The Things I Think About While Giving Head | Meeah Williams

The overworked air conditioner blocks out the sound of traffic from the nearby highway, the new house going up next door, and whatever else is going on in the world. What time is it, anyway? Nearly ten. I’m so sluggish all I want to do is close my eyes and go back to sleep in spite of all the sleep I already got. I can barely throw off the covers and drag myself out of bed.

“Hey, nice of you to wake up,” Denny says, as I cross the room in a foggy-headed daze. “I was beginning to think maybe you were dead.”

He informs me that he’s been awake for hours. His shins have been itching him like crazy, an allergic reaction from all the mosquito bites he got at that barbecue on the beach the other night. He’s lying at the foot of the bed looking at stuff (probably porn) on his laptop and lightly scratching the scabs that cover the thin, shiny, hairless skin of his afflicted shins.

Opening the bedroom door, swollen-stuck because of the humidity, I step in the hall. The hot air pummels me like a gauntlet of pillows. I shuffle to the bathroom, brush my teeth, check the vulnerable skin around my eyes. Ugh. I look like a character from The Walking Dead. I avoid the scale like a land mine, give it a wide berth like a gypsy curse. I’m sure it will say I’ve gained a pound or two since yesterday; it’s clearly gone insane.

Back in the colder-than-ever bedroom, Denny is now sitting on my side of the bed. He waits for me to take my pills and then he has me stand in front of him. He slowly unbuttons my nightie to the waist and starts playing with my tits while I look over his sandy head, squinting at the window. It looks like another overly sunny day. I shiver. He plays with my tits for a while until I understand that he won’t stop until he gets what he wants. So I sink down on my knees and fumble his already hard cock out of his underwear. I put my lips around it. Everything down here smells like the beach at low- tide. I close my eyes and imagine I’m diving headfirst into the sea.

I read a serious review the other day in a serious journal written by a serious writer of a new book written by a guy it’s hard to believe is serious. He has made a reputation for himself simply by writing down all the ordinary, boring, mundane stuff he does on a daily basis from morning to night. He basically just writes stuff like this:

I woke up sometime after noon with a bad hangover. I brushed my teeth with my fingers and walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door and drank the last of the orange juice right out of the container. It tasted like garlic. All the while I was checking email on my Iphone and Tweeting that I was brushing my teeth with my fingers, walking into the kitchen, opening the refrigerator door and drinking the last of the orange juice, which tasted like garlic, right out of the container.

I don’t understand how some people can get away with writing stuff like this and being taken seriously and other people, like me, for instance, can write the exact same thing and not be. I once asked a friend who works as an editor at Gigantic House Publishing Inc. something similar about the famous mega-bestselling thriller writer whose novels are all written the exact same way: in two-page chapters comprised of the simplest sentences imaginable. I asked her if some unknown person (like me, for instance) submitted the exact same book to her unsolicited would it even get published? She looked at me sadly and said, “Honestly? No.”

It’s amazing the things that go through your head while you’re giving head. I try to remember them for later but I’m not always very successful. A lot of stuff gets lost by the wayside. It’s not like you can keep a pad and pencil by your knees to jot this stuff down.

I think of the chocolate-chip bagel that’s waiting for in the kitchen. But from the minute I open my eyes in the morning I’m almost always thinking about that. I estimate it to be about 400 calories, but I’m hooked on the damn things. I tell myself that I’ll just eat less for lunch and dinner, but who am I kidding?

I think of Clarice Lispector. How could I not have heard of her before now—an author so obviously important to me? It makes me wonder who else I haven’t heard of that I should also know about? God knows how long it would have been before I heard of Clarice Lispector if I hadn’t heard of her purely by chance in a book by Carole Maso, who is another author I just recently discovered, but who I should have been aware of about ten years ago. Judging by my literary education, I might just as well have been raised by wolves.

I think: I really have to re-polish my nails. No touch-up this time. Do it right. Remove the old polish, start over, keep still enough to allow the new polish to dry.

I think: I need to do at least four sun salutations before breakfast. I can do them while Denny’s scrapple fries.

I think: Om nama shivaya. Is that the way the mantra goes? What’s the tune, though? I can’t remember it. Instead I keep humming Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” for some reason.

I think: scrapple goes on for at least eight to ten minutes per side.

“What’s this!” LeAnne screamed in genuine, incredulous horror. She was looking in the fridge for the almond milk when she found it. You’d have thought she’d come upon a human head in the veggie crisper.

“How could you?”
“What?”
She emerged holding the cold half-eaten pinkish brick of soggy meat.
“Well, I certainly don’t eat it,” I said defensively.
“How could you even be involved with someone who does?” She was visibly

disappointed, like a parent who’d found a crack vial hidden in your purse and whose disappointment isn’t ameliorated when you explain that it’s not yours, that it belongs to a friend of a friend.

