Short Story: GIRLS

Click to read the whole story by Tucker Stone. Fashion by Christopher Insulander.

After my little sister’s constant weeping convinced the dentist to bail me out of jail, I was sentenced to live in a halfway house for rednecks and Desert Storm veterans in the middle of nowhere. Felony court appearances were, and still are, backed up, leaving me in this never-never land where I was constantly waiting for a letter that would say “time to apologize, publicly”, so after I’d been in the house and proven I could tamp down my desire to shit in the oven (about 16 months,) I was able to earn daily furloughs to take college classes at the local liberal arts burnout university. Because of the living situation, I usually studied at the local Waffle House because it was quieter. I was, of course, constantly horny. I tried to convince every woman who came into that place to sit with me, or come to the bathroom with me, it didn’t matter if they were with somebody or not. One time I ended up walking a girl out to my car only to find out that she was the older sister of a high school girl I had been sleeping with off and on for the last few months, but she hated her sister and had recognized me immediately. It was a fantastic evening, even though her feet were scaly, like a duck. We went to the gas station and broke into a house that looked like a giant teepee. It wasn’t love, but it was the closest I would come for a generation.

The girls in the halfway house were another story entirely. You’d get kicked out of the system if you slept with any of them. They lived in a different location, but you saw them just about every day at the group meeting, and they were always good to go, the most gorgeous, crazy women I’d ever met, every one a different kind of fantasy gone totally wrong. I went down that road exactly once–there was one girl who picked up four of the guys over the course of my first six months. It was a horrible experience–she wore a dog collar and screamed a lot–but she smelled like hand moisturizer, which reminded me of high school. But then she relapsed on crack, and she named all of us in hopes of not getting ejected. At that point, there were only two of the group who were still around, me and a used car salesman she actually liked, so they went ahead and kicked the three of us out in one fell swoop. Me and him the car salesman squatted in an empty farmhouse for the week–it was summer, we still had our jobs, sleeping bags, but no friends–and that’s when he told me about how often he and the girl had been fucking. He told me that he loved her, and that he had been having these really detailed fantasies about killing me after finding out that I’d had sex with her too, but he said he’d gotten over it, although I didn’t believe him. He told me that she had been pressuring him to get her pregnant, and even though he was really against it, she wouldn’t shut the fuck up about it. A couple of weeks before she got caught cracking out, she’d sucked his cock in a pick-up truck, and after he came, she started scooping up the semen and shoving it down her pants. He said that had freaked him out, and that was why they were on a break from fucking. He told me he felt bad that she had relapsed, that he felt like it was sort of his fault. He thought it was because of him ending their relationship. We stayed in that house together for a couple of days, and then he disappeared. I saw him again a few years later, driving around in the parking lot of a golf course where I mowed grass. I don’t think he saw me. He was just driving around in circles, like he was looking for the perfect parking space, and he was driving so slow that you could hear him singing along with the radio. I think he might have been crying. It was a Goo Goo Dolls song, which doesn’t make any sense. Who cries to that band?

I ended up getting back into the house by begging, lots of crying. For the most part, it was probably genuine. I can’t be sure about my motives for a lot of things I did back then–most of it was tangled up in a desire for comfort, for protection. Fear. I used to think that would be understandable enough to people, but after I got out of there, I realized I was wrong. Everybody else had these different scales for what was right and wrong and what they wouldn’t do or would. They wouldn’t compare bruises, I didn’t know how to make heirachies work. I had a hard time with it, I won’t pretend that I didn’t. The comprehensible thing about the house, the thing that I found myself missing so often in the decade that followed, was that everybody who was in there had the same motive: getting out of trouble. There were a couple of guys who had been forced into it by lunatics and perverts, and some of the girls had been so victimized that it was near-impossible to criticize them for any of the choices they had made (although that didn’t stop us from doing it), but the majority of us were just scared of going back to what were doing before, even though what we were doing before was actually pretty fun most of the time. It made things easier, having that kind of consequence. The flipside was that you ended up leaving there with the attitude that anything was acceptable, as long as it fell within the very distinct boundaries you were provided with on a daily basis. Outside, the boundaries were further away, they were imaginary and unreal. I don’t think that’s really their fault, though. Their job was to convince you to stay out of jail. Everything else was going to secondary.

It took a lot of women to figure that part out. Luckily, none of them liked me very much, making them excellent teachers.

Tucker Stone is an actor, originally from the American South, who now resides in Brooklyn, New York. He makes fun of super-hero comics for a living, has a wife and plans to buy an old pick-up truck someday.