Friday, December 12, 2014

Lookout

I see you.

You don’t see me, but I see you.

You’re not supposed to be here — outside my office on a Thursday after midnight. But [to be fair] my office is in the middle of downtown where the foot traffic and the traffic-traffic never really stop, day or night. This isn’t me giving you the benefit of the doubt, though. There’s no reason for you be here.

I am sitting inside my car with a French Vanilla Cappuccino between my thighs and my eyes on the rearview mirror. The scalding hot chalky sludge comes from a sputtering machine in the Circle K by my house. Stop by at any given time and you’re guaranteed to encounter at least one cashier of indiscernible gender. It’s a thing. Sometimes when I’m writing late, I grab a large cup of this molten sugar and suck it down as fast as I can. But right now, it’s just tucked into my lap; unsipped and radiating heat into my crotch while I watch you step out of your Jeep and onto the sidewalk.

I think about bolting straight for the side entrance into my office. Pulling my hat down over my face. Slamming the door behind me. But I don’t because I can’t take my eyes off you.

What are you doing here?

What are you doing when you’re not right here, right now?

And where have you been?

You look good. Your hair is fuller and you’re impeccably put-together, as always. For such a surprising encounter, you look unsurprisingly like yourself. But seeing you makes me more self-aware — my thinning hair, my bloating gut, the wrinkles in my forehead and the lines around my mouth. We’ve aged, but I’ve done so more profoundly. On the outside, at least. In this moment, I realize I’m feeling shitty about myself just by looking at you. Some forgotten wiring in my heart that still works, apparently — the current in my chest is making me want to throw the door open and projectile vomit on the street.

I think about killing you. Unspooling your brains onto the sidewalk. Creating a future where I can’t see you on the street ever again. But I don’t because I’m haunted enough.

It’s December outside but it’s stuffy inside my car. I finally take a sip from my cup and I wince. In my rearview mirror, you are rocking on your heels and exhaling thin clouds into the air like empty speech bubbles. You’re waiting for someone. Shit. How did it take me so long to realize that? You’re obviously waiting for someone and here I am staring at you from the blind of my Ford Fiesta. And I kind of give a fuck who it is.

You look down at your phone and smile.

I smile with you, but not with you.

I can't help it, but I wonder what would happen if I walked over and said hello. I could step out, head towards my office, look your way, appear to be surprised (not stunned), jog over, shake your hand (because it would catch you off your guard), act normal, just the basic pleasantries, the vaguest sense of interest, nodding, smirking, acting, bullshit. Maybe I fist-bump you. Then I turn away and walk back to my office without looking back over my shoulder (like you'd expect me to do). That actually sounds like a great plan. I am in control of this situation. I'm doing this. Now! I open the door and swing my legs out. The cup in my crotch crushes between my thighs. Hot cappuccino slime splashes all over my sweatpants and somehow makes immediate contact with my dick and balls. I scream "AH! FAGGOT!" I jump out. I am splattered with it. I look up and you are staring at me.

I put my hand up and stick my chin out. The universal hey what's up. Your expression doesn't change. You look stunned (not surprised). "Welp," I say much louder than I mean to. And then I roll my shoulders back and casually strut away — not towards my office, though — in the opposite direction for some reason. Down the other end of the street where there isn't really anything besides the Greyhound station, which is terrifying, but now it appears that I'm headed that way so I guess I'll hang out in there for a while until you're gone. Or maybe I'll just a buy a ticket to somewhere. I've got work in the morning, but I could always shoot my boss an email right now and tell him I'm feeling feverish. Oh shit. I left my wallet in the car. Fuck it. I'll live like a homeless person or a transient tonight. This isn't going to kill me. Unless a homeless person or a transient kills me. Oh God, I'm scared.

Anyway, it was great seeing you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Screwing Sedaris

Last Saturday, I was the featured storyteller in an improv series called Lafayette Famous. I was asked to prepare three true stories from my life to be delivered onstage, while the improvisers created scenes based on themes from each. This is the one of those true stories, written as a monologue.

Story 1: Screwing Sedaris

So one of my heroes of writing is, of course, David Sedaris (you know, like a white person). And about a year ago, he’s out promoting his new book and I find out he’s doing a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Baton Rouge. So on the day of, I leave work a little early and I head over there.

I should also mention that I am wearing some kind of western button-down, with cut-off shorts, and these really kindof ridiculous combat boots.

So I get to the B&N and I’m standing in this really long line and I’m holding my book and I’m completely by myself. And then this woman with a Manager ID badge around her neck comes over and just starts talking to me. And her name is Courtney and she’s a really nice lady, but I can’t shake that something feels a little off, like “Why are you talking to me?” So at one point she’s like, “Look, if you want to, I can get you some one-on-one time with David.” So of course I say “Of course.” And she’s like “Well after he signs your book, come around and stand by me, and I’ll introduce you more personally after.” And I’m like “Great” and then she walks off and I’m just standing there like “WHY?!”

Now, in my mind, I make the decision that David Sedaris [the internationally famous writer and memoirist], has seen me and has asked this woman to come arrange for my company. Ya know, like he wants to fuck me. Like he’s a rapper and I’m some ho. Like he goes to his own book readings and rounds up dumb, eager gays to bang. So then I start getting nervous — asking myself questions like: “Am I willing to do this?”

So he finally shows up and I’m slowly moving to the front of the line and I’m pretty much about to puke. And Courtney the manager is standing there and she winks at me and I’m like, “Fuck you for putting me in this situation.”

And then I get to the front of the line and David looks me up and down and says, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.

[LONG PAUSE]

Where on earth did you get those boots!?” And “I’m like, “…What?” and he’s like, “I absolutely love them. Do you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race?” And now I’m just struggling to keep up at this point, and I don’t even know what I’m saying because I still believe if I’m being pre-interviewed to fuck this aging literary icon. So after a while, he grabs my book and signs it and then Courtney grabs me and pulls me off to this side and she’s like, “Wait here with me.”

I’m sweating through my shirt and thinking: “This was not on my bucket list. And I don’t want my hero to use me like this.” So I tell her “I’m gotta take a piss.” And then I walk right past this long line of people and I head right out the door and I’m practically sprinting through the parking lot and this gay guy is getting out his car and he yells, “HEY! WHAT WAS HE LIKE?!”

And I yell back, “HE’S HORNY!” And get in my car and I drive back to Lafayette.

Sexting Mom

Last Saturday, I was the featured storyteller in an improv series called Lafayette Famous. I was asked to prepare three true stories from my life to be delivered onstage, while the improvisers created scenes based on themes from each. This is the one of those true stories, written as a monologue.

Story 2: Sexting Mom

So when I was in college, I dated this guy for years and we had a very healthy sex life. And we were actually very sweet to each other too: We would walk to class together and often run into each other on campus.

Well one day, I pass him on Rex Street and we kiss each other and we keep walking in opposite directions. So I arrive at my Louisiana Folklore class and I sit down, and I get a text from my boyfriend and it says the grossest, most sexually explicit thing I’ve ever read.

Then I get a text from my mom and I hurry up and close that and go back to my boyfriend’s text.

So now he and I are sexting, right? And now I have to top his text, so I write something even more graphic. I’ve probably said grosser things by now because I’ve gotten more creative with age, but at the time, my response painted a pretty disgusting picture of what I wanted this boy to do to me — using words like “ride” and “squirt” and “chest.”

So I send it, and I wait for a response. But nothing. 10 minutes and nothing.

Then I get this sinking feeling in my stomach and I check my outbox and realize something:

[LONG PAUSE]

I accidently sent the text to my mom.

