Tuesday, August 29, 2006
It was two weeks after the promright after Lily’s graduation ceremonywhen Lily and Leonard left Georgia. They spent the time between these two events preparing for their new lives, with Lily arranging to get money for their trip while Leonard made fake birth certificates and drivers licenses. He changed his name from Leonard Bay to Leonard Bodine; Lily Bay, in turn, became Lily Paisley.
All this time Jimmy kept showing up at their door, flowers in hand, asking to see Lily. He’d call her on the phone every couple of hours and each time she’d decline to take the call. He wanted to fuck her again.
Lily, of course, refused to do so. Refused to even see him except for a few minutes one Saturday night during which she returned to him his high school ring. He’d given it to her on the night of the prom, which was, to Leonard’s satisfaction, the first and last time Jimmy would ever fuck her.
On the night before they left a UFO was sighted over the woods near their house. Lily and he were right there at the time it was seen, but even if it had been hovering right above them, flashing its multicolored lights and letting loose some otherworldly whoops and sirens, Lily and he, each facing the ground as Leonard fucked her in the ass, wouldn’t have noticed a thing. And while they were driving out of town after her graduation, Lily and he joked that the UFO would be the explanation for their disappearance. That it had returned the following day, whereupon its occupants abducted them, spiriting them from Lily’s car as they were en route to a graduation party.
There had to be some explanation, no matter how strange it was, because they left Athens without a word to anyone. They’d decided that they had to leave it completely behind. Its faces, its buildingsand all the shadows they createdwere to be banished from their memory. The only thing they would keep were their moments alone. Moments when there was no world, just the universe they’d invented.
So as they set out from Georgia they fabricated stories to go along with their new identities. Stories which, however fanciful they may have been, were at least more believable than the UFO scenario.
It came to be that he, Leonard Bodine, was born twenty-one years ago in Rock Springs, Wyoming. He was the only son of Donald Bodine, a rancher, and his wife Carmen, who once represented that great western state in the Miss America Pageant, and who would have won if not for a horrible mishap during the talent competition in which she accidently gouged her eye out with a baton. Lily Paisley, Leonard’s bride to be, also twenty-one years of age, came from Galveston, Texas. Her father, Arnold Paisley, was a baptist minister; and while there wasn’t anything noteworthy about her mother Anne, aside from her great beauty, it was worth noting that Anne’s brother was Jimmy Webb, composer of the songs “Up Up And Away,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” and of course, “McArthur Park”a song which was inspired, in fact, by the brief infatuation he had with his young niece. It was in college where Lily Paisley and Leonard Bodine met, at the University of Miami, where they took classes for a year before dropping out. After leaving college they moved to the Gulf side of the state, to the town of Fort Myers. Which was where Lily and Leonard actually found themselves five weeks after leaving Athens.
That they settled in Florida was simply a matter of circumstance. They had been driving all over the countryit was their honeymoonjust going wherever their impulses led them. They first went to Reno, where they got married, then on to San Francisco and Los Angeles. After that they drove east to the Grand Canyon where they decided they should visit both Rock Springs and Galveston, as these were supposed to be their home towns. Because the places they wanted to see were often in opposite directions, they ended up driving back and forth across the country several times. And although they could have drawn up a set itinerary, they enjoyed moving about in this aimless manner. To be able to decide ten minutes before arriving in Denver that they also wanted to see New York City was preferable to having fixed travel plans which, although that would have saved them money, would also have diminished the sense of freedom they felt after leaving Athens.
By the end of their fifth week on the road they were on the Gulf Coast of Florida and their money was running out. They’d been to New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle. They’d seen Niagara Falls, Plymouth Rock, the Bonneville Salt Flats. They’d played slot machines in Nevada, gone on roller coaster rides in Texas, camped out in the Arizona desert. Leonard had finger fucked Lily in some thirty states, she’d sucked him off in four different time zones, and together they had peed on the beach on two different coasts. But now, after all that wandering, all that drivingall the fast food dinners and mornings waking up under the skyit was time to settle down.
