I have linked this story to Rebel´s Notes Wicked Wednesday meme. It is a translation of my story in Dutch: ‘De Dode Sneeuwpop.‘ Reader´s advice: this story contains some cruel scenes and strong language and is longer (2900 words) than most Wicked Wednesday stories.
“Do you know me? I’m Alicia. I live in this city, just like you. Perhaps we have even met before. But I’m sure I have not told you my story, because my story is not meant for you. It is mine. My mother moved to the US when I was a year old and left me with my grandmother in San Jose, Costa Rica. I can still remember the heat in my grandmother’s house under the corrugated iron roofing, the thick air saturated by the stench of molten plastic from the burning rubbish heaps in the streets. I can still smell the scent of the charcoal that filled the yard when grandma was cooking. I remember all these things. But I do not remember my mother. No one has ever heard of her anymore. Sometimes I’m glad I cannot remember her. Therefore, I do not live in the past, I only live in the present, without memory, without regret, without expectations for tomorrow …
“”Look Alicia, when I shave the back of their scrotum, with just a little oil on the knife, you’ll hear this scraping noise,’ Svetlana says. She wears a gold signet ring on her right little finger. The jewel on that finger gives her the elegant, decadent look of a medieval princess. “Then you also really scare them, because of that sharp knife on their balls. You can see their reaction to the knife, when they suddenly arch their backs. Sometimes I really feel like slashing them off with just one stroke, just like that, ffffttttt …… hahaha.”
Alicia nods thoughtlessly. She looks at the joyless smile of Svetlana. She may well sympathize with her, but she does not say so. She has become increasingly worried about her. When they got to know each other Svetlana was a handsome college student who had her life well organized. She always arrived on time and had never had any problems with the customers or with the other girls. She now watches Svetlana putting two red tablets in her mouth and washing them down with a swig of whiskey. Then she starts staring into a void with her big brown eyes. Alicia follows her gaze.
She sees that the snow that fell in the afternoon still covers the street. The bell of the old church on the square in the Red Light District strikes 10 times. There are not many people around now. On Christmas Eve it’s never really crowded. The shoes of the men that walk around make scrunching footprints in the snow. A cold, thin layer of ice covers the saddles of the bicycles that are chained to the bridge railing. Ducks swim in a hole in the ice. Then the snow intensifies. The men disappear one by one from the square. Would they be coming back? Alicia hopes so. She could really use the money well. She must still pay off Ricardo …
“From the time my grandmother died when I was eleven, I lived on the street. I survived. How? I have not hidden. I have not fled. That’s all I want to say about it. Until I met Ricardo, I took care of myself. After that everything changed, of course.
“Alicia sees Svetlana opening her razorblade. She caresses the cutting edge with the tip of her left index finger, while muttering unintelligible words to herself. Alicia does not really know Svetlana very well. Although they share a small apartment together, they usually just talk about ordinary, everyday things. Alicia does not even know the real name of Svetlana. And she does not know her surname either, because they never get any mail in their small apartment. Wait, wait, you see? She’s doing it again: Alicia watches Svetlana making a rapid movement with the blade in her hand, as if she cuts through something. Usually it is nice to work with Svetlana. Yet, every now and then, she scares her. What would go through her mind?
A tall young man is walking outside. Suddenly he stops and looks at the window of Svetlana. He casts a short glance in the direction of Alicia, but then he chooses Svetlana. He takes a step forward to get a better view of her. He reads the printed note that she has stuck to the window:
Under these words, Svetlana has printed a Dutch and an English flag. Just like in the big department stores, potential customers can then quickly see which languages she speaks. However, she never prints the symbol of her own language, the Ukrainian flag,
Svetlana gets up and opens the door. The man stares into her brown eyes with the glassy look. Those eyes make him woozy, drawing him towards her.
“Hello,” he stammers, intimidated by her gaze.
“What is an erotic haircut?’
¨”All your hair. Everything off. Christmas Special Offer. Because is snow,” she says with an accent that makes him weak in the knees.
He enters and follows Svetlana up the narrow stairway. Alicia stares ever closer at the falling snow. The snowfall is now so heavy that the man’s footsteps will be gone in a few minutes. Svetlana comes down for a short while and takes another swig from the bottle. She does not look at Alicia anymore. Alicia watches her for a moment. Strange, tonight she looks whiter than usual, strangely pale, even for a redhead. She shakes her head. Things are not good with Svetlana. Her eyes shine like lifeless marbles and her reddish-brown freckles have become faded and yellowish.
It’s almost midnight, almost Christmas. The man is already more than two hours alone with Svetlana in the room on the upper floor. Alicia has become worried. She climbs the stairs and knocks on the door.
It remains silent on the other side of the door.
The sound of a chair being shoved. Alicia hears the irritated sigh of Svetlana.
The door opens. Svetlana gives her a questioning look. Behind Svetlana Alicia sees that the man is lying on the ground in a hogtie. His head is shaved and he is completely bald. He has a mouth gag and sobs softly with tears in his eyes.
