The Lonelies – Part Three – Fiction

The Lonelies

Part Three: Late Night/Early Morning

by Adam Haynes
illustrations by Dave Dawson

Will entered Abrahams shaking with cold, his mind locked on thoughts of Jonah. They’d grown up together in Bar Harbor, and from last winter to last spring they’d been roommates in a shithole firetrap down on Grant, which had given him the chance to observe Jonah’s decline firsthand, until he had metamorphosed into another dead-end loser. Just like everyone else. The retchedness of it had gotten so extreme that Will had (when was that, eight months ago? Nine months ago?), in a fit of desperation, broken off ties with Jonah and all the other losers they’d hung out with and moved to a remote part of town.

But despite all his glaring sins, Jonah always made an effort to stay juiced with the scene. If anyone could russle up a gay man in a hurry, it was Jonah. And with time running out, it was the only way.

He scanned the few customers at Abraham’s (just keep thinking of Winona, he told himself, keep thinking of those eyes…), looking for Jonah and seeing instead the dump that Abraham’s had turned into since his last visit. It looked more like a Salvation Army shelter than a coffee house.

At the back of the room he noticed Temptation, sitting alone at a little table, with her back to him. When he’d first come to Portland he’d worked as a counselor at an at-risk-youth day rec center where she’d hung out with her friends. She was one of the many Portland kids who’d had a terrible family situation that had thrown her into the harshness early and forced her to grow up fast. But unlike all those other street kids he’d dealt with, Temptation had somehow managed to stay unjaded. Temptation the unjadable. One of the few genuinely good people he’d met since he’d moved.

The smoking section next door was way more crowded – street kids, high school wanna-be punk rockers, townie metal heads, and a few members of the FSU, the Fuck Shit Up posse, easiest to spot because they all wore Florida State University baseball hats militantly forward. Hardly anyone was drinking coffee.

Sitting in the middle of all this was a guy who looked like a slightly taller version of porno actor Ron Jeromy – and that was Jonah. His greasy black hair was longer, but that was the only thing about him that looked any different. Same old blue dew rag, same old flint-colored trench coat, same old Dr. Suess smirk.

“Holy shit,” Jonah said, as Will sat down across from him. “Brother put it there! Long time no see. How the fuck are you?”

“Yeah, well,” Will began, not really wanting to get into it. “What can I say, okay.”

“Dude, you just disappeared. I figured you must have had another nervous breakdown.”

As usual, Jonah had everything confused. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Will told him.

“After a while I ended up turning your bedroom back into a living room. Most of your shit’s in the closet. I wasn’t sure what to do, you know? I didn’t think you were coming back, but you left so much shit behind.”

Will couldn’t be bothered by the past right now. “Keep it.”

“So what happened? I mean, did you have another, uh, episode? I went to the hospital but they told me they couldn’t say if you were there.”

“Hospital? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never been to a hospital in my life.” Jonah had a habit of being annoying like this. “I’ve been in Portland all this time, just not around.”

Jonah looked at him strangely for a moment and then, apparently from the way Will was looking back at him, decided to drop it. “So,” he said, having some of the big cup of coffee that was in front of him, “I got a job at this Thai restaurant down on Wharf Street.”

“Yeah,” Will said, not particularly interested but willing to humor him if it meant he’d be more helpful later on, “Eric told me.”

“When’d you see Eric?”

“I talked to him on the phone tonight when I was looking for you.”

“If you ask me, he’s turned into a real dick.”

Will nodded.

“I got him the job ’cause I felt sorry for him, but the fuck-up can’t even cut chicken without turning it into this huge deal. Any day he’s just going to flip his noodle. Kind of reminds me of…” He paused and gave Will a questioning look, but took it no further. “Yeah, I’m doing the soups and appetizers.”

“How’s that?”

Jonah shrugged. “Fucking sucks, dude. Fucking hate it. Part of me wishes I was back at the fucking Holiday Inn, but when I quit that job, I like retired as a chamber maid. Know what I’m saying?”

