Friday, August 31, 2012


No names, she insisted.  That is okay with you.  You know it could be a set up.  A scam.  But after two emails and a text, you are on your way.

He took out his wallet, removed most of the cash and the credit cards, considered dumping the Driver’s License then realizing it had his previous address, kept it.  In case he got pulled over.

You are driving fast.  Your heart is pounding.  Damn this is exciting.   You could get your head caved in.  Skull shot like a corn-fed steer.  Have to stay alert.  What was that exit again?  Gower?  It’s coming up.  

He was shaking like an infantryman under bombardment as he wrote it: “Going to the following address 6621 Santa Monica Blvd. Apt 2B.”  He propped the note on his keyboard like a tiny grave marker.

The neighborhood isn’t so bad.  You’ve been around here before.  She’s probably an actress.  Maybe she’s going to videotape it.  You don’t want that.   What if it’s a guy?  Just walk right out.  No thank you.

He scanned the listings and one got his attention.   He clicked on it.  There was a photo.   Pretty.  Definitely young.  The caption said all he needed to know.  NSA.   Ready and waiting.  Call now.  

The apartment building is nondescript, faded blue stucco, a rusty fire escape. Like a thousand others in Los Angeles.   Ranchero music blasts from a storefront.    A homeless man laughs at an unspoken joke.

He emailed the pic and to his surprise the phone rang.  A number in the 213 area code.  He picked it up.  Hello?  The female’s voice was delicate but firm.

“6621 Santa Monica Boulevard, Apartment 2B…    

“What’s your name?  How do I..?”

“Fifteen minutes. The door is unlocked.  No talking.”


And the door is unlocked just like she said.  You step inside.  Not too shabby.  The paintings on the wall look like they were done by the resident.  Must be her work – or her boyfriend’s.

You find her in the bedroom.  Facing away, but definitely the girl from the photo.   She’s twenty years younger than you.   Already naked.   Her mocha skin unblemished.  She doesn’t turn to look at you.

After fumbling with the condom you make an attempt.   She rejects any caresses, demands penetration.  As you struggle to be aroused, her flesh pounds against you in frustration.

You struggle to hold her, kiss her, to inhale her scent.   She heaves you off.  Your manhood shriveling in its latex wrapper.  

“Get out!”

You reach.

“Get the FUCK OUT!”

Socks and shirt in hand, he exited the apartment.   Fastening his belt as he descended the stairs. 

The homeless man was still laughing.  The joke now less funny than sad. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


By Jim Christopher

108 Degrees.   Henry’s ass crack was getting chafed.  Why did he wear jeans for the long drive back to Los Angeles?  The trip south on Route 17 brought him down to the valley floor and the temperature soared with each mile.  Henry couldn’t afford to run the A/C non-stop.  He’d turn it on when there was a downward incline, letting gravity do the work, and when the road leveled and he had to press the gas again, he turned it off.   A/C uses gas, he thought.   He’d have to suffer.

A sign indicated Phoenix in 28 miles.   What an appropriate name, Henry thought.   He imagined a bird spontaneously bursting into flames from the intense heat – scorched feathers drifting to the asphalt like the remnants of a pillow fight in hell.

Henry scanned the dash of his 1996 Nissan Sentra.   The temperature gauge was at three-quarters.   The fuel gauge showed only an eighth of a tank of gas.  That wouldn’t do.  Once he connected with Interstate 10 he’d have a three hundred mile stretch heading West with few signs of life.  He had to stop in the next half hour and that meant Phoenix.   There was no way around it.

The sprawling Valley of the Sun stretched out like a monopoly board.  Palm trees and swathes of green indicated golf courses and the recurring billboards hawked unfinished developments to unemployed and overleveraged passersby who would never be able to make the balloon payments.

Henry thought of the air in his tires.  Heat would cause expansion.  He hadn’t checked them before he left Sedona.   And the engine coolant.   Check that too.  This little car had lasted many years – the two of them bought it new and he never expected to still be driving it.  But a lot had changed.       

He saw it on the right, one of those huge trucker stops with a sign as tall as the Chrysler building shouting Mexican Food and Diesel.  Henry guided his subcompact into the draft of a Kenworth and rolled up next to a pump.  The smell of Diesel fuel and tamales hit with the hot blast of Arizona air as he opened his car door.
Henry stood by his car squeezing the pump handle as he watched the digital numbers flash: nine, ten, eleven gallons… click.  Forty six dollars.  It was a lot of money.  But it was worth it.  The trip was a success.   He hung up the pump handle and inhaled deeply, the scent of cigarettes joining the desert stench.  Henry watched a forty-something dad sucking on a Marlboro while he deposited a king’s ransom into a rented camper from El Monte RV.   

That will never be you, he thought.