"Hiding in Plain Sight"
by Joseph Witkowski

Find your best of black, walk out the door and make for a cab. Don’t look back don’t even think about a nice hot microwave organic lasagna and the charm of Charlie Rose. Think about the sting of straight vodka, the howl of energy pumped Techno making mobile the actin of stained and servile Morlocks. The night can be twelve hours long and have no politics, no class, no habits or horror. The world will step down from it's pedestal and tickle the plebes and throw change, no judgment, just beauty. The “the Nine Tales.” A bar on the south side populated by Chicago’s most dedicated perverts, who drank, danced and forgot about the colorless apron of daily civil life. That’s where lust and technology mixed and left no remainder, and it is where I belong.
That’s the kind of kind of romanticism that got me into this knee-deep worth of shit. Ducks in a barrel, Ha Ha. So this is the story and this is how I’m gonna tell it.
The evening was wearing thin and I was spending too much time in a pace race. Thoughts require a physical complement so I had often walked the length of my apartment making turns with every counterpoint. Rumination is a great hobby if you believe in it. I had been living in a barred and melancholy apartment on the North Side of Chicago with not much of a view besides a dogwood and a fire hydrant. The air refused to circulate and I could soon detect the scent of stale dioxide that had blossomed from the walls of my lungs. I never understood why hating yourself was such a faux pas in the mainstream of contemporary post self-help power positioning society, hating yourself had always worked for me. If you did it enough you were able to focus it upon a detail, some facet of your monad that suddenly craved change and chased after it. Think about it: all the people in the world you hate, the pathetic, the passive, the arrogant, the co-dependent, in the end your instinct is too grab them by their shirt colors and explain to them that if they hated themselves as much as people hated them, they wouldn’t stand for themselves another instant. I was lucky, motivation didn’t creep, I was hollowed out by it and afraid of boredom.
I had been a playing the Byronesque role of a social louse for sometime and at least I’d gotten the wardrobe down. Just enough income to get drunk every night, stumble to the pod in the morning and play nice with the other children. I had been working at a tele-marketers for going on six months and I no longer felt the burn of bile after spending hours mingling over a dial tone and the anger of the middle class. I worked for a company that did research on a drinking habits, favorite liquors, quantity consumed, I was a collector of facts for some advertising agency looking to produce another in a long line of whiskey ads that could conquer the willpower of American 12 steps. That evening I had gotten home by way of a crowed coffin ship bus that hogged along Western with the dedication of a beaching whale. The man sitting next to me on the ride smelled of stale pasta and babbled endlessly about Korea. I always saw a human being stretched out in time before the practicality of the ever-present. This guy was a succession of unspoken pain sensors and beautiful bloodline, no part of him hadn’t been touched by his past deeds and he was paying the price for not marrying into money. Or perhaps just betting on the wrong Internet stock.
The raincoat types scare me, but that’s what their there for. Every society needs its untouchables and will pay well for them. You could be next, wait till the next erection doesn’t pay the check and suddenly the dark becomes light and you are looking for a different answer to the motives of attachment. Maybe the tourists will be out tonight. The Tuxedos and the Studio execs, the notepads and trend spotters, nothing sells better than pre-processed spank-towel chic. The night finally started ignoring me and I can no longer take the silence. One cab, three drinks, a flirt, a hope, an empty shot with a tick bite memory cell, Fuck it, let’s see what’s under the rocks.

**********

After a long cab ride hosted by a well mannered Muslim with a well documented Cancer stricken mother I found myself at the steps of “The Nine Tales” with a smirk in my heart and a game plan. Find a home, sit and stare, the first thought that comes into your head is that last you shall spake so write it down, and think of what history makes of the wasted and wounded who protect the alley ways. The downstairs was religion incarnate, lights pulsed and danced prisms, the crowd slid along the vibrations in leather and latex, knee high boots, fuzzy felt cowboy hats, pasties and chaps as far as the eye can see, the dull eye of scenesters, the cynical scowl of the die-hards, the experimenter, the divorced, the tense and turned-on. Who didn’t want a spanking tonight, or hot candle wax soaking a clipped nipple? The floor pierced the ceiling and flesh made itself known to the unknown desire. I looked around and processed. The same faces, Martin, Janelle, Kevin, Mistress Colleen, Richard the handcuffing, photography guy, that squirrely looking guy I nick named “Flippy.” Without failure. It’s nice to know their are constants in the universe.