“Uh, yeah.”

Jonah had some more of his coffee, licking his lips, no doubt from the tons of sugar he’d dumped in it. “So, uh, what’ve you been up to, Will? Anything keeping you busy?”

Will cracked his knuckles and went into it. “Well, you know how I’m interested in marrying Winona Ryder?”

Jonah’s face was blank.

“Oh c’mon, you know I’ve been in love with her since I was like, thirteen.”

“Dude, first I’ve heard of it. Isn’t she the one that was dating Johnny Depp?”

“Anyway,” Will said, “I’m gonna write this book.”

“I didn’t know you wrote.”

“Sure I write. I mean I will. I’ll write this trashy, best-selling Generation X book.”

“A Generation X book?” Jonah was looking more and more confused.

“Yeah, you know – young people, affected, over-educated, all that stuff. It’ll be a big hit.”

“What, you’re going to write about Portland? What does this have to do with Winona Ryder, who you’ve suddenly always been in love with.”

“The book…” Will was losing his patience with all these questions, “The book will get her attention.”


“Never mind, it just will. And after that, everything will be perfect. I just need some money so I can go out to L.A. and write this thing.” Jonah was about to say something but Will put his hand up. “I need to go out to L.A. with some money ’cause I can’t write it here where I’m cold and broke. Make sense?”

“Ah, sure. Makes sense….”

“Good. So I can get money from my father if…”

“Wait,” Jonah said, shaking his head. “I thought your father was…”

Will held up his hand again. Why did he even bother? “Listen,” he said, “I know what you’ve probably heard, but you’ve got it all wrong. My father’s not actually dead. He’ll give me all the money I need, but only if he believes I’m gay. I don’t know why. In order for him to think I’m gay, I need to find a guy who’ll pretend to be my boyfriend in front of my father. Then I’ll get the loot.”

Jonah pushed himself back away from the table, his expression serious. “You have got to be fuckin’ shitting me.”

Will shook his head.

“Dude, you have got to be fuckin’ shitting me. Have you been sleeping much lately? You don’t look like you’ve slept much.”

“Jonah, I know that I haven’t been the most social person or whatever, but I really, really need your help. I need you to find the guy. You know everyone, or at least you used to.”

Jonah was laughing in disbelief. “You’re un-fuckin’-real, you know that? I haven’t seen you for what, eight or nine months? You make me totally worried, and then you show up and you want me to be your pimp? Get the fuck out of here!”

Will tried to look sincere. “Oh, come on, you know it’s not like that. We go back a long way, longer than nine months.”

“What are you saying?”

“I don’t know,” actually, Will wasn’t sure what he’d been trying to say, “I just really need your help. ASAP.”

“Does this have anything to do with you turning twenty the day after tomorrow?” Jonah’s face was softening.

“Yeah. Everything.”

“Dude, I always knew you were gay.”

“Oh man, don’t start with that. I’m not gay.”

They sat silently, Jonah playing with his coffee cup.

“Oh wait! No shit, no shit, no shit!” Jonah was suddenly looking very excited. Something must have clicked in his head.

“What’s that?” Will asked, feeling his heart rate quicken.

“Hold on.” Jonah got up and went to the pay phone in the back. Will waited, staring at the cup of coffee in the middle of the table, parts of him debating whether or not to mooch a sip.

About thirty seconds later Jonah came back with a huge king-of-the-world grin on his face.

“What? What?” Will asked anxiously.

“I got it all worked out. We were sitting here and then it just hit me… Of course!”

“Of course what?”

Jonah leaned forward, “I got you a man, brother.”

“What? Tell me!” Will was getting more and more agitated.

“He’ll be the perfect guy for you.”

“Uh huh. When do I meet him?”


“Tonight!?!” Holy shit, this was going to actually work! “Jesus, where?”

“This place,” Jonah scratched his upper lip, looking sly. “I’m gonna be going there to hook up with this girl I’ve been putting the moves on. We’re all going to go to Zootz.”

