The Bumfuzzled Brothers present

I Like It Weird

Part 1
Blood and Bacon

Edgar Bumfuzzled was in pain. Real pain. Not in some pansy emotional way with hurt feelings or a broken heart or any of that abstract, bourgeois bullshit. He was in real, physical, make-ya-wanna-throw-up-and-cry pain.

Stumbling through the snowy dark city streets holding his broken, bleeding face with one hand and with the other out in front in case he should slip and fall, Edgar struggled to keep his balance. His head was absolutely throbbing and he was having trouble seeing—one eye was nearly swollen shut and he couldn’t get his depth perception straight, forcing him to take slow, tentative, steps as he went along. Like some village idiot or goddamn town drunk just staggering along trying to make it home.

Disgusting really.

Edgar walked like this, in the middle of the night through the cold wind and the snow, almost two miles, moaning and bleeding and stumbling the whole way, until he finally made it to the tiny basement apartment he shared with his brother Rutger. He got to the front door, ran his hands over his pockets feeling for keys he knew he didn’t have, then knocked on the door.

He waited a few moments and there was no answer. He knocked again, harder, and called out commandingly, “Rutger! Open up. It’s me.” He waited a few moments longer, leaning in close to the door, listening for any sign of movement from within. He heard nothing. “GODDAMMIT RUTGER, OPEN UP!” He put a hand on the doorknob, meaning to make a show of trying the door and having it fail, only to have the door click open, unlocked.

Feeling beat up and dumb, Edgar entered his apartment.

He closed the door and hit the light switch on the wall to find his older brother, Rutger, passed out on the couch in nothing but his undershorts and socks, several empty beer cans on the floor in his vicinity, a greasy pan next to more beer cans on the coffee table, and a plate resting precariously on his steadily rising and falling chest as he lay there snoring. The plate held the two pieces of bacon that Rutger apparently couldn’t finish before going lights out, and the whole of their small apartment smelled of bacon. Surveying the scene, Edgar was able to conjure images in his mind of the bacon and beer bacchanalia that must have surely taken place in this apartment: these images were not pretty, and we will spare you further descriptions of them here.

“RUTGER!” Edgar said loudly. Still nothing but snoring. He walked over to his slumbering brother and carefully reached for the plate of bacon atop Rutger’s bare, greasy chest. He barely had a hand on it when the snoring abruptly halted and quick hand reached out and grabbed his forearm.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?!?!?” was the surprisingly loud and cogent question from Rutger as he came to life. The plate slipped off his chest and fell loudly into the graveyard of empty beer cans next to the couch, sending them clattering about. The bacon, sadly, fell to the floor amid the mess.

“Goddammit leggo a me,” Edgar whimpered, struggling to free his arm. “I’m fucking hurt.”

Rutger released his brother and struggled for lucidity. He cleared his throat, then swung his legs around and sat up, crashing his bare feet into the mess of empty cans at the foot of the couch. “Jeezzuss!” he said, blinking up at Edgar who stood still hovering above him, that bleeding, swollen, and bruised face staring down at him. “You look hilarious. Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” Edgar said. “Mostly, I think.” He took off his coat and let it drop to the floor, then collapsed into a seat on the couch next to his mostly naked bother. “My head hurts. And my mouth.”

“What happened, jerk?”

Edgar didn’t answer immediately. They sat there a few moments, Rutger waiting patiently for some explanation. Finally, Edgar spoke up: “I got robbed. Do you have any cigarettes?”

“What do you mean you got robbed?” Rutger asked as he rose from the couch. “You got jumped? Where were you?” He walked over to the chair where he’d left his clothes sitting in a pile, and extracted his pack of cigarettes and lighter from his pants. He lit one for himself, then walked the pack over to Edgar and handed it to him along with the lighter. “So? What happened?”

Edgar lit his cigarette and took a long drag. “I got jumped,” he said as he was exhaling. “I was walking out of John’s Place over on 55th.”

“What the fuck were you doing out there?”

“I was gonna score some weed. But the guy never showed. So I had a few drinks and split.”

“Christ!” said Rutger. “Whaddya doing going all the way out there for fucking weed? You can’t get weed around here? What’s a matter with you?”

Edgar pondered a moment, smoking, wiping blood from his face and mouth with the sleeve of his shirt. “It was supposed to be some great, super-deal, some kinda wonder stuff. Carlo told me about it and set it up.”

“Carlo!” Rutger snorted. “You idiot! You shoulda known better that to get mixed up with that son of a bitch!” He started pacing angrily, stalking the small, cement-floored room in his socks and boxer shorts. “I can’t BELEIVE you’d fucking go all the way out to that goddamn armpit of the city based on something that fucking CARLO told you. What’s wrong with you? Why are you so goddamn dumb?”

“You’re right, you’re absolutely right,” Edgar told his brother. “I should have known better.”

“You’re goddamn right you should have known better.” Rutger shook his head. “Fucking Carlo. I’m gonna kill him.” He suddenly marched back to the chair where his clothes were and started putting on his pants.

“What are you doing?” asked Edgar, alarmed.

