May Guest Writer - Matthew C. Funk.

This months Guest Writer needs very little introduction.  His work has appeared in almost every crime/pulp e-zine on the net.  If you've never come across his stories before then you really must be surfing the e-zine circuit with your eyes closed.

He's a fine writer with great stories to tell.  Without further ado.....

Not Like Other People by Matthew C. Funk.

It didn’t take her corpse to prove it. They always knew they weren’t like other people.

Ken knew it from the moment he spotted Sherry. He spotted her, hair a blond fire atop her head, giggling with her glancing girlfriends at Carraba’s. He sidled over in his off-the-rack suit and set eyes on her that shone with want.

She looked back like she had been waiting to be looked at like that her whole life. That told him all he needed to know.

It was the other things too, shared over round upon round of appletinis. The way her eyes kept diving down as if seeking a table to hide under. The upturn of her head, inviting his hand to her neck. The dare in her smile and the white piping of scars on her arms.

Sherry wasn’t like anyone Ken had met.

#

Sherry spent the following work week playing Ken over in her mind like she had memorized her multiplication tables: The majestic set of his shoulders. Those butterfly-jar eyes. The lips that would bend just a little, enough to promise a joke that could laugh away the world’s troubles.

Ken made it easy to remember him. Sherry kept the tulips he sent to her ash-gray cubicle until they had browned to the stems. She snuck off to take his calls somewhere she could whisper back the naughty things he told her to say.

When he called on her for a date, it was in person and with symphony tickets in hand.

Sherry went to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame in a poodle skirt and rhinestone-tipped sunglasses Ken bought her special. When the director of IT passed Sherry over for a promotion, Ken took her clubbing and they washed away the day in a three-day binge of mimosas, Ecstasy and rave dancing.

Every day, he made his love for her loud enough for all to hear. The real special occasions, he snuck up on her with.

Their first anniversary, her crème brulee was served with his house key on the side.

Of course she moved in right away. Ken wasn’t like other people

#

Ken used loose knots the first time he tied Sherry to their cherry-wood bed. He was only rough enough to leave welcome bruises. He slapped her places that tingled nicely after.

Sherry started taking a long time cleaning the house, getting everything gleaming just right. She lingered, wiping off Windex, looking at the people passing on the other side of the glass—the mothers and kids, the gangs of boys, the old men. It was like looking onto another planet, a bleak and clumsy place, far away from her world with Ken where she woke to mornings with rose petals on the bed, spent days keeping surfaces immaculate, ended her nights marked with his fingertips and flesh.

When Ken sat her on his lap with his hand dug into hers, scanning through pictures of naked women, Sherry’s eyes looked just like his.

She looked on the porn models like they were a different species.

Day after day, they’d look as he touched her and whispered things. Ken watched her stare sometimes stray to the sanctuary of their shag carpet. The blush never left her cheek and her hand only held his neck tighter.

#

Sherry got so tired of answering the phone after her holidays with Ken that she would smile every time after watching it ring to voicemail. It was always the same call no matter who was on the line.

Her parents, shuffling through boring details of their lives until getting to the bottom line—that maybe she was spending too much time with Ken. Her friends or co-workers, asking her out to half-price potato skins or concerts where people yelled loud to convince themselves they were excited.

It was just like Ken said: Those people didn’t know what time well spent was. They’d never been truly excited in their lives. They were just other people.

Late nights driving Kingsbury Run in Ken’s leased Lexus—their Glamour Runs—now that was exciting. He would point out the shivering teens in their layer-cake makeup. Hand inside her thigh, he’d tear those girls up with whispers about too-skinny tits, bony asses, bulldog faces.

It made Sherry feel superior and sick, sad and special, set-apart by wickedness and by the diamond sparkle of the Lexus’ glass.

Sherry started whispering back on the Glamour Runs. It made Ken’s grin wider. It made his eyes stick to her, all bright gravity. It made him do things to her that had never been done before, even there on the leather of the passenger seat.

Sometimes, she’d feel bad. Not for the girls on Kingsbury. Never for them. They stole seconds of Ken’s attention; they deserved any misery they got.

Sherry would feel bad that she was delighting in their misery just to be closer to his delight. Ken could always tell, though. He would answer with a hand around her neck, a fresh-cut rose on her bathroom counter, and words whispered in her ear after a climax left her melted.

They weren’t like other people, Ken would tell her.

They were rock stars. They were gods. They got what life was about.

Who was she to argue?

#

Ken knew Sherry wouldn’t argue when he brought the redhead home from Kingsbury. She didn’t smile at the sniffling girl in her fur-trimmed plastic jacket. Her eyes were only on him.

Sure, Sherry grimaced when Ken cuffed the girl to their bed with the same metal that belonged on her wrists. She hugged herself when he took out the knife and cut the girl’s underwear away. She was glaring every time he looked back at her with his hands on the hooker’s skin.

After the girl’s screams were gagged and Ken’s hands were back on his fiancée, Sherry softened. She watched him with eyes that wanted to be looked at. As ever, he knew just what to whisper:

He wanted to watch her do things to the girl.

He did. Sherry put on a show for him, as precise about displaying her cruelty and her glee and her lust as she was about keeping the countertops shining. She made herself a mirror for his desire, and he knew it, and he showed his delight.

Ken wasn’t so delighted when he came back from his shower to find Sherry had strangled the girl with her silk scarf.

When he was done with Sherry, she set her bruised cheek to his thigh and her knees tucked tighter about his feet. His anger exhausted, Ken put his hand about her head. Sherry smiled up with blood between her teeth and told him just what he needed to hear.

They wouldn’t get caught. They could do a dozen more girls and it wouldn’t change anything. They had each other forever now.

They weren’t like other people.

Bio:  Matthew C. Funk is a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He is the editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily, and a writer for FangirlTastic and Spinetingler Magazine. M. C. Funk's work features at numerous sites online and in print with Needle Magazine, Howl, 6S and Crimefactory. He is represented by Stacia J. N. Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

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