They sold Lily’s car, and with the money put down a deposit and paid the first month’s rent on a small apartment on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. Now they needed jobs, something that would give them enough money for rent, food, and an occasional night out. They didn’t need much. They were, as they say, young and in love.
Within a week Lily found a job at a flower shop down the street from their apartment. The owner of the shop, an old widower in his sixties, on hearing the name Lily, decided it was fate. To have a woman named Lily working in his flower shop was only appropriate, he thoughtthough of course Lily’s beautiful face and body weighed heavily in his quick decision to hire her. Lily and Leonard were sure that when her boss went home that night he went to sleep and had wet dreams in which he saw himself misting the smelly flower between her legs. Dreams from which he awoke, out of breath, as from a seizure, when all it was was a nocturnal retreat into childhood. A longing for his better days.
With Lily settled in her job, Leonard went out looking for work of his own. Because he was youngtoo young to be out of school and workinghe grew a beard.
But it was more a bird’s nest than a beard. Scraggly and ill shaped, it made his eyes look smaller, his nose seem wider, and his mouth became a crack in a buzzard’s egg. Although it added years to his face, when he looked in the mirror he saw the face of a criminal. An arsonist, a thief, even a murdererall were possible in his tiny eyes, while his nose signified his crude origins. And as for his mouth, it was one which would never speak the truth.
It took some time, but after fashioning his beard into a tidy goatee he found that he looked older but honorable. Setting out one morning with his new face, he had a job at a liquor store by noon of that day. One of the benefits of being an employee at the storein fact the only benefitwas that he got a discount, and although he didn’t drink, Lily did. So he got into the habit of bringing home a bottle of wine every few days.
Lily would have a glass or two with dinner, which she always prepared since Leonard had no skill as a cook. Then once a week he’d take her out to eat, usually at the noisiest place he could find. They’d sit in the restaurant and play with each other under the table while waiting for their meals to be served. After dinner they’d go to the movies where, if the film got boring, they’d make out like teenagers who didn’t have a place of their own.
For their first few months in the apartment they didn’t have a television. All they had was Lily’s portable radio and tape player, which she had remembered, at the last minute before leaving Athens, to bring with them in the car. She didn’t, however, remember to bring any of her tapes, so all they had to play on it was the tape that was inside when she took it. But that tape, Tommy James & The Shondells’ Greatest Hits, was one they especially liked, in particular the song “I Think We’re Alone Now.”
Sometimes they’d take the tape player with them and walk a mile or so to the river. They’d found a secluded spot on the river bank where they’d make love while listening to Tommy James sing,
And so we’re running just as fast as we can
Holding on to one another’s hand
Trying to get away into the night
And you put your arms around me
As we tumble to the ground
And then you say, “I think we’re alone now...”
Sometimes when it was raining they’d leave the tape player behind. Still, they’d pretend to hear the music while they danced naked and slow, their fingers in each other’s ass as they peed in the shallow water. And when there was a thunderstorm they’d lay down low at the water’s edge. Leonard would suck on Lily’s nipples, wrapping her hair, which looked dark and mysterious in the rain, around the back of his head. Then he’d move in and out of her, slowly at first, then picking up speed as the storm grew stronger. They’d fuck like wild animals, their screams blending in with the sound of thunder, their bodies flashing with each burst of light. When they were done they’d lie back, exhausted, letting the rain, falling steadily on their bare skin, invigorate their bodies until they were ready to fuck again.
When they had enough money, and had bought a small black and white television, they were disappointed to find that The Beverly Hillbillies was only on during the day when they were at work. But then, in the evening, they discovered The Brady Bunch, and came to like this show even more than The Beverly Hillbillies.