Will realized he’d forgotten to mention the price.

Jonah was still talking, “Yeah, this girl Hannah is a real piece of work. I can’t wait to get in her fucking panties. Uh, the guy I’m hooking you up with is her roommate. I was thinking about it and then it just came to me – you guys are perfect for each other.”

“I forgot to mention that I won’t be able to pay this guy until my father’s paid me.”

“Dude, if you want to pay him, you’ll have to talk that over with him. I’m no pimp, remember?”

“And you’re sure he’s gay?” Will said, very concerned. “I can’t do it unless he’s gay. It wouldn’t work otherwise.”

“Chill, chill,” Jonah patted his arm. “He’s bona fide. He was a classics major in college or something.”

“And what did you tell him? Was that him you talked to just now?”

“Yeah, it was him. Everything’s cool. He’s into it.”

“So what’d you say?”

“Dude, chill the fuck out. I just told you that everything’s cool.”

And it would have to be, Will thought. I’m in his hands now.

“What’s his name?”

Jonah smirked, “Byron.”

“Uh huh…”

“Hey, don’t worry. It’ll be great. Totally better than that time I set you up in high school. This’ll make up for that.”

“I keep telling you… I wasn’t gay in high school when you set me up with that queen, and I’m not gay now.”

“Sure, sure. Just don’t say I never got you a birthday present.”

Will studied Jonah’s flat expression, “It isn’t like that.”

“Sure, sure. Whatever. Just don’t say I never did nothing for you, okay?”

They were silent again.

“Can you believe that shit?” Jonah motioned with his shoulder toward a little girl covered in way too much make up who he’d been talking to when Will came over.

“What do you mean?”

“What do I mean? Shit, I mean, that little tramp ho bag, she came over to me and said that if I gave her a hundred, she’d take me into the back and give me a blow job!” Jonah was cracking up, putting a hand over his mouth.

“So what’d you say?”

“I said ‘Why the hell so high?’ And she says it was because she was only twelve. Can you fucking believe that? I don’t know about you, but you couldn’t pay me to fuck a little kid. That shit’s wrong man, seriously wrong.” Jonah was shaking his head and wringing his hands as he said this. “And you know what’s crazy? Tonight I get a call from a little punkette tramp who can’t be any older than thirteen, telling me she wants me. She’s like having orgasms and shit on the phone telling me how much she fucking wants me. I mean, what the fuck is the world coming to? I mean, shit.”

“I don’t know,” Will said, “It sounds to me like your becoming the taste of a new generation.”

“Oh yeah, very fuckin’ funny.” Will was surprised, Jonah actually looked hurt.

The walk from Abraham’s to Hannah’s apartment on the West End was icy and cruel with the time and temperature clock on top of the Merrit building reading four degrees Fahrenheit and the murderous wind pushing things down easily another ten or fifteen degrees. Neither of them had hats or gloves and they marched and stumbled across Portland with their hands stuffed deep into the pockets of their coats, their heads bent low into their upturned collars. Around them, the city was quiet and still with hardly any other pedestrians and very few cars.

The night reminded Will of a year ago around this time when Jonah had convinced him to take a trip with him to the abandoned factory at the bottom of Munjoy Hill because the ambience was better that way, he explained. It had been even colder that night, and after they’d crawled through a broken window, the inside of the factory had been even colder. Jonah, who was into the industrial scene and had been there many times before, led Will along, holding the one flashlight they owned. Through busted up offices and down a set of narrow stairs hidden behind crushed walls they traveled until they found themselves in the old subterranean furnace room. It had been a lot warmer down there. In the corner there had been a neatly rolled up pine-colored sleeping bag. Will thought about that sleeping bag a lot. He couldn’t, even with his imagination, which he considered far more advanced than most, think of anything more horrific and lonely than sleeping by yourself in the corner of a room like that, at the bottom of a dead and abandoned factory, in an insignificant little city like Portland. Especially on a cold Maine winter’s night.

