Read Clay's Way Online

Authors: Blair Mastbaum

Clay's Way (7 page)

BOOK: Clay's Way
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“I guess.” 

             
 
“I guess?”

             
 
“Uh..
 
I mean... she’s my best friend’s sister.”

           “So?”  He’s quiet for a second.  “Dude, come here.”  He sounds like he’s scheming.  The adventure in his voice inspires me.

             
 
I walk over to the shower.  I feel the humidity and heat, like from a rain forest, drifting out from around and over the curtain, which is dirty with mold at the bottom. 

             
 
Clay rips aside the curtain.  He stands naked in a stream of hot water with a goofy smile.  “Get in.”

             
 
I freeze and absorb flashes of him like photos: Dark pubic hair.
 
His dick, not much bigger than mine.
 
The hair on his legs.
 
His torso.

             
 
I have no control over myself.  I step into the shower.  Instantly, I’m warm and wet.  My clothes get heavy.  Bluish-red hair dye runs down my neck and chest and T-shirt.  My
 
camo
 
shorts turn warm and stick to my legs and hang down low.  My shoes get soggy and squishy.  It’s like some sort of fucked up womb.  There’s no better place to be in the world than this tiny wet, warm, steamy space.  The smack of the water hitting my clothes is deafening.  I look down at the streams running off my T-shirt, then up to Clay.  I stare at him in the filtered light shining through the curtain. We’re only inches apart. 

             
 
“You have all your clothes on.”

I don’t know what to say.  I’m pathetic, desperate, turned on. 

“I feel like God!”

             
 
My dick’s the hardest it’s ever been.  I need to touch him.  I have no control over myself.  I reach out for his chest.  My hand clenches up before it makes it there.  I sort of hit him, my hand fumbling on his bare chest, then falling to my side.  He looks at me, saying nothing. 

Please kiss me.
 

He jumps out of the shower.  His balls bounce as he jumps.  He turns and looks right at me, rubbing his chest with his hand.  “I love you, man.”  He says it like he’s talking to a dog. 

             
 
Involuntarily, my hand goes to my dick--but I can’t jerk off here. 

             
 
Clay dries himself with a dirty towel and steps into some cut-off army pants.  He looks at me and smiles.
 
“Taking a shower with your clothes on.  That’s pretty punk.”

             
 
“Uh... yeah.” 

             
 
He runs out, leaving the door open. 

             
 
For no good reason, I feel like I should cry--maybe because I don’t know what to do after this.  Everything else will be a disappointment. 

             
 
I rinse out my mouth and let water hit my eyes so they get more red.  It’ll make me seem more out if it.  I turn the water off. That was the coolest and weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me.  I get up and walk out of the shower and wipe the fog off the mirror.  I’m dripping with color and water.  I see this
 
shocked happiness in my face.  I stare at the veins in my forearms.  They’re sticking out almost as much as Clay’s.

             
 
I have to find him.  I walk down the hall leaving wet footprints in the carpet.  I look through a half-open door. 

             
 
Clay’s sitting on the floor.  He looks calm.  The carved wooden plaque on the door says
 
STEVE

             
 
I see the guy who’s probably Steve. 

             
 
He looks at home in the room. 

             
 
I walk in, holding my breath, dripping, and shivering a little.  Inside Steve’s room, it’s much quieter than the rest of the house.  A dim lamp is on. The floor’s covered with dirty brown shag carpeting, and there’s lots of ancient-looking records, bongs filled with dirty water, the smell of a million smoked joints, two ashtrays, and cool posters of surfing and bands I’ve heard of, but don’t know much about--the Beatles, the Clash, and Led Zeppelin.  It’s cozy in here, my mom would say, except they’re smoking pot and fucked-up.  That would ruin it for her. 

             
 
I walk in, dripping big drops of water onto the carpet. 

             
 
Clay's lying on his back with his wet armpits open proudly.

Steve sits on his bed, a mattress on the floor.  He leans over his two-foot long bong, holding on with both hands, and takes a huge hit that makes his cheeks go all
 
Skeletor. He looks about 21, and he has brown hair and a chipped front tooth.  Trippy music comes from his big, old speakers.

             
 
“You took a shower with your clothes on?  I’ve done that.”  He laughs.  “You want some dry clothes, little bro?”

             
 
I sense this open way about him. “Sure, man. Thanks.” 

             
 
He reaches behind himself on the bed, and throws me some flowered surf shorts plus an old David Bowie T-shirt that smells like his room. 

             
 
Clay watches me while I change. 

             
 
All I can see is my limp, cold water-shrunk dick and these ugly-looking hairs that have just begun to grow on my inner thighs.  I take my wet underwear off and walk into the shorts as fast as I can, catching my pubic hair on the zipper.  I pull the T-shirt on.   

