by Jess Mize
(Parental discretion advised.)
Violet woke up on Valentine’s Day restless and irritated. She hadn’t slept much, though she had lain down at 10:20 and it was now 6:45. She vaguely recalled the tense, passive hours she had spent staring at the red numbers of the alarm clock.
It was supposed to snow. She heard the wind rush against the house and thought about a snippet of her dream. Her dreams were horrible now. They had been horrible for over a year. The dreams were so real and then her eyes would open and all those memories and sensations would be gone like so much morning mist in the afternoon.
Snow came once every two or three years to her small Southern town. It was the event of the season when it finally happened. “Every time I hear 8-10 inches what I get is 3-5.”
Disoriented, she felt her way out of the bed and into the bathroom. She brushed her teeth and sat on the toilet to pee but nothing would come out. She wished her lover was here to turn on the faucet. After a few minutes she stopped trying and stood up to look at herself in the mirror.
Violet didn’t like what she saw at all. Her boyfriend was always telling her how pretty she was and that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. But she didn’t believe him. She didn’t feel pretty or beautiful. She felt old and ugly and most of all she felt like shit. Especially on mornings like this. Mornings like this where she woke up and her head was throbbing and it hurt to breathe out of her nose because her face had been kicked in. Again.
She let out a long sigh that hung on her velvet lips like an often repeated prayer. Things were terrible right now. She felt terrible right now. But she was determined to make this a good day. She was determined to have a good future. Her apartment was cold but she didn’t check the thermostat. She just looked at herself in the mirror for a long time and then let out another sigh. She turned the water on in the bathtub and felt the water running over her cupped right hand until it was the right temperature. She went back into the bedroom and grabbed her phone off the charger, slipping out of her lacy green panties along the way.
She lit a Newport cigarette and laid back in the tub, taking a long drag and looking at the notes she got on tumblr while she had been not sleeping. She skipped right past her phone messages and went straight to tumblr. She knew her boyfriend had sent a hundred and one texts about how sorry he was and how it would never happen again. Violet rolled her eyes and thought about what version of him this might be. Jake Dylan 37.0. She was utterly disgusted with him, disgusted by him, and was very thankful she was working this evening and would not have to see his grimy ass at all on this day for lovers.
She wished her lover was here in the bathroom with her. She loved it when he bathed her. He took his time and caressed her and soaped up every nook and cranny, all the sweet secret spaces of her body. It was so relaxing when he was here, when she could breathe him in. Instead she just laid there and let her body soak, relishing the tension evaporating from her sore bones and breathing in the refreshing vapors of the very hot bath water.
Her lover always played music from the kindle while he gave her baths. They made playlists together all the time on their device. With names like perkie day, adventure time/ fuk him, violet & victor 2getha-5evah etc. Music was a big part of their relationship. On walks, on breezeways, tanning, during sexy time. They had listened to an awful lot of Drake during romantic moments until one day Victor had told her that Drizzy was the bee’s knees at sex music and whenever a girl wanted a good lay all he had to do was drop that Thank Me Later on ‘em. “Just how many girls you been listening 2 Drake with?? she had said, quite taken aback and most definitely displeased with Victor’s nonchalant attitude about his relationship with other girls before her. No one, bb, he had said, a palpable (ugh) lack of sincerity in his arctic blue eyes and his voice that was breaking over every syllable with nervousness. That was Victor’s first introduction to how jealous she could be, and it would certainly not be the last. Just a week ago, the green-eyed monster had reared it’s beautiful, possessive head and cut him off from a French whore pen-pal he had been emailing for nearly two years.
Some email excerpts from her to that rib-slicing-bitch/below. The French whore her lover downloaded pictures of to his device.
