Medical science has come a long way in terms of pediatric care. Not too long ago, a child born with any type of cardiac problem was doomed and likely difficult life. Now, even the most premature babies with woefully under-developed hearts manage to survive and lead thriving, fully functional and happy lives. At least, such is the case for most. Somewhere along the line, at a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, a little girl slipped through the system and managed to survive. Her name is Alice Tanner, and she is the very definition of heartless.
Growing up, most people just thought Alice was independent, if they were being nice, or spoiled, if they weren’t. She was a colicky baby, a difficult preschooler, and a tyrant in kindergarten. All her life, people have been making excuses for Alice. She didn’t have a father. Her mother was ill. She was under-nourished. She was under-privileged. She was misunderstood. The truth is, Alice Tanner is ang egotistical, self-absorbed, self-centered, greedy, manipulative, diabolical and conniving bitch.
Most men exit a relationship with Alice in a casket. My name is Derrick Gannon. I’m one of the few who made it out alive.
I met Alice late one night in a bar, and something tells me that’s where she meets most the men in her life. She came in to the place where I was working, The Spanked Monkey, about 1:30 in the morning. Monday night, probably not ten customers in the place all night, and she looked a lot better than the beer tramps I usually get in there. Naturally, we started talking. She told me about how her boyfriend had just recently died, car accident according to her, and that she was feeling lonely but wasn’t ready to get back into the dating scene just yet. I woke up in her bed late the next afternoon, my muscles aching from some of the most amazing sex I had ever experienced. Had I had an ounce of functional brain in me at that point, I would have put on my pants, left, and never turned back. That’s what I should have done.
But no, the sex was too good, and Alice was too generous. I have to give the girl credit: she weaves one of the most attractive webs ever. There were small gifts at first, like borrowing my car and having it detailed, or convincing my favorite Italian restaurant to stay open late so we could have dinner after my shift at the bar. Then came the trips. Miami. Los Angeles. Tahiti. Buenos Aires. Gibraltar. The next thing I knew, she was offering to get me started in my own night club in the city of my choice.
Alice is just that intoxicating.
Owning my own place had always been a dream, but I figured I’d be lucky to afford some little neighborhood hole in the wall. “You pick the style and the city,” Alice said. No way I was going to look that gift horse in the mouth. I chose Atlantic City and started planning big. Three stories. Twenty-one bars. Humidor. Refrigerated wine stations. And a VIP space with enough private couches to conceive a whole new generation of alcohol-dependent customers.
I had it all. Money in my pocket. Designer threads on my back. Respect. Prestige. And the hottest woman in Atlantic City by my side. Every night was another party.
Of course, in the process of setting up insurance for the club, I didn’t think twice about the “requirement” that I have a sizable life insurance policy. $45 million made me feel pretty fucking important, you know? And since I don’t have any real family to speak of, my folks both deceased before I was out of high school, making Alice the beneficiary seemed like a good idea. I figured it would help keep her around for a while, and show my appreciation for the wonderful life she was providing me.
I wonder now if the others were drawn in as easily, or if I was just unusually gullible. Did they ask questions? Did they have suspicions? Did they get an uncomfortable feeling when she would leer at them from across the room?
Funny thing, I don’t recall ever telling Alice I have a severe allergic reaction to sulpha drugs. I’m not kidding. One little pill and I’m in the ER. Two, and you’re putting my ass in a pine box. She found out though, the sneaky little bitch. She was careful. Never enough at one time to actually make me sick.
I first started noticing when she would make coffee of the morning. By the time I had finished my first cup, I’d have a light rash on my chest.
“Oh, it’s probably just the new laundry detergent,” she said, making what seemed like a reasonable excuse.
Then, I started having periods where I’d feel dizzy and confused.
“You’ve been working too hard,” she said. “You should let your managers do more and sleep a little later.
i can only imagine the doses were very, very small. I never tasted anything, never saw any residue. I was just getting increasingly ill and not understanding why.
Dark circles began to appear under my eyes. I wasn’t sleeping. Of course, I didn’t go to the doctor. What guy does, right? But one stopped in by the bar one afternoon, a big muckety muck that teaches medicine at NYU or some place. Wife, three kids. He meets his mistress at my place. We’re talking one afternoon while he’s waiting for her. I tell him how lousy I’m feeling. He takes out a flash light, shines it in my eyes, and calls 911!
