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What Julie Said

We've published quite a few shorts by the mysterious Mr. Johnson

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What Julie Said by Beau Johnson



“Do you ever think about your mother when we fuck?”  That was Julie, all five feet two of her.  She said shit like that for the reaction mostly, and it took me time to figure such things out.  Something from her childhood I imagined, same reason she only wore black.  Her hair lacked any kind of polish as well, but really, what the hell did I care?  Head was head; fucking the same.

It got to me though, what she said, and I pulled out.  “Too much?”  She coos, and attempts to lure me back.  I am sitting up by this point, on the edge of my bed, and she has gone to stroking my back in long lazy strokes.  She is twenty-two, younger than me by three years, and I tell her to knock the shit off; that some things are not meant to be said.  “I’ve struck a nerve, then?”  I can feel her smiling, of course, and know it’s exactly what she wants me to feel.  I turn to her, my grill set, and then I turn her round so she faces the wall.  I don’t last long, not then, and I don’t much care.  What I am thinking about is the question she asked and why it is still on my mind.

I shower, dress, and then drive to work.  Later, going down on me, Julie discovers the growth.  It is between the back part of my ball-sac and my inner right thigh.  Small and protruding, it resembles a chocolate colored smurf.  I touch it, trace it, and wonder how the fuck I could not have noticed it before.  It scares me, it does, and more than I will ever let on.

I make a doctor’s appointment and they tell me it will take up to three months.  I say ok and thank you and go upstairs to see my dad.  Wearing nothing but a towel, he is coming out of the washroom as I top the next to last stair.  His chest is all sweaty; smooth, mounded and thick.  He shaves it as well, every little strand.  “What’s up, Champ?”  He says and then winks.  Champ is my name for the day, the one that began at dawn.  Tomorrow it will be something different, either Sport or possibly Guy.  It’s never Adam, my real name, and I can’t really say why.  He loves me, he does---at least that’s what I’m told.  My Dad likes the gym and fast cars, but his friends I can do without.  I believe they are anti-establishment, a choice that’s never good.

“Could I talk to you about something?”  He says sure, yeah, but the whole time he is rearranging his junk.  Next he flexes me a bicep, and then throws me an entire pose.   As I turn away he calls after me, lets me know he was only messing around.  I say okay, fine, just meet me downstairs.  Downstairs he at least is wearing jeans. I notice they are new.

“Tell me.”  We are in the kitchen now, and both of us on stools.  He is chewing the gum his doctor gave him, the stuff which has become his cigarettes.  I say that I think I might be sick; that I think I may need help.  My dad tells me he has just done my mother in the bathroom upstairs; that he has taken her from behind and that I should now be careful of the sink.  I want to laugh at this, I do, but I also want to cry.  You cannot cry in front of dad, however, as it wasn’t the way things worked.  “I’ll be okay.”  I say, and realize I’m close to being sick.   Before I can remove myself Dad stops me with his hand.  “You need to hit the gym more, Champ.”  He says.  I concentrate on his gum.  Chew.  Chew.  Move.  Chew.  Chew.  Move.   “Toughen you up a bit.  Then things like this, whatever you were going to say, it tends to curb them.  Sound body, sound mind, right?”  And then he taps the side of his head in demonstration of his point.   I want to scream.  I want to cry.  And then I realize he is not the only reason why.  I am thinking of my mother; of my father penetrating her cunt.  Why am I thinking of this?  And then I think of Julie and the question she had asked.  It is then that the floodgate opens, and the gorge that comes is huge.  It hits my father’s feet, splashing, and I see the roast beef I’d had for lunch resting between his toes.  When I’m done he only looks at me and I all see is disgust.  I tell him that I’m sorry, that I will start to clean it up.  Damn right you will, he says; in fact, make sure you do it twice!

At my Uncle’s funeral, Julie is beside me.  Her hair is red today, streaked with little lines of blue.  This is new for her, as it is usually black or brown.  I compliment her, telling her I think the colour looks nice.  She tells me to blow myself; that I can check it at the door.  Whatever, I say, and notice her ears and the extra piercings that are there.  She has twelve of them now, the biggest through her tongue.

“Did you know him well?”  I tell her yes, at one time, but that it had been more than twenty years since I’d seen my father’s twin. I see, she says, and I can tell she doesn’t care.  Hate comes next---that this is how she feels.  We should be celebrating, she says, not mourning who and what they were.  I say yeah, okay, I guess so, but realize I’m fighting against everything I’d been taught.

“What I do like,” she says, and I can already hear it in her voice.  “Is all the rooms a place like this can have.”  I am disgusted and turned on at the very same time.  Patient, Julie only looks back at me, her blue eyes wide.  I say okay but not here, my parents have raised me better than that.  Suddenly my mother appears, all black and in the hat she only wears when special people die.  She has been crying I see, but her face remains the same.  She is hard but beautiful, like marble cut to shine.  I hug her, smell her---feel myself stir.  What is wrong with me, I think, and then Julie and I are out back.  She is on her knees and going, my back against the brick.  Julie has always excelled at this, one of the primary reasons I stayed.  Done, she is up and in my ear, whispers just enough salt, and then, boy-howdy is your mother missing out.  I almost scream, I do, but it would only give her fuel she was looking for.  “If you say so,” is what I say instead, and then I take her hand.  She doesn’t smile, not at first, but as we make our way back in I can tell that something has changed.  I try not to read too much into this, but really, once I start I’m unable to stop.  

Nothing new, this.

At the doctors my pants are on the floor and his hands are on my junk.  My doctor is wearing gloves.  This makes me happy, but it’s awkward all the same.  “Cyst.”  He says matter of fact; that and nothing more.  I stare at him as he takes off his gloves and proceeds to wash his hands.  “Really nothing to worry about.”  He continues.  “We’ll have it biopsied, just to make sure, but I have seen this with many men your age.  Not in the exact position it has formed on you, no, but we can clip it all the same.  Anything else I can help you with, Adam?”  I didn’t realize it was going to happen; only that it was.  It came out gushing, like water through a damn.  I go on about my father, his voice, all his passive-aggressive shit; my mother, her face, and the love she always gave; how I never thought about fucking her until Julie brought it up.  I turn back and to my father, now rage against the machine.  I tell of how he’s told me things a son should never ever hear.  I explain about his towel, how he stood there at the stairs; that I picture my mother against the sink, her hands on either side.  I long to see her face, I say---what she looks like as my father thrusts away.  I am seething as I say this, but I am weeping as I do. 

My doctor says nothing, not until I’m done.  He then tells me about Freud and that what I feel is not as uncommon as I think.  I say who the fuck is Freud and then his look becomes weird.  “On some level, Adam, all men miss the womb,” he states.  “Especially the one they’re from.”  I call him a name, some name, whatever will cease the shit pouring from his mouth.  He comes after me, running, offering statements like unconsciousness---the levels and the like.  I feel I have said too much, wishing I could take portions of it back. Later, replaying it again, I would go over everything he said in an attempt to find the truth---this being me believing I could somehow pry what made me loose. It would not work, however, and it’s then I realize why---what Julie had already figured out.  I want to fuck my mother.  Maybe I always have.

In Canada, with his wife and three boys, Beau Johnson lives, writes and breathes. He has been published before, on the darker side of town. Such places might include Underground Voices, the Molotov Cocktail, and Shotgun Honey. He would like it to be known that it is an honor to be here, down in the Gutter.