“I’m going to have a talk with that fuckin’ Carlo,” replied Rutger menacingly.

“What? Don’t do that! Just forget about it...”

“Forget about it? What are you talking about? What in the HELL kinda defeatist bullshit attitude is THAT?!?!? What’s wrong with you? Carlo can’t be allowed to get away this. You know that!” He paused to pull his shirt on over his head, then continued, “Fucking Carlo.”

“Listen. Stop that. Don’t do anything stupid.”

“DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID?!?!? I think YOU already took care of that department, jerk-off, I’m just tryin’ to clean up after YOU!” Rutger stepped into his shoes. “I AM going over there. PERIOD! End of story. I’m gonna tear his fucking arms off.” And with that he started to put on his coat.

“Rutger. Stop,” Edgar said. “Carlo didn’t have anything to do with this.”

Rutger stopped. “But I thought you said Carlo set up this deal?”

“There was no deal. That was all just bullshit,” said Edgar. “I didn’t want to tell you what really happened because it’s fucking embarrassing. But your overly dramatic little tirade here has left me no choice.”

Part 2
Dragon Style

Technically, John’s Place wasn’t a strip club. Technically. There wasn’t stripping going on there in the traditional sense. What John’s did have, however, was waitresses in underwear and high heels. Not only did these enterprising young women serve drinks, but they also sold raffle tickets to the bar’s clientele, and when a customer bought a large enough lot of tickets (five, generally) the grateful waitress would show her appreciation by sitting in that generous soul’s lap and wriggling about a bit. What these tickets were actually for, that is, what the winner of the raffle actually got, was never made clear. Nor was there ever a drawing. But the customers never questioned it: they weren’t buying tickets hoping to win anything more than a little attention from one of the scantily clad waitresses.

The patrons of John’s Place were generally a rough lot. South Side working guys at best, the more dominant crowd were unsavory, shady, rough-looking guys. A lot of Eastern European and Russian immigrant types hung out there, and while some of these gentlemen were just regular guys off the boat coming into a dive bar for a drink, that was an area of town known for a pretty significant Eastern European/Russian crime scene, and that element was well represented at John’s.

The crowd at John’s Place was predominantly male, as you can well imagine, But there were always a few women there, standing together in the back of the bar. Always, without fail. These women were working too.

John’s was a place where everyone knew you could get a hooker. Edgar occasionally visited John’s for this purpose, and it was with this in mind that he showed up that night.

Doing his best to ignore the other customers, Edgar ordered a whiskey from the bar to steady his nerves. He quickly downed the cheap bourbon he’d ordered and turned his attention to the back of the bar, where, in his experience, these ladies he sought could usually be found.

Through the smoke and the crowd he saw them. Three women in the back. Without a moment’s hesitation he knew which one he wanted.

Two of the women were your average, run-of-the-mill hookers. Edgar barely noticed them as all his attention was focused on the third. She was a petite Asian woman with her hair either dyed blond or hidden beneath a blond wig—Edgar couldn’t tell and he frankly didn’t care. She was the one. That was just exactly what he needed. Carefully, he made his way to the back of the bar, making sure not to bump into anyone or give anything but neutral looks as he went, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, until he reached her.

“Hey, you wanna date mistah?” she asked him right as he stepped near. “I give good time!” Her English was heavily accented and her voice high and shrill. She was wearing an extremely short, black leather-esque skirt with go-go boots and a tight sweater that showed off her arms and just a glimpse of her stomach. Up close Edgar noticed her arms and neck were heavily tattooed, with what he couldn’t quite make out: a serpent perhaps, wrapped around her tiny, taut body.

“How much?” Edgar inquired.

“Fifty for suckey-suck,” she told him, grinning. “For hundred I show you big good time.”

“Well I do like big good times,” Edgar told her. “What’s your name?”

“Li Lei.”

“Is it alright with you if we just go and get a room at the Preston, Li Lei?” Edgar asked. “My place is being renovated at the moment.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. You go outside and wait—I come get you in one minute.”

Edgar did as Li Lei told him and exited the bar, waiting on the sidewalk outside.

One of the big reasons the professional ladies were known to frequent John’s Place was the close proximity of the Preston Hotel, just a few doors up the street. An ugly, dirty, discreet place, the Preston was not the sort of establishment to attract the overnight crowd—it charged its “lodgers” what would be a grossly exorbitant rate of twenty dollars per hour, were it not for the fact that most of the Preston’s customers really only needed a room for about ten minutes anyway.

But that didn’t hold true for our dear Mr. Bumfuzzled, who was on the sidewalk wondering whether he should pay for two hours or just one when Li Lei joined him.

“So… you ready to go… or what?” Li Lei asked with just enough moxy to make Edgar feel aroused.

“Yes m’am.”

They made the short walk to the Preston and entered, both heading right up to the sliding window in the back where the manager sat, since they both knew the drill there.

“So what do you think, Li Lei, one hour or two?” Edgar asked.