This place had been here since as long as I can remember. There were old photographs on the wall, Irving Klaw stuff from the ‘50s and could swear some of those faces, a little more wrinkled now, show up on some nights with nostalgic duty. “The Nine Tales” was run by Margaret, a cockney smart ass femme fatale in her late thirties who kept two very portly slaves chained to the end of the bar. They wore hoods the whole night and never spoke. I suppose they were supposed to be bouncers. She always referred to them as her dobermans. The bartender was Mike, he looked very vampire tonight, with crooked teeth in a bookie’s smile. He knew everyone and everyone liked him. I’ve seen this guy crack a joke, coddle the weeping and make six Alabama Slammers all in the same three minutes. He always seemed to be vibrating with the pulse of the soundtrack and I could never picture him alone. I also could never picture him drunk.
I sat at the end of a bar and ordered a Stolie on the rocks with twist of lemon, lit up and watched for snaking eyes. I always needed an hour to acclimatize, the underworld is not a self-fulfilling prophecy, it takes dedication on behalf of the detail oriented. Remember the plan. I was in the kindest sense of the word a writer and not too proud too beg. The idea that your life is a bi-product of fiction comes about after you have a long deep look at how memory really works. You can try and think of your life as whole but you never give it a theme unless it’s time to change publishers. But I never made good on my promises, and I certainly invested enough well crafted preparation for a life untold and well worth it. I was halfway through my drink when I spotted my fantasy, no chills, no frills, straight forward and on the dole, he was beautiful and he was available, a young cherub of unrelenting puppy-eye, standing in a corner watching Sodom fuck Gomorrah. Your mine, rabbit.
Take it slow, work around, I had been inside this monkey cage before and he wanted it to be fresh and original. The music was toning down and I felt the possibility of concise conversation regrouping. He got up and decided to hunt for a better view. I spotted Heinrich, a well to do Gallery owner from Andersonville lost in his whiskey sour. I beelined and plopped opening with a merry tale of prison wardens and numerous libations from winters past. Heinrich, whose accent was too thick for even himself always waxed hopeful and never acted, he was a perfect playmate for a team of cock and ball fuck buddies looking for white meat. I never understood why these Manson family types needed to make a sport of it. Whether you are a technology freak: 1000’s of dollars in Belgium Buckle machines and a VCR, or a domination freak looking for a nymphet to lick carpet cleaner and wear a dunce cap in your pantry dog cage, you never made your stats known till the last second. Same with the pain junkies (who were my favorites), cutters, burners, lash-happys, gaspers, plastic mashers, nazi costume drop dusters and gaslighting megoliths, I remembered my first night in O’Connel’s basement sweat room, purple and puffy and airway when you cry, a six foot two Normandy psychotic with a choke chain. Play fair buttercup.
I meandered through anecdotes and tall-tales before noticing my mark make for the little boy’s room. Maybe a slight detour would suffice, a preemptive mating call for good measure. I followed him past the biker squad and strutted head first into the bar’s most glamorous version of a hygiene troft. The overhead florescents were buzzing on and off and the sink looked like the scene of a post autopsy conniption. Cherub was taking a piss, or trying to at least. I quickly walked up to the stall next to him and made a motion of unzipping, very Bogart. We stood there inches a part and swore I could feel his breath bouncing off the walls. I made a slight gesture and turned my head a nip. I caught a look at his blazing blue eyes, a soft translucent film of cornea that caught the intermittent light. The I noticed. Neither of had started pissing yet. We were both standing their with our sammys in our hand and not squeezing a drop. For the life of me and couldn’t get it out, not that I had to go that bad, or at all. But ya know, just the ritual motion of sitting down on a throne can activate the bowls and have you shitting without realizing it. What’s it that Becker said: You can search for the highest throne in the land and you’ll find a guy sitting on his ass. He was growing nervous frustrated. The tension was too thick and he wasn’t gonna be able to spill the beans. I figured this might be a good time for an ice breaker, maybe I should grab him by the back of the neck, start yelling Marine Corps drill cadence in his ear. By the time I finished that fantasy he had let out a sigh, zipped up and walked out unrelieved. I guess I won. I let it go and stared up at the ceiling and listen to my urination break the staccato of two twin strips of white cold useless light.