Because on this show there were three boys and three girls whom they could pretend were not just step brothers and sisters but actual blood relations. They imagined elaborate brother and sister orgies with Jan Brady sucking off Greg, taking Peter’s dick in her pussy and Bobby’s dick in her ass, while Marsha and Cindy did lesbian golden showers on each other. They saw Greg peeing on Marsha while Peter jerked off on her tits as she sucked off Bobby, with Cindy and Jan in another corner of the room sticking black rubber dildoes in each other’s pussy. They saw Marsha and Jan eating fried eggs off of Bobby’s ass as Bobby ate out Cindy who was jerking off Greg, while Peter finger fucked both Marsha and Jan who were now rubbing egg yolks over their tits as they each yelled, “Now do me like a six-pack you fucking fuck.”
The combinations were almost infinite, and the night The Brady Bunch was on was a night when they always stayed home.
Overall, Lily and Leonard had a perfect married life, and the only thing that could have made it better was if they didn’t have to work and be separated during the day. Because even though they had no friends in Fort Myersand associated with no one except when they were at workthey couldn’t get enough of each other. They were happy that they’d run away and gotten married, with Lily skipping college and Leonard dropping out of high school. Because in doing so they’d gotten a head start on life.
So while many of the girls in Lily’s class were now in college, taking courses and going out on dates with frat boys, she was with Leonard, her husband. And while Leonard’s classmates were doing lab experiments in school, going out on dates and trying to score for the very first time, or just hanging out at the pinball arcade, he was working, living with his beautiful wife, and making love every night.
It was fine with him that he was missing out on those teenage years, that so-called age of “exploration and discovery.” Because ever since he was ten he knew that he didn’t want to subject himself to the horrible process of adolescence. Like a boy who had grown much older than his years, and who knew much more than he should, he wanted to pass it bybut of course the possibility of that happening seemed to be nil. And like a boy who was moving along more slowly than everyone else, he thought that skipping his awkward years was a fantasy he could never fulfill. Yet with Lily and the town of Fort Myers, in the phallicly shaped state of Florida, he had.
Note: Alternate chapter title: Drink the Muddy Water in the Vaseline Stain.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Lily and Leonard lived with their parents, and their brother Lemuel, in Athens, Georgia. Their house, the house I had lived in from the age of nine until I left for New York with Marly, was on the southern side of a street called Horseshoe Lane which, appropriately, was shaped like a horseshoe, the ends of which led into the woods. Even though Horseshoe Lane was only a five minute walk from the University of Georgia—the center of activity in town—the neighborhood had an almost rural atmosphere to it. Having lived there since they were small, right on the edge of the woods in a house with an enormous backyard, Lily and Leonard always felt as if they had grown up on a farm.
Their parents were both professors at the university. Louis Bay, my Grandfather, taught physics, while Ellen, my Grandmother, was in the English department. Being academics, they had always stressed to Lily and Leonard the importance of education.
“Never let a day go by when you haven’t learned something,” Louis used to say to his children. And, “You’ll never be too old to learn something new.”
Even then Grandpa was already talking like an old man. And despite his status in the community as an intellectual, every moment for him was a time to express either sentiment or an almost antiquated sense of optimism, the basis of which was his faith in learning. To him, knowledge was power. And to him, knowledge was a force which could overcome any disadvantages one was born with.
Although Lily and Leonard were expected to spend a good amount of time on school work, they were also allowed to lead normal lives. As long as they did their school work—and did it well—neither Louis nor Ellen had any objection to their watching television, listening to rock and roll music on the radio, or taking part in after school activities like other children. All in all, it was a typical household, and their childhood a normal one.
When Lily and Leonard started fucking it was the fall of 1971. Leonard was in his first year of high school and on the junior varsity football team, while Lily was a senior and a cheerleader. But with Lily and Leonard fucking, and she giving Jimmy the occasional blow job, there wasn’t much time for football or cheerleading.
They promptly quit these activities which, for them, had become boring and unnecessary. Leonard would ride home right after school with Lily. And every day they’d make a stop along the way for a quick fuck in her car.
