I went home for Christmas this year.  I don’t like going home much.  I think I finally realize that my parent’s house always feels just a bit lukewarm to me.  It’s not the warm feeling I’d like it to be.  It’s a take it or leave it feeling.  I didn’t know how to put a finger on it before.  But I do now. 

There aren’t exactly bad memories I have growing up there – just not fond ones.  I was the youngest of two, just my brother and me, and for some reason I felt like the stupidest one in the family.  Maybe I was. 

My mom wore the pants in the family, but she was a bit out of control.  She had bad approach with people.  She didn’t know how to talk to them sometimes, or at least didn’t recognize how her approach came off.  She didn’t have the sense to view herself from third person, a birds-eye view, a fly on the wall.  I don’t think she was able to reflect back on events from a different perspective.  She believed she was always right.  Perhaps she had to believe that; she had to think that way.  I wouldn’t have wanted to raise my brother and me. 

There are some interesting things kids do when they don’t have proper direction and healthy outlets of exploration.  I journeyed down those paths more than my brother Mike did.  The only thing he did wrong was shoot his pellet gun at cars. 

It was a nice summer day and he came walking up the porch steps.  A big blond-haired guy in sunglasses followed him gripping his shirt collar.  Mike looked sickly and pale. 

“Derek,” he said, “is mom and dad here?”  

I opened the screen door and let them both in.  Mom walked in from the kitchen.  She had a what-in-god’s-name-is-this-shit look about her.

“Mom, I got in trouble,” Mike said.  He was scared shitless, faint-like, and I think I was scared for him.  Though, I look back on it with a bit of fondness now.

“Ma’am, your son was shooting at cars with his b-b gun,” the man said.

“What the fuck – Jesus Christ,” she scowled.

“And he shot out the rear window of my car,” he continued.

“He did what – you did what?  WHY?”

Mike started crying.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t really mean to.”

“What do you mean, ‘you didn’t mean to?’  What did you think would happen, God damn you?” 

There was no reason to dig in on him and watch any more.  I had the story, I knew enough.  Perhaps out of respect, I got up and went to the kitchen.  My fuckups and misadventures were in the grooming process, getting ready for sweet perfection.  I had no room to rub salt in any of his wounds.

 

One of my first really nice fuckups happened when I was about six.  My mom found a sock, wet with piss, stuck in a toy ambulance I had in my room.  She didn’t know what it was at first, but it was a couple days old.  When she brought it to her nose she nearly puked.  She wanted to kick my ass pretty bad when she found that. 

We only had one bathroom in the house and sometimes, as a young boy, a bad piss came on as quick as a sneeze.  All a sudden it was just there and sometimes someone was in the bathroom, usually my dad. 

I didn’t like disrupting my dad when he was in the bathroom.  If I had to go I knocked.  And when I knocked there was a sound of such irritation from the other side.  I knew this because I had done it many times before.  I didn’t like disrupting him in there.  I wasn’t sure why, but somehow I understood how important the shitter was to him. 

“Dad?” I’d say softly.

“Yeahhh?” he’d say back, annoyed.

“I gotta go to the bathroom.” 

I’d then hear a big sigh, “Jesus Christ,” a long pause until finally, Okay, give me a minute.

It seemed as though he didn’t believe me.  As if I waited, peeking around the corner, daily planner and stopwatch in hand, for him to make his routine jaunt into this private realm.

But the problem was that I tried not to knock.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt and truly believed that he would finish before I could hold my piss no longer.  I waited and waited, and hoped and prayed.  It was my mission for me and my dad, and I did not want to fail.  But sometimes I did.

“Oh, God.  Please, please hurry up,” I’d whisper while marching around my small, square bedroom.  “Oh, God. Oh, God.”  I felt the urine come to its last stop.  The time of walking around, shaking my legs, putting it between them, kneading it like dough had all passed.  The flicking, the tapping, the slapping in hopes of inducing pain were gone. ALL ABOARD!  Last stop!

“Dad?”

“Yeahhh?”

“I gotta go.”

“Jesus Christ.”

I thought of my options.  The kitchen sink, no my mom was down there.  She’d slap the shit out of me.  She’d see me throw my pants down and hop up to use her sink as a new toilet.

“What the fuck – Jesus Christ!” she’d have said, rushing at me.

No. We weren’t going that route.

Outside was another option.  But it was cold and there was no time left.  I couldn’t think to find my shoes let alone run downstairs and unlock the door.  I was simply a piss procrastinator.  I was using my last resort, I was panicking, I was pinching my hole closed.  A long tube sock had to do the trick.  They made those things knee high back then and I was fairly certain it would soak up everything I had to give it.

So I pulled the sock overtop of myself and released my stream.  The sock soaked the piss for a while, but five seconds later it proved useless, just streaming down to the carpet.  The stream was loud, as loud as pissing directly onto the floor.  I had to figure something else and I soon found that pissing against a wall is nearly silent. 

I finished off against my white bedroom wall and put the dripping sock into the back of the ambulance.  To the hospital, stat!  This sock has jaundice!  No one would look there, I thought.

I waited for my dad to flush and exit the bathroom.  It was always a horrible experience to use the bathroom after him, especially if I was just using it as cover.  But I was smart enough to know that I would arouse suspicion by not entering the bathroom immediately after his exit. 

“I thought you had to go?”

“Not anymore.  It just disappeared.  I don’t know what happened.”

Yeah, that wouldn’t have gone over so well.

There were no scented lotions or soaps or candles in our bathroom.  Just the remnants of someone’s bowels usually. 

So I’d drop my pants and sit down.  A warm seat, a couple last dribbles, long enough to really play out the act, time enough to really find out what my dad was all about.  Umm – pot roast and green beans, French style.

I was a slow learner and learned by experience mostly, I suppose.  I happened upon a few more “fire drills” and the dowsing of my walls before my bedroom caught fire.  You see, I understood that I could no longer piss in the same spot so I moved the location across the room, behind a metal bookcase.  It was more like a metal framed piece of shit, but it was functional.  It didn’t have a back or sides.  It was just a cheap piece of shit.  I stored Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Mousetrap on it, and it was located in front of an outlet.

It didn’t know back then how well a conduit piss makes for electricity, but it didn’t take long to figure out.  I learned mostly through experience.

The 120 volts that traveled through my piss and into my body was quite an interesting experience, to say the least.  I suppose it was a fairly warm feeling.  Looking back, I remember feeling a zap in my asshole and bellybutton before feeling the overall shock.  I think I was lucky.  As young boys aren’t usually the straightest of pissers, I thank youth for saving my life and eliminating a next day’s headline – Boy Dies Doing Darndest Thing.

The shock twanged me so hard that I stopped pissing.  And what was left on wall rolled quickly down into the outlet.

Pop – Pop!  Sparks shot from it.  I stood back.  

Pop – Pop!  More sparks.  Then suddenly, Whuff. 

Flames began to crawl up the wall.  They grabbed my board games.  I tucked my little pecker away before dad ran in.

“What the hell!” he screamed.  He grabbed the games and ran with them to the tub. 

I don’t think my parents ever put the two together – my piss and the fire – but I remember it and feel a bit guilty.  And for years I was reminded of it by the charred blackness on the wall that always came through the fresh coats of paint.     