At that moment I flashed on my first memory involving God. As a Catholic prep school layabout I had my fill of the great beyond, Jews, philistines, Jericho, the last Supper. I remember when I was six, that all got washed away and I had my first true vision of God, a spectrum of colors going off into infinity with infinity complexity, prisms within prisms. I understood the notion of an all powerful, all mighty God. What it would mean to be infinite. If you were to ask what do I believe? Am I an agnostic, and atheist, whatever? I certainly have my neo-spiritual leanings. If you speak of an emaciated rabble-rouser hanging on a cross, or a 50 foot tall white guy who sits on a cloud and answers prayers all day, or an elephant headed six armed blue guy at the center of the earth shifting continental plates and killing crops I’d say hell no. I always figured that to really be infinite, as God is, one must be everywhere, and everything. God must be in the air, in the heart, in the toaster oven, in this ashtray before me, hell he’s everything that is and isn’t God, the brightest bulb of anti-God must be God. You would think this would make him easy to find but in fact, the easiest way to be found by your worshippers is to come down here, hang around all day, put a big flaming Icon of yourself in the sky, vote, shit like that. But To be everywhere is too complicated, it can’t be easily grasped and doesn’t stick to the brainpan. And it will lilt and be washed away by more practical thoughts. However, one can find God anywhere this way, anything in your life. It probably changes over the years. A hope, a lover, a poem, a talent are all a piece of God, and if you love it as you would love God you bring God closer to you.

**********

I stared at her from across the room for about an hour, positioned comfortably in a thick red velvet couch with a notebook in my hand and my Vodka getting drier by the second. It was hard to write by candlelight but I’d grown sick of mingling. She spent that time handcuffed to Richard. Richard was quintessential anti-life. A 55 year old man who always came dressed in Police gear, SWAT vest, he had been here every night I ever poked my fuzzy head through the door. He got off on randomly going to women asking t handcuff them and take their picture with a beat up old Canon. He probably had a collage on his studio apartment wall the size of the fucking Vietnam Memorial. He was never without his costume, a scotch and crude remark, as if always waiting to make the world as dirty and as old as he was, and he would fall asleep alone every night till the day he dies. I loved him.
But she was far more mysterious in her way. Jejune, maybe a closet scholar, brewing under latex hotpants and fishnet walk-a-thons. She had been accosted by every perv in the palace who hung assortments of wear and tear on her body as if it were open to inspection. She was sipping her drink nervously but hid it under a veneer of charm. Her red-died hair blazed endless night of boring melodrama, lost recognition and confusing skin. I imagined here conked out every morning in a one bedroom with six roommates, all baking, snorting, shooting up, and studying for the GRE’s. I waited for the clock hands to strike a round number and then, as I was about to walk up to her, break the monotony of Richard’s soliloquy, she asked him to uncuff her. He took his time playfully, searching for the right key while she stood expectantly with he wrists before her like Oliver Twist in the orphanage, hiding a pissed look on her inner face. When she was released she gave him a kiss on the cheek and left him to his weary life and went over to sit with a few girlfriends and wax goth for a while.
I floated a smile on her pass over my table, nervous, embarrassed, she and her comrades went to an alcove of seats behind a mesh curtain and I could only make out faint fraud impressions. I was dying to get drunk, to walk in on them blasting with uneven query and necessary seduction. But I felt so at peace with my voyeurism and decided to stay at the sidelines for the moment. Besides, cherub keeps walking back and forth the dance floor every ten minutes and I’m catching dilation. I hope I wasn’t bullshitting myself. The music was base-lining in an unending repetition, especially for a Sunday night. No passion in the air right now. How do these cats wake up in the morning? What drives the same asses to crowd the same barstool? Is it pity? Is it a desire to be seen, spoken highly, wished well, loved? I never looked for love in a place like this. I wanted space, freedom, a bevel to hang my head and speak no evil. God I miss Charlie.
Charlie. He was a young gruff Texan 16 year old and my first. We were together three years. I met him in this damn hole. He was up against the hobby horse getting the shit kicked out of him after every shot. He had a marvelous body, warrior, a thin line of hair that ran down the valley of his chest and pooled around his unifying spearhead. He had been in Chicago for 2 years and starting to lose the accent when he got angry or hard. We ended up shit-faced and prancing around Grant Park for an hour telling stories of demons and price tags. There was that guy too, dusty brown raincoat hobo wear with white hair. We had stopped before the steps of the bridge and there was this guy, standing symmetrical, motionless in between the two lamps that showed the cement. We spotted him in the midst of a zigzag walk and were scared shitless. You never know about sights like that. Our deepest fear was that we would walk up to him, reach out our hands to touch him and they would pass right through the surface of his body like ether. Ghosts walk among us, the people we see everyday in some looping stock footage. The guy who cycles by the Blue Line every afternoon at three, the couple coupling away in the apartment across from yours bathed in blue light even though a FOR RENT sign is stabbed into the courtyard and they never seem to do laundry. I remembered Charlie’s funeral. Why did that cockring have to die on me? He disappeared after our fight at the bus station. He thought I stole money out of his jeans while he was taking a shower, which I had, but who’s counting?. Six months later I found out through his uncle that he drank himself to death in a motel in Poukipsey. At the wake they stared at me the entire time like I was a figure in some fucking Edward Hopper Parisian coffee house. My mind was clogged with questions that dissipated before the bouncing ball hit the period.