             
 
Clay laughs and smiles at me.  He looks really fucked-up.  “That’s a trip, man.  You look like Steve.” 

             
 
“You think?”  I straighten out the T-shirt on my shoulders. 

             
 
Steve looks at me and sits up straight.  “I’m pretty cute.”   He says this in a goofy way, then turns around to change the record. 

             
 
Clay lies back, looks at the ceiling, and rubs his chest. 

             
 
I watch Steve put the needle down. 
 
The record scratches. 

             
 
I lie back.

             
 
“This has been Steve’s room since the fourth grade.”  Clay looks around at all the posters.

             
 
“I never had the same room for more than two years,” I say. “My mom likes moving.”

             
 
“Oh, Sammy, you poor little gypsy.”

             
 
“Shut up.”

Steve hands me his huge bong.  You
 
wanna
 
hit?”

“Sure.”  I lean over the huge green see-through tube and suck in part of a big hit and am instantly and totally stoned.  I’m almost scared because now I can’t stop thinking that I’m sitting in a room with two dudes I don’t know--and one of them I’m in love with, and if he finds out, he could be really freaked.  I
 
look
 
around the room to avoid having to make eye contact with Clay or Steve.  “This room has a lot of history in it.”

Steve takes the bong from me, and tweaks up his lighter flame.  “There’s no such thing as history, dude.  It’s always now.”  He hunches over the bong and sucks in another huge hit.

“No, it’s not… it’s right… now.  I just left you behind.”  Clay grabs the bong from Steve, takes a huge gulp of smoke, and lies back.  “Nature is unknowable… Surfing is the only time I’m whole… the only time I’m…at peace.”  He turns around and looks at me, waiting for a response.

The only thing I can think of to say is this haiku I wrote: “Unknowable waves, wake a lonely dog to bark, remind him it’s winter.”

Clay lifts his head.  “You’ve got it, man.”  He looks over at Steve, who’s totally passed out.  He moves the bong under Steve’s desk and lies flat on his back on the floor with his head on the mattress just inches from Steve’s feet. He closes his eyes.

             
 
I’m
 
gonna
 
be in trouble because my parents don’t know where I am.  I wish I lived here.  I lift my head to look at Clay’s smooth stomach and the line of hair above his shorts.             

The next song starts playing.  It seems like it was made for little kids or stoners.  I crawl over and get the album cover.  It’s super trippy.  All the Beatles dudes are dressed up as different fuzzy animals.  I reach up and turn the light out.

             
 
Clay’s passed out with his head on Steve’s futon.

             
 
I guess I’m sleeping in here too
.  Cool. 

The Beatle dudes chant, “Smoke pot,
 
smoke
 
pot.  Everybody smoke pot, smoke pot.”  I fall asleep, slightly spinning from the beer and pot.

             

I wake up.  It’s still dark.  I don’t know where I am.  I lift my head.  I can’t believe I’m here.  The record is over and I can hear the needle scraping softly at the end of the record.  This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.  I look at Clay.  He’s sleeping.  How could I have been sleeping here for so long and not enjoying it?  What a waste.  I look at the clock.  It’s 3:43.  A couple hours have passed, I think.  I whisper, “Clay?” 

             
 
He doesn’t wake up. 

             
 
I lie beside him with my head on Steve’s mattress and softly—like it’s a spiritual experience--touch his chest.  Chemicals rush through my body.  I wish I could jack off, but it’s too risky.

             
 
Still, he shows no sign of waking. 

             
 
I move my hand slowly down his chest, feeling the curves of his muscles.  I trace around his nipples.  He’s hot and a little damp.

             
 
He reacts with almost imperceptibly slow movements. 

             
 
I sit up and hold my face only inches from his skin above his underwear waistband.  I inhale deeply.  It’s perfect, warm Clay-filled air.  I slide my hand as softly as I can down his stomach and I lift up his underwear waistband a tiny bit.  I push my finger in and feel the top of his pubic hair. 

             
 
He thrusts forward barely an inch and takes a deep breath. 

             
 
Someone pounds on the door. 
 
Fuck.
  I jerk my hand away and curl up as fast as I can on the carpet to fake being asleep.  I
 
squint
 
my eyes so they look closed, but I can still see.  I’m shaking.

             
 
Clay and Steve don’t move.  

             
 
Kendra peeks in and takes a photo with flash, then ducks out and closes the door.

             
 
Cool.  Now this is recorded.  It’s permanent.  It’s real.  I wish that photo were mine.

             
 
Steve moans and flops around on his bed.

             
 
I nuzzle into Clay’s side, where his ribs make little ridges under his skin, but he rolls over away from me, still sleeping.

Downstairs, the party rages on.

Chapter 6

 

Fresh summer Sake,

Evening turned fast to morning.

