“Katie, this is a bad idea. I’m turning back,” I said, my sense of apprehension growing by the minute.
“No Kiva, keep driving. It’s around here somewhere.” Katie was always stubborn. I’d known her in high school, and then we received our nursing degrees at the same college. We got along well but were never close, mainly due to her stubbornness. Her way or the highway.
I turned my SUV down several back roads through rural lands before coming to densely forested territory. “Shit, Katie, my GPS doesn’t recognize this place.” We’d been traveling up a mountain for the last 15 minutes with smoothly paved roads turning to hard dirt, and now gravel. Thank goodness I brought the all wheel drive SUV.
Our planned destination was the home of Paula, Katie’s former supervisor. The event was Paula’s farewell party before she left for her new job. Katie and I worked at the same hospital. I was still a nurse on the medical-surgical floor. Katie was an infection control nurse. Her job was to keep tract of infections occurring in the hospital, implement safety strategies and educate staff. She was good at it. She worked hard, was knowledgeable and well respected – until Paula, Chief of Quality Improvement became her boss. For three years, Paula made Katie’s life a living hell.
“Katie, are you sure you got your information right? This seems like an odd place for a party? And is Paula OK with me coming? I wasn’t invited.”
“Yes, Kiva, you’re fine. When I accepted the invitation, Paula said I needed two things; a swimsuit and a friend to drive me home.”
“So this is a drunken pool party?” I groaned. “Who else is is coming?”
“Um…I don’t really know?”
“Katie, how the fuck do you not know. I presumed Paula invited everyone in your department. You mean no one talked about it at work?”
“Not really,” was Katie’s lame answer. “You know how it can get awkward if you mention it to someone who didn’t get invited. So no one talked about.”
“And why are YOU going to her party?” I asked. After everything she did to you? You hate this bitch.”
Her mischievous giggle worried me. I heard that giggle many times in college whenever she was planning something incredibly asinine, which was often. “I got a plan. Let’s just say today is get even day.”
“And what does THAT mean?” I demanded.
I was irritated. I understood Katie’s frustration and anger with her old boss. She had taken a lot of abuse from Paula at work. Paula was a ladder climber, someone looking for the next administrative rung, which meant frequently shifting jobs or locations. She certainly looked good on paper; she received an MBA, had the right prerequisite experience. But in the real world, Paula was as worthless as a eunuch in a whore house. But worse; at least a eunuch doesn’t cause harm. A narcissistic incompetent, her only concern was how she was viewed by leaders above her. She would use any deceit and subterfuge to make herself look good. Her modus operandi was straightforward; claim credit for success, cast blame for failure. Poor Katie was on both sides of the coin. Thanks to Katie’s hard work, vigilance, and expertise, our hospital’s infection rate was among the lowest in the state. Only Paula received the accolades. At board of trustees meetings, Paula’s presentations were regurgitations of data and analysis Katie spoon fed to her with no acknowledgment. Katie bailed her out and covered up her ineptitude again and again. Paula knew it. Did she ever express appreciation? Of course not. A self-absorbed bitch like her is too insecure to give proper credit. The untalented but rising hospital administrator couldn’t let herself be outshined by a nurse; so she put Katie down at every opportunity. She was condescending. She wrote Katie poor performance evaluations. Worst of all, she subjected Katie to verbal humiliation in front of others. She used Katie as a shield to protect herself from being exposed as clueless. I saw it myself. At a leadership meeting with the CEO, where I represented my unit, Paula dressed in her business suit and pumps, responded to a direct question by ripping into Katie, “We needed that data yesterday. This is unacceptable!” I honestly don’t know why Katie stuck it out for so long.
“Katie, what are you trying to pull?” I asked again.
“I’m going to tell Paula what I think of her. Then I’ll slap her face.”
“Oh, that’ll really be productive,” I said, unable to hide my dismissiveness. “I’d heard rumors for weeks you were planning to punch her out. It better be a joke.”
Katie explained. “First, I planned to follow her out to the parking lot on her last day. At least I’d have a few minutes to kick her ass before security breaks us up. Then I considered showing up at her house.”
“So you’re stalking her?”
“Well no. When she invited me to her party, that seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’d smack her in front of my coworkers, then leave.”
“You don’t think she’d fight back?” inquired.
“Oh, I hope she does,” Katie answered. “I’d love nothing more than to tear that cxnt apart in a catfight.”