Sitting there in my Louisiana Folklore class, I have a full-blown panic attack and turn beet-red and grip the edges of my desk and make all these weird noises and Dr. Wilkerson comes over and she’s like “Hey, what’s wrong?!” And I say, “It’s my mom!” Which is a very scary thing to say.

And then my mom texted me back.

And it said:

“That was obviously not for me. I’m very disturbed.”

And I didn’t go home to New Orleans for three months.

Meeting Audrey

Last Saturday, I was the featured storyteller in an improv series called Lafayette Famous. I was asked to prepare three true stories from my life to be delivered onstage, while the improvisers created scenes based on themes from each. This is the one of those true stories, written as a monologue.

Story 3: Meeting Audrey

I recently became a godfather and I’d like to tell you story about the first time I met my goddaughter, Audrey.

My cousin Lauren was due on October 24th and she lives in New Orleans, so I made sure that I was in town for that entire weekend. Well, the due date comes and goes and the nurses tell her that they’re just going to induce the following Tuesday.

So Saturday morning, my best friend John tells me he has an extra ticket to this big Halloween Party called Hell’s Gala that night. So I’m like “Yeah, I really really want to come, but my cousin was having contractions earlier and I should just check in with her and make sure the baby isn’t coming tonight.” So I call Lauren and she says, I’m here at the hospital but they might send me home because my contractions aren’t nearly close enough together.” So I took that as, “Go ahead and party.”

So I dress up as a slice of pepperoni pizza and I paint my face with little olives and pepperonis and me and John go out. And we have a long history of pushing our night to the max where we fit everything possible into one night and we will drink like monsters and its only by the grace of God that we’re still alive—and I fucking mean that. So we go to this pre-party at this GORGEOUS loft in the warehouse district and we have a photoshoot in their copper clawfoot tub and John walks up to one of the party guests and he’s like “UM. Are you on American Horror Story?!” and I’m like “Just because she’s a black woman does not mean she’s Angela Bassett. And the woman actually tuned out to be Lynn Whitfield from the Tyler Perry movies and I was like “Well, you were close.”

We finally head out to Hell’s Gala where we make this big scene and then we grab a cab to Bourbon where run into my friend Travis. And this is where things get hazy.

The next thing I remember is sitting in a cab at 3:30AM and looking down at my phone to see 26 missed calls and a text that reads, “she’s here!” So I flip OUTTTTTT and I tell the driver to drive faster and I get to my car, and I drive all the way to Ochsner in Metairie and throw the car into park right on the street and I’m sprinting down hallways, screaming “LABOR AND DELIVERY!” And somehow, I find my family in one of the waiting rooms and I run over and I’m sweating and they’re just staring at me. And that’s when I realize I’m still dressed up like a slice of pizza. And everyone is laughing at me. So my aunt Lisa comes out from the back and ushers me into this dimly lit room where there’s this baby and I just see her and I lose it. I’m crying and I’m in love with her. And I’m promising to buy her a car and ponies and pay for private school and then they let me hold her and I’m kissing her and sobbing and I’m overwhelmed like I’ve never been before.

This goes on for hours. I climb into bed with Lauren and I run my fingers through her hair and I’m kissing her. And at no point does it occur to me that this behavior is odd and my parents are staring at me. And finally, at one point, I put on Dancing In The Moonlight, and I dance all over the room with this baby in my arms because I wanted to be the first person to dance with her.

And while the song is playing, my phone dings, so I check it and there’s a text from my friend Travis who I ran into earlier on Bourbon.

And it reads, “Hey man. Is that ecstasy kicking in yet?”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Should Go

I should go.

I should be going.

As soon as I open my eyes, I’m going to grab my underwear from that chair by the window, and my shorts from under the bed, and my shirt from wherever I tossed it — wherever that is.

My shoes are by the front door, I think. Loafers with tassels. Why did I even do that? Oh right, because I couldn’t find my flip-flops this morning.

Shit. I should go.

But I think I’ll stay a little longer.

I hope you don’t mind. This is usually the part where we both get redressed and stutter through mindless small talk. So what are your plans later? How long are you in town for? What do you do, again? These are just things to be said so that we don’t have to face our own indignity in front of someone who just discovered how [and who] we really are. But we’re not doing that right now. I mean, we might do it eventually. But right now, you’re laying on your back and I’m laying on my stomach and half of our bodies are overlapping — all the way down to our feet and all the way up to our cheeks — and you are warm.

You don’t smell like anything but your own skin and I like that. I inhale it and I’m the only person in the world inhaling it. Being here with you makes me the only person in the world doing a lot of things and that makes me want to stay, among other reasons.

Every time I have the compulsion to go, it feels like a struggle. I’ve wanted you for so long and now that it’s happened, I don’t want to press my luck. Because even though you’ve got your shortcomings (like your shitty job and your exboyfriend baggage), you are extraordinary to me. And being here with you feels like I’m being rewarded for something I don’t deserve. So leaving before I overstay my welcome feels like the right move.

It goes without saying that the sex was incredible. This makes four times, right? Four times since the first time a year or so ago. Remember when I used to visit you at work just so I could kiss you outside on the street? That seems so far away from this moment. And just so you know: I’ve never lingered like this before and I hope you don’t think I’m clinging. Usually, if I fuck someone under similar circumstances, I bail immediately or practically shove them out the door. One time, I told a guy that he had to leave because my mom was on her way. It was eleven at night and my mom doesn’t even live in the same city as me.

You bury your nose into my neck and kiss me there. I consider guiding your mouth up to mine, but right now, I just want to feel you wanting me. It’s easy to fake yourself into thinking someone’s into you when you’re giving direction. Then, you glide your hand down the prairie of my back and I open my eyes just enough to see through my eyelashes. It was overcast this morning on the drive over here (I called it, cloudy with a chance of shame). But now, judging by the dull glow behind the window, it feels like the clouds only came out to keep us in bed together. If it were sunny, I might be more inclined to leave. And I don’t want to leave just yet.

Slowly, you lift your head and raise yourself up onto your elbow. You look down at me with sleepy eyes and smile. We stare at one another you touch me with your fingertips along my jaw, from my ear to my chin. I wrap one arm around your waist and I bring my palm against the side of your face. Then I kiss you and roll you onto your back. I plant my hips into you and you rock you head back over the pillow. I lift my torso with both arms into a push-up position so I can see all of you. Then, I shift down and lay my head on chest. We do all of this without saying anything. But then again, I don’t think I could if I wanted to.

The truth is, I’ve pretended other guys were someone like you. I’ve faked this feeling before. I’ve acted my way through scenarios that weren’t nearly this genuine or comfortable. Even your breathing is perfectly paced. I slow mine to catch up with yours until we’re in sync. We rise and fall together. I exhale soft, steady streams form my nose and mouth and feel you doing the same above me. From your chest, your nipples look like little pink Sherpa huts. I look up towards you and your eyes are closed. Part of me wishes you would open them and look at me, but I’m glad you aren’t. I don’t know how I look right now and I’m pretty sure my perspective is better than yours.

I should probably be going, right?

I should go.

But what If I miss the inside of your mouth?

The shape of your ass?

Your skin?

What if I spend the rest of the day thinking about this?

What if I spend the rest of my life thinking about this?!

Better not take that chance.

Better hold you like you need it.

Better graze your lips with the backs of my fingers.

And then you say, "Don't leave."

So I stay.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lifeless Bodies

The first reported death by cuddle corpse was on the news about a month ago. Since then, 12 bodies have been found in the arms of his or her very own surrogate sleep partner.

After the first few reports, the stories began to feel colorless and trendy to me – like a small meningitis outbreak or like when a bunch of kids bring guns to school, independently but consecutively within the same month. The whole thing felt annoying and faraway until this morning, when Daisy Liss was found dead in her home, tucked tight next to her cuddle corpse.

