A Treehouse at Sunset

sunset

“Sooooo….what is it?” I asked, chewing the tip of my left pigtail.

“I think it’s an old treehouse,” Lisa replied. Her face was speckled with dirt. We’d crossed the wide creek an hour before. It had been mostly mud.

“We can probably climb,” I mused, pointing my dirty finger at the ragged wooden slats nailed into the side of the tree.

Lisa studied the slats. They were rotten. Streaks of rust ran down below the old nails. “Yeah, maybe.”

“I’m gonna do it,” I announced, and started toward the makeshift ladder. “Just catch me if I fall.”

“You know you’re too heavy,” my friend sighed. “You’ll break my neck.”

I pretended not to hear. I placed a tentative foot on the first wooden slat, then shifted my weight back and forth. The piece wobbled, but it didn’t break. I put more weight on it, then grasped the rung above my head and pulled. Still steady. I was fine.

“I think it’ll be okay!” I called behind me, and began my ascent.

The late-July sun hung like a drop of molten slag in the western sky; not as bright as it had been a few hours ago, but it didn’t feel any cooler. Sweat poured down my brow and chest and legs, spattering Lisa. She clicked her tongue in annoyance.

I stared up through the narrow, jagged square cut into the bottom of the treehouse. Spider webs clung to the faraway ceiling, drifting in the weak breeze.

“I don’t think you’d like it up here,” I hollered. “I think there’s spiders.” Continue reading “A Treehouse at Sunset”

My dog wouldn’t stop barking and pawing at the basement wall.

dog

For the whole day, he stood in the same spot, sometimes with his paws up on the concrete, barking wildly and scratching the rough surface with his nails. I tried to get him to calm down. I had to use his favorite treats to coax him out of the basement. Once I did, I locked him outside.

I put my ear to the wall he’d been obsessing over. I heard a few faint scratches, but I wasn’t particularly bothered. I’m not a superstitious man; you won’t catch me worrying about poltergeists or ghosts. If anything, I was concerned about bugs getting into the foundation. I made a mental note to buy some insecticide at Home Depot.

The following morning, I looked out the window and saw the dog had started digging a hole up against the side of the house. It was right above the spot he’d been so focused on in the basement.

Now I was starting to get pissed off. He was ruining Martin’s marigolds. Continue reading “My dog wouldn’t stop barking and pawing at the basement wall.”

Missing Mousetraps

dead mouse in trap

(Horror stories about mice.)

About two weeks ago, a new couple moved in across the street. Julius and Bill. I was surprised the house sold, to be honest. It was a hell of a fixer upper. I guess they really liked the place.

It’s an old farmhouse built in 1712 or something. Looks it, too. I mean, it’s better now since they got all the garbage out of the front yard, but the curb appeal is still seriously lacking.

Not long after they moved in, I invited them over for dinner. I figured they’d want to know that their new neighbor was, well, neighborly.

Plus, I was curious.

I’ll come out and say it: I’d never really talked to guys like them before. Maybe I’m old school, but in my day, I wasn’t exposed to those kinds of folks. Even though I know it’s supposed to be a different world nowadays, I still have a hard time believing two men would make the choice to be what they are. I mean, what kind of man looks at another man and says, “hey, let’s be florists?” Continue reading “Missing Mousetraps”

Something horrible is happening to me on Grindr.

(A scary story about social media.)

So. Many. Penises. Since Eugene left me, I must have looked at a thousand of them. Cut, uncut, black, mocha, tan, pink, beige, thick, thin, long, hairy, shaved, trimmed, veiny, smooth, micro, macro, and even the elusive gargantuan. I’ll be honest with you, though: it’s not even like I was open to the idea of a hookup at that point. It was still too soon. The emotions were too raw. That said, I wasn’t going to be ashamed of myself for looking at pictures of dicks to help pass the time. I like dicks.

After a few weeks of browsing, I started involving myself in actual chats. You know, more than the basic “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine” type of stuff I’d been doing. Most guys didn’t really want to talk about much; they were more interested in meeting up and banging. I wasn’t ready for that, though. I was polite enough with my rejections, and most of them were cool with it. Not all, but most. Continue reading “Something horrible is happening to me on Grindr.”

Pretty Little Bugs

As one might imagine, a degree in Film doesn’t immediately lead to job offers. At the age of 23, I was desperately looking for a job – any job, really – but if I could find one that used my talents and my passion, I’d be ecstatic. When I refreshed the job section of Craigslist and saw, “Cameraman Wanted” with an email address, I shot off an email as fast as I could and within an hour I heard back.

After a brief email exchange, the next day I ended up interviewing with a thin, well-dressed man in a beautiful midtown apartment. The man, who introduced himself as Andrew, was polite and straightforward. “Do you have any moral issues with homosexuality and filming homosexual acts?” he asked, studying me for a reaction.

Continue reading “Pretty Little Bugs”

Tiptoeing the Line of Consent

“No,” I insisted. “Absolutely and unequivocally. No.”

I studied his face. It looked like he was prepared to accept what I was saying, but somewhere in his eyes I saw what I’d been hoping for. Something I barely wanted to admit, but nonetheless what I wanted most of all: he understood that behind my protestations was a plea to be convinced.

He opened his mouth and I studied his tongue. It was pink and firm and marked with tastebuds. The sheen of saliva on the muscle was both inviting and repelling; I loved how it felt inside me. I enjoyed the sensations it produced. But it left things behind. When he pulled away, I would feel the air on the wetness it deposited. It was cold. Discomforting.

I met his mouth with mine and let his tongue slip between my lips. It brushed against my own and I tasted his saliva. His mouth was still salty and slightly bitter from our earlier acts together. Not altogether unpleasant, but still noteworthy. I assumed mine tasted similar. Continue reading “Tiptoeing the Line of Consent”

Death Looking into the Window of One Dying

death-in-the-hood

As Andrew got sicker, he’d point to perceived smudges on our bedroom window. Nothing discernible to him. Not at first. But the decline in my partner’s health brought with it a growing realization. “It’s a face,” he told me. “It’s someone’s face.”

I saw nothing.

I sat with Andrew through it all. Every sleepless night. Every shriek of terror as nightmares tore through him. Every sobbing declaration that he wasn’t ready. In the mornings, the smudged face would be there, ever clearer to him. He was terrified of it. Still, I saw nothing.

Continue reading “Death Looking into the Window of One Dying”