Friday, November 4, 2016



                                                   Monday, July 14th, 2014

            In Austin, I find myself at a party where everything glows—walls, ceilings, clothes, flesh, tongues, eye balls.  I’m not sure if what I’m seeing is real or if the Roofies I took are kicking in.  The floors rattle and bounce and keep jumping up, as if they’re trying to sit in my lap, even though I’m upright, dancing in the middle of a crowded kitchen, with Rylie, a girl young enough to be the daughter I never had, who’s wearing Daisy Dukes and a plaid shirt knotted high above her belly button.  The stereo plays country hip-hop, a genre I hadn’t known existed.  DJ Rusty Crawdad spins music on the kitchen counter where earlier a heap of dirty dishes had been.  Now he works the needle, or dials, or some such things with one hand while the other makes lasso motions in the air as a croaky-voiced singers growls, “And I’m a Kid Rock it up and down your block, buy a bottle of scotch and watch lots of crotch.”

            Rylie does a sloppy stumble into my chest.  For a moment I’m afraid she’s either passed out, or dead, but then she says, “Isn’t this fruckin great,” slurring hard before biting my earlobe.

            I met Rylie at Starbucks where she was working, where she remade my double-mocha-ginger-spice-no-foam-chia-tea-latte three times without ever getting it right.  Rylie was worried I’d complain to her boss, and as a favor, she invited me to this country-themed “Rave.”

            I hadn’t thought I’d come, but once I did, I hadn’t thought Rylie would give me the time of the day, though upon seeing me, Rylie pressed her huge breasts against me and squealed.  “I’m so glad you showed.  You’re, like, the hottest, old guy I know.”  To wit, I thought: I hadn’t realized we knew each other.  I hadn’t thought forty-two was all that old.

            Rylie has a lot of friends who are just as gorgeous and as daft as she is.  When not dancing, they huddle together, bobbing like skiffs, nodding quite a bit and tittering before any sentence is finished, even if someone’s just remarking on the weather.  One of them – Tessa – rubs the back of my thigh and squeezes my buttocks anytime I get near.  She has diamond piercings over each eyebrow that glitter like bright, white halos.  Earlier, as I was refilling my radioactive-looking cocktail, Tessa leaned in and whispered, “I bet you really know how to clean a girl’s carpet.”

            The house we’re in is a monster, containing millions of rooms and crawl spaces with their doors flung open, revealing couples engaged in all kinds of salacious acts, the participants oblivious to anyone or anything.  Rylie explains it’s the Sigma Chi fraternity, that their charter was revoked after a hazing incident involving a pledge and a goat in heat, and that the house has remained vacant since, except when people want to rent it for engagements such as this.

            All night long Rylie hovers around me, clinging when she can, fawning and groping.  Towards midnight, we end up in a room where someone’s pinned a gigantic Confederate flag across one wall, with a twelve foot-long aquarium stationed on the other wall opposite it.

            Rylie grabs my shirt placket and pulls me onto the bed.  Her pupils are brown quarters, her mouth a trapdoor sprung open.

            When she says, “It’s now or never, Pappa,” my stomach clutches, and I don’t know if it’s because of what she’s inferring, or what she’s called me.

            The aquarium makes a steady gurgling noise that gets me dizzy.  Bright, fluorescent fish flip through the gleaming clear water, leaving a trail of air bubbles in their wake.

            “Kiss me like you mean it,” Rylie says, tugging on my beard stubble.  “Then fuck me like you don’t.”

            I’m tempted, of course, but I push her away instead.

            Rylie grabs fistfuls of my hair and yanks and yanks, shrieking like a cat with its tail caught in the garbage disposal.  I think she’s having an epileptic attack, or some such thing, so I pull her inside my chest, which is slick with Rave-induced sweat, and hold her there, as if trying to calm a frightened pet.

            I say, “It’s okay.”

            I say, “Everything’s all right.”

            She asks me again to do things to her.  She says she’ll call me Daddy.  She says that’s what all the boys like.

            I cup Rylie’s hands.  Over her head, in the tank, a rainbow-striped fish hovers by the glass, as if listening and watching.

            “What happened?” I ask.  “You can tell me.  Go ahead.  What happened to you when you were little?”


No comments:

Post a Comment