What a hangover

             
 
             
 
             
 
             

             
 
I have a horrible hangover in the morning and I think Clay does too by the look of him.  His eyes are swollen, and he’s walking like he’d do anything to prevent his head from moving too quickly.  I grab my clothes off Steve’s floor.  They’re still soaking wet, dripping all over his records and everything.  I check to make sure doesn’t notice.  Luckily, he’s still unconscious.

             
 
Clay and I walk out over all the passed-out bodies, and get into his truck. 
 
Everything outside looks boring.  It’s back to the real world again, with adult rules and standards about what’s appropriate and all that.  We drive out of the neighborhood and down the road back to Kailua.

             
 
Clay looks dazed.

I feel so stupid.  I wouldn’t have been so daring last night if I wasn’t drunk and stoned.  I stare straight ahead, so he doesn’t have to have uncomfortable eye contact with me.  I watch two girls biking down the street with their surfboards who obviously went to bed a lot earlier than we did.  I don’t want to demand any attention.  I want him to think I’m cool on my own – in my own head, and that the party was no big deal.

             
 
He turns a corner like a maniac and shifts to fourth.

             
 
I look around the inside of the truck, which reeks of smoke and sweat so bad it makes me want to hurl.  The brown dashboard’s sticky and dusty and has all kinds of broken tape cases thrown all around it.  There’s a rash guard with a big rip in it on the floor under my feet.  The back windows rattle like crazy when we drive over any sort of bump and one panel is patched with a piece broke off of an old skateboard.  I watch out the window as we drive through downtown Kailua, basically a couple strip malls and some plate lunch restaurants with local dudes hanging out in front, eating.  As we wait at a stoplight, a girl that sort of looks like Tammy pulls out of
 
Pali
 
Bottle Shoppe, a liquor store where it’s easy to buy alcohol for underage kids. 

             
 
Clay puts his hand on my shoulder and I flinch. 
 
“Calm down, dude.”

             
 
I settle back into the seat.

             
 
He doesn’t move his hand off my shoulder.

             
 
My hand starts to shake.  I have to think about breathing, so I don’t hyperventilate.  I can’t move, even an inch, or his hand might slip away.  I brace myself as we turn again and go over a bumpy section of road where the pipes underneath are being replaced.

             
 
He moves his hand off my shoulder.

             
 
I want to grab it and put it back. 

             
 
He traces over my collarbone with his finger and scrapes along my chest and stomach, down to my lap, where my hipbone sticks out.  He doesn’t look at me, but he slows down and turns a corner more carefully.

I try to situate myself so I can look casual and calm, but it’s hard.  My foot’s tapping the floor like crazy and I can’t stop it.  It’s expressing all the panic and lust and anxiety and joy in my whole body. 

He moves his hand to the top of my leg and rubs down to my knee, with pressure and forcefulness.

             
 
My dick grows in Steve’s shorts and almost pokes straight out the fly.

             
 
He’s
 
gonna
 
feel it if he goes any closer with his hand.  He moves his hand over to the center of my lap and takes my
 
boner
 
in his hand through my shorts.

             
 
A high-pitched ring takes over in my ears and instantly, it feels two hundred degrees in the truck.  I want look at him, but it’s too risky.  I’m afraid he’ll have a horrible frown on his face or maybe he’s teasing me to see if I’ll go along with it, then ditch me.  I have to see.  I look over at him, through my eyelashes. 

             
 
He looks back, not embarrassed.  He has my
 
boner
 
in his hand and he’s looking at me.  This is insane.

             
 
I almost can’t handle this.  I’m
 
gonna
 
pass out. 

             
 
His face looks charged and strong, flushed almost pink.  His eyes look watery and deep, like a Native American’s.  I can see a vein in his neck pumping blood through in pulses.  He looks so alive.  It’s like we’re meeting each other for the first time.

             
 
Everything outside the truck windows turns into meaningless blurs.  

             
 
I can’t believe he can still drive.  “Hi.” I say, without thinking.

             
 
“Hey,” he says back--with a hint of fear on his lips.

             
 
I grasp his wrist. 

             
 
“Fuck!”  He rips his hand away from my crotch.

             
 
I did something wrong. 
 
What did I do wrong?

             
 
He looks in his side view mirror.  “I think your mom’s behind us.”

             
 
I turn my head around to see. “Shit.” 

             
 
She waves to me with a mean look on her face.  She’s taking away my freedom, just when I finally felt some, at the highpoint of my life.  It must be some sort of motherly instinct to destroy her kid’s life.

             
 
Clay pulls over in front of my house. 

             
 
I want to say,
 
I love you, I need you, I want you
 
but I don’t know how he’d take it.  I want to make sure we can do this again.  I have to plan a meeting site, or save money to rent a hotel room. 
 
Something.
 

I can’t go on if there’s no chance of this ever happening again.

             
 
He looks straight ahead and shifts the truck into neutral.