“Jesus, Mother Mary, what a mess you´ve made!” Alicia exclaims. There are locks of hair scattered around everywhere, some sticking to the tiles on the floor. Must be that shaving oil that Svetlana is so keenly using.
“A mess! So much rubbish, ” says Alicia.
“I’ll clean it up.’
“”Yes, but …
“So what. I clean.”
“How’s he doing? “Alicia asks worried, looking at the man.
“Him quiet. Now look in his wallet for Christmas Special. Alicia, you read wallet now.”
“Alicia knows that Svetlana likes to do fear play with her clients. That is why they keep coming back to her.
“Ok, I´ll play along with that game again,” thinks Alicia.
She takes the wallet of the man and flips it open. There are five unused, new notes of 50 Euros in it.
“250 Euro”, she tells Svetlana.
“And further there?”
“Nothing more,” she says. “Nothing.”
“Ok. Take Christmas Special.”
“Take it now. He likes horny!”
“Alicia looks at the red-faced head of the gagged man. In his eyes she sees no horniness or lust, just fear and agony.
“Are you sure?” Alicia asks.
“What sure?” Says Svetlana, cleaning the sharp blade with a paper tissue.
“Are you sure that he really wants this?”
“If he not want, he likes! You not know of these things! Just grab the money! ” Svetlana says impatiently.
“Calm down, quiet,” says Alicia.
“She looks in the box with passes. A bank card, a public transport smartcard. And then she sees an ID. No wait, it is a badge of his work. Royal Military Police. Shit. She puts the badge back in the wallet, her heart pounding in her chest. This is not good. This is not good because Alicia does not want to think about the past anymore. She wants to live in the present.
“I am small in stature but strong. When I entered the Netherlands, Ricardo had arranged a tourist visa for me. I just did not have enough money with me. Just when I finally thought I was safe, I was picked out of the queue at passport control at Schiphol Airport. A hijo de puta polícia militar then raped me in the toilet. Never mind, I’m small but strong. I won´t hide, I will run no more … I always stand up again, in another place, under a different name ….”
Svetlana now squats down next to the man. She puts a little shaving oil on her folded-open blade. Scrape, scrape, scrape … the long black hairs stick to the oil on the knife and the pink skin of his scrotum comes vulnerably shining through. That skin is velvety, almost virgin in appearance. “Just feel this,” says Svetlana. Alicia presses two fingers gently in the soft, sensitive backside of his scrotum, which rebounces smoothly. She hears him groan. His cock is getting hard quickly. “You see that he is enjoying it?” says Svetlana. “Didn’t I tell you he would?”
“There comes no response to her question, because Alicia has not been listening. For a moment she is back in the past. She feels again how terrified she was: of him, of the handcuffs on his belt and above all of the dark gun in his holster. She had wanted to grab the pistol, but eventually she had not dared. Trembling with fear, she had let him have his way with her.
Alicia closes her eyes and crosses herself. When she looks up again, little yellow stars twinkle in her dark brown eyes. She takes a deep breath and says, as casual and relaxed as possible:
“Aren’t you going to do it?”
“That fffffttt …”
“Yeah? You mean ffffftttttt ……. his balls? “
” Yes! Cut his balls off! “, says Alicia emphatically.
“Yes …. I ……eh… his balls?”
“Cut that motherfucker’s balls off!”
“Cut, ffftttt … hahahahaha.”
“”Goddamn Svetlana, cut his balls off!!!!! Hadn’t you always wanted to do it? Now is your chance! Cut the fucking bastard his fucking balls off, I tell you! Cut his balls off! Jeez, must I do everything myself?
“Svetlana looks at Alicia with the expressionless face of a mannequin doll. She firmly grabs the scrotum of the man, pulling the balls slightly downwards. Alicia feels a tingling in her lower abdomen when she sees the terror in the eyes of the crying trooper. Svetlana has the knife in her left hand. Her eyes are still looking strange.
“Sveta, please sweetie,” begs Alicia. She caresses her gently in her neck. “Cut his balls off, ok? Then I still have a nice bottle for you downstairs.’
“Christmas Special Offer, very serious “… Svetlana lisps in a low voice.
“Feliz Navidad, hijo de puta!”
“Різдво …….. спеціальний …… “
Svetlana’s voice sounds flat and toneless. she pauses and looks at the pink skin of the scrotum. Then she cuts carefully, without any emotion, but with strength and commitment through the skin of the ball sack and slices off his balls. She holds them up triumphantly, with a faint and silent smile playing on her lips. The man is oddly silent.
“I think he has fainted.”
“Jesus, what a mess.”
“Fucking shit, what a mess.”
“We gotta get outta here.”
“And him? Where do we leave him?”
‘Fuck, look at all that blood!”
“Can´t you stop it?”
“Fucking hell. I think have to throw up.”
