Theme X: Love & Sex, “Near”

By Sebastian Muriel

Norman was playing video games when a domesticated pack of confused girls swarmed into his apartment. Half-eaten breasts bounced as countless bloody teeth clenched on bottles of alcohol. Norman quietly scooted closer to his video game. Brad, his roommate, came in last with a girl’s ass clasped in his hands.
The girls sucked on liquor with determination and let their breasts speak for them. Brad threw Norman a bone with his smile. Norman smiled like a doll and wiped a drop of girl blood off his cheek. Brad sniffed his finger, wrinkled his face, and grunted. Girls’ teeth flared and gnashed, eyes rolled back and quivered.
Brad browsed through asses and breasts. Norman browsed what game mode to play on his video game. Brad waved his smelly finger and led the girls to his bedroom, one by one. They formed a line and panted like starved dogs. Norman politely offered them something to drink while they waited. When Brad finished, the girls limped out of his room, mouths guzzling with spit, sperm, and tears. Norman offered them something to drink. They said they were fine. His video game lit up. He won.
Later that night Norman puked out his heart and frantically prayed.
Norman stutteringly prayed while he peed in the urinal. A clearly faked cough mixed with a dainty fart echoed from one of the stalls behind him. Norman’s stream wavered for a bit. His prayer ceased.
“I know you’re in there.” Norman said.
The man in the stall cleared an already clear throat.
“It’s okay.” Norman farted. “See? You’re in a safe place.”
The man flushed and pooped loudly. At the end of the flush, he cleared his throat. Silence.
“I still heard you,” Norman said, zipping up his pants. They met eyes through the crevice of the stall. “What’s your name?”
Norman empties his savings and flies across the world to visit her. They kiss and hug. He gives her a teddy bear. One of her friends tells Norman that his name is Steven. Norman asks her but she denies infidelity and says she became an actress. Norman says that’s ridiculous and takes a step towards the airport. She cries and screams that she works on Broadway and that she acts as Steven’s girlfriend. Norman says that he’s sorry and congratulates her. She jumps and claps her hands in glee. Norman smiles and rips out his teeth. One by one.
She slices off fat from her legs and hips with a magazine. Fat in the trashcan. Tears on the mirror. Norman stabs himself with porn and opens his mouth to be fed. His jaw locks as he waits endlessly. Bone makes his keyboard dusty.
Do you like me now, she says.
I like you just the way you are, he says.
I can change, she says.
Okay, look like this one, he says.
Okay, she says.
She slices, discards, cries. Norman stabs, opens, starves.
How about now, she says.
Ah aggghhhh awwww, he gargles.
I love you, she says.
Guuuuhhhhh gggrrrghhh, he chokes.
I don’t know if we’re good for each other, she says.
Sure we are. Just look like this one, he says.
I’ve ran out of skin, she says.
You’re getting my bed dusty, he says.
Sorry, she says.
Spread your thighs, he says.
They’re bones, she says.
Spread them, he says.
Okay, she says.
They’re dry. Go find a dog, he says.
Okay, she says.
We’re done, he says.
Okay, she says.
But first, pray with me, he says.
Norman woke up with a hard-on and prayed hard. No one ever explained to him what it really meant to fear God. He thought himself low and dreaded the anticipated divine blow to his shaved face.
He dragged a whip with him wherever he went. If he thought of rest, whip; of desire, whip; of recognition, whip; of hope, whip. The flesh on his left arm was lacerated to the bone. His right arm was strong from whipping and masturbating. Though he never talked about his masturbation.
He had used up his girlfriend to pieces. He stopped watching porn, but still masturbated every night. This was the one part of him he disliked. Norman spent the days after his breakup repenting, whipping, and building his own cross to crucify himself on.
When Brad walked in on Norman masturbating and praying, he offered him a drink and a girl. When Joe saw Norman’s remains of his left arm, he told him he needed to get a place of his own. But Norman stayed true to his penance.
Norman thought himself low and spent nights in frightful prayer, tearing away at his hair. Fingers cut into his eye sockets. He ran outside until he puked three times. He purposely cut his nails to the flesh.
Norman’s Bible collected dust from his bones for three years. One morning he dusted it off cracked it open. He tucked in his hard-on. Romans 8.
“Oh, the Gospel. Right.” he said. He threw his cross out the window, cut up his whip, put a cast on his left arm, and went to a support group.
Norman didn’t pray as he walked to his first support group meeting. Brad was across the street walking his girl on a leash. Joe threw his kid’s baby teeth out his apartment window.
Norman was finally near a salvation not of his own. When he crossed the street, a car struck him and killed him instantly. Joe and Brad died that day, too.

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