Tag Archives: bored

$500 for $20

I am submitting “$20” as a short story to a local writing contest and have made some new edits. Here is the latest, more polished version.

——————–

It’s a little awkward trying to come up with a fake name to protect his identity because I don’t remember his actual name.

I was standing alone on the patio of the gay bar that stays open long after all of the others close. The fags I came with had pumped me full of whiskey and compliments all night, but now were nowhere to be found. I was feeling dejected in Anchorage, recently back from college and missing the kind of queers you find in big cities. I had just ripped off an itchy $9 witch wig and washed an eyeliner moustache off in the bathroom mirror. Maybe that’s why I looked acceptable to him. Let’s call him Henry.

I had made eye contact with Henry between making conversation with the gorgeous old fag from Chile and sipping random drinks I found unattended on the wooden picnic tables. He was pretty unremarkable. Tall, average white dude, crew cut, black hoodie, five o’clock shadow. But I kept catching him looking at me and was curious why. I’m femme enough to give off the straight vibe, sure, but I haven’t been approached by a man in years. So I found myself leaning up against the wall next to him. We talked for a while and he asked me if I wanted to “hang out”. I knew I was too drunk and bored to pass up this potential adventure for going back to the cold van I was living in at the time.

Henry is in the Air Force and very proud of his Irish heritage (maybe I should have named him Liam). He tells me such things while we walk to the gas station so he can buy cigarettes. I grab a bottled water and a gingersnap cookie and he buys. As we walk back towards downtown he says, “You have the most clear green eyes. Make my eyes clear like that. Tell me how to make my eyes clear like yours.” I can’t tell if we’re having a special moment, or if he’s just drunk or high. He says he has a lot of money and would rather get a hotel room than take me to his downtown home. When I question the idea he tells me it’s because he has a pit-bull. I try to explain to him that I work with dogs, a pit-bull isn’t an issue for me (is it for other women???) But he insists, so we ride around and around in a cab looking for a vacancy on a Friday night, and finally end up at a run down motel with holes punched in the head boards.

Henry turned on the cable and I shouted from the bathroom for him to find some porn. There was a jacuzzi tub that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in ten years. Despite that, I craved a hot bath so I started the water, got naked and came out of the bathroom proclaiming that we would have a hot tub together. Henry did not argue. He did whine that the water was too hot though and I told him to “man up, soldier.” We eased into the steaming water, the only light coming from the street through the bars on the windows. I hadn’t told Henry that I was gay yet, so when we were soaking in the tub he put his hand on my knee. I decided I was ok with it. We talked about his wife. Apparently, this was the “pit-bull” he spoke of. He said they hated each other but the Air Force gave them some kind of benefits if they stayed married. I told him he should get a divorce. He put his head back and sighed, agreeing. Henry got too hot and left the tub. I relaxed in it a little longer and when I got out I found him sprawled on the bed. I laid down and closed my eyes, heavy from the heat.

We talked a little more, or I should say he talked more. “You’re really cool,” he said, “you’re so…. chill.” I laughed at him. My eyes were still closed and suddenly I felt him leaning over me. He rested his hand on my stomach and started sucking on my nipples out of nowhere in the middle of our conversation. I don’t know why, but somehow I was ok with this too. I figured if I just kept my eyes closed I could enjoy a little nipple sucking, why not?! I laughed and told him he wasn’t doing it hard enough. He got all timid and I remembered why I don’t like having sex with dudes. But, he was so nervous and kinda dorky that it was almost cute. He grabbed his dick and I decided to start masturbating in front of him. He was mesmerized. I actually got a little turned on by the thought of him watching me and told him he could fuck me, with his hand only. He didn’t get it at first, but with a little direction it turned out ok. “You taste really good,” he said at one point, pulling his fingers from his mouth. It was then I remembered I was still kinda on my period. He tried to fuck me with his dick a few times and I had to push him away and tell him no, like he was a dog or something. At one point, I had a little reality check in which I realized this burly bro could rape me if he wanted to and I was a little nervous for a second. I ended up coming three times and he was in awe watching me ejaculate. “I’ve never seen that in real life,” he said. I made him masturbate to orgasm and he was amazed that two people could have sex without penile penetration. Like it was some new secret trick. Afterward, I watched his face relax and then slowly turn into a grimace as he surely thought about his wife. “It’s alright,” I said touching his shoulder, “you’re human. It’s not the end of the world. Nothing is forever.” He nodded. Where were all these sagely words coming from?

