Archive for September, 2012

What the Future Holds Can Never Be Known by Barry Basden

Sep 28 2012 Published by under Stories

A cold night in Vermont. I pick up the phone, hear her say my name, and I’m back in a Las Cruces cantina almost a decade ago.

She leans over, sets a Dos Equis in front of me, her warmth against my skin. I’m a little drunk. Her hair brushes my neck. I look into her eyes and soon we’re careening down lost years: A broken fist in Colorado. Explaining to armed men why the Chevy sits halfway inside a San Salvador kitchen. Lemons rotting in a Lodi backyard, wisteria vines wild on the porch. The smell of sex, her salty taste. Someone else’s tomatillos on the stove. Blood, shattered glass. She straddles me, slams my head against the wall, bites my cheek. I close my eyes. She climbs off, growling, goes for something to make this worse. Up and out the door, astride the Road Star, running through the gears, wind in my face, the long ride to here,

where I start to hang up, hesitate, bring the phone back to my ear. Silence. Through a frosted windowpane I can see darkness. Then she says my name again.

Barry Basden lives in Texas and edits Camroc Press Review. His writing has appeared elsewhere.

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Window Girls by Rory Fleming

Sep 07 2012 Published by under Stories

In bed with the laptop once again. The parents are asleep. My brother is asleep. I don’t have work tomorrow. It is 1:26am. I go onto a webcam model site, the name of which I care not to disclose. Around a thousand user names are disclosed to me, along with profile pictures, so I can weed out the desirables and the undesirables. I go window shopping. When I click on the Menu hyperlink, I can see basic information: where they are from, what their age is (I bet some of them lie, they have to lie), what their occupation is (they definitely lie—I see one as the Queen of France and another with a B.S. in Accounting and I believe neither). I say no to the Romanian girls, and other foreign girls. If they can’t speak to me in a language I can’t understand, it somehow feels dirtier. I can also see a snapshot of the current show. If they are sitting in their bed bored, I skip them. They have a job to do, they signed up so they could have a job. What do these girls put on employment surveys, anyway? I bet they don’t fill them out. That’s the way I like them. Since I can pick the girls out according to, well, whatever I want, I ignore the bored ones and I ignore the fat ones. They don’t have personalities until I, the customer, decide they do. If they wanted more from me, they should have gotten a different job. I am faceless, after all, an invisible window shopper. If Tao Lin was invisible when shoplifting from American Apparel, he would have gotten away with it. However, I am taking nothing, only glances. My lazy hands remove themselves from my underwear so I can graze my cursor over more buttocks, more willing flesh. I eventually find one I like. She’s Romanian, but so beautiful I take a chance on her. Is this prostitution? I don’t have an account—I’m not paying her, I’m not complicit in this anomaly, this oasis of unlawful desire.

She is in the middle of her show. So and so many tokens until she removes her panties. She talks to the crowd in her broken English. She pushes a hand through her dyed blonde hair. Her tits are unparalleled in their perkiness. They almost look fake, like a life-sized doll’s. She shakes around in her pink panties and slaps her own ass for me. I imagine my hand instead and feel guilty over the lack of context. If this were my hand it would make no sense. I don’t know her, I would never meet a Romanian, I wouldn’t date her. She probably wouldn’t want to date me. My erection goes from 78% to 37%. I force myself to get hard again, because I’m on a mission, I can’t do these things when the rest of the house is awake. I get hard again thinking about freedom. Freedom to do what I want on my own little island of happiness. Would it be tropical? Of course, but there would also be Wi-Fi, and no authority figures, and this little slender Romanian doll, except the context would make sense. She would speak English and our relationship would be context appropriate—a real dream indeed.

I’m getting distracted again, like my brain knows I should be asleep. Her panties are still on. The tipping has slowed and I get frustrated, thinking the stream of gold highlighted text telling the room that “so and so tipped so and so much” would not pick up again on this occasion, that I should just give up on masturbation, maybe entirely, or go to some traditional porn. But I have sworn off things that are not in real-time, except things that are art. This is not art. This is undulation. I have argued with friends about the merits of pornography before and the verdict went as follows. “Some porn can be art, but this is probably not it.” And on real-time art, very similar. “Some real-time art can be art, but this probably not it.” Little Romanian Vanessa is built like art, but is not it. Not with those pink panties still on. Remove them, then we’ll see.

But she doesn’t, not this time. She expresses her boredom by putting her t-shirt back on. I can still see her nipples. Even she has to eat, despite looking skeletal. If she didn’t eat, she’d die, and there are thousands of men looking to prevent that on the merits of her body alone. She won the body lottery. If she was ugly, would she starve? My boner goes down to 15%. When I catch myself moralizing, I know the act is done. It is almost futile to proceed—I would not enjoy the climax now. She keeps getting dressed, like that fallacy of the external environment matching the internal mood. She tells the room in broken English that she is going to sleep because no one is tipping. A few diehards plead for her to stay but she ignores them. If they cared for her to stay, they would give her money, and that’s just how it is. She provides a service and they provide sustenance. And an audience. Only I care about the latter—she just wants to get fed.

I shut my laptop and force myself to finish in the bathroom, as a form of resistance. Viva la resistance. They will judge me, high above, but let them judge me. It is society’s fault that I am like this. But deep down I know that’s wrong. Deep down I know that my own apathy sunk into my soul like a seed and now I can’t get up. I can’t fight against what I know is wrong.

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