I am napping, napping, napping,
Then all this clapping, clapping,
For five fat old white guys
Rapping, rapping, rapping
Outside the chamber door…


I’ve come abruptly awake from a very strange dream, but no stranger than the reality that greets my weak and weary eyes.

Bodies, naked, contorted, entwined are strewn about the room. Where the hell are Rod and his sister? I should never have let these people in. I don’t know them … well not all of them. I know Connie … Connie Pallas. She’s out cold, propped up against the Ottoman.

Poor Connie … overweight? Yeah, you could say that. Always gets dates, though. It’s her enormous boobs that attract them. They flop down to her belly like dead seal pups. And here the pups are out for all to see. And what the hell is that perched right between them?

Right there on the bust of Pallas. A fucking raven … who the hell brought that? Or did he just fly in and join the orgy?

“Hey, bub, who the hell are you; where’s your invitation?”


Holy shit! The thing talks.

“Cool. You got anything else to say? How’s your vocabulary?”

“Nevermore,” he said, and nothing more.

“Cripes, whoever trained you must have been the life of the party.”

Then I remembered, before all these people showed up with cases of absinthe and nepenthe, she had called me from her car.


“Hi, I’m sorry. We got lost.”

We? She said ‘we.’ She’s with somebody?

“But …”

“It’s awfully late, and we’re really lost. Maybe we should just forget about tonight.”

“Well, you could try to find your way.”

“Okay … but it’s so late. I’ll try.”

Yeah. Sure she will. She and whoever ‘we’ is. I’d rather she just tell me she isn’t coming … again … ever.

The ebony fowl is looking right into my eyes. I think he’s dropped a poop down Connie’s cleavage.

“So, you think we’ll ever hear again from our lost Lenore?”

“Nevermore,” said he, and nothing more.

“Yeah, you can say that again.”


“Okay, already.”

I stood with a little difficulty, rubbed my eyes and surveyed the scene again. They said they were friends of Rod; he better not be pissed that I let them in. Jesus, I didn’t think they were going to have an orgy. But here they are, passed out and jizz-drizzed.

I need to get some air, find some real liquor to rinse this poison out of my system.

I step over the bodies and make my way to the corridor. This house is enormous. I try to remember the way to the wine cellar. Rod called it the vault. He said his sister was down there when he left me about six hours ago.

Twists, turns, dead ends. Finally I recognize the slender door that opens to the stone steps that lead beneath the house.

The air is actually fresher down here. The dimly, but adequately lit path leads me to a heavy oaken door. I put my shoulder to it and push. It opens with a groan.

My eyes are met by an ethereal sight. A girl wearing a dress like a tattered shroud; the rush of air lifts the shreds of fabric so it appears as if she is clothed in wreaths of mist.

“Wha …? Holy shit!”

“Cripes!” she says. “You scared the shit out of me.”

“I scared you?”

“What? Did you think I was a ghost or something?”

“Well … for a second …” I can’t say anymore; she’s beautiful. I’m struck.

“Thank God you showed up,” she says.

“Huh? Are you Rod’s sister?”

“No, I’m Li-li.”

“Huh? Two lies in one?”

“No! I’m Ligeia. That name tends to scare guys away so my friends call me Li-li.”

“Uh-huh … well, have you seen Rod … or his sister?”

“Rod’s sister is a little weird … I mean, I love them both, but I think they’ve got some kind of … funny relationship.”

“Hmm, so what are you doing down here? Did you show up with that crowd that’s out cold and bare-assed upstairs?”

“I came with my girlfriend, Annabelle.”

“Is she the one who pulled up in the big Bentley?”

“Annabelle? Bentley? No way. She drives a gold bug.”

“Where the hell is she?”

“Probably upstairs. Alcohol makes her clothes fall off. I came downstairs before everything got crazy to see if they had something to drink besides that stuff they were swilling. I was hoping they had some Captain Morgan stashed in here. All I could find was this cask.”

I step around her and eye the small cask with a cherrywood spigot.

“Did you taste it?”

“No. Didn’t know what it was.”

I sniff the spigot. “It’s sherry … amontillado.”

I spy two dusty glasses on a ledge and wipe them off with my handkerchief. I pour some of the amontillado and offer it to her.

She sips. “Yech!”

“Don’t like it?”

“It taste like cough medicine.”

I laugh. “Yeah, it’s an acquired taste.”

“I wish they had some Captain.”

“How long have you been down here?” I’ve just begun to appreciate her garment, which offers multiple peeks of bare, creamy skin. Her hair is dark chestnut.

“Hours. The damned door closed behind me and I couldn’t get it to open again. I thought it would be my tomb … until you showed up.”

“What’s with the dress?”

“Annabelle said it was a costume party.”


“What are you doing here?” she asks.

“Like you, looking for something else to drink. I was supposed to housesit for Rod this weekend, but he disappeared after his sister and I haven’t seen him since around 5 o’clock. It’s got to be past midnight now.”

“I got a feeling you might not want to find Rod … or his sister.”


“Just a feeling.”

Then I just blurted it out. “You are really … beautiful.”

Color rushes to her alabaster cheeks. “Oh, well, thanks.”

“You wanna get out of here?”

“Love to. This place and those people are giving me the creeps. I have the keys to Annabelle’s car.”

“What about her?”

“Oh, she’ll hook up with someone.”

We are in the garden when the party/orgy revives. I have no idea what happened to Rod and his sister.

As Li-li and I drive away in Annabelle’s gold bug we hear the crowd singing “rocking down the house.”

“You know,” she says and winks. “Most guys are afraid of me.”

“Bet they think you’re too smart for them.”

“Yeah.” She says it like a cat purring.

“So, where are you taking me?”

She winks again, and licks her lips. Then amid a flitter and a flutter the raven flies in the window and perches on her arm.

“Demon,” she cries. “Where’ve you been? I thought I lost you.”

“You know this bird?”

She shrugs. “Yeah, he just flew into my life a year ago. Have no idea where he comes from. He talks, but he doesn’t say much.”

“Yeah, I found that out.”

To the raven I ask, “I got a feeling my lonely nights are over.”


“I was hoping you’d say that.”

Li-li laughs and squeezes my thigh.

And while her demon’s dreaming
I am scheming, scheming, scheming
To screw his mistress this evening
Until she’s screaming, screaming

© 2011 Robert Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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