Daisy didn't work in my department, but I saw her in the parking tower every evening after work.The last time I saw her, she was jogging to her car, the clump-clomp of her saddle oxfords echoing through the third floor of the tower. I didn't call to her, but when she drove passed me on her way out, I smiled broadly and waved. Daisy was a slender woman with a wheat-colored bob and razor-cut, blunt bangs. She wore ankle-length skirts and carried her beige, shapeless purse with both hands, pressing it tightly to her ribs at all times. When she saw me from her car, she did not smile back. Her face looked sullen, but then again, I only saw it through shadowy glass and only for a second before she turned away and sped off. Now, I can only assume she was hurrying home to climb into bed with her cuddle corpse, where she would remain until this morning when the police would find her starved, fetal form spooning with a low-functioning comfort robot.

The 13 deaths [now 14, including Daisy] didn't necessarily occur within the month since the first. In fact, the publicity from the first case prompted good neighbors to check on the reclusive and the recently withdrawn. That's when the bodies were found. Before that, the media hadn't latched onto the term "cuddle corpse." They were just SleepMates and they were surprisingly popular — the result of a beautifully executed global ad campaign. All SleepMates are made of the same white memory foam, but come in a variety of sizes. Inside the torso is a small machine that simulates deep breathing, causing the chest to rhythmically rise and fall. At launch day, nearly half a million SleepMates were sold.

Around the office, I can’t go anywhere without hearing the buzz of Daisy's name. A worldwide, trending epidemic has finally come home and everyone is finding a way to localize the tragedy, as people tend to do with such things. Daisy Liss was a skittish woman of few words, but somehow, everyone knew her differently; more lively, I guess. But in my head, I picture her grey and malnourished, intertwined with another lifeless body. I leave the office before 10AM because there is no use in sticking around. Nothing will get done today.

So far, the most common form of death is starvation, although two have been declared suicides. One woman — an assistant to the Mayor of Sacramento — chased a bottle of Valium with a tall glass of iced tea before crawling up next to her child-size SleepMate. A few days later, a man in London was discovered with a plastic bag over his head. His SleepMate was dressed in the clothes of his recently deceased boyfriend. Before the gay guy’s suicide, I’d never heard of anyone dressing up a cuddle corpse, but apparently it was pretty common.

I cross Rendon Street and slip inside Greta’s where I order biscuits and gravy with an orange juice. I am alone except for the wait staff and a young hipster couple. They are each looking down and staring at their phones in silence. My food comes, I eat, and I pay the check. Hipster girl and her boyfriend still don’t speak. I’ve stared at them staring at their phones this whole time and neither one has even looked up. I wonder if they fuck.

I wonder if they fuck and then have to check Facebook and Instagram to see if they missed anything.

I wonder if they’re fucking other people because this relationship is unstimulating.

I wonder if he holds her.

I wonder if she’s the intimate type.

I wonder if we’re all headed down this road and these guys are just ahead of us.

I wonder if we’re fucked. 

The bells on the front door jingle and I look up to see Kipling Breaux walking towards me; his wide, square frame backlit by the morning light coming through the windows. I jerk my chin in his direction and he returns the gesture. “Have you been to the office yet?” he asks, taking a seat across from me. “Yeah,” I say. “I bailed.” The waitress comes by to clear my plates and Kip orders Maker’s on the rocks. “The partners just sent an email telling everyone to take the day off, so I’m getting hammered.” He puts down his phone and rolls up his sleeves. “I wonder what size corpse Daisy owned,” I say outloud without actually meaning to. “Medium-size adult male,” says Kip. And Miranda says she had it all dressed up.” The waitress returns with Kip’s drink and he orders another right away. I ask for Jack and Coke because I might as well. “I was talking to a girl on Tinder this morning and I told her the dead woman worked in my office and she told me that SleepMate.com can’t even keep up with demand right now. You would think all the corpse-related deaths would cause the business to tank, but the exact opposite is happening. The infant model and the adult male in sizes large and extra-large are all sold out!” I bite the inside of my mouth and look out the front windows. “It becomes the person you miss most,” I say. He shrugs. “Or the person who won’t love you back.”

The waitress glides by, carrying a tray of sandwiches and onion rings. She rounds our table and leans over my shoulder to hand Kip his drink. When she grabs mine, something shifts on the tray and startles her — causing the drink to pour directly onto my shirt and pants. “Shit!” she yelps. “I am so sorry! Let me get you a towel.” She sets down the tray on a neighboring table and darts off to the kitchen before I can say, “It’s completely fine.” Kip, unfazed, shotguns his drink and swipes his phone to check Tinder.

Daisy’s passing has completely freed up my afternoon.

The weather’s pretty and I’m pretty buzzed, so I decide to have a few more drinks on the patio at El Carbon, but first I have to change my shirt. I keep a spare on a hanger inside my office, so I head back down Rendon. On the way, I pass a digital outdoor board with a rotating ad for the SleepMate. It pictures a pretty mixed-race woman asleep on her side with the profile of a cuddle corpse behind her. The logo and website appear in the bottom right corner under the headline, Fall Asleep Quickly. Sleep Soundly All Night.

The entire office feels like a haunted house. Even the florescent lights are flickering, and that’s weird because they’ve never done that before. I walk through rows of desks and eventually pass Daisy’s, which has already been cleared off — the contents probably sent home in a box. I wish I could remember what was on it. Did she display pictures of family members?

Did she keep a sweater on the back of her chair?

Did she stash candy in the drawers?

Who was she projecting onto her cuddle corpse?

Did she relish her slow death?

What was she thinking when she slipped away?

Wait.

Where is my extra shirt?

It was right here!

It was hanging on the back of my door just a few days ago.

I swear.

It was right here.

Wasn’t it?



Wasn’t it?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Anonymous Fun


I slow to a crawl until I finally spot the address and then I park across the street. It’s early enough to expect morning joggers, but I don’t see any.

I am wearing the shirt I slept in with fresh underwear and a pair of blue gym shorts with Comeaux High School printed across the thigh. I did not go to Comeaux High School. These gym shorts used to belong to someone else. “Can I borrow these to wear home?” I asked, already sticking my feet into them. “Sure,” he grinned. “I probably won’t bring them back,” I said. Still naked, he got out of bed and strutted over to me. He put his hands around my neck and stuck his face in mine. “If I let you borrow them,” he breathed into my mouth. “You’ll have to bring them back at some point.” I rolled my eyes up to meet his. “You’re letting me hold your gym shorts ransom?” He reached down and grabbed my dick. “You’ll be back.”

I haven’t seen him since.

These gym shorts — the blue ones with Comeaux High School printed across the thigh — they are part of a collection that includes t-shirts, boxers, hoodies, and other gym shorts taken from guys I’ve slept with — each one swiped in haste before a kiss on the cheek and a promise to text later. There isn’t any “stashing”; I just integrate them into my wardrobe and wear them without ritual. Often, I can’t wash the boy out of certain items but that doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’d prefer if each retained the odor of its former owner. My two favorite scents come from a Tulane University sweatshirt (Andes Mints) and a Hackberry Cardinals Baseball shirt (burnt hair and stale sweat). But these gym shorts — the blue ones with Comeaux High School printed across the thigh — they just smell like my fabric softener.

I get a text that reads, “You here yet?”

I stare at the screen for a moment before typing, “I just parked.”

“Ok. The door is unlocked. No small talk, remember?”

I don’t respond.

