Carol, Jack, Tats and Rex the ShapebyAbdulbenthere©
NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA
The thirty-year old Irish whiskey wrapped itself around the ice in Jacques Cartier's glass. He drank alone these days; safer for everyone around him that way, he reasoned. The First Street mansion was more prison than home since... since he... since she... Jacques, known as Jack to his friends, when he did have friends, pushed the thoughts out of his mind and sat down.
He often thought of confiding in Lucius and Astrid to see if they could help him, but he feared they would fall victim to it just like Madame Lefaunue and the girls at the brothel.
None of the books had any dust on them lately. Sir Richard F. Burton's unabridged translation of the Thousand --and-One Arabian Nights had used up a full month of his lonely nights and thirty bottles of the best liquor he could find in New Orleans. Tonight Tsun Tsu's Art of War would stimulate his mind while the alcohol numbed it.
He was on page 75 when the knocking at the door interrupted him. He was only half way through his second glass, so finding his feet was not terribly difficult. Controlling the urge to take the gun out of the desk and fire through the door was much harder. The part of his mind that said it might be someone in trouble finally won out and he pulled the bolt back to see who dared disturb him.
Carol, his ex-wife, stood out under his porch light, not bothering to swat at the insects that circled her. He knew she was only thirty, but she looked sixty; her red hair streaked with gray, mascara running down her tear-stained cheeks, her dress hanging on her now gaunt body as if she had lost fifty pounds in a month. He almost felt sorry for the scarecrow she had become, but he remembered what had happened between them.
"Well, well, well," he growled, making no effort to hide his feelings. "To what do I owe the pleasure? Did someone drop a house on your sister?"
Carol didn't wait to be invited in, but threw her arms around him and sobbed, her face pressing the silk of his smoking jacket. Jack didn't know how to respond so he stood dumbly with his hands hanging at his sides.
Her sobbing continued for minutes; minutes that seemed like hours to him but seconds to her, before she spoke without raising her head. "Jack, in the name of everything holy, tell me the truth: Did you ever really love me?"
Jack was completely confused but answered honestly, with a single word: "Yes."
She turned her head to stare up at his face. "Then please, take me to your bed now!"
He pulled his hand up under her arms and shoved her away from his body. She might have fallen backwards if she hadn't had a death-grip on his jacket. She was obviously going to say something more, so he put his hand gently over her mouth. His eyes fixed on hers like she was some hostile witness he was grilling in court.
"I know you too well, Carol," he said bluntly. "Either you have the clap and you came to infect me or you're pregnant by someone other than Henry and you want to accuse me so you can draw child support."
She slapped his hand off of her face and screamed "Henry's dead! And you will be to if you don't take me to your bed before Rex gets here!"
Jack's face told her he was totally confused. She pulled away from him and proceeded into the living room, to the loveseat she had chosen nine years ago, sat down with her feet flat on the floor, knees together and hands resting on her thighs as if handcuffed. Jack saw that her hands were trembling.
"Looks like you need a drink to stop the dee-tees," he muttered.
"It's not the dee-tees," Carol grimaced. "I've been dry for over a year. I'm scared... for you."
Jack poured a club soda for her and handed it to her before seating himself in his favorite chair with his whiskey glass refilled.
"OK," he said blandly, "I DO want to know about Henry being dead, but before you tell me, let me remind you that I did try to reconcile with you BEFORE that asshole came into your life. Remember? I told you all about my affair with Lucy and begged you to forgive me."
Carol's eyes were fixed on the floor but she nodded. Jack had more to say, so she raised the glass to her lips and sipped the soda.
"Remember all the counseling sessions with Doctor Taylor, darling?" he said sarcastically.
Carol choked on her drink and coughed, almost falling forward.
"Yeah," Jack said. "I kinda thought you'd remember that man-hating piece of shit. Now, tell me about Henry."
Carol composed herself enough to begin: "He had an affair..." She paused to wipe her face with the back of her wrist.