“My car. My rules,” I warned. “If you get into a fight, you’re walking home. Or calling Uber,”
“Be honest, Kiva. Didn’t you ever want to settle a score by fighting another woman? Didn’t you ever want to take some woman you hate and have your way with her? Controlling her. Dominating her. Rendering her helpless, breaking her will. Making her scream her submission declaring your superiority. Didn’t you ever want to do that to someone?”
“No, cant say that I have. Look, I understand the hurt for all she put you through but you need to let it go and move on,” I replied.
“Bullshit!” Katie retorted. “You had that fight with Faith several years ago. You fought that big bitch behind the pub. That was so cool. Don’t give me your self righteous crap.”
“That was a mistake. I almost got destroyed. Nothing good comes from fighting. Look, Katie. After today, you never have to see Paula again. I know she hurt you a lot but let it go. You still have your job. She’ll be gone. Let it go.”
Let it go. Something Katie always struggled with. We’d been out of high school for ten years and Katie still gave the cold shoulder to women who offended her as teenage girls. She would troll her ex-boyfriends for months. She’d stew when a person she barely met unfriended her on Facebook.
“Let it go Katie……Let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go. Turn away and slam the door. I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway.”
“Dammit Kiva, stop singing. That’s awful. You couldn’t win a singing contest against a frog,” Katie complained. I wasn’t about to defend my singing ability.
After another mile and a half through the gravel road, we finally came to a clearing. Rising from a one acre lot was a charming two story log structure with a lovely wrap around porch and stone chimney. The property sported a beautiful terraced garden and a scenic pond in the front.
“Kiva, I think this is it,” Katie said. “But it looks like a hunting lodge.”
“Could be,” I responded. It was well known at work that Paula and her husband were avid big game hunters, going on African hunting safaris and other international trips at least yearly. There were also rumors. Some said they were connected to criminal groups overseas enabling them to hunt illegally, collecting expensive and forbidden game. For this reason, she was known as “Paula the Poacher” at work. If she unlawfully hunted animals as well as she claimed undeserved credit at work, she must have had an impressive trophy collection.
“Unlock the door. Let’s go,” Katie urged.
“Not so fast,” I reprimanded. “Let’s be clear. Let’s be very clear. You’re going to behave yourself. I will watch you closely. If I see you in the slightest way start any trouble, I’m gone. If you want to Uber home, that’s up to you. But if you start anything with Paula, I’m leaving. Understand?”
“Fine,” she sighed.
We walked up the steps and onto the porch. The wrap around porch contained several cushioned chairs, a glider, freshly colored potted plants and old domestic artifacts. We activated the door bell button to the large wooden door, and waited. The door opened slowly until we were face to face with a large man, about 6’5” dressed head to foot in full camouflage hunting gear.
“Ugh, Sorry,” I said, my head tilted upward to make eye contact. “I think we’re at the wrong address.”
“Are you here for Paula?,” he asked.
“Yes, we are.”
A broad smile illuminated his large face featuring a grayish goatee and salt and pepper hair. “Well, you ladies please come on in. “My name is Jim. I’m Paula’s husband. Welcome to our lodge.”
Barely inside the door, I quickly detected the scent of cedar pine and the rustic ambience of the structure. “This place is lovely,” I offered.
“Thanks,” replied Jim. “We come up here with our hunting friends. Usually, it’s just a get away for us.”
“Well hello, girls. Glad you found us,” Paula warbled, approaching us from the kitchen. At age 38, Paula was a well built woman at 5’6” and around 130 lbs. Her brown hair ran to her shoulders ending in an out of style flip. Her face was accentuated by high cheek bones, hazel eyes with distinctive high arching brows. Even more unique were her lips. The corners were turned upwards invoking the appearance of a perpetual smirk. As a friend at work described her, Paula looked like a cross between an outdated Barbie doll and Joker.
“Katie, welcome, and …Kiva…right?…you’re one of the 7th floor nurses….Yes, I heard good things about you. Well, you are the first two here, so make yourselves comfortable. You brought swimsuits, right? The pool is out back. I’ll finish up in the kitchen and I’ll let Jim give you a tour of the place.”
Paula returned to the country styled kitchen to the left of the foyer. To the right was the spacious main living room. With the exception of the large stone fireplace, the walls and ceiling were wood. The living room walls were lined with mounted animal trophies, including heads of deer, elk, caribou, moose, and wild boar. Leather sofas and chairs were placed to the sides of the room. A one inch thick beautifully ornate 20×20 Persian rug covered the center of the hardwood floor. An 8 foot video screen was suspended on one wall, while a playroom loft overlooked the main room from the opposite side. There were enough preserved full bodied animals throughout the lodge to send the taxidermist into early retirement. Black bear, fox, coyote, game birds seemed to be at every turn. A second room, called the “exotic” room contained trophies of antelope, wildebeests, water buffalo and animals I could not identify.
