“Home again home again, jiggety-jig”

 

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Once the train rolled past the mill across the river the ground flattened and the hill backed off step by step until there was room for the town to wedge itself between its natural boundaries. He peeked through the slitted door of boxcar and saw Rohall’s body shop which was still the first building in town but he couldn’t swear it was still a body shop.

Then a few houses that looked abandoned then the fire house with someone, too far away to make out who, lounging in a chair by the open door. The track bent then, bellying toward the river and away from the football field, robbing him of the close-up view but opening the vista of the grimy little houses sprawling between two bridges and up to the hillside.

He watched the ties clicking quickly past and ventured to stick his head out. There was no one working on the tracks that he could see-no trucks, no equipment-but he’d have to wait for the switching yard to be sure. He had played there as a boy-and later-but now it had fallen into disuse-storing ties and timbers instead of old boxcars to play in.

Nearing the yard and its crossing the train slowed enough to make exiting, if not easy, at least possible. He squatted and stretched watching and waiting for the flattest spot with the least ballast which made the footing uncertain. He was entering the yard now, overrun with tangles of thistle, sedge, sumac trees and at least one very dead deer.

Quickly, while somewhat hidden by the brush, he slid the door enough to sit with his legs hanging then pushed off. With barely a stumble, he was walking beside the train instead of riding in it as he had for 300 miles. His boxcar outpaced him and slipped away. He carried no bundle, no bag, nothing that could mark him as homeless, a vagrant or hobo. Everything he owned he wore or left behind.

The creosote smell of the new ties gave him the same odd feeling it always did. Took him back to his first time; jaws clenched, bent grimacing over a stack of ties, the spring drizzle dripping from his hair. That was just down the tracks from here. If there was another man in the world who was aroused by the smell of creosote he didn’t want to meet him.

Every fucked-up path had a fucked-up beginning and once you hit the crooked way, there was no getting off it. Like riding your bike into a street car track-you were stuck where it would take you. It was always that way no matter what anyone said. Once your wires were crossed, they were crossed and singed into a new direction.

The ten foot fence was new-running beside the track for as far as he could see. He might have to walk all the way to the crossing which would be chancy but where there was a fence there would be holes, loose spots and passages for townies to cut across to the river. There was too much beer to be drunk, weed to be smoked and girls to be fucked on the riverbank to be deterred by a mere cyclone fence.

He ran his fingers along it as he walked remembering what it had felt like, as a kid, to be able to scale something like this. Up like a spider, leg over, drop down. That was a while ago. He stopped. There it was. The bottom two wires connecting the fence to a pole had been cut; the loose grid unnoticeable unless you knew it was there. He squatted, pushed at the bottom and the wire lattice lifted like a curtain.

Just like that he was back in town. And no one was going to be happy to see him.

“A little anisette, please…”

Moon Fall

He awoke slowly; grudgingly. The new pills not only kept him asleep through the night-or at least more of the night than he was used to-but made waking a slow, weighted swim up from of the bottom of a deep pool. It was a chore that he deferred most mornings. He allowed himself a few minutes gazing at the ridge line until he could just make out the bare limbs and branches etched against the graying sky.

He rose and stretched-hands high-counting the pops in his spine as he bent this way, then that.  Then listened to the cracks in his ankles as he walked, squinting to unlock the bedroom door in the darkness. An unnecessary precaution as it turned out but one he felt he had to take.

He padded across the hall and paused at the slightly open door to the front room-just as he’d left it. Her deep regular breathing was the only sound on the floor. He slipped the door open wide enough to enter. This side of the house fronted the lake and the light of the dawn moon falling over the far hills pointed a silver sword their way across the water. He watched the flickering light crawling directly at him and fell under the spell of her breathing.

He allowed himself to be borne away by her rhythm, inhaling deeply with her and exhaling as she did. Not being asleep, the exercise left him feeling winded-in need of quick swallows of air. The room carried the sweet aroma of his grandmother’s bread dough rising in her tiny kitchen-a heady mix of sleep, damp heat and last night’s lovemaking.