The night was getting soggy and spoiled and I was looking for way out. Helpless kinks were now walking in and out of strobe light, stiff conversations about sensations, cell phone rates and ink. I wanted to burn the place to the fucking ground and not look back. I prayed for a cigarette lighter and a gas leak to merge and incinerate us into cosmic dust. Donatien- Alphonse- Francois de Sade. Born to aristocratic parents he resented, arrested multiple times for spanking and beating prostitutes, spent a good portion of the French Revolution in the Bastille, numerous prisons and a mental asylum. Writer of Justine, Juliette, Philosophy of the Bedroom and 120 days of Sodom. The only reason you would praise nature as much as he did was because your instincts lined up with your daydreams. Always let the prying eyes of the powers that be know that there is a madness in the method. I was coughing brown phlegm into a napkin when the lights came on. 3:00 a.m, Everyone had found a mate and was heading for the pink lined double doors. I look down at my hands, had to count the fingers, make sure I could still flex each one. I stuffed my notebook into the pocket of my leather coat and said some good-byes.
Outside it had started raining. I began walking toward State Street and watched the morning cave in, hundreds of stale drunkards stumbling on top of each other trying to hail a cab. I figured I could take a bus home, no need to blow cash on privacy. I made it to a corner and was caught off guard by a billboard for some summer blockbuster with wide eyed starlets and pretty explosions, and then he showed up in my peripheral. As if I could hear him cutting the air as he walked, he passed behind me and went up to the curb to flag down a yellow. My cherub. He was dressed in a brown top coat over his PVC shirt, the rain was matting his hair to his forehead and a slight shiver was catching him off guard. I walked up right next to him and replayed the bathroom scene, this time without subtitles.
“You going home alone tonight?” I sparked out, getting a brisk head turn.
“Yeah, well, my ride found himself a Dom for the evening so I figured I’d let that play out, besides, we never really alone that’s half the problem right there.”
He had a slight Boston accent and a philosophical side, I was getting delighted.
“what’s your name?” I asked quickly
“Eric,” he said now looking me straight in the eyes.
“I’m Tristan,”
“Kristian?”
“Tristan, you know, like Tristan and Isolde. Black sail, White sail.”
“Yeah, I know that one. I kept catching you out of the corner of my eye tonight, you looked like you were falling asleep most of the time, when you weren't scribbling.” He pointed to the note book hanging out of my coat.
“Yeah, the corner of the eye is remarkably comfortable if a bit cramped.” I said, taken on a weird husky tone.
“You’re a writer?”
“Only on weekends, between golf and masturbation.”
“What do you do for money?”
I’ll try not to take that as an insult.” He was sly, perceptive, a little out of place. “I’m a Quiz show host and a part time fishmonger. How about yourself?”
“I just got off the bus two days ago, my friend was letting me crash at his place. Problem is, he only has one key, which is in his pocket right now. So I guess I have to go find an all night diner, nurse a cup of coffee.”
“Shit I’m sorry,” I said ingenuously
“I’m not, his cat fucking scares me, it’s the size of a hippo and drinks heavily.”
I chuckled and kept the eye contact going. There was a nice drawn out silence and we just let it rain for a bit. Then I let the Carpe Diem hit the fan.
“Come back to my place.”
“Huh?”
“You heard me.” I took on a cop’s voice. “It’s raining pretty hard, you’re gonna be shaken like a leper in an hour, I got coffee, tea, toys, and plenty of Danielle Steel. Come on, free of charge.”
“If this is a set-up for some cute leather boy jump, I’m really not in the mood.”
“No, I work alone, besides, do I look like I could kick anybody’s ass.”
“No, no you don’t” the cab pulled up on cue and at the last second I checked to make sure I still had money.

