Flytrap’s Home for Women
By Michael D. Davis
was a regular day in Quartertown, Iowa, there were clouds in the sky, earth
underfoot, and the faint sound of profanities on the wind. Count Whorton was
sitting on an old seat with a torn cushion in the dank, dark auditorium of
Double Dan’s X-rated theater. He sipped from his flask and watched the bald
spot on the head of the man three rows ahead.
wasn’t there long before there was a slap on his knee and he pulled back his
legs to let Irma get in next to him. When she was seated, Irma glanced at the
screen and blurted out, “Sweet damn, all that hair.”
shushing sound came.
said, “I know right, I don’t think ol’ Double Dan has any films from this
he was deliverin’ a package and she answered the door in nothin’ but-”
you dipshit, I mean with bald spot up there”
him, nothin’. He’s just sittin’ there, I got a picture on my phone for the
then there’s nothin’ else to do here.”
I was just waitin’ for you.”
shifted in his seat leaning closer to Irma and lowering his voice. “Look two
rows back and about half a dozen seats to the left.”
Someone, we know?”
shifted and stretched to cover, to make the glance over her shoulder less
conspicuous. What she saw behind her was a woman closing in on a hundred. The
lady had white hair, a shrunken deflated body, and she seemed to be gnawing on
over there,” Count said, “was here when I got here. She hasn’t taken her eyes
off the screen and she’s eatin’ grapes from a baggy.”
what?” Said Irma.
just never figured this skin flick house catered to old Presbyterian ladies.”
you thought it was gonna be all middle-aged men?”
just didn’t think it was gonna be Estelle Getty. Ready to go?”
unless you wanna stay and watch Debby does Des Moines?”
and Irma walked out of the theater, only stopping to slip Double Dan himself a twenty.
“Thanks for the tip-off, Double D,” Count said when he gave him the bill.
they walked away from the theater that sat across the street from the
courthouse Irma said, “So, how do you think the client’ll take it? I mean her
hubby’s not cheatin’, but yet he’s a regular at a porn theater.”
who the hell knows?” When they reached their old rusted Buick station wagon,
Count lit a bent cigarette before getting in. Then he said to Irma, “You know
why they call him Double Dan?”
He’s got Big ol’ Double D’s.”
cause he’s nuts, says everythin’ twice, wears two pairs of pants, two shirts.”
drove down the street, the Buick running fine, but the muffler making noises
that frightened children.
get somethin’ to eat?”
with me,” Count said.
cause you’ll have to do some more work later. We got a call earlier from that
know, a little thing, always in black. She works at the St. Belvedere Hotel,
helped us at Christmas, datin’ Kenny now.”
rings a bell.”
her grandmother’s possibly in trouble.”
wrong with Mema now?”
thinks she may be in a cult or somethin’. Needs us to see about it.”
so, we shall.”
in the afternoon Count and Irma were on the north side of town. Parked on the
street between luxurious old mansions Irma said, “That’s the one there. It’s a
home for women or a boarding house or somethin’. Just head in and figure out
what you can.”
took a sip from his flask and said, “Good plan.”
straightened his tie, took his hat, slicked back his hair, changed her mind and
replaced the hat.
get in the door you’ll say you’re from the paper.”
one more thing.” Irma took out an old pair of glasses from her purse and stuck
it on Count’s head. They were a thick prescription making his pupils appear the
size of quarters.
I really need these magnifying glasses, Irma?”
were a dollar at a garage sale and they complete the look. Now, go. Do this
then we’ll head home and watch an old beach movie.”
walked across the street, tripping over the curb as he struggled to see out of
his new spectacles. A young woman came to the door of the house when Count rang
I help you?” She said firmly.
do hope so, dear. I’d like to talk to the head… in charge lady.”
Flytrap does not see unscheduled visitors.”