They were almost there now, moving across the Dentin St. school yard toward Oak Street. Glancing over at his old roommate, he noticed Jonah’s camera for the first time, hanging from a shoulder strap under his armpit. Jonah was blowing on his hands and then putting them over his ears. Will’s own ears were burning up and it felt like the skin on his nose was beginning to split apart.

“So why are you carrying that camera around?” Will asked, mostly to distract himself from thoughts of frostbite.

“Dude, ’cause I love photography.”

“Since when?”

“Oh man… Recently. It’s like this calling that I feel.”

“No shit.”

“No shit, dude. I’m going to turn our old bathroom into a darkroom. I’ve got this pretty cool enlarger on layaway at the camera shop. And I’ve already got all the processing chemicals. I’m just waiting to finish my first roll of film.”

“So what do you take pictures of?” His entire life, Jonah had never been interested in anything, never had any hobbies or serious interests. Other than the pursuit of pussy, of course.

Jonah spit a wad that froze before it touched the ground. “Oh, you know, this and that. Different things. Whatever strikes my fancy. Yesterday I took a picture of this dead pigeon. It was pretty cool.”

They hurried on. Above them, the stars and the moon glistened like slow burning flashbulbs. Being in the more affluent West End, Oak was one of those quaint curving little streets that was all large residential houses, most of which had curls of wood smoke pouring from their brick chimneys. Hannah and Byron lived in one of the non-chimneyed houses on the end – a cozy, three-story family residence that had been chopped up into just as many apartments. Their apartment was on the first floor, and to get to it, Jonah and Will had to go to the side door, inching their way past a rusting VW microbus on blocks that took up most of the narrow driveway.

Once they were through the unlocked door, Jonah led Will through a cluttered kitchen and down a short hallway that ended in a living room where Will was momentarily taken aback. The furniture and colors, whites and beige mostly, actually matched and complimented each other – something he hadn’t seen in a while – giving a look that could’ve come straight out of a Crate and Barrel catalog.

At the other end of the room, a guy who Will assumed was Byron sat slouched in a wicker rocking chair watching MTV’s One Hundred and Twenty Minutes on a huge Magnavox. In one of his hands was a bottle of Blue Nun wine, the same brand as the several empty bottles that were lying on the carpet at his feet.

He was a large, bulky guy, almost to the point of being flabby, wearing a loose white t-shirt and white jeans, shiny black Docs and a black baseball cap that covered what looked like a bleached crew cut. When he turned toward Jonah and Will, his face was doughy and long, ending in a very regal jaw line. The eyes that regarded them were lazy and milky blue and sunk back into his head.

Jonah nudged Will, who tried to ignore it.

“Byron, what’s up?” Jonah asked.

Byron made a big show of shrugging and downed some of his wine.

“Byron this is Will, Will this is Byron.”

At that moment, a door opened up and the room became filled with loud, whiny music. Hannah stepped out.

“Hi Jonah, and you must be Will.”

Will nodded. Hannah was completely naked and casual about it, giving him a chance he’d never really wanted to see exactly what a young women in the later stages of anorexia really looked like. Mostly it was what he’d always expected: shriveled up breasts, swollen joints, ribs and pelvic bones jutting out like dinosaur appendages. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her hair was shaved on the sides and the back and died bright green in complete poser punk fashion.

Winona Ryder could get away with being extremely skinny, you could tell she was just born that way. On the other hand, if you weren’t Winona Ryder, it was better to just accept it rather than starve yourself. He thought about maybe mentioning this to Hannah later on if he got the chance, and then decided not to bother because she wouldn’t get it.

“What the fuck are you listening to?” Jonah had his hands over his ears.

“What are talking about?” Hannah growled back, her voice turning dark and raspy. She took a swig from a bottle of Blue Nun wine she was holding.

“I mean this SHIT that’s coming out of your room,” Jonah grabbed the bottle from her and gulped some down and then offered it to Will who declined.

“This SHIT? This SHIT happens to be Porno For Pyros, you stupid fuckhead.”