"I'm not surprised," Jack interrupted. "Didn't I tell you a man who would leave his wife for you would leave you for the next cunt he wanted to fuck?"
Carol's eyes were downcast again. "Yes, you were right. Anyway, we had a big fight, he stomped out and I decided to get drunk and find a man to have sex with, the worst man who'd have me, just to get even with Henry. I picked the wrong bar."
A YEAR EARLIER, BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIA.
The band was protected by chicken wire, or the tequila bottle would have sent the lead-singer-slash-double-D-set-of-tits to the hospital. The remnants of its contents, the worm already gone, splashed on her as the bottle shattered on the floor. The band paused for a second then resumed their feeble attempt to cover "Happiest Girl In the Whole U.S.A."
Carol wasn't even pretty with closing time an hour away: The lethal shrink-wrap dress wasn't working its magic and the "fuck me" five inch heals couldn't make her legs look pretty when gold label tequila had released her inner bitch.
"What does a girl have to do to get picked up in this joint?" She shouted. She looked around to see that all the men had become very interested in their wives and all the wives were cuddling their men. The petty officer wearing his white navy uniform, and his wife in her blue denim miniskirt and cowgirl boots, the only couple on the dance floor, had resumed their tango-two-step-watermelon-crawl that passed for a dance.
"Great," Carol thought out loud. "I need to get screwed and I pick a bar having couples night."
"Yeah, me too, Red," said a soprano voice behind her. "'Happens like that sometimes."
Carol snapped her head around to see a biker babe pulling out a chair and joining her at the table. She might have been Carol's age, but it was hard for the red head to tell in the dim light. The woman's hair was dark, streaked with gray, her make-up minimal. Tattoos covered her arms down to her fingernails and half way up the left side of her neck. Not an inch of skin below her chin was left in its natural color. Her breasts bulged under the boy-beater tank top and her jeans looked like they'd been spray painted onto her. Carol thought this woman might be a lesbian in the wrong bar and decided on a pre-emptive strike.
"Well, lady, before you start you should know that I like men 'cause..."
"... 'Cause they've got dicks and dicks feel good," said the woman. "I experimented in college, too, Carol. Ophelia was an awful roommate, wasn't she?"
"You know Ophelia?" Carol said, surprised. Then she realized that this woman knew her name, but her befuddled brain didn't work fast enough to move her lips before the woman answered the first question.
"Yeah, she's A.C., D.C. and one hundred percent b-i-t-c-h," said her new companion. "I'm sorry, you don't recognize me. My friends call me Tats."
"I think I know why."
Tats grinned. "'Philia was a bad experience for you too, wasn't she?"
"I hope she dies of a yeast infection!" Carol shouted. "Bartender! Another bottle for us!" From the corner of her eye Carol thought something was glowing red on Tats' neck. She glanced back: Had Tats grown another tattoo, or had that one been there before?
"He won't serve you anymore," said Tats, "not after you tried to kill the rack at the microphone. Hey, Tommy!" She gestured. "You can bring me another bottle; I've got her for the rest of the night."
Tommy brought another bottle to the table with two clean glasses. Tats poured a shot for each of them and raised hers to her lips. Carol downed hers but never saw Tats' glass touch her lips.
"So who pissed you off tonight?" said Tats.
"My husband, Henry," said Carol. "Screwed his secretary and I caught the son of a bitch."
"Girl, you really ought to try keeping men as pets instead of husbands," said Tats. "Wanna borrow mine?"
"Maybe," said the red head. "Wha's he look like and how big is his dick?"
"Oh, he's a great looker and it's huge," Tats grinned. She raised her hand and gestured with a single forefinger to someone behind her. "Rex! Here, boy!"
A gorgeous hunk of man seemed to step out of nowhere. He looked like a classical statue of Hercules with a well trimmed beard and hair dyed tan and black.
"Girl!" said Carol, "how did I miss this guy in this dive?"
"He came in with me. Wanna take him home and play with him?"