I’m sure an exception can be made if you could just tell the um… Doc I’m here.”
who are you?”
am Martin Bipple of the newspaper,” Count Whorton said.
was a long sigh then the woman told him to wait. When she returned, she showed
Count into a room with couches, paintings, and more books than leaves on an
oak. Count took the room in for the most part before catching his foot on the
leg of the couch and falling to the carpet with a swear.
pulled himself back up from the floor to see an older woman with a stack of high
hair in a sweater and skirt come in the room.
yes, I’m fine,” Count picked his glasses off the floor and said, “now I can see
ya.” Although the opposite was in fact true. “Might I assume you’re the
said the woman with more of a growl than an answer, “I am doctor Charlotte
I’m Martin Bipple from the paper it’s good to meet ya.”
have a seat.”
stumbled his way to a couch and sat down in front of a coffee table that held a
bowl of caramels.
me, Mr. Bipple,” Doctor Flytrap said, taking the seat opposite Count, “Do all
of the Quartertown newspaper people show up without appointments, the smell of
booze heavy on their breath?”
that’d just be me. I was in the area celebratin’ a friend’s birthday. I was
obliged as it were to imbibe. And if you wish me to come back another time, I
will. I just thought it might be a good article, you know, this place.”
Flytrap scowled, not that Count could see that.
I’ll give you a few minutes.”
so first of all, what technically is this place?”
my home for women, started by me and my husband. A place for ladies that need
help, support, care, or simply a roof over their head.”
about your husband?”
leaned back on the couch. “This is a nice place. How do you pay for it?
house has been in my family for years. And yes, we do take donations.”
made you wanna start this up?”
wanted to give back.”
a wise man once said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you
can do for your country’.”
F. Kennedy, exactly.”
how many women do you got currently?”
a big number.”
a big house, are we about done here?”
Count said standing up, “and if I come back, I’ll make an appointment first.”
learning,” Doctor Flytrap said, directing Count out of the room.
like another wise man once said, ‘Experience, that’s what separates the girls
from the girl scouts’.”
that also JFK?”
that’s George Hamilton in the 60’s beach party classic ‘Where the Boys Are’.
The wife and I have been on a beach movie kick, you know, Frankie Avalon and
Annette Funicello, that sorta thing.”
well, goodbye, Mr. Bipple.”
wait, one more thing,” Count stood in the open front door. “What type of Doc
am a psychiatrist.”
workin’ on the noodle, seein’ why things don’t come to a boil. Alright, have a
good one Doc.”
walked across the street and got in the Buick with Irma.
anything?” Irma asked.
chickens like muffins? ...Some, I learned a little, I’ll tell ya about it while
we watch ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ tonight.”
the next morning there was an annoying insistent ringing of the doorbell as
Count and Irma tried to sleep.
the fuck is that?” Count asked his eyes clenched shut.
doorbell and I’m gonna kill who’s ever ringin’ it,” Irma said getting out of
bed and finding her slippers. She went out the door leaving it open a few
inches, down the stairs and opened the outer door. There on the sidewalk stood
two uniformed officers and detective Klunkel of the Quartertown police
do you want?”
morning Irma,” Klunkel said, “Is Count around?”
what do you want, Klunky?”
need to bring him in, there was a murder last night and he’s our number one
was with me all night.”
that I don’t trust you, of all people, but we still got to bring him in.”
he’s not here.”
we see for ourselves.”
not,” Irma said leading the officers up the stairs.
looked around for a few minutes in the apartment and office but didn’t find
Count. Only the King, Count and Irma’s beastly little dog which seemed to
frighten one of the officers.
where he is?” Klunkel asked.
I didn’t even notice him leave.”
few minutes back, when Irma was down talking to the police, Count was still in
bed, but his ears were open. He could honestly say he didn’t feel like headin’
down with some bulls to the cop shop at the ass break of dawn. So, he went with
plan B which he’d used multiple times over the years. Count slunk on the floor
and crawled quietly to the closet. The King following him all the way, he
quickly slipped on his shoes, hat, and trench coat over his pajamas. Then Count
stuck his finger into a knothole in the floor and pulled up the trap door.
Below his closet was another closet, particularly the broom closet for The Toe
Tap Bar and Grill below. Count hooked his foot on an old wooden ladder and
descended as the King licked at him. He came out of the closet (literally) then
exited out the Toe Tap’s side door. As the officers were heading up the stairs.
he walked away from the apartment, Count contemplated the dilemma of where to
go. He could only think of one place that was within walking distance so he
started for it.
mom opened the front door wearing pajamas and a scowl. She led Count through
the small house to the stairs leading to the basement. Before he went down, she
told him emphatically to use the outside door to the basement next time.
