There are several signs of becoming an adult. The physical signs: body hair, properly sized genitalia, relatively normal height, were very evident on every part of Tommy’s body. But there’s also the mental/emotional signs: having a full-time job, ability to form five or six consecutive sentences without using the word like, and emancipating yourself from your parents’ house. These were things Tommy was not up for yet. Shit, these were things that I, like, wasn’t ready for yet, and I was twenty-one to Tommy’s seventeen. And here I was, living in my mother’s condo (granted, she was living with her boyfriend), working part time at an Australian themed steakhouse called Kookaburra Canyon, and totally, like, not doing anything with my life.
My solution to the non-grownuppedness problem was to resume taking college classes. I enrolled at UMass Cranberry Lake, and began taking classes that would surely help me get a degree in No Good Job Can Come Of This. I signed up for UMCL’s infamous Psychology course, where every morning, a mumued, former psychiatrist would greet every class member by name, and compliment them on their hair/their clothes/their smile/their posture/whatever she could think of. Every morning I heard “Good morning, Adam, I like your shirt.” I was eleven shirt days in when I dropped the class.
The only other class I could take that didn’t interfere with my Australian steak delivering was acting. A class that was so educational, I took it three consecutive semesters. The first semester, my classmates were mostly British Au Pairs. I had recently cut out all of my friends who knew Ryan. Elvis was gone. I was pretty much down to my fuckbuddy Tommy, Saint (a guy I’d gone to middle school with), and the people at Kookaburra Canyon. After our third class, I was sitting in my car,debating whether or not I should try and get closer to the British Au Pairs, when I backed it into a car being driven by one of the Au Pairs.
“If you really wanted my phone number, all you had to do was ask.” Buffy said.
“Yes, but this way I can get your phone number and your insurance information, without seeming too needy.”
And for the next four months, I was tight with all the foreign child caretakers on Cape Cod. Even hosting terrible parties with entirely too much noise and alcohol to fit into my tiny condo.
“How come you never invite me to any of these parties?” Tommy asked during a particularly pensive afterglow.
“Uh…because I don’t want to go to jail?”
“For fucking a seventeen year old?”
“No. It’s perfectly legal for me to fuck you, I just can’t give you beer.”
Nevermind that he’d been smoking pot in my condo since the first day we met.
The subject was dropped, and our relationship shortly followed.
The last weekend before Buffy was being exiled back to her life in Suffex, I held a huge party and invited every non-Tommy that I knew. All the au pairs, all my fellow waitstaff, everyone in my acting class, everyone I worked at Camp Davis with during the summer, the guys at the CD store I most often frequented, Saint. Buffy had invited a group of Irish guys she’d met that day. They all showed up in a cab, and de-clown carred in front of my house. Seventeen. Seventeen Irish guys in one cab. One for every year Tommy’d been alive.
One of the Au Pairs was a somewhat obese, bald, twenty-three year old guy named Scott. I hate Scotts. This particular Scott had been making the moves on Buffy since he’d arrived in the states, a month earlier. He dressed all in black, and liked to play with Tarot Cards and Ouija boards in his alarmingly spare time. On the night of the party, he’d shown up with Buffy, wearing black jeans, an X-Files t-shirt, and a beret.
“D’yave a tarrow dek?” he asked in his overly British accent.
“I’ve got, like, playing cards.”
“Eksillent. Cood I haff thim pulees?”
He shuffled them around a few times, and began “giving readings” to anyone at the party who accidentally made eye contact with him. When it was Buffy’s turn, he began making a lot of faces at the deck, emitting the occasional “hmmmm” and “that’s intresteenk.”
“Wot?” Buffy asked. Her accent always accentuating when Scott was around.
“Ewe’ve alreddy met yore troo luv.”
He poked a couple of the cards with his fingers.
“Izzit Adam?” She asked.
I rolled my eyes.
“No. Itz someone ohldir. Someone cloas to ewe, but not, leyk, totallee cloas. ‘eez pretty big, dark ‘air, and”
“And he’s wearing an X-Files t-shirt.” I said, rerolling my eyes. And then I walked away to another part of the party.
Buffy and Scott were married a year later.
I was still single. In fact, I spent most of 1999 focusing on performing poetry. I didn’t meet anyone online. I didn’t call or see Tommy. I did, however stop doing my summer job at Camp Davis, and picked up a new part time job to help supplement my income.