Down the hall from the foyer were guest rooms and storage areas. Upstairs were more bedrooms and the loft, which offered billiards, ping pong tables and an impressive view of the main room. But the most interesting aspect of the loft was a collection of electronic equipment including computers, cameras, and unusual devices I did not recognize.
“We don’t have kids,” Jim explained. “So this loft is my man cave.” Pointing to the electronic equipment, “This is my work. It’s my pride and joy. I work for a high tech company in research and development. My department creates state of the art holographics. My work is called “telepresence”. We create 3 dimensional pictures and videos and transmit them anywhere in the world. A CEO can almost literally give a presentation in two locations at once. The military is very interested in our work.
We followed Jim back downstairs. He gave us a brief tour of the outside property, then back to Paula in the kitchen. “Mind if I ask why you’re wearing hunting gear?” I ventured.
“Oh, we’re very passionate about hunting,” he answered. “Sometimes, I just like to lounge around like this.”
“Oh,” I thought to myself silently. I never cared much for hunting. I never understood how shooting at something that doesn’t shoot back is considered a sport. And I never heard of hunting gear being worn around the house like a bath robe.
“OK girls, let’s change into our swimsuits. The pool is outback. You can change down this hallway. It’s the third door on the left.”
“I’m getting strange vibes,” I told Katie. “This is creepy. Now, did she say the second door or the third door?”, as I took hold of the second door knob. Immediately, a large hand grabbed My wrist and yanked.
“No, no, no,” Jim snapped. “Wrong room. It’s the next one. Sorry to pull you like that. It’s just that this room is where we keep the guns and ammo. Just don’t want to take a chance on an accident.”
Katie and I shut the door to the guest room and changed into our swimsuits, checking ourselves out in the full length mirror. At 5’7” and 128 lbs, I thought my turquoise bikini matched well with my blue eyes and long straight dark brown hair running down the middle of my back. Katie is the same height and a few pounds heavier. Her face was accentuated by pretty green eyes and wavy strawberry blonde hair to her shoulders. Fair skinned with freckled shoulders, she looked attractive in her hot pink bikini.
“Something’s off here,” I said, my voice not hiding my uneasiness. “Where is everyone? The party was supposed to have started thirty minutes ago. Suddenly, the door swung open hard.
“Ladies, come this way,” Paula cooed in a sing song voice, taking our arms and escorting us back down the hallway. It happened so quickly, I didn’t realize we left our clothes and belongings in the guest room. Paula had also changed into a swimsuit; a camouflage colored bikini to match her husband’s hunting gear. Why was I not surprised? “Kiva, I’m going to suggest you follow Jim. He wants to show off some of his toys. Katie and I will take a few minutes to chat alone in the kitchen. You know, just do a little reminiscing.”
I noticed Katie and Paula’s interactions take an uncomfortable turn. They seemed to be posturing at each other. In their respective pink and camouflage bikinis, they cocked their hips, pushed out their chests, moved close into each others’ space, pushed off each other with their shoulders, all while smiling and superficially chit chatting. I was getting an ominous dread. I decided as soon as Katie came back from the kitchen, I’d grab her and take us home.
I followed Jim back up to the loft to his electronic gadgetry collection. “You’re Kira, right.”
“Kiva, pronounced Kee Vah.”
“OK, watch this.” Jim placed an apple in a glass chamber. He flipped a switch and a bright white light flashed inside the chamber. “Now, look down there,” he instructed, as a 3D image of of the apple reappeared on a table downstairs. “A laser collects the visual information, reconstructs the image and sends it to a projector the size of a dime.”
“Alright Kiva, you want to see something really cool?” After pushing buttons on some sort of console, a laser shot downward from the ceiling, dispersing light on the floor. The column of light became broader, then seemed to rotate in a swirling motion. Colors and shapes took form, until, the amorphous light materialized into the three dimensional shape of ……Elvis Presley? “Elvis has something to say to you.”
The holographic figure of Elvis raised a microphone to his mouth and seemingly spoke, “Hello Kiva, whatcha doin darlin’.” I might have been amused if I wasn’t so creeped out. I was a 27 year old nurse in a bikini, in a hunting lodge with a 6’5” behemoth wearing a hunting outfit for no apparent reason, talking to a dead celebrity. I was officially nervous.
“Next, I’ll have you meet Michael Jackson,” Jim informed.