"Hell yeah!" shouted Carol. "Hey, Rex, go hit the men's room and get some condoms!"
"Aren't you on the pill?" Tats asked.
"Yeah, but I just met this guy... don't want a S.T.D.!"
"Oh, he's had his shots! You don't think I'd let him infect me, do you? Just try not to let him knock you up: I want him back eventually." Tats stood up and turned her back.
"How long can I keep him?" said Carol, but Tats had disappeared as quietly as she had appeared.
Carol looked at Rex, who offered her his hand without a word.
Carol was wobbly. She reached into her purse and pulled out the keys to her jag. "You better drive, boy!" she lisped, "I'm too drunk."
She didn't remember walking out to the parking lot, but she woke up in the passenger seat of her car on the freeway. Lights hurt her eyes so she closed them again.
She didn't remember telling him where she lived, either, but she remembered the feel of her driveway under her bare feet. Where the hell where her shoes? It didn't matter, she was too drunk to walk in fuck-me heels.
Next, they were in the master bedroom. Fitting vengeance, she thought, screwing a Greek god in Henry's bed. He was undressing her. She felt her dress being pulled over her head, her strapless bra being unhooked and her panties sliding down her legs.
His tongue, oh God, he was licking places that Henry never even knew about! Rex had lots of body hair, but it was soft as sable, softer than her silk sheets. He felt so damn good! The first orgasm was bigger than anything she'd ever felt. Was it Rex or the liquor doing this to her?
Next she was on her tummy with his dick in her cunt from the rear. It felt like it was swelling inside her, getting bigger and locking into her body. His hands reached under her, fondled her breasts, and stimulated her clit from the outside while his joint pressed her G-spot from within. The second orgasm was the last thing she remembered of the night.
Daylight was pouring through the curtains she had forgotten to close. She staggered out of the bed to find the toilet. For a second she considered vomiting into it before she peed, but dizziness overruled her and she dropped her ass onto the seat and felt the stream of used tequila escape. Without rising she grabbed the waste basket and emptied her stomach into it, simultaneously losing control of her bowls as well as her bladder. This is going to be the mother of all hangovers she thought.
She cleaned herself superficially, not bothering with the dried cum on her thighs and staggered back to the bed. Rex's clothes littered the floor next to her dress, panties and bra. The form of a body under the covers looked so welcoming that she crawled into the bed and started to cuddle it.
The body under the silk sheets sprang to life: But it wasn't a man. It was the biggest German shepherd she'd ever seen! He was all over her, licking her face.
Surprised beyond belief Carol fell backwards onto the floor, landing heavily on her ass. The dog didn't follow her onto the floor, but lay on the bed looking at her.
Carol looked at the pile of clothing next to her. "OK, this is the weirdest dream I've ever had!" she told the dog. "Move over, 'Rex,'" she said as she pulled herself back into the bed. "When I wake up from this hangover I'll take you back to Tats." Obediently, the animal lay next to her in the silk nest.
It might have been twelve hours or thirty --six hours before Carol woke up again. It was obviously near sunset, judging from the angle of the light pouring through the window. Someone was ringing the doorbell and knocking loudly.
She crawled out of bed and found a robe, noticing that the male clothing was gone. At least whoever was at the door wouldn't find her with Rex, so she could screw that bastard Henry for alimony.
She found the front door and threw it open, holding her robe with the other hand.
Two policemen stood outside. "Oh, shit!" Carol said out loud, unable to stop her lips. She let go of the doorknob and tried to comb her hair out of her face with her hand while keeping the robe closed over her naked body.
"Mrs. Folsom?" said the officer closest to her.
"I'm officer..." her brain didn't register the name, "and this is officer... It's about your husband, Henry."
"Is he hurt?" Carol stammered.
"No, ma'am. He's dead."
Carol's eyes and mouth fell open. She wanted to ask "How?" but all she could manage was "Ho.. ho.."