he got to the bottom of the stairs, he saw Kenny asleep on the couch. Count
walked over to him, picked a magazine off the floor rolled it up and whacked
Kenny on the head. Nearly jumping off the couch Kenny awoke with a scream and a
sunshine, the earth welcomes you to a new day,” Count said sauntering over to
an old beat-up recliner.
the hell are you doing here?”
wanted by the cops for murder and I need a place to stay until the heat dies
down, that good with you Rocko?”
good one, what’s the real reason?”
was the real reason, now where’s your clicker?”
sat up, and threw him the remote saying, “Who’d you off?”
they think you offed?”
a clue, ooh ‘Starsky and Hutch’ is on. You know I think I have the good looks
of Hutch and the personality of Starsky.”
you’re as annoying as Frank Burns and live like Fred Sandford.”
that was a good one, you’re smart in the mornin’, too bad people have to put up
with ya the rest of the day.”
wasn’t there long before the back door opened and someone came in. He didn’t
notice her, in his half-sleep state until she was nearly on top of him.
the hell’re you doin’ here?”
come and go like the neighborhood cat,” Stella said standing above him, “you
know you’re in my chair.”
yeah, well I ain’t movin’.”
did you find anything out about my grandma?”
Oh, I checked the place out and looks on the up and up. We’ll sniff around some
more, see if there’s secretly an eyeball in the punch bowl or somethin’.”
sat down, leaning forward she said, “There is just something really weird about
that place. Since goin’ there my grandma hardly ever talks to me, she never
calls, and when I visit, they hardly let me in. One of the few times I was
allowed to see her she sat in her chair just smiling and mumbling. That’s not
like her. Plus, I heard this other woman call my grandma by this weird name, I
tell you the whole place puts off major creepy vibes.”
Count said, only half listening, “What they call her?”
C name, Carol or Carmen…no it was Carmilla.”
sat bolt upright, “What did you say?”
jumped up and threw the magazine again at a sleeping Kenny. After he woke with
a scream he said, “Fuck! Stop doing that.”
your ass up Kenny, we got an eyeball in the punch bowl.”
and the Carmilla’s are here.”
laid back down saying, “That’s nice.”
fuckin’ moron, don’t you recollect Halloween,” Count kicked the couch, “the supermart.”
sat up, “Shit.”
so get your ass up, we got shit to do. Start by callin’ Doc Box, tell him to go
through the files at the paper lookin’ for anythin’ new on Stuart, the Carmillas,
or this Doctor Flytrap and her boarding house or whatever.”
was starting to stand up when Stella said, “Wait a damn minute, what the fuck’s
dropped back into his chair.
Stegman is a skinny, psychopathic asshole accountant-turned-killer. He’s killed
multiple, most notably his wife, and was never convicted. That doesn’t mean no
one knows what he did, everyone with a functioning brain cell knows. Before he
killed his wife she stashed his only child, a daughter, away somewhere. He’s never
been able to find her, hired me once to do it. But I came back to him with
zilch. Then last Halloween he held me, Irma and Doc hostage at Sweeney’s
Supermart while him and his girlfriend knocked off employees. Stuart wanted me
to spill on the location of his offspring, I kept my lips locked. Your boy toy
here finally chased him off. And now I think he’s back. No, scratch that
lottery ticket, I know it.”
do you know?”
He calls every woman he’s with that name. Plus there was a bowl of caramels on
the table at Flytrap’s. I don’t know how I could have missed something that
why was my grandma called Carmilla, then? He’s not with my…”
sighed and stood up again. “I think you weren’t just eatin’ crackers earlier
when you thought Flytraps place was cult-like. You see, at Halloween, he had
just one girl with him that he called Carmilla, now, I think there’s a whole
league of ‘em.”
don’t know,” Count said cutting her off. “All I know is I need a smoke and a
Whorton took out a bent cigarette from his coat and lit it. He was still in his
pajamas, a pair of old holey sweatpants, and a large black shirt that said,
“Time To Pass Out.” Through washings and much wear, letters had faded away
leaving the shirt to say only, “me o ass Out.”
was at this moment Count had a realization and said, “I just had a realization,
I don’t have my flask.”
went off into another room to get dressed, saying as he did so, “My Ma has some
prickly pear flavored stuff up in the kitchen.”
was already up the stairs, off to interrupt Kenny’s mom’s breakfast. As he came
back down Count said, “I don’t think your Ma likes me, Kenny, but she made me a
sandwich. Okay, here’s the plan: we hunker down here till dark. Doubt the
coppers will check for me here. But you, Kenny, head over and update Irma on
the goin’s on. And I’ll need ya to pick somethin’ up from Dotty for me.”
that?” Kenny was putting on his jacket.
see, just tell her I need the boom boom and the cookies.”
down, Count said to Stella, “You got one of those computer phones?”
regular phone? Yes.”
waved and went out the door.
do some searchin’. Look up that Flytrap place and see what it says.”
really, but the mention of Stuart’s name, name of Flytrap’s husband, and when
the boardin’ house got started. But again, anythin’ really.”
