I laid in bed, trying to wish the morning away and ignore all the racket Dani made as she finished her breakfast, all bowl scrapy and slurping. The neighbors had been going at it for a while, quiet enough to begin with, but soon they were moaning and rutting the bed so it squeaked and popped. I put Dani’s pillow over my face and tried to wish that away too, but the noises got in my blood so much that I fapped. After, when I had cleaned up my fap with the sheets, came the angry. Up above they were really going ham at that point so I thumped the wall with my fist a few times.
They either didn’t hear or were ignoring me, which pissed me off the more, so I stood up on the bed and rapped on the ceiling. I knew they’d heard that but old boy let out a couple grunts like he was about to blow. He finished up just as Danielle came into the bedroom where I was standing on the bed in just my t-shirt with my noodle dripping a little still. She didn’t leave the doorway, arms crossed and giving me the hate-face. Up above, they started giggling like they were teenagers which Dani took as cue to come in, slam the door, and read riot, unloading shit about everything: Mom, the rent coming due soon enough, the busted ass truck, the neighbors and their fucking.
“Fucking A, Mike, you could at least lay it to me once in awhile like he does her,” she pointed at the ceiling, “but no, you’re too busy wasting loads on the sheets!”
I stepped down from the bed while the neighbors rolled out of bed and started thumping around doing God knew what, jumping jacks from the sound of it. “Well, if you didn’t act like a, like a, a bitch all the time then maybe I would.”
That must have stung because she barreled over so fast that her robe blew open to show she was naked underneath but she had that look in her face so I covered up my johnny real quick. Dani had never been one to hit too much but I’d been around her enough to know when to be on my guard. She didn’t take a swing, but I stepped back in case she tried and we stood there watching each other’s faces before my eyes drifted south.
She looked down and re-tied her robe with a loose square, “I need my fucking cigarettes, Mike!”
Upstairs, the guy laughed. He was probably the kind of bastard who got off on hearing his neighbors fight. Christ, what a bastard.
“Well go get them already,” I said.
“Get out of the fucking way then,” She went to the space between the bed and the wall, where there was all manner of old cigarette packs and worn underwear and tattoo magazines. Dani bent over to rake through all the crap but couldn’t find the pack she wanted. “Fuck shit, Mike where are my smokes?” She leaned forward farther and put a knee on the bed to steady herself and as she did her robe fell open again. Her tits dangled and shook with her rooting around and just fapped or not, my unit chubbed up watching Dani’s hangers swinging. She found a half-filled box of cigs and stood up, tits out, and the dark bush of her crotch all on display. Shaving had gone out the window years ago and she trimmed, sometimes, but this thing needed of a serious overhaul. She put a cigarette in her lips and looked down at my growing junk.
“Now you want to fuck? Those sons of bitches up stairs get you all going and everything, huh?” She had that edge to her voice, but she grinned a little too.
“Christ, Danielle, it ain’t like all that.”
“It ain’t like all that,” she sneered, “Never going to grow out of that ‘southern man’ shit, are you?”
“See what I mean,” I said, “your sass all the time gets you none of this,” I grabbed my junk and shook it at her.
“Yeah. Whatever.” She dropped the pack of Marby Reds in her robe pocket. I couldn’t stop looking at her jugs and, responding in kind, my chubber thickened. Dani noticed, “Oh Jesus, Mike. I’ve got work pretty soon.”
“Come on, babe, what’s it been?”
“It’d be sooner you weren’t jizzing my sheets all the time. Why’d you even bother with trying to get me started if you could already be done by yourself,” she said all gentle like but the tone in her voice rankled the back of my neck. Still, my dong pushed me forward.
“Dani,” I came over to her where she was, knee still on the bed and robe all open. “Come on. Just help me out a little here.”
“No way I’m touching that. Who knows when the last time you showered was.” She said, holding out her hands in a “don’t come closer motion” that I ignored. I pressed my chest into her palms and put my hands on her forearms. She resisted some and I pushed against her arms until the end of her cigarette dangled in front of my own mouth. My johnny was upright, grazing the skin her piss belly and she had this look like she might’ve given in and at least doled out a handy but she held firm. “Get the fuck off me,” she hissed, “I’ve got to smoke and get dressed and go out to work in, like, thirty minutes and I still need to get gas. Someone around here has to have a real job. Not to mention I’ve got to take Mom to the gas station and back because she needs ‘supplies’. Whatever the hell that is.”