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This new game is very controversial and is a “hush-hush” situation from EA Games.  It’s called Book Depository and the player becomes Lee Harvey Oswald who goes into the depository to pick up the gun and shoot JFK.  The only problem is he has to get away alive!!  He can go home, but people will see him walking the streets.  Soon the cops will be there to arrest him.  He can wait and go to jail, but here comes Jack Ruby as he walks through the parking garage.  He can hide in the depository, but for how long?  Can you save Lee Harvey Oswald, and can you point him and other people to the true killers?  Be on the lookout for the new game – Book Depository – Spring 2010

Our Agreement

May 4, 2009

I called her. She agreed to the conditions and said, “Just don’t kill me.” I told her I wasn’t that kind of guy.

When I called her the second time she said she had to put her baby to bed. The daddy came home from work and just fell asleep, she told me on the phone. “He knew I was going out tonight,” she said. “Mother-fucker just doesn’t give a shit.”

“Why don’t you leave him?” I asked.

“I can’t. He’s my life line,” she said.

We met at a bar called Tiny Tad. It was a dive. I loved it and so did she. She was nervous and giddy. I was drinking beer and she ordered a Jameson and ginger ale. It was on me – the whole night was. It was part of our agreement.

“So, have you been here before?” I asked.

“Like three times,” she said.

I nodded and sipped beer. “Did you get ahold of your dude?” I asked.

“He’s not picking up,” she said. “I tried calling him three times before I left the house. I’m literally blowing his phone up. I’ll try calling him in fifteen minutes.” She laughed and took a drink.

She had nice eyes. She knew the right kind of make-up for them. It was a light blue with a hint of glitter. Her teeth needed work though. I could tell she was a smoker. There was a tiny bit of yellow on the right front one and her gums looked like red meat. She was only 23 and I could already tell she was heading for trouble by the looks of her mouth.

She wore jeans and a low-cut blouse, and her boobs looked good in her black bra. Further down on her was a little less likeable. Her butt was frumpy and she had a tire of fat left behind from her recent pregnancy. I suppose it wasn’t worth the effort to get rid of, I thought.

“You gonna give your guy a call again?” I asked. She looked at the clock and picked her phone up off the bar. Then she walked outside to make the call. When she returned she sat back down hard at the barstool.

“I left him a message this time,” she said. “He better fucking call me back.”

“Drink your drink,” I told her. She did. She picked up the glass and pulled hard on the two stir straws sticking out. I watched the contents disappear. I looked at Steve, the bartender, and asked him for another one for her and two Yeager Bombs.

“So you talked with this guy yesterday?” I said.

“Who? My connection?” she said.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Yes, but I think he might not be calling me back because this one bitch has been opening up her mouth about me.”

“Oh,” I said. “And what does she have to do with it?”

“Well she thinks I fucked her over with money and now she’s telling others a bunch of shit.”

I let it go.

“Is there anyone else you know who can get it for us?” I asked.

She opened her phone and scrolled. “Yeah,” she said. “But I don’t have his number with me.”

“Where’s the number?” I asked.

“On my computer.” She took another hard pull on the straws.

“Do you just need an internet connection, or is it actually on your computer.”

“If I could just get on a computer,” she said. I pulled my phone out and opened the browser.

“What’s the address?” I said. She told me. I then handed the phone to her to enter her name and password.

A little while later she said, “Cool. I got it.” She handed my phone back to me and stepped outside again to make another call.

She returned after making her call and having a cigarette. Her teeth looked no better, but she was starting to feel a bit more comfortable with me. She took another sip of her drink and asked, “Are you hungry?”

“I could eat,” I said. “What are you hungry for?”

“Hmmm,” she said. She looked up at the bar’s filthy ceiling and put a finger to her lips. “I know a really good Mexican place not far from here.”

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s finish our drinks and go.”

When I had finished mine Steve popped over and handed me another. It was not what I expected but I knew he was doing a fine job of taking care of me. “Thanks Steve,” I said. “This will be my last one.”

At the restaurant she ate like she hadn’t eaten in days. She chased each bite of her burrito with her hand so that nothing fell out. When we were done I took care of the bill. It was part of our agreement.

When we got in the car I told her to call her guy again. She did and he told her to come over, that he was sure he could get it. We went over and pulled into the parking lot of his apartment complex. They always live in apartments, I thought to myself. When we parked she called him again.

“We’re here,” she said. “Do you have it?” I watched her talk. Her eyes clicked around as she listened. “Wait – hold on,” she said. She put the phone to her shoulder. “He says he can get it, but he needs the money first and then he’ll go get it.”

I thought for a moment and then shook my head. There was 150 dollars on the line and I didn’t want to get taken. Not tonight, I thought. I looked over at her and said, “No. It doesn’t seem right. We’re going to have to go without I guess.”

She thought for a second and then put the phone back to her ear. “No I don’t think that’s going to work for us right now,” she said. I watched her eyes click again.

“I know, but it’s not my money,” she said. “Alright. Bye.” She hung up. “Damn,” she said.

We drove back to my place and I opened two bottles of white wine I had purchased that afternoon. It was part of our agreement. I poured one glass of each and asked her to try both.

“You seemed like you’d prefer white wine,” I said.

“Yeah. How did you know?” she asked.

“Just a good guess,” I said. But the truth was because I had not taken her to be too sophisticated if at all.

As we talked we drank and as we drank we talked. And after a two bottles of wine and a few beers the conversation fell into a spot in which she said, “I love watching porn but my boyfriend won’t watch it with me.”

“Really?” I said. She nodded and slurped her wine. She was on the verge of getting messy.

“He thinks it’s weird or something,” she said.

“I have some if you want to watch it,” I told her.

“Fuck yeah,” she said, tucking her legs under herself on the couch.

I turned one on and we watched it for a few minutes. “You know what this is going to make us want to do,” I said.

“Well, yeah,” she said. “That’s what usually happens when you watch porn.”

A few minutes later I found we were both right. I also found out that she was a good a kisser and that she loved giving head. She finished me off that way. It was pleasurable and I went to sleep.

The next morning I was happy to wake and find that my car had not been stolen and my neck not slit. She was merely sitting against the wall on my bed smoking a cigarette.

“I’ve been awake for like two and a half hours,” she said.

“I’m surprised you didn’t wake me,” I said.

“No. I hate it when people wake me, so…” she shrugged.

I got up and made coffee. I realized she was antsy so I told her I would take her home right after I had coffee.

“It’s okay,” she tried telling me.

I gave her a cup of coffee, black. She tilted it to her lips, burnt them and quickly pulled away. I put my cup down and opened my wallet. I handed her some money. It was part of our agreement. She took it and looked at me.

“You do not know how much I appreciate this,” she said. “I am so happy you didn’t dick me.”

“I did,” I said smiling. “That’s why I’m giving you money.” She laughed.

“I know my daughter is up now,” she said. “I just wonder if asshole is watching her.”

Before we left I said, “I feel you should have something of mine to remember our night.”

“Oh yeah?” she said.

“Yes,” I said. “Is there anything here you want? A book or something?”

“I’ll take your lighter,” she said.

“This one?” I asked, pulling it out of my pocket.

“Yeah,” she said.

“Okay,” I said. I handed it to her. It was part of our agreement.

The ride back was quiet. There was small talk about her plans for the day and mine. When I got to her street she asked me to keep going straight. She told me she wanted me to drop her off at the grocery store up the road. There were things she needed. When I stopped at the front door I told her to kiss me once more. She did and she playfully bit my lip in the process. She got out and we said goodbye and she shut the door.