Stella worked on her phone for a minute then said, “Well, I’m not finding any
names. I’m on their website. It does say here, ‘Doctor Flytrap has worked her
whole life to help her fellow women never more than when she started her home
for wom…’ Blah, blah, blah, November. She started it up in November.”
that’s right after the run-in with Stuart at the Supermart.”
your head outta your ass.”
not saying much else here.”
keep lookin’. I’m gonna use the landline to call Miss Pinky.”
got up and grabbed the phone off the hook. He dialed then held it to his ear
soon he was saying, “Okay, okay, sorry, sorry, how was I supposed to know?”
Count slammed the phone down sayin’, “Fuckin’ shit.”
was that?” Stella asked.
mom’s on the phone, she ripped my ass like old underwear.”
use my phone. I’ll dial.”
was talking to Miss Pinky in a matter of seconds. The conversation was short,
to the point, and disappointing.
tell ya Count,” she said, “but Detective Klunkel has been keeping things quiet
and the like. Especially since he knows we talk. So, I don’t know who you
supposedly killed. This time, again, how many times are you gonna be accused of
a clue, keep your ears open, Miss Pinky,” she said bye and Count handed the
phone back to Stella to hang up.
what do we do?”
looked at Stella and said, “Now we do the real work. We think… ponder… go over
everythin’ a thousand times in our heads… all while drinkin’ and watchin’ T.V.”
Stella asked sarcastically.
yeah, shits ‘bout to get real good in here,” Count tapped his forehead and
sipped from a bottle of prickly-pear-flavored booze.
later, after darkness fell over the city, Stella, Kenny, and Count walked out
the back door of Kenny’s parent’s house. Sitting out front in the idling
station wagon was Irma. When they were all loaded up Count said, “Drive, Irmie,
actually doin’ this, Countie?” Irma asked piercing the night with her voice.
the only plan I could come up with, and I think its pretty damn good, more or
then, your flask’s on the dash.”
Irmie, hey Kenny, hand me up that bag you got from Dotty.”
handed Count a big brown paper bag.
that?” Irma asked.
gun, and some girl scout cookies.”
I think it’s Dotty’s niece or something that’s been sellin’ ‘em. I said we’d
take a few boxes.”
meant the gun.”
I don’t know how things are gonna go down here with Stuart so I thought we
could use some extra help.”
don’t shoot yourself with it,” Kenny said, “or even better one of us.”
that wasn’t the plan, but let’s see how the night goes.”
was roughly twelve-fifteen when Irma parked across the street from Doctor
Flytrap’s home for women. Count, Kenny, and Irma all got out while Stella
stayed in the car, the keys in the ignition.
approached the house, going straight for the front door. The plan was to pick
the lock, but before they even tried Irma opened the door wide. It wasn’t
locked at all.
they took different directions on the first floor. All heading towards the back
of the house. Kenny carried his bat, Irma had a knife in her pocket, and Count
forgot the gun in the car. The rooms were all dark and empty, everyone asleep
through the big house, the three of them found each other in the kitchen. None
of them had found Stuart. Looking down another hall, Count saw a light on. He
motioned to Irma and Kenny, they started down the hall. Only a few feet from
the lighted doorway a voice came. It said, “You all would be piss-poor cat
voice wasn’t Stuarts, but Doctor Flytrap’s. Count stuck his head in the door,
she was just sitting at a desk. “Do please come in,” she said.
Kenny, and Irma went in the office, Count leading the way saying, “Damn it,
where is he?”
