One Night in a Cave

Posted: August 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Fiction | No Comments »

Everyone knows the kind of girl in this story, the kind that parties way too hard, goes out most nights of the week meeting friends in lewd bars and drinking up a storm, sometimes ending up in very inconvenient places at very inconvenient hours with very convenient people. Well, this girl is of that sort, living alone in a big city without any relatives basically on her own except for her fair-weather friends; she is independent enough, making her own money and baking her own bread, so to speak. She has a tiny apartment tucked away in a downtown corner in close proximity to many clubs, pubs, bars, and discos. One fateful night outing however, did not go as smoothly as hoped; a frightening yet eye-opening event occurred, as life will almost always supply those who do not know when to call it quits.

Before we go to the scene here’s a little background. We are in some nameless country in some nameless city; the city has millions upon millions of inhabitants, about thirty-million in fact and is hectic, sparkly yet grimy. There are businesspeople, models, pseudo-entrepreneurs, lackeys, chefs, government officials, prostitutes, every possible employment one could imagine all co-existing in this metropolis. The star girl in our story is a photo editor for an international group located downtown near her nook of an apartment; her pay is mediocre but she is working her way up getting more experience and perfecting her expertise, as she always says to her semi-preposterous fair-weather friends. She is a good girl earning a decent living, and by good I mean she is honest, straight-forward, never injurious to others, not a thief and always the right kind of rebel. She is someone you would like to have around, if you should chance to meet her; she will defend you and hold your hand when you are down. She does not see what destiny has in store for her this very eve.

It is about nine PM and she is just getting off work, overtime again. She punches out with her timecard and gets into the elevator with a colleague. He is British and typical in many ways, as the British men seem to go in this city; he is well-mannered when sober but post-intoxicated beware. He has somewhat curly sandy-brown hair and is a little on the pudgy side. The girl and her British colleague are in the habit of smoking cigarettes so when they make it to the ground floor, exit the elevator and go out into the recess before the street, both light up, inhale the nicotine and thousands of other chemicals deeply and exhale with relief, a day at work complete and now on to the night. Where to go? How about a pub not too far from here? Yes, it is decided; a taxi is caught they are on their way. The pub’s name is Oasis, near the World Trade Center. They are now sitting outside glancing furtively at the menu. Our girl orders a double Bacardi 151, her usual, and a can of Coca Cola with a glass of ice. Her colleague orders a Stella. Down the first Bacardi goes as soon as it appears; he drinks his Stella leisurely and vows tonight will not be one of those nights. They are chain smoking and the next shot of Bacardi finds its way down her delicate throat; she shudders but claims it feels good. The ordering of another double and the smoking of more cigarettes follow.

The Brit, Andrew, is about thirty-four and has a local girlfriend of many years; they subsequently will marry some time later. His girlfriend is getting more than a little tired of his drunken antics, and who can blame her? His cohorts with this certain star girl of ours especially alarm her as our girl is sultry and big-bosomed, the envy of all the flat-chested locals. Andrew is not unattractive and our voluptuous star likes the way his eyes crinkle when he smiles and always seems so sincere when abstemious, an intelligent well-humored moderately knowledgeable mostly good guy with a strange obsession with soccer, or ‘football’ as he calls it. He won’t have a crazy night; the madness will all be left for our girl. In fact, after she takes two more shots and they smoke yet another fag he declares that he must be going, informing her that he has called another colleague, Aaron, an American who is married to a local with two children; he will shortly join them at the Oasis. So they wait; our girl disappointed that Andrew will depart, resents him having a girlfriend; our little photo editor needs company. Aaron, who is also not unattractive, will soon arrive, something to look forward to at least.

Finally arriving, Aaron persuades Andrew to have another beer on him, but really Aaron is just nervous to be alone with our girl…woman. So two more Stellas coming up! Our main character decides to slow it down. How many shots has she had so far? No one knows. Perhaps a cocktail this time…yes a gin and tonic with lime; she relishes squeezing the lime segments and licking her fingers. Aaron also smokes cigarettes. They talk, smoke and drink merrily getting more and more impassioned as their conversation progresses culminating with our star woman banging her fist in remonstration against the table asserting blazingly, “I am an American woman!” We never said she didn’t have spunk. Though Andrew finds this greatly side-splitting and wishes he could continue sitting here watching his she-colleague get sloshed his cue to leave has come in the form of three missed calls from his bride-to-be. He must go, but Aaron is here so the girl won’t be alone; at least he doesn’t need to worry about her. He stands closing his tab with the sexy waiter dressed up in beer gear ready and willing to serve any foreigners’ needs who is sexually objectifying both beer and herself. There is a melancholy goodbye and he is gone. It would be a dark night but for the city lights. This pub is no longer stimulating our present characters so they decide to leave; it is time for this party to relocate to an effervescent place with banging tempestuous music, dancing sweaty bodies included. Onward they go to a nearby club named the Luster Cave!