Before we had arrived at the motel he had been saying “I’ll never lie to you, I’m a very honest person.” I didn’t think he was a bad guy and I decided I wanted to be honest with him now that we had been physical. “I should probably tell you that, uh… I’m a lesbian.” I blurted out. He looked confused and I braced myself. “Whoa, you’re like the coolest lesbian I’ve ever met…” He tried to kiss me and awkwardly missed. “You look kinda like Henry Rollins” I said as he pulled away. He didn’t know who that was.

I was starting to sober up and decided that if I was going to have some identity crisis because I just let a dude bro put his hand inside me that I should do it in the safety of my own van. He told me that he should go home, but that I could stay if I promised not to break anything. I told him I would rather just walk back to my van. I think he felt embarrassed to check out only a few hours after he had checked in. We gathered our belongings and I started toward the door. “Wait,” he said. I turned around and saw him shuffling through his wallet. He pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. “Take this,” he said. WTF? I told him “no”. He insisted. “Do you realize what you’re implying?” I asked. He told me it wasn’t like that, he just wanted to make sure I got home safe (even though my van was two blocks away). I wasn’t going to turn down cash. Henry walked me to my van. “Well, maybe I’ll see you around sometime,” he said and smiled. “Yeah.” I lied. “Are you sure you’ll be alright out here?” he said as he watched someone shuffling around behind a dumpster. “I’ll be fine.” I nodded. As he walked away he turned over his shoulder and said, “Well, if anything happens just scream and I’ll come back.”


brunch

I went to a birthday party today over brunch. A vegan and gluten-free feast. Some of the people I knew, and some of them not. I was anxious because I hate small talk, it makes me so uncomfortable. I feel like strangers ask me questions just to hear themselves talk. I feel boring when I tell people what I do and I feel stupid when I tell them that I’m not in school because I can’t afford it right now. I glued myself to Kevin and Honey Bucket until they had to leave and I mostly had to fend for myself. I was anxious because the house was very fancy. Lots of art and rugs. Alaskana. 

I went to the sitting room to put my card with the others and caught sight of the view out of the large windows. I pressed my forhead against the glass. The freezing Kenai Peninsula. It resembled the bluffs in Portland in some strange way. The window fogged with my breath. I thought of my mother. I remembered I was not in a place where it was appropriate to cry. I wondered if the tree I was looking at was a black spruce. I wondered about the foot prints in the snow. I tried to picture where I was oriented on a map. I drew a heart in the condensation and then wondered if I shouldn’t have.

Back in the kitchen and breakfast nook I submitted to the dreaded small talk and it wasn’t that bad. Emiline showed up, my savior. We sunk into a big love seat and talked about teeth and jokes past lovers made at the expense of our sensitivities. We talked about Boycations and Man Rambles and male nudity in film. We talked about our health and highschool and the journeys we made in college, physically and emotionally.

Matthew and Sarah played the banjo and accordian on the fireplace. Sarah looks like Portland, I thought. Thin flannel, thick rimmed glasses, greasy boyish haircut. She may be the only one in all of Anchorage. It occurred to me that this brunch, this vegan brunch with young people playing covers of Hurray for the Riff Raff, the beards, the flannel, the fact that almost half of the people there were queer, this might be the best of what is here. If this is all there is, I thought, at least I have found it.

Later some of the guests left, some helped clean up. I watched the lady of the house scrape a bowl full of left over cream cheese and a whole stick of left over butter into the garbage disposal. I talked to one of the lingering guests about whether or not God has lips, or any erogenous zones for that matter. We talked about wanting to visit villages but not wanting to live there. I showed him my leg tattoos. I told him about my grandfather’s memorial and it seemed like maybe his eyes got wet for some secret reason. I felt attracted to him. I made up a rule that it was ok to get a crush on someone who was a gender different from ones you normally go for if it was over the holidays.

The birthday girl opened her gifts and cards. I gave her a patch with a bike on it, a tube of glitter glue and a pin that says “I ❤ female orgasm”. Her parents gave her remote start for her car and $1000. I started to realize this friend of mine came from a  class background much different than mine. I hadn’t thought much about her background before. I thought about what I could do with $1000. 

My tires spun in the deep snow as I maneuvered out of the suburban winter hideaway. I passed my old elementary school. Everything looked so different. All the trees cut and a shopping center I didn’t even know existed. I put on that Des Ark CD I’ve been trying to take a break from so I won’t stop liking it from listening too much. I sang along and my voice sounded raspy and I liked it. I thought about my Holiday Crush. I thought about hating feeling stuck up here. I started to get anxious about What I’m Doing With My Life and The Next Step. But then I thought about my mom, and felt an unfamiliar a sense of calm. I realized that right now I’m exactly where I need to be.


winter is taming me

Snow is clear. But on days like this it washes out everything beyond the block you’re on and I am suddenly content that there is nothing more than this.

