Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
The Taco Bell was within walking distance from my house. Not too many people live beside a shopping center, but the rent was cheap. Every night I made the trip and every night I ordered the same thing; a burrito and a large drink. It was my excuse for a diet. I was always satisfied with it, because it cost less than three dollars, and that meant I could put more money away.
I have been saving all the money that I could for the last six years. I had one goal; that was to buy a wife. I didn't care where she came from or what she looked like. The important thing was that she would live with me and share my life. If I was lucky, she might even learn to like me. I never considered love as an option.
I always liked children and I always wanted to have my own. That was the only requirement that I was planning on putting on my application. The woman that I ended up with must be willing and able to have children.
I unwrapped my bean and beef burrito. My hands were enormous, gnarly, and rough. They were ideal for handling the hot, gushy delicacy that was my supper. I spent all day operating heavy equipment and even when I wore gloves, my mitts still looked like big chunks of meat at the end of the day. It was my job. I loved it and I got paid well.
Two tables across from me sat a boy who was about six years old. His family was all busy chatting and eating their Mexican delights, but he was just taking nibbles and staring at me. He watched as I lifted the monstrosity to my mouth and crunched down. Bean juice oozed out the side and ran down my chin. To him I was fascinating. I wiped off my chin and smiled at him. When he smiled back, I felt happy.
I finished my supper and walked toward the door. The boy never took his eyes off of me. I smiled again as I walked out. Children liked me, but adults, especially of the female gender, seemed to find me repulsive.
I glanced at my reflection in the windows, as I walked past the building. I was truly a sight. I stood well over six feet tall and my hair was in a burr cut. If it had been any shorter, I would have been bald. My face was broad and flat with a wide mouth. I was not the guy that girls fantasize about when they go to bed at night.
I finished high school and never had a date; not even for the prom. I guess it was partly my fault, because I never asked a girl to go out with me. I had been conditioned by the preconceived rejections that I constantly carried with me. It was sad but I was comfortable with it.
In two more years I would have enough to buy my wife. Tonight, I could sit by my computer and do some more shopping. I had enough now to get a girl from some of the places, but I was hoping that if I spent more I would get a better product. That was a sad way to think about a wife, but a guy like me didn't have many options.
It was only a five minute walk back to the house. It was a small, two-bedroom bungalow, that didn't look like much, but it came furnished and the utilities were cheap. The house had a kitchen, but I never used it. I didn't even own any dishes or kitchen equipment. I did have a refrigerator with cold drinks.
The back of the mall stores was empty and deserted at night. It was a little creepy, but sort of cool at the same time. Every once in a while, I would scare up a cat or loose dog when I passed through. Tonight it was a little different.
There were three of them and they seemed to be having a hell of a good time kicking the shit out of somebody on the ground. I didn't know if the guy deserved the beating or not, but I didn't like the odds. All I said when I walked towards them was "Hey!"
The three of them stopped and turned towards me. I got the distinct feeling that I had just screwed up big time. I was big, but I wasn't bad. I always avoided fights, but looking back there never were too many to avoid. Nobody messed with me, just because of my size and mean appearance.
These guys, however, were not impressed. I quickly decided that this was not the time to be a nice guy. The first one didn't get a chance. I swung at him with a straight-armed right, roundhouse. Surprisingly, he just fell to the ground. The other two got close enough to get a few punches in which didn't seem to phase me at all. I felt them, but there was no great pain or discomfort. I gave thug number two a backhand with the same right arm and then picked up the third guy and threw him into the side of a nearby dumpster.
The poor guy getting the crap kicked out of him was sitting up and watching. He didn't look too good, but he was still paying attention. I helped him to his feet and into the Mercedes parked in the middle of the alley. I never drove one before, but he had better get to a hospital.
It took about ten minutes to find an all night clinic. He never said a word, but just stared at me, with weasel eyes. I might have been ugly, but this guy was sleazy. His olive complexion glistened from the sweat and blood running down his face. One cheek seemed to be swelling up as well as his lower lip. His lips were thin and tight looking. I stayed with him just long enough to see that he was being taken care of, and then caught a cab back to my house. My first experience as a Good Samaritan ended up costing me fifteen bucks.
Four days later, I saw in the newspaper that three men had been found dead in the same alley. They had all been shot once in the back of the head. For some reason, I did not think that this was a coincidence.
While Taco Bell was my choice for supper, I always went to the Waffle House for breakfast. I was a creature of habit and had the same plate of pancakes and fried eggs every day. I never had to order, unless there was a new waitress. The girls would usually slip a piece of bacon or sausage on my plate, because they knew it would get them a good tip. It was a joke between us, and one of the few real interactions that I had with any people at all. I had once thought about possibly asking one of them to go out with me, but chickened out.
My life went back to normal for three months, and then it changed again. The weasel from the alley came back into my life.
"Mister Trent? Robert Trent?" He was standing on the front landing with a smile on his face. I guessed that he was trying to look pleasant, but it came across as sinister.
"Yeah. Most people call me Bobby."
"Can I come in? We need to talk for a few moments."
He wasn't alone. Behind him was a small, creepy, little Goth girl. She wasn't even five feet tall and looked sickly. I stepped aside and they both entered. He sat on the sofa and she stood beside him and slightly behind.
"You know who I am, don't you Bobby?"
"Yeah. You are the guy that I drove to the hospital a few months back."
"My name is Maurice. Maurice Franklin."
"What can I do for you Mister Franklin?"
"I need a favor Bobby. I have to go out of the county for a few years and I would like you to take care of Topaz for me."
"What is a Topaz?"
Maurice looked over his right shoulder and nodded. "This is Topaz. She is my favorite sub. I will be in Amsterdam for about seven years and I cannot trust leaving her with anybody else."
"You don't even know me. I only met you one time, and that was under some pretty unusual circumstances."
"I had you very carefully investigated and feel that Topaz will be safe with you."
"I don't think so."
"While I am gone, I will pay you two thousand dollars a month for her keep. All that I ask for you to do is to keep her safe."
"I have to work Mister Franklin. I can't watch her every minute. What will keep her from just wandering off when I am not at home?"
"She is a sub, Mister Trent. She will obey your every word. If you tell her to stay, she will stay and ask no questions."
He called me by my last name. I guess that was to emphasize what he was trying to say.
"You mean like a Stepford wife?"
"Not exactly, but close."
"What do you mean when you say that she will obey my every word?"
"Topaz will cook for you and clean your house. If it is your desire, she will also share your bed. She has been programmed since she was very young and cannot refuse anything."
"From you, maybe, but not from me."
"She will if I tell her to."
Mister Franklin and I talked for another half hour. Topaz stood quietly and did not speak or make any kind of expression for the entire time. Before leaving, he stood in front of the small girl and spoke quite clearly and emphatically.
"Mister Trent is your new master. You will do everything that he asks you to do without question. Do you understand me?"
"Yes." It was the first and only word out of her mouth.
As he left, I noticed a small bag sitting by the front door. I could only assume that it contained everything that she owned in the world. The only thing more pathetic was the girl herself.
I took her bag and started down the small hallway to the extra bedroom. She followed me like a puppy dog. When I showed her where the bathroom was, she gave me a small smile and immediately went in and started to pee. It was as if she had not gotten to use a bathroom all day. I assumed that when I showed it to her, she took it as permission to use it.
Mister Franklin left me with a check for two thousand dollars, but no phone number or contact address. It looked like I was committed.
There was no food in the house. In order to feed her I had to take her out with me. I had my lunch while I was at work, so that was a meal that she would have to miss. This was not going to work. I had to make some adjustments.
.... There is more of this story ...