"Happy" by Carol Demech


“… bottles of medicine, syringes, IV bags and medical equipment…” Picture © Charlotte Dingle

Happy Fantucci’s bedroom looked like a hospital dispensary. Next to her bed was a rolling cart filled with bottles of medicine, syringes, IV bags, and medical equipment. Two tall bookshelves held more bottles of medication and supplies. Happy sat on her bed with an IV bag attached to her arm. She was especially tired today. Each day, she had less and less energy. Each day, she knew that she was closer to death. She had survived years of living her life on the edge and she was about to tip over. Her greatest fear was that if there were a heaven, she’d never get there.

Waiting for the IV drip to finish, she closed her eyes and prayed. “I know there ain’t no God but in case there is one, I need to talk to you. I know that I done some bad things that I wished I hadn’t dome but I ain’t doin’ most them no more. I really need to get them protease inhibitors. If you let me get into the study, I swear I’ll do something good. I straighten out. I swear. I’ll only charge a thousand on them two stolen credit cards. then I’ll cut them up. I won’t use the stolen cell phone. No, I need that. I promise, I won’t get another stolen phone when this one gets cut off. Please if you can do it, I want to get into that study. I know I got some things to settle with you, some things to get off my chest.”

Big tears rolled down Happy Fantucci’s cheeks. She was scared. “Please don’t let me go to hell. I know I done bad things but I was fucked up. That fuckin’ prick Hector. He shouldn’t have never tried to fuck me over. Hector suck my dick. I ain’t gonna let you make me lose no more sleep. I gotta think this through.”

Jean called from the kitchen. “Hap, where are the papers for Dr. Berman?”

“Try the drawer next to the phone.”

Jean was on the kitchen telephone talking with Happy’s health insurance company. When Happy had a problem with a creditor or a health care provider, she called on Jean for help. Happy knew that Jean could always get them to cooperate because she used them big words. Happy got frustrated when she talked to bill collectors. She was two or three months over-due and they wanted their money immediately. Happy thought that they had a lot of fuckin’ nerve and would tell them to kiss her big fat ass in Times Square. “Hey Jean, bring me a glass of water when you’re done with them assholes and roll me a joint….I’m just kiddin’. I know you don’t smoke, but can you come in here? I want to talk to you about somethin’ important.”

Happy was glad that Jean was her friend. Jean made her laugh and didn’t give her “agita.” Jean was real smart but she never made Happy feel stupid the way most people did. When Happy had a serious problem she always went to Jean for help. Jean could always find a way to get happy out of a jam. Jean walked into the bedroom with a glass of water.

“Hey Jean,” Hap smiled, “I wudda let you have sex wid me if I wasn’t so tired.”

“Thanks, Hap, I’m honored,” smirked Jean.

Hap grinned, “Ya know, to tell ya the real truth, I was thinkin’ of lettin’ you be my lover if I hadn’t of met Chris.”

“Lucky Chris, I guess I blew my chance.”

Happy and Jean smiled at each other. Jean turned to go back into the kitchen.

“Jean, wait a minute, sit here on the bed next to me. I gotta tell ya somethin’ real serious.”

Tears welled up in Happy’s eyes. She stuttered with anguish in her voice. “I, uh, did, I did a bad thing. It was real bad.” Jean couldn’t imagine Happy telling her anything that could be worse than anything she already knew about her. Happy continued to speak in a soft, gentle voice that was unfamiliar to Jean.

“When I was seventeen, I was the toughest-assed butch that Brooklyn ever seen. Tell me Jean, how many dykes can say they was a pimp? I had four girls workin’ for me. It was when I was livin’ with Katherine and her kids. Me and Katherine was shootin’ dope and we always needed money, between the dope and the kids always wantin’ somethin’. Katherine said she would turn a trick for money and I knew this guy Skinny Hector, what a scum bag he was. A slimy, skinny-assed, low-life Puerto Rican. Real short, about five- foot -three, and he’d wear them Cuban heels to look taller. He was only 19 and he had seven kids, and he used to beat the shit out of his kids’ mothers. He had no respect for nobody. He’d mug old people and give them a beatin’.