I exit the car and cross the street. Finally, a morning jogger: a twenty-something of mannequin proportions. I want to equate her running posture to a graceful animal of the plains like a gazelle or a springbok, but I’ve never actually seen either run — in person, that is. I have seen a golden retriever run [in person], and that has to do, I guess. Unlike the jogger, the clouds are not hard to describe. They are metallic and appear to be bolted to the sky like God’s art installation. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a fan of his work, but sometimes the presentation feels smug. I can’t speak to his early work, but I’m assuming it was less sanctimonious — the same shit we say about the early work of every artist.

The jogger passes by and smiles at me, but I can’t manage to return one. I feel grim.

The front door is unlocked. I step into the foyer. Inside, there are three numbered doors and a spiral staircase winding up from the center of the floor. Somewhere in my head I hear an enthusiastic talk show host yell, Let’s see what’s behind Door Number Two! My heartbeats are so much louder than my footsteps. I exhale and quietly open Door Number Two.

The only light coming into the tiny living room is filtered through a thin purple curtain that is draped over a solitary window. I quickly close the door behind me and stand there waiting for my vision to adjust. Without saying a word, I gingerly kick off my shoes and place them neatly next to one another — a small act of affection they can’t feel. I walk toward him, indecisive about what to do with my eyes while he keeps his gaze fixed to his fist and erect dick. I kneel next to the couch and finally look at his face. I’ve seen his face in pictures and twice in the flesh, but never up-close like this. He is strikingly handsome; puffed lips, emerald eyes, and a boy band haircut. We are both still, besides his arm, which is rising and falling with the rhythm of a carousel horse. It’s just a blowjob, I tell myself.

I think about boy bands.

I think about guys I actually like.

I think about getting a haircut.

I think some background music would be nice.

I wonder if he likes me.

I wonder if he’s enjoying this.

I wonder what his parents do.

I wonder if there’s such a thing as a “depression boner.”

I consider stopping.

I consider writing about this.

I consider going for a run later.

I consider grabbing Chipotle on the way home.

I realize Chipotle isn’t even open yet.

I realize I’m starving.

I realize I've never been described as "boy next door" and that weirdly upsets me.

I realize he’s about to cum.

And then.

All of a sudden.

He does.

And it’s over.

By the door, I jam my feet into my shoes with one hand on the doorknob. “So,” he says. “What are your plans today? Big Saturday, huh?” I look him right in the eyes when I say, “No small talk, remember?” I don’t slam the door, but I make sure it shuts securely. The neighbors might misinterpret this. Outside, the clouds are gone but the joggers are up and down the sidewalk. I slide into the driver’s seat and start the car. Finally, some background music.

I drive and I hate myself in waves. When the tide in my head goes out, I feel vaguely self-satisfied — like God and his metallic clouds. But when it comes in, I feel like a fucking cannibal. I pass Parc Sans Souci and see families. So I reach for my phone and I give my mom a call just to feel connected and little less like no one.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Would Like To Be Scrambled

The waitresses at Mel’s must be tired all the time. I know none of them actually work a 24-hour shift, but that’s the vibe they give off — like each one is on her third Adderall and perpetually waiting for the next smoke break.

I am scratching out words when a waitress comes over and stands across the counter from me. Her hair is in a saggy, feral bun and her collar is smeared with whipped cream from [what I assume is] someone’s pecan pie. “What can I get you, sugar plum?” she asks. “Just coffee for now,” I say. If she says anything else, I don’t hear it because I’ve already shoved in my earbuds. To my left are four boys in various styles of gym short tucked away in a booth. I choose the one I’d fuck if ever given the opportunity: the one with the slicked back hair who looks like a kid I taught when I was in grad school — before dropping out to focus on my career. This boy, he reminds me of a forgettable student with an unforgettable face and a swagger that put the other students at ease, but put me on edge.

My class was an introductory copywriting course, and none of the students had a gift for it. This should have frustrated me, but it didn’t because I mentality checked-out of my teacher role and began planning my dropout strategy after the second week. But until I could execute it, I went to class, did my best to appear engaged, and then I would go home and jack off — sometimes thinking about one of the boys from class. And the guy sitting in the booth over there; he’s a dead ringer for one of the guys I’d use to cum — alone in my room at four in the afternoon.

He and his friends are close enough for me to eavesdrop, but I’ve still got my earbuds in and I’m enjoying the same Wild Ones album that I’ve had on a loop all day. Plus, I really don’t give a shit what they’re talking about. They don’t look vile enough to discuss pussy in public, but I’m sure their conversation isn’t too far from debating a BuzzFeed article.

“Anything else I can get you, sweetie?” says the waitress from over her shoulder as she slides a heaping mound of thick-cut onion rings onto a tray with a bacon cheeseburger and an order of biscuits and gravy. I tug out an earbud for courtesy’s sake. “Sure,” I say. “I’ll take Cake and Eggs, scrambled with salsa on the side.” “Hot or cold?” she asks. I don’t understand the question. She can see on my face that I don’t understand the question. “The salsa, boo,” she says. I’ve never been given this option before. “Oh. Um. Hot. No. Wait. Cold.” She grins and snaps back around before popping something into the microwave and slamming the door. Part of me wishes she’d ask what I’m writing, but then I’d have to lie because I don’t want her to know it’s about her. And about the guy over there who looks like another guy. And eventually, about me.

I don’t really want her to know that I’m here — at 1:58AM on a Wednesday because I’m having a hard time and I’m trying to make myself feel less panicked by writing — because I’m supposed to be a writer and this is supposed to make me feel purposeful. But I’m not sure it does. And [worse] I’m not sure it ever has.

More onion rings. Nachos Supreme. And then my Cake and Eggs. She sets the plate down and part of me wishes she’d compliment my notebook. But then I’d have to lie because I don’t want her to know the last time I wrote in this notebook was three years ago when I brought it with me to Alaska. I don’t want to see her embarrassed face after I tell her I remember Alaska so vividly because I was genuinely happy for several consecutive days — and that’s rare for me. She doesn’t really need to know that I cling to moments of true happiness because I never know if I’ll see another. I don’t want to scare her when I say, “People who claim to have no regrets make me want to vomit.” And that I’m sitting here with my short stack, and scrambled eggs, and bacon, and hot salsa, and cold coffee because I need to feel something besides small, and antsy, and misunderstood, and shipwrecked.

The boys from the booth are paying their bill at the register now, so I lean back to scope out my guy’s ass. Not bad.

I flip the pages backwards and read the last thing I wrote before this; the last Alaska entry. At the bottom of the page, it reads, “You don’t love Caleb.” Caleb was a dancer on the cruise ship with whom I briefly fell in love. This last line is a nice reminder that I am often wrong. I smile to myself and think, Fuck me, could I be anymore self-loathing right now?

It’s 2:36AM and Mel’s is packed with customers in various stages of drunk. My waitress — I didn’t even catch her name — shuttles hash browns and patty melts above her head and people flag her down for ketchup bottles and extra creamer. I think about a line from Amy Hempel’s short story Jesus Is Waiting. A traveling, lovelorn narrator says, "I would like to be scrambled and served with sausages at an all-night diner.” You and me both, sugar plum.

My waitress swoops by and trades my dirty plate for a handwritten bill for $6.70. I’m tempted to write “Thanks for not asking any questions” on the back, but instead, I just slip a folded twenty under the coffee mug before slipping myself past the drunk, joyful customers and into the night like I was never even there — a ghost with nowhere else to haunt.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Pornstarfish


Before I lived in the Tiny Wet, I lived in the Big Wet.

In the Big Wet I had many friends, but here in the Tiny Wet I only have Debbie, Clarence, and Ryan Adams. I loved all my friends very much back then, but now I have to fit all that love into my only three friends. I don’t think it hurts them, but sometimes I worry that all the love will crack the walls around the Tiny Wet.