He approached the bed where she was on her side sunken deeply into the old mattress the sheet around her shoulders. He checked the knots around her ankles and gently slipped a finger between the bonds and her skin. Secure and not too tight. He then pulled back the sheet to check her wrists, bound before her as if in prayer. Her breath feathered the back of his hands. The rope securing her wrists to her ankles was likewise fast.

And lastly, the knife. His own deer knife, a nine inch blade sharp enough to shave, cut and gut. Happily, it was safely sheathed within her easy reach. His suggestion was to bind her lightly so she could easily release herself if necessary during the night. She instead wanted to be bound tightly, with the knife as her out card.

He knew she was mad from the first. But the first was so long ago that the knowledge did him no good now.

The World’s Worst Flirts

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He could see her behind the counter when he pulled up. Did he know she would be here? He had thought of her that morning for no particular reason, now here she was. Maybe he somehow knew that she worked weekends.

“Hi”, he said, pushing his way through the glass door which would have opened automatically had he waited for it. There was no one in the store but her. “I haven’t seen you in awhile.” She cocked her head slightly to one side expectantly so he pushed on. “I must not come in when you’re here.”

“You just don’t come in when I’m here”, she said.

She took his lottery card and ran it through the machine. Her face, round and scrubbed pink, opened in a smile when she handed him his ticket. Her teeth were tiny, baby-teeth but perfectly aligned. None of the others here had all of their teeth. At least he had that impression.

He opened his wallet when she said “Two dollars” and rifled through the receipts and paper scraps finally finding two triple-folded ones that he handed over. He failed trying to think of something clever and said, “I think I have enough.”

“Yep, you do” she said taking the bills with a smile. “Won’t have to make you mop the floors now.”

Taking the ticket and again, failing to think of anything clever, he looked at the floor and said, “I don’t think I could get down that low.”

“I think you could get down pretty low.”

What? Wait. On his way to the door he veered left, cutting off a quick exit to stare into the cooler. He’d buy an ice tea if he had another buck. He saw the reflection of his paint-spattered jeans, torn sweatshirt, his shapeless raincoat and ball cap. “Christ”, he thought and moved to the door again.

“Have a good one”, he said this time waiting for the hydraulic whoosh to open it.

“You too”, her smile was noncommittal to the point that it almost not a smile at all.

She works Saturdays he told himself trying to carve it in his memory. I’ll have something better to say next week.

Inside, she wondered idly where she had seen him before.

Moments

There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there is nothing left to do, and nothing else to pursue.” – From Hagakure, by way of Ghost Dog. 

“I seriously can’t think of anyone who’s been together as long as we have taking such little care of their relationship. Seriously. It’s as if we assume that it will always be there-that we will always have it. That we made it and now it’s done, and nothing more is necessary.”

She, having nothing to add, was silent.

“Everything, your plants, the cats, the garden-they are begun then continue and thrive-if attention is paid to them. If they are fed. If not they wither and die. Relationships are the same.”

“Mmmfff…” she said.

“I’m not blaming you, you understand. This is on both of us. It’s as if we’ve made a conscious decision to allow our relationship to-if not die-then stagnate. There is work, there is the gym, there are the clients and the cooking, there is endless busyness…something has to suffer. We allowed it to be us.”

He stepped closer, his body next to hers, and rubbed her firm calves then kissed them gently. One. Then the other. He allowed his tongue to trace a path up her leg to her feet. Up close they looked small-petite even-and soft. He could see the attraction they held for some. He allowed his head to dip and kiss the instep. She made a small sound.

He ran his tongue toward the toes slowly then across the big one. A tiny buzz–not enough to make him hard-surprised him. He could definitely see this! He wished he could kiss her ankle but it was buried deep beneath the padded strap. He allowed his eyes to fall closed and was slipping her toes into his mouth when she jerked and said “Aaachlessshh!”