“Not the ‘legitimate job’ speech again, Dani. Not now.”
“It’s the truth,” she practically screamed.
“How many times do I have to tell you that I can’t get any kind of 9 to 5 as long as this,” I pointed down to the ankle monitor I wore 24/7, “says I can’t go farther than 500 feet from the apartment unless I get an okay from Jeff? You act like this ain’t common knowledge around here.” This was a lie, but one that I’d had to stick to since I first got out of the joint. There was no way I was going straight back to slaving in some kitchen right away or pushing a broom somewhere in town. On top of that, none of the commercial fisherguys were hiring then because they’d already contracted crews for the season. Even my old skipper, who’d owed me a solid, said he couldn’t take me aboard. So I’d lied to Dani and told her I could barely leave the apartment for as long as I had to wear the monitor. That was almost two years ago.
In light of the conversation’s turn, my bone drooped until it brushed against her mound of pubes. She didn’t pull away though and she had a kind of look on her face so that I held onto a smidge of hope that we might actually hump or, at the very least, she’d come through and dish out a handy. “Come on, please,” my voice squeaked like it did when I talked to the cops or my PO, Jeff, and I hated myself for it. Dani’s face softened up even more and for a second I believed, if I kept at her, she might have given out a pity beej even, but who was I kidding? Like we were in a movie, Mom, her mom, like she did all the time, busted through the bedroom door even though she knew that when the door was closed it was “private time”. As if that ever stopped her. It was almost like she didn’t notice either me or Dani being half naked there and Mom started yelling about, of all things, the fucking trash compactor being plugged up. I turned to the door and put both my hands on my junk. Danielle pulled her robe together but not in any good way because her left boob was still out for everyone to see. Mom was too flustered to care about anything we weren’t wearing and she charged over to both of us.
“You no good, no count bum,” she wagged a finger in my face. “You stay around here all day long living like some kind of, some king, or, uh”
“Prince,” Danielle said as she walked over to the dresser and got a lighter from the top. She put her boob back in the robe and, in the mirror above the dresser, winked at me while she lit her cigarette. After a hard drag, she turned and blew smoke out into the room between Mom and me.
“That’s it, Danielle. Like a prince! A nobility from Old England.” Mom liked to watch history docu-dramas and crap on by the History channel and, whenever she got in a certain mood, everything and everyone that she didn’t agree with or pissed her off got compared to some high and mighty cunt in “Old England” as she always put it. “And you don’t even have the decency to fix the trash compactor!”
I shook my head and took one of my hands from my crotch to rub my temples. It was only 10 in the morning but I already needed something to take the edge off the day. I shouldn’t have been surprised, probably, because Mom was forever doing something boneheaded like believing we had a trash compactor, which we didn’t. The funny thing was, Mom had lived with us since before I got busted, since the beginning of us moving into this dump and she should have known that. I couldn’t begin to think what she mistook for a trash compactor in the kitchen and part of me didn’t want to find out. Dani said nothing but grinned at me, like she and her mom were in on some joke. I rubbed my temples all the harder. “Mom, what trash compactor?”
“What trash compactor, he says. The one in the sink you buffoon.” Mom put her hands on her head like she was the only sane one in the unit. “The one that I was just in there filling with the leftovers of last night’s dinner, the one that you two ingrates didn’t even eat, and as soon as I’ve got the trash compactor loaded up and the sink full of water, lo and behold, if the switch doesn’t even work. Now,” Mom was so worked up that little specks of spit shot out of her mouth like my Dad’s used to when he’d gone on a fairly long drunk and got pissy about something, “what am I supposed to do with a busted trash compactor and a sink full of goop?”
Danielle’s face had drooped all the time, like she was starting to realize this wasn’t some kind of prank that she was willing to jump in on. Long and slow, she took a last drag from her smoke and stubbed it in the bedside ashtray. “What trash compactor,” she asked, like she hadn’t just heard me say the same thing so Mom goes through her story all over again. Dani didn’t bother listening to it all and from out in the kitchen where she’d gone to investigate, she shrieked like she stepped in some of Sir Reginald’s shit that he’d carted out of the litter box.
“See,” Mom yelled at her but didn’t go out so it was just me and Mom in the bedroom and me still with my hand on my junk. Danielle didn’t make another sound and, after a short and scary quiet, the upstairs neighbor did something that sounded like running a vacuum for about thirty seconds in the same spot. “See,” Mom shrieked, “won’t budge an inch, will it?”
