You are reading Fiddleblack #20
It’s Tuesday, and he doesn’t have to work. If he did, he’d eat a breakfast of eggs and sausage, or pancakes, or even biscuits and gravy because they’re cheap and they taste good, and they’re compensation for having a shitty job. But today he wants to get started. He rolls a joint, takes a hit and off he goes.
It’s a short walk through this college town, just down the street, across some railroad tracks to the adult book store. He likes this one. It doesn’t have the best selection, but they don’t charge you fifty cents to look around.
It’s not part of the plan, but he thinks of going back into the video booths but figures if he did, he’d just jack-off, and the last time he went in someone touched his leg through a glory hole. He wants to save it, his first orgasm at least, for something better.
He looks around, trying to get as much as he can from the toys on the wall, the video boxes, the paperback book covers, the magazine covers- plus it keeps his eyes from the eyes of everyone else.
The pot’s kicked in now, so he’s a little confused about time. How long he’s been there, what’s next.
He concentrates on the videos, trying to make a choice. The Gonzo ones he usually doesn’t go for, too much double penetration, though sometimes he wants something really filthy, but he wants pretty women and not so much silicon, and it needs a facial cum shot; it really doesn’t need girl on girl, though maybe a sweet scene where the girl seems to really like the guy. If they have Nikki Dial that would be good; she’s got a great body and acts like she enjoys it.
He tries to snap out of it. He knows the clerk is watching him or doesn’t care, either way it’s getting to him. He’s loosing his edge. He finally chooses one. It’s not the greatest, but it’s the best he can find.
“For rent?” says the man behind the counter. He’s probably gay. They all are, he thinks, gay or overweight women, the occasional stereo-typical sleazy business man, not people like him. But he knows he couldn’t stand the smell, that in the back room, after he has an orgasm he can hardly bear the odor of cum and pine sol, that it’s difficult to stay in there long enough to get another hard-on, jack-off again.
He’s out the door before he realizes it. He checks his watch. It’s only ten-thirty. The strip club won’t really start going for another couple of hours.
Sometimes, he wishes he was in a big city, where the business crowd wanders in for lunch, where there are beautiful women waiting for them, dressed in florescent underwear, glowing under the black light, not in a small college town, where the regulars are truckers and the occasional frat party, where it’s an old Country Kitchen restaurant with blinking lights nailed to the rafters above sagging women—a drop of menstrual blood showing up on their white cotton panties.
He’s coming down, which isn’t bad really—though he’ll want to get high again soon. Maybe he should go downtown, to a book or record store, but he’s got just enough money for the club, plus the hot college girls make him depressed. Besides it’s his day, all day to do what he wants – no work till 6 PM tomorrow, second shift at the Scantron center, sifting through tests the computers can’t read. Tomorrow, he’ll flip through them, trying to determine if the answer is a, b, c, or all of the above. Occasionally, he’ll come across rows and columns all filled in. He’ll hold the paper at arms length to read “Fuck you” spelled out in small black circles.
He walks back to the house, around and up the steps to his apartment. His roommate’s not there. He and his girlfriend were gone by the time he got up. He hasn’t actually seen the girlfriend, though at night on his way to the bath room, going past his roommate’s door, he’s heard her moan. He’s thought about taping it, the sounds, but is afraid of getting caught in the hallway, a microphone in one hand, his dick in the other.
He goes into his bedroom. The single sized bed is unmade. There’s a large gray filing cabinet, a small desk, a big black vinyl recliner with duct tape repairing rips and tears. The T.V. and VCR are on a rolling metal stand.
He moves the T.V. and VCR in front of the recliner. He’s going to have to do it, he thinks, the pot, the images from the bookstore. He grabs a towel out of the closet setting it on the arm of the chair. He opens a drawer of the filing cabinet. On top of a pile of Playboys is a tube of KY jelly. He lays that on the other arm of the recliner. Water, he thinks and goes into the kitchen returning with a glass.
He opens another door of the filing cabinet, grabbing a pair of head phones that sit on top of his collection of “custom” video tapes, tapes that he’s spliced with scissors and scotch tape, just the best scenes from various movies. He’ll probably do the same thing to this one. After watching it, He’ll find the best scene, cut it out, throw out the rest, the scenes of ugly women, bored women, drugged-out women, the occasional scary one, put them in a bag and throw them in the dumpster behind the convenience store.