When they got home they’d watch television for an hour or so—reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies had become their favorite. They’d fantasize about Jethro and Ellie Mae, making believe they were brother and sister like them and not just cousins. They’d imagine Jethro and Ellie Mae fucking in the cement pond, on the fancy eating table, or even in Granny’s bedroom when she was out back making lye soap. They could almost see Ellie Mae, her big breasts hanging down firm and heavy, as she sucked on Jethro’s huge dick; then hear Jethro, the sweat pouring down his brow, screaming, “Oh Ellie Mae, you hot fucking slut,” as he came all over her sweet sexy face.
Since she couldn’t go out on school nights, Lily went on dates with Jimmy on the weekend. While Leonard wasn’t pleased that she was still seeing Jimmy, he was able to live with the situation because Lily, having taken to heart his advice on this matter, still adamantly refused to let Jimmy fuck her. That she saved this act for himself seemed only proper to Leonard. After all, he was her brother and such intimacies, he felt, should be kept in the family.
With Lily and he fucking all during the week, Leonard’s first year of high school went quickly. He ended up getting A’s in all his courses. His teachers—who considered him the brightest student in his class—began referring to him half seriously as “Young Einstein.” By the way they spoke it was clear they expected great things from him. Winning their praises, however, was of no importance to Leonard, as he had never really worked at nor had the slightest interest in his studies. Because for Leonard school work was just something that had to be done well so that it was completely out of the way: the only thing that mattered to him was Lily.
Before long it was June and time for Lily’s senior prom and high school graduation. She had decided, after having been accepted at several schools around the country, to attend college in town at the University of Georgia. That she was staying home for college was, Leonard thought, because of him and not because Jimmy, having received a football scholarship, was also staying home. But on the day of the prom Leonard noticed Lily was acting strangely towards him.
When she went into the bathroom to take a shower, he followed her. Again, he was joking with her, trying to hold her up so she’d be late. But this time, as he began to kiss her breasts, she got angry.
“This is a special day,” she said, “and I don’t have time to fool around.”
Her reaction surprised him. Usually when she was in a bad mood all she needed was a quick fuck to lift her spirits. But what concerned him more was to hear Lily, after they had dropped all their other school activities, refer to the prom, of all things, as a special event. It seemed that something strange was going on in her mind, something which wasn’t the result of her period—she’d had that the previous week, and when it was over he fucked her and she felt fine. No, it was something else, and when he began to think what it might be he grew worried.
That night he stayed awake, waiting for her to come home. When she walked in the door, at five in the morning after what had been the longest night of his young life, he looked up at her. And he knew, without her having to say anything, what had happened.
“You fucked Jimmy,” he said.
Lily turned away.
“You fucked Jimmy!” Leonard repeated loudly.
“Well he’s my boyfriend,” Lily yelled, turning back to him. “How can I expect to keep him if I don’t fuck him?”
Leonard calmly took Lily by the arm and led her out the door. They walked in silence until they reached the edge of the woods.
“You don’t need a boyfriend,” Leonard said bluntly. “You have me.”
“But I can’t go out on dates with you,” Lily answered. “You’re my brother. We can’t let anyone know about us, and I’m tired of that.”
“That’s only here,” Leonard said after a moment’s thought. “Anywhere else who would know?”
Lily blinked. She didn’t quite understand. Because what Leonard was encouraging her to do was something that was beyond her imagination.
“Run away with me, Lily,” he said more as a command than as a plea.
But before she could say anything he put his hand on her cheek and kissed her hard on the mouth.
“It’s the only thing we can do,” he said as he unzipped her dress and pulled it down from her. When he removed her bra she remained silent. He kissed her breasts and reached below, pulling her panties to her knees.
“Marry me,” he breathed, then pulled her to the ground. She tried to stand but he held on tightly to her hips. She tried to struggle free but he pulled her closer. She kept trying until finally all resistance left her. Until finally she understood.
