A Short Story by Jim McCollum
Written using the suggestion "Roosevelt"
Originally featured on 08-31-2007
As part of our series "In Presidence"

I’m quiet but I want to say something. There is voice bubbling in my throat.

I’m on the floor, lying on blankets, and Ted is on the couch behind me. There are four of us watching this porno. The director’s voice says, “More moans, I need more moans,” in a thick Jersey accent. It was all about some cockamamie scenario where some chick is driving a neon firebird and stops at a gas station to fill it up, and ends up “getting filled up herself” (that’s what the box says.)

Still, it gets me hard.

I look around at the other guys’ faces, all intent, hardly blinking, licking their lips like deer tongue salt-rocks.

“I’m going to go grab a beer,” I say, trying to hide my boner as I stand up.

“Going to go rub one out in the bathroom,” Skyler asks.

“I’m just thirsty,” I say, but it would’ve been nice.

The chick in the porn screams, “Oh my god.”

The kitchen fan whirs, clicking against the plastic grid that holds it. I stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open and let the coldness engulf me. It smells like dead fish, like the trout that’s rotting in the meat drawer. I grab one of Ted’s dad’s beers and take the first big gulp. School was out for the summer, but Ted’s dad worked all day.

As I walk back to the living room, the chick in the porn says, “It feels so good.”

The man sexing up the girl starts doing a funny masturbation dance, standing over the girl, and grimacing like he’s taking a shit or lifting something heavy with his back, not with his legs (like you’re supposed to).

My friends are holding their breath, waiting.

The man grunts and the girl purrs.

I drink the rest of my beer.

“What do you guys want to watch next?” Ted asks, “I’ve got some lesbian stuff, some anal stuff, some really hardcore gay stuff,” he pauses, “just kidding, I don’t have any gay stuff.”

“Put in that one with the chick in the phone booth,” says Billy, “Or that one with all the action figures in it.”

“I think you guys are going to like this one,” says Ted, rubbing his hands together, “it’s called ‘World’s Greatest Gangbang.’”

I was doubtful; I didn’t think the greatest anything happened in an empty warehouse.

“I’m going to get another beer,” I said. I had itches from the floor.

Outside the kitchen, I heard the sound of an engine running. Next door, over the fence, I could see a girl pushing a lawnmower in her backyard. I walked outside to get a better look. She had short blond hair and wore a Hobe Cat tank-top with a brightly colored dolphin on it. She brushed hair out her face, and pushed the lawnmower hard. Sweat collected on her arms and her forehead.

“Hey,” I said, then louder, over the lawnmower, “hey!”

She stopped mowing.

“What do you want?”

“I thought you might be thirsty. Sure is hot out here.”

“Yup, sure is.”

“Do you want a beer?”

She looked back towards her house.


She hopped over the fence, and took a big swig of my beer.

“Whoa, this is good beer.”

“I know,” I said, but I didn’t really.

“Jennifer, get back over here right now!” A man emerged from the girl’s house.

“Thanks,” she said to me, then, “I’m coming dad!”

She leaned in and planted a soft kiss on my cheek. Her lips were still wet from the beer, and I could smell the salt on her skin.

Her dad walked towards the fence.

“Who the hell are you?”

I didn’t answer him; my voice got caught in my chest. I ducked back inside.

The other guys and I had hung up blankets over the windows, to keep the glare off the television. I could see dust floating in the darkness.

“Oh my god, fuck me,” said the girl on the television.

The other guys lay around the room; they looked flushed and sweaty from the heat.

“Hey, guys, I’ve got an idea,” I said, they all turned to listen, “do any of you all want to go meet some girls for real? I mean, maybe there’s a bunch of girls sitting around in a room like this somewhere, and they’d want to hang out with us, to go down to the river or something?”

They all turned back towards the television.

“I don’t know,” said Ted, “sounds like a lot of work.”

“Besides,” said Skyler, he paused for a long time, watching the television set.

“Forget it,” I said, and sat down on my blanket again.

Read More By Jim McCollum

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