“You’re having a severe reaction to sulpha,” he says. ” And it’s killing you. Slowly.”
Two weeks I spent in the hospital. A real wake up call, that was! First of all, after the second day, Alice hardly ever came to visit! Said she was watching the club for me. Then, when she did come to visit, she’d play with the settings on my IV drips. Once, by the time she left, I wasn’t getting any medicine at all!
I finally started thinking, and called my pall Eddie. Eddie and me, we go way back. Played basketball on the same team in sixth grade. He’s one of those suit-wearin’ cops that never leaves the downtown precinct now. Worked his way up. Been shot a couple of times, too. I called Eddie and told him what was going on and what I was thinking.
Eddie said he’d check around and get back with me.
I wasn’t getting any better. Alice would come, kiss my forehead, and say words I didn’t understand. Doctors couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better. They didn’t know Alice was spiking the IVs.
Finally, after about four days, Eddie comes back. “I got some interesting trivia on your dame, Alice,” he says. “Seems she doesn’t have such good luck with keepin boy friends alive.”
“How so?” I ask.
“I can tie her to 17, so far,” Eddie says, giving me one of those looks where I’m not sure if he’s really serious or not. “Of course, they all appear to be legitimate accidents on the surface but my gut tells me I won’t have to scratch too much to find some mighty unusual links between thost 17 guys and you,” Eddie said. “Except, you’re not dead … yet.”
By the time Eddie finished laying out the picture for me, I could hardly breathe, but it wasn’t because of any allergic reaction. I realized I was about to become former boyfriend number 18!
Eddie helped me get moved to a new, private hospital. Three days later I was up, feeling better, so I started making plans. I got money in my own name, had the title to the club transfered to my own corporation, and found me a new place to live. Finally, the only thing left to do was tell Alice good-bye.
I returned to what had been our apartment only to find it completely empty. Alice was sitting there, naked, with a cigarette between her fingers. Her lips were bright red, and I so wanted to kiss them. Kiss her all over, I would have.
“So, you’ve got everything all set up to leave me, I see,” she said softly. “Glad you could come by to say bye.”
“And good riddance,” I said curtly.
“No need to be rude,” she whispered. Spinning around in the chair, she spread her legs and sat facing me. She knew I couldn’t help loo. Alice is too beautiful to not look.
“You were trying to kill me,” I accused. “And once I have the lab tests back confirming it, I’m having you arrested.”
“You know I don’t look good in those orange jump suits,” she said in a threatening tone.
“Yeah, and maybe you’ll spend so much time being someone’s bitch you won’t have to worry about it.” I was trying to sound tough, but I know there was no way she’d ever be anyone’s bitch.
“Tough talk from someone in such a vulnerable position.” She took a long drag and her cigarette and laughed and she let the smoke slowly roll from between her pursed lips.
I stood firm. “I’m leaving, Alice,” I said, “and you’re going to jail.”
She never bothered looking at me. I was already yesterday’s news. “If believing that makes you happy, enjoy your little fantasy,” she said.
I walked out of the apartment and down to my car. I had opened the door, about to get in, when Eddie waved at me from across the parking lot. I walked over to talk to him, tell him about the conversation I’d just had. I was almost to him when …
Well, Eddie tells me my car exploded, taking about half the other cars in the parking lot and a sizable portion of the street with it. The percussion knocked me cold and I got a ride back to the hospital. Eddie and his boys went chasing after Alice, but, of course, she was already gone. No one’s seen her in Atlantic City sense.
I’m doing better now. Sold the club, bought a little place back home where things are a bit more quiet.
Alice is still out there. Sure, police know about her, but it’s not like they can go around arresting every pretty girl they see. If I know Alice, she probably has a couple more notches on her bed post by now.
So, you guys be careful out there. Don’t be fooled by an innocent smile, or a syrupy Southern drawl. She’s as heartless as they come. And until someone finally gives her what she’s got comin’, she’s just gonna keep right on killing, and crying, and killing some more.