And now, ripping his shirt open, she kissed him on the chest, pulled down his trousers, his underpants. Now rolling around naked on the patchy grass, sweating and moaning in the moonlight, they could see the dirt smeared on their hands and bodies.
“I want you,” she declared as he pushed his middle finger in her ass. “I love you,” as he slid his thumb inside her pussy. Then gasping for air she sat up, as if from a nightmare, bringing her mouth between his legs and sucking as if her breath depended on it, as if she were the Ellie Mae Clampitt of his dreams. Then bringing her face to his she said, “Yes”—as his sperm dripped from her mouth onto his cheek. “Yes,” as she kissed him with her syrupy tongue. “Yes, I’ll marry you.”
Sunday, August 06, 2006
As for my family history, I experienced very little first hand. But like the stone and sand and dirt that comprise the history of New York City, it was something I understood. And little by little, I came to know the details, the most important of which was that Marly and I were not the bastard son and daughter of Lily and Leonard—though “bastard” does somehow seem to describe what we were. Because although Lily and Leonard were married, they were also brother and sister. Which would indicate that regardless of their marital status we were, in many ways, illegitimate.
That was a word I’d have no problem living up to. A word which, once I was able to give voice to it, seemed to define me. And soon afterwards it would define Marly as well.
Although I must admit that Marly’s fall from legitimacy was all my doing. Just as our mother’s fall was perhaps the responsibility of our father. And the result of his learning the difference between right and wrong.
Because it was on the day after his fourteenth birthday that Leonard, my father, followed his sister, Lily, into the bathroom as she went to take a shower. She was getting ready for a date with Jimmy, her boyfriend at the time. All the while Leonard had been telling jokes, teasing her, trying to hold her up so she’d be late. He thought it would be even more amusing to have Jimmy get there to pick her up and find that she hadn’t even gotten out of the shower yet. Jimmy would have to sit downstairs with Grandma and Grandpa as they questioned him about his plans for the future. And, more importantly, his intentions as far as Lily was concerned. These were tough questions for Jimmy, who at twenty was a little too old and experienced, or so my grandparents thought, to be seeing a girl of sixteen like Lily.
Despite his age, Jimmy was still in high school, having had to repeat both eighth and ninth grades. School had become too difficult for him at that point, with algebra, biology, and history being beyond his understanding. But when Jimmy became a star player on the varsity football team, teachers were told to go easy on him.
Like almost anywhere else in the world, sports meant something to people there. Almost more than war, they were what made a man a man—at least in the eyes of most people. Because war was something that was best left forgotten. Something to be studied by intellectuals—those dour, bespectacled creatures whose primary emotions were self righteousness and a detached sense of pity for those surrounding them. Sports were for everyone else. They made for more pleasant memories, and people there needed something to remember.
For the moment Jimmy was what they remembered. On Sunday mornings after church it was always, “Good Lord, that was a glorious game yesterday, Jimmy Boy.” On Monday mornings in school it was always, “Hey, Jimmy, you were, like, possessed on Saturday!”
He was a piece of work, Jimmy, the kid who was as strong as an ox and as fast as a horse. Lily’s eyes would light up as she walked down the halls with him. She would carry her head a little higher, her breasts heaving as her arms swayed beside her. Lily, one of the prettiest and liveliest of the girls, thought he was quite a prize.
Leonard, however, thought that Jimmy was something else altogether. That he was a false hero, a pathetic clown in a champion’s body. Leonard thought Lily should be seeing someone as smart as she was. Someone who could see that she was something more than a cheerleader. Someone who could make her laugh and dance and sing as she and Leonard had done since their brother Lemuel was born.
Because when their brother—my uncle Lemuel—was born, Lily and Leonard became best friends. They began to like the same television shows, the same songs on the radio. They spent all their free time alone, as if there were no one in the world but them. Because alone they were king and queen of a universe they themselves had created.
