So … I mashed up Twilight and Fight Club.
It my favorite thing I have ever written.
Hadley Hemingway helped me dream up this hot mess, and then fixed it all pretty for me. I owe her the world.
Warnings: Sex, violence, drug use, bad language, explosives - you name it, it is in here.
Mature audiences only, please.
Give me lust, baby.
Give me malice.
Give me detached existentialist ennui.
Give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism.
-Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
I make napalm and blow up my house.
Don't ask. I don't even remember doing it, but what is left of the bathtub looks like it's been through an atomic explosion. I have a receipt in my pocket for enough cat litter to supply an animal shelter and there are five empty fuel tanks in the back of my car.
More than enough of both to gut a house.
More than enough to blast my Ethan Allen couch clear across the street and litter tiny shards of my dishes across the lawn. More than enough to sink slivers of my coffee table into the porch railings and launch my Henkle Harris dining room set high enough that half of it landed in the trees.
I tell the police that it was the pilot light, the temperamental flame that regularly blows out and fills the house with gas all day long while I'm at work. The refrigerator must have kicked on.
I guess these things just happen.
They don't believe me.
This is how I meet Masen.
Every visit to this place is predictable. Same rotten, pissing drunks. Same crusted, catcalling girls. Same dismal fluorescent lighting that gives everything hepatitis. They toss me into a cell with another guy and my one-free-phone-call has been wasted on my good-for-nothing lawyer. It's probably best that I never sleep anyway, because I sure didn't plan on doing any of that here.
"Hey man." A guy slouched against the wall nods at me. "Whatcha' in for?"
"I think I blew up my house." All the hair on my arms is singed and the back of my throat tastes like the tailpipe of a shitty old car.
"You think?" he laughs. "That's the kind of thing you probably know for sure, or not."
"I don't remember. I haven't been sleeping and I have this problem."
"A girl," he smirks and winks at me like I have her name carved across my forehead. A flashing neon sign.
My doctor is a fuckwad. Right up there with my good-for-nothing-lawyer.
I beg him for pills. Justify them with endless nights spent staring at the walls and torturous days spent trying to decide if I was a hologram. Most days, everything else is a hologram.
Life, as seen through a funhouse mirror.
I was desperate. I sit in his shitty little office and my mouth waters for little white pills. Throat burns for pale, pastel blue. The blood-stained red of lipstick. 200 mg, 400 mg. Any dosage, any fucking color. I tell him that it's impacting my job, my sex life, even though both are basically shit and none of that is from the insomnia.
He tells me to get a grip.
"You should come back tomorrow night. There's a support group for insomniacs, they might be able to talk some sense into you." He hands me a pamphlet and leaves, the giant ass for brains with his squeaky orthopedic shoes and his cheap comb-over.
I throw the pamphlet in his trash can, but show up anyway.
The bottom level of the hospital reminds me of jail. Concrete floors stinking with bleach. Watered down coffee and doors that lock from only the outside. More of that hepatitis lighting. I join the little huddle of chairs in the center of a great big empty room with six other people who all look like ghosts. Pallid and practically see through.
Holograms. All of them.
I write a random name on my name tag, just to throw them off the scent.
I'm not signing up for this.
Emmett, the big cream puff, hugs me and tells me to cry.
I didn't sign up for this.
Emmett used to be a model. Shoes, socks, underwear, you name it. Jack of all trades. Family themed shoots for major label catalogues before skipping out early to film bondage porn. The high life, until the insomnia hit. Looking like a ghost doesn't go over well in the modeling business.
Before he knew it, he was popping any pill he could get his hand on just to sleep.
"I lost my jobs. My wife. She took the kids. We don't talk," Emmett cries into my hair, crushing me against his chest. He's taken up lifting weights to tire himself out and he looks like a steroid junkie. Grotesquely muscled and laced with throbbing veins. "I can only sleep after I've heard my muscles tear."
When I pull away, there's a blurry wet stain of my face on the front of his shirt and my eyes are burning.