“Hand me his balls”
“Alicia wants to pull the balls out of Svetlana´s hands. First, she does not want to let go but eventually she gives them to Alicia.
“Wow. Felicidad eterna! I am so happy!”
“Me too. Me too!”
“They’re still warm!”
“Is he dead?”
“You take a look.”
“I still have to look.”
“Gross, he is alive.”
“Is he still alive? Serious?”
“Shit, he’s alive.”
“The fucking bastard is still alive!”
“Beat him to death!”
“They say that somewhere in Mexico on the smuggling route, along the side of the road to America, stands a tree. A bare dry tree without leaves. They say that the tree is hanging full with underwear of the women who were raped by the smugglers. One piece for every raped woman. They say it is the largest tree in the world. I’ve never seen that tree. I did not go to Mexico to be raped. Would my mother´s underwear also be hanging in that tree?”
Alicia picks up the baseball bat that Ricardo always keeps in reach in the corner of the hallway. “Svetlana! Away!,” warns Alicia. She lifts the baseball bat high above her head and swings it down with all her strength on the back of the trooper´s head. His skull cracks open and a red/whitish mixture of blood and brains splashes on the tiled floor.
“God dammit Alicia. Fuck.”
“God dammit, fucking shit.”
“Die, you fucking dickhead! Die! ” cries Alicia.
“Get his wallet”
“There’s nothing more in there, didn’t I tell you?’
“Oh yes, of course”
“We have to clean up here, ” says Alicia.
“Of course we can. These are tiles. I will clean those. You throw the sheets away. Fortunately, he was not lying on the bed.”
“No one will miss him. no one knows that he has been here.”
“What about the cameras?”
“Don’t you remember? The snow! Those are covered by snow. They haven’t recorded anything.”
“It has made me so horny.”
“What shall we do with him?”
“That black plastic foil in the storeroom.”
“I mean that stuff of those scat sessions of Mrs. B. That heavy foil is waterproof. It does not leak. We’ll wrap him in it like a meatball in microwave foil.
“That´s what we´ll do with him.”
“He can´t fit in that, can´t he?”
“Yes, he can. You just have to knot him differently now. Not in a hogtie but a ball tie. You’ve done that surely before? That´s what you must do. You are the rope specialist of the two of us, aren’t you? Well then!”
“Then we’ll throw him down the stairs and roll him into the canal. I´ll put some coke in his pocket, so it will look like some deal that went wrong.”
“The following hours Svetlana and Alicia work hard. They clean up the tiled floor. Svetlana ties the dead soldier with rope in a ball tie and wraps him in the black plastic foil. And then finally comes the big moment that they must try to get him out of the house. First, they throw him down the steep, narrow stairs. His corpse lands with a loud dull thud in the hallway below. But the strong rope and the knots of Svetlana hold. Then they roll the heavy ball to the front door.
“Do you see anybody out there?”
“No, it’s snowing way too hard.”
The door opens and Alicia and Svetlana roll the heavy ball over the snow-covered square. The fresh snow sticks to the plastic foil. There is no one outside. They have wrapped the corpse well, it does not leak blood. The two are being watched by the other women of the square and a curious Ghanaian woman steps outside.
“What are you guys doing?” she asks.
“We are making a snowman, says Alicia. Don’t you want to join us?
One by one the women leave their small studios, their jackets quickly wrapped around their scantily-clad bodies. Women from Nigeria, Bosnia and Colombia start to roll a big ball of snow for the torso of the snow man. Two Filipino girls roll a smaller ball for the head. And after they have put the torso on the large bottom part, the head is put on. Svetlana picks up a broken branch and sticks it as a nose in the head. Two beer caps serve as his eyes and a big pink dildo pricks like a thick cock straight ahead.
Svetlana takes the whiskey and the bottle goes around, so that no one feels the cold. Then the women join hands and form a closed circle around the dead snowman. One of them starts singing a Christmas song and hesitantly the women join in the singing, one by one, each in their own language. A little later, in the early morning, just before the sunrise and long before the thaw sets in, the sound of a dull splash is heard in the canal. The chatter of startled ducks bounces off the facades of the quiet houses; the last sound ever heard from the trooper.
Alicia and Svetlana are standing on the platform of the trainstation. With the money from the Christmas Special they have bought a ticket for the first train to the south. Svetlana still has that blank stare. But when the train leaves the station, Alicia takes Svetlana´s hand and just squeezes it gently, without looking at her. Svetlana closes her eyes and squeezes briefly back. She cracks her first smile in weeks. When the train leaves the outskirts of town she leans warmly against Alicia´s shoulder and falls asleep.
“I live as much as possible in the present, without memory of the past, without fear of the future. Yes, sometimes the past comes by, like it did tonight, but I always rise up again, in another spot, in another place, under a different name. And whatever happens… no one will ever see my underwear hanging next to that of my mother’s on the tree of a thousand tears.”
⒞ luckymanbooks 2016