You are reading Fiddleblack #20
It had been fifteen years since a woman had asked Brendan to take her home with him. Dumbly fondling the keys in his pocket, he held her waist tightly. She downed the last of her High Life and slid the bottle back across the bar. His dick was rock hard and he wanted her to know. Pressing it against her thigh, she obliged his want and held it in her hand over his pants on the way to the car.
She whispered things in his ear. It all sounded weird and rehearsed, as if she had studied women in the videos on Brazzers, but he liked it anyway. In the car, he revved the engine because he thought that’s what you were supposed to do when you had a woman in your car. She giggled, and said down boy, and confirmed in Brendan’s mind that he had done the correct thing.
It didn’t occur to him until he was pulling into his driveway that his garden sculptures were in plain view through the bedroom windows. His stomach dropped into his bowels. He braked abruptly, but knew it was too late to suggest her place.
In his tenure of solitude, Brendan had taken an interest in planting fruits and vegetables in his backyard for his personal consumption. He fancied himself quite the cook. After a few years of successful gardening and harvesting, his interest had progressed into ornamental gardening and sculpting his plants, as well as Bonsai. He filled his house with miniscule trees, orchids, and ferns, a “little forest for elves and fairies” his mother used to say.
After the death of his mother, his chronic loneliness, and his unwillingness to “put himself out there more,” his interest progressed into what he was aware, was abnormal territory. But with a tall fenced-in yard, a steady job editing for an engineering firm, nobody to check in on his privacy or pressuring him to find friends, or “god forbid, a girlfriend,” as his mother would add, he felt a tremendous sense of freedom, just now, at 38.
Recently, Brendan resumed growing eggplants, cucumbers, and other fruiting plants again because it was the closest thing he could find to having meaningful relationships. When the flowers were pollinated by the bees and the first signs of the fruits would appear, he began attaching printed photos of celebrities to the plants with twine and tape, a fruiting bud placed through a hole precisely where Daniel Radcliffe’s penis should have been. At one point, miniature Ryan Gosling (cucumber), Drake (summer squash), Woody Harrelson (egg plant), Pit-bull (zucchini), Lebron James (Jalapeño), and Chris (ornamental snake squash) from The Bachelorette, his favorite show, all grew tiny fleshy fruit sex organs in the same plot by the empty guest room window. Unfortunately, the fruits grew so large that the celebrities started to look like they were riding the vegetables like rocket ships rather than going erect. Thinking it looked silly, he opted for constructing life size poster board cutouts with raised pots behind them, bringing the plants to waist level. He so enjoyed seeing his penises go from micro to hulking, he bought a proper camera, and made photo series of these month long erections. He found that photographing the sculptures reminded him of the timelessness of plants, and the diversity and beauty in the only budding human race.
With this new complicated project taking up all of his free time, people began to recognize him at the local nursery and Michaels craft store. He started to take photos of work associates and employees at the local Michaels craft store with his iphone. Attaching these pixilated acquaintances to vegetables, he would watch them grow over time, the fruits elongating into glorious erections, their shine and girth something not made just for fantasy, but for aesthetic beauty. Brendan felt more comfortable around them this way, and made friendly small talk with them.
Worst of all, he figured he had hit a new low when he started assuming false relationships with his coworkers and acquaintances, who in person, knew very little about him and, truthfully, found him quite strange. Yet, Brendan felt more comfortable around them this way, comradery in their small talk and silent companionship at the workplace, much like the backyard filled with their pixilated figures. This is precisely the reason Brendan had met up with Mary that night.
Earlier that day at Michaels, when Brendan was buying more poster board, Mary had mentioned that her “asshole boyfriend, Gerald,” had left her and that she was “torn up.” She said she figured she would go down to Mark’s Pub that night, and that he was welcome to join her. When Brendan had arrived at Mark’s, after much internal debate, Mary was indeed there, very drunk, and touchy.
Mary pushed through the front door and led him by his hand into the kitchen. Brendan wasn’t sure how much longer he could last.
“Do you any have wine? I like red. I like white. Fuck, I like it all.”
“I ran out yesterday,” seemed like a fine excuse. Brendan, in fact, had nothing but Styrofoam boxes and half drunk beer bottles, all of which he had recapped again, so he could say he had “knocked back a six pack” to his work associates without technically lying.
“We’re about to fuck and I just realized I have no idea what your last name is, Brendan. I just know you as weird Brendan!”
In his state of confusion about what this comment meant and when they were going to have sex, he grabbed her by the waist and dipped her as if they had been dancing. He had seen people do this on television before and it seemed romantic. She yelped with fear that turned into joy in his arms, and this seemed like an appropriate response, so he laughed with her.
“Well, you’re in a hurry, huh, Mr. Mysterious.”
“Yes, I think I am,” he said, thinking it sounded like a hot thing to say.
“Don’t hurry too much or else I wont get my rocks off!”
“Yeah, no way, baby,” he said, thinking that the use of baby might make him sound like he wasn’t about to ejaculate all over her pubic hair as soon as he put it in her.
Entering the bedroom, Brendan turned on the lights, so as not to make his sculptures as visible through the dark windows. She didn’t seem to mind the lights, as he took off his shirt and she unbuttoned his pants.
The sight of breasts left him stunned. They were large, nipples puffed out like ripe strawberries. All he wanted was to put his mouth on them. Taking off her yellow thong, she laid back into his bed, kicked them off, and beckoned him. He approached her, his dick pointed out in front of him like the prow of a galleon.
He was going to have sex with a woman, this attractive woman that he knew somewhat personally. It blew his mind. He was elated and could just as easily walk into the bathroom and wait for her to leave.