5 February 2015
YOU ARE NOT AN AMAZING FRIND YA STUPID YA WRITING SUCKS AND YOU NEED A NOSE JOB. STAY AWAY FROM VICTOR BITCH
INTERESTING INCREDIBLE AMAZING PERSON
FUCK OFF YOU SRUPID FRENCH BITCH IM HIS GIRLFRIEND ..YOUR OPINIONS SRE NOT NEEDED SNUMORE. GO CUT UR SELF UP THEN SUCK YOUR LOSER BOYFRIENDS COCK. EAT SHIT AND STAY AWAY FROM MY FUCKING MAN…BYE CUNT SEE U NEVER
7 February 2015
Victor tried to apologize to the girl. Violet was even more angry.
Dear Elise, I would like to apologise for the emails my boothang sent you. She is very jealous of me and has accused me of having an emotional affair with you. I am so so sorry. Please do not take anything she said to heart she is livid at me, not you.
NO BITCH IM LIVID AT YOUR SKINNY ASS CUTTING ASS DEPRESSED ASS LONLEY ASS SORRY PIECE OF SHIT. NOT MAD AT VICCY BOY. WISH I WAS IN FRANCE SO I COULD FUCK YOU UP WHO’RE ….GO THE FUCK AWAY U LONLEY BIYCH
Her boyfriend wanted to call her but she hated the sound of his voice. His texts kept popping up as she scrolled down her blog. God, he was exhausting and he wasn’t even there. Working this evening. Need me at Sake. Txt u when I get off. Please don’t be childish Jake. I’m busy. She sent him this text and called her lover. Once that was done she could turn off her device. Take the blue pill, unplug, and reach a higher plane of modern existence. She loved the sound of Victor’s voice. It made her heart jump. To her lovestruck ears his voice was fucking symphonic. The words came out of his mouth just like honey. If he had been born a woman he would’ve been Billie Holiday she thought to herself.
Further north in Asheville, snowflakes fell big and fast as Patty and Tina walked out of the strip club. It was the early morning hours of February 14th. The snowfall was torrential and everything outside turned bright and beautiful. The first snow always felt like a cleansing and all about the landscape seemed fresh, vibrant and iridescent.
Patty and Tina were not lovers, not married, not boyfriend and girlfriend, but they were a couple. They were a platonic couple. Bound together by their hatred for one another and by a dark secret from Tina’s past.
Patty drove while Tina sat looking down at her phone in the passenger’s seat. Patty was playing a song by 50 Cent called “don’t worry ‘bout it” that she hated over and over and each time it reached the chorus he would echo it loudly. The fifth time the song started to play she violently turned off the console and yelled at him. “Stop it you fucking asshole!.” He smiled looking out at the road ahead. He knew she hated the song and that’s why he kept it on repeat. It satisfied some unacknowledged part of him to be so blatantly passive-aggressive with her.
Tina flipped her phone on the floorboard in exasperation. Things were bad. Things were really bad. They were in big trouble, and as usual, Patty was ignorant as fuck and pretending like nothing was wrong. What the fuck was wrong with him? Deny, deny, deny.
She lit a cigarette, a Newport, and decided she would bitch at Patty. That would be the sensible thing to do. He would expect that. “What the fuck are you spending all that money for?” They had hot-railed three grams of crack with a stripper called Sky in the champagne room. Tina was all for that. She was higher than a motherfucking pelican. But she was also mad as fuck.
They were in serious trouble and it was all because of this asshole she was inextricably attached to. Trouble they were not going to escape by getting high with an elegant stripper called Sky.
Patty chuckled and smiled out of the side of his mouth. He didn’t take his eyes off the road. They were outside of the city now and flying through the outskirts. Patty always drove fast no matter what drugs he was on, or what drugs were in the sunglasses case of his passenger side console.
“Tina, Tina, the thing is, you’re going too fast. You need to slow down. Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this,” Patty said. “I have a plan. We’re going across the state line.” In reality, he didn’t have a plan. They were just going to have to wing it.
“You’re not making any sense. You need to get some sleep.” Patty said.
“Whatever Patty, I’m fine, you’re the one with the problem. You never remember being an asshole and you don’t understand the situation you’ve put me in. You just blow money like it isn’t important.”