I came home to an empty house. No Seith. No Elvis. No Byron. No Mike. No Gina.
There was note on the counter from Mike:
Gina and I figured you might need some time to yourself, what with ElvisSeith being gone. We're going to spend the night at one of Gina's aunts' house.
You forgot to leave the door unlocked when you left, so Gina and I had to break in through the downstairs window. Don't think we did any damage but let me know if we did. You can call us at xxx-xxxx tomorrow morning. If we don't hear from you then, we'll see you at the show tomorrow night. It was so great the other night that we've decided to go again. Also, Big Gay Tom owes us a drink.
Thanks so much for letting us crash at your house for the past few days. It's been great spending time with you.
See you tomorrow night,
Mike & Gina
I sat at the piano and played for about an hour. It was three-thirty AM. I must have woken up a neighbor or two but nobody complained, which was a rarity in my neighboorhood. When I didn't want to play piano anymore I flipped through the TV stations. Nothing I wanted to watch. I went upstairs.
The carpet was beginning to smell. I went into the bathroom, got some carpet cleaner and powdered it up. Then I went into the bedroom.
This is the part of the story that seems contrived. I know this. It's true, though. When I got into my room I walked over to the chinchilla cage and pulled out Spider. The chichillas looked nearly identical, but could easily be told apart by the fact that Que Mal bleated almost constantly when he wasn't sleeping while Spider was hyper, but quiet. I played with Spider for a couple of minutes, letting him freak out and run around the room, and then decided to let Que Mal out.
Que Mal was asleep inside the little hutch thing that they slept in. I almost turned away to just let him sleep when I noticed the blood. Que Mal was not sleeping.
I've told various stories about how/why Que Mal died. They're all true to an extent. I'm just not sure which is the real truth. A couple of days after we I bought the chinchillas, Seith and I noticed them fighting. I was going to go separate them when I noticed that they weren't fighting at all. They were fucking.
Spider and Que Mal were both boys. We were assured of this when we bought them. After we noticed the fucking, I brought them to the pet store to make absolutely sure I hadn't accidentally purchased a chinchilla farm. They were both boys.
"Awwwww." Seith said, "They take after us."
Que Mal was always the fucker in the relationship. Spider, the fuckee. One of the ways I explain Que Mal's death is that he'd been raping Spider, and then on the night Seith left, Spider decided not to take it anymore, and --
It could be true.
There are other things, though. A day or so before Seith left/Que Mal died, I found the cord to my terrarium heater had been chewed almost all the way through. I figured Seith had been playing with the chinchillas, and one of them had chewed through it. It's possible that little Que Mal fried his brain on electricity and had a slow painful death (or a quick one, neither of us paid much attention to them the last two days), and Spider had either finished him off for reasons known only to him, or else -- I don't know. There was blood, something violent happened.
I really thought the Spider/Que Mal relationship was a metaphor for our own. I just don't know how.
In the sexual sense, I guess I was Que Mal the Fucker and Seith was Spider the Fuckee. Maybe this meant that Seith had succeeded in killing the dominant part of my sex life.
But Que Mal was definitely Seith's chinchilla, bratty, noisy, and pushing Spider (me) to his breaking point. I drove Seith out of my life while Spider put an end to Que Mal's.
I suppose it could be that Seith's playing with my temper/Que Mal chewing the cord did them both in.
I just don't know.
A couple of weeks after Seith left I gave Spider to a friend of mine who worked at an animal shelter. I was getting restless. Aching to move out of the house. Everywhere I went I saw Seith. He was in the bed. In the shower. In the fibers of the carpet. My life was every bad made-for-TV movie where the main character sees The One That Left Them's reflection in every surface. It wasn't until I started classes a few weeks later that I met someone who took the ElvisSeithByronRex weight off my mind.
There were officers everywhere. Hundreds of them.
Sleep ebbed away.
Maybe not hundreds. In fact, there were only six. Four cars, six officers. Seith was still passed out in the passenger's seat. I opened the door. Slowly.
If one were to take a picture of me at this point, I'd guess that my eyes comprised about 85% of my face. Until this weekend I had never had a run in with a police officer and now...Well, shit.
"Are you ok, son?" Officer #1 asks.
"Yes. Is something wrong?"