The spell broken, he pulled away from the shiny wetness he had left on her foot. She yelped again. Sighing, he dropped to a knee and released the gag from her mouth.

“Ticklish!” she spat. “Goddam it! You know I’m ticklish.”

“Sorry”, he said, not sorry. “I couldn’t help myself.”

“Jesus-my feet now? Is that was this whole thing was about? Getting to my feet?”

“No, honey…no. It just happened-they’re right here and they look so…”

“Forget it. Not the feet. Too fucking ticklish…”

“Okay, okay”, he said softly trying to bring the mood back. He rubbed down her legs, past her knees and then between them. His finger stroked across the tight folds of her pussy which offered no easy ingress.

“You’re awfully dry…” he said rubbing back and forth.

“I’ve been hanging upside down for a fucking hour Michael! All my blood and no doubt jizz has run to my head! It’s like I’m hearing you from inside a fucking washing machine.”

“Okay. Okay…” he tried to be soothing and cupped her inverted bottom cheeks. The welts were all but gone to the touch.

“Really”, she said. “There is a shelf life to this position.” He didn’t respond. “I mean, are you done…?”

“Oh sure”, he said a trifle dejected. “I guess so”.

He released her hands from the cuffs attached to the belt around her waist. She could then support herself as he lowered her to the floor. She sat with her legs stretched in front of her and waved him off when he came in to unbuckle her ankle straps. She bent to do it herself.

“Gotta say though-felt good hanging there…hips, back…maybe not an hour next time…”

“It wasn’t an hour!” he protested.

She absently rubbed at the weals on the front of her thighs.

“I don’t get the front of the legs thing. Back of the legs-in a caning scenario-I can almost see. This though…” she traced the pink stripes crossing her lap.

“Some people like it there…Some people…”

“Mikey, some people like EVERYTHING. Do we have to try it all? We’re barely into one thing than we’re off to something else. Spanking, paddling, caning, school girl dressing…”

“You like that…”

“Yeah…I…. But then we moved onto something else! Corner time leaves me cold. Boring.”

“We don’t do that anymore.”

She was on the floor stretching languidly almost speaking to herself “…the thermometer can be OK-especially if you’re sitting on the bed beside me. I can get that. But diapering…”

“We never did that! I never….”

“You don’t erase your search history. I figured that was next…Now the ropes…the hanging…the feet…”

“No, the feet was an accident. It just happened…”

“Then the pegging…” She looked up at him. “We got away from that pretty quick didn’t we?”

“That was….”

“Uncomfortable?”

“Yes.”

“Like hanging upside down for an hour uncomfortable?”

“It wasn’t an hour”, he pouted.

She didn’t quite shake her head, settling for a crooked smile and sideways glance. Straight legs on the floor she pulled her chin to her knees. “Didn’t feel too bad though. Just went on too long.”

He looked down on her, so comfortable in her nakedness, pulling a leg into her chest and twisting. He felt himself shrinking somehow while looking down on her.

“And what was that shit you were saying about ‘taking care of the relationship’…”

“Just shit I was saying. You know I like to…vocalize.”

“Why don’t you get into the bedroom and get undressed. I’ll show you how to take care of the relationship.”

“This was my time! I called it!”

“You used it.”

“You have to go to the gym…”

“They can miss me tonight. Figured maybe I’d lose a little of the…busyness.” He was stuck for a moment, transfixed in her gaze. “Go on now. I’ll be a minute.”

“Oh geeze”, he said. There was naught to do but turn and slowly follow his thickening cock into the bedroom.

Best to let sleeping dogs…

(Continued from If the boat’s a rockin’…)

She hovered, suspended in the dim gray place between waking and sleeping. Could she truly awaken though, if she wasn’t asleep? Her body wasn’t buzzing anymore as it had been so recently. Instead it was warm and limp-as immobile as a sack wet grass, radiating the living stillness one might feel sitting at the bottom of a deep warm well. Nothing to do but allow herself to be enveloped by the warm darkness.

