Whorehopper, fiction by Liz Frazier

I ain’t nev­er seen the beat, her liv­ing up there like that. Her and Woody both.

They ain’t got no toi­let paper. No wash rags. The bed­spreads have got dog shit on them. I’m telling you, it’s a won­der they don’t end up with some kind of dis­ease liv­ing like that.”

You know Sue. Said she’s had every dis­ease in the book except for AIDS and the Clap. 

I called the Wel­fare on them, her lay­ing up there like that—stinking to high heav­ens. She ain’t had a bath—hell, she ain’t been out of that bed in over two years. Her hair’s so filthy you could wring out enough grease to fry a dozen eggs in it. Her fin­ger­nails are so long that when she goes to clean that colosto­my bag, they said poop gets up and under­neath of them, and she just lets it go. But, she lays right there, and Woodrow waits on her, hand and foot.”

She called me Roto-Root­er until I was near­ly twelve. 

She pre­ferred one to the oth­er, and sneaked me Lit­tle Deb­bies and can­dy bars when I wasn’t sup­posed to have them. 

I went up there to try and see if she’d let me clean her up, but that house smelled so bad that I couldn’t stay, and I had to get up and leave. I said, “Sue, let me cut your hair. I’ve brought you a whole bag of stuff here…” And, before I could fin­ish what I had to say, she said, “Thay ain’t no damn way under the sun that I’m cut­ting my hair. I promised Mom­my before she died that I wouldn’t cut it, and by God, I ain’t doing it. I keep my hair short on the top so’s I can run a wet wash rag over it when it needs it, by God, and that’s enough.”

Ain’t nev­er not too hot to trot. 

Ain’t nev­er not too hot to trot. 

So, I just left her alone. Lord, those dogs was up on the table, they was up on the sink, eat­ing out of the garbage cans, bark­ing and car­ry­ing on. She was clean­ing that colosto­my bag while I was there, and she had to smack them dogs away from it just so she could clean it. She don’t wash her face. Nev­er did. Still don’t. Just rubs more make-up on over top of it.”

She was a cage dancer at cock fights, 

But under this light, ain’t nobody beautiful. 

She bought her­self a mas­tur­bat­ing mon­key when she turned 55. 

Said some­body pawned it to her for some Lortabs. 

They’re putting her in a nurs­ing home, I reck­on. But she’s talked her­self into it. All these years of pre­tend­ing. She’s pre­tend­ed to be sick for so long, and she’s laid up there in that bed for so long, say­ing she can’t walk, she can’t walk, that now, she real­ly can’t walk. I don’t feel sor­ry for her none, nei­ther. When I called that woman at the Wel­fare office, they want­ed to know how I came to know about all of this, and I said, “Do I have to tell you?” And they said it would help them inves­ti­gate, so I told them that she’s my late husband’s sis­ter. She’s the only one of them left, and I just hate to see her lay­ing up there like that.”

The bot­tom dol­lar dropped out of a hat. 

That Wel­fare woman asked me what else did I know about the sit­u­a­tion. They’ll make her cut off that Jheri-curl when she gets in there. I told them that she was rent­ing a place for a lit­tle while, spend­ing all of her mon­ey on dope and cig­a­rettes for her and Woody, and when it came around to the time to pay the rent, she’d go and check her­self into the nut ward over at the hos­pi­tal for a few days at a time until time for her check to come in. She can’t man­age mon­ey. Can’t live on dope and cig­a­rettes and noth­ing else. I told them, I said, “She ain’t been right since her ex-hus­band divorced her. Said he was just tired of her. She was all the time com­plain­ing about one thing or the oth­er, act­ing like she was sick all the time. Her mom­my was lay­ing over there dying of can­cer, and she’d lay back there in that lit­tle bed­room act­ing like she was sick. When Goldy was dying, Woody done the same thing, too. Told that nurse to leave a lit­tle bit of that mor­phine in the nee­dle so he could have it when she was done. I swear on to goodness.”

