Authors: Richard Laymon
Tags: #Fiction - Horror
“Thank you. Is there some kind of problem?”
“I noticed you’ve got a backpack. Are you planning to sleep out around here?”
“I thought I might. Is it illegal?”
“We have local ordinances against it, but we generally don’t enforce them. Are you with a friend?”
She shook her head slightly from side to side. Her eyes never strayed from Dave’s.
“Let her alone,” somebody called from behind.
“Goddamn cops,” came another voice.
“She’s not hurting anyone.”
“Why don’t you pick on somebody causing trouble!”
The girl held up a hand to silence the protests.
“All I want to say,” Dave told her, “is that we’ve been having trouble with teenagers running around at night attacking people. They’ve pulled some pretty nasty stunts. They’re after winos and bums, actually. But it isn’t safe for anyone to camp out in this area. I wouldn’t want you getting jumped by these characters. They—”
“Quit hassling her, why don’t you!”
“Please,” she called, glancing past him at someone in the crowd. “He’s not bothering me. I’ll play some more in a minute.”
“Thanks,” Dave said. “There are plenty of motels nearby. I think you’d be wise to check into one of them. Can you afford a motel? Some of them are just around thirty-five, forty dollars a night. And there’s a Y over on Clancy Street. I’m sure it’s pretty cheap.”
“I don’t know.” She lowered her eyes. “I’ll think about it, Officer. I appreciate your…”
“Dave. It’s Dave.”
“Robin.” He liked the name. It seemed to fit her. “Why do I get the feeling you’re not going to take my advice?”
She shrugged her shoulders.
He took out his wallet again. The bill compartment held three ones and a twenty. He slipped the twenty out and held it toward her. “Take this, okay? Find yourself a room for the night.”
Her fingers slipped around the back of his hand and gently pushed it away. “I can’t. Thank you, though. Really. That’s way too much. You already gave me a five—I saw you. And that’s fine. I figure that’s for the music. But I don’t want to take any handouts. Okay?”
“I don’t want you getting jumped by a pack of rabid teenagers.”
In the calm of her blue eyes he saw a glint of fear.
“I’ll be careful,” she said.
My place, he suddenly thought. She could stay at my place.
Don’t be an idiot. She’ll think I just want in her pants.
“It’s up to you,” he said. “If you won’t get yourself a room, at least try to find someplace hidden away. Maybe back in the dunes away from the beach, where nobody’ll notice you. And don’t come anywhere close to the boardwalk after the fun zone shuts down for the night. That’s their favorite place to hit.”
“I’ll stay away,” she told him. “I’ll find a good place to hide.” Her mouth slipped into a smile. “I always do. My pappy didn’t raise no fool.”
“All right. Good luck, Robin.”
Nodding, she reached out and brushed a hand against his upper arm. “Thanks,” she said.
Dave started away. A few people in Robin’s audience glared at him as he stepped through the circle.
Behind him, Robin said, “This one’s for Officer Dave.”
Joan looked at him, her eyebrows high. “What was that all about?”
Before he could answer, the banjo rang alive. He turned around. Her eyes were on him. Her tongue protruded from the corner of her mouth.
“Where are we going?” Jeremy asked.
“Gotta see Tanya,” Cowboy said. “What’d you think of Liz?”
“Man, I don’t believe what you said to her.”
“What was that?”
“You know. About getting wrinkled.”
“Oh, that. She likes that kind of stuff. Turns her on.”
“You know her pretty well?”
“Are you kidding? She’s my squeeze.”
“You got it, Duke.”
He stopped himself before saying “Wow,” which would’ve sounded stupid. Instead he commented, “Not bad. She got a sister?”
“Nope. A cousin, though. Janet. You can meet her tonight, maybe. Her and some of my friends. If you want, I’ll check it out with Tanya, see if it’s okay with her.”
They were walking over the sand, winding their way among sunbathers stretched out on towels and blankets. Though Cowboy led the way, his route was the same as Jeremy would’ve picked if he’d been in the lead. One that took them close to girls. Girls lying on their backs, naked except for skimpy swimsuits, their skin glossy with tanning oil. Others facedown, their backs bare, their untied bikini tops loose beneath their breasts. Some were reading books or magazines, some were talking to friends sprawled beside them, some seemed to be asleep. A few were snuggling with boyfriends as if they thought they were alone on the beach.
