“The Vanity” by Derrick Lafayette

Today, Lise Quintana and Matt Guerruckey explore “The Vanity” by Derrick Lafayette, submitted to Drunk Monkeys.

From the view
At the tip of a feather
Fallen from your left wing
I descended to earth

The four line poem ran circles through my mind, as I kept looking to the floor. Looking into the Ivory shag rug, an ocean of synthetic fabric. Treading in it, with the dead silent air that cradled the scent of cinnamon. I kept looking to the floor, even as I heard her champagne satin dress submit to gravity. I refused to look up. I wasn’t worthy. The tip of her finger landed at the top of my spine, and ran its way down my naked back. Ecstasy struck me first, followed by a shiver.

“Look at me,” she said.

A spark of daylight entered my semi-open right eye. Gleaming over the judging golden cross dangling from a half hammered in nail. Placed above her freshly painted vanilla bedroom window, overlooking the black BMW parked below. When my left eye followed suit, there was a multitude of pictures across a light green dresser. Snapshots of her evolution in beauty. Finally I beheld her, fully engulfed in the power of this sexual, alluring, creature. Not of this world measurements, a living picture of perfection. She held my face up, I could no longer disobey.

“Did you ever think this would happen…again? Do not be ashamed,” she declared.

“I dreamt it would, but you know how dreams can be.”

“This is real.”

She walked close and pressed her chest to mine. Her retroussé nose kissed my own. She carried the patina of a goddess. Face to face with the welcoming black hole of her pupils. I saw visions upon visions, nearly hallucinogenic, wrestling with myself to retrieve my soul back, control of my own heart. Losing form as her presence sucked me dry.

“Touch me,”

Palpitations met my chest, as my hand reintroduced itself to her warmth. Right before I shattered on the shores of passion, she licked my earlobe and whispered in it.

“Now…can you do me that favor?”

“Wh…whatever you need, I will do it.”

“It has to be done tonight.”

“Then it will be.”

I nearly blacked out when she allowed me entry.


The moon saw itself in the water
It didn’t like how it looked
So it caused a rift between itself and the ocean
Washing the ugly image clean

The stanza was quickly written in my notebook, and I removed myself from my work, glancing to the outside world. Road signs blurred from my view of the highway, sitting snug in the passenger seat, almost sunken inside the black BMW as she sped. Noon caught up to us, cascading its brilliance directly ahead. Elegant shades covering her merciless eyes, riding into the horizon on the hilly roadway. It was dead air silence again. She cracked her window, listening to the wind like it told her which way to go. I reclined into the vivid memories of her moans.

A mass of loose asphalt caught itself beneath the tires when she parked, brief clouds of gray were birthed. Followed by a waft of money that infiltrated the car, bills flapping by the weight of her thumb. She placed the stack on the middle console, lowered her shades, and pierced me with a stern look.

“You know what you have to do, right?”

The door slammed harder than I intended it to, and the glare of the canary storefront sign called my attention. I released the name out loud.

“Luke’s Gun Shop.”

My jeans felt tight containing the bundle of money, and with each step forward, the low sound of music reached me from the black BMW. She wanted to enjoy it without me. The jingle of the bell atop the door made me feel better. A gangly man in a frayed red and white trucker’s hat seemed to materialize before me. Halting me from further entry.

“You look like a man with a problem, and here at Luke’s, we gonna solve that problem. What’s your name and where you from?” the gangly man questioned.

“Chris Hutchinson from North Carolina,” I responded.

“Ok, Chris Hutchinson from North Carolina, you looking to buy a gun, test a gun, shoot a gun, get bullets for said gun? Let me know now, I’m Luke. And I’m low on time my friend. But I can tell by the look in your eyes what kind of gun you need.”

The bell atop the door sang again upon me exiting Luke’s Gun Shop. I had what I needed in a brown paper bag, rolled and clutched in my tightest grip. She lowered the music from inside the BMW when she noticed me. She respected me now. Even from the outskirts of the bag, I felt imbued with the power of its contents. My re-entry to the vehicle was met with a barrage of warm wet kisses. Her scarlet lipstick marked me, claiming me as hers. I responded with confidence, as if the embrace was deserved. I no longer looked down, I felt worthy. Maybe it was just the gun. Maybe without it I’d revert back to my normal self. Convinced she was molding me into a golem, using black magic that radiated from betwixt her legs.

“Do you love me?” she questioned, when the kissing stopped.

“With all my heart,” I responded obediently.

A man went fishing in a pond
Something strong hooked on his pole
When he reeled it in
He saw himself on the hook

The best poem I’ve ever written was soaring through my conscious, distracting me. The nerves in my foot caused unsolicited motion, and kept brushing against the golden silk tassels hanging from the expensive sofa. A twitch in my hand for every time an ice cube shifted in her Old Fashioned glass, nearly full of whiskey. A blanket of moonlight rested upon her, producing a mysterious blue hue. I glanced at her, adorned in a white baby doll dress taut on her frame, the ice glistening like diamonds. She sipped between the blinks, tapping her foot, staring at me from the kitchen. Bright headlights appeared from behind the thick mahogany front door. Two alarm beeps from the outside car, light footsteps accompanied by a shadow. I readied my fate, removing the safety. She would finally be mine. The sound of jingling keys nearly killed me. The anticipation. I had to use my free hand to settle my committed one.

Before he stepped on the Italian White marble polished floor, I emptied three in him. No words when the shadow looked forward and collapsed. A circle of silver rolled towards me like a pet to an owner, the shadow’s wedding band. She raised slow off the kitchen chair, tiptoed to the fallen body. Peered down into his face.

“He is still alive,” she whispered.

If sins hold weight, then all of mine gathered in my legs. Under such strong gravity, I took a long time approaching the door. Even longer when the blood began to spread on the marble. I let the gun dangle in my palm. Her soft hands caressed my traumatized face, calming me.

“Do as you’re told,” she commanded.

I reluctantly looked the fallen in the face, an acquiescent glare in his eyes. I gasped at the sight and nearly dropped the gun.

“You still want this don’t you?” the ultimatum hissed in the night air. Rolling off her Faustian tongue, rehearsed through crimson lips.

My elbow locked, barrel pointing in the right direction. I stared into the man’s face and saw myself. I saw my soul manifested into the resemblance of this victim. He was my future, he too felt unworthy, and he too did as he was told. We are the same, both flies snuggly captured in her web. Kin from another lifetime. I feared that if I touched him we’d merge into one being, and accepted my parallel doom. Bleeding out on the white marble, showcased by the pale moonlight. She sealed her dominance with a kiss to my forehead, and I removed his suffering with a flutter of my index. A beautiful suicide. When we meet again in eighth circle of Hell, maybe then I’ll say to him ‘The devil made me do it’.


You can listen to Derrick Lafayette’s 2 Bricks Podcast here!