Around the corner I stopped to fill the tank before heading back, and I watched her walk down the road to wherever it was she was going. She must have forgotten about what she needed at the store.

A Terrible Convenience

April 3, 2009

Norman Gable pulled himself up from the couch and breathed a heavy sigh.  He pulled the wedge from his ass and picked his plate up from which he just finished a pork chop and boiled potatoes.  His fork swerved a slight and he caught it, just soon enough.  Maddie, his dog, his only dog, was just below him at his feet.  Norman adjusted himself and rebalanced the plate, and now his knife slid too.  Again, he caught it – right in the thumb.  It sliced through.  Norman felt the pain.  He let loose and watched the knife tumble from his plate.  Instinctively, he tried sticking his foot out to protect Maddie, but he was nowhere close—he couldn’t possibly move that fast.  The knife came down square on his dog’s back – handle-side down – and bounced to the floor. 

Maddie looked at the knife, now twirling on the floor, and then looked back up to Norman and blinked.  Norman breathed a sigh of relief and checked his thumb.  Not too bad, he thought.  He stuck it in his mouth for a quick suck.  When he pulled it back out he checked it one more time and pulled the meat of the cut apart to see how deep.  When he concluded he’d live he bent down to retrieve the knife.  His movements were calculated and slow.  He was still balancing the fork on the plate that he tried desperately not to tip. 

At the right distance Norman reached out and fingered the knife.  The knife spun from his grasp.  Norman readjusted and went for it again.  Again, the knife spun away – further this time.  Norman readjusted, again, and reached out – even further now.  When he finally nabbed it, he moved quickly to maintain an upright position.  He desperately needed to. 

At fifty-two, Norman’s knees were not what they used to be.  They certainly weren’t what they should have been, but definitely not what they used to be.  Maddie watched upwardly as her heavy – no, her overweight – her very overweight master hovered directly above her.  She noticed that he strained, that something was out of sorts and different, but she did not know what to make of it as she was just a dog.  She watched his muscles quiver and his veins pop from his neck and forehead, but again she did not know what they were; only that she had never seen them and that they were, simply, new to look at. 

As he quickly moved to straighten himself a magnificent and terrible pain in his lower back seized all his momentum and movement.  Nearly all his muscles froze tight in their present positions.  Norman grimaced violently.  His teeth clenched.  Maddie wagged her tail.  Her sad eyes still gazed up. 

Norman tried to fight.  He tried to hold steady, just a couple moments, hoping the pain would release and slide away.  He tried to breathe it out.  Lamaze, he thought.  He’d seen an actress do it on tv.  It was no use.  His muscles were completely locked.  His left leg quivered madly.  He had only been in this terrible position for a few seconds, maybe ten or fifteen, but it seemed like forever.  Norman knew he could not hold his body up like this much longer.  He was in a one-legged, half- squat position and he was feeling his descent was near. 

He tried letting go of the plate, he tried letting go of the knife, too.  But he couldn’t.  His muscles wouldn’t release.  They quivered, but any voluntary action was virtually impossible.  And so, Norman Gable gave himself, the entire weight of his fat ass – slowly, regrettably, ever so hatefully – to the beckoning gravity that pulled him on top of the innocence of his dog. 

It was, at this point—just so we’re clear—nearly impossible for her to have lived long under the massive weight of Norman who was now crashing down on her.  The knife, frozen in his hand, was simply a terrible convenience for her.  Terrible because that’s what knives are when they tear through the skin, and a convenience because she would have suffocated, slowly and for many labored minutes – her heart pumping madly and her lungs only catching short bursts – before her old rib bones gave way and ended it all, had there not been a knife in the picture.  It would have been much worse for her, I know.  It was a terrible convenience.

But that surely would have been difficult to have guessed after listening to her sincere and gruesome howl when the knife plunged through.

Norman’s arm initiated the cut into Maddie’s left side, and the fall of his body upon Maddie, and upon the knife too, finished the job. 

 

Norman lied still on his dead dog for nearly half an hour before he was able to move again.  And when he was it was his arm that moved first, his left arm to be exact.  He used it to help pull his knees back underneath himself.  When he had finally done that, he slowly pulled his right arm out that had been trapped under his heavy belly.  He gasped loudly when it finally released as it was now totally barren of any blood supply.  The weight of his body and the precarious position the arm was in when he fell upon it provide no chance for any blood to enter. 

Norman dangled his dead arm on the floor and whimpered in anguish between his heavy gasps.  He looked at Maddie and threw his arm up to her head to try and caress her.  His arm slipped from her fur and lumped to the floor.  When he had finally shaken blood back to it, he pulled his now dead dog into his arms and slowly tried to stand again. 

Norman understood that with Maddie’s extra 43 lbs – not to mention his weight and the fact that his arms and hands were completely utilized – standing was going to be a real feat.  He knew that he had to get his legs underneath him this time.  He certainly didn’t want his muscles to react they way they did earlier.    

When he finally reached his feet, Norman rotated and walked to the door at the other end of the room.  The knife’s handle, which now stuck out from Maddie’s left side, wobbled in front of Norman’s face with each of his heavy steps.  When he reached the door – a swinging door leading to the lobby of the motel – he rotated round again and exited in reverse, and into the lobby where a young couple stood at the counter.

“We’ve been ringing the bell for about five minutes,” the woman said.  She had dark hair and an irritated look on her face. “Have you been back there this entire time?”

“Yeah, sorry,” Norman said.  He laid Maddie on the desk behind the counter and the turned to help his customers.  He really felt the pain in his back now and so he leaned down against the counter to reduce the strain.

“What’s wrong with…”  That was all the dark haired woman managed to say before she gasped.  “Oh my God!  Is that – is that a knife sticking out of…?”  She raised her hands to her face a quivered.

The lady’s husband reached to comfort her but she shrugged him off and held her hand up, halting any further movement from him.

Norman placed a couple different kinds of motel literature on the counter and then slapped a pencil down on top. “Yep, the dog is dead.” he said, simply.  “We have five rooms available,” he continued, breathing heavily every four or five words.  His massive size and the weight that hung throughout his torso was enough to fuck the life out of any of his organs, let alone his lungs.  “They all have one double bed.”  He breathed again. “Cable television, a couple pay channels.”  He breathed again.  “The price is thirty-eight dollars, plus tax.  The total is forty-two twenty-nine,” he breathed, “but just the forty-two will be fine.”

“How did you kill…?” She gathered herself again. “Why did you kill that dog?” 

“Honey, shh,” her husband whispered.  “I’m sure he didn’t kill that dog.”

Blood from Maddie’s wound now puddled on the desk behind Norman.  “Actually Sir,” breathed Norman, “I did kill her.”

The woman startled and stepped back.  She clenched her hand and then relaxed it.

“Not on purpose!” Norman said loudly at the woman, waving a bloody finger at her.

The woman held back tears and anger, and asked flatly, “Do you have a room that doesn’t have murdered dogs?

Norman looked up at her and rolled his eyes.  He had obviously not realized that his hand was now deep red.  He had also not realized that part of his shirt near his groin was stained. 

“So how long you planning?” Norman asked.

“Excuse me?” the guy asked.

“How many nights?  How long?” Norman asked again.

