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Oliver Hodges
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wet.jpg
Art by Jeff Fallow 2011

Wet

 

 

John Oliver Hodges

 

 

Another week passed, more days, these days were passing too fast, were water in her urinary tract, spoiled children feral and uncouth, wild stags flung from a dropped bucket of universe. Milk tried to be aware of them, the days, to slap them with collars and rein them in, hold them steady, but such was the act of a dreamer. Milk said to hell with it, finally, and the current took her through many poems. The days were bottle-necking her down toward a new semester, and she was anxious. 

 

The summer could not last forever. 

 

Then Chase told her she owed him six hundred dollars.

 

“Oh, I’m quitting right this second,” Milk said.

 

“Hey, that’s great.”

 

But it wasn’t great. Milk slept all the next day and the following day fidgeted, alone in the trailer with her depression and sweaty body. She tried distracting herself by showering and by eating and by smoking, but she was empty. She read over some of her poems, what she had written in her drugged-out frenzies and realized that she wouldn’t want anybody reading them. She considered ripping them up, but decided, ultimately, to wait until she felt better to make that important decision.

 

Hours of silence. Milk rocked back and forth on the couch. Sometimes some kind of vibrating grit swarmed though her veins. She scratched and her skin broke out and she napped, waked on the kitchen floor, on the bedroom rug.

 

When Chase came home in the evenings she tried to be cheery, but she never wanted sex now. It was against her will. He should have been able to tell, but onward he fucked. His touch was painful. It occurred to Milk that he would not be raping her if she was charging him for each fuck. That would make her a whore, but it was better to be a whore, Milk reasoned, than some stupid girl with her feet in the air. 

 

Milk counted back the times he’d fucked her since she quit using. Milk figured she was worth at least a hundred dollars. As a hundred-dollar whore, according to the tabulations Milk made, putting it down on paper a week and a half later, not only had Milk paid Chase what she owed him for the drugs, but he now owed her three hundred dollars. She was beginning to feel better all around, so she decided to tell him that evening, but he brought her a falafel sandwich, her favorite.

 

 Milk waited till after dinner, then told him he owed her three hundred dollars. She explained the whole thing to him, how she hadn’t wanted it any of those times since she’d quit the meth. If he wanted to not be a rapist all he had to do was pay her three hundred dollars. He wasn’t pleased.

 

“In that case,” Chase said, “I’m going to charge you rent for all the time you’ve stayed here. Let’s say twenty dollars a day. Let’s see, how long have you been here?” Chase rolled his eyes up at the ceiling as he calculated.

 

“No,” Milk said. “You never let it be known that you didn’t want me here. You always said I was welcome to stay.”

 

“You never said you didn’t want me fucking you, either, Milk. What’s the difference?”

 

“There were signs.”

 

“What signs? I didn’t see any signs.”

 

“I wasn’t wet,” Milk said, snapping her face his way, but beginning to blush. Being off the drugs after being on them all summer was the strangest thing Milk had known in her life. She was having, and had been having, quite a lot of difficulty.

 

“Wasn’t wet?” Chase said, with all sincerity, like he really hadn’t a clue, like he really was trying to comprehend something here.

 

“Don’t make me say it again,” Milk said. “Just pay me the three hundred and you won’t be a rapist. I won’t try and press charges. Call it blood money if it’ll make you feel better, I don’t care.”

 

“Blood money,” Chase said, and Milk began to cry. She’d been crying so much lately, ever since she’d made her decision to stop that shit, the meth, to get herself together and make the next semester.

 

“You poor fool,” Chase said, and drew Milk close, and comforted Milk, and fucked Milk on the couch.

 

 

John Oliver Hodges was raised in the Florida Panhandle and Mexico, and has since lived in Alaska, New York, and Mississippi.  His stories have appeared in print, and you can read them online at Swink, Juked, Work Riot, The Writing Disorder, Gone Lawn, and Dogzplot.

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