"This One" and "Come Scare Me In The Thoroughfare"

This One

And the first newspaper to sell a million copies shrieked, ‘The Ripper Strikes Again!’, ecstasy was originally sold as empathy, and parthenogenesis is actually a vague possibility. This and many more morsels careen from Sam’s lips a lifetime after we’ve swallowed and stripped and lay on a flat-mates divan.

Sam is a recent Catholic convert – she whispers of awe for the candles, the incense and communion - yet she is a cafeteria catholic, she takes and leaves as Papal ordinance falls by the wayside. And so it is that Sam is still Sam and we both lie and stroke and sigh and smile and laugh and ‘Live From Mars’ plays on repeat as Sam notes there is a difference between the virgin birth and the immaculate conception.

And St Francis spoke to birds as Sam rubs the nape of her neck, prayers are said for those in limbo as Sam bites her lip, and Mother Teresa requested an exorcism as Sam strokes her inner thigh.

I riposte that when instructed to renounce the devil Voltaire replied, ‘Now is not the time to be making enemies’ as I stroke Sam’s neck, that a Creator leads to infinite regress as I kiss Sam’s collar bone, and that Mother Teresa spoke of contraception as murder as I stroke Sam’s inner thigh.

‘The Drug’s Don’t Work’ lies numinous, my eyes water so I blink and focus on Sam’s smooth shoulders, David Bowie stares down over us all - pinned on three corners - and my toes tingle as ego relents.

Sam will lay with me and I with her, the flat-mate will return and offer clever rejoinder, the music will fade as afternoon turns to evening and I will wake with Sam by my side and repeat to myself that all is well.



Come Scare Me In The Thoroughfare

And she raises her head and declares she will take no more and for now she and I are in agreement.

Sam lowers her head once more, texts her reply and then places the phone back in her bag.

“I’ve turned it off so we shall be no longer bothered … imagine proposing a commitment after a night together … that’s the last time I sleep with someone our age, from now on it’s older men and I shall be a hussy and nothing more.”

I nod and do a sneaky line off my wrist, Sam glowers at her bag and then grabs the shaker and does a line of her own. It is three nights since we slept together and neither will mention it to the other.

“It was a weekend …” I offer.

“What?” Sam sniffs.

“You spent a weekend with him, not a night, so in between the fucking and casual nudity I assume there was conversation involved … you know, talking and the like.”

“So …” Sam responds, “I discovered he studies architecture and his mother was once a Catholic. Not quite the foundation one builds a relationship on. And nudity is never casual … not in a world with photoshop.”

Sam is newly blonde and her fringe licks her eyebrows, her lips in natural pout and while there is a hesitancy there I find I cannot draw my gaze from the nape of her neck as she turns to place her bag behind her seat. She lights a cigarette and offers another, I decline and turn instead to the sky as clouds race an early moon on offer for all those of appreciation. The coke is taking effect and a slow sweat rises upon my brow, Sam draws and the embers glow and as she exhales the smoke rises and she blinks and I think to myself that it is best to be honest and I will attempt that someday but not tonight.

“Perhaps …” I say, “but you did say the sex was great …”

“I said the sex felt great, of course it felt great, it was sex … the act itself however was mediocre at best.” She takes another puff and I find the question best left unanswered.

We both have classes tomorrow but for now the night is ours and all on offer is wild abandon. The waitress brings the White Russians and we nod and smile and Sam offers a ‘thank you’ as the waitress departs. Blues plays in the background and Sam leans back into the leather as she closes her eyes to accept the drinks’ first offering.

“Shall we continue at mine or yours?” I ask.

“Definitely yours,” Sam responds with eyes still closed, “my roommate is on her period and her boyfriend hasn’t called for ten days … at least yours keeps to himself.”

“He’s a heroin addict,” I say, “silence is his only redeeming quality. If his father hadn’t paid for the new library he’d be out on his ear and even now that may not be enough …”

“Well at worst he’ll bounce around until he finds a College that needs a new gymnasium,” says Sam as she stubs her cigarette into ash. “He’s rich and so he’s set for life and couldn’t we all learn from this … you know at least at the visceral level?” She reaches for the shaker and does another line and her cheeks respond in fashion.

We will pay with credit cards and wish our Mothers welcome and surrender to the night, for now all is present and my smile matches hers and our faces inspire confidence and the moon seems to shine for us and us alone.

And I do not know how it started but it was over before it began and that made it only more distressing.

We had both decided to snort heroin – only the once, that was decided upon in earnest declaration – and fortunately my roommate was an addict so supplies were far from difficult to acquire …

Sam and I lay back on my single bed and wound limbs as we waited … and in moments we were in land most forgiving and welcoming for all … I was all and everything and nothing and nobody and for the first time I felt the impact of the statement ‘we are all made of stardust’, I was one with the universe and my spirit soared upon this revelation.

Sam was groaning in almost orgasmic ecstasy and running her hands through her hair, perspiration upon her upper lip and declarations of unity uttered intermittently from her lips as she writhed.

I took my shirt off and felt immediately less encumbered, it was of great importance that I allowed myself full emersion in the ever after only a fingertip away … I too ran my hand through my hair and tears formed and refused to disperse, they remained at eyelids rim and teased my manhood.

Smile was on my IPod and harmonies formerly unrecognized were made aware and broke my heart, tore at my soul and spoke of dreams unrealized and long since buried. Sam tore at her hair and ran her hands across cheeks stained from everlasting tears, she had abandoned herself and delved deeper than I could ever hope … this was her gift I suppose.

Hours later I kissed her cheeks as she spoke of revelation and I held her hand as she gripped tight and attempted to place it all into words … but we both knew this was impossible and simply gave in to the nights embrace.

And come the morning Sam and I awake enveloped in each other’s arms and while the heroin and the cocaine are well worn off we both seem to feel the need for total and unabashed honesty – a possible nightmare perhaps but worth the risk in the circumstances...

Fortunately my near tears are no longer evident and we can speak on equal terms.

Sam’s eyes are red and swollen and for a moment I am fiercely jealous of the depths she must have traversed, for a moment I feel my own journey was precept at best …

My flatmate is in his usually comatose state and therefore the room seems ours, ours to expose and ours to reveal, ours to bare all, ours to claim …

Sam mentions ‘heavenly aspirations’ and I respond with wide eyed acclaim.

I declare ‘spiritual dimensions’ and Sam responds in kind.

We remain entwined throughout and yet sexual conquest is far from the agenda … perhaps we have reached a higher plain and for the life of me I wish for the latter.

And Sam runs her hands through her blonde fringe and runs a finger down my cheek, I respond with a smile most genuine and with the world as it stands is there more to hope for?



Michael Tyler has been published by Takahe, Bravado, Adelaide Literary, PIF, Daily Love, Danse Macabre, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Dash, The Fictional Café, Potato Soup Journal, Fleas On The Dog, Cardinal Sins, Mystery Tribune, Other Terrain, and Suddenly And Without Warning.

Michael writes from a shack overlooking the ocean just south of the edge of the world. He plans a short story collection sometime before the Andromeda Galaxy collides with ours and …


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - 21:04