“You know what, honey?” the woman said bitterly.  “Maybe we should stay somewhere else.”  Her eyes rolled to meet Norman’s eyes at the word else.  “Sir,” she said smarmily, “Is there another place down the road that we can stay at?” 
            “Uh, honey – it’s in which we can stay or that we can stay” her husband said, correcting her.  He was an English teacher in Ohio, and he had corrected her at least twenty times in their two days of marriage. 

She shot him back a look that would’ve maimed faces and eyeballs had it more time to, but she quickly turned back to Norman.  “Sir, I’d like to stay somewhere where dogs aren’t being killed by morons.  Is that possible?”

Norman, still leaning on the counter, looked up at her and nodded.  “If you’re sure that’s what you want to do,” he breathed, “there’s a place about eighteen miles east…” He breathed again, “Right here on 22.”  Norman meant Interstate 22 and the couple was well aware of that.  They had been driving it for the last three hours. 

“Eighteen miles isn’t too bad – we can make it!” the man said, trying to encourage his wife. 

“Yeah, I think we can make that,” she said tauntingly, looking over at Norman.  “We have enough gas.”

“But that place just burned down,” Norman said, his bloody hand in the air again.  “On…Wednesday,” he said.  “Just this past Wednesday.”

“What’s the next place after that?” the husband asked.

“Ahh,” Norman groaned, tilting his head back, thinking and rubbing his bloody hand through his hair and over his face.  When he was done – “Ahhhh” – he had ran blood trails all around his face and head.  “The only place after that is called the Silhouette, but that’s not a hotel – it’s a…”  Norman caught himself and looked up at the woman who now had an eyebrow raised.  “I don’t think there’s another hotel for at least fifty miles from here.  I can call information to be sure, but I believe…”

“Yes – please do,” the man said.

“No, it’s okay,” said the woman.  She turned toward her husband.  “Well stay here tonight and we’ll leave first thing in the morning.”

Norman looked up at the woman and stared at her, like a walrus sunbathing its face.

“Um, Sir,” the man said. “You have blood all over your face.”

Norman looked down at his hand.  “Ahh, shit,” he groaned.  He rubbed his hands together and created hundreds of tiny blood squirmies that fell to the counter.  He wiped them to the floor. 

“Okay,” breathed Norman.  “I’m going to put you two love birds in room 24.”  He put the key on the counter and pushed an authorization form in front the husband.  “I just need you to sign the bottom.” 

 

The couple walked up the stairs and down the hall to room 24 which opened from outside.  When they entered they flipped the lights, closed the door, and tossed their bags on the bed.  They breathed the smells and flavors decades of guests left behind.  It was not a pleasant fragrance but it stirred something primitive in the man.  He took his new wife from behind and drove his groin into her ass.    

“Get the fuck off me, Greg!” she screamed.  She ripped his hands away and spun from his reach.

“What the hell, Samantha?” he said.  He turned toward her.  His arms fell to his thighs. 

The moment was ruined.  Greg felt his erection turn to dejection.  He had been driving for seven hours, beginning sometime after four that afternoon, and he had all but worked himself into a horn-ball frenzy.  He liked looking at her.  He liked her smell.  She was a bitch – a true bitch.  But he was now only learning that.  He kind of liked it.

Greg watched her as she fumbled through her make-up bag in front of the mirror.  She did not look up to meet his eyes.  She knew he was annoyed. 

“I forgot something,” Samantha said.  She pulled things from her bag now, but knew what she was looking for wasn’t there.  She shook her head and slammed everything back into it.  “I have to go back down to the office.  I can’t believe I forgot…”  She mumbled the last couple words.

“Honey, I’ll go down and get it,” he said.  “What is it?”

“No, it’s not a big deal,” Samantha said.  “I’ll be right back.”

“Honey, please,” Greg begged.

“I’ll—fucking—get it!  Okay?” Samantha said.  She looked at Greg.  He looked back with fear, as if he had just made the biggest mistake in his life.

“I’m sorry,” she said.  She tried meaning it.  “You’ve been driving all day,” she said.  “Just stay here and relax a bit.  I won’t be long.”

Samantha walked out, closed the door behind her and darted down the hall and down the steps to the motel’s office.  She opened the office door, stepped inside, and quickly closed it behind her.  She gave Norman a cold stare.  Norman looked up and considered himself.

“Oh, yeah,” he said.  “The dog situation,” he pointed his thumb over his shoulder.  “It was a complete accident.  I take full responsibility.”

Samantha shook furiously.  Her breathing was deep and controlled.  A tear streamed down her right cheek.  “Our plan is ruined,” she said.  “Do you realize that?”

            “No,” said Norman.  He lifted the phone from the desk and put it to his ear. “Your plan is ruined.”

Sunlight streaked through the cold, stained glass of the church’s south wall, lighting a narrow diagonal path across the oak pews until reaching the marble steps of the pulpit.  It was the first time Fr. Clem had remembered sitting in the pews since being reassigned to the church early last year, and he thought, momentarily, of whether or not it was merely his subconscious that had invited him to sit in the chilly, shadowed ones on the opposite side.  As he gazed through the glass podium he usually spoke to his parishioners from, his eyes fixed upon an earth-toned, stained glass image of Saint Michael readying his sword above a demon below his feet.  Fr. Clem gave a scared sigh of relief.  He felt free, finally, in a disturbed sort of way—like when a homeless man gets locked up and provided with a warm bed and three meals—but he wanted to believe that this wasn’t how things were supposed to go for him.  He knew this was the end, and he prayed that it would not be he looking up at the Archangel’s sharp, sure justice one day.                  

He remembered the time when people once loved him.  When they’d invite him to their homes for dinner and give him pies to take home when he left.  When boys would ask him to come to their soccer games and the girls would hope to see him at their recitals.  When housewives would send him thank-you letters if they thought he delivered an exceptionally good message to their family, and their husbands would constantly query him about his gifts of acceptance and tolerance.  Everywhere he went people considered him an icon of the community, and he never once took it for granted.  Never once did he develop an ego or a superior attitude.  It was his job, he thought, to be caring and humble.  It was his job to be there for others.  And it was his job, at one time, to always make the right decision and guide others to do the same.  People once loved him.   He missed those times.  

As he scraped the dried blood from the fingernail of his thumb he heard the northern most doors behind him open and close.  Soon after followed a quick-paced, cushioned thud-thud-thud.  Fr. Clem could almost visualize his future unfolding in front of him.  Stopping next to him at the second pew where he sat, Sr. Manna took a moment to catch her breath.

“I’m sorry to bother you Father, but you must come right away.  Something terrible…” Her last words weren’t lost in thought as much as they were known to be unnecessary.  After noticing his appearance—tears dripping down a blood spattered ghost-white face, and hands that slowly kept wrapping round one another—she knew her words were useless.  

“Call the police, Sister,” he said without looking up.  “Tell them there’s been an accident.”

Sr. Manna stood motionless.  She did not want to believe that the dear priest she had grown very fond of had been the sole contributor of the scene she had just come from.  But then again, everything kind of seemed to make sense to her now: his many transfers; the gossip—which for the most part was frowned on but almost inevitable—that had followed him to the new ministry; his teachings on intimacy and love, which were, in his words, “not to be denied, but strengthened beyond the understandings of this world;” and the fact that he had the practice of not talking to any female in his office without another from the ministry present.  An extreme contradiction, she thought, of the faith and honesty the church prided itself on. 

“Please, sister,” this time facing her, but avoiding eye contact.  “Call them for me.  Tell them they need to hurry.”