             
 
I don’t know what to do.  “Cool, thanks.”  I grab my pile of wet clothes.

             
 
“De nada.”

             
 
I jump out.  “Aloha.”  I run up to the front door.

             
 
Clay drives off.

             
 
I watch his truck as it rounds the curve out to the rest of the world.  Understanding the world felt so close and manageable just minutes ago.  It’s miles away now.  It’s tied to the back of his truck with wires.

             
 
My mom pulls into the driveway, and stalks me.  “Where’ve you been?”

             
 
I hold the sopping clothes in front of my crotch so she can’t see my boner.  “I spent the night at Clay’s.  I was too tired to come home.”

             
 
She looks disgusted.  “I told you I didn’t want you riding with him.  Don’t leave your room until your dad gets home.”

             
 
I storm off.  “Screw you.”

             
 
“Don’t drip that on the carpet.”  

             
 
I slam the front door on my way in.  I’m on a mission.  All I want to do is beat off.  I go into my room and lock the door.

             
 
Jared is lying on my bed reading a skateboard magazine.

             
 
Fuck.  Everyone’s against me.  No one wants me to
 
come
 
thinking of the boy I’m in love with.  This is a horrible conspiracy.  It’s just
 
gonna
 
build up inside me till I burst.  “What are you doing here?”  I throw my wet clothes on the floor.   

             
 
He sits up and throws the
 
mag
 
on the floor.  “
Don’t come out till your dad gets home
.”

             
 
“Shut up.”
 
             
 
 

             
 
“Why are you so sweaty?”  He stands up with his skinny arms swinging beside him and the veins in his temples popped out.

             
 
“’Cause it’s hot.”

             
 
“You’re breathing heavy.”

             
 
“No, I’m not…
 
So?  At least I don’t look like the Asian son of Frankenstein.” 

             
 
He walks across the room toward me like he’s a sleepwalking monster.  He corners me against my closet.  The back of my head hits the closet door.  “So, you’re an old man now?”

             
 
“Yeah.” 

             
 
He looks at me, closely.  “What’s up with you?  You look different.”

             
 
“Well, my hair’s blue, duh.”

             
 
“My sister said she saw you at Steve’s party.”

             
 
“Yeah, I was there.  Clay took me.”   

             
 
He’s jealous.  I can tell because he won’t look me in the eyes.  “Was it cool?”

             
 
I try to be all mellow about it, like it’s nothing new for me.  I nod.

             
 
“Aren’t all those dudes like big assholes?”

             
 
“You know, man, they’re cool once you get to know them.” 

Why did I say that?

             
 
“Did you do drugs?”   

             
 
“The drugs were unbelievable, coke, pot, hash, whatever you want... name it, it was there.”

             
 
“You should have told me about it.” 

             
 
“Well, you know, you
 
sorta
 
have to know someone.”  Instantly, I feel bad for saying this.

             
 
“Whatever, man. 
 
You
 
kinda
 
have to know somebody
.”  He knows I’m just acting big.  “Wanna
 
see my new drawing?”

             
 
“Sure.”

             
 
He pulls a rolled-up piece of paper from his backpack and unfurls it on my bed.  It’s a huge, half-finished ink drawing of a shark underwater biting a surfboard and a surfer in half.  There’s a little boat with a bunch of kids hanging out in it smoking pot.  They just sit there, stoned, and watch their friend get
 
eaten.  Body parts and organs float around the boat and one kid catches a liver or something on a weighed-down fishing pole.

             
 
“Dude, that’s cool.”  Jared always impresses me, just when I think I’m totally bored with him.  “Actually, those guys at the party
 
were
 
kind of assholes.”

             
 
Jared lights up.  “I knew you thought they were.”  He looks at his drawing, admiring it. 

             
 
“I mean, Clay’s cool--you know him--and this guy, Steve.  He’s pretty mellow.  That was so weird seeing your sister, I felt like...uhh.... well remember when you and I used to sneak out and spy on those parties?  We used to think it would be so cool to be there.  It was weird, once I was there, I didn’t really even have fun, except with Clay.” 

             
 
“I’ve been telling you that for like a year.”  He looks at me like he admires me.  It’s a familiar expression for him to give me. 

             
 
I’m always the one who tries things first.

             
 
“It’s still cool you went, though.  The drugs sound cool.” 

             
 
“They were.  I was so fucked up.”

             
 
Jared laughs in his goofy way, like an old man and cocks his head sideways.  He leans in close to me and whispers, “My sister has some acid if you want to do it soon.” 

             
 
“That’d be cool.”  I’m lying.  I’d only do it with Clay.  I walk over to my door and start to open it.

             
 
“I’ll take the window.”  He’s trying to be cool.  He used to always make fun of me for using it.  He climbs out and his shoelace gets caught on the sill.  He almost falls on his face.  “Fuck!”

BOOK: Clay's Way
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