Looking down on the main room from the loft, Something else was strange. All of the furniture had been pushed to the side, leaving a large open area over the large Persian carpet,
At that juncture, Paula and Katie emerged from the kitchen to the main room, their flip flops clapping as they positioning themselves just below us. “Jim, Kiva, listen up. Katie and I had a good talk and we reached an agreement. We decided on the agenda for today……We’re going to have a fight right here in this room on this rug.”
“What the FUCK!” I shrieked. Katie you said you wouldn’t…”
“Kiva, let me explain,” Paula started, “I apologize. There is no party today. I invited only Katie. You see, I heard gossip for weeks that she planned to confront me with physical violence.” Paula had a point. Katie always was a loose cannon. “So, I thought I’d make it easy for her and bring her here so we can have a fair fight if she still wishes. I didn’t want her in a position to drive after the fight so I told her to bring a friend.”
“And the swimsuits?” asked, my voice shaking.
“As you can see, I’m a wilderness woman,” she explained. “Hunting is primal. A one on one fight is primal. I think it’s fitting we should wear as little as possible. Katie is free to leave now or accept an offer to fight. There’s no coercion. She has chosen to stay and settle it.”
“You fuckers lied to us,” I screamed. “You’re NUTS. You’re FUCKING ANIMALS!”
“Aren’t we all?” suggested Jim.
“Katie, remember what I said in the car” I yelled. “Get your stuff. We’re leaving.”
Her response sent shivers down my spine. “Kiva, you can leave. It’s OK. I’ll Uber home. I’ve been waiting three years to kick her ass. I’m not passing up this chance.”
Jim looked at me. “I’m sorry you came here on false pretenses. We’re not bad people. It’s just that these two ladies need to settle it. If you want to leave, I’ll walk you to your car now. If you stay, you will remain on this loft until the fight is over. I’ll be close to the action and make sure no one gets hurt. There will be rules such as no punches or kicks to the head. We need your decision now. Do you stay or go?”
I wanted to leave. Katie brought this on by herself. If only she wasn’t so batshit crazy. I fumed. Except, I couldn’t leave Katie. I wanted my cellphone to call my fiancé. Shit, it’s downstairs in the guest room with the rest of my stuff. I slumped into the cushioned wicker chair at the edge of the loft and screeched out the favorite word of the stressed and exasperated, “Fuuuucccckkkkk!”
“Very well,” said Jim. He walked to to the stairs connecting the loft to the main room, closing and locking the door to the loft, blocking my access to the stairs, before he descended. I’m alone on the loft watching the horrifying spectacle that’s about to unfold below. I’m angry; I could be home with my fiancé this Saturday afternoon. Why is Katie such an idiot? Why is she so stubborn?
Down below, the nurse in the hot pink bikini and the incompetent administrator in the camouflage bikini faced each other on the carpet. They rolled back their shoulders and puffed out their respective 35C breasts. With hands on their hips, they stared at each other. Katie is an inch taller, they seem the same weight. Katie’s strawberry blonde hair, fair skin, and freckled shoulders, a product of her Scottish and Irish heritage contrasted with Paula’s darker tone. Neither woman bothered to tie back her hair. Paula spoke, “Katie, I will let you start us off. I believe you wished to slap my face. That was the scuttlebutt going around. So, I’ll grant your desire. You may land the first blow.” Paula edges closer to her adversary, tilting her face, exposing her cheek. “Go for it.”
Katie cocked her right arm, eyeing her free target. With a loud grunt, she swung, forcefully striking the left side of Paula’s face, the loud slapping sound bouncing off the high wooden rafters. Paula’s head jerked to her right as she let out a yelp. Quickly recovering, she returned her own vicious slap to Katie’s right cheek, leaving a bright red mark. Katie responded with her second slap and Paula immediately answered with her second. The two women backed off and paused for a few seconds; then rushed at each other, their arms flailing away slapping at each other’s head, shoulders and chests. Both fighters landed several chaotic blows but neither scored an advantage. Again they backed off to briefly stare at each other. Red marks were visible on the face and upper chest of both women but were more prominent on Katie’s fair skin.
With their eyes blazing and jaws clenched, they charged at each other, their hands reaching for the other’s head. Grunting and shrieking, they both acquired two fistfuls of each other’s hair, pulling the other’s head in all directions as their bodies reeled and tottered attempting to stay on their feet. Each woman assumed a wide based stance to help keep her balance, while maintaining handfuls of hair. As each one screamed, they alternated pulling the opponent’s hair forward or sideways. With each pull, the other dug in with her feet and stiffened her neck in an effort to stay upright, while excruciating pain must have seared through their scalps.