Another moment went by before Sr. Manna found it in her to make a move toward the door and to a phone.  She, and the other sisters connected to the diocese, had become very fond of Fr. Clem, and she could understand why he had had so much difficulty in the priesthood.  She had even heard about a few of the younger nuns who were sent away after jokingly admitting that, “Fr. Clem had stirred something very primitive inside them by his slightest glance or smile.”  But they all felt it.  There was no joke about it.  It was very serious.  Only the strong ones were able to suppress these feelings and move on with their lives of love and unification with God.  Those who talked about these impure thoughts were harshly dealt with and transferred, and those who didn’t, who couldn’t suppress it, lived with it; like an organ hemorrhaging a poisonous cyst.  And those unfortunate ones who actually came to him to talk about it, openly and honestly—well, that was the needle puncturing the tumor.  No prayer could help them then. 

“Is there anything else I can do for you, Father Clem?” 

She knew what the phone call would mean.  That it would probably be the last time she would talk with him.  That the media would frenzy over the opportunity of uncovering another vile and corrupt minister.  And his past, whatever it was comprised of, would resurface and be twisted in the direction they’d need for it to support some certain angle of theirs.

“No,” he said somewhat uncertain, remembering the message of his fortune cookie last night that read; Extend a hand and you’ll live long.  “I believe it’s too late to do anything for me.”

 

Forgive me, Father, I have sinned. 

It is, of course, the usual opening for those who come to the confession booth, and Fr. Clem had heard it now for 14 years, 4 days a week, over and over.  The mornings of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were for the public—who usually (Fr. Clem thought, at least) white-knuckled their way to salvation with half-truths and slants.  Just enough for them to walk away feeling forgiven, but not really enough to keep them from doing whatever they confessed about next week, or tomorrow even.  The forth day on the other hand, Saturday, was for those who belonged to the ministry; nuns, acolytes, students, and trainees. 

The nuns, who hardly ever missed an opportunity to confess, whether it stemmed from obligation or the chance to finally let loose of womanly emotions without repercussion, were frequently boring to listen to.  They often consisted of things such as not praying long enough before sleep; daydreaming during the rosary; being too unorganized, or too meticulous.  Things you and I would hardly imagine adding to a confession.  Things we would believe were harmless personality traits.  Things Fr. Clem had wished never would’ve changed, because in July of 1977, the good priest was overwhelmed with a surge of confessions that left him fearing for his sanctity and his life.

 

“Forgive me, Father,” said Sr. Willona, her voice trembling, “for I have dreamed very sinfully.” 

“Yes, but remember Sister,” Fr. Clem said soft and soothingly.  “Our dreams are just another way for God to communicate to us.  Please do not be frightened of them.  It is his way of allowing the two of you to become closer.”

“I understand Father, but if God wants me to be closer with him then I am positive it was not He that allowed me to dream such things.” 

Sr. Willona had come to the convent roughly two years earlier and had visited with Fr. Clem on many occasions.  Most of the time she came to him in tears, outside the confession booth, and talked to him of the hatred she felt coming from the other sisters.  Fr. Clem believed the other nuns treated her unfavorably out of jealousy, out of the fact that she had been born with a womanly charm not often seen about the nunnery.  And though he could do little to help her in most of these affairs, he did speak of the matter with the Mother Superior, whose last words—“We treat each other with fairness and equality, Father!”—were spoken with a strength not to be questioned again. 

“I would ask you to pray on it Sister.  Pray and ask God to take your unclean dreams from you.”

“I have Father,” she said now in a low, desperate voice.  “For the last two months now I’ve prayed He take them, and pray He hasn’t turned his back on me.”

“My child, God turns his back on no one, and I’m sure you know that.”

“Yes, Father.  But what can I do?” she whispered pleadingly.  “It seems that the harder I pray the easier it is for me to have these unholy thoughts.  At first it was just one or two a week, but it’s been eighteen consecutive nights now, and each one grows more vivid, more real.”

“Have you spoken to anyone about them?” Fr. Clem asked patiently.

“Heavens no, Father!  I will not give the sisters any more reason to doubt my love and devotion to God.”

“Do you wish to, my child?  Maybe if you spoke to someone about these dreams it would help them go away.  Maybe you just need to get things off your mind.” 

Fr. Clem waited a moment for a response but heard only light sobs through the confession window.  “Would you like me to set up an appointment with outside counsel?”

“I don’t think so, Father,” she sighed.  “If I leave someone’s certain to ask where I am or where I went, and will not be able to tell falsely of my whereabouts.  Sooner or later they’ll know where I went.  It’s better if I stay here.”

Again, Fr. Clem hesitated, and then softly spoke.  “You know, of course, your thoughts stay here, with us.  But you do not need to go any further with me.  I know your heart is pure, and God knows it as well.”

“I think if you knew of my dreams you would question the purity of my heart as much as He is,” she said in a cold whisper.

“My child, maybe it is He you dream of.  Have you thought of that?”

“Father, it is not!” she struck out before breaking into sobs.  “And as much as I pray that it would be, that the face of the man that I reach lustfully for turns into my lord Jesus Christ’s, it becomes more and more noticeable of who…of who…”

Sr. Willona could not find the strength to speak about her troubles through the voice of a frustrated girl and found herself turning the sobbing emotions into fearful spite.

“Father,” she said in a quick, crisp whisper, “it is you I dream of.  I dream that I’m lying in bed and there’s fire all around me.  I can’t see the flames but I feel them.  There’s so much heat but I can’t seem to get out of my room.  I try to get out but for some reason I don’t really want to, so I dream the door is pulled shut by someone on the other side.  Smoke starts rising from the bottom of my habit and then I see you and reach for you.  You hover above me in some sort of balloon.  I know you’ve been there the whole time watching me, and maybe that’s what I like about it.  Maybe that’s where this fire comes from.  And then you pull me close to you as we rise up to heaven.  But there’s no balloon really, not anything, just fire, rising up from our bodies.  I look up in hopes of seeing heaven, but it’s not there—only blackness.  And when we’re through, I land alone, in a lake.  But,” she said, gasping for breath between tears and letting go of a fuf-fuf-fuf sound.  “The most disturbing thing about it, Father, is when I wake up, I’m…” 

Sr. Willona found herself stopping short of using such description.  Fr. Clem, she thought, would understand well enough. 

“My sheets must be taken to the laundry every morning and it’s getting more and more difficult to hide this from the others.”

Fr. Clem sat motionless, stunned.  It was the first time he felt that he could not give a bit of prompt, calming guidance.  In a way he felt threatened but instantly dismissed this victimized feeling.

“You will be plagued with many things in your life, my child.  You have encountered another test of your devotion and love to God.  You must not let these dreams interrupt the progress of your work.  Reject them as best you can and do your best to feel no guilt, for they are only concepts of your subconscious.  Go forth, and sin no more, Sister.”

Sr. Willona stepped embarrassingly from the confession booth.  Her intentions, she recalled, were not to divulge as much as she had, but for unknown reasons could not resist.  She realized she had always felt most comfortable speaking with Fr. Clem, and that this level of comfort would now be greatly lessened.  But she was relieved she hadn’t gone so far as to admitting her love.

In the days following, the good priest was nearly mortified to learn that Sr. Willona was not the only one fraught with tainted dreams.  Two of the other seven were having them as well, and their confessions weighed so heavily upon him that he felt as if each had cast a stone through the structure of his spirituality.  A structure that had now become very brittle.