Jeremy studied them as he strolled along, working on his Super-Waffle, listening to Cowboy, and sometimes making comments or asking questions. He had a hard time swallowing.
I can come down here every day, he thought.
Just do nothing but wander around and
Shit, this is
Cowboy led him toward a slender young woman lying on a blanket, arms folded beneath her face. Her bikini top was untied. Jeremy could see the pale side of one breast. It bulged as if it were a little bit mashed under her weight. She was bare all the way down to a glossy blue patch of fabric clinging to her rump. The seat of her swimsuit was no more than four inches across at the thin waistband, and tapered to a narrow strip before passing between her legs.
“Hardly enough to cover her crack,” Cowboy muttered.
“I sure wouldn’t mind trading places with the guy,” Jeremy said.
The guy was kneeling beside her, squirting suntan oil onto her back. She shivered as the stream licked her skin. Her smooth buttocks trembled slightly. The guy set the plastic bottle aside and began to spread the oil around. He wasn’t just lending a hand, he was caressing her. Jeremy could almost feel her sun-heated skin, smooth and slick under his own hands.
He hated to leave the scene behind, and Cowboy must’ve felt the same way. After walking past the couple, Cowboy stopped and looked back. Jeremy, grateful, did the same.
The guy was squirting onto one of her buttocks. The oil, glinting silver in the sunlight, streamed down her cheek. He started rubbing it around.
“Kind of wish she’d turn over,” Cowboy said.
“Yeah, turn over and forget her top’s untied.”
Cowboy grinned at him. “Welcome to Boleta Bay.”
“I do believe I like it here.”
“If you like it now, wait’ll you lay your eyes on Tanya.” With that, he started walking again.
Jeremy looked one more time, saw the guy sliding a hand down between the backs of her thighs, then turned away and hurried to catch up with Cowboy.
“Who’s this Tanya?” he asked.
“Nate’s gal. Wait till you see her. Guys’ve drowned themselves just so she’d pull them out.”
“She’s a lifeguard. And head cheerleader at school. You see her bouncing around the sidelines…it’s a sight to make a blind man juice his skivvies.”
“You got the hots for her?”
“Show me a guy that doesn’t, I’ll show you a queer. I know
who’ve got the hots for her.”
“But she’s Nate’s, you said?”
“The rotten dickhead. I reckon I’d lay waste to him so I could free her up, but he’s my best bud.”
“Liz might not approve, either.”
“Well, it ain’t about to happen. Nate or no Nate, only way I’d ever stand a chance with Tanya’s if maybe I grew six inches and got me a new face.”
“Maybe you could drug her.”
“Haw! Drug her?” Cowboy swept off his hat and whapped Jeremy across the arm. “Get out of here! You think I’m some kind of pervert? Christ, I don’t believe you! Sick! What kind of drug would it take?”
Jeremy walked beside him, beaming. If Cowboy had started suspecting he was a wimp and a dork, the remark about drugging Tanya had put a stop to it. He’d won the guy over, for sure.
“Can’t wait to see what she looks like,” Jeremy said.
“Don’t have to.” With the last of his cone, Cowboy pointed at a lifeguard station a short distance ahead. It was a white-painted shack on stilts, wooden stairs leading up to a deck on the ocean side. A girl stood on the deck, leaning forward a bit, hands on the railing.
“Is that her?” Jeremy asked.
“You got it.”
They walked closer.
Her head was turned away, so he couldn’t see her face. Nevertheless, she looked awesome. Jeremy guessed that she must be nearly six feet tall. Her bare legs, bronze in the sunlight, looked shapely and powerful. She wore red shorts, and a white T-shirt that wasn’t tucked in.
Neither the shorts nor the shirt was tight-fitting. Though the shorts were loose, the way they bulged in the seat told of strong round buttocks. The wind rippled her shirt against a flat belly and the high, thrusting mounds of her breasts. Her hair, in a ponytail, shone like gold.
If her face was any match for the rest of her…
“Yo! Tanya!” Cowboy called from the foot of the stairs.
Her head turned. She looked down from her high station. She had sunglasses on. They hid her eyes.