“Bitch. You’re a fucking fraud,” Katie snarled, “I did your work. You stole the credit. Fucking liar.”
“Loser. I should have fired your ass,” Paula barked back.
As if on cue, each woman released her right hand while the left kept its grip on the other’s hair. Their right arms furiously swung with repeated punches and slaps to the head and upper body. Their bodies staggered and wavered off balance as they each swung and pulled at the other. Katie got the better of the exchange when she managed to land a punch to Paula’s ribs doubling her over. The strawberry blonde acted on her opportunity by rushing in on the brunette, tripping her feet and tackling her to the rug coated floor. Mounting her former supervisor’s chest, the mistreated employee struck out in full rage. Seizing the brunette’s hair, she pulled the head forward then slammed it back into the rug. Paula let out a shrill scream as Katie repeated this measure several times, shrieking out, “I hate you!”
Paula thrashed her legs, bucked, and clawed at Katie’s arms in desperation. She managed to push Katie off balance enough to send a knee to the middle of her attacker’s back between the shoulder blades, before rolling her off. Both women again attacked each other on the floor, each one grabbing at hair, arms, shoulders and bikini tops. The legs forcefully kicked at each other and tried to wrap around the other’s in an effort to gain control. The two women rolled across the floor, frantically clutching at anything that might assist in gaining an advantage. Each one alternated being on top unable to hold the advantage before being rolled over. They continued to grapple until Katie took control as she mounted the despised ex-supervisor’s back, locking her ankles together below her foe’s belly. The nurse gripped Paula’s chin and pulled upward, turning her face into a misshapen monstrosity. Horrific grunts, growls, and shrieks filled the main room as they echoed off the wooden rafters. Paula dug her nails into Katie’s arms in an attempt to break the hold. Katie screamed but managed to hang on. The huntress arched her back and managed to get to her knees. Paula’s face betrayed her agony as Katie tightened her thighs around her hated rivals waist and her arms kept pressure on the chin. The camouflage bikini woman bent her arms at the elbows and chopped away at Katie’s legs, loosening the grip enough to twist her body and fire elbows into Katie’s ribs.
From my wicker chair in the loft, the screams and groans were sickening. I found my mind and emotions going numb. I ceased shouting and appealing to the combatants, resigned to its futility. My rationality struggled to make sense of the bizarre and surreal scene. Below me, Katie released the leg scissors hold in response to Paula’s elbow strikes, allowing the older woman to escape.
The distance between the two permitted each fighter to safely get to her feet. Their bikini top straps, torn or undone, no longer provided support, leaving their breasts unfettered and largely exposed. Both women found it more practical to remove the tops entirely and continue the battle topless. They faced each other in the center of the rug. Their hair was a chaotic mess, their eyes flashed venom. Both had a few bruises and scratch marks, more visible on Katie. Their equally sized breasts faced each other in confrontation, each pair of nipples exchanging an accusatory glower at the other. After a few seconds of staring, the fighters hunched their backs like alley cats and tore into each other.
Perhaps it was the sight of each other’s bare breasts that seemed send the match into a new orbit. With teeth grinding and voices growling, they threw their upper bodies at each other, Katie’s large light pink areolae and nipples facing off against Paula’s smaller darker pigmented ones. Their fingers were interlocked down at their sides, their faces were nearly cheek to cheek, their bare feet digging to push forward, as their breasts pressed into each other. For a few moments, the standoff appeared to be a stalemate. I watched their neck, shoulder, and upper arm muscles bulge, their neck veins protrude, their legs attempting to drive forward. Finally, The contest seemed to favor Paula as my colleague started to back up. Paula had her by the hands, lowered her shoulder, and pushed. Katie, lost more and more ground until Paula pinned her up against the wall, pressing her bare back into the wooden structure. I assumed the wall was out of bounds with whatever “rules” these hellcats were playing by. I assumed wrongly. Paula backed up, holding Katie’s hands, and drove her shoulder into Katie’s midsection, bending her over. The professional ladder climber found an easy target, seizing the nurse with a headlock, pulling her head down to her hip. Squeezing tightly, she walked my friend back onto the carpet, twisting her by the head, driving her down to the floor.