Sr. Florece, a portly 26-year-old of sisterly qualities, confessed that she constantly dreamed that she stood naked in a meadow of tulips that had died before blossoming, and that she would methodically unwrap the dead, brown encasings of each in hopes of seeing them come back to life.  And in the distance, when she saw the good priest coming toward her, scathing down each dead tulip in his path, she’d find herself dancing around and singing until he’d look up, notice her beauty, and mistakenly sever himself.  If she could stay asleep long enough, which, she thought was the biggest sin of all, he would vanish and she would commence in enjoying herself—all the tulips blossoming red.

The most shocking of them all, though, came from Sr. Deirdre who, as well, had sisterly qualities, but hers seemed to parallel that of a crowbar’s; strong, steady, unbendable, and always seeming to have a particular knowledge somehow of all that took place within the church.  She had been living in the convent for nearly 20 years, and she was one of the last sisters Fr. Clem would have guessed would yield to anything unholy.  And when she spoke with him outside of the confession booth one cold afternoon, her words fell out of her mouth in a not-so-subtle, sarcastic sashay that conveyed a sort of nefarious humor, as if the good priest himself was about to get a lesson in sin 101.

“So, Father Clem,” she began, a slight wicked smile slanted cross her left cheek.  “Things for you have been…rather interesting lately—No?”

At first he thought that she had just been keenly in tune with his recent withdrawn demeanor.

“It has been quite unusual, yes,” he nodded, a bewildered glare beaming out his eyes.

“Are you sure this is what you want?”

“I’m not following you, Sister,” he said, shifting uncomfortably in the leather chair.  “Am I sure what?”

“Oh, it’s too late to act naïve about it, Father.  The chains are finally broken.  And though I tried fighting it for many months,” she said, slowly removing her headdress, “I finally understand what He wants from me, as I’m sure you do as well.”

Fr. Clem’s mouth fell loose and he could hear the rhythm of his pulse.  His mouth went dry and he began to feel nauseous, and he cautiously waited before saying anything too presumptuous.

“If your plan is to leave the convent, Sister Deirdre, this is not the proper way.”  He hoped his stern voice would halt any of her further actions.

“Leave the convent?” she mocked.  “I’m not leaving, Father.” 

Sr. Deirdre stood, walked to the door, closed and locked it, and pulled down the silver drape, revealing an image of Christ, portrayed as if he were cherishing a moment—his head slightly bowed and his hands peacefully clasped together. 

            “For 70 nights you have come to me in my dreams and have used your sarcophagus to pound relentlessly away on the giant, unmovable chain connecting me—my love and adoration—to God.”

Fr. Clem swiveled his chair in order to keep Sr. Deirdre directly in front of him.  He did not understand her intentions, and could now feel his heart beating furiously. 

“Until the last day,” she said, slowly moving toward him, “I had believed you were a man of evil hiding behind the collar.  And each time you came to break the chain I kneeled down and prayed for you to leave, for you to never succeed in doing it.  In fact,” stopping just in front of him and looking down into his fearful eyes, “I didn’t really think it was possible for you to do and was just praying to no longer think of you.  I was planning on taking those dreams to my grave with me, Father.”  Sr. Deirdre now pulled the robed habit off her and over her head, and threw it to the floor next to his chair.  “But then you freed me, and for the first time it was as if sunlight had blasted through the windows of the dark dungeon I’d thought was love—this dark prison I thought I’d spend eternity in.”

Fr. Clem stood up in a controlled fury to face his accuser eye-to-eye.  “I think you’ve gone mad Sister, and I will make a motion to the committee for your transfer.  Excuse me.”  The good priest tried moving past Sr. Deirdre, but with one hand on his chest she threw him back to his seat and stood over him with a conviction he had never seen or felt before.  Fr. Clem now trembled with frustration and fear.  He knew he was stronger than she was but for some reason wasn’t willing to test her again.        

In a quiet but angered voice, Sr. Deirdre explained again.  “Don’t you dare pass this off as me being mad!  My thoughts are more rational than they ever have been before.  Don’t you see it?” her voice softened again.  “Don’t you know what this means?  He has given me to you.  He wants us to be together.”  She stepped closer to him again, this time unbuttoning the white blouse of her undergarments.  “He wants a child from us, Father.”

“Someone HELP!  HELP ME, PLEASE!”  It was only thing Fr. Clem could think of doing.  Evil, he thought, was upon him and he had little strength to battle it himself.  He needed someone to save him, but nobody came.  And though he felt paralyzed by the magnitude of her unholy desires, he was, in a way, mesmerized by it as well.  The good priest closed his eyes and prayed, and Sr. Deirdre had her way with him. 

 

Within a few days the story had made it to the bishop, archbishop, and finally the pope.  It didn’t matter what version of the story they believed—who took advantage of whom—but all agreed that the separation between them had to be far and wide.

Throughout the ten years after the initial transfer, Fr. Clem found himself occupying six different churches in the country.  The story seemed to follow him everywhere within the sect and he had difficulty finding peace where he went.  The ten years also seemed to age him more drastically than any previous ten had his whole life, and he had the trouble trying to rid the inner cloud of despair that he had acquired. 

Not once did he hear from Sr. Deirdre again, but he did hear that she excommunicated herself not too long after her first transfer.  He supposed that many within the clergy hadn’t believed her side of the story all that much, and that the sisterhood had turned their backs on her.  He was happy thinking this was true.  It’s what made his days a bit more endurable sometimes.

On the third Sunday in February of 1987, just after he had finished ministering ten o’clock mass, Fr. Clem walked across the snowy, narrow yard connecting the church to his residence and found his front door standing open a few inches.  He thought he remembered locking it, but as he got closer he noticed shards of wood splintering from the frame as if someone had kicked it in. 

Standing on its stoop and peering through the tiny crack, Fr. Clem tried listening to hear if the perpetrator was still inside.  He heard nothing, and believing it was only teenage vandals slowly pushed the door open and stepped inside. 

Wet imprints of tiny feet, he noticed, were tracked across the linoleum of the small foyer and onto the carpet of the living room, and he did not see any coming back the opposite direction. 

“I’m calling the authorities,” he bluffed, hoping their feet had just dried off on the carpet before making an exit.  He stood there another moment, but upon hearing nothing again decided to peak his head around corner of the living room.   

 The boy, who looked to be about ten years old, sat in the middle of the old brown, upholstered couch, and beamed a big teasing smile.  He wore the clothes of an average ten year old—blue jeans, tennis shoes, and a puffy black winter coat—but his slicked black hair and dark vile eyes seemed to give the impression that life had already begun pounding its salt too hard on him.  Not to mention that he was looking fairly talented with the use of the butterfly knife he whipped around in his hand.

“Hiya, Father.  It’s nice to meet you finally,” he chimed.

“The police are on their way.  What do you want?”

“They are?  That’s funny, I didn’t hear you call anyone,” he said getting up from the couch, the knife thrashing open and closed at his side now.

“Well I’m calling them now!” 

Fr. Clem walked quickly to the kitchen phone that sat on the counter and began dialing.  It was a rotary phone and as he dialed he silently spoke the number to the police station.

“Nine,” he whispered, hovering his finger above the next number to come and waiting for the dial to fall back into place.

“Eight,” he waited. 

“Two.”  When he got to the fifth number the boy rounded the corner and stepped into the kitchen with his knife still thrashing away near his thigh.   