"I threw the knife in the canal"

“I threw the knife in the canal”

“Anyway, he says, he could find me some johns. The rest was easy. Skinny Hector got the guys and I got the girls. Katherine and me was dealin’ and our house was like a shootin’ gallery. A lot of dykes used to come over to buy dope and get high. Only, they didn’t have no money sometimes, so I’d tell them they could get dope if they fucked some guy or gave him a blow job. They jumped at the chance to get free dope. After I had four girls workin’, I told Katherine, you ain’t doin’ this no more. I didn’t want her with those disgusting pigs and besides, her pussy was losing its sweetness. Then that prick Skinny Hector makes Katherine suck his dick for no money or nothin’.

“I wasn’t lettin’ Skinny Hector get away with’ dat. I went lookin’ for that motherfucker. About two in the mornin’ I seen him by them warehouses near the Dean Street canal, walkin’ by himself. I got outta my car and I told him to pay up or I’d kick his skinny, low-life Puerto Rican ass across the Brooklyn Bridge. He started yellin’ at me in spic talk. Called me a marcion, a faggot. Katherine told me that he had the smallest dick she ever seen. So I says to him, Yo, Hector, I hear you can’t get nobody to suck that small dick of yours, and I grabbed myself and told him to suck my big dyke dick. He got real mad and he grabbed me and tried throwin’ me on the ground. Skinny Hector and me was strugglin’ and he says he’s gonna kill me.

“I was wild. I wanted Hector to pay for what he did. We was fightin’ and then I, uh, uh, and then I had a knife in my hand and I caught his neck with it. It happened so fast. He started moanin’ and I pulled the knife out and then Skinny Hector was dead. His eyes was wide open starin’ at me, blood gushin’ all over. There was blood everywhere, on my hands, my clothes, everywhere. I was so scared. I threw the knife in the canal. My mind was racing. I didn’t know what to do. I jumped into the car, a big “61 Caddie Eldorado. It was a good thing Katherine made me get them plastic covers to protect the leather. There was blood all over me, even on my face.

“When I got to my building, I was scared that someone would see me. I went in real quiet, got to the elevator and it wouldn’t open. I started kickin’ the doors. Then this old Jew bastard and his Dago wife opens their apartment door. I yell at them, “What the fuck you lookin’ at? They knew to mind their own business and close the door.

“When I finally got to my apartment, I wasn’t thinkin’ straight. I got into the shower, shoes, clothes and all. I had to get rid of Skinny Hector’s blood. I kept scrubbin’ and scrubbin’. I wanted to scrub out my brain, my mind. I wanted to get rid of the blood, of Skinny Hector dead, his eyes starin’ at me. I scrubbed and scrubbed but I kept seein’ Skinny Hector starin’ at me.

“I ripped off my clothes and shoes and I got Brillo and scrubbed my body until I couldn’t scrub no more. I put the clothes and shoes in a bag and threw them down the garbage chute. I was shakin’ so bad. I had to stop seein’ those dead eyes lookin’ at me. I wanted to get off but I couldn’t get the spike into my arm, I shook so bad. I didn’t want to wake up Katherine to get me off, so I snorted the smack, and passed out. I never told nobody about Skinny Hector and nobody never asked.”

Jean was stunned. Happy had told her something that was worse than she could have imagined. Jean knew that Happy had done many awful things. She had been a pimp, a thief, a drug dealer, had beaten people, cut off a man’s ear but murder? Jean too shocked to speak, took a deep breath and said a quick prayer to herself. “God forgive her.” She put her arms around Happy and rocked her as she sobbed.



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Chloe Marshall

Chloe Marshall is a London-based freelance journalist writing for the Huffington Post, The Guardian, Diva and of course Biscuit. Chloe loves to write about gender, sexuality and feminism, with a healthy dose of travel and culture on the side. She's into chicks, chocolate and cats, in no particular order.

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