I shrugged. “It happens.”

LeAnne is a lesbian and also my best friend, though we haven’t actually done anything lesbianic together, well, not much of anything, which I think is what keeps me from being her best friend.

“Do you know what scrapple is made of?”
“The best stuff on earth?”
“That’s not even funny. Do you know they put in this…this thing?”
“I have my suspicions,” I said, like someone who’d just as soon not know the whole truth.

“That’s just it. That’s the worst thing of all. Everyone has their suspicions, but no one knows for sure.”

LeAnne is always trying to raise my consciousness about a lot of things, which in general seems to mean giving up men, starting with Denny. I keep this from Denny, who actually likes LeAnne, or, rather, likes the idea of LeAnne, which amounts to the idea of LeAnne and I together; he has a very unrealistic softcore porn idea of us together.

I think: it’s amazing how you don’t have to pay much attention while giving a guy a blowjob: it’s like driving a car. Still, I think, let’s fondle his balls a little. He seems to like that.

Something I read in one of Carole Maso’s books has been coming back to me again and again lately and this is one of the times it comes back. She says that from now on writers might have to abandon the pretext of “finished” works; instead, to communicate what still needs to be communicated, serious writers might have to keep scrapbooks and journals instead of masterpieces. Notes instead of coherent beginning- middle-and-end stories. That the novel needs to be rethought, that it doesn’t have to be, maybe even can’t be, a few hundred pages between two cardboard covers anymore, but instead more like a big canvas smeared with lipstick and fingerprints, coffee rings and tears. A geometry of desire is what she called her new conception of the novel.

I like that. I like that idea a lot. But what can it possible mean, practically speaking? Anyway, it would have been the perfect answer to the semi-famous writer who trashed my story at the community college writing workshop last week except I hadn’t yet read Carole Maso at the time and, of course, the rules of the workshop forbade me from saying anything at all while the rest of the class were encouraged to tear apart my story. So I wouldn’t have been able to say it anyway.

Okay, I’ll admit it, once in a while I think of biting down, but it’s just a fleeting thought, not even a thought, just a sort of flash impulse. Of course I’d never do it. I don’t even know why it occurs to me. I think maybe I’m just daring myself to think the most horrible thing I can think of doing at the moment; it’s what Poe called the “Imp of the Perverse” that’s responsible, I’m sure of it. I’m just thinking these things to creep myself out.

I think of a good opening for my next story: “If life were a B-movie horror flick you’d know ten minutes in that LeAnne was destined to meet some horrible fate, probably having sex in the shower with someone else’s boyfriend. She was that kind of girl.”

I think about the argument LeAnne and I had the other day that will form the main part of the story. We were sitting on the couch drinking rum and cherry cokes eating brownies and watching reality television. This particular program was about a vice squad police unit in Las Vegas. They were arresting streetwalkers and they were giving this one young white-trash girl a particularly hard time. She’d just arrived in town from Kentucky the day before. This one cop was harping on the fact that the girl made only a hundred dollars that day hooking.

“A hundred dollars,” he said, incredulously, while his partner, a dykey-looking blonde, shook her head in disgust and disappointment.

The male cop was counting out the cash he’d confiscated from the girl’s plastic purse slowly and deliberately for the television camera. The money was going to be used as evidence against her, but now it was being used to humiliate her.

“A hundred bucks,” he repeated, as if this were the most pitiful, paltry amount in the world, hardly even worth blowing his nose into. “That’s all. For a day’s work on the street? Is this really worth it?” he asked the girl, but asked all of us, too.

The girl was too upset to answer back. She was shaking all over with shame. But the obvious reply would have been: “So how much would have been worth it?”

The female officer stood just to the side with her hand on the butt of her holstered revolver, as if she really might need it. She was looking on as if the girl were the lowest piece of trash she’d ever seen in her life, so low she couldn’t believe her eyes, as if she might have to shoot her just to put her out of her misery.

LeAnne was shaking her head in judgment right along with the cops on television, right along, you had to assume, with all of America.

She turned to me. “Can you imagine? Selling yourself so cheap.”
But I’d been thinking it over and it occurred to me, well, what’s wrong with a

hundred dollars for a day’s work?
“It’s more than she’d make working eight hours earning minimum wage at

McDonald’s or Wal-Mart,” I said, as one who knew about such jobs. “She’d only make something like fifty-eight dollars for a day’s work then.”

LeAnne frowned. “Yeah but she wouldn’t have to be degraded.”

“You don’t think wearing one of those polyester uniforms, standing on your feet all day fishing fries out of a vat of boiling oil, getting spattered and splashed and ruining your complexion and getting barked at by store managers who are nothing more than frustrated Nazis and bitchy soccer moms with bratty kids who are even worse and all for fifty-eight dollars isn’t degrading?”