But what he could see of her face was even better than Cowboy had led him to suspect. Not just beautiful, magnificent. Hair like a thick curtain of golden threads drifted and shimmered across her high brow. Her cheekbones and jaw were prominent. Her skin was so deeply tanned that her teeth seemed starkly white, almost as if they gave off their own bright light. Her mouth was wide. Her lips, only slightly darker than the skin of her face, were full and luxurious. They looked like the softest part of her. To the magnificent beauty of her face they added something that seemed both slightly vulnerable and powerfully erotic.
“Hi there, Cowboy,” she said. Her voice was much as Jeremy might have expected, low and clear.
“Still on for tonight?”
Her head turned slightly toward Jeremy. He felt as if he were melting into warm liquid.
“Don’t worry about Duke. He’s a straight-shooter. Fact is, he’d like to come along. I told him I’d have to get your okay. And Liz wants to know if her cousin can come.”
Jeremy shrank inside. A lump filled his throat.
Should’ve known. Everything had been going too good. I fooled Cowboy, but she sees right through me. Knows I’m a reject. Shit. Shit!
Tanya stepped away from the railing. She strode to the top of the stairs and scowled down at Cowboy. A goddess, beautiful but fierce. “It’s private business,” she said. “No out-of-towners. You and Liz ought to know that.”
“Well, Duke lives here. He just moved in.”
She took off her sunglasses and looked at Jeremy. The blue of her eyes matched the afternoon sky. They studied Jeremy. His heart slammed. His legs felt weak.
“No wimps,” she said.
The words froze his mind.
“Hey!” someone yelled at Tanya.
Me. That was me, Jeremy realized.
“Fuck you!” he shouted.
He still had a handful of sodden Super-Waffle. The remains of the cone had a swamp of melted vanilla ice cream at the bottom.
He hurled it.
Ice cream flew from the tumbling cone. But not all of it. Far from all of it. The cone struck a golden thigh. White glop exploded.
A large portion of it shot straight up a loose leg hole of Tanya’s shorts.
Jeremy blinked. He couldn’t believe what he had done.
The cone, clinging to Tanya’s white-smeared thigh, dropped away as she stormed down the stairs.
“Jesus, Duke,” he heard from Cowboy.
He considered running. Instead, he stood stiff with his arms at his sides.
Tanya grabbed the front of his open shirt. She jerked him up on his tiptoes. Glared down into his eyes. One side of her upper lip lifted, baring her gum. “You little rat.”
“Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, sister.”
He couldn’t believe he’d said that.
She’s gonna kill me.
Instead, she yanked his shirt back over his shoulders and pulled it off him. She shoved it into his hands. “Clean your mess,” she said.
His heart kicked. “Huh?”
“You heard me.” Grabbing his shoulders, she shoved him down to his knees.
He stared at the dripping front of her shorts, the white fluid streaming down her thigh. He began at her knee and worked his way up, mopping the ice cream with his wadded shirt. He felt the smooth firmness of her muscles. His mouth was parched. His heart punched the air out of his lungs.
He stopped at the hem of the leg hole, turned the shirt to find a dry area, and patted the front of her shorts. Then he lowered his arms.
“You’re not done yet.”
Wearing a tail of his shirt like a glove, he slipped his hand up her leg and inside her shorts. The fabric of the shirt quickly went damp. She felt slick and creamy. Nothing in there felt like panties.
“You’re just spreading it around.”
He took his hand out, found a dry section of shirt, wrapped it around his hand, and went back to work.
Sick with lust. Cramped, tight, burning.
Wiping at his mess. Feeling her. Her leg, and the shallow slanted valley where her leg joined her torso. If he moved his hand only a couple of inches toward the center…
Oh, man. Man! So close!
Don’t do it!
Don’t. Christ. Don’t. No.
He jerked his hand out. Tilting back his head, he looked up at Tanya.
“What do you say?” she asked.
“What do you say?”
“Thank you very much,” Jeremy said.
“Haw!” That came from Cowboy.
He stood up.
Tanya’s lips curled into a smile. “One o’clock tonight. Under the clown.”
“Does that mean I can come?”
“Yes, indeed.” Her pale blue eyes seemed a little mocking. “Cowboy, fill him in on the rules. And tell Liz to leave her cousin at home, or stay away herself.”
Monsters Among Us