Stuck in Second Gear

Nineteen I ride a train from the city to visit an old friend who lets me cry and gets me drunk and  buys me a famous bowl from a KFC / Taco Bell. The crunch of hard shell tacos from the back  seat. Heady with calories I have not had in years, so busy starving, restricting. In the parking lot I  am baptized, my loyalties shifting from asceticism to hedonism.  

It is a small town and the kind of party I have not been to since high-school. Drop outs and teen  parents and indoor smokers in a one floor house at the end of a cul-de-sac.  

Towards the end of the night I am happy. Smiling with the pleasure of human company and  weed. My disposable camera is making the rounds. I don’t remember meeting you or talking to  you, but I remember seeing you, wanting you, being warned about you. But I wanted you  horribly. A trucker, if I remember correctly. If I think about you now, you must have been in your  late twenties, more likely your thirties. I am warned you like them young, but I look younger  than I am and I never tell you my true age of nineteen so you can assume what you want. You  have shoulder length blonde hair and a bit of a beard — prominent abs with criss-cross guns  tattooed over them just above the groin.  

I remember that tattoo distinctly and nothing of the cock below, neither its appearance nor the  quality of the intercourse. I was wildly enamored though with the tattoo.  

The full house, when I state my desire, gifts us a bedroom.  

You do not like that I am experienced. I don’t care.  

Mid-coitus the door is opened, a photo is snapped. I develop it at a CVS. You can see my splayed  left leg and your ass. Nothing else.  

We sleep on the couch together and in the morning, even hearing voices in the kitchen, I crawl  down under the blanket we share to suck you off. Empowered. I don’t know your name and I never hear from you or see you again.  

Mostly the guns, this one is for the guns — how even now I am again obsessed with the look of  them on the thick lower abdominals. “Cum gutters.” And it is not an obsession of want, but of envy.


Heaps is an emerging writer and artist with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they were a New Artist’s Society Scholarship recipient and a nominee for the James Raymond Nelson fellowship. They have lived and worked all over the world in places such as Tokyo, Istanbul, the American West, and Hanoi where they were a contributing writer at & Of Other Things magazine. You can find more of their work places such as Entropy’s WOVEN series, Communion Arts Journal, A) Glimpse ) Of), and Anti-Heroin Chic. This essay is included in their debut collection which will be released in Spring of 2022 from CLASH books. Heaps currently teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and tweets at @sampeeps_.

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