We divide our­selves to chemicals. 

They’ll have to fumi­gate that place when they go up there and see what kind of con­di­tion they’ve been liv­ing in. I told her, though. I told her about them dogs—eighteen dogs in one lit­tle olé rinky dink two bed­room trailer—and I said, “I believe that nurs­ing home would be the best thing for Sue. She’d have peo­ple to wait on her, hand and foot, and she wouldn’t have to wor­ry about dogs eat­ing the shit out of her colosto­my bag, and she’d have to get off of all that dope she’s been on here late­ly. I said, "I real­ly believe it would do her some good.”

They want­ed to know if she had any oth­er fam­i­ly she could live with. I said, “I’ve got Me and Sarah to take care of right now. My husband’s just died not two months ago, and I just couldn’t do it.” Woodrow hain’t got much sense. Sue lays right there and uses them vibra­tors right in front of him, and he acts like it ain’t a thing in the world. Lin­da, that’s her daugh­ter that’s old­er than Woody, I asked her if she’d take her.  But she said she ain’t home long enough. She’s off get­ting coked up all the time. That’s what her prob­lem is. She don’t even take care of lit­tle Bo-Bo, and he’s got some girl knocked up now, they said. And, Sue hain’t got no boyfriends she can live with. Ain’t had but one that was worth any­thing. He divorced her about ten years ago. The one she had before last was… I believe it was “Ham­burg­er,” you know, Don­nie Robin­son. And, the one before that was “Fa-Fa” Fos­ter. He got put in the pen for rap­ing some­body. That last one, boy. I’ll tell you what. They called him “Bat­man.” He put on capes—I’m telling you the truth now—he’d put on capes and act like Bat­man and chase the ceil­ing fan with Sue’s old douche bags try­ing to stop it. I ain’t lying.  He wasn’t right, now, I’m telling you.” If you think about it, she ain’t right, nei­ther. You’d think she’d be glad to get out of that shit-hole after all she’s been through. She just lays right there and laughs like it ain’t a thing in the world. Lord, have mercy!”

She was always one of those bal­le­ri­na types who liked to whis­tle at boys. 

A brown on brown sand­pa­per dream 


In the pit of the stomach 

Lord says, you get what you give. She had that sex store down town there. You seen what hap­pened. They caught Lin­da for smok­ing dope in the bath­room. Police walked right in. She was walk­ing in high heels on some old codger’s back right there in the store. Said she was try­ing to get him to buy some­thing or oth­er. Any­how, she used to sit there on that barstool in the store all dyked up in them mini-skirts, the back of her hair teased, flirt­ing with them young fellers. The Lord puts you in your place. Ain’t gonna get to heav­en sell­ing them dil­dos and all that.”

But, Woody dress­es her. She tells him what she wants to wear, and he goes and gets it for her. Cleans her false teeth and every­thing. He used to wear Goldy’s bloomers out to the mail­box over in Bill King Hol­low, so I reck­on he knows what he’s doing.”

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. 

She stares and stares and stares. 

And waits.

A whore­hop­per, as if for a date. 

I don’t like to see nobody go into a nurs­ing home, but you know Woody ain’t going to get rid of them dogs. Shit. He’d put her on the street any-a-day before he’d do that. That’s what he moved up there on Hur­ri­cane for, just so he could keep them dogs.  Remem­ber?  They was that law­suit because six or sev­en of them attacked that lit­tle girl. It was all over the news­pa­pers and the T.V. a while back.  He was afraid they was gonna take them. Well, now he’s got all them dogs up there liv­ing in that lit­tle old trail­er with him and Sue. I ain’t nev­er seen the beat. The Lord’s gonna get them, you just wait.”

Metham­phet­a­mine flows through her like bad birthing water—heavy, brown, sedate. 

Ain’t nev­er not too hot to trot. 

Ain’t nev­er not too hot to trot. 


Liz Fra­zier is the Appalachi­an Dostoyevsky.

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