Below you’ll find the fourth and final chapter of Ian Williams’s fictional story, “I Want It All. I Want It Now,” from our Summer 2019 issue. To read from the beginning, click here.
Five days, four nights
It rained the first three days I was in Puerto Vallarta, and the forecast predicted there’d be a crazy storm coming at the end of the week. The crew thought we should forget about the shoot, get out while we could. But the photographer said that we could shoot between rainy intervals.
We all monitored the hourly forecast, and I remained on call from sunrise to sunset. It was enervating—all the waiting—so by nightfall, I needed to spend my energy. But not with the photographer or the crew. Every night, I tied my hair in a ponytail and went for a swim. I wished I had a bike.
On the third night, near the hotel, a pack of stray dogs blew past me—barking, trotting, gnashing at one another and pouncing on the backs of nearby dogs. They scattered briefly whenever a car came nearby—their eyes flashing in the headlights—before returning to formation.
Lagging behind the pack was a brown hairless dog with alert ears, like a deer. It limped, then lay down. Limped, then lay down. One of its rear legs was raw, the muscle stripped back like licorice. I got close to it, and it barked—but erratically, like it couldn’t tell where I was. Possibly in shock. Or old. I knelt beside it. No, it was blind.
I let the dog smell one of my hands and placed the other on its head.
Suddenly the dog turned its head and barked in the opposite direction. A bus stopped near the hotel, exhaled, then heaved forward.
In the dusty aftermath of the bus, Hudson appeared, walking toward me, knapsack slung over one shoulder. Even at a distance and through the dust, I could see his eyes and his cheekbones, both of which seemed disproportionately large for his face. He was thinner.
He looked at his phone, upward at the hotel, back at his phone. He adjusted his knapsack. Then he saw me near the side of the road with the dog. He didn’t say anything—even when he was close enough to speak. He just turned his palms upward. Meaning, What are you doing out here? Meaning, Do you want me? Meaning, Is this enough for you?
Beneath me, the dog was scraping its leg with its teeth. Making things worse.
Hudson approached. My phone vibrated like an alarm.
He opened his arms wider. Meaning, I want to touch you. Meaning, Please.
He crouched beside me, near the dog. He put his hands near the dog’s lungs. It let its head fall against the grass. It closed its eyes.
I need to get a needle, I said.
Something about Hudson’s frown made me direct the question to him.
Do you have a needle, Hudson?
On the fourth day in Puerto Vallarta, the storm arrived. First came the wind. Then the sky turned purple. The photographer banged on our doors. I left Hudson in the room and rushed out to our location.
We had to work quickly before the rain.
I’ve been lied to about many things before: Santa Claus, who got me a Sky Dancer because I had been a good girl. My mother would be around to see me graduate. The guy in Grade 10 had never felt up a girl before. You can’t taste the difference between vegetable chips and regular chips. I could do anything if I put my mind to it. I could have anything I wanted. I could have it all.
Hudson hadn’t slept well last night.
The photographer knew what she wanted.
She shot me with my feet in the water. He shot up in the hotel bathroom. She shot me after they brushed wet sand from my thigh. He shot up with a bandana tied around his bicep. Over here. Shot up sitting in the space between the toilet and the bathtub. Look behind me, Odile. He shot up and leaned his head against the tile. Nice. Arch your back. He shot up with the decoy bottle of multivitamins still open on the toilet seat, two clean spoons, a lighter.
Let’s do another one like that. Feet up. Hold your core and the fruit. He shot up while watching a lizard crawl against the window in the main room. Yes. Mouth open now—a little more. He shot up until all his veins stood out from his skin. Lean back. He shot up until he was warm. You think you can move your right leg forward? Until heat emanated from him, until he was a gong reverberating. Flex your calves, relax your arms. Point your feet hard. Shot up into the bliss of Odile. Keep your balance, Odile. Hold it. Hold it. Breathe.
Odile’s story isn’t over yet. Does she stay with Hudson or move on? Follow her on Instagram to see how her story ends @the.real.odile. Plus, see her photoshoot in Mexico below.