My name is Dick Daily and I am an aspiring porn star. And also a starfish.

My name isn’t really Dick. It’s Pervis. But if you want to make it in the porn industry, you have to hide your true identity and make up a new name so that supervillians can’t hurt your loved ones. Choose an alter ego and stick to it. That’s what I’ve learned. I still have a life as Pervis, but when I’m at work, I’m Dick Daily. My little flute voice goes deep and I strut around the Tiny Wet with my arms bent out in front of me because my imaginary biceps are too huge to just hang there. When I’m Dick, I act like a big tough guy, but I also try to be charming. Yesterday when I was Dick, I strutted over to Debbie, casually leaned against Castle Algae, and said, “Sup, gorgeous. Like my new barbed wire tattoo?” Debbie is an angelfish and she is, indeed, very pretty for a middle-aged female. She rolled here eyes at me and blew hot bubbles out the side of her mouth. “Not today Pervis,” she groaned. I bit my bottom lip and nodded to show her I was listening. “Alright boo,” I said. “I gotta be heading out anyway. But if you need a super deep dick-down, you know where to find me. I’d love to see that pretty mouth gargling my load.”

Debbie lifted her delicate, translucent fin and cracked me in the head with a pebble. “You’re a disgusting asshole!” she screamed. “Also, you don’t even have a dick!” I rubbed the side of my head and tried to regain focus. “You’re losing your mind and we all see it!” she shrieked. “So stop trying to fuck all of us and get a grip, you prick!” Across the Tiny Wet, Clarence and Ryan Adams were staring at us. If I were Pervis, I would run inside Castle Algae and sob in quiet solitude. But since I was Dick, I just grabbed between my legs and spit on the gravel. “S’all good,” I muttered before strutting over to the glass wall and sticking myself onto it.

I looked out over the living room and saw Hank, tucked deep into the couch and watching The Leftovers. As usual, the room was dark and the only daylight coming through was filtered through slits in the curtains. Hank was wearing a Sleigh Bells concert t-shirt and puffy white boxers pattered with red lipstick marks. His feet were resting on the coffee table, which was completely covered in Taco Bell wrappers and bags of Bugles. Every few seconds, Hank would pick up his phone and blankly stare at it before setting it back down. This was the normal scene since Lovey moved out.

“I don’t think you’re losing your mind,” said Clarence's little voice behind me. I peeled my face off the glass so I could look at him. He was floating just above the gravel and giving me a look of sweet sincerity. Clarence is a Hatchetfish and spends most of his time near the surface, so it always makes me feel special when he comes down to my level. He is my best friend and I give him most of my love. “You don’t?” I asked earnestly. “Of course not!” he said. “You just have big dreams. And if you want to be a porn star, then you should do everything you can to make that happen.” I felt my face get all fuzzy and rosy like a peach. “Come watch Hank with me,” I said patting the glass. Clarence swam over wordlessly and took his place beside me. Just then, Hank reached for his iPad and threw the Internet browser onto the TV. Clarence and I both gasped in unison because we knew what was about to happen. He pulled up SpankNet.com and my heart began to race. This was my favorite part of the day — the part where Hank watches porn.

When Lovey lived here, Hank would only watch porn once a day; like clockwork in the thirty minutes between his return home and hers. He’d toss down his keys, kick off his shoes, and sit in front of the TV with his iPad. Then, he’d go immediately to SpankNet and click the Amateur tab. Here, we would scroll through video samples and finally settle on something simple: a point-of-view blowjob or people banging in a moving van. Then, the movie would play until it got to the part where the human male expels sticky threads out of his terrestrial sea cucumber. From behind, I could see Hank’s shoulders tense up. Then he would shuffle over to the bathroom with his pants around his knees, do something, and flush the toilet. Minutes later, Lovey would walk through the door and they would resume their indoor life as a couple.

“Oh golly!” squeaked Clarence. “He’s going for the Bisexual Toy Play tab again!” I wasn’t particularly shocked by anything Hank was into anymore. When Lovey left, he started watching all kinds of weird stuff. Of course, I was the only one who noticed since I spend most of my time stuck to the wall of the Tiny Wet. When I told my friends what was going on, they acted disgusted. All four of us responded to Hank’s new behavior differently; the most extreme being Ruben who changed his name to Ryan Adams out of obsessive fandom for the singer whose music was now on a constant loop in the apartment. “His words cut through me like an oar through pond scum,” screamed Ruben one evening while we watched Hank slow dance with himself in the living room to When The Stars Go Blue. Ruben said he identified with the artist’s “bruised soul” and demanded we call him Ryan Adams from that moment forward. So we did. Well, all of us except Debbie who called it, “The dumbest fucking thing [she’d] ever heard.” A few weeks later, I announced that my new stage name was Dick Daily and Debbie refused to acknowledge that, too.

On the TV, people were having sex. Well, I think it was sex. Hank had selected a video from Bisexual Toy Play starring two attractive brunette gentlemen and a blond woman who wore underwear with a big plastic male cucumber hanging off the front. She was on her knees with the smaller man on all fours in front of her. He screamed in pain and looked at the other man for help. But the bigger man just sat on an ottoman pulling on his own, very large, cucumber. I peeled my head away to check on Clarence, who was biting his bottom lip and wincing every time the smaller man screamed. “Oh c’mon,” I said. “It’s not so bad. They’re having fun. See?” Clarence looked like he was about to throw up. “I have an idea,” I said in my low, tough guy Dick Daily voice. “How about we try some of these moves on one another. It’ll be good practice for me and it might help you stomach all the stuff Hank’s been watching.” Clarence looked relived. “Sure,” he said. “I’d be happy to, Dick!”

I don't know how much longer I will be here, but I am hopeful that my dreams of becoming Dick Daily, International Porn Starfish are not far away. But for now I will stay put, and I will perfect my craft, and I will love my friends.

Sometimes at nighttime in the Big Wet, I would look up at the fathoms between myself and the surface and I would feel very small.

I haven't felt that way since I came to the Tiny Wet.

Here, I feel huge.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Squirt: A Conversation With My Penis


I was sitting on the beach in Maui, looking out over the endless, black water. I was alone and there were only a few minutes until midnight. Leaning my head back, I filled my lungs with the tangy, floral breeze. Above me, the sky was heavy with galaxies and a billion pinpricks in the universe.

“God, it’s so beautiful,” said a little voice.

For a moment, my blood went icy and I stopped breathing. Did I just think that really loudly? Or had I really heard it?

I spread my knees and looked down at my crotch, expecting to see a talking hermit crab looking up at me. Shit, I thought. I’m about to meet a fucking talking hermit crab. And then I’m going to have to take care of it for the rest of my life. I lifted my butt and looked over both shoulders, but I didn't see anything. Then I ripped open the Velcro fly of my swimsuit, just in case a magical sea creature had crawled up my thigh. But nothing. Just my penis — flopped over as if it were relaxing on a chaise lounge. “Did you say something?” I asked it.

I felt the presence of an uncomfortable silence between casual acquaintances, which I knew was weird because I was by myself. Then suddenly, my penis slid along my pelvis and rose about half an inch to face me, like someone sitting up in bed. “Yeah, that was me,” it said.

My first thought was not, how is my penis talking?! It was, why is my penis talking now?!

“Sorry,” said my penis. “I just couldn’t help myself. I was marveling at how pretty everything is here and it just came out.” His voice was small and squeaky and he spoke with a lisp, just like me.

“You’ve been attached to me since birth," I said. "You want to tell me why we’ve never had a conversation?”

“You make me nervous!” he squealed. “You only take me out to piss or beat me up!”

“So you’ve never spoken before?” I asked.