The Luster Cave is one of the seediest clubs in this city but our girl has only been here one or two times before and she has not yet learned the true nature of those who hang around these parts. The LC is situated in a very opportune place for prostitution and the selling of drugs; it is just under a footbridge that connects either side of a busy road. It is downtown, the seedy part of downtown where the African populace frequents. We cannot say African people are seedy as a general rule but we can say that these particular people who frequent this club and the surrounding area are seedy and mostly of African origin; that cannot be denied no matter which way you look at it. Our story is not a story of racism; this is a story of a girl we should all sympathize with. The eagles land in the LC; when they walk in the door they must go through a security clearance metal detector. All clear they continue walking down steps for this club is truly underground; down a hallway and through more double doors they go. Once in they can feel the pounding resounding of the disc jockey’s music in their chests, getting into their veins moving their blood in a new unnatural current both exhilarating and threatening.

To the bar which is in the middle of a large room encased by four bars lined with both men and women on all sides waiting for drinks and shouting at the bartenders who are mere over-sexualized glorified waiters; our star and Aaron are getting drinks, Long Island Iced Teas. There are half-naked women dancing on each side of the bar. The female partiers are dressed like foxes, hooches or hussies and the men are dressed either in business attire or hustler garb. There aren’t too many local men; the men are almost uniformly foreign. There are plenty of local women looking for foreign men but also foreign women, consisting of models and working girls just looking to get loose. I suppose in the latter category we find our girl, looking to have a good time and shake off the day-to-day stress, escapism; she isn’t looking to get hurt but then again who ever is? The star girl and Aaron are having a good time, sitting at a table talking, laughing and drinking. They seem to be attracted to each other but it could just be the alcohol though it appears they want each other. That is when Aaron tells our star girl that if he didn’t have a wife and children he would love to be with her, but after just one Long Island Iced Tea he decides he needs to go home; he lives a little out of the city and needs to catch his bus by a certain time at a specific place so he tells our girl that he must go and fifteen minutes later he is gone. Of course he asked our star girl if she was all right before leaving, and of course she said yes.

Our star is beyond inebriation now and has been left by both of her fair-weather colleagues; she doesn’t want to go home so she orders another Long Island Iced Tea and decides to mingle in the crowds, dances on the dance floor which is not too far from the bar, and has the audacity or bravery, to climb up on the bar that faces the dance floor and jive with the half- naked ladies lifting up her dress and flashing her bra to the dancers on the floor! She has really done it this time. She is completely free of inhibitions, doesn’t care what anyone thinks and is now in a state of mind where she could almost do anything. Someone reaches up a hand to help her down from the bar; she thinks he is being flirtatious but really it is just time for her to get down. She realizes his slip because the guy doesn’t remain to hit on her but disappears promptly into a swarm of people. Our star knows there is a foosball table in a different area of the bar not too far from the restrooms and she makes her way there. Who doesn’t love a good foosball match when wasted? She is pretty good anyway so she wants to give it a go. Here is where things get a bit foggy for our girl, too many Long Island Iced Teas and she is meeting strangers and is more distant from the DJ so she is freer to talk. She is playing and her partner is a black man from some country in Africa; she doesn’t remember. He invites her to his place to smoke marijuana. She accepts; our little photo editor loves her smokables and after drinking so much, combined with her loneliness and general disappointment in the evening, accepts and they leave the club.

Her judgment is not clear; she is stupid-drunk and isn’t thinking about safety. She goes outside with her new African friend; they get in a taxi and he tells the driver where to go. They arrive at his apartment; it wasn’t too far of a drive. Our girl is in a stuporous vagary. They get out of the green taxi and make their way up thirteen flights of stairs. There is no elevator; she is not in a nice area of town but that doesn’t register. The African, for lack of a better denomination, lets her into his apartment and shuts the door behind her. She doesn’t notice but he locks the door from the inside and hides the key. It is a studio apartment, no kitchen just one elongated oblong room with two windows, one at the back and one to the right of the bed; the head of the bed is against the back wall. Besides the bed there is a dresser, wardrobe, and a few in-tables with clothes and clutter everywhere. They get down to business. A joint is rolled; she sits on the foot of the bed being that there aren’t any chairs. The joint is lit and they pass it back and forth intermittently chattering in a friendly manner. He gives her a beer and she is beginning to get high and come out of her drunken daze. She sits the beer on a table and takes a deep breath, cigarette time. They both smoke a fag after finishing the joint. She is thinking to herself that she should leave soon but right then he goes in for the kill, trying to kiss her. He succeeds in slobbering; she pushes him away saying she wants to go. This is when he says no and pushes her on the bed groping, fondling and grabbing at her body. She fights against him using her arms and legs but he is much taller, broader, and stronger than her, nevertheless our girl is a fighter and she’s not giving up. All her strength implemented, no energy left unturned, though he keeps up the battle, trying to force her legs open. They are in a mad flurry, like fluttering contemptible birds in loathsome flight. Her only thoughts are, “I won’t be raped, I won’t be raped…” in ceaseless cerebral utterance. He realizes that she is determined and he cannot take what he wants without causing much harm first so he stops. She immediately darts for the door tries to open it but realizes it is locked screaming, “Let me out now!” she looks at him with reproachful derision, her mind scattered beyond measure of articulation. He refuses and forces her to come back to the bed and sit down. Her arms and legs hurt from fighting him. She sits down her wits racing like an ensnared feral; he rolls another joint and pushes it in her face. Shaking her head no he says she cannot leave unless she smokes it, agreeing she smokes but does not inhale. The realization that she is being held captive is spreading over her in a wave of horror, bemused she contemplates methods of escape. She must be careful or she may never get out. The man has a gold cross around his neck; she decides to try another angle, persuasion. She asks him if he is a Christian; saying yes he looks at her with bleak indignation. She speaks gently at first telling him that Christians are good people and do not believe in hurting others. If he is a Christian why would he want to hurt her? Her passion rising she claims to be a good girl with family and friends who love her, claiming this she tries to look innocent and deserving of life.

