Bumfuzzled Brothers present
I Like It Weird
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
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.
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.
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.
beat up and dumb, Edgar entered his apartment.
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
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.
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
leggo a me,” Edgar whimpered, struggling to free
his arm. “I’m fucking hurt.”
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?”
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.”
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?”
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?”
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.”
the fuck were you doing out there?”
was gonna score some weed. But the guy never
showed. So I had a few drinks and split.”
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?”
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.”
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?”
right, you’re absolutely right,” Edgar told his
brother. “I should have known better.”
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
are you doing?” asked Edgar, alarmed.
going to have a talk with that fuckin’ Carlo,”
replied Rutger menacingly.
Don’t do that! Just forget about it...”
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.”
Stop that. Don’t do anything stupid.”
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.
Stop,” Edgar said. “Carlo didn’t have anything
to do with this.”
stopped. “But I thought you said Carlo set up
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
the smoke and the crowd he saw them. Three women
in the back. Without a moment’s hesitation he
knew which one he wanted.
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.
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.
much?” Edgar inquired.
for suckey-suck,” she told him, grinning. “For
hundred I show you big good time.”
I do like big good times,” Edgar told her. “What’s
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.”
rolled her eyes. “Fine. You go outside and wait—I
come get you in one minute.”
did as Li Lei told him and exited the bar, waiting
on the sidewalk outside.
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
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.
you ready to go… or what?” Li Lei asked with
just enough moxy to make Edgar feel aroused.
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.
what do you think, Li Lei, one hour or two?”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lei turned her head around to face Edgar. “You
like?” she asked in a sweet, almost innocent
It’s very beautiful.”
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
Edgar agreed, unable to take his eyes off Li
Lei’s back. “Dragon style.”
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
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—”
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.
Bumfuzzled Brothers and the Art of Coping
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.”
can’t believe that fucking bitch,” Rutger swore
bitterly, shaking his head. “How bad did she
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.”
fucking bitch,” Rutger repeated. “Who does she
think she is?”
ain’t a lady. I can tell you that.”
sir. She sure ain’t.”
you know what the worst part about it is?” Edgar
asked his brother.
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.”
mean try again to fuck her, not try to fuck her
again. You never actually fucked her.”
know what I fuckin’ mean, smart ass.”
it!” Edgar exclaimed. “Is there anymore beer
go getchya one, bro.”
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.