“Well,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re asleep, I sing.”

“What do you sing?” I wondered.

“Oh, I sing all kinds of stuff!” he said excitedly. “I’m really into Father John Misty right now, but I love Ryan Adams, Wilco, Springsteen, Neil Young. My tastes are all over the place.”

“No female singers?” I asked.

“I can’t get into girls,” he said.

“You can,” I said. “You just won’t.”

“I guess you’re right,” he said.

A breeze picked up and my penis shivered and tucked itself down like it was hiding. I pulled my fly up and cozied it around him.

“So how did you know the beach and sky were beautiful?” I asked. “You don’t have any eyes. Just a peehole mouth.”

“I see what you see,” he said. “That’s how boners work.”

“Makes sense,” I said.

It got quiet again. There were so many things I wanted to ask, but I didn’t know what would be appropriate. I didn’t think there was much that could offend a talking dick, but he seemed really sensitive. Then suddenly, he broke the silence.

“You’ve never taken the time to name me,” he said. “Why is that?”

I thought for a moment. “I used to call you The Irish Spring when I was a little kid,” I said. “But I guess I never said it out loud. It just made me giggle.”

“I like that name!” he squeaked. “Makes me sound powerful and fresh. What was wrong with it?”

“I’m not all that Irish.” I said. “I just have red pubes and my mom’s maiden name is O’Reilly.”

“She’s my mom too,” he reminded me. “And can’t you just name me right now?!”

“Do you really need a name? You’re 24 years old and you’re Ryan Rogers’ Dick. Why confuse people with a rebrand?”

“Maybe a rebrand is exactly what I need,” he said under his breath.

“Oh,” I said. “Why’s that? Do you feel like you need to change your image? Not happy with your reputation?”

“I don’t know,” he said pitifully. “A little.”

“Ouch,” I said feeling slightly wounded. “I didn’t know I was embarrassing you. What am I doing wrong?”

“Well,” he said leaning back against my scrotum as if it were a beanbag chair. “You introduce me to people all the time, but I never get to know them. Then, you put all kinds of pressure on me because you want me to make a good first impression, and five minutes later, you’re done with me and you’re moving on to the next guy. All I want to do is make you proud, but I feel overwhelmed sometimes.”

I nodded to show him I was listening.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I really value our alone time. I like it when we’re watching TV and you hold me. It makes me feel safe. Or when you get home from a jog and you dance around the bathroom while the shower runs. That’s my favorite thing in the world! Just bobbing my head to the music while you shake your hips. But when you start taking me out to meet other people, I don’t always enjoy myself.”

He made a kind-of half smile and I could tell he felt relieved to get all that out.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t always know what I want, but I’m going to need you to share some of the blame. I follow your lead quite often. Remember that time we fucked that LSU cheerleader on the floor of Alex’s bathroom? You totally influenced that! Or that time we banged that 40-year-old because you liked his military uniform? You made that decision, you prick!”

The tide came in and the cold water rushed over my toes before quickly receding back over the sand and into the sea. Up until then, I didn’t know a penis could look unhappy. But mine did.

“Hey,” I said giving him a soft nudge with two fingers. “Remember when we went to that dance club in Playa del Carmen and I climbed on top of the bar and pulled you out for everyone to see?”

“You were drinking tequila and Red Bull,” he said bitterly. “You weren’t in your right mind.”

“Fuck me, is that true?!” I said. “Jesus Christ, that sounds terrible. Anyway, I pulled you out that night because I was proud of you and I wanted everyone to know that you were mine.”

“Really?” he said affectionately.

“Of course,” I said. “You’re not the biggest wiener and you don’t always hulk up when you need to, but I love you. And of all my appendages, I’ve shared some of my greatest memories with you.”

He finally looked back up at me.

“Can we get back together with Thomas?” he said. “He showed me a lot of attention and his bed sheets were some crazy high thread count.”

“Is that what you want?” I asked.

“Maybe not,” he said looking back at the waves. “I guess I just want you to settle down again. I’ve met a lot of assholes lately, and I’m ready for an asshole I really care about.”

I patted him on the head and said, “Of course, squirt.”

We both looked up at the stars and then I blurted out, “Hey! What about Squirt? I can call you Squirt if you like. That’s a good name, isn’t it?”

“That’s gross,” he said. “But I like it.”

I tucked him inside my swimsuit and gave him a playful punch with my fist saying, “Good talk, Squirt.”

I closed my eyes and when I opened them again, everything was still dark and beautiful. And nearly twenty feet away was a police officer, marching towards me through the sand — pointing and yelling as if I’d done something obscene.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Outdoorsy"

Found this in my phone from February 22, 2014:




That is all.

End of blog post.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tarzan

The Height of Luxury - Part I

Every now and then, I’ll look over at John and he’ll be looking down at his phone, scrolling through the pictures of the stripper from last night.

“Can’t stop, huh?” I ask.

“Every time I see him,” he says. “I stop breathing.”

“He was a goddamn superhero,” I say. “Like when he turned on the shower and started whipping his hair around and flinging water all over the crowd.”

“Oh God,” says John. “It’s like my dick can hear you. I bet if I covered my ears, my dick would still be like, Are you guys talking about Tarzan?! Is Tarzan here?!’’

I laugh and then I roll down all the windows when I see John reach for the pack of cigarettes in the cupholder. The Texas summer wind zigzags in and out of the car — roaring over the song we’re listening to: She’s A Lady by Tom Jones. When we took this exact same road trip last year, our anthem was Rock The Boat by Hues Corporation. This time, for no particular reason, we’ve adopted She’s A Lady as the Independence Gay Weekend 2014 theme song. “This song sounds like something from the Miss Congeniality soundtrack,” John says. “Yeah,” I add. “It sounds like the perfect song to introduce a drag queen. She would never perform it, but she would definitely walk out to it.” He side-eyes me and nods as if to say, exactly.

Two nights ago, on a Thursday, we left Lafayette around six and arrived at Nick’s house in Houston in the shallow end of the night. We went to a strip mall gay bar called Guava Lamp where we stumbled upon a drunk mob of singers and dancers with the touring company of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, who for four solid hours continued to drink like monsters and perform choreographed dance routines to songs unrelated to the choreography. Needless to say, it was fucking spectacular.

The next day was July 4th, which we spent beside a pool at Joey’s apartment, surrounded on all sides by Mexican teenagers who grilled hot dogs and played screechy, incoherent mariachi music from a boom box that looked like the same one that’s covered in dust and rat shit in the shed behind my parents’ house. When it started raining, I took cover but John and Joey stayed in the pool, insisting the rain was only passing.

Joey invited us to a party in Rice Military, so we got ready and ordered a ride. We don’t have Uber in Lafayette, so we thought it might be fun to try in Houston. A peppy black lady with hair bundled like a sheaf of wheat picked us up at twilight. She said it was her second day as an Uber driver, which was obvious by her scattered, overenthusiastic attempt to talk to the strangers in her car. She didn’t seem nervous, just jumpy and obnoxious. She asked us questions, and nodded, and smiled, and then asked more questions until we arrived at our destination. Her sugary disposition and apparent need to make others comfortable and engaged forced me to take a good, hard look at my own cynicism. And before exiting the car and mounting the stairs to the party, I decided that the friendly, conversational characteristics of a Southerner were not within me — and never were. I felt like a contradiction; a New Orleans native who finds friendly small talk between people who don’t need anything from one another painful and embarrassing. Like I was raised by animals in the jungle — seeing agendaless human social interaction as mystifying. And that’s when I thought, out loud, “I need a drink.”