*********

The ride was bumpy, they had just finished filling the pot holes on Lake Shore after the winter. We talked a little about the club, some break-ups, a pinch of truth and a dash of lie. He seemed charmed by me and I was horny as hell for him. I could feel the blood pumping through my neck as I placed my hand on his leather pants, sliding it slowly toward his crotch. He let out a strong exhale and closed his eyes. I spoke up.
. “You know why half the world is going crazy right now?”
“No, why?” he said as if bored.
“Well, we are at a loss for words, that’s my theory.” I was slurring so there is no way this was coming out profound and the driver hadn’t taken his eyes off since Fullerton. “We live in a world very different from the one before, you know, pre classical, pre-guilds, in days of old when knights were bold and women were always pregnant. Back then, people got off on words, on repetition, rituals, they walked into big houses, and recited their prayers to whatever was holy and it only strengthened their resolve. It comforted them. Now we live in a time cut off from God, from reality and the useful, and our words are lost, they can’t hook on to the world anymore, every idea has it’s equally disparaging opposite and we can’t stand repetition, ritual abhors us. We don’t want to hear ourselves telling the same anecdotes, making the same declarations, cause it now it wears down, seems more false on second hearing, like it lost the creative energy of its first breath and so we can’t convince ourselves we’re not bullshiting. The things we believe are the things we only say once, and forget.” I let it drift.
“That’s an interesting theory.” He said, finally opening his eyes to look at me, almost feline. I had his sack in my hand like a sand.
We got to my apartment and I over tipped the driver. We staggered to the door, and I was chuckling away at one of my own jokes. He seemed nervous and was keeping his hands in his pockets. I mimicked a drunkard and smacked the keys against the side of the lock. He gave a smirk and I felt validated. We walked up three flights in quiet and I entered my hovel with a stride of pride, walked over to the kitchen area and poured some more Stolie into a rock’s glass. I just couldn’t stand the idea of smelling coffee right now so I didn’t even offer.
“I think I’ve only got vodka,” I lied
“I’m feeling a bit pounded right now, no thanks.”
“How about some brandy, it might make the chills go away.”
“Uhh, yeah that sounds good.” He was walking up and down my apartment sizing me up. He could tell my standard of living hadn’t gone up in a few years and I was used to my habits. A typewriter with two ashtrays and styrofoam cups with the local gas station logo on the side. An unmade bed, used socks lined up like soldiers on the hardwood floor. I moved from my position at the sink momentarily and put on an Otis Redding record. When I went back to pouring he was already walking toward me. As I poured the Brandy I felt his hands go around my stomach and reach up to my chest. I froze, not too rigid, patient. He laid his head on the upper part of my back and I felt his soft cheeks on my Thoracic vertebrae. I could picture his smile as the words poured out.
“So what do you want to do to me.?” He said coyly, I didn’t realize he was that short. I hope I have something that fits him.

********

He kneeled down on the floor in the middle of the room, and I headed for the closet. I was not much for presentation and kept my machinery in a pile at the foot of my walk-in next to my jogging pants. I picked up a body length black leather body bag, the buckles rung like church bells and I could almost hear the chuckle in the inside of his head. The body bag had 12 straps along the front and a crosswork of rope that stretched the spine in stainless steel d-rings, the sleeves folded strait-jacket style and the hood had two air holes at the nose. A fine piece of workmanship and I was always trying to impress. He was already blindfolded so I guess he would feel his way through it. I asked him to stand up and started lacing.
“Do you always threat your guests this well,” I’d heard that one before.
“Normally it’s three hours of Merlot and Cheese over some Proust but I’m making an exception tonight.”
I was pinning his legs to together as wrapped the sheath around his naked hairless alabaster legs. He seemed to fit right into the mold and I was taking my time. This kind of thins has too much foreplay for most. If you want to get anything done in this world you have to keep it simple. I always hated that motto, I was already hallway through the bottle of vodka and accidentally skipping buckles.
“So, “ he gulped and cleared his throat, had he done this before cause his timing was impeccable. “What do you write?”
“Serial Killer Erotica.”
“Oh, you’re very funny.”
“yeah and I’m here all week.” The leather was catching green light from four in the morning moon. I made sure to tighten each strap on it’s own, no slack.
“Well my specialty has always been religious texts. My parents were honest to god Catholic missionaries, bible thumpers from the East Coast who wrote off guilt on their tax forms. I studied theology at Georgetown, made it to assistant professor but then got out and started writing short stories, essays on New Testament misinterpretations, that kind of thing. I’m working on a novel write now.”
“What’s it about?” I was up to his waist.
