Character Sketch by Neddal Ayad
My first conversation with Lilly was short. It started as the train pulled into the station and ended in the back seat of her car. When we were done, she climbed off me, ran her hand through her hair, surveyed the damage and gave what I thought at the time was a shy smile.

She was an artist. An artist in that she did art occasionally.  Mostly she affected the lifestyle. Openings, back-biting, slurry compliments... She was at her best stumbling through a gallery, glass of wine in hand, flirting and scowling. She did do a lot of photography. Mostly self-portraits. Mostly nude. One wall of her place was a shrine.  It was covered with prints; Lilly topless, a red flower in her hair and a riding crop between her teeth. Lilly on her back, her legs apart, the barrel of a gun nestled against her thigh.  Lilly bent over in front of a mirror, in black pantyhose and white shoes, the camera between her legs. Etc..., etc...
 She was prone to repeating herself, "My grandfather was in the Wehrmacht..." or "My grandmother was the most popular girl in her brothel in France..."  Pedigree meant a lot to her. She asked about my family. Was it true that my several-greats grandfather killed one of Napoleon's lieutenants? Yes. Over a woman, in a bar fight.  He cut the Frenchman's throat. He was caught and hanged. Or, she would lay her head on my shoulder, her dark hair falling in coils and ask about my great-grandfather, "Tell me the story, it's beautiful..." My great-grandfather, he went to catch a train and saw a beautiful woman with glittering green eyes and luminous blonde hair getting off a train. He proposed on the spot. Lilly would look at me with her wild green eyes: "He must have been such a romantic, your great-grandfather." He could be, but she was the first wife of three. A dark look then and, "You always spoil it." But she was his favourite.  He kept going back to her.

And this would bring on questions about Mona. Does this bother her?  I don't think so. Had we been fighting? No more than usual. Was she fucking someone else?  Yeah, the half-queer opportunist from her last film. Why didn't I care?  Why did she stay?  Then, teary-eyed: Did I really like the films? And I'd dodge the first two and say that movies about twink terrorists weren't my thing. A sneer, and, "I think she's a cunt" while slipping my hand between her legs.

This went on for months. And it was all right. One night I went by her place. She was unusually quiet. "I want you to help me with a new series."  She then disappeared into her room for about twenty minutes.  She came out wearing nothing but the black pantyhose. Her eyes were heavily made-up, black on black and she wore bright red lipstick.

"I want you to hit me. Hard. In the mouth. I want a bloody mouth."  She grabbed my hand and brushed it against her cheek. "Pretend, I'm Mona."  I pulled my hand back quick.  No, I'm not going to do that. "You'll fuck me thinking about her. Are you afraid?  Are you one of her fags? You're lost in her horrible little cunt." She spat the last. Jesus. I made to get up. She jumped on top of me.  I grabbed her shoulders and she slammed her chin into my mouth. My tooth went through my lip. She kissed me full on the mouth and sliced her lips against my teeth. Fucking hell what's wrong with you?

I pushed her off and her leg caught on the edge of the couch and she fell. She looked up at me and smiled a bloody smile. "Will you fuck me?" Thick gooey strands of bloody saliva ran down her chin and onto her chest. Her pantyhose were ripped along the legs and crotch. I stood up and as I moved towards the door I heard a shutter click.  I turned as she posed and preened. Again and again. And then when she was done, with her most vulpine look: "We both know that the devil is all soul."
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