It hadn’t been that way when James had pushed her-still wet and vibrating-onto his bunk. Had that been moments, hours or days before? She had spread wantonly on his rough blanket ignoring both the pinches from her strapped, bruised bottom and the pulses from her recently receding orgasm. In fact, as she lay back and pulled her knees to her chest she felt the receding waves cease their retreat and turn back-seeking a reason to crest and break again.

Being arrayed on her back gave her the first chance to actually see the shaft that had brought her to heights she had never felt before. She wasn’t the most experienced lover but this was beyond anything she could imagine. Was it like this for others? Then, as he mounted and slipped inside her still wet folds, she knew immediately that she would come again.

It wasn’t his length-nor the strength of his thrusts filling her more deeply coming from the front than they had from behind. It was not one particular thing. It was more the all of him. His scent, the soft beard that tickled her nipples as he sucked gently on her breasts, his strong arms that coiled around her back and the rough hands pulling down on her shoulders-driving him even deeper inside. It was all of that.

Each thrust, deeply planted then deliberately withdrawn to the very end, felt as if he were pulling her insides out. As if her hair and eyes themselves were being withdrawn back into her head-only to be pushed back into place with a loud slapping of belly on belly.

This on and on, again and again, until she gave herself entirely to the second orgasm of the afternoon. Lying under him, crushed and cuddled-open and pulsing she gave in utterly-allowing screams to turn to laughter then tears as she crested again, and again and…again? Or all at once? She knew not and cared not. She pulled her legs back opening her bottom hole-wishing he would take it. She kept her mouth wide, wishing he would take THAT. She wanted him everywhere at once.

Her last memory as she faded under her own wave was of his hot seed splashing hard upon her belly and scalding her up to her breasts. She moaned loudly under the thick pulsing rain and flopped backward sliding into the gray where she now found herself.

Her dream that wasn’t a dream was of kittens…no, puppies. There were three or four of them lapping at her-tickling her. She opened her eyes a slit and recognized the peeling paint on the wall beside James’ bunk. There were no kittens, nor puppies, but James sat on the side of the bed fully clothed rubbing dollops of lotion on her still tender bottom.

On her side she smiled and pushed back into his hand. “That feels nice.”

“I’m sorry about this but….”

“Don’t be.”

“I got a little carried away.”

“It was I who was carried away. Swept away actually….” She reached back and clutched his wrist.

“Had to be done.”

“Has to be done.”

“From time to time…”

“When warranted.”

He rubbed absently for a moment but she could feel his eyes painting her. He was fairly memorizing every fold, surface, dimple and wrinkle. Finally, he patted her on her fulsome cheek-finished with his ministrations. “We’ve a tow to deliver.”

She rolled onto her back. “My God, is there still a world out there?”

“Aye, and it’s a demanding one.”

She propped herself on her elbows, ultimately comfortable in her nakedness before a man who until a short time ago she knew only as a boss.

“Give me a kiss first”, she said with a smile.

“A kiss. After what we’ve just been through you want a kiss?”

“You can whip a horse James. And you can fuck a whore. But a man only kisses his lover.”

His eyes softened as he bent-bringing his lips to hers. She watched him come until the last moment when she closed her eyes and allowed his soft lips to close over hers. She opened to allow his tongue entry and as their tongues twined she began to feel yet another spark that threatened to reignite the dying embers that smoldered between her legs. Reading her body, James pulled back.

“Now would you please get your sweet red ass out of my bunk and go tend to the lines so we can get this tow downriver. The sooner we get this job done, the sooner I can take you ashore and show you how it’s done in a real bed.”

“Yes Cap’n”, she said.