Flytrap looked at Count and just said, “Hmmm?”
give me that. Where’s Stuart? I’m done with this. I’m not gonna have him come
around every few months to threaten, kill, and terrorize. This all ends
tonight. So, where is he… Carmilla?”
him, lady,” Irma said, “or I’ll shove my foot so far up your ass I’ll have to
reach down your mouth to paint my toenails.”
not necessary,” Doctor Flytrap said, “now please sit and things will become
three of them sat awkwardly on the one couch in the room.
as you maybe could tell I come from money. This house was my grandfather’s. Too
much house for one family, let alone one person. I’d always wanted to do
something with it, but didn’t know what. Then I met a woman.”
to interrupt here,” Count said, “but is this fuckin’ goin’ anywhere?”
Count, Flytrap went on. “She came to me for treatment. In her sessions she went
on and on about this man. It was Stuart. I was so intrigued at his power over
her that I had to meet him. When I did, I learned that my patient wasn’t the
only woman this man controlled. There were nearly twenty of them and he called
them all by the same name.”
Count said, “then you joined them, moved in here, and are now hidin’ him.”
I married him.”
Did you know what he did to his previous wife?”
I did. Stuart wanted access to my money and living here wasn’t too bad either.
I also know about you, all of you. He wouldn’t stop talking about you, Count.”
yeah, where is he?” Growled Kenny.
resting, laying peacefully, not bothering anyone anymore,” Doctor Flytrap
fuck,” Count said.
dead,” Count stood up, “Stuart’s dead ain’t he?”
the fuck’s goin’ on?” Irma said.
cops at our door this mornin’,” Count said, “They weren’t sent by Stuart or
because he bumped someone off. It’s because he’s dead himself.”
who killed him?”
did,” Doctor Flytrap said.
back down Count Whorton and I’ll tell you. Why’d you even stand up, did you
think it would help your point? Fuck, sit down.”
sat and Flytrap spoke. “When I saw the control this measly worthless man had over
these women I nearly threw up. No woman should be controlled by a man. So, I
helped him, built things up, established the house. All to stop him. When you
came here yesterday bumbling about and talking about ocean movies-”
correction beach party movies, Frankie and Annette are in ‘Bikini Beach’ not ‘Titanic’,
but nevertheless go on.”
I knew you instantly, even with those glasses. Stuarts gone on and on about
your hunched back, pus-white skin, and rat-like teeth. I knew shit would hit
the fan once he saw you on the security cameras. So, when he got home, I shot
him. He was going to get one of my girls in trouble or dead with his obsession
was your plan anyway, wasn’t it, to kill him?”
now the Carmilla’s can work without the corrupting influence of men. We will
work together, live together, and most importantly protect each other.”
do I know that we didn’t just go from one asshole to another?”
don’t have a problem with you. Unless you work against us, try to harm us, we
will have no problem.”
show it by getting the cops off my back then everythin’ will be groovy like a
late-night movie.” Irma gave Count a look and he said, “Starsky said it on an
episode this mornin’ or I may have dreamt it.”
I’ll do what ya want,” Flytrap said.
was silent then hesitantly said, “So, we’re just free to go?”
door’s unlocked isn’t it?”
Irma, and Kenny stood up. “Well, alrighty then, but know this; If I start
smellin’ somethin’ ripe in the pipe I’m comin’ back with the plumber.”
three of them started towards the door then Count turned back. “Another thing,
a lady named Ruth—”
grandmother of your little friend, she’s fine. She can come and go as she
pleases, and visit with her grandchildren as much as she wants. Stuart had some
rules that are being amended.”
well, have a good one, I guess.”
they walked out of the dark house Count heard a noise and looked behind him. At
the top of a large set of stairs standing in the black night were several women
all staring down at him. Count gave a wave and went out the door.
they were getting in the car Stella asked repeatedly what happened. Count
finally answered saying, “Nothin’ much, nothin’ much happened all day. Now, who
wants to go back to our place and watch, ‘How to Stuff a Wild Bikini’?”
up for it Countie,” Irma said, starting up the car.
I need to go home anyway. I’ve been in pajamas for twenty-four hours that says,
‘me o ass Out’ on the front and with no underwear. But hey everything worked
out so maybe I should make this a thing.”
kill you first,” Irma said.
yeah,” Count drank from his flask, “It’d be groovy like a late-night movie.”
D. Davis was born and
raised in a small town in the heart of Iowa. Having written over thirty short
stories, ranging in genre from comedy to horror from flash fiction to novella
he continues in his accursed pursuit of a career in the written word.