“It’s about a kid that everyone believes is crazy, he thinks that god is talking to him., telling him what to wear, what to eat. It’s this voice in his head that everyone writes off as schizophrenia. He gets into a fight at school with a teacher, brains him with an Economics book which puts him in a coma. He winds up in an institution for the criminally insane and while he’s in there he starts his own religion. When it gets so popular among the patients they end up having to turn the hospital into a church. Suddenly people want to join and to do that they have themselves committed. He reaches such a point of fame that he decides he has to leave and travel the world converting the masses, you know, like St. Paul.”
I was wrapping his arms around his body now, pinning them in back, his breathing had gotten rapid under the constriction and some sweat was pouring off his brow, soaking the fur lining of his blindfold.
“The state won’t release him but he wins a court case based on the right to religious freedom. He then rejoins the world.”
“Hey, look, I’m a little nervous, here. You are gonna let me out of this thing when I ask, right?”
I had just fastened the last buckle around his neck.
“Hold that thought.” I slid the hood over his head and started lacing up the back. The hole which fit a nice button on gagged was position off centered from his mouth so his words were faint and muffled.
“Jesus, I must be drunk.” He said timidly. “Shouldn’t we have a safe-word system or something.”
He gave a last faked chuckle.
“What books you been read’n loser? That’s a bad system. Punctures the authenticity.” I finished lacing and he was standing in front of me trying not to fall down. I walked in front of him flipping the attachable gag in my hand like a coin.
“All right, let me out of this thing-”
“Shut up.” I poked the gag into his mouth and snapped it on. Muffled yells came from inside the hood and he started to fall over, I hoisted him on to my shoulder and threw him on the bed, walked over to my chair by the window in front of he typewriter and poured another drink. He immediately started struggling madly, contorting and straining, his yells most likely every swear heard in the history of man. I just sat and watched for a couple minutes and enjoyed. At one point he was falling off the bed and I had to rope him down. It was pretty beautiful, as beauty goes.
My head was swimming for a half an a hour. I had poured the last drop of warm vodka into my glass and realized that I had been staring out the window ignoring the present state of affairs in my apartment. I looked over at Eric the leather mummy. He was lying still, I could see that he was breathing, maybe he gave up and fell asleep. I stroked my temple with my forefinger and started to imagine what he was could be dreaming right now. I really should offer to stroke him off soon. I was till hard as a rock and only occasionally helping myself along. The room had grown quiet and I thought I could hear the street lights humming through the trees. I figured he could still hear me under the hood.
“Hey, Eric, did you know James Joyce used to carry around soiled panties in his coat pocket?”
He exploded with life so quickly it caught up with its echo. He tried to leap up and was pulled back by the network of ropes fastening the device ton the bed. Then he was jerking around blurred, like a fish in a dock, whatever. The gag barely covered a scream that seemed soaked in tears, and it lasted for a full minute. He wiggled back and forth trying to pry his arms from his body. He should be an actor. I started to masturbate and watched him turning into three of him. The sound was getting a bit fainter, and it was all happening way too fast. A ring appeared around my binocular vision as a rubbed away, feeling the tickling force inside my head. I could of sworn I heard coughing, ragged. It was probably really difficult to breath in that thing. My thoughts seemed monotone and crackily like old radio.
“I know a lot of things like that, did you ever hear of Paul Bern?” He was crying now, sobbing.
“Paul Bern was Jean Harlow’s second husband. On their wedding night, the honeymoon, she shows up at a friends house covered with welts and bruises and blood soaked teeth marks on her ass and they ask, ‘What the hell is going on?’ He shows up, apologetic. Apparently, the violence was an overcompensation for the fact that he had the genitals of an eight year old boy and was practically impotent. They decided to stay together, a platonic sham marriage to secure their reputations. Anyway, three years down the line, she is sitting in her bedroom reading and he walks in wearing this big fucking strap-on, with like a water pump. He’s prancing around in this thing and she just starts laughing her ass off. He is drunk, so he starts laughing too but deep down he’s humiliated. You see, he thought this would be the solution to their marriage.”
I came suddenly, the milk flies up on my chest hair and I see this stream of colors fill my field of vision.
“Anyway. Three days later she comes home and he’s lying on the floor in front of a full length mirror. He had blown the back of his head off with a .38.”
The coughing was getting more faint, sporadic, docile.
“You see Eric, . . . .sex, biology, these things are harmless. It’s the love that kills you.”
I think that’s when I passed out.

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