Una en la Recámara

Matt Dojny

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The two women are named Ababa and Inés, and upon crossing my threshold they instruct me to lock the front and back doors and shut out the lights. They are certain that the man called Trasero has followed us from Manolo’s, and will arrive here at any moment to commit some unspecified and unspeakable act. We pass through my parlor and enter my bedroom, in the rear, and the woman Inés wriggles beneath my bed as far as she can. She is not fully hidden from sight—her height causes her head to peep out in a comical manner—but she remains there on the floor nonetheless. Inés is excessively tall, with black straight hair and well-shaped dark legs and a small chest; the other woman, the one hovering on the edge of my mattress, is short and wide-mouthed and voluptuous, and wears a lopsided haircut that seems somehow unfinished. They claim to be sisters, although, frankly, I can detect no visible evidence of shared blood. I first laid eyes on them at Manolo’s just an hour ago, and, due to the way they’d taken up with me—laughing too loudly at my stale jokes, smoking all of my Fortunas, boldly pushing their bodies towards my own body—I had supposed they were a pair of hellcats looking for a piece of fun. It is now obvious that I was selected for my brawn and for my pugilist’s face, and that I am expected to harbor and protect these two strangers from the man Trasero, whose headlights are now flashing through my parlor drapes. I close and lock my bedroom door, and ask the women once again why they are being harassed. Ababa merely whimpers and shakes her head in response, while Inés stares mutely at the ceiling. I hear a polite knocking on my front door, then a louder knock—not violent, but insistent. The knock of a man who will not be ignored. My doorbell is rung, and the dog, Litzy—chained to her tree in the backyard—begins barking in response. I part the curtains and lift the window, calling her name, speaking to her in soothing tones, but her impotent howls are now more adamant than ever, because Trasero has entered the yard and is moving towards my back door. In the illumination of the moonlight I can just make him out: he is not old, though no longer young, and dresses as a professor dresses, in a yellow Oxford shirt, and khaki trousers, and leather shoes that are no longer fine. Litzy pulls at her chain and makes ungodly sounds, but Trasero disregards the animal tied to the tree, carrying himself with the air of one who is on a righteous mission and therefore has nothing to fear. I suddenly wonder if these two women are the ones who are in the wrong—if they are the ones whom I should be afraid of. I turn and see that Inés has produced a small black gun from beneath the bed, holding it aloft. She tells me it’s not loaded, and she instructs me to flash it in the window, in order to frighten away the trespasser. I snatch the gun and shove it into my pocket and whisper harshly to her, telling her that I don’t like guns and I don’t want trouble—although, frankly, feeling the cold hard gun in my pocket sends a tingling thrill throughout my bloodstream. Outside, via the open window, I hear Trasero calling out the names of the women. Ababa rushes at me, petting my chest and pleading with me to do something, to be a man, to protect them. The one named Inés crawls out from her hiding spot, moving across the floor on her hands and knees until reaching me. She remains down there, holding onto my pants-leg, looking up at me pleadingly with her saucer-eyes. She tells me that I must destroy him, or else he shall destroy us, and as she speaks she runs her sharp nails along my inner thigh, pinching my flesh sweetly, and I begin to feel an excitement growing as they continue to both rub and pet me, begging me to take action. I hear Litzy’s howls growing louder, and I part the curtains again and I see Trasero’s face pressed up to my window, floating there, round and white like a moon, his expression calm, and he puts his lips to the screen and calmly whispers that he doesn’t want any trouble, he is the father of the women and he wishes to speak to them and then will be on his way. Ababa implores me to shut the window, saying that that man is no father to them, he is merely a father of lies—and as she says this, she pulls her shirt above her head, and embraces me from the side, rubbing her breasts against my body with wild abandon. The man observes this, and appears troubled, but does not comment upon it, and instead continues speaking in a voice that is reasonable and eloquent, telling me that his name is Sr. Trasero Invierno, he is a Professor of Economics at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, his wife passed away recently, his daughters have gone astray, he is merely trying to help them—and as he speaks, the women continue to molest me, the one called Inés rubbing the front of my trousers while the one called Ababa lifts my own shirt and sucks on my stomach and my chest, leaving bite-marks upon my flesh as she rubs the front of her body against the side of my body, all while I am staring into the calm moon-face of the man outside my window, and then one of the women snakes her hand inside my pocket and removes the gun and presses it into my own hand, and Litzy’s protestations have now reached a fever pitch, and the gun, supposedly unloaded, suddenly explodes, discharging into the ceiling, and at that moment, I spy a black movement in the night, it is the dog, she has managed to wriggle free from her collar, and she lunges through the darkness and clamps her jaws onto Trasero’s body, bringing him to the ground. I scream the dog’s name, banging on the window, then run to the door that leads from my bedchamber to the yard. This door has many locks, and as I fumble with them, I hear Trasero’s screams and Litzy’s exertions, until Trasero’s voice grows weaker and muted and then becomes silent, and all I can make out is the breathing of my pet. I pause, listening, then change my mind and re-lock the door and return to the window, where the two women now stand quietly. Litzy is sprawled on the grass, licking her paws as through trying to remove a stubborn stain. I take my torch from the night-stand and open the window fully and shine a light on the grass. There isn’t much left to see, just a black wet heap; most of Trasero’s remains have sunk into the damp septic ground, and some bits have likely already been carried off by the various animals that root around in my yard looking for their dinner. I close and lock the window and pull the drapes and the two women move to my bed and recline on it. Both of them wear blank and sated expressions on their faces, and I crawl in between them and fiddle with their clothing. They respond to my caresses without enthusiasm, and before I know it, they are both sound asleep, the one named Ababa even letting out little snores as her eyes roll towards the back of her head. I lie there, staring at the gunshot in my ceiling, my head empty. Bits of plaster continue to fall down from above, like flakes of snow, and there is a hole through which I spy the night sky behind a scrim of stars. After a time, my consciousness is disturbed by a sound of scratching outside the rear door. I am filled with an apprehension, and slowly go to the door, unlocking its many locks, and open it cautiously. Part of me expects to see Trasero, standing there, whole. But it is simply the dog, a regretful whimper emitting from her lips. Drooping in her jaws is something pale and soft. I pry the thing from her mouth, unafraid of her reluctant low growl, for I know she will not hurt me. I hold the thing in my palm, reflecting upon it, before tossing it into the darkness. I allow the dog to enter and she comes and sits on the bed with me, and continues to lick the redness from her paws as I stare at the stars through my ceiling and wait for my guests to awake.


ART: Teri Frame, Line Kallmayer

FICTION: Matt Dojny, Jessica Halliday, Corey Zeller

NONFICTION: Brandel France de Bravo, Line Kallmayer, Ben Merriman, Nicole Walker

POETRY: Mary Jo Bang, Sam Cha, Ching-In Chen, Natalie Eilbert, John Estes, Jessica Fjeld, Margaret LeMay, Nina Puro, Lauren Russell, Dara-Lyn Shrager, Donna Stonecipher, Henry Walters, Kerri Webster, Betsy Wheeler

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