Nicholas Alexander Hayes
You ask the teenage clerk for a pack of Dunhills. The boy's eyes don't focus as he slowly pivots to get your cigarettes. His ass is small, very tight. With pale skin clustered with rose-colored pimples, the kid's not a looker but would be worth a squirt.
Eric, your boyfriend, has smokes: Camels, which you only smoke after you tank half a bottle of merlot. He leans against the hood of your purple Camry in the parking lot. He speaks to some guy, Thai, maybe Cambodian, slender in a boxy biker jacket. They laugh and Eric lights the guy's cigarette. The clerk is still looking for your pack.
Of course you are jealous. Leftovers as you have become. Eric never dated anyone before you and his love was palpable. But now when you go to the Outrage, or sometimes Man's Country, you lose track of him. Of course, he wouldn't cheat on you, but you know when someone a little more sculpted in the torso and shorter than 6′ 6″ asks him to dance that he's dissatisfied with your lankiness. He loves you like his dingy green Converse with the soles that loll from the heel as he walks. Good to wear to the 7-11, at Trader Joe's, for getting the niceties and necessities, but in public to be traded for his pristine K-Swiss or the pair of ostrich loafers you surprised him with a month ago. He won't cheat but he's stopped holding you before sleep, and prefers watching Simpsons reruns over a post-work BJ.
This clerk hasn't even registered your stare. He stands with his back pressed against the counter, his shirt pulled up to reveal an inch of blue-marbled skin. You want to ask if he would rather watch The Simpsons. Still, you imagine yourself sitting against the other side of the counter with your tongue running over his pungent dick as he rings up a customer's Doritos. You try not to get too hard.
Three years ago, back home in the plains, you were hungry with loneliness, and made dates with strangers on the Internet. You told these men your name, but B-Baller, your screen name, was how they thought of you. You would meet them anywhere, offer to do anything.
But one date, maybe thirty with longish chestnut hair, beautiful broad features, told you to meet him at a rest stop. He pulled up in a van and asked if he could tie you down and fuck you. "Sure," you said. Once you undressed, he bound your wrists and ankles with nylon dog leashes. Circulation in your appendages slowed. You asked him to loosen the knots. He punched your chest, saying, "You fuckers are all the same." He rolled you over and started to bareback you but before he could force himself inside he jizzed, and undid your restraints. You decided as the van took off and you dressed to only meet your dates at their houses. The next week you receive this message:
Skipping pre-calc, you drove almost to the county line to HorneeGuy_17's home. A block away from the address, a junior high schooler, who also must have been skipping ,was fixing his bike chain. He's shirtless with a baby six-pack and a man's face pushing through the last thin layer of baby fat.
Your date smoked a Swisher Sweet in a lawn chair by a kneeling cement doe. You parked in his driveway. He curled his fingers around the chair's flimsy arms and hyper-flexed before greeting you with a massive two-handed handshake, letting smoke flow over his face. He looked at the boy over your shoulder, silently confessing he preferred chicken younger than you.
That was the first time you ever saw Eric, but next year when he started high school, remembering he was desired for a moment more than you, you made a point of becoming his good friend, weaseling out his fantasies: wanting to fuck the gym teacher, the gamer in study hall, maybe even you if you pressed. He became enthralled after a couple of months of your pursuit and gentle caressing, and when you moved to college it was no trouble convincing him to take his GED and for all intents and purposes running away with you.
The guy takes something out of his jacket pocket and hands it to your boyfriend. Eric says something with a buttery smile, grabs the guy's leather-clad shoulder, and they both laugh again. The desire on your boyfriend's face is obvious, but the joyful glow fades as the guy walks off. The clerk finally places your cigarettes on the counter, and you pay. As you walk out, your boyfriend, dropping the guy's card, slides back into the passenger seat. You pick up the card, never wanting to the quick but always wanting.