Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

News & Features » June 2014 » “Stabs in the Dark” by Tammi Browne-Bannister

“Stabs in the Dark” by Tammi Browne-Bannister

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

This week, we’ll travel to Barbados with Tammi Browne-Bannister, whose protagonist finds himself in an uncomfortable situation. Next week, join Andrew Jetarski in Santa Monica for the story of a Boston transplant who never misses a California sunset.

Tammi Browne-BannisterStabs in the Dark
by Tammi Browne-Bannister
Garrison Savannah, Barbados

Late one afternoon, Hazel and I were strolling around the Garrison Savannah, when a little voice called out my name: “Fernando.” When I saw who it was, I was mortified. She introduced herself to Hazel as Rachel Jack. I knew her only as Titty. To know her identity went against all philosophy.

I tried to avert my eyes from staring at her voluptuous chest, which bounced around in her bikini top. “I’m Hazel, Fernando’s wife.” Titty gave my wife a feeble handshake. Hazel glanced at me to see if I saw the reception. By this time I was enamored with the gap between Titty’s thighs. Hazel cleared her throat. Titty caught Hazel’s cue, crossed her legs, and displayed a wicked grin filled with teeth and gums much like the horses at the stables here.

“I haven’t seen you around here lately.”

“I don’t ride anymore.”

“Why not?” She pouted.

“I’m retired.”

Titty shot Hazel a disapproving look. “What did you do with your horse?” She said to me.

“He’s at the stables. I’m retired from professional racing, but I’ll train another equestrian to ride him.”

“Well, it’s nice to see you again. I’m going home from Pebbles Beach. You must look me up sometime, please.”

Titty turned to leave, swinging her hips like a pendulum. There was something about a woman’s walk that made you relive the sex. Seeing her again stirred up a longing inside me. Hazel and I continued with our stroll, but my ears were in tune to Titty’s flip-flops, which ticked in the distance like a metronome.

Hazel couldn’t dismiss the encounter, and a barrage of questions ensued. I entertained them all without letting on I was a patron of Titty’s bush hill.

I paid Titty a visit at the Savannah that night. The rank horse piss blew downwind and masked the scent of anything pleasant. Titty stood under a yellow flamboyant tree wearing a broad smile on her face, as if she knew I would come.

“What gave you the right to embarrass me like that?”

“I’ve been a naughty girl.” She dropped her head like a child.

“You. Stupid. Whore. Are you trying to destroy my marriage?”

“I miss you.” She squeezed her legs together.

“Show me how much you missed me.”

Titty hiked her skirt above her hips. She wasn’t wearing any panties and I found myself rise. There was no merry thrusting but violent ramming, jamming her into the trunk of the tree.

My thoughts were consumed by the things that could’ve gone wrong, the phoniness of it all, and I drove myself into her like a nail. She moaned with pleasure. I withdrew, dragged her by the hair through the gates into a vacant stable.

She stumbled onto the dirt floor and groaned from the pain. Climbing on top, I wrapped my hands around her neck and drilled my iron into her. Those first harrowing screams were what I needed to hear. She knew the protocol, knew how to walk the line, knew that in her occupation you went incognito; that you needed to be detached from your customers; that she was a cunt and I was her dollar bill. Why she chose to cross the line was beyond me.

I intended to demand from her the hurt and humiliation that was served earlier on in the day, and only her screams would compensate. My hands gripped her neck tighter and tighter, wringing every time I reached closer and closer to climax.

Her eyes fluttered. Titty struggled to free herself from under me. But I couldn’t stop riding her in the moonlight, not until I fucked some discipline into her.

Her wide-set eyes peered into my soul. It was as if she was appealing to the sensitivity I’d lost earlier that day when my mind told me to screw the living daylights out of her for what she had done. The sincerity on her face made me believe she would never mess with me again.

But it was a ghost expression of flight. She became silent and still. I dismounted. The moon shone upon her face. Mascara tears stained her cheeks. Her slicked-back hair stuck out everywhere and her cherry-tinged lipstick smeared her face.

Titty stiffened out, lifeless, with one of her arms stretched out, as if she expected compensation. I looked away at the moon. My rage amplified because he grinned at me as if I was the cunt.

***

TAMMI BROWNE-BANNISTER was born in Antigua. She lives in Barbados with her family. Her stories have been anthologised by NIFCA ArtETC Winning Words, POTBAKE Productions and Senseisha: Memoirs of the Caribbean Woman and have been published by online journals: MOKO Magazine and will be forthcoming in POUI, Cavehill Journal of Creative Writing.

***

Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Jun 16, 2014

Category: Mondays Are Murder | Tags: , , , , , ,



Featured: Music/Popular Culture/Art