He regarded her looking so young and small as if the copulations had regressed her to girlhood. He blinked then turned away quickly not wanting to encourage his sleeping dog into awakening and stretching itself again.

 

Left Behind

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It doesn’t matter, he said sounding a tad strained. I just wish I could straighten up a little, that’s all. He tried for the millionth time to pick up one of the scattered cards or a stack of loose papers. They passed right through his hand.

See? Said the other. Why bother?

If I had some new file folders I’m sure I could make some sense of this. He continued to try to keep the desperation out of his voice.

It just doesn’t matter.

Listen, he said hearing footsteps on the gravel outside. Here they come again.

He turned to face the broken window and smiled a wide gap-toothed grimace.

What the hell are you doing?

Smiling for their picture.

You know they can’t see you, right? You won’t show up. Look at the floor. You don’t even leave tracks.

I wish Miss Baxter was here-she could put this mess to right.

She’s long gone. Forget it-

Why are we still here again?

The other sniffed and slowly diffused into a limp, spreading cloud of glimmering tendrils that rose toward the rafters.

What? But…

Sighing but afraid to be alone, he allowed himself slip likewise apart and followed, trying to remember why he wouldn’t show up on film. He’d make him tell next time.

Fish Prints

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And what would you have me do with these?

I’m thinking of adding color, he answered, shuffling gently through the rice paper portraits. Like on this one. I’d like some green at bottom like grass, it’s dark green, see? Then lighter green tendrils I guess-going from bottom to top.

Like kelp?

Maybe like that. Willow grass. You know? With the yellow flowers on top where they break the surface.

The younger man shrugged. What is this? The fish?

Carp.

Hmmm…aren’t they sacred in China?

This is Pittsburgh. Here they root in the mud. Then, turning his attention back to the print,  Maybe some gold color smearing down from the top like sunlight?

Why don’t you do it?

My son’s an artist, my father’s an artist. I can’t piss in a line.

You did these, he said waving his hand slowly above the prints like clearing suds from a pan of water.

The fish did all the work. I was a bystander.

What is it you do?

I make money.

A lot?

Plenty. But probably not enough.

Enough for what?

All of it…

Then you must try this yourself.

I’m sure I couldn’t.

Your son then?

Pfffft. He’s not my son anymore…he’s a grown man with his own cares…

Your father?

Long dead.

You should definitely give it a shot then. You seem to know what you want.

I’d like to. I just doubt that I can.

They regarded the prints silently.

I’d like to. I just doubt that I can.

You just said that.

I did?

Yes.

Twice?

Word for word.

Fuck!

He hurriedly gathered the prints and rolled them loosely, sticking them gently under his arm. He turned from the work table and approached the open window that looked onto the alley. The artist said nothing until the man had one foot out the window balanced on the dumpster.

The door, sir.

Pfffttt. He paused and looked back. Since we were talking about pissing…

Ah…yes?

The other night I awoke standing at my closet door. My dick was in my right hand ready to shower my shoes and most likely the bottoms of my hanging clothes when something-a passing car, a cloud skirting the moon-something flickered in the window and woke me. I was in the bedroom around to piss in my closet and not across the hall standing in front of the toilet where I had assumed I was. Huh! What do you make of that?

I’m sure I don’t know sir.

I had to stick my thumb over the hole on the end and scuttle into the bathroom where I thought I’d been all the time. Odd, don’t you think?

Odd, sir. Yes.

Welp, he said. Then just before he shifted all of his weight outside be paused and pulled a thick gold coin from his pocket and placed it on the window sill.

That’s too much sir.

For what…

A conversation…

Pfffttt. Watch where you piss then.

With that, he withdrew the second leg and was gone.

The artist could see no one in the alley. Up or down. The coin was heavy and well used-but lustrous just the same.

 

(The idea of the golden sunlight “smearing” was lifted from Jim Harrison’s “Mother Night”. Probably indirectly enough that no one would have noticed but, well shit…you know?)