Alice Hollywood Excerpt
In this Alice Hollywood Excerpt from The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood, beginning with the Prologue and Chapter One “Dear Diary,” the underlying causes for much of the story’s drama, and of Alice’s simmering anger and the ever–present sense of betrayal are introduced.
She was dumbstruck—and afraid. As he ranted and raved, she found herself drifting outside of her own body until she could almost see herself cowering from his verbal assault. He’d been angry before, but this was the first time she believed he’d actually resort to physical violence.
Whenever his temper had flared in the past, she would just bide her time until he cooled off. He would yell for fifteen or twenty minutes and then it was over. But now, there was a look in his eyes she’d never seen—a look of pure hatred. The way he had physically dragged her into her apartment from the front steps, unexpectedly and violently, took her by complete surprise. Why he was angry, she still didn’t know, but whatever the reason, his violent mood was clearly cause for alarm.
He was incoherent as he screamed at her, making it impossible for her to decipher the reason for his tirade; and, without a reason, she could not begin to defend herself against his maniacal arraignment. Each time the words, “slut,” “whore,” and “tramp” burst from his mouth rapid-fire and into her face, accompanied by a spray of spittle, she would recoil with shock and confusion. Not a docile person by nature, Alice would have never imagined herself in this situation six months ago; but somehow, being with Hud, something inside her had inexplicably changed.
The change was gradual and unexpected as he transitioned from an easy-going Texan gentleman to a jealous, short-tempered control freak. Little by little, his ego had become more fragile and his will more demanding, while hers seemed to simply fade away. Over time she had learned to tune out his tantrums, realizing they’d eventually fizzle out, and in no time he’d be as sweet as ever—until the next time. She found it just wasn’t worth fighting with him because he refused to stop until she surrendered. And then they’d have the obligatory make-up sex.
The majority of the time their relationship was pretty good—it certainly didn’t hurt that he was strikingly gorgeous and fairly decent in bed—so she blindly accepted his temper as his inconvenient idiosyncrasy. Most of the time, she considered herself envied to have landed such a hunk; but now, her heart was pounding right out of her chest as fear dumped pure adrenaline into her system and she found herself in the most unenviable situation.
She was extremely worried and growing more so by the minute. Practically terrified was more accurate. She’d never seen him so riled up before. A small part of her was concerned that his yelling and screaming would draw unfavorable attention to them, and the rest of her was desperately praying it would. He was definitely acting way beyond crazy. If only he would slow his ranting down a bit so she could understand what all the commotion was about, maybe she could somehow set him straight. But all she could make out was “fucking slut!” “whore!,” “tramp!” and “cunt!”
Alice just could not begin to imagine what was so terrible that could turn him into such a raving lunatic. At the risk of escalating his foul mood, though, she didn’t dare say anything in fear of saying the wrong thing. She merely stood there, taking the abuse and waiting for a coherent clue to his madness. Any thoughts of escape were quashed in an attempt to understand why he was so angry.
With her concentration focused so intensely on his face and straining to hear some words to tie the offensive words to a meaningful context, Alice failed to see the quick raise of his hand before he struck her hard against the face. The sudden blow from the palm of his hand made startling contact to her jaw, and was swiftly followed by the back of his hand, landing hard on her ear. She crumpled to the floor, but not before the corner of the wood coffee table caught her back, cracking her ribs and violently forcing all her breath out.
As she lay sprawled on the floor, gasping for air, she thought he was still screaming at her, though she couldn’t be sure. Through the pain, blurred vision and the struggle to regain her breath, Alice could barely see his red face, and couldn’t begin to hear him over the roar of agony from within her own body. The betrayal was absolute.
She struggled to right herself but was immediately met by his combat boot, smashing with full force into her shoulder blade before slamming again with equal force into her back. Her body exploded with pain as she fell back to the floor.