The big game huntress sat on the blonde’s belly, trying to pin her arms to the carpet. On her back, Katie pushed back, fighting to avoid a worse disadvantage. She managed to roll her left shoulder to the right, still holding off Paula’s efforts to control her arms. The brunette tried to roll her back by yanking Katie’s hair, but the woman in the pink bikini bottom rolled her hip enough to get onto her side. Frustrated, Paula fired some slaps to the head and a punch to the back. As Katie tried to rise, grasping at Paula’s hand on her hair, the mistress of the lodge landed a right handed punch to the left breast, causing Kelly to squeal, before stumbling backward as she regained her feet.
As the two combatants moved to the center of the rug to face off again, I noticed Katie looking more worn, her breathing more rapid than her opponent, red patches over her body. The blonde woman lunged first, lowering her head and charging forward. Paula, deftly dodged out of the way, digging her fist into Katie’s side. The brunette circled around her foe snapping jabbing slaps to her former subordinate’s head. I wondered if Paula had prior boxing experience as she danced on her toes, throwing combinations of slaps and punches, peppering my friend with blows to the belly, ribs, and breasts. Kelly attempted to hit back but her shots were slow and inaccurate compared to Paula’s crisp hard blows, counter hitting with each of Katie’s wild swings.
Katie, perhaps realizing she was losing the battle of fists and slaps, rushed again. Paula slipped to the side like a matador and yanked the strawberry blonde’s arm sending her spinning and stumbling then falling on her knees. The safari woman moved in, clamping a headlock on her quarry, her arms squeezing tight, holding the head at her hip. Katie, trapped on her knees, her face as red as much of her body, her hair wildly splaying in every direction, frantically slapped with her arms, before digging her nails into her opponents bicep. Paula, her flip hairdo also a mess, transformed her perpetual smirk into a grimace, determined to keep her grip. Katie, perhaps sensing the fight was slipping away from her, made a desperate move. Trapped in the headlock, she clawed at Paula’s hips, then hooked her fingers around the elastic band of her foe’s bikini bottom, pulling Paula’s only covering down to the mid thigh level. The brunette responded by releasing the headlock and punished the deed with a harsh slap to the face before backing away. The narcissistic supervisor looked more amused than upset, dropping her displaced camouflage bottom to her ankles before kicking them aside.
The nude huntress eyed her kneeling weakening opponent and smiled as if she were about to put away a wounded wild boar. Her shoulders rolled back, her hands on her hips, the head tilted upwards, she assumed the posture of dominance. Katie, still on her knees, her skin resembling a world map of pink and alabaster, panted before her enemy. Paula seized the cascading mess of blonde hair, yanking her fading prey to her feet, then quickly shot for the legs, pulling Katie’s feet from under her, sending her on her back while holding up her legs. The unethical outdoors woman folded Katie’s legs bringing her feet over her head, raising her crotch upward. The nurse’s pink bikini bottom was an easy target as Paula ravaged it with her nails before pulling it down Katie’s legs, slipping it off her feet, and throwing it off the floor.
With Paula’s attention diverted to the final stripping of her opponent, Katie managed to kick free and roll away. Her freedom, however, was short lived. The blonde barely got to her feet when Paula again shot in low with her shoulders, wrapping her arms around the taller woman’s pelvis and lifting her over the shoulder.
Draped over her hated adversary’s upper body, Katie ineffectively punched away at the back. Paula walked to the edge of the carpet, faced the center, then ran a few steps, driving Katie into the carpet with a thud sound carrying to the loft. I heard Katie let out a convulsing gasp on contact.
“OK, that’s enough. The fight’s over,” I screamed down to the main room. My words were ignored.
Katie was stunned and flat on her back and did little to prevent Paula from sitting on her chest and pinning down her arms underneath her shins.
“Paula, get off her. That’s enough,” I tried again.
“Do you give up?” Katie’s former boss asked her.
“No, you fuckin bitch,” she answered.
Katie drummed the carpet with her bare feet, then bucked her hips as hard as she could. Paula would not be displaced. The hips and legs raised in unison, the legs lifted nearly vertically before kicking and falling to the carpet, liking a dying fish trapped on land, thrashing its tail in desperation. She dug in with her feet and lifted her pelvis. Paula twisted her body around and responding by slapping away at the belly.
I leaned over the railing of the loft, watching a nude woman beating up another nude woman. The bizarre scene has drained my emotions. I’m no longer shocked and outraged. I begin to feel strangely detached. I feel like I’m in a hypnotic state. It looks like the fight will end soon. I want it to be over. I don’t want Katie hurt. “Katie, are you OK?” I call down. She does not answer but I hear her grunts, groans, and gasps. I cannot see her face. She’s trapped on her back. I see her attacker’s bare back. I see Katie’s legs kicking. I see her pelvis lift. And I see her…vagina. It rises up toward me with each fruitless thrust of her pelvis before falling back to the floor again. She bridged upward and held it in a sustained position. I imagined her vagina as her identity, the last preserved part of her humanity, reaching out to me in search of encouragement. “Come on, Katie,” I call out. Paula, turned around again, now pummeling her fist into my friend’s abdomen. When that failed to break the bridge, Paula slapped Katie’s pussy as if to chastise it for insubordination. My communication with it ceased.