“I shoulda known,” Jonah finished off the bottle. “Boy, what a bad idea.” He dropped the bottle on the floor and Hannah, who was already swaying a little, hopped back to avoid having it land on her feet, and almost lost her balance.

“They’re not a bad idea,” she said, getting in Jonah’s face and jabbing her hand into his chest. “Perry Ferrall is a God.”

Byron looked up from the TV, “Perry Ferrall sucks.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

Byron burped demurely, “He sucks ass.”

“You suck ass,” Hannah was smiling a little.

“You take it in the ass.”

“Butt Pirate!”




“At least I have one.”

“What the fuck does that mean?” Byron asked her.

Hannah looked out of breath and disoriented. She turned to Jonah. “Jonah would you talk to me in private for a second?” She did a wobbly pivot on her heel and went back into her room with Jonah following like an eager lap dog. A few seconds after the door was closed, Porno for Pyros was replaced by the Beastie Boys who Will thought sucked ass just as bad.

“You know…” Byron was slipping further and further down in his rocking chair.

“What?” asked Will, sitting down on the couch that felt like it was made of huge canvass-covered marshmallows.

“She’s only taking him in there because she doesn’t share her drugs with me anymore. But, you know, that’s about all he’s ever gonna get from her.” He gave Will a somewhat smug, knowing look.

“What do you mean?” Will asked, not getting it. From the way Byron was acting, he had no idea if Jonah had even actually mentioned the plan to him.

“What I mean,” Byron said, finishing off his bottle and dropping it next to the others, “is that even a blind man can see that the only reason your friend has been sniffing around little Hannah for, like, a month is because he wants to get some. But Hannah doesn’t put out.”

“Oh.” Will really couldn’t give a shit.

Byron was grinning laconically. “She’s blue ball city. I should know, I’ve been her number one confidante since eighth grade.”

Will changed the subject, “Where are you guys from?”


That explained the nice location and the Crate and Barrel aesthetic. Camden was one of the wealthiest coastal towns in Maine, nothing but yachts and Volvos. If they were from Camden, chances were neither had to work because they were still getting a weekly allowance that was bigger than what he made in a month. That meant he’d probably have to pay Byron more money to help him. Still, the investment would be worth it.

A new Nirvana video came on and Byron started freaking out, sitting up and cranking up the volume. “Oh my God,” he said, staring at the images on the TV. “I fucking love this band, I fucking love this band so fucking much!” He looked from the TV for a second to Will, “Don’t you fucking love Nirvana?”

Actually, Will had always thought Nirvana was about selling the dregs off of interesting music to those who weren’t interesting enough to find the real thing – but since he didn’t have enough time to find an ersatz boyfriend with better taste, he kept his mouth shut and nodded his head vaguely when Byron gave him another look.

“Oh my God, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was like this major turning point, you know? It was like this fucking victory won because it played everywhere.”

Will gave another vague nod.

“And you know what I hear? I hear they’re actually in town. Here. Portland! Can you believe it?”

“Nirvana’s in Portland?”

“Yeah, a friend of my mine who works at Pizza Circus saw them. I heard they’re here because they’re mixing the new Melvin’s album… They’re gay, you know…”

“Who, Nirvana?”

Byron gave him an extremely disparaging look, “No, the Melvins? Haven’t you ever heard of them?”

Will hadn’t. In truth, when he moved to Portland he was no longer in a position to buy CDs, and after six months or so he no longer had any idea what was going on. Not that it really mattered. After Nirvana’s Nevermind everything in the scene had gone downhill.

“Uh… speaking of gay…” Will said, watching the Nirvana video end and one for a band called Ween begin.

“Ah yes,” Byron said, “Jonah told me that you needed my help.”

Will nodded vigorously, “See, the deal is that I’m going to write this book so I can marry Winona Ryder but the only way…”

Byron waved a hand, looking bored to tears. “Whatever. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to help you yet… But then, it’s not every night I get to play stud.”