At the moment he brutally pulled her up from the floor by her hair and neck, she realized her life had just become a nightmare—and she didn’t even know why. This was something that happened to other women—pitiful, helpless and stupid women. She was none of those—or was she?
She tried to defend the blows, but he was too strong and too incensed to fend off. At five foot ten, despite her excellent physical condition, Alice was no match for Hud’s muscular six two frame in normal circumstances, let alone at this desperate moment fueled by enraged insanity.
She was afraid he was going to kill her. She was certain of it. But at that moment, she simply wanted to know why she was going to die. As she struggled to bring the words to her swelling lips to ask him “why,” something he said, suddenly and with startling clarity, cut through the chaos. It was as if the flurry of his slaps and punches knocked her out of submission and into a strange state of lucidity. Or perhaps the physical act of beating her had slowed his speech; but whatever the reason, Hud’s words abruptly became very clear to her and she finally realized what he’d been raging about and why he was acting so deranged. As she passed out all she could think was, “Oh my god.”
Alice awoke to silence, and for a moment could not remember where she was, why she was there, and for several moments, even who she was. The room was a blur; her body ached to its core while some elusive emotion unknown to her at that moment raged beneath the surface. She pulled her arms beneath her and tried to prop herself up but the pain was intense. What the hell had happened to her?
And then, she remembered. In an instant the brutal episode swept down upon her like a sudden storm. She sat straight up as if she’d been hit with a jolt of electricity, momentarily oblivious to the pain. She quickly took inventory of the room. Her head spun as she tried to focus. She was pretty sure Hud was gone, or at least she hoped he was—because if he came back, she was certain he’d finish the job. She had to get out of there, and fast.
Instinct and a healthy burst of adrenaline immediately took over. The taste of blood was overwhelming, and every inch of her body throbbed with pain; yet, slowly and with full determination, she pulled herself up off the floor. Myriad pains attacked her battered body, shooting through her like a thousand sharp little daggers, but she didn’t stop. She winced and clenched her teeth to stave off the bile forming in her gut; but those pains were nothing compared to the pain of betrayal. Even that emotion paled in comparison to the extreme hatred she was feeling at that moment. She would never understand how one human being could beat another, nor would she ever understand how she had allowed it to happen to her. But what was beyond understanding, and bordered on pure and absolute evil, was why she had been beaten.
The reason gave her superhuman strength as she dragged her pummeled and disheveled body up and limped out the door. Somebody was going to pay, goddamn it—and big time.
Every mile pulled her further and further from her hometown, and pushed her closer to a place she really didn’t want to return. With every mile, her heart ached just a little more. There wasn’t a choice for her, though, and she knew it. She could have stayed in LA and continued living a faux civilian life, but sooner or later Uncle Sam would catch up with her. The consequences of that, versus just going back and dealing with the shit waiting for her back at base, were formidable. The result of either decision was prison, only one was real and the other just felt like it most of the time.
Alice reached under the glove compartment and pulled the eight-track tape out of the player just as Three Dog Night was beginning its third loop, threw it in the back seat and pawed through the mess in her front seat for another. Finally, after rejecting David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Elton Johns’ Honky Tonk Chateau and The Eagles’ Hotel California, she settled on Billy Joel’s Piano Man. She was in the mood for some of Billy’s stories. She’d been driving for nearly seven hours and still had probably another twelve or so to go before she reached her destination, deep in the heart of Texas.
Not an early riser by nature, Alice was beginning to feel the effects of her before dawn departure, and the all-nighter she had pulled with her sister Eve. She just couldn’t bring herself to say good-bye—neither of them could. Tears welled at the thought of leaving her adored big sister and the life she loved in Los Angeles.
What on earth had she been thinking when she signed up for the military? she asked herself for the millionth time.
It was a question she asked herself nearly every single day. Everyone said she was crazy when she shared her plans with them. Too bad she was so stubborn and refused to believe them before it was too late. At the time, it seemed like the perfect plan. But, as Eve was always quick to remind her, “The best laid plans always get laid, Allie.” Hearing Eve’s voice in her head made her smile.