By now, I was feeling delirious. My eyes and mind wandered. I watched as the ghosts of the animal kingdom bore witness. From their position on the walls, the animal trophy heads looked on in a solemn vigil like a panel of judges. Each with its own unique story, they would soon deliberate before preparing their summary statement on human senselessness. In the corner, the mounted Canadian goose, it’s wings outstretched in flight, was curious, never having seen such a strange sight during its past migratory journeys. The coyote pair watched with great amusement. Their paws raised in a playful pose, their jowls stretched back into gleeful grins, their heads tilted toward each other as if sharing a joke. The mountain goat was indifferent. It’s eyes were fixed on the silly humans for a brief diversion, before it’s mind returned to thoughts of feeding in the fresh spring valley below the craggy cliffs.
Katie’s kicks were slower and weaker. Paula bounced on her chest hoping to force a submission. She had her woman’s arms pinned, her head wedged between her thighs, her naked pussy just inches from her victims mouth. “Give up yet?”
“Paula, stop!” I yelled again.
I could tell Katie was whimpering. Her belly was beefy red, defenseless against her tormentor’s pummeling. And the drubbing continued. Finally, Paula dug her nails into Katie around her belly button as Katie squealed.
“Stop! I give up! You win! Let me up!
“Not so fast,” Paula answered. “First, a few questions. Who’s the winner?”
“What’s my name?”
“Who’s the loser?” The lack of response resulted in another belly punch. “Who’s the loser?”
“Paula, you won the fight. Now let her up,” I screamed, still locked in the loft. Again, my pleas went unheeded.
“Now put it all together,” Paula instructed Katie, continuing the humiliation. “Say, ‘Paula is my owner. I will be obedient to Paula at all times.’”
“Say it,” growled Paula, digging her nails again into Katie’s already inflamed belly.”
Katie yelped. “Paula owns me. I will be obedient to her.”
“Are you going to challenge me again?”
“One more thing,” Paula said, sliding her crotch toward her victim’s mouth. “Kiss it.”
“Paula, let her go, goddam it,” I shrieked from above. “This is SICK!”
“No,” Katie answered defiantly.
Paula reached behind her, pinched Katie’s nipple and began to twist, eliciting a shrieking howl from the defeated woman. Paula flexed Katie’s head forward with a hair pull, shoving her mouth into Paula’s crotch. “Kiss it!” She demanded.
“What the fuck is wrong with you people?” I continued. “STOP!”
Completely broken, Katie puckered her lips, planting a peck on her conqueror’s labia. Paula, finally satisfied, released her vanquished opponent, then rose to her feet. I’m nauseated and way beyond disgusted. “Let me out of here! Jim, open the fucking door, NOW!” My voice is now hoarse.
Jim paid me no attention, preoccupied with setting up a camera on a tripod. Paula ordered Katie to roll on her belly; she submissively complied. As Paula knelt by her quarry’s side, her husband helped her slip on a camouflage hunting jacket before kneeling by Katie’s other side, himself still in full hunting gear. The victor pulled on the defeated woman’s hair, forcing her face toward the camera. The couple smiled for the camera, striking a perverse hunting pose, holding up Katie’s head as if she were a 16 point buck. As soon as the camera flashed, the repugnant image appeared on the overhead monitor. The husband and wife studied the photo for a moment, and then the background changed. Three subjects, two hunters and one hunted remained in the foreground as the scenery shifted from the lodge to the Serengeti, to the Australian Outback, to the Argentina Andes, the North American Rocky Mountains, then to the Antarctica. “I think I like the Outback shot the best,” Paula informed her husband.
I could no longer hear myself scream, not knowing the limit to these psychopaths depravity. Finally, a response. “Hold on Kylee, one more minute,” Jim said. The large man rose as his wife held on to her prey. In each hand, he held two flat metallic disc shaped objects, positioning them on each side of Katie’s head. I could only watch in terror, as laser beams shot from each disc, bouncing off of the fallen nurse’s scalp. Jim waved the discs completely around his target until her entire head was bathed in a white luminous glow. In an instant, the light disappeared. Paula finally freed Katie’s head, letting it fall to the carpet, leaving the nude woman in a heap.