“Tina! You don’t mind spending money to get subs or pain pills…”
“Patty! I plan on flipping those and making money.”
“Yeah. Haha, we’ll see.”
“Fuck you Patty, go smoke some more crack with Ginger.”
“Ha! Okay Tina, do you want the first hit?”
“Whatever, yes, I fucking do.”
Violet dried off and then put on makeup in front of the bedroom mirror. She let the towel slide off of her body and thought about how young and beautiful she used to be. She was still very young and extraordinarily beautiful, but she didn’t think so anymore. What she saw in the mirror was the way she had been treated for so long. She saw shit because she had been treated like shit. By her boyfriends, by her family. She felt like even her lover only saw a fine piece of ass and not a beautiful, strong independent woman. Fuck Yeah Violet Sanchez.
She called her lover. She had to hear his voice. Victor sounded sleepy and hungover. He told Violet that he loved her and that he missed her. He needed her. She needed him too and was sad that they couldn’t see each other today. She asked for the V-Day shift at Sake so she wouldn’t have to see her boyfriend but she regretted the fact that she wouldn’t be able to be with Victor either.
Violet brushed her hair back over her right ear and looked close in at her face in the mirror. She has had a lifetime of covering up these. Just recently she had to do it more and more often. First she grabbed her concealer stick. It was her magic wand. She glossed it under her right eye. It looked kind of milky so she put some powder on top of it, blending it together with the tip of her index finger. And then to make it look like the rest of her face she put a touch of blush on it.
She had this really cute way of holding her mouth open and keeping her face taut while she applied the cover-up. If Victor was here he would appreciate the way she made herself look pretty.
It was mid-afternoon on Valentine’s Day. Patty and Tina were in South Carolina. They were in a cheap motel room outside of downtown Greenville. They had bickered at each other non-stop until Patty fell asleep. It was the crucible of their relationship. Trading snarky remarks and sarcastic sweet-nothings that stung each other’s egos. They never really listened to the other person bitching they just picked out words and phrases to reply to. Whatever they said was typically to hurt themselves because they were bitter and miserable. Patty and Tina didn’t realize this. They were hardly self-aware.
Patty woke up from his nap ill and restless. He went to the bathroom and saw Tina asleep in the bathtub. He smiled. “Goddamnit you stupid fucking bitch, wake up!” He had bent over and was screaming directly in her face. “I hate you, you fucking piece of shit.” Tina yelled back. She went to punch him straight in the nose but Patty was already dancing away from her, laughing maniacally.
“Why the fuck are you sleeping like a vagrant, why didn’t you come to bed?” Patty asked Tina.
“Leave me alone.”
“You can’t handle this. I have to baby you like a little fucking kid.”
“Quit yelling Patty, I just woke up.”
“Yeah well I’m supposed to work and make money so you can lounge around and party all the time.”
“What drugs did you do to make you nod out like that? I videotaped it because no one would believe me.”
“Fuck off. LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.”
This went on for a bit longer and then Patty calmly explained his plan of action to Tina. He had a flip he could switch inside his mind and Patty was a very deliberate person concerning anything that didn’t involve Tina. Patty knew a a guy down here in Greenville who was going to help them out. Things were going to be okay if they could just make it through the night,
Except for their nap, they had been up for nearly four days. This was day three and their stash of drugs was low. Patty just wanted to forget their cares, the trouble they were in, and go to sleep. Tina wanted her next fix. And she wanted to stab Patty through the eye with her Winchester blade.
Violet always went fast when she went to work. Blow, pain pills, speed…anything. It was like her work uniform. She had to have it. Especially on holidays. Valentine’s Day at Sake was always hectic as fuck. All the happy couples would go on dates and the men would tip heavily to impress the women. It made Violet fucking sick.
