Small Talk

Brian Martin

“I drank two tall boys on the train here,” I say with feigned confidence as I grab his crotch. He looks down and smirks.  I decide not to make any more moves until he does. And I don’t until we get out of the car and into the house.

We never touch one another in the open, which was a rule we both followed without ever having to establish.

Brendan lives in a house that his parents are renovating. The house, on the outside, looks like it has been painted since the last time I was here, which was four months ago. The house had been grey and is now white. The front door opens to wood shavings and work tables.    “Watch out. There’s tools and shit everywhere.” He rechecks the lock on the front door, and turns to me with heavy breath. We grab each other’s asses with slightly more affection than teammates and reach into one another’s pants as if it’s a handshake. Then he says to grab a seat because he has to piss.

Every room in the house is in some stage of reconstruction. The inside is stripped and wooden and covered tightly in a yellow plastic like hard candy.  In the outdated kitchen, a TV rests on a large table, with two lawn chairs in front of it.

I sit on the blue lawn chair in the kitchen, staring at the turned-off television, with my legs pinned together like a nervous teen at the clinic. I hear him open the fridge and the clinking of beer bottles and I spread out as if I’m driving to my favorite song. He puts his hands on my shoulders and keeps them there after he hands me a beer.

Without saying a word he puts in the DVD we lovingly call “The Marathon Porn.” It is a greatest hits compilation lasting almost eight hours. One night sophomore year, Brendan decided he didn’t care if I was in the room; he “just really needed to jack off to some porn.” And that was how all of this got started.

“Thanks,” I say nodding at the beer, and we take long sips in unison.

He skips ahead to his favorite gangbang scene, in which a female Geometry teacher has sex with five of her students during detention. He sits down in his chair, and we clink bottles as if we’re watching the playoffs. I tell him I like his beard, lightly grazing my fingers over my own chin as if he needed someone to show him where it was. He says he doesn’t have any interviews until after Christmas so he figures why not. I ask how that’s going but he doesn’t really want to talk about it – something about his dad’s friend at J.P. Morgan being an asshole. Then he says one of the girls on screen is really hot, and we put our hands in our pants and start to stare at each other.

He asks me how my job is going, and I tell him how I met Carmen Electra the week before and I tell him how much I wanted to sleep with her. We have our pants and our boxers around our ankles now, and I tell him about Theresa Ramo.

He asks me if I fucked her and I lie.

There has been an evolution to this.  We started taking our own clothes off about senior year of college, and we started kissing on the mouth right after graduation. At this point there is no line we haven’t crossed.

Nothing is different about his bedroom. The sheets, impossibly, seem crumpled in the exact way I left them.

It feels like something I can’t quite describe. There is this kind of burn to it. Everything will be slow and breathy at first, and I like the slow. And then it will be fast and reckless, and I like the fast, and then we explode like cheap firecrackers, the ones you light in your backyard, shooting straight up in a flash of colored light, barely above the rooftop, falling quickly to the ground.

But right after, almost immediately, we’ll start collecting the smoky remains so no one gets burnt.  That is the last slow part – collecting the remains. When we realize what we’ve done, and the fall is sudden, and we put out our fire in different ways. And I always feel singed.

I head to the shower like I always do, filling my mouth with water and spitting it into the drain. There is a pink, plastic razor next to the Irish Spring and I pretend it doesn’t exist.

“Hey, can I use your toothbrush?” I call out.  

“Can you use my toothbrush?

“Um, yeah, do you really care?”

“Ahhh… I’d kind of rather you didn’t.”

Sometimes we do it two or three more times and then I’ll leave or he’ll leave or we’ll both check out of the room –depending on where we are. One time we spent the entire night together, but it was only because we had passed out on each other in a drunken cloud. I know from his toothbrush answer that I’d be leaving soon, so I try to step out of the shower with flexed muscles.

Brendan had already put his boxers and T-shirt back on and he is lying on the shaggy green carpet that hasn’t been pulled out yet. It looks like unkept grass. He has a fresh beer and a pensive look. I decide to stay defiantly naked, sliding in along side him, letting my knee curl up to his thigh, and I wait. We lay there in the worst kind of silence.

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