You are reading Fiddleblack #4
No one seems to notice the nude boy as he shivers, nipples like bronze dimes, as a knowing hand brushes down past his belly to the penis and finds it, blurry, while I am in my bed with unintelligible pictures on the wall, birds flying above subdural headache soft automobiles beyond the water of the fountain mouth so dry in gray light I barely move.
The tangled sheets smell like old rain, perspiration, urine, I swallow three more pills while he notices nothing, slowly becoming hard, penis articulating itself into a still-vulnerable shape, heavier now.
It’s not that he is inattentive, but when I sleep and return there are as many as seven or eight of him, superimposed while I concentrate on full plum-red lips in a dreamy sneer at everyone, anyone, the whole world he doesn’t know or want to ever know as I try to remember and feel something more and try and then—
The boy’s hard-on taking form fills up my dead mouth and I choke, my hands clutch his jeans I’m blind in this one he has tattoos smelling of smoke and I want to so badly but I’m distracted by more stabbing, where, some Japanese comic book when I was in some apartment, wanting to leave or to be more brave at the adventures of a gaijin hustler who everybody wants but can never stay and is thrown out onto the street pants down round ankles, ideograms and exclamation points, switchblades and stars, talking insects and bluejays in misty floating green pond… down a hill where the boy pushed me in a wheelchair once, for money, we talked about his problems, problems, while he smoked and justified himself or laughed and not.
Somehow I need to get to the bathroom, maybe I’ll feel better then, but my balance… I’m so shaky and weak… I was asleep and they made us crawl naked in a circle on hands and knees young doctors in their white labcoats when we were not quite beyond embarrassment asses raised awaiting the next I’m so tired I don’t know whose face I expected last night but years ago I was at my desk, glen plaid slacks Egyptian cotton shirt wine-red tie the cup of tea is ancient it’s so those days never thought.
With my dad when I was maybe nine into the cornfield knocking down recklessly we loaded wet ears of corn into the trunk nor any pheasants yet I could never find those roads again years later shotgun blasts birds falling motor running while I stole tomatoes zucchini and pulled onions from the black earth some dog barking we sped off in thieves’ joy.
I can see the boy’s underpants lie there on the black and white checkerboard perspective disappearing floor young underarm’s tuft faint bluish atmosphere bends and buttocks clench, Skender fired by Cato who were they no I don’t see any pyramid of dull beige rocks beating down wet blind and no—no.
Todd Grimson has lived in Avignon, New York City and Guadalajara, and now resides in Portland, Oregon. He has published three novels and had short fiction published in BOMB, Bikini Girl, Juked, Word Riot, PANK, The Quarterly and elsewhere.