He puts on a video of Bob Marley in concert, glowing with emanating sound from his television screen. To this day our girl cannot listen to any reggae without being repulsed and agitated. He forces her to lie down under the covers and tells her that she must go to sleep otherwise he will not permit her leave. So she lays there her brain pulsating; after about thirty minutes he passes out but she still doesn’t know where the key is and is afraid if she stirs looking for it he will wake and become aggressive again. She thinks appeasing him might be her best approach towards eventual freedom so she continues to lay there still. After an hour and a half she begins to go in and out of her nightmare, a frightful haunted sleep in which she always remains alert to her surroundings. Maybe this rest will give her strength for what lies ahead. Some hours later he wakes and she immediately realizes and wakes too, sitting straight-up and asking him if she may please go now. He still says no. Tears come to her eyes; she breathes deeply and knows she must keep her cool if she is going to survive. She looks out the window to her left and considers screaming but is fearful of what he may do if she defies him. He rolls another joint and again forces her to smoke with him. He asks her to stand up, giving her a pair of jeans to try on. He demands she take off her stockings and put on the pants. He does this several times. Making her take off and put on, take off and put on different pairs of jeans again and again many times while he looks on, watching her, asking her now and again to turn round and round for him so that he may see how they fit her. Apparently he is an importer of garments in the city. Meanwhile, he decides to turn off Bob Marley and put on a DVD, a pornographic DVD. He stipulates that she must stand next to his television and continue taking off and putting on different jeans while he watches porn. An hour or two pass in this fashion; our girl is tiring and asks again to leave but he just hands her another pair of jeans saying, “Try these on or you cannot leave,” she doesn’t know if she will ever get out so she continues to appease him seeing that he remains calm when she follows his orders. Over by the window she can see the sun rising.

At last he switches off the porn and allows her to put her ripped stockings back on, ripped from their earlier terror tangle. Inner relief floods her; she can feel hope circulating through her veins but she dares not show her giddy anguish to him. He instructs her to sit back on the bed throwing a pair of jeans to her to put on, replacing her stockings under her dress; he begins to clean his tiny studio apartment, hanging up garments, clearing table surfaces of marijuana and beer bottles, organizing his clutter and throwing away rubbish. This takes another two or so hours while she sits there anxiously waiting. He begins to gather his things as if to leave and again her heart flutters with hope, “just a little longer, almost, almost, keep calm”. Keys are in his hand and he walks to the door; she follows close behind. He opens his door and lets her out turning to lock the door behind him. She wants to flee but realizes there is a locked gate in front of her barring her exit. He is going to open it saying, “after I open this you wait for me and we walk down together,” she says, “ok” but as soon as he gets the gate open she bolts passing him and down the first flight of stairs; going down, down running fast it seems the stairs will never end. She fears he will catch up with her and pull her back so she goes faster, faster fearing yet another locked door at the bottom. At last she reaches the ground floor and there is but a diminutive single door. Will it open? Her shaking but bold hand reaches for the door pulling it back; it opens and the light of day rushes in to the stairwell splashing her face with heat and newfound freedom; out she goes praying it isn’t too good to be true still half afraid he will chase her down. Running out to the street she immediately flags a taxi, gets in, sitting there as her heart nearly pounds out of her chest.

She makes it to her apartment not knowing where she has just come from, takes off the repugnant denim jeans the enslaving African man gave her and throws them down the garbage shoot, and jumps in the shower. She gets out, dresses still in disbelief of her freedom. She leaves her apartment, catches another taxi and makes it to work at eleven thirty. In front of her is just another day of work but her life will never be the same.

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