I sleep like a fucking baby.
Like I haven't slept in years and I go back to that ugly basement to cry on Emmett every time I feel myself slipping. Write that same random name on my name tag. Drink their shitty coffee and listen to others complain about the miseries of the sleepless.
Deflect every time they ask me to join in. I didn't sign up for this. I'm not here to share.
I'm here to fucking cry.
Everything is great.
Until she shows up and ruins it all.
Bella Fucking Swan.
The little liar. The heartless fake.
"She can't sleep either," Emmett - the fucking cream puff - jerks his thumb at her and she smirks at me.
Yeah fucking right. That girl is such bullshit. She probably forces herself to stay awake and tells you she does it for her 'art.' She probably paints those baggy eyes on every morning and drinks way too much coffee. Her bones stick out of her face like her skull is made of sugar and her skin is the color of watered-down strong brew.
But her eyes are bright and her mouth doesn't sag the way everyone else's does.
She can sleep. I know it.
She stares at me from across the circle, chewing off her nails for thirty two minutes. Gets to me before Emmett does when we split for one-on-ones. Prances right over and rubs up against me like sandpaper. Smiles all pretty and throws her arms around my neck.
I choke down the shuddering urge to recoil.
She licks her lips and I imagine her naked. I can't help it. Underneath the too-tight, too-much-mess of her clothing, there's gotta be a decent pair of tits. Her pussy probably tastes like burnt butterscotch and I bet she's the kind of girl who'll just as soon rip your hair out as kiss you when she cums.
I know she's the kind that falls asleep afterward.
"I'm on to you," I tell her.
"Oh, really?" Bella presses right up against me and breathes into my mouth. Her eyes are sunken deep into bruised rose shadows and she blinks five times while I tell her that she doesn't need this. She is vacationing in the mouthwatering tragedy of other people's pain for the pure daytripper excitement, like a kid in a fucking amusement park.
"A tourist, that's what you are." I push her away, trying to put some fucking space between us, but she's impossible to move. Bella bats her eyes and her mouth curls up at the side.
"Spot on, Sherlock," she purrs. "I'm just here for the next cheap thrill. And the coffee might be terrible, but it's free." She presses her face to my chest and huffs up a sham of a sob, a badly-drawn reproduction of the tears and the snot and the guilt they say we're supposed to be letting go of.
I don't cry.
I can't cry.
Instead, I let her dance me all around that room like we're royalty at some high school prom. I barely resist the urge to pull her into a dark corner to give her a hard and thorough fucking. That or knock that goddamn smirk off her face.
This isn't love at first sight.
This is resentment at first glance.
I go home that night and don't fucking sleep at all.
I jack off twice just thinking about her.
One sleepless week later, instead of going to the hospital, I blow up my house.
"I want to meet this girl." Cell mate has greasy wild hair and sunken green eyes, wickedly bloodshot, so he must be flying cloud-level on something really good.
"No, you don't," I huff bitterly. "That girl is poison. Besides, I don't think I'm getting out of here for a while."
After all, I did supposedly blow up my house.
"I don't know . . . we might get out sooner than you think," he says slyly, as though he's in on a secret I'm not. The guy in the cell next door is eyeing us and I'm pretty sure my roommate must be crazy. I don't ask him what he's in for. From the looks of it, probably drugs.
"I don't even know you."
He holds out his hand, skin smudged, dirt around his nails. "Masen."
I don't tell him my last name either.
He springs us both in less than an hour.
Bats his eyes at the girl behind the desk and promises to fuck her later if she'll just unlock the cell doors for him. She's too young to be here, probably some copper's daughter working a summer desk job. This guy is so far out of her realm that she's punching numbers before she's even nodding yes.
"Best part about virgins?" Masen asks me as the girl rounds the desk. I shake my head and he winks at me. "They bleed."
I wait out front and smoke three cigarettes while he pounds her into the back wall of the closet where they keep all the confiscated drugs.
He comes out smelling like weed and vaginal fluid, wiping blood off his face.