I like it when I go to the yarn store and the yarn ladies follow me around asking if they can help me every five minutes like I am going to run out with arm loads of wool blends under my jacket.

I like that my boss is out of town for the next few weeks and I can knit all day at work without fear of being caught.

I like it when my friend George’s accent changes depending on if he’s out with friends or working at his father’s taco cart.

I like my secret plan to steal his girlfriend and make her gay even though it’s not very nice of me.

I like my dog’s bored sighs that fog the window she gazes out of when we run errands.

I like that I am plagued by this wild inspiration that only seems to rush around inside of me while I’m driving so I have to scratch frantic notes or I’ll forget it all. And why is it that my memory lets certain things slip but others I remember so vividly? Like that time I was fucking Little Bird and a cut was stinging on my hand or Friend’s mouth on my palm.

I liked discovering the Womyn’s Dance downtown. I remember thinking that I should go every month and then hearing that the next one wasn’t until April of next year.

I like it when my therapist asks me why I have to go all the way to Fairbanks in order to teach myself to play music and I have to sheepishly admit that maybe it has something to do with my crush on Friend.

I like that I frantically tried to write really intense poems about my abusive ex trying to publicly embarrass me last weekend. But now I am content with these few lines here.

I like this tiny handmade book that Kevin found on the ground that goes like this:

5. Bat’s are more interesting than spiders.
9. Bats are the most useful to farmers.
1. Seeing a bat is a lucky sign.
13. Bats look funny hanging upside down.
7. A bat would make a fun pet.
17. Bat caves are spooky.
16. Bats should live far away from people.
8. Bats are ugly.

The snow flurries on the road make me feel like I am home. The wind pushes at the car and the lanes have disappeared but I am calm and handle the road like no time has passed at all.


we have to believe

Sometimes my heart aches. On the highway facing the Chugachs, headed to my mother’s house. I know that just beyond that range is the road that leads South; I could keep driving. Pass the last exit at the edge of town, and when the car dies along the way I will take what I can carry. Wrap myself up, leash the dog. We’ll stow away in anything mobile and race Winter down the Alcan, all the way to Oregon. But I sit, stay. Because I know that somewhere in cyberspace there’s a ticket with my name on it. A vacation, a christmas gift to myself, to get me through ’til Spring. I know I’ll make it back there permanent some other day.

My little brother and I only see each other in passing, crossing paths doing laundry at our mother’s house. I wish we were closer. He thinks I’m a man-hater and an alcoholic. And I get it. He’s thinking of seventeen year old me: self-destructive, never home, perpetually drunk, moving out at sixteen. He felt abandoned -like he felt when our parents split up. I hate that I made him feel that way. I hope someday we can mend those lines of communication and he can forgive me for being a bad older sister and I can forgive him for writing me off.

Lastnight I was climbing the stairs of my long driveway in the dark. I heard a high-pitched squeaking from above. Looked up to see a nest in the twisted naked branches. Baby birds? My roommate says it’s impossible this time of year and told me to get a flashlight and a ladder. But I didn’t want the answer.

Today, clapping my boots on the way to the van, I spilled my coffee. Ravens were dancing on the tops of other cars, playing and laughing with their rolling, throaty calls. Those birds are so fucking big up close! I know it’s tired for girls to speak about the beauty and mysticality of birds. But I swear ravens are my spirit animal. Picking through the trash and joking and playing all day long, loud and dressed in black.

I’m just here. I’m just up here simple, boring and daydreaming all the time. And there’s nothing else to do, because we have to believe in something.


$20

It’s awkward trying to come up with a fake name to protect his identity because I don’t remember his actual name.

I was standing on the patio of the gay bar that stays open long after the others close. The fags I came with had pumped me full of whiskey and compliments all night, but now they were nowhere to be found. I had just ripped off my itchy $9 witch wig and washed an eyeliner moustache off in the bathroom mirror. Maybe that’s why I looked acceptable to him. Let’s call him Henry.

I had made eye contact with Henry between making conversation with the gorgeous old fag from Chile and sipping off of random drinks I found unattended on the wooden picnic tables. He was pretty unremarkable. Tall, average white dude, crew cut, black hoodie, five o’clock shadow. But I kept noticing him looking at me and was curious why. So I found myself leaning up against the table he was at asking him what was up. We talked for a while and when he asked me if I wanted to “hang out” I knew I was too drunk and bored to pass up a potential adventure for sleeping in my cold van.