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER? GET ME OUT OF HERE!”, I screamed with what was left of my voice.
“I’m coming,” I heard Jim say as his boots clomped up the stairs. “Don’t worry Kira. That’s one of our new projects. Totally harmless.”
“What does it do?” No answer.
Jim unlocked the loft door. I leapt down the stairs and raced over to Katie. I draped her arm over my shoulder and supported her body, helping her to her feet. She could not control the sobbing as I walked her back to the guest room. By my physical examination, she had scattered bruises and a few scratches but nothing serious. Her pride would be another matter. I helped throw her shirt, shorts and sandals on her before covering myself up. Leading her by the hand, we made a beeline down the hallway, out the door and into my car. I fired the ignition, threw it into reverse, skidding into a three point turn. Something seemed missing. “OH SHIT! MY CELLPHONE! In my haste to get away, it was left on an end table in the guest room. FUCK! I have to go back in. I didn’t want to leave Katie but no way was I taking her back in the house. “Katie, wait here. Keep the door locked.”
I opened the big wooden door, stealthily re-entering the foyer. I heard a noise coming from the main room to the right. I recognized the sound. Was it a slow hand clap? No…It was the unmistakable rhythmic slapping sound of male groin smacking into female ass. There was no need to look. I don’t know why, but I did. A quick glance was all it took to confirm my suspicion. It was them – Paula and Jim doggy style on the bearskin rug in front of the stone fireplace. They’re not even human, the fucking animals, I thought.
I made my way to the guest room, retrieved my cell phone, then tiptoed down the hallway. Then past the next door. The forbidden door. Keep moving, Kiva. What did Jim not want me to see? I succumbed to curiosity. Surprisingly, the door was unlocked. Should I look? The owners of the lodge were preoccupied. Why not? I opened the door, slipped my head inside. Jim was right. There were guns, guns, and more guns. Guns of all kinds. There was more. Lying on the floor was a half dozen elephant tusks. A rhinoceros was mounted. A taxidermy preserved bengal tiger, an American bald eagle. Even I know what this meant. These motherfuckers really are poachers.
I can’t end this nightmare quickly enough. I head for the foyer to the door. In the main room, I again hear the copulating couple. This time, I turn to face them. “FUCKING ASSHOLES,” I shouted.
And then I saw it. I wish I hadn’t. Why did I look? Immediately, I am ill. I cover my eyes. I look again between my fingers. It wasn’t an illusion. On the wall, above the conjugal pair, between the elk and the moose heads was the 3D image of ……Katie’s head,….. “mounted”…in all it’s holographic horror. Her hair pulled back, the baleful eyes stared blankly. Feeling ill and terrified, I dashed out the door, peeled out in my car and down the gravel road.
The drive home seemed like an eternity. Katie sat in the front passenger side, sobbing the way home. I didn’t know what to say to her. For most of the drive, we said nothing. I never told her about her trophy head. It was better that way. The feisty woman with a chip on her shoulder who rode with me earlier was returning a broken whimpering girl. What could I say to her? I tried to warn her. I did everything I could to keep her out of trouble. I’m frustrated she was so foolish and stubborn. But,…I will not say “I told you so”.
For weeks, the fight between Katie and Paula replayed in my mind. No doubt, it was the strangest, most incomprehensibly vile thing I’d ever witness. How on earth could women treat each other like that? But the funny thing is, that over time, I saw catfights everywhere. Not physical fights, but in the form of gossip, lying, backbiting and worse. At work. At the gym. In my neighborhood. In my social circles. Is spreading untrue stories really much different than slapping and scratching? Could harming someone’s reputation be worse than stripping them naked? Is destroying a person’s dignity and self worth in the board room the moral equivalent of shoving your vagina in their face? Do the people we step on to advance our careers become trophies mounted on the walls of our minds? Perhaps Paula and Katie only personified what we figuratively do to each other every day.
I would take Katie home to my place to spend the night. Still struggling to find the words to comfort her during our awkward drive home, I decided to play music, setting the MP3 player to random. In a final cruel act of irony, the first song was from the soundtrack to “Frozen”. The song: “Let it Go.” Oops!
Some readers may have noticed this story references characters and events from an earlier story: When Nurses Eat Their Young. That story took place in an earlier time period so the references here to cell phones, social media, etc. will seem anachronistic. The two stories may may stand alone independent of each other. Or you can use my favorite excuse to cover inconsistencies between stories: must be a multiverse.