She always went in early to prepare her work station. She would first prepare by snorting a couple of lines with Deborah in the bathroom. Then make sure they had several pitchers of tea filled and had bullied the hostess into changing the seating chart so it was more in her favor. This was at 10:45 am. Open at 11.
There were assholes already standing outside like it didn’t say 11 o’clock on the fucking door. She hated those people. She didn’t like being rushed. Even during the rush she would take her time. Never got into the weeds. She can’t rush the cooks, she couldn’t flip the tables any faster, so why hurry? While everyone else was running around like a chicken with their head cut off, Deborah and Violet were sneaking off to the back for smoke breaks and drugs. Valentine’s Day. Ugh.
There was a line at the door all day. Coming in for those “2 eat for 30 bucks” specials. So romantic.
Before dinner, Violet pretended to run some drinks from the bar to tables, but was actually running them to the bathroom and pouring them down her throat. More drugs. Adderol this time. More tables, different section (she made sure it was a damn good section). Now that she had caught a buzz, she wasn’t as sarcastic and cynical with her tables. She would go “the extra mile,” unless the women decided to be a cunt because they caught their man making the eyes her. Then Violet would lay it on thick. Call them sugar and babydoll. Get herself a really big tip. Sometimes a phone number. Sometimes her phone number. The kitchen was backed up. The expo would put the wrong sides on the wrong plates…
Any other night somehow they would make it through the chaos. Any other night she would have had a wad of cash. Normally half of it would go toward the night’s festivities and the next day’s fix for work. Any other night she would have loved to go outside for the last smoke and look up at the stars. Any other night, she would pay out, then go reapply her face for the evening. But not tonight. On this night, Violet Sanchez was going to die.
Violet went out the back entrance of Sake after her shift was over. It had been a long evening but her work was done and she felt good. She hadn’t seen her asshole boyfriend all day. That made it a winner.
She lit a cigarette and looked up at the sky. She thought about Victor and what he was doing. She pulled her phone from her purse and went to call him. When she looked up, there was Patty and Tina. Patty was holding a 9 mm glock straight into her face. “Hey, sissy, you’re coming with us.”
The blow happened so quick it was almost painless. Violet just had time to see Patty twist the glock sideways and strike at the left side of her skull in a swift, brutal motion. Then she was out cold.
When Violet came to, Patty and Tina were bitching at each other in the front seat of the Escalade. She was in the very back with a rape tie around her wrists and duct tape covering her mouth. What the fuck, she thought. What the literal fuck? She remembered these two from earlier that night. She had waited on them.
Tweakers like Patty and Tina always showed up right before we closed. Just not usually on holidays. Not on Valentine’s Day. Violet should have known something was up. They were the kind of assholes who would order food and send it back five times because it didn’t taste right. Of course it didn’t taste right. They had been smoking crack for three straight days and they were hungry but couldn’t eat because of the drugs.
These two seemed to be coming off the drugs. They ordered drinks from the bar. Drinks on drinks without finishing any of them. Patty and Tina sat there looking janky as fuck, only moving the food around with their chopsticks. They would bicker at each other and be ill as shit with Violet. Nine out of ten times, burnouts like these two would run out on their bill. She didn’t give a shit. She wasn’t going to get stabbed for someone else’s money.
In the back of the Escalade, Violet lay staring at the ceiling of the SUV. She was not yet panicking but she was very pissed off. Patty and Tina had stopped talking for the last five minutes. Violet tried to concentrate on the road below the tires and the drift of the vehicle but could not fathom where they might be going. She didn’t know how long she had been in the car because she had just regained consciousness.
The SUV slowed and took several turns. They must be in a residential area. The fucking suburbs. They stopped. Violet heard mumbling and then heard both car doors shut. There was shuffling outside and then an eerie familiar laughter. The trunk was opened and she saw Jake Dylan grinning down at her. “Happy Valentine’s Day, slut,” he said.
Jess Mize is a blonde-haired surfer girl from South Carolina. Stay tuned for our upcoming profile of and interview with Jess via our new “Hype” page!