When Lily got older and developed an interest in the world around her, Leonard got jealous. Until Jimmy came along the world offered nothing that could compete with him; and having Jimmy rise from the depths to become his most formidable opponent seemed absurd. Because Leonard, the consummate romantic and genius of their universe, was her true inspiration. All Jimmy had going for him, Leonard thought, was his talent for playing a fool’s game—take that away and you had a dull, humorless boy who didn’t know the difference between a good time and a bad time.
But despite his deficiencies, Jimmy played a prominent role in the outside world. It was what made him seem like a prize to Lily. Tall and blonde, he was one of those people who, upon hitting a streak of good luck, would never lose it, would never have to work very hard to keep it. While Leonard, despite his many talents, was of those people who would never really make it in the world.
“I’m thinking of letting Jimmy go all the way tonight,” Lily told Leonard on the day he followed her into the bathroom.
Not taking her comment seriously at first, Leonard simply shrugged it off. But when she insisted she was going to go through with it he shut the bathroom door behind them.
“It’ll be wonderful,” Lily said to Leonard. And though she truly believed it would be, she was also trying to provoke him. To goad him into speaking or into taking action. She wasn’t sure which.
“No, it’ll be terrible,” Leonard argued as he put the cover down on the toilet and sat down. “He won’t know what to do. He’ll be fumbling around like the stupid brute that he is.”
“Well I think he’ll be gentle,” Lily answered as she turned to the mirror. Then she faced Leonard again. “He’ll start like this.”
Lily pulled the ribbons from her hair and shook her head until her long blonde ponytails fell apart like a wave over her shoulders.
“And he’ll know just how to undress me.”
She smiled, darting her tongue over her lips then stretching her arms, letting her bathrobe fall to the floor. She was the first girl Leonard had ever seen naked. Her body, to him, seemed like nothing less than a great gift from god. And when she stepped into the shower he had no choice but to take off his clothes and follow her inside.
He watched as Lily soaped up her body, rubbing her hands over her full breasts, sometimes stopping to pinch her nipples, then moving down to her belly, her thighs, her pussy, her hand moving up and down over her shiny wet pubic hair.
At first he just watched and laughed, listening to the sounds Lily made as she moved her finger in and out of her pussy. But soon he began touching himself, rubbing his dick till it got hard. Lily watched and knelt in front of him. Taking his dick in her hand she began stroking it madly. When he came she rubbed his sperm over her breasts and when the water washed it all away she stood up, pushing his face between her legs. Without pausing to breathe he slid his tongue over and around and between her pussy lips until she started moaning and breathing hard. Lily, his true love, was shaking so wildly he had to hold on tightly to her ass to keep her heat on his face.
When she was done and had caught her breath she knelt and began licking his dick until it got hard again. She sucked on it fast and strong and after he squirted inside of her she looked up at him, smiling sweetly with her mouth full of cum, and swallowed. Standing up, she held him close as they both peed, letting the yellow liquid run down their legs. Letting it mingle with the soapy water as it circled down the drain.
When they finally got out of the bathroom Leonard went downstairs and Lily to her room. Sitting on the living room sofa between their mother and father was Jimmy.
“Where’s... Lily?” Jimmy asked slowly, sounding as if he had a mouth full of food.
Leonard brushed his wet hair away from his face. He tilted his head upwards as his wide dark eyes caught the light from the living room lamp.
“She’s drying her hair,” he said. “She’ll be down soon.”
“Oh,” Jimmy nodded. “Okay,” as Grandma and Grandpa looked not at Leonard but at Jimmy with a trace of apprehension in their eyes.
Leonard went outside, sat on the porch steps, and laughed.
That night, when Lily came home from her date with Jimmy, she whispered to him, “It’s all right. I only gave him a blow job.”
And when everyone in the house was asleep he went to her room. She was waiting for him.