The officers exchanged a glance like detectives in an old television show. "He was mauled by a dog, ma'am," said the one standing furthest from her.
Carol's eyes rolled back into her head. The ceiling seemed to move and the floor rose up to her back.
FIRST STREET MANSION, NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA
"So, you think Rex left your bed and killed Henry?" said Jack as he raised his whiskey to his lips.
"I don't think Rex did it, I KNOW Rex did it!" said Carol, taking another sip of her club soda. "And he didn't stop there! Everyone who ever crossed me gets mauled to death by a dog! His secretary, the one who had the affair with him, died a month later and Rex was back in my room the next morning! Another month later, Henry's partner was killed, and the police told me he'd been skimming from Henry for years! There are a dozen dead people between here and Bakersfield, and every one of them hurt me!"
"I guess Rex got Ophelia, too, huh?" Jack asked.
"No: She died of a bacterial infection... that started in her vagina!"
"Oh, so you got your wish?"
"Jack, I was hurt and drunk on my ass! I didn't want ANYONE to die! Not really."
"So you came here to do what, warn me that I'm going to be killed by a big dog?"
Carol shifted uneasily in her chair. "I thought I might be able to break the spell if I got here before Rex. If you and I got back together, maybe... I don't know what else to do..." Her eyes flooded.
"He's already here," Jack deadpanned.
Carol didn't bother to look around; she wouldn't have been able to see through her tears anyway, but she heard the padding of Rex's paws as he stalked her former husband.
Rex stepped into her field of vision on her right, coiled his legs under him and launched himself at Jack, then tried to stop in mid air as another form, fully as big as himself, blocked his way. Rex landed in a heap on the rug, and then scrambled back to lie down at his mistress's feet. Jack couldn't tell whose face looked more surprised, Rex's face or Carol's.
The huge tan bitch sat down demurely at Jacques' right. Her master transferred his glass to his left hand and began to scratch her behind her ears.
"This is Sultana, Carol," he half smiled. "I met Tats in a dive in Bywater after a night of bar-crawling and whore hunting. She gave me a speech very similar to the one she gave you. Let me guess: You went back to the bar where she found you and there was an empty lot where you thought the bar was?"
Carol nodded; her eyes were as wide as saucers. "Has Sultana..."
"Killed anyone?" her ex completed. Carol used to hate it when he did that, but she nodded. "Several drug dealers and a judge one of them bought off to win the case. I made a lot of enemies when I worked at the D.A.'s office. Oh, and Doctor Taylor, of course, and every woman I've slept with except you, my sweet, darling ex-wife. You know, you are right; if either of us ever wants a relationship with the opposite sex it would have to be with someone protected by one of Tats' pets." He leaned forward and turned to face his pet, who cocked her head to meet his eyes with hers.
"Sultana, will you be a sweetheart and entertain Rex while Carol and I have some private time together?"
Sultana stood up and approached Rex. They snorted, sniffed each other's tails and the bitch assumed a low posture, offering herself to the dog. Carol stared wide-eyed; was Rex actually smiling?
Jacques was on his feet. Like the gentleman he was Jack offered her his hand and helped her out of the chair. She let him lead her across the room to the stairs; the stairs where he once had carried her to the bedroom like Rhett carried Scarlet in Gone With the Wind. She wondered if this was the beginning of a new life for them or the end of the old.
"We'll go together and tell Lucius and Astrid everything," Jack said. "If they don't have magic to break this situation we may be stuck with each other for the next fifty years."
"That wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to us, Jack," Carol said as he led onto the first step.
At the foot of the stairs she resisted his gently pulling lead for the first time so she could look back at the dogs. Jack turned also. Rex had mounted Sultana and was going to town on her. Both dogs were yipping in sheer joy.
"It'll be interesting," said Jack.
"Hmmm?" was all Carol could get out of her mouth as she turned to look at her ex-husband/soon to be lover.
"Finding homes for the puppies," he said, meeting her eyes with his. "It'll be interesting."