That gave LeAnne pause enough for me to add, “I mean, look at it from a purely economic standpoint, who’s the more enterprising entrepreneur? What is more cost- effective? Giving two blowjobs for a hundred dollars that probably amounts to no more than thirty minutes or so of work, or working at a mind-numbing job for eight straight hours for less than sixty bucks? What is more reasonable? What makes more financial sense?”

“You’re really warped you know that Winnie,” LeAnne said, which is the sort of thing people say when they haven’t got a real answer to what you’re saying. “Are you saying that you’d rather hook than get an honest job?”

I shrugged. “I’m just saying.”

In the story I’m thinking of writing, though, it would be LeAnne saying what I’m saying because she would be a prostitute and I’d be her well-meaning, if slightly self- righteous friend, who always played it straight and safe and although I’d opened the narrative with those ominous lines foreshadowing some awful fate destined to befall her it would turn out that nothing bad happens to LeAnne at all. She winds up being pretty successful in the sex trade and I’m jealous because I did everything by the book and I’m stuck in some dead-end straight job making far less money than she does. What I’m not sure about yet is whether I want something bad to happen to me in the story or whether the irony of that would be just too heavy-handed. Maybe nothing bad happens to either of us. Maybe LeAnne just ends up being a little happier, a little more adventurous in her life with better clothes and a nicer car and a cooler apartment, and I remain her quietly resentful friend, almost hoping something bad will happen to her in order to justify my cowardice, my clinging to convention.

I think of how I’ll spend the morning writing up a draft of this story.

{After he comes in my mouth, I go downstairs and start frying up the scrapple that lately Denny has taken to eating with his breakfast eggs. I have the chocolate-chip bagel, lightly toasted, and three mugs of straight black coffee.

The morning email brings me news that another of my stories has been rejected. This one has been turned down by a publication called C4, or something like that; it’s a journal I never heard of, in any event. Does that make it more or less depressing that they rejected me? Hard to say. I get instant revenge on them, though, by immediately sending them another story, this one three times as long and even more obviously unsuited to their needs.

Then I take a shower and get dressed for my electrolysis appointment. Before we leave, I have lunch: a bowl of fresh fruit, five almonds, yogurt, and some tiny fennel- flavored Italian pretzels that I dip in hummus. How I manage to gain weight on a diet like this I don’t know.

We pick up Indian food for dinner later; at the supermarket we buy eggs, fruit, and paper towels. Actually, Denny does the shopping while I lie flat on my back under a high-intensity light talking about Baltimore with my electrolysist, a short, square woman of seventy with the smooth skin of an infant. She looms over me, looking through a magnifying lens for hairs to zap. The poor things. Each one is given a death sentence, then summarily electrocuted.

When it’s over, sitting in the passenger seat of Denny’s car, I smell singed.

When we get home, Denny gives me my injection. (Wouldn’t you like to know?) He sticks the need into my right buttock, pats it, and then we kiss for a while, both of slightly, perversely turned-on. I think it might turn into sex but it doesn’t.

The rain starts and then stops. I sit in the window and paint my nails. I stretch out my legs and closely examine my toes. I decide that they don’t need to be re-polished just yet.}

When I submitted this story to the summer writing workshop run by the semi- famous writer he said, “I don’t understand why I’m reading this story.”

It seemed more unfair than usual that I was forbidden to say anything because no one else could or would answer the semi-famous writer’s question. It was just like sitting on the couch and watching that poor girl from Kentucky not being able to answer her interrogator. What I wanted to say is that you’re reading this story because it’s your job, numbnuts. Here I was the only one who knew the answer to the question and I wasn’t allowed to say a word.

Instead I had to sit there and say nothing with this great big plastic grin on my face to prove that what he was saying wasn’t tearing my guts out, but all the while I’m thinking, you small-cocked little rat sadist. Because he was enjoying it, you could tell. For him, it was like having a helpless victim tied to a chair to torture. It’s ironic, too, because he’s a good-looking older guy, kind of like Donald Rumsfeld, and as repulsive as I find him on one level, I’m actually hot for him on another. That makes it all the more complicated as I’m forced to sit there mute unable to defend myself while he dissected me with his cruel critique.

“Don’t go back.” That was Denny’s advice. “Fuck’ em all.” This is his advice about a lot of things, as it so happens. I’m pretty sure it will be his attitude towards me if the time comes. I’m sure it will, too. That’s the thing about time; it always comes.

—–

Meeah Williams is a freelance writer, graphic artist, and pataphysician. Her recent short fiction and poetry appears or is forthcoming from The Milo Review, Innsmouth Magazine, Blank Media Collective, and Stone Highway among others. She is also the author of a sci- fi noir novel, Fake Girls, under the pseudonym Matthew Sloan. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, Hank. You can find herr blog, The Red Ignatz Society, at http://walkingeyeball.blogspot.com/

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Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

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