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Father,” the boy smiled, and calmly walked to the wall where the phone jack was.  “I wouldn’t want to inconvenience anyone,” said the boy, looking directly into the good priest’s eyes, cutting the cord in the middle of the word inconvenience. 

Fr. Clem gently hung up the phone and slowly backed up to the other counter near the sink, knocking over an empty Chinese take-out box from last night and hearing the chopsticks clatter about. 

“Who are you and what do you want?” Fr. Clem beseeched.

“Well, why do you think I keep calling you Father?” the boy smirked.  “I’m your son, and I’m here to kill you.” 

The boy’s knife slapped to stop with its shinny, silver blade sticking out.  His smile disappeared and his dark eyes winced with an evil the good priest had only seen once before.  Then the boy’s breathing became robust and ferocious, and he let out a terrible scream as he rushed at the Father, the sharp knife extended out in front.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Quickly, Fr. Clem turned and grabbed one of the chopsticks and immediately thrust it out before him, burying it deep into the boy’s right eye and stopping him just an inch before the blade made contact.  Slowly Fr. Clem released his grip on the wooden weapon, and the young boy dropped his arm back to his side and gave the priest a couple how-could-you-do-that-to-me blinks before collapsing to the floor.  Fr. Clem gave a scared sigh of relief, stepped over the dead boy, and made his way back to the church.  He knew his career was over.  Whether or not he had killed in self-defense or if the boy had in fact spawned from evil could never be proved.  All Fr. Clem knew was that there was a ten-year-old lying dead in his home and he needed a moment to try making things right with God.  

As he closed his door a draft circled throughout the kitchen, and the small fortune cookie paper lifted off the table and feathered slowly down, coming to rest on the young boy’s bloody cheek. 

The Last Night

February 4, 2009

I take a shower –

Half an hour.

 

I go to work –

I hate that jerk.

 

I stay in school –

A willing fool.

 

I drink a lot –

My liver’s rot.

 

I see the neighbor –

She seems my flavor.

 

I’m out on my ass –

My ex is crass.

 

I hear the night –

A loner’s delight.

 

I phone my mom –

A ticking bomb.

 

I find a spot –

I get a cot.

 

I pay the rent –

My world is spent.

 

I stay up late –

Masturbate.

 

I lift a pen –

Like other men.

 

I feel my sins –

My future dims.

 

I flip the light –

It helps tonight.

 

I begin to work –

I begin to work.

On a Good Day

January 16, 2009

On a good day
my thoughts are scattered
in a swirling ocean.
On a good day, I fill my lungs
and begin to swim
very deep; to find those thoughts,
those things I’ve never
once encountered.

On a good day, I push and glide
further down, and am surprised
by all my new findings. I look at
and examine them, but only briefly.
I know I must go deeper.
I must try. There are better things
deeper.

Transfixed and sinking, I begin
To sense the narrowing effects
the ocean offers.
First my focus, then my range,
and soon my entire vision.
I want to remember, to record it all.
But I know that, before all goes dark,
I must surface; I’ve reached my
very bottom.

When I ascend, I ascend
quickly. Unfortunately, I must try.
I am drawn back to the surface, and
my findings are left far,
far behind. I want to remember, I want to
record it all.

At the top, where most are most
comfortable, I reflect, while this swirling
ocean, its currents and undertows,
carry me to a new place. I fill
my lungs again and begin to swim
very deep.

This time, my findings are different, new.
It’s always this way. I want
to remember and record it all,
but it is all very wet, and so am I.
On good day.

My brother and I were introduced to sex – or the idea of sex – at a very young age.  We were introduced to naked girls and women a bit younger.  I remember the three sisters up the street we hung out with.  Their mom babysat me one summer, but quit offering after she found me pissing in their bathtub.  My mom responded with, So what?  It’s just a bathtub

I think my brother and I were seven and six years old.  The girls were our ages, too.  I remember sitting up in their tree house one late-summer day; a full jumper-suit kind of day, I imagine.  All three of them were up there.  It was just me and three inquisitive young girls. 

I had come up the street alone and knocked on the door.  “Is Lisa here?” 

“Yes.  She’s in the tree house playing with her sisters.” 

It was that easy and I remember it was a very giggly situation being up there alone with all three.  There was some poking, and some touching, and some laughing.  All the right ingredients needed for one to finally say, I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.  Of course, I was the one who said it, but the pause it created was memorable to say the least. 

The girls glanced silently, eagerly at each other.  Their mouths were agape (already in training, I gathered), and I was smart enough to know to say nothing further – the deal was almost closed. 

While the trio twisted excitedly in their skid-marked panties – we all had them back then – I felt my penis start to tickle; like going over a quick hill in a car.  It was the first time I’d ever felt that, and it was then I first started paying attention to what was going on down there. 

Years later I was told that I had taken a dump out the entrance hole of the tree house that day. But I don’t think so.  I remember that day pretty well and taking a shit just anywhere has always been a big fear of mine. Perhaps this moment was the catalyst of that fear, the catalyst many of us experience at one time or another; when an unexpected shit sneaks up to the exit gates while its final destination has yet to be assigned.  But I digress. 

 

I remember the day my brother I and first knelt down in front of my dad’s shirt closet and uncovered his stack of Playboys.  It was a god-damn goldmine.  Every month I was screwing a different 18-year old bombshell and looking forward to who it would be next month.  Of course, I had my favorites – everyone has their favorites. 

We were good at first, my brother and I.  We were careful.  For the first couple years we simply looked, real quick, and then put them all back in their proper place.  If Miss September was on top of Miss March and Miss December, then that’s how the magazines went back.  But after the years, many of those favorites found themselves under mine or my brother’s bed.  And every couple months my dad would lean into our rooms and calmly ask, “You don’t happen to have my June issue, do you?” 

 

The first time I kissed a girl, I mean really kissed one, was early spring of my sixth grade year.  You might say I was horrified.  Fucking horrified, really.  Not to kiss her, actually, but horrified of the forum I knew it would take place in. 

This girl and I became acquainted, or started “going out,” because of normal sixth-grade means.  Looking back, it’s really weird I guess.

Her friend came up to me one day and said, Kelly really likes you.  Do you like her?

Not wanting to be rude and realizing that No would quickly detour the path I was very interested in exploring, I said, Yeah, I like her.

Do you like her a lot? her friend asked.

Now I’d like to tell you, as I recall these youthful moments as a mature adult, that I thought about this question a few moments before delivering a very balanced and sincere answer touching on the fact that this girl and I had never spoken, but also qualifying the reality that I had heard her speak before on many occasions to her friends, and that she seemed very nice and I was very much looking forward to getting to know her.  But I’d be lying.

The truth is I never heard her speak to her friends and she really seemed like a dumbass.  But the truth also is that I was interested in anyone who was interested in me.  So my answer was simply, Yes I do.

After that – I soon found out – she and I were a couple.  And in my middle school, once kids found out two people were dating it was “big news” and it was exploited for other kid’s fun and entertainment. 

About two days after we had been “going out” – saying hi in the hall and reading notes written in bubble letters that read:

What’s wrong?  Why don’t you talk to me?  You’re so shy.  That’s really cute, but don’t be shy for too long.  Is Brad Stegalis your best friend?  Do you guys live close to each other?   (A different color pen nowblue.Sorry ‘bout that.  Mr. Phelps just caught me writing this.  I had to stop until now.  Class is almost over.  Borrrring!!!  Do you have practice after school? Let me know.  (Heart) K.