She hooked his thighs with her legs, bringing him closer, until he was in. He was drunk enough that he wasn’t blowing his load immediately after his first few thrusts. His confidence now through the roof after a minute, he pulled out and told her to flip over, as he had always wanted to have sex with someone from behind like he had seen in videos. Of course, those men all had units the size of his forearm or an eggplant, the women yelping as if they had desired that specific dick their entire lives, but tonight, he felt like he could star in a porno. Maybe Mary could costar and they would post amateur videos of themselves voraciously fucking and sucking one another off in various ways on various websites.
She backed into him raising her behind. He put it in her again and worked his way quickly toward orgasm. She moaned. He figured this meant he should keep going because it seemed like she liked it a lot. Entranced by his expert lovemaking, he had forgotten about his sculptures outside. In this position, Mary was looking directly out the window at the sculptures and this terrified him. He pounded into her backside so she would stop looking, and came inside her seconds later, his body folding over her like a kelp frond.
“Did you come inside me?”
“Nnyes, I think I did,” he gasped, fully aware that he had let loose an unreasonable amount of ejaculate inside her.
“You think you did or you did?” she said looking back at him.
“I did, baby,” he said, thinking the added baby might make it sound as if it were intentional and therefore, hot.
“Fuck.. okay,” Mary crawled off the bed, walked into the hallway, quickly turned around and asked, “where the fuck is the bathroom in this place?”
“Go through the kitchen, and into the master bedroom.”
She paused, “you have a roommate?”
“No,” he answered, confused by her question.
“You don’t sleep in the master bedroom?”
“Yeah, baby,” he said, this time knowing the added baby wasn’t contributing to his sexual encounter or positive social interaction.
She stumbled out without saying a word. Brendan figured that he had about two minutes. How would he hide the sculptures? If she stayed over, she would definitely see them in the morning, and if he told her to go home he would have to drive her and risk upsetting her further than he already had by ejaculating inside her.
He began pushing his sculptures over onto their pixilated faces, the fruit and vegetable pots toppling over, spilling potting soil everywhere. It hurt to see it happening. One after another, they fell over, his erection completely gone, his penis shrinking in the cool night air. Once the last Michaels craft store employee had been pushed over, uprooting the bitter gourd with it, he shuffled back inside the house, panting.
Mary stood naked, leaning on the doorframe of the guest room.
“What in the fuck was that all about?”
“What do you mean?” he asked, genuinely confused about which of the recent occurrences she was referring to.
“I mean, you were just running around outside tipping shit over like a crazy person.”
He didn’t want to use the word baby again, but this was a critical moment. He walked toward her, “Baby, don’t worry about that. It’s not important, okay, baby?”
He felt like he’d heard someone say this before on The Bachelorette.
“Please, just stop saying baby.”
“Okay, ba..” he stopped himself.
“Are those cutouts of people?”
“I’m sorry, but I need to ask why?”
“I don’t know. It’s a.. an art project.”
“You’re an artist?”
“Yeah, it’s for a gallery baby.”
“A gallery baby?”
“A gallery,” he was lying so hard he hardly recognized himself, but it was too late to back out.
“So it involves vegetables that look like dicks on cardboard people?”
“Yeah. It’s hard to explain.”
“I can tell. That’s really fucking weird.”
He thought that maybe the words postmodern or mixed media might work in this situation, but he really had no idea whatsoever about the true meaning of those words.
“It’s postmodern. Mixed media. I can tell you about it tomorrow if you want. I’m just really tired.”
He just kept piling on the lies; he never felt more awake or exposed than he was at that moment. He couldn’t read any emotions on her at all. With no idea what to do, he stayed put and silent.
“Why were you throwing it all on the ground?”
“I.. It’s weird. I didn’t want you to see it.”
Mary showed her annoyance in a hyperbolic fashion that Brendan figured was due to her drunkenness.
“Well, truthfully, your art projects are the least of my concerns at the moment, asshole.”
Mary looked up at the ceiling and muttered something about condoms. Brendan was very confused. He had no idea how she wasn’t more concerned with his sculptures. The more he thought about it, the more it almost offended him.
“Doesn’t it make you think I’m a serial killer or something?”
Brendan was treading new, difficult territory here, blending his emotions and lies into this mess just so Mary could accept this reality for however long it needed to happen.
“Yes. I think that it’s really strange. But I’m not an artist and I’m not showing at a gallery soon,” she said leaning her head against the door frame and closing her eyes.
At this point, Brendan was enthralled by the prospect of his new life as an artist, where he would show at galleries, whatever that entailed. It seemed in this new world, if he told people about this strange stuff he was doing, they would think, he’s crazy and somehow find it charming, when in fact it was crippling and very unpleasant for him to expose himself in such a manner. At any moment, he could say, I’m an artist. I’m a little crazy and people would forgive him of every strange and detestable thing he could think up or say. He had so many questions for her, but he had a feeling he shouldn’t push it.
“We should go to bed.”
“Please, I’m so fucking drunk and tired right now and I need you to take me to a CVS in the morning before work.”
Brendan followed this naked woman, who had now accepted him as an artist who showed at galleries, into his guest bedroom and turned out the light behind them.
Through the window, he saw the mess of flat people shapes and soil he had made in the backyard, how everything, now strangely empty of his sculptures, looked bare, strange without them there casting shadows in the light of the moon. He placed his lips on the nape of Mary’s neck, his hand around her naked body. He was very lucky right now and he knew it, but he had to try to sleep. At least, they could both be warm for a little while, share a bed until morning. He cupped her breast with his left hand, and felt his erection grow against her.
Lucian Mattison’s first poetry collection, Peregrine Nation, is available from The Broadkill River Press. His poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, The Boiler, Hobart, Muzzle, Spork, and elsewhere online and in print. His fiction is soon to appear in Per Contra. He is an associate editor for Big Lucks.