoted saying, ‘He loved lunchmeat to death.’” She shakes her head making that one slipping sun slide back into place. “You have to be careful what you love. His story proves that sometimes love can kill you.”


“If all he ate for five years was processed lunchmeat, his taste buds probably killed him,” I say. Mazy laughs as I follow her to the register.


Naked Man has a jar of cream-colored liquid I assume is nut milk. He stops close to the door and then comes over to me. His eyes are bright and lively, no shame or shadiness to be seen in them.


“Didn’t want to leave without meeting you. I’m Earl Hallman and that’s Harley Dodds. His dog let his bees out.”


Harley waves a greeting and I call one out.


Earl dips his chin. “He’ll be okay in about an hour now that Jane has him fixed up. Anyhow, just wanted to say welcome to the neighborhood.”


“Thanks, Earl. It’s good to meet you.” But you’ll always be Naked Man to me.


Earl nods, turns, and with his sixtysomething dick swaying proudly, leaves the store.


Mazy has my food totaled and bagged. As I pass her my credit card, I ask, “Is that legal?”


Her brow crinkles and her tall beehive hairdo sways dangerously. “What?”


Her clueless eyes tell me all I need to know. “Being naked in public.”


“Oh. It’s legal here because cops don’t come to this part of town.”


“That’s good to know.” I can take care of myself. No police necessary.


Mazy nods approvingly. “Come by naked anytime you want.”


I don’t bother correcting her. I just get my food and head home.



WHAT A FUCKING DAY



What a fucking day. I can’t wait to move on to new adventures.


New adventures in my sleek Camaro. I’ve got to move my baby to the back parking lot as soon as I put my food away. Can’t have one of these speeding fuckers losing control and hitting my sports car.


The second I get in the main door, Big Ears comes over to me. I notice he still has his tension ball.


“What?”


“You need to do something about my faucet,” he whines.


“What’s wrong with it?”


He steps into my personal space. “It leaks. The sound is almost deafening.”


With his ears, it may be. I don’t like how close he’s standing to me. “Put a winter hat on. One with the big side flaps, to cover the sound, you know?”


The angry flush that covers his face and reddens his ears gets my own blood pumping.


Big Ears waves his arm around. “You own this place. It’s your responsibility to fix things. Those things include the fucking faucets.”


I spring to the side, bounce off a sturdy antique end table that’s conveniently near the door, pull back and punch Big Ears right in the face. As I drop gracefully to my feet, he staggers back covering his eye.


“How the fuck did you do that? You’re what, three feet tall?”


“I’m five feet, Dumbo. Don’t worry about how I did it. Now go home before I decide to do it again.”


“What about the faucet?” he whines.


Damn, this guy is determined. “I’ll think about it.”


“I’ll put it in if you’ll buy it.”


I inspect him with a quick sweep of my eyes. He looks like a surfer but looks can be deceiving. “I’ll think about it. Now go on home.”


He swipes a hand over his swelling eye and then walks away without a backward glance.


I’m glad we have a deal. I flex my hand. Damn, that felt good. I look in my bag. I didn’t lose one item. I’ve still got it.


I retrieve my keys and as I unlock my door I scan the multi-colored carpet. I’m not staying here. It’s ugly and most of the tenants seem to be fucked up. That they are here is proof of that.


I go in and am welcomed by the scent of fresh cookies. I grin as I set my bag of groceries beside the cookie basket.


Cookie Maker isn’t bad, though. Very fuckable. If nothing, she’ll make my stay here somewhat enjoyable. Things could be worse.


I glance around my tiny apartment with its ugly-ass wallpaper and hideous carpet. I inhale deeply and get a hint of that strange smell. I’ve got to open the windows.


This place is not for me. Wanderers do not settle in one place. And never in a place like this.


I’m definitely not staying here.





End of Episode One





I loved making Yoska jump. Gitano would be proud of me.


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