He plugs the headphones into a jack on the side of the TV. He decides on taking his clothes off before he smokes. So he stands, pale, thin, semi-hard, searching for the half-finished joint from this morning.
He lays back in the recliner, taking hits, one after another, drinking gulps of water to smother his cough. When he’s as high as he thinks he can get, he pops in the tape and goes to work.
If he could masturbate forever he would, or if he could make the orgasm last forever, an arc of never ending cum, all over her face, their faces, smothered in him. Bend her over, fuck her hard, “You like it don’t you, bitch!? You want it, don’t you!?” It’s the sweet ones you want to fuck hard, he thinks, who you want to take it up the ass. “You’re dirty baby. You’re dirty just like me.” But then it’s over, and the world is small and pathetic, the room and the chair, the towel he wipes himself off with. But that’s why he likes the pot. He doesn’t think of anything for long.
There’s a massage parlor, just down the hill from the university. He’s stood outside, looking at the cars parked in the lot, the pulled shades of the place. He’s walked around back and crouched under the windows and… nothing, not a sound or a silhouette, just him walking home in the dark maybe pulling out his dick as he jogs his way behind the corrugated warehouses. Maybe tonight he’ll hide in the bushes outside the dorms, wait for a girl to come home, watch her going up into her room. He could climb up into a tree to see her, move closer to the window. She’d notice him, but she wouldn’t scream or call the police. Instead, she’d leave the window open so he can crawl in, find her naked on the bed, saying “I knew you’d come.”
It’s getting him there again, just thinking about it, eyes closed, lying back. “I knew you’d come.”
He’s in his car driving to Cedar Rapids. It’s not much better than where he was. But the last time he was at its strip club, a beautiful Asian girl walked down the runway. He’d sat with a dollar out in front of him, waiting as she teased money out of everyone. She didn’t look at them, but they still gave her money – tucked it in the front of her panties. The song ended before she made it to him, where he could ask her for a table dance/a lap dance.
Maybe this time, he thought, driving the half-hour from where he lives, or it would be a half-hour if he were on the interstate, but he likes it on the back roads. He knows you can drive aimlessly in Iowa and never get lost. You just keep making right turns till you find yourself back where you started.
He has his one hitter with him. It’s packed, sitting down by the hole in the bottom of the car. Some people have to make them, his had rusted through. If a cop pulled him over, if he saw the lights, he could just dump the pot on the street.
He used to get high with a friend, then drive through the countryside, listening to music, hoping that the combination would result in something new out the window, not just another field and another silo, some mean-spirited asshole looking to kick your ass because he has nothing else to do.
When he gets really high, he goes back to being a kid, to all those Edgar Rice Burroughs books that his grandmother gave him. He’d only seen her read paperback romances, in the kitchen in her house dress, with country music on the radio, but one day she walked him into the closet and above the dresses she no longer wore, she brought them down: Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, The Moon Men.
He’d decided that was where he wanted to go, to a desert on Mars full of monsters and beautiful women. He thought that if he imagined it hard enough, he could make it real. All he had to do was think it completely, each grain of sand, each hair on the princess’ head, protruding from the top of her loin cloth.
It’s growing dark when he passes the Mack truck plant. A large neon dog reflects on the hoods of a hundred new cabs. The place is around here somewhere he thinks, past rows of small dark houses with older cars parked out front, chain link fences holding plastic toys, wading pools with the sides caved in. He passes an adult bookstore. Maybe on the way back, he thinks. He’s got purpose now. And you’ve got to keep it; you can’t let other things distract you.
It’s a square building, The Fox’s Den. He’s not sure what sort of desperation gets the occasional attractive one here, but it does and as long as she doesn’t talk much, mention a boyfriend or a child, he’s okay.
He pays his five dollars at the door and sits, not in front of the stage, but at a table. He’s got limited money and doesn’t want to waste it putting a dollar in every garter. He wants to pick one, the right one or two, the right woman to dance in front of him if he’s lucky grind herself against him.
He’s glad he took another hit before he came in. He doesn’t want it to fade. He wants time to slow, so he can get lost in lights and music and women. He’s almost there now. Soon, if someone came up behind him, put a gun to his head, a bullet in his brain, It’d be OK. He’s sure of it.
Richard Wagle is a writer and artist living in Cleveland, Ohio. He has a BA in English literature from Drake University and an MFA in Creative Writing: Poetry from Wichita State University. He has lived in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio and doubts he’ll ever escape the Midwest.