The party was hosted by a pair of gay real estate agents at a home that could have been featured in Shit You’ll Never Own Magazine. Joey introduced us around and we tried not to gawk at the furniture and artwork. “We need to make a good impression,” whispered John. “I want to stay here next time.” I poured myself a glass of Grey Goose over ice from a crystal decanter with a sterling silver charm around its neck that read, Vodka. I repeated this exercise for the duration. The house was five stories with a rooftop patio that overlooked the Houston skyline. We climbed to the top, surveyed the panoramic view, and headed back down the stairs for another drink. A man with wild eyes and a voice like Harvey Fierstein stood on the landing, gesturing for us to follow him towards a door. “Why don’t you kids just take the elevator with me?” he said. John and I looked at one another. “Of course there’s a fucking elevator,” I said rolling my eyes. And then John screamed, “This is the height of luxury!”

I was introduced to a CPA who had the power to make me bored and also sexually indifferent. When he walked away, John said, “Geez, he’s had some work done.” I said I hadn’t noticed. John looked at me like I was screwing with him, which I wasn’t. “You didn’t see how his left eyebrow was pulled all the way back to his hairline?” “No,” I said. “I just assumed he was intrigued by everything.” I arched my eyebrow and pursed my lips, causing John to snort-laugh into his drink.

After the fireworks, we decided to head to the bars. I was considerably drunk and John was not far behind me, as evident by the volumes of our voices inside the second Uber car. That ride did not inspire a bleak, depressing self-realization the way the first one had because I was much too busy asking the driver if she could play “a black girl song” because I was “feeling like a black girl.” Also, the driver was a black girl and she stopped acknowledging me after three minutes.

Like many gay bars, Meteor has a stage on which drag queens and dancers can perform. Unlike many gay bars, Meteor has a multi-head shower in the middle of the stage, backed by a stone-tiled wall. We’d been drinking and socializing for hours when we finally sat down on a couch in front of the stage. John sat in the middle, flanked be me one side and a giant Mexican on the other side, who used his thumb and index finger to steady the straw in his drink every time he took a sip. John turned to him without provocation and asked his name. He said Ricky. John asked who he was with. He said no one. Then John said, “Good. You’re with us now.” Ricky looked ecstatic. And that’s when Turn Down For What came on and the lights changed. 

"Ladies and Gentlemen..."

I didn’t see him walk onto the stage. I only saw him everyone started screaming and whistling. He was the type of man you would see at the beach and drop your sunglasses to get a better look when he passed by. And he shook his ass impossibly. At the age of 25, I’ve seen more strippers in my lifetime than the average rap artist. But this guy — this Tarzan-looking guy — he was an unbelievable showman. To be honest, I wouldn’t have looked away if the place was on fire. And when it was all over, John and I sat next to each other dumbfounded and oddly horny for being in public. Then John turned to Ricky and said, “Get up Ricky, you’re coming with us to the next place.”

John’s awake now and Marc Maron is interviewing Jared Harris on the podcast I’m listening to. I accidentally forgot to set a route for Austin, and I’ve only just realized it upon entering San Antonio. I thought I could just travel west from Houston and end up in Austin, which was apparently fucked. So now we’re headed north up through Lockhart with another hour of driving ahead of us.

But I don’t mind.

It’s been exactly a year since John and I visited Houston and Austin together.

Last year, he was moving to New York at the end of summer, so we took one last road trip before he left for good. That whole weekend was bittersweet and I’d often find myself trying not to cry when I looked at him. But then, his plans changed and he moved from Lafayette back to New Orleans, which is only a two-hour drive instead of a plane ride.

We certainly didn’t think we would have this opportunity again last year, but look where we are! I'm not taking it for granted, though. This is special. But right now, I’m driving to one of my most favorite cities in the world with my best friend sitting next to me.

This is the height of luxury.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Where Do I Come In?

I’m a three position max kind of guy. After that, I’m lying on my back and I’m cranking it out ‘til something happens or I fall asleep.

My idea of adventurous sex involves moving. And if I do anything besides flat-back (stand, squat, bend, sit, prop myself up on one elbow, elevate my body into a push-up position, etc.), it’s only to prove I’m still athletic enough to do it. Meaning that it’s not for your pleasure, it’s for my reassurance. But just to reiterate: I cap off at three.

I never know what to do with my hands when receiving a blowjob. When I was 14, this guy on the wrestling team named Greg Duplechain told me that you should always rub the person’s shoulders when she is going down on you. At an all-boys high school, this kind of open dialogue about blowjob etiquette is mostly going on between everyone all day long. Walk by any table in the cafeteria and you’re bound to overhear the term “donkey punch” more than once. Rub the shoulders, I thought. How considerate.

Teenage boys will blindly follow one another’s advice because each one assumes the other guy has slightly more experience than he does. Greg Duplechain spent his summers in Arkansas at Camp Ozark — where I assumed he fingered girls from sunrise to sunset and participated in bunk-wide circle jerks after lights out. He knows his stuff, I thought. I would later find out that shoulder-rubbing is fine for a little while, but then my weak hands make it strenuous and awkward. Now, my go-to move is both hands behind my head. Guys in porn do this, and it looks so cool. And looking cool is something I’ve been trying to do since I was born. So there I am, receiving oral sex from someone I probably conned into it with my hands behind my head like I’m a fireman posing for a calendar you might find at the mall newsstand in the 1990s.

But then what do I do with my eyes? I can look you in the eyes, I guess. But then it turns into a staring contest, and I get anxious and break eye contact immediately. I can’t beat you in a staring contest while you’re sucking my dick. How much ego does one man need? I already won when I convinced you to give me head. I don’t need to assert my dominance by staring you in your distant, hopeful eyes. So I guess I’ll just keep mine closed. But does that make me appear smug or disinterested? Maybe I’ll just look out the window. But then what if a neighborhood kid walks by and peeks inside to see if anyone’s home? I’m never expecting children at my house, but it could still happen. Girl Scouts or wayward teens on their way to the bus station could drop by at any minute! It’s around this time I decide we should probably do something else.

When it comes to roles, I don’t particularly have a preference. It’s complicated and squishy either way, and my choice to top or bottom ultimately comes down to what the other guy looks like. My work as a Creative Director comes in handy here. I can see the picture in my head beforehand and make a professional recommendation for the final composition. But sometimes I just get hammered and throw caution to the wind because I don’t care what goes inside where after I’ve shotgunned a case of High Life and neither should you.

What else? Um. Oh! I like handjobs. Handjobs are the only kind of sex where you can also sit in a booth and enjoy a chicken parmesan at the same time. Straight guys get so psyched for Steak & BJ Day, but count me in for a chickparm and a mildly enthusiastic HJ. I don’t even care if there’s pasta.

Alright. I’m not really sure where I’m going with this anymore. I think it started out as a short essay about my compulsion to feel comfortable during sex, and then I got sidetracked and started discussing my quirky, relatable sex habits.

I’m glad I put it out there, but what are you supposed to do with that information?

Shit, and I totally intended to mention weird places in which I’ve ejaculated, but I never really got around to that. The title makes more sense now, doesn’t it? Kind of funny, right? Well, I guess now’s a good time to talk about cum since I’ve gone full-on Frank Underwood. Okay, here we go:

I basically won’t cum above your shoulders unless I love you. Or unless I hate you.




Well.





I guess that’s all I have to say about that. A little anti-climactic, I guess.





Cum joke.





I’m going to sleep now.

I don't even know how this fucking happened.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the platypus

“Since we’re speaking candidly,” said the Platypus. “Can I ask why you’re doing this?”

