More Ms. Rhythm

(far more than anyone needs...)

She was ready but I was steady; in time I'd be dead, but today I'd strike, smite, bare teeth and bite. Ms. Rhythm was an ugly sore, a spot on the earth, a stain, a man-claiming harpy, a widow-making woman, face so bloody and white, this lethal demi-deity, this dark lady knight.

It was a narrow black alley, soot begrimed and foul, a howling mangy dog and cobras crawling in thick fog like gas-and-acid soup, a spot for deeds of ill and guile, a hole of rotten jive, Ms. Rhythm was here at home; both of us were here alone - but one would not leave alive.

Ms. Rhythm had eleven souls, a leash on death and more, she sold hot blood by the bucketful, was a trader in the gore; she minded men at markets, and took their spirits in her store. Her lies were sweet seduction, sexpot shapeliness, surrealism sublime, a crime in her thighs, eyes blank and swirling, voice like a screaming cannon, the water in her veins was salted ice, or toxic Satan's brine.

Ms. Rhythm, jealous, knew my mind, but its secrets were not hers to find, she mined its crevices in vain, striking out in shame, so eager to blame. Each devil's day she took vengeance on my body, ate my bones, broke my neck and crushed my spine. She laid me low long years ago - but I healed somehow each every time.

Bobby had trained me, said 'be good and seek food,' gave me speech, uncoiled a tongue and offered the precious rung of a silver ladder, to step above this Madame Adder, that snake and soul-stabber. Ms. Rhythm born of gutter-dust, mud on her face, a skin-sore waste of ugly foul must - if she was alive inside it was a lie; there could simply be no middle ground, it had to be my town, my sundown, my time to throw down.

My nerves were quick at last; I smiled sly and slow - I smiled, and she gasped.

A flickering knife and thrill of sweat, she looked me up and down the chest, ready to grab and plunge, rent me twain, feast on my fertile brains. I was set for something far from tame, the memory of her torment fomenting fear into rage resilient, my inner crystal twinkled, I had the grace of something greater, hastening me to this fulfilment.

I shook my head, my lips of sweat and salt, knees pressed and steady breathing, incanting upon heaven, ready for Ms. Rhythm's assault.

She lunged and was true, her iron blade near made me two, its edge in an arc kissing the skin atop my startled heart, it was a sally with intent to kill, her aim to make me glue; she was not delaying, she'd have butchered me 'fore the moment's through.

It was heaven spared me, a ghost delivered me, my body was dangerous music, minor chord, angry harmony, breathed with Bobby's wisdom, yearning decked in a platinum sword, earning this moment evermore.

I was full of piss, hand upon a knife, set to cry murder and make her goo for good. Rhythm deep inside, courage conjured to my hide, my mind-soul elided, disguise evaporated, penetration and elation, frustration crumbled - it was wrong where I was going, so I'd set it right tonight - I had her in my sights, it was going to end everything, this fistfight by the firelight...

(to be continued)

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