Henry is in the Air Force and very proud of his Irish heritage (maybe I should have named him Liam). He tells me such things while we walk to the gas station. I laugh at him when he buys me bottled water and a gingersnap cookie. As we walk he says “You have the most clear green eyes. Make my eyes clear like that. Tell me how to make my eyes clear like yours.” I can’t tell if this is some special moment, or if he’s just drunk or high. He says he has a lot of money and would rather get a room for us to hang out in than take me to his downtown home because he has a pitbull. I try to explain to him that I work with dogs, a pitbull is not an issue for me (is it with other girls???) He insists, so we ride around and around in a cab and finally end up at a really rundown motel with holes punched in the head boards.

He turns on the cable and I shout from the bathroom for him to find some porn. There was a jacuzzi tub that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in ten years. I suddenly craved a hot bath so I started the water, got naked and came out of the bathroom proclaiming that we would have a hot tub together. Henry did not argue. He did whine that the water was too hot though and I told him to “man up, soldier”. You might be wondering why/how I got myself into this situation, I wondered that too. I hadn’t told Henry that I was gay yet, so when we were soaking in the tub he put his hand on my knee. I decided I was ok with that. We talked about his wife. Apparently this was the “pitbull” he spoke of. They hated each other but they got some kind of Air Force benefits if they stayed married. I told him he should get a divorce. He sighed in agreement. Henry got too hot and left the tub. I relaxed in it a little longer and when I got out I found him sprawled on the bed. I laid down and closed my eyes, heavy from the heat.

We talked a little more, or I should say he talked more. “You’re really cool.” he said. “You’re so…. chill.” I laughed at him. My eyes were still closed and suddenly he started sucking on my nipples out of nowhere in the middle of our small talk. I don’t know why but somehow I was ok with this too. I laughed and told him he wasn’t doing it hard enough. He got all timid and I remembered why I don’t like having sex with dudes. I figured if I just closed my eyes I could enjoy a little nipple sucking, why not?! He was so nervous and kinda dorky that it was almost cute. He grabbed his dick and I decided to start masturbating in front of him. He was mesmerized. I actually got a little turned on by the thought of him watching me and told him he could fuck me, with his hand only. He didn’t get it at first, but with a little direction it turned out ok. “You taste really good.” He said at one point, pulling his fingers from his mouth. It was then I remembered I was still kinda on my period. He tried to fuck me with his dick a few times and I had to push him away and tell him no, like he was a dog or something. I had a little moment of clarity in which I realized this burly bro could rape me if he wanted to and I was a little nervous for a second. I ended up coming three times and he was in awe watching me ejaculate, “I’ve never seen that in real life…” he said. I made him masturbate to orgasm and he was amazed that we had just had sex without penile penetration. Like it was some new secret trick. Afterward, I watched his face relax and then slowly turn into a grimace as he surely thought about his wife. “It’s alright,” I said, “you’re human. It’s not the end of the world. You can always make new choices. Nothing is forever. Everything will work out.” He nodded. Where were all these sagely words coming from?

Before we had arrived at the motel he had been saying “I’ll never lie to you, I’m a very honest person.” I didn’t think he was a bad guy and I decided I wanted to be honest with him now that we had been physical. “I should probably tell you that, uh… I’m a lesbian.” I blurted out. He looked confused. “Whoa, you’re like the coolest lesbian I’ve ever met…” He tried to kiss me and awkwardly missed. “You look kinda like Henry Rollins” I said. He didn’t know who that was.

I started to sober up and decided that if I was going to have some identity crisis because I just let a dude bro put his hand inside me that I should do it in the safety of my own van. He told me he should go home, but that I could stay if I promised not the break anything. I told him I would rather walk back to my van. I think he felt embarrassed to check out a few hours after he had checked in. We gathered our belongings and I started toward the door. “Wait.” he said. I turned around and saw him shuffling through his wallet. He pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. “Take this.” he said. WTF? I told him no. He insisted. “Do you realize what that means?” I asked. He told me it wasn’t like that, he just wanted to make sure I got home safe (even though my van was two blocks away). I wasn’t going to turn down cash. He walked me to my van and as we parted he turned and said, “If anything happens just scream and I’ll come back.”

Henry, my boyfriend, my sugar daddy, my john (???).

Oh boy. Oh man. Oh Henry.