Will was about to say something, but Byron waved the hand again. “You’re cute, but for it to work, I’ve got to feel something. Let’s just do tonight and see what happens. No guarantees.” He yawned.

“Sure,” Will said, because he didn’t have any choice. “You know that I’m not gay though, right?”

“Naturally,” said Byron, “I’m not gay either.”

Will stared at him.

“Just kidding,” Byron took a soft pack of Benson and Hedges off the coffee table and lit one. “Jesus, that’s called fag humor.”

After Jonah arrived in Portland he’d dragged Will to Zootz on a Sunday night. It was the biggest night of the week for the alternative dance club seeing that it was free night and everyone in the scene was always broke. They’d huddled out front on Forest Ave. with all the other underagers, leaning against the large board that covered the plate glass window someone had been thrown through a while back. Finally, at one a.m. when the bar shut down, they were let in. The whole expereince made Will feel like a sheep and he left almost immediately.

Tonight, the place was just as dirty and smelly as it had been before, tiny and claustrophobic and dark and packed to the gills with sweaty, mad happy dancers.

As soon as they were inside, Hannah and Jonah jumped into the fray. Byron surprised Will by grabbing his hand and pulling him in, too.

Generally, Will hated dancing, but tonight was different. Tonight he had to impress Byron anyway he could or he was up shit creek. So tonight he was shaking his ass. And he wasn’t as bad at it as he thought. Maybe it was a result of all the stress he’d put himself under, trying to put everything together before his birthday, and now his body needed to release all that pent up nervous anxiety. Who knew?

It actually felt good – the denseness, having his personal space constantly obliterated on all sides, the sexiness of slipping into the unity, the oneness with the crowd that this created. Did Winona like to do this? She was such a small, frail girl, she’d probably be worried about being grabbed or crushed. Will decided not to think about it.

Byron was pressed up against him and grinding into him to the beat of the raging techno. Will found that his hands were all over Byron’s ass, while Byron’s own big hands were gripped on either side of his pelvic bone. This was fine too; there was nothing wrong in creating witnesses in case his father called him on the validity of the relationship.

For the next fifteen minutes or so, they danced like this, then the throbbing beats temporarily tranced out and Byron put his mouth close to Will’s ear. “C’mon,” he whispered, his voice sounding more active, more engaged. “I’ve made my decision. It’s your lucky night.”

“So that means you’ll help me?” Will asked him.

Byron nodded.

Together they pushed their way off the dance floor, and instead of going up to the loft above the bar where the tables were, Byron steered him down the stairs to the subteranean bathrooms where everything was dimly fluorescent and moist.

At first Will wasn’t sure what was going on, then realized that Byron wisely wanted to go somewhere where they could talk business without having to compete with the music that now was only a muted thudding against the ceiling.

There were a few people in the men’s room but Byron ignored them, pulling Will back into the stall in the corner. Shutting the door, Byron eyed him up and down, and he was impressed with how large Byron really was. Will barely came up to Byron’s shoulders.

Byron took a small, folded up wedge of paper out of his pocket. “I’ve been saving this for a special occasion,” he told Will. “It helps me connect.”

He unfolded the paper and Will looked at the small mound of milky-brown powder. “I don’t do drugs anymore.”

“Well,” Byron shrugged. “You’re not going to score unless you do this with me.”

He snorted roughly half the powder and offered the rest to Will who eyed it disapprovingly. If you don’t do this, you’re finished. In the long run it’ll be such a small price to pay. Will grudgingly snorted up the rest.

Instantly he could feel it sliding into his brain, tickling and pinching all his nerves. “God, what is it?” he asked.

Byron was rubbing his nose and licking off what was left on the paper. “Heroin fluffed up with some PCP. It’s called Fever Waltz. It’s gonna make you really horny – better than E.”

“I think I need to clarify the situation here…” Will began.

“You don’t have to tell me anything. You’ve succeeded in turning me on, my little baby in the closet. I’d take that as a real compliment if I were you. It’s like I told Jonah, I don’t mind being a whore, but only if he’s cute and turns me on.”