Li Lei rolled her eyes again. Edgar turned to the manager, an older Russian man whom Edgar felt bore an uncanny and creepy resemblance to Santa Claus with his white hair and beard and his considerable girth, except that Edgar couldn’t remember ever seeing a rendering of Santa in a greasy, stained wife-beater undershirt. “One hour please,” he said meekly, handing the pimp Santa Claus imposter his twenty-dollar bill over the counter. Santa gave him a blank look, took his twenty, and slid a room key back across. Edgar took the key silently off the counter and examined it: Room 211. “It’s this way,” he said ushering Li Lei toward the stairs.

They made their way to the room, passing by a series of closed doors. Edgar couldn’t help but imagine what tawdry, perverse activities were going on behind those doors, and he couldn’t help imagining what he was about to do with Li Lei. Finally they stopped, Edgar unlocked their closed door, and they both entered.

Once Edgar hit the switch on the wall lighting the overhead lamp, they found the shabbily appointed, dingy little room they both expected. An unmade twin bed, little more than a cot, sat in one corner of the room. The only other furniture in the room was a small, beat-up nightstand next to the bed, upon which sat an old green metal table lamp with a cracked shade.

Edgar closed the door and took off his coat. He fished a hundred dollars from his pocket and handed it to Li Lei, who accepted it without a word. As she took the money Edgar couldn’t help but notice once again the serpent-like tattoos on the back of her arms. “So, what’s that tattoo you’ve got there, Li Lei?” he asked.

She smiled. “I show you. You gonna like.” And with that she turned around, her back facing Edgar. Then she took her shirt off over her head, exposing her bare back.

On Li Lei’s back, neck, and arms was inked one of the most intricate tattoos Edgar had ever seen on anyone, prostitutes and professional athletes included. It was an overhead view of an enormous, black, Chinese dragon. Its forked tongue ran up the back of Li Lei’s neck; its head, smoke coming from its nostrils, was between her shoulder blades. The tattoo ran the length of her back to her waist, where her black leather-esque skirt must have covered the dragon’s tail.

Li Lei turned her head around to face Edgar. “You like?” she asked in a sweet, almost innocent voice.

“Yes. It’s very beautiful.”

“Instead of doggy-style we fuck dragon-style, eh?” she said, amused, the innocence gone from her tone. It was then that Edgar realized the true effect of this tattoo: that when you screwed this little hooker from behind, with her on all fours, the tattoo would make it look like you were screwing a dragon.

“Yeah,” Edgar agreed, unable to take his eyes off Li Lei’s back. “Dragon style.”

Suddenly Li Lei turned around and faced him, naked from the waist up. “Tell Li Lei how you like it, hey baby?” she asked Edgar softly, trying to get the ball rolling (so to speak) as she walked toward him.

Edgar thought a moment. “Well, I ain’t gonna lie to you Li Lei. I like it weird.” Edgar sat down on the bed and started undressing while he continued to speak. “Enthusiastic and energetic without being overdramatic. Hot and sweaty. Dirty. I want you to yell at me and tell me how disgusting I am. I want you to boss me around like a drill sergeant. I want you to hit me a little bit and—”

Suddenly it felt as if one side of Edgar’s head exploded. He fell backwards on the bed and looked up to see Li Lei holding the green metal lamp from the nightstand in both hands, standing over him topless. She had smacked him upside the head with the lamp. He was too dazed by the blow and stunned by the sheer surprise of it to react before the second blow came down upon him. She swung it over her head with both hands and brought it down soundly on Edgar’s face.

Finally
The Bumfuzzled Brothers and the Art of Coping

“So I woke up, lying there on the bed bleeding.” Edgar said. “It took me a minute to realize what had happened. I put on my clothes, discovered she’d taken everything from my pockets—wallet, keys, cigarettes—so I just walked back here.”

“I can’t believe that fucking bitch,” Rutger swore bitterly, shaking his head. “How bad did she getchya?”

Edgar considered for a moment. “She got me pretty good. Cut up my head and face some. My mouth’s still bleedin’. I think she fucking broke a tooth too. And my ears are still ringin’. Probably got a concussion or something.”

“That fucking bitch,” Rutger repeated. “Who does she think she is?”

“She ain’t a lady. I can tell you that.”

“No sir. She sure ain’t.”

“And you know what the worst part about it is?” Edgar asked his brother.

“What?”

“I still wanna fuck her. One hundred percent. That goddamn dragon tattoo was just so sexy, man. I can’t stop thinkin’ about it. If I saw her tomorrow I’d try to fuck her again.”

“You mean try again to fuck her, not try to fuck her again. You never actually fucked her.”

“You know what I fuckin’ mean, smart ass.”

“Yeah. I guess.”

“Fuck it!” Edgar exclaimed. “Is there anymore beer left?”

“I’ll go getchya one, bro.”

As Rutger went to retrieve his brother a beer Edgar sat patiently on the couch, surveying the room. Then, slowly, he bent forward, reached out with his hand into the mess of empty beer cans, and picked up a piece of bacon off the floor.


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Copyright© 2003 by The Bumfuzzled Brothers.

Image: Asami Yuu.


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