50 Shades of Slay
“My tastes are very… singular,” he said.
“Enlighten me,” she replied.
His body shook with desire beneath his XL Satyricon longsleeve. He wanted her, but not like this. Not in her Bon Ton pencil skirt and Sears business heels. He knew, deep down, that she’d bore him soon enough if he took her like that. He knew what he had to do.
“Shut the door,” he said, and went to his “basement.” When he was sure she’d sealed them in, he threw wide the gate and revealed to her the chamber few besides him had ever seen.
Her eyes drank it in—the dirty and occasionally burned shag carpeting, the overstuffed sofa with the one arm ripped, the Marshall amp kegerator, the Mortician and Nifelheim posters, the shelf of metal god action figures bought at a nearby FYE. She reached out and tentatively touched the speakers, the shelf of first-pressing thrash vinyl, the skull-shaped bong. Her nostrils inhaled the scent—weed, sweat, spilled beer, overheated outdated technology. The smell of metal.
“What do you think?” he asked, following her into the room.
“It’s… not what I expected,” she said.
He drew up close behind her, his mouth next to her ear. “Do you want to… hang out?”
Her breath ragged, she answered, “Yes.”
“Cool. Hold on.” He went to one corner of the room and plunged his hands into a pile of hoodies, eventually turning back to her with a General Surgery zip-up. “Here. Put this on.”
“All—all right,” she said, taking the sweatshirt and pulling her arms through the sleeves.
Bit by bit, he transformed her into his perfect plaything. Her washed-grey jeans had Mutilation Rites and All Pigs Must Die patches sewn over the knees with dental floss. He gave her an extra-large wallet with a pentacle on it, and had her attach it to her belt loop with a flimsy chain. Half-bleaching and dreading her hair on the spot was a challenge, but he managed to do it all while keeping his member frighteningly tumescent. Then he donned his own garb—the vest, the ancient Doc Martens, the septum piercing.
When he deemed them ready to begin, he poured her a beer and motioned for her to sit down on the couch. He threw Robocop II his small tube TV, on mute, and cued up Raven’s Mad EP. Then he got himself a beer and sat down next to her.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
She nodded tentatively. “I think so.”
“Good,” he said, and then looked her dead in the eyes. “Have you heard this new Ghost track?”
She froze, unsure of how to answer. He saw the contemplation cross her face.
“Yeah,” she said. “It’s… all right?”
“Really? I dunno.” He sneered. “Like, if I want to listen to Mercyful Fate, I got a copy of Melissa right over there. I don’t need Hipster Fate, you know? Right?”
“Just feels like they just want to make old retro,” he snorted. “Fucking Internet. Fucking Dave Grohl.”
“You could, uh,” she stuttered, “you could just… not listen to them.”
“Yeah, I only even know them because of Jeff,” he said. “He likes to blast them during afternoon shifts down at the bar. It’s bogus, but people like them, and I get to put on good stuff eventually. The new Unrest or whatever.”
“Afternoon… but we work at the same law firm,” she mumbled to him, almost laughing. “I thought that was how this happened. Our attraction and the formal work environment coming together—” She saw his face sink and backpedaled. “Oh. Oh, yeah. How is, uh, Jeff?”
“Jeff’s all right,” he said, ready to end the scene then and there. “Listen, maybe we’d better—”
“Is he—coming to the show with us next week?” she said.
There. A breeze on the spark within his loins. “Yeah. You know he loves that filthy D-beat stuff. I think he’s going to bring his new chick, so we should be careful if Jenna shows up. New D-beat girlfriend and old tech-death girlfriend do not mix.”
“Yeah, Jenna was such a psycho the last time.” Their eyes were locked. He could see her chest heaving beneath the General Surgery logo and the dissected skull it showcased. “But that was her birthday, so of course she was wasted. She kept yelling for the bartender to put Morbid Angel on.”
“Yeah,” he said, his blood surging. “Yeah. She loves Domination.”
“I always thought she loved Blessed Are The Sick more,” she moaned. “She liked ‘The Ancient Ones’ the most.”
“Yeah, she did,” he rasped as the music spun to halt. “Want me to put on another record?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Got any… cassettes?”
He fell upon her with a guttural bellow.
Work the next day. He paced his office like a jacked-up mosher between sets. He tried to lose himself in the art that lined his walls—the Hess, the Riddick, his rare bar napkin Seagrave—but his mind stayed transfixed on her.
She was gone when he’d awoken. She’d taken her work clothes, but also the hoodie. All through his routine and commute, he’d argued with himself about her intentions. Did she think he was a deviant? Would she tell everyone about his unorthodox tendencies? Would one of the firm’s partners storm in and yank open his suit jacket, revealing the Himsa patch discreetly sewn within?
The door opened, and she entered. She looked the same as she normally did at work—but those eyes. Something about them spoke of a newfound passion. She seemed… truer than she had before.
“Here are the latest reports on the Bergeson case,” she said, handing him a file. From behind her back, she produced the hoodie, folded neatly. “And you might want this back.”
“Ah,” he said, staring at the square of black in her hand. Tentatively, he went for it: “Morbid Angel, eh?”
“I have a brother.”
“The hoodie… did you wash it?”
“No,” she said. “That would ruin the smell. I let my roommate blow bong rips into it instead.”
He smelled the hoodie. She was honest. Their eyes locked, and she bit her lip. She would be back in the basement tonight, he knew. She was his now. They would hang again.