Will was having trouble with the way Byron was leering at him. “I’m not asking you to be a whore. I’m not paying you for sex, I’m paying you to help me out with my father.”

“Don’t try to over-complicate this now.” Byron licked his lips and closed his eyes for a second, taking a deep breath in through his nose and out through his mouth. “I know you’re nervous. Just pull your pants off and bend over. I’ll do the rest.”

Bend over?

Will was getting the feeling more and more that the mis-communication he feared was between them was much greater than he’d thought.

“Hey, listen,” he said, trying to push Byron back.

“Oh, so you want it rough, huh, sweetie?” Byron punched him in the stomach and when Will doubled over, he spun him around and yanked down his pants, exposing his ass. “Now bend your knees.”

Bend your knees. His brain frozen, Will bent his knees onto the edge of the toilet. “Now grab that pipe!” Will grabbed the stainless steel plumbing fixtures that jutted from the wall. “Oh yeah,” Byron said from behind him, as he grunted and groaned, he began to recite a poem:

    • “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying;

And this same flower that smiles today/Tomorrow will be dying…

While it was happening, Will found himself thinking about Jessie – something he hadn’t allowed himself to do since he’d moved to Portland. The last time he’d seen her had been at her prom. He and Jonah and some other freaks snuck in and he’d wandered around the dance floor until he found her…

    • “The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, The higher he’s a-getting,

The sooner will his race be run, And nearer he’s to setting…

Back then he’d still been pretty punk rock, with his hair teased up like Robert Smith and all that lip stick and his Docs – he’d made quite a contrast to all the pretty dancers with their tuxedos and formals. She’d been with that guy, that fucking Jehovah’s Witness she’d left him for, the one rich Witness in Hancock county. Fuckin’ guy offered her a yacht and string of real pearls and she’d dumped his ass. Not even formally broken up with him, just suddenly stopped coming by anymore, not returning his phone calls. He’d even heard they were planing to marry after graduation, after she converted…

    • “That age is best which is the first, When youth and blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worst, and worst/Times still succeed the former…

When he found them, he just stood there, staring at them. Of course they completely ignored him, and continued to dance like everyone else. He wasn’t sure what he was trying to do. Was he trying to ruin their night? Had he thought that if he went there, it would be so dramatic she’d just have to start talking to him again? He tried, but the lights and the movement and terrible music made him so disoriented that he couldn’t find an exit so he lay down on the slick gym floor and started crying. Crying and crying and crying. He couldn’t stop, he was going to cry forever. He couldn’t stop crying…

    • “Then be not coy, but use your time, And while ye may, go marry;

For having lost but once your prime, You may forever tarry.”

Byron was standing over him zipping up his fly. “I hope you didn’t mind the elocution, I have an obnoxious proclivity toward Herrick at these times,” he said, pulling some toilet paper out of the holder and wiping off his his hands. “I was an English major at USM, when else am I going to use it?”

Will felt saliva fall from his slack mouth.

Byron sniffed. “Now you’re officially broken in. No need to thank me, they were your orders after all.” He turned around and opened the door to the stall, then turned around again. “By the way, don’t try to pay me later, it’s on me. Happy birthday. And this doesn’t mean we’re going out. You still owe me, but I’ll get in touch with you. Don’t bug me, I hate being bugged.”

He walked out of the stall and out of Will’s life, swinging the door shut behind him, creating a dank, chilly breeze that made all his tiny exposed ass hairs stand up on end.

…His ass. His ass was swollen, torn. He wasn’t sure how great the tear was, but it burned with a rawness that filled his eyes with tears, a rawness that intensified by a thousand at the slightest movement. And there was blood and whatever else running out of it, over it, and dripping onto the floor.

Will sighed, feeling that strange sense of peace and weakness that comes with being very wounded. He tried not to think of what this might mean for his plan. He tried not to think of Winona Ryder, how she’d react if she saw him like this, what she might say. Will sighed again, shaking his head minutely and wondering how he was going to get up.

to be continued…