The Fox gingerly lowered his fork, resting it softly on a pillow of pale eggs. He smiled to himself and took a deep breath. Even though they weren’t making eye contact at the moment, the Platypus squirmed in his chair when he saw the Fox smile. He found him painfully attractive from every angle — especially when he wasn’t looking back at him. Finally, the Fox swallowed, shifted his gaze to somewhere beyond the window and said, “Because I think you’re a silly, odd animal. But you make me feel important. And I can’t remember the last time I felt important.”

The Platypus was a silly, odd animal. He was chubby and he spoke with a lisp, but he was also smart and he had a knack for making the other animals laugh. The Fox, on the other hand, was quiet and elegant and took himself very seriously. He was a handsome beast with a fine, sleek coat and shimmering eyes like two river rocks. And although he was beautiful, he wanted to be valued for other reasons.

Outside, the rain was falling so lightly that it seemed to be second-guessing falling in the first place. If rain had a choice in the matter, that is. Inside The Crate Myrtle Café, the Platypus and the Fox couldn’t even hear it — like outside was on mute. Still, the Fox watched drop-after-drop soak the grass, imagining what it would be like to run a moist blade across his lips, which were red and chapped from kissing the Platypus. The beat of silence between them was interrupted when the waitress, a skinny raven with clumpy mascara, sauntered over and squawked, “How’s everything taysten, y’all?!” The Platypus squeezed his eyes together and pinched the base of his snout. “It’s lovely. Thank you,” he mumbled. The Raven flashed her service industry smile before swishing off towards the kitchen. When she was out of earshot, the Platypus sighed, “How’s everything taysten? Jesus, I hate when waitresses say that. It makes me want to gag. Like you want me to describe the taste of what’s rolling around in my mouth? Great, now I’m thinking of the half-chewed larvae wedged between my teeth, as if the act of eating larvae isn’t gross enough.” This made the Fox laugh, which made the Platypus smile with the unabashed glee of someone in love, which he was.

A few hours earlier, at sunrise, the Platypus snuck over to the Fox’s dugout under the cover off wild grass. He was greeted by the gorgeous creature standing there in all his amber radiance. And without so much as a good morning, he kissed him right there in the doorframe. They had chemistry; that was for sure, but their mismatched snouts made kissing difficult. Still, they did their best. In the dugout, everything was in its place (nothing like the Platypus’ dirty, slapped-together nest) and this made the Platypus feel embarrassed, occasionally pulling his focus away from their kiss. On the walls hung a congregation of framed photographs of the Fox and a large grey wolf. The Platypus kissed the Fox but kept a sideways stare on the image of the Wolf. Dear God I hope he doesn’t come home and catch us like this, he thought. He'll tear us both to shreds! He saw visions of his blood splashed across the immaculate dugout. The meticulously places photographs flecked with crimson drops — still boiling from the kiss.

“My turn,” said the Fox, the Raven refilling his coffee. “Why are you doing this?” The Platypus felt the weight of his own tail. For two feral animals, they were behaving awfully sheepishly. “To be honest,” said the Platypus. “I’m crazy about you. It's unfortunate that you’re with someone — someone who can swallow me whole — but I can't help how I feel.” He was still a little shaky from their earlier encounter; a mixture of anxiety and adventure. “But you knew that already, didn’t you?” The Fox caught a heavenly band of mid-morning sunlight across his face and closed his eyes. “Rain and sunshine,” he said. “Can’t do anything with that.”

At the next table, a chipmunk and a field mouse shared a dessert. They giggled and rolled their eyes and made fussy faces. First date, thought the Platypus. Lucky fucks. “I wanted it to happen with you,” said the Fox suddenly. The Platypus looked back at the Fox; into his shimmering river rock eyes. “What do you mean?” he asked. The Fox straitened up and looked down at the table. “I don’t want you think that I had an affair with you because I’m unhappy with the Wolf. I am. But I wouldn't settle for the first animal who came along. I think you’re a silly, odd animal. But you make me feel important. And I wanted this to happen with you.”

The Platypus tried to smile but he couldn’t. His heart was curling up like a snail. “That’s a relief,” he lied somberly. “I figured you weren’t happy and you needed something else. Someone else. But you’re so regal and beautiful.” He was beginning to feel small. “I just,” he paused. “I didn’t think you could want someone like me.”

There was silence between them. The nearly inaudible sound of pit-pit rain drowned out with the hum of effortless banter between friends over breakfast. The Platypus looked down at his heaping belly then he glanced over at the Chipmunk and the Field Mouse. The Chipmunk was sitting on one ankle, letting his free leg swing back and forth. He said something that made the tiny Field Mouse burst into laughter — his little squeaks drawing the attention of everyone else in the dining room. The Field Mouse covered his face with a napkin but continued to giggle into it. The Chipmunk looked at the Field Mouse like he was meeting his new best friend for the first time. The Fox was staring out the window again, and without looking at the Platypus, he said, “The Wolf is going to work early again tomorrow. Stop by around sunrise?”

And right there, in the middle of the breakfast crowd at The Crate Myrtle Café, the two small creatures were flash-flooded with the details, but flash-frozen in time. Everyone who came before didn’t matter; everyone who comes after won’t measure up. And acknowledging the awe and majesty of this moment, the Platypus made up his mind to never see the Fox again. Because even an animal as silly and odd as he should still have some dignity. And even the hot-and-fast affection of the Fox could not inspire the feeling he would get from just saying no.


This is the second story in collection of fables about woodland creatures in complicated relationships.
It is proceeded by the chipmunk and the field mouse

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Cave

Some people run with an iPhone strapped to their arm, but not me. I use an iPod Shuffle that I clip to my waistband, draping the cord down my spine like a ponytail.

Weather permitting; I don’t wear a shirt. Weather irrelevant; I don’t wear underwear. I do, however, wear very small black running shorts that fall nearly an inch below my balls. On a windy day, I avoid high-traffic roadways because the odds of an up-short breeze revealing my junk to the transient public are pretty steep. As much as I want people to look at my dick, I’d rather it happen on my own terms — in a text message. I never run the same route on consecutive days, which keeps it interesting. I need to keep it interesting because this is the only real hobby I have left.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about doing something else, like a new hobby. I don’t really practice yoga anymore, but if I meet someone new, I lie and say I do it every day. I read one book per month, but I wouldn’t really count that as a hobby, either. I often entertain the idea of joining the really fancy gym in town that lets you run a credit line at the snack bar. The only thing that keeps me from signing up is that one of my exboyfriends goes there, and I really hate him.

Also, I heard that gays blow each other in the steam room, and I don’t want to be lumped into that group.

Also, I don’t lift weights.

I thought about learning to play an instrument, but that turned out to be really depressing. I borrowed an electric guitar from my little brother and from the day I brought it home, it leaned against my bookshelf where it remained for four months, unstrummed and useless. If it had feelings, I’m sure it would’ve been sad. Eventually, I decided to get rid of it along with some old workout equipment and a twin mattress of undetermined origin. The Salvation Army Donation Center was closed that day, so I dumped everything near a sign that said ABSOLUTELY NO DROP-OFFS ON SUNDAYS.

This impulse to find a new hobby feels more urgent now than ever and it’s completely Andy’s fault.

Before I met Andy, my future could’ve been anything, anywhere. Now, it feels like there’s a plan.
It’s like I finally know where my life is headed so I’m trying to branch out and find new interests before I become the me that stays me forever. It’s not just hobbies, though. I need to take a vacation, or start eating kale, or go live in Portland for a year.

No one ever talks about the panic that comes with finding your special someone. It’s like living in the frozen wilderness and then suddenly finding a warm cave. You’re happy to be in the cave, but then you realize how small it is. That’s a happy disposition, right?

You make the big decision and then you watch the other would-be timelines collapse.

It can be scary to watch big things collapse, right?

But it's exciting.