ANIMIZE Magazine Volume 1 Issue 6 June 2016 - Page 15

Brady at 26: This is my Friday evening (A).

Brady at 12: It was a Friday evening (B)...

BRADY.

His parents were away and entrusted him to the neighbors, Luke took Brady to Dairy Queen in the convertible, the hemp-chain, the key turning the ignition like his mind turning the two Fridays (A/B) into one, sitting folding in a chair (A), a car, going for a DQ Blizzard (B), really bad Thai food for lunch in Brooklyn (A), Disney villains, The Legend of Zelda (B), cute guy centipedes, mid-forties roaches (?), back to Brady sitting (A), Brady back then and little Brady (C?), there was Luke, the dream of Brady's Brady and Luke, plain Brady's Luke, even Brady's Brady swirling into soft-serve as his parents, away, alone with Luke, just the two of them, the smiling older men sitting now forming a circle in his mind, every point a beginning to a picture totaling out of itself with colors escorting on a wheel of creation connecting like fingers on hands in laps on folding chairs.

LUKE.

The car parks in a parking lot of a hotel off the highway, twelve year old Brady’s two legs talking, the right not wanting, the left wanting Luke, as they make their way to the door.

Then, in an instant, like one at entering a room:

it wasn’t Luke, it was Luke and another, older guy, kissing Luke, now kiss him, tag-teaming, wait, the dream Brady held in his heart-hand, with nowhere else to go, turned off and dragged into the corner of a dead-bolted room and blinded, while his body remains on the bed, arms held, pretty boy wants it, you want this, say it, you want it, I want it, yeah, get down, put, stick it out, there it is, like that, you like it, I like it, you want it, I want it, keep it out, no, hold him, do what he says Brady, take it, open up. [....]

It is different than he needed once to remember and much the same, sitting as one among the other men in the circle who are now telling Brady it’s okay, keep going, you’re safe, letting his mind unhook his mouth into lock-jaw and gutter out the boy-white of a long-held Brady little, recounting in real-time the real-life of

watching Luke’s hug hold him down as a stranger in a backwards baseball hat fucks from behind his twelve year old self in a Holiday Inn, pushing and revving, the smell of suntan lotion used as lube mixing with spit and searing the lining of a rectum fissuring and bleeding,

screaming No No No.

Brady stood in the doorway looking at the men sitting around in folding chairs forming a circle in the basement

of a church in Brooklyn. He knew this wasn’t for him the instant he walked in. For one, a lot of the men were

older, older by far, wearing baseball hats, smiling at each other, and heeeying across the room. Don’t be

judgmental. Okay. There was a cute one, Brady noticed, over there, a bit younger, mid-forties maybe, don’t look,

thick eyebrows, beardy, black. Still going for the older guys, teddy bear daddy save me. Well, it was a Friday

night after all and if nothing else maybe he could get a date out of this, this, meeting prayer drum circle thing,

recommended to him by a student therapist at NYU. He was told to go into it with an “open mind” so Brady

knew not to expect much. It’d been too long going anyway, this stuff. Nothing is anything really but another

room to talk about what happens. The difference always in every room was Brady knew what had happened

when he was twelve with his neighbor back in Tennessee, it wasn’t covered up or repressed or anything – in fact,

Brady was into it, remembered that he wanted what had happened, it was fun, he was fine. Brady loved sex ever

since he could remember, ever since, really early, since, don’t know, around that time he fell in love for the first

time with that same neighbor named Luke.

LUKE.

Luke was older, nineteen and beautiful. His hair was dirty and dark and he always seemed to have a

tan. Luke had a car too where the top could come down, convertible, yes. He had a girlfriend, lot of

girls, and around his neck he always wore this hemp-chain with like a sandy shell in front and Brady

would sometimes dream of putting it on for him up in Luke’s room after his shower or riding in Luke’s

car and staring at Luke’s thumb gripping over the steering wheel and his tanned right big toe peaking

out of his sandal going down on the gas pedal pushing and revving the engine in a parking lot just the

two of them.

Then nothing. It was nothing or had been nothing or nothing was like that now for Brady. Seemed like a long

hotel hallway of nothing, in fact, his life since then, year after year of night after night without another dream

feeling real. Which is maybe why he was here on a Friday in a church basement being told to open his mind. Or

maybe it was the doing escort stuff, which yes, occasionally he did. Craigslist. Always safe, but maybe not so

safe soon, there was more work, more money the other way. Truvada. No, the reasons for wanting to do it was he

was good at it, that was it, which, it was a job, and it paid well. Yes, the money, sure. No, he wasn't going to gag

the fag forever and certainly it was a No if it was something Brady was doing to repeat what happened, or have

Luke’s arms around him, but yes, sometimes yes, alone in his bed with just the sheet watching Family Guy

maybe he didn't feel worthy of something else or better Thai food but he was tired of the psychology of it, fuck,

the narrative written into everything we do. What if it was nothing, PEOPLE ON A FRIDAY, what if behind and

beyond the fucking and the crying and the laughing and the lube was just plain vanilla in a cup no sprinkles

nothing? Can't a person live without having to mean it? Couldn’t he just be Brady without another Brady in his

mind that never shut up? Yes, there were things he knew, picked up, wrote down on post-its to carry with him

through the shoots, the ladders, but why the need to talk about it? The other men, older, younger, fat, black,

cute, latino, lonely, could sit around, act it out with socks on their hands if they wanted to but it wasn't for Brady.

He was smart and alert and aware, it wasn't the same. He knew he could do it different, unknot his life on his

own like he did the bed sheet Luke ripped and tied around his hands.

But Brady sat. He sat and sat and sat there stewing sitting listening to the men in the circle go round and round

the impossibility of getting around it. They talked, oh they talked, about their Mondays and an older step-

brother, talked about their Tuesdays after soccer practice, how it was Wednesday morning mass they’d be alone

with Father Ralph, they talked about talking with their husband last Thursday about just how far they’d come.

Brady turned over his turn coming up inside himself, what was it, this, don’t touch me, talking-fucking-thicket

through which all shitheads of the human kind traverse and trip, whinny, wail, as they grope about in the dark

getting from one door of the garden to the other. What could he do different than anyone else? His hands were

tied.