Saturday, May 6, 2017

Not Of This Place

I quite like the concept of "edges", which we're exploring this time around at The Grip. Borders, boundaries, extremities. Or sharpness, acidity, and venom. Even further, there's the concept of "having the edge". A head start. The upper hand.

This flash story is one of my oldest. Though I've given it a very slight retouch before posting, I've left it in essentially its raw form. Its rawness was one of its most appealing elements, I felt. I'm aware it has some weaknesses, but it's one of my first-born verbal children, and I love it despite its flaws.

It was first published, almost exactly as it is here, in 2010, as part of the "Dirtyville" anthology put together and edited by the lovely Sommer Marsden. And for me, it encompasses all three meanings I listed above. A young man, straddling the border between youth and manhood. The venom of his familial situation. And the little secret he holds inside him; the plans he's made without his parents' knowledge.

* * * *

Not Of This Place
by Willsin Rowe

I was born out here, somewhere between the desert and the sea, and Ive been here all my life. But Im not of this place. Never have been. Not like Kylie.
Wed spent our lives cooped up in all the same boxes, Kylie and me. Same as an egg. Corralled, yet separated by color and nature. Sure, she was brown and not yellow. But I was as white as can be.
When she arrived at my 21st party she was luminous; her dusky skin swallowing the afternoon sun. I ached to taste that warmth. Dad said hed turn the hose on her, and he pushed me back inside before I could shame him.
I slipped out the back door and caught up to her. She wouldnt let me apologize for anything I hadnt said. I felt like an orphan in the glow of her cheeky smile. Beads of sweat drizzled down her neck and made me notice the heat.
We have air conditioning, I told her. At home.
It seemed natural to take her back there. To prove I was no liar. We stole upstairs while dad grasped every eye and ear at the party to him.
I hadnt said the cooler was in my parents bedroom. I knew how that would look. Kylie didnt seem to mind. She just stood by the bed and kissed the icy air. I moved behind her and let her moist neck fill my mouth.
Tom…” she murmured. I felt nothing but the heat of my cock as I gazed down at the glossy skin between her breasts. I stayed mute while she kicked off her clothes to lie on dads side of the bed. The rippling breeze washed over her and she arched her body with every breath. It looked like ecstasy, like the air was licking her right where she needed it.
I stripped and fell beside her, found her fingers where I thought theyd be. Sweat clung resolutely to our bodies even under the fierce cold of the air conditioner. Dads voice boomed downstairs and I swore I could smell the beer on his breath. Id never truly believed this party was for me.
Kylie slipped her hand free of mine, curled it around me like a python. I hissed in sympathy. She rolled up against me, her weightless smile as open as if we were simply going swimming. She smoothed her mouth over my cheek, like a greeting, but then kept it there while her hand squeezed me.
Ylike that?
Her voice was as soft as her lips, and so close to me I almost jumped.
Yeh. As if I could talk while she did that. Instead I turned my mouth to hers and we hummed together. Our limbs blended and I tethered my hands to her wrists as I pressed her into the spotless sheets.
Her small breasts wriggled as I bumped her thighs apart with my knees. I lost everything in the sharp tang of her scent, somewhere between the desert and the sea. My eyelids grew heavy, my arms grew weak.
She slithered free of my grip, curled her fingers around my neck, pulled me down to meet her lips.
I felt her calves around my waist as I slid inside her. She bit me hard everywhere she touched me. I feasted on the mewing sounds she trickled down my throat.
Dads air conditioner breathed down our necks. We coated ourselves with sweat in defiance. Her taut nipples traced my mouth as we ground against each other. In the dying light her earthy brown eyes looked black. Nothing could disguise the richness of her smile.
She rolled me onto my back and pummeled my hips with hers, stretching across me like a shield. Even with the tongues of cold air curling around us, we were drenched to the bone. Every movement of our limbs sent droplets spraying across the snowy surface.
Kylies sweet smile turned, and she sneered and frowned and filled her lungs. Slammed her head down on my shoulder, spitting sweat all over the pillows. A moan rasped from her throat, she dug her fingers into my arms and shook me in bursts. She squeezed me like a sponge and I dutifully released every drop of fluid I had.
She crashed down beside me, searching for her next breath. Insects of moisture crawled down my sides and burrowed into the fabric, liquid conspirators in my utterly perfect crime. I curled my fingers into the midnight of Kylies bush and I felt our buttery fluids drizzling from her. I coated my hand and left a vivid print in the middle of the bed. Just to make sure.
Kylie kissed me and tousled my hair, slipped her clothes back on. I dressed slowly, inviting someone mum, dad, anyoneto miss me.
Our march downstairs was anything but furtive. We clung to each other with exaggerated closeness. Dads lubricated voice seized up, the color in his cheeks paling beneath the fire in his eyes.
Kylies culture measures manhood by experience. Mine simply uses age. In Kylies world Id been a man for a while. Now, even my people couldnt hold me down any longer.
I threw my suitcase into the back of my car. Kylie hugged me, unfurled her cheeky smile one last time, then glided away. I watched her until the night and the country absorbed her.
Im not of this place. Never have been.

Not like Kylie.


  1. "but it's one of my first-born verbal children, and I love it despite its flaws."

    I really like the way you put this. And the story is beautifully written. I often think there's something to early work, something about its fire, even if there are technical things still to be learned by the author. My own early work represents a time when stories were bursting out of me, before I learned to craft them, and they feel a little different because of that.

    Thanks for sharing this, and I think this story works out to a very nice way to close off the idea of edges.

    1. Yes, that's it in a nutshell! I still have an enormous number of stories sitting within my head and in pieces on my computer, but the raw nature of the early work is quite reminiscent of the raw nature of early sex, I think. Back before you knew the sophisticated faces you were supposed to make, and you're just staring at your partner like a serial killer because you can't quite believe you're actually doin' it!

    2. Hahahaha I'm laughing out loud at your thing about faces and staring. Amazing! :D

  2. Gorgeous piece, Willsin. I love it, though its rawness for me disappears under its bitter-sweetness.

    My favorite line: "I lost everything in the sharp tang of her scent, somewhere between the desert and the sea."

    Wonderful finale to an amazing two weeks!

    1. Thank ya, ma'am! I do like to weave verbal ostinatos through my stories wherever possible, especially if they can absorb an altered, or completely different, meaning.

  3. Such vivid, original imagery! "Insects of moisture crawled down my sides and burrowed into the fabric, liquid conspirators in my utterly perfect crime." That image in itself might be considered to be on the edge of off-putting, but instead it's a perfect description, both visual and tactile.

  4. Thank you, Sacchi. I enjoyed that little metaphor myself, and for similar reasons. It's not meant to be a comfortable or truly sweet coupling (though they treat each other quite sweetly), so I strove to find accurate yet jarring visuals. That was one of my faves.

  5. Our early writing was informed, not so much by technique, but rather by passion. Much the same as "Naive" or "Outsider Art" in the art world. The concept of those artists who never had formal training as such. This was both raw and sophisticated, self-conscious in the most naive ways, and all the more powerful for it.


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