Authors: Eliza Freed
Tags: #Full Share
The Lost Souls Series
The Faraway Novels
The Devil’s Playground
The Lion’s Den
The Best Man
The Dark Horse (an erotic short)
Table of Contents
To those who know more darkness than light. May you find peace on earth.
THAT TIME MY MOTHER HAD SEX ON MY BED
t’s not really lying if no one’s listening.
I wasn’t brought up to be a liar. Character was discussed endlessly. Mine, my father’s, my mother’s, the building of . . . the irrevocable impact on a reputation poor character can have.
“Without character, you have nothing, Nora,” my mother would say. I bought into all of it. Now I lie about everything.
Sometimes I’m also okay.
I love my job.
This is the first time I’ve been pulled over, officer.
I’m seeing someone.
I only smoke once a year.
I’m fluent in all Microsoft products, including Excel.
Your dick is huge.
I don’t mind.
I don’t miss my parents.
Value systems don’t just spontaneously combust. They’re destroyed, eroded by selfish choices of those we respect. Mine imploded on a Wednesday night my senior year of high school. Play practice was cancelled because a church bus hit a utility pole. No one was injured, but it took out the pole and the power to the school. My perfecting of Abigail Williams from
would have to wait.
John Proctor drove me home. He was a grade younger and spoke nervously the entire ride about his mother’s new boyfriend, who had a gun in his car’s glove compartment. When he pulled in my driveway, I wasn’t sure whether to hug him or wave goodbye.
The black Trailblazer parked at my parents’ house was familiar. The 26.2 circle on the back windshield reminded me of warm weather. I’d walked by it before but wasn’t sure where. The vehicle was less odd than the pop music blaring from my bedroom. The house wasn’t waiting for me to return. It was rocking.
Without a word, I walked into my room and out of my life.
My mother was on her forearms and knees, her head pointed toward the ceiling with her eyes closed. Her long hair, which she’d recently grown out from a mom haircut, was pulled back and held in the fist of the naked man riding her doggy style on my bed. The diamond pendant that always hung from her neck swung back and forth, hitting her chest with every thrust. The shirtless man looked up and winced at the sight of me.
You’re fucking my mother and still only giving me a B in French?
Every word my mother had ever said to me formed a grotesque lump at the back of my throat. It was a powerful lesson in character. Followed by my mother seeing Mr. Durane out and begging me to not tell my father. It was also the moment I decided to disappear.
The next day, I quit the play. My understudy was the only one who was supportive. I quit my boyfriend of a year, too. He kept calling and texting, but how could I tell him my mother was a whore? That I was so filled with rage and betrayal that the only way to handle it was not to process it at all?
When his pleas to call him back began to sound logical, I threw my phone in the man-made lake in front of our school. I couldn’t face him or anyone else, and I couldn’t stand the sight of my mother.
I studied and kept the smile plastered on my face, and no one realized I wasn’t really there.
EVERY PLACE IS SEXUAL
Five years later
don’t understand how you got the time off,” he said. “It’s Memorial Day weekend.” He didn’t annoy me. I tolerated Ricky because, for some reason I couldn’t even explain to myself, I liked him. Plus, he was chained to the phone in the cubicle next to the one I was shackled to. There was little else to do but endure him. “I’ll be here most of the weekend.” He smelled good, although I’d die before I admitted that to him. He thought highly enough of himself already. “Aren’t you going to miss me?”
Most of the guys I got close to these days I met late night, at a bar, when no one smelled particularly good. Ricky always made an effort. Whether it was to come into the office or to crash a bachelorette party, Ricky was prepared to attract the opposite sex.
I stared at him with the blank expression of a woman who either didn’t comprehend the language he was speaking or was dead inside. At times, both were true.
“No,” I finally said, and he only laughed. In the ten months we’d been imprisoned at neighboring desks, I’d shunned his advances a thousand times, and each time he’d returned with a new compliment or sexual suggestion. We could do it upside down, in a tree, on the lawn, next to the bees. He was the Dr. Seuss of sex. He was impossible to offend and, unbelievably, attractive to most of my coworkers. He was also my only friend.
“I was watching porn in my car before I came in this morning, and there was a girl who reminded me of you.”
“Don’t worry. She was totally hot.”
“I wasn’t worried.”
Ricky leaned in farther to my cubicle. His hair was styled better than mine. “We could make sweet love together.”
“You watch porn in the SafeOne Auto Insurance parking lot?” This morning I’d sat in my driver’s seat with my eyes closed, wishing a tree would fall on my car and give me the perfect excuse for not working my shift. I’d hoped for a power outage or non-deadly natural disaster. Even the stomach flu.
“Most days. If you see me with my headphones on in the lunchroom . . .” Ricky shrugged as if this was obvious.
“You cannot watch porn in here. This is the least sexual place in the entire world.”
“Every place is sexual. You just have to open your mind to it.” Ricky’s voice trailed off. “You should let me take you to lunch and we can have sex.”
“We have thirty minutes for lunch.”
“Good point. Let’s have dinner.”
“Can you move away from my desk before Sharon comes over and fires us?”
“She won’t fire us.”
“Why? Are you having sex with her?”
“Hell no! Ricky has standards. She’d probably poke my eye out with those earrings of hers.”
Sharon’s manager station was an enlarged cubicle with low walls that was perched in the center of our team. She could view all of us with a slight tilt of her head. Every day she wore a different pair of themed earrings. Like, every single day, a new pair. I couldn’t even fathom where she stored them all. Squirrels in the fall—actually, one squirrel in her left ear and a nut in her right.
“I think Sharon is damaged.” Ricky leaned against my cubicle wall as if we weren’t being watched and timed and evaluated.
“Why? Because of the five-inch American flags hanging from her ear lobes?”
“I’m surprised they’re not military coffins.”
My brows furrowed at the image of both Sharon’s ears and the soldiers we’ve lost. “Where does she even buy them?”
“I blame the internet.”
Ricky sat down just as Sharon made her morning rounds. Like a guard banging her billy club along the bars of our cells, she lumbered along the carpet next to our line of cubicles, listening to our conversations and peering over our shoulders to make sure our output matched her expectations. I’d expected my first job to be entry-level and mind numbing. That would have been a step up from my reality.
I didn’t lift my head. We weren’t allowed to. There was no time for looking around. We could raise our eyes from the computer screen at our assigned break time. Until then, I’d keep working through the estimates, rental bills, scene photographs, and letters that popped up in the queues.
Ricky slipped a note onto my desk while Sharon was reapplying her fire-red lipstick in a small compact mirror. The note read,
If you want, I’ll come to the beach with you this weekend. I’ll help you carry in your mattress, and then we can sleep together on your little bed all weekend. You can sleep on top of me.