Danielle practically flew back into the bedroom and made for the dresser, cussing about everything. She opened drawers, slamming them two or three times after pulling out her work clothes and throwing them on top of the other dirty laundry on the floor. When she’d finished with her fit, she turned and her robe was almost off her jugs again and her work outfit was strewn on the floor. She and Mom both looked at me like I was the dumbass who filled up a sink with microwave lasagna and ran water over the top of it.
I gave up trying covering my business at all and put my hands on my hips. If Mom was bothered by my shriveled dick, she didn’t show it. “It’s ‘cause we don’t have a trash compactor. And trash compactor’s probably not even the thing you’re thinking of,” My voice started going up and I thought, “fuck it all” and I let her rip, full volume, “you’re probably thinking of a fucking garbage disposal and we don’t have one of those either. I swear, you two act like we live in some kind of swanky digs that has working appliances or some shit. Trash compactor. Garbage disposal. Christ you dumbasses, when did the fucking installation crew visit? In the night while we were asleep?”
“You watch your mouth about Mom,” Danielle said.
“You ingrate,” Mom started, “I should just call Jeff and have him violate you back so you can stop messing up my only daughter’s life with your no work, no ambition, sit on the couch all damn day, self!”
“Mom, lay off Mike already!”
“Jesus you two, can you, can you…” but I stopped because I realized there was some kind of little, light tapping coming from somewhere – tap, tap, tap, then a pause, tap, tap, tap, over and over again. It was the upstairs neighbors rapping on their floor with what sounded like a broom handle. I’d had about four times of enough and I looked up at the ceiling, “I’ll yell in my own fucking house.” I pointed, both hands, one at Dani and one at Mom, “You two, get out. Go to the gas station or wherever and leave me in peace get dressed and try to fix the fucking sink.”
“You listen here,” Mom started but I cut her off with my hand pulled back like I was about to haul off and slap her shit. There was no way I’d really hit her because then she would have ratted me out to Jeff but she’d been around guys who used to rough her up a little so I knew it would get her to pipe down. I never liked doing it, but it worked, and good thing too because that morning I needed quiet, right that second. Mom clammed up and kind of stepped back a little.
I felt bad about that, so I went on quieter, “Get out. Let me put some clothes on and unfuck the sink that you ruined.”
“But I,” she started again.
“Go. Get me a pack of smokes or something. Jesus. That’s how much you’ve pissed me off. I need a whole pack of smokes to myself.”
Dani bent over and scooped up her clothes in one arm. “Come on, Mom. Leave him alone if he’s going to be an asshole.” They both went out, Dani slamming the door so hard that it rebounded off the jamb. From the living room Danielle said, loud enough for me to hear, “He probably can’t even fix it anyway and we’re going to call Kurt again,” before settling into a general bitch about everything. In a minute or two, they headed out of the front door, slamming that one too. After trying to turn over the truck about fifteen times, the engine finally caught and they peeled away from the apartment block.
“Thank the fuck Christ,” I said and flopped back, spread eagle, on the bed sheets that smelled like they hadn’t been washed in about six months. “No winning,” I said to the ceiling. A few minutes after that, the upstairs neighbors climbed into their bed again and a little bit later the noises were all squeaking and grunting again. The urge to fap again rose with their noise and I answered it. By the time they were at it full tilt, I blew, but afterward felt all shit inside. The load fell on my shirt and I left it there to dry on its own. There wasn’t much and, really, I didn’t feel like moving. The noise upstairs didn’t stop for some time, getting to the point of annoying but I didn’t reach over to bang on the wall again either. I just laid there, listening. After a while the cat came to the door and meowed like he needed something.
“Not now Reggie,” I said but he wouldn’t shut up and the neighbor chick got real loud with encouraging the guy, like he was having a tough time getting his second nut of the morning. I put Dani’s pillow over my head again and wished God was real so I could pray to him to kill those horny fuckers up there and give me a little peace before I had to deal with the sink.
I knew he wasn’t, though, so I didn’t bother.
Benjamin Toche is a baffled man who can be seen wandering the streets of his current hometown and talking to birds. He received an MFA in creative fiction writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage and his work has appeared online in some places, in print others. Internet him for further details.