"They're trying to sweep the parking lot." Officer #1 points to a street sweeper vehicle. Officers #5 & 6 sigh and go back to their car and drive off. "They said they tried knocking on your windows but that neither of you would wake up. They thought you were dead."
"No. Definitely not dead. Tired. I was driving to the bus station and I started to fall asleep so I pulled in here to rest."
"Ok. Well, as long as you move the car to the side of the lot that they've already swept, you're welcome to go back to sleep."
"I don't think that's going to be possible for a while."
Officer #2 asked "What's wrong with your friend there? He hasn't moved since we got here."
"Seith?" No answer. "Seith." I leaned in to the car and shook him, sneaking in a pinch that I hope the officers didn't see.
"What the fuck? I'm tired!"
"These officers thought we were dead."
"Dead? What" He finally looked up, and around. "God, where are we? Were we in an accident?"
Officers three and four are now gone.
"No." I thank the officers, answer a few more questions, and fill in Seith as they drive away. Then I start the car and drive the rest of the way to the Big City Bus Station.
I don't remember whether or not I stayed until his bus showed up. I don't think I said or did anything captivating as he left. One moment he was in my car. The next I was on my way home.
I was born a child of rape. Never knew my parents, though I had a close encounter involving phone calls from my biological father when I was fourteen. It's not the sort of thing I think about every day of my life, but when it digs its way out of my subconscious and into my life, it colors every thought I have.
I'm balls deep in a boy who has caused me nothing but frustration for weeks. I don't love him. I don't even like him. At this very moment, I hate him more than I hate anyone else in the world. Is this rape?
While we're fucking in a chair, he has the tub running. Noah is in the bathroom putting two of every type of medication in a candy dish ark when I turn the faucet off. I mop up the floor with assorted types of towels and washcloths. Seith never apologizes. Doesn't help. When everything's dry again he gets in the shower. I have loaded the washing machine, and am in my room actively being frustrated. If I'd had any fingernails left, I'd be biting them. Seith starts "singing" something 'NSyncish. I mockingly yell at him to shut up. He starts "singing" louder. I rush into the bathroom and --
Somewhere between my bedroom and the bathroom, roughly ten feet, I have gone from mock angry to actually seething. Everything I let go of last night is back with a "He flooded the bathroom" cherry on top. I remember how good last night felt. I want that feeling back. Seith is the onlyone who can give that feeling back to me. In a few hours I will be literally driving him away from me. It's now or never. Is this rape?
Rape is "No. No. Oh, God, no." or silent tears or violence or someone not active in the sex. Fucking Seith is "Yes. Yes. Oh, God, yes." with bad porn line commands, his body pushing into mine. This is rough bathroom floor, I can't grip his body because he's soaked from the shower, water is beating against the wall of the empty tub, my heart is playing pinball and the ball is trying to bust out of my skull sex. Five minutes into it Seith says "Don't --" Everything freezes. This is where the camera pans around Matrix-style I see this moment from every possible angle and he says "Don't -- Slow down." But is it Don't. Slow down. or is it Don't slow down? "Don't -- Slow down -- I'm going to cum."
Reality is restored we both explode. The bathroom floor is a mess again, but this time I'll only need one towel.
This isn't Waterloo, but I've sent my personal demons to Elba for a while.
Time speeds up. Seith's bus is at ridiculous o'clock in the morning. Rather than leave it to chance that we'll miss it, I decide to drive us there early. It's roughly an hour from my house to the bus station.
I'm a speeder. I try and keep within ten miles of the speed limit when I think there's cops around, but when I feel safe, and the highway is straight enough, 85 seems like a reasonable speed. That's about how fast I was going when I noticed the flashers. Shit.
"License and registration." While the officer walks back to his car I realize that Seith and seethe are nearly homophonous. Four minutes pass in silence. Seith looks at his nails.
The officer comes back. Laughing.
"Rough night last night?"
I wasn't sure how to respond.
"I think you suffered enough for your sins last night. I'm going to let you off with a little advice: slow down, and get that headlight fixed first thing Monday morning." And he walked away.
Seith looked at me like Jesus had just stopped over the house for some cookies on the way to his second coming. "What was that about?"
"It's a long story."
We drove for about forty-five minutes when I realized I was falling asleep. Seith had been asleep since about five minutes after I was pulled over. I got off on the next exit ramp, pulled into a supermarket parking lot and fell asleep. When I woke up my car was surrounded by police officers.