            I kept the notes, but I didn’t send many myself.  And when I saw her in the hall I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything.  And after a while her girlfriends began observing this and telling her, I don’t think he likes you.  He doesn’t even come up to you and say “hi.”  So after about a week I found out from Greg Ramos that the stage was set.  He was older and he liked me, but he used his size well. 

“You’re going to kiss Kelly after school today,” he told me.

            I winced.

            “Don’t worry,” he said, slapping me hard on my back as we walked down the hall.  “You’ll like it.  She’s hot and your miserable ass will finally get some action.  And the whole school will be there to watch,” he said, just before he pushed me through my classroom door.  “So you better not ditch on this.”

             I think there were one or two couples that went before us, I’m not sure.  I do know that nearly all the students were there, in front the school, standing around the flagpole.  They were talking, and laughing and watching.  I had a couple of my boys behind me and Kelly, standing across the crowd, had a couple of her girls standing around her.  The tension was building beyond control.  I looked at her and her friends and she looked at me and my friends, and it was now our turn.  For a few moments we both held our ground.  We laughed off the pushing from behind until the pushing grew too much and we both found ourselves in the center of this chirping circle of kids.  She looked at me again and I looked at her, and we knew we couldn’t hesitate any longer.  The circle grew tighter and tighter around us and the heckling became louder and louder, and so we just shrugged our shoulders, closed our eyes, and fucking went at each other’s mouths.  Like fish, we slopped and slapped our tongues and ground and mashed our teeth. Our mouths writhed in pure inexperienced furry like two baby coyotes trying to swallow the other’s head.

About ten seconds into it we began to slow down.  We could tell there was pattern beginning to develop and we stuck with it.  It was a comforting motion.  And we knew we had to make it a good kiss.  If we came off too early we’d get booed and pushed back into each other, and we’d have to do it all over again.  And that just wasn’t going to happen. 

At the 20 second mark, it became a bit tiresome and I started to really smell what this girl was all about.  I could smell the soap on her skin and laundry detergent she used.  I could smell the mattress she slept on and the couch on which she sat and watched TV.  I could smell her mom’s toy puddle and perhaps her real-life emptiness of being a single mother.  I could smell both the need and the hatred of the male figure.  And I could smell the pain.  I didn’t know what it was then, but I could smell it.  

I remember the breathing I had to maintain in order to keep from snotting on her cheek.  I knew that would be a game changer, a game ender.  30 or 40 seconds had gone by.  The kids were all quiet now.  Everyone was quiet, just watching us work our mouths together – in sync; fucking snorkeling each other, fucking trying to chew each other’s tongue like cud.  Then began a twitter from my nose.      

I heard someone yell, Holy shit, do you hear that whistle? 

People laughed but we didn’t stop, we couldn’t stop.  50 seconds now lapsed.  We were in a zone, we were on a mission.  For some reason it felt easier to continue then to stop and face what was next.  And I heard and felt the twitter grow louder.  Would it go away, I thought, or would something pop out on this poor girl’s cheek? 

At around a minute we mutually agreed to step away, and a string of saliva bridged our release as we stared back at one another.  Someone said Eww, but most everyone was quiet.  I looked up.  The kids were all staring at us.  They were staring like, Are you guys fucking serious? I didn’t give it much thought after that.  I just turned and went home with my boys.

 

I was introduced to pure fucking beauty when I was nine by a lady in red.  She was a tall, high-heeled brunette who walked past my house every afternoon, always wearing red clothing of sorts – dress, blouse, hat, scarf, whatever.  She looked great in red and she knew it.  You could tell by her walk.  She had bounce and flavor and a smirk that said something dirty. She walked like she was ready to fuck, and I always wished I’d have stood in her way.   

I’d stand on the sidewalk and she’d walk toward me, really hard.  She’d lower her head a bit and squint, just slightly.  Her smirk would tighten and her legs would just kick and cross one another; a couple of hump pistons moving toward me.  And when she got to me she’d lift her dress over my head and engulf me underneath. 

I’d have been the perfect height.     

Sometimes I’d be lucky enough to be outside when she walked by, but most times I’d spy her from the dinning room, living room and bathroom windows – in unison, just like that.  She’d come from the south and leave to the north, and I’d walk room to room just to get a good look.  It was great to watch her come and go, and I sometimes think she knew I was watching.  And when I could no longer see her I’d close the door to the bathroom and dream about her. 

 

The first time I recall masturbating was this age too – eight or nine.  I remember it was summer and school was out.  I’d been used to waking up early I guess and on this morning there was a nice cool breeze blowing through my bedroom window and right over my ass.  It was the perfect setting.  I was on the verge of waking and and doing the whole morning stretch, but then I felt it, and it felt very good.  I wasn’t sure why it felt so good.  Had I been dreaming?  I don’t know.  What I did know was that I was about to take advantage of a good thing; I wasn’t going anywhere just yet. 

I must have given my mattress a half-hour of pelvic crunches before I quit.  I remember trying to stick it out for whatever the ROI was going to be, but I just couldn’t.  I had literally felt the sun come up on my back, listened to the birds wake, and my mom, and the grocery store across the street, smelled the eggs and bacon, and heard my dad shit his head off in the bathroom.  I’d been fucking my mattress for nearly forty-five minutes I guessed, and my dick was getting sore.  I tried to imagine doing it with the lady in red, perhaps the lady across the street – while she’s weeding her front yard, with her loose t-shirt on – but my shit was too raw at this point.  I got up, put my slippers on and walked downstairs.  My blistered pecker screamed at each step.     

It only took a couple months to become really good at jerking off.  This was vital because had I not learned how to do it so quickly, and, sometimes covertly, once or twice a day, I would’ve carried around a tiny, annoying hard-on for many long, long fucking hours.  Sometimes I’d perform the duty fully clothed, with people around.  If an ill-timed erection popped, which at nine years of age was usually the case, all I’d have to do is flex my butt muscles.  The result would be a wonderful stroke to the underside of my pecker from my cotton briefs, and the movement was so subtle that no one was the wiser.  I was even able to pull it off in a car ride down to Florida.  It was a long fucking trip and I got bored quickly, so I got to fucking.  The blessing at this age was that the job was clean-up free.

 

My first and only babysitter came to us from six houses up the street.  She was a sandy blonde hippie, and she was sexy as hell.  I’d guess she was about sixteen, and I took an immediate liking to her.  I remember hugging her one night and really meaning it.  She had admired my new Superman pajamas and I couldn’t wait to lay a big one on her.  When I did, my boner popped right through the pee hole.  I quickly covered up and she pretended she hadn’t seen it.  She was the first person I had ever portrayed sexuality to. 

She wasn’t with us long – maybe the boner thing freaked her out – but she introduced my brother and me to some interesting shit.  She let us watch the movie Caveman staring Ringo Starr and Denis Quaid and explained what was happening the whole way through; she showed us what a marijuana pipe looked like and how to use it; and she explained what the plastic, white vibrating thing was in my mom’s dresser drawer.  But she hesitated to handle it the way my brother and I did. 

The last time I saw her she was kissing a guy outside her parent’s house.  I watched from the sidewalk with a friend.  I could tell they were French kissing and they really got into it.  He looked like a rock star with his ripped jeans and long hair, and he had her pinned against the tree on the devil’s strip.  His head moved in deep, horizontally, and I remember feeling betrayed and jealous.