Alice looked at her watch and had to ponder for a moment, deciding whether it was eleven or twelve. Had she gone through a time zone yet? She calculated she was still about an hour out of Arizona so she was still in the Pacific Time zone. Eleven o’clock. Well, at least she didn’t have to figure out Daylight Savings yet. Now there was a stupid idea if she’d ever heard one. What lame-brain had come up with that amazing waste of time and energy? Someone somewhere had to be making money off screwing around with the time twice a year—it’s the only explanation that made any sense at all as far as Alice was concerned.
Still, it was close enough to lunchtime for her stomach to begin complaining rather raucously. Though she hated to stop for any reason when she was on a long trek, Alice conceded to the needs of her growling stomach and her car’s near empty gas tank.
Just as she began to wonder when the next exit for services would be, she came upon a sign indicating she had yet another twenty-two miles to go. At an easy eighty mile an hour pace, she calculated she’d reach the exit in about fifteen minutes. That decided, for the next several miles Alice allowed her mind to drift back in time where she mentally savored her extended visit in LA, and longed for an instantaneous reprise.
The truck stop was surprisingly busy for the late hour, filled with truck drivers and weary travelers refueling for the next leg of their respective journeys. A cacophony of voices of every timbre mingled with the clatter of dishes and silverware as the aroma of truck stop fare mixed with cigarette smoke that hung heavy in the atmosphere. At the long grey-speckled Formica counter located in the middle of the large truck stop center, sandwiched between two cowboy truckers, Alice lazily pulled a drag on her cigarette, deep in contemplation.
“You finished, Miss?” asked the middle-aged waitress with the wide shock of white in her somewhat bedraggled black beehive hairdo. She smoothed her stained white doily apron while she waited for Alice to answer.
Alice looked up at The Waitress, slightly startled out of her own little world by the polite intrusion. “Uh, yeah, sure,” she answered. ”Thanks,” she added, then flashed The Waitress a smile.
“You want dessert? More coffee?” The Waitress’ posture was relaxed as she inquired.
“No dessert, thanks, but definitely more caffeine. Oh, and the check, please. When you can,” Alice added quickly.
The Waitress nodded as she expertly scooped up Alice’s dish, only to return within seconds with a glass coffee pot. Alice was oblivious to the splashes of hot coffee as her attention turned to her diary. The black, cloth-bound book at been silently begging for her attention throughout her meal. She took a final drag on her cigarette before quickly grinding the butt into the newly emptied blue plastic ashtray, donned with the truck stop name. Alice turned the page of her last entry to a blank page, fished a Bic pen out of her purse and began to write.
4 April 76
Well, it’s practically midnight and I’m in some hick truck stop in El Paso and the coffee is, well, it’s for shits! In another couple hours I guess I’ll be back at “Goodbuddy” with all the goat ropers, and gee, I can’t wait! I’m sort of worried about how things are gonna be since everything was so fucked up when I left.
I’m already missing Eve. Man, we had such a holy blast at home I almost considered going AWOL. She’s a weird sister sometimes, but of course she’s extremely cool, too. I really miss her. I always do.
I thought I could be away from her when I joined up, but that was so stupid of me. I guess missing Eve is the worst part about the AF. But I also can’t wait to see Em—seems like it’s been forever, and, anyway, she’s almost like a sister to me too—maybe more. Hmmm. It would be interesting to explore our friendship a bit more. Ha! Don’t I wish!
Crap, I could just take a nap right here, but I’ve got to be at work by 0730 so… Shit. As tired as I am now I’ll probably bleed my ass off all day tomorrow!
Anyway, I guess I better boogie now, D. I don’t need an Article 15 on top of the trouble I’ve got with those beggars at work. Well, here I go—before I know it I’ll be back in the fires of Hell.