Disclaimer: Erotica is not a how-to manual.  I find, when you want to know something, you can often just ask.  ;)  


Part I

Everyone seeks it.

It's obvious in the boys in the locker room, flexing their muscles as the hot sweat runs down. But it's in other places too.

Let's say they smash one of the small kids into the locker. He goes home and yells at his little cousin. She cries, but later tattles to her mother. The mother touches her husband with her hands, but really she is touching his mind, spinning him so that he remembers to discipline the boys of the world.

He trains the boys twice as hard the next day.

It's not always a perfect circle like that; it's not always fair--and it's not always that obvious.

But right now, as I sit on the locker room bench, I can't stop thinking about it.


And you know what's underrated?

Giving up.

Have you ever played a dull game that takes forever and no one will let you quit? Like Monopoly or something? That's life, in a nutshell. There is another boring game that is literally called Life, probably to be ironic. It has a stupid rainbow circle you spin every turn to determine what mileage your car gets.

I am so fucking sick of it.

I am tired of spinning the stupid life wheel; the great circle of destinationlessness. That's probably not a word, but it should be.

I don't like merry-go-rounds anymore. I'll make a new ride called the sad-stop-block. You just sit in an empty cube and think about your life until you can't stop laughing.

"Earth to Travis," Calvin says.

My eyes jump as I see him sitting down next to me. He's shirtless; I can see the swimmer's build; the flowing manifestation of muscles that seamlessly connect his surging chest to his soft neck to his thin face. It's easy to get lost in the dust flecks that live in the latticework of his blue eyes. It's weird looking into the little pieces of someone's eyes like that. It makes you forget who they are for a second; then the next second, you know them a little better than you ever did before.

"Hey Calvin," I say, nodding my head. I bite my tongue a little.

Calvin and I used to be good friends, but things change. For instance, his wayward blond hair used to make him look boyish; now it made him look bookish.

Other than wrestling, we have just about zero things in common now. One can be enough, but he is in a higher weight class and the team has a lot of people. By the time people split off according to who is better and whatever other differences, Calvin is worlds away from where he once was.

In fact, everything seems worlds away from what it once was. I just feel so far away-from everyone and everything.

It feels like life is one big game--one big farce-that people endow with meaning for the hell of it, despite all evidence to the contrary. We are born caught up in it, like a game piece sitting where it was put on a board, and we die trapped in it, like a checker getting jumped.

"Travis, do you still have your mokimon cards? My cousin is collecting them and I sold mine off a few years back, and I was thinking-"

I sigh. "You can't have them because I already gave them away to MY cousin."

There is a blunt voice from the shadow looming above us.

"Calvin, why are you talking to this tool?"

I look up.

It's Zane. It's hard to get past his red hair, styled into a Mohawk with dozens of twisting spikes. Instead of highlights, he has what ought to be called highdarks; the tips of his hair are still black from when he dyed his hair jet black a little over a month ago. His green eyes are so brutal I can barely look at them.

His muscles are cut-unlike Calvin, his dense, liberal build casts fierce, slicing shadows this way and that way across his chest. The effect is accentuated by the tattoos on his pectorals. He has a yin-yang: the light half is a crescent fire sun and the dark half is a crescent water planet, with little beads of one another at each others' core. He also has an apple falling onto Isaac Newton's head from a spiral-rooted tree.

Like his head hair, his pubic hair is also mostly buzzed, which I can see clearly because he is completely naked, as he has been for the last couple weeks-as though he is trying to taunt me. His big round balls bounce as he moves, causing his cock to swing a little. It is uncut, longer than average, but more notable because it is fat. I rip my eyes away quickly.

"Fuck off, Zane," Calvin says, rolling his eyes.

Zane has a reputation. His dad's in prison; he's been in juvenile hall himself. If you believe the rumors, his dad has been in the Marines, the Navy, and even the Peace Corp as some sort of James Bond-esque techno spy. I do know he worked at Radio Shack for a while-which isn't quite the same thing. I suspect Zane is perpetuating the rumors, if not conceiving them.

"What does that expression mean, anyway?" Zane asks. "Suppose I decided, 'Sure, I will go fuck off now. I love fucking off. I fuck off hard.' What would that entail?"

"You are such a cock, man," Calvin says.

Zane slaps his cock and laughs, heading to the other side of the walls. We can hear him filling up the urinal from the other side.

"Sorry about that," Calvin mutters, looking down.

I can imagine myself not being on the game board anymore. Not spending every day hoping to turn into a king. I can imagine myself just floating away from the board, and seeing it from afar, not in terms of winning and losing, but in terms of the vast strangeness of the ritual.

"Why are you even talking to me?" I ask.

"Coach is worried about you," Calvin says softly.

Zane walks back. Little beads of piss are still dripping from his cock. The smell consumes me as he walks over.

"What is with you?" Calvin says. He stands, flexing, and pushes Zane in the chest. When he does, it stretches the little world and the apple's edge.

"What the fuck are you on?" Zane says. His eyes twinkle and he bites his tongue.

"I'm not 'on' anything," Calvin says. "Didn't your dad ever teach you to shake your cock? I'm trying to have a conversation here, and it would be a lot easier if you weren't dripping piss on his feet and parading your naked ass around like a shit-faced donkey."

"I think you are just sore because you haven't pinned me for weeks. Maybe you can't anymore."

"I can't focus because your hair is so hideous."

"I'll take what advantages I can get," Zane says, running his tongue over his top lip.

Calvin and Zane pause, and then suddenly burst out laughing. They bump fists and Zane walks away.

I exhale.

I can't help but think how odd it is-to play.

Calvin sits back down next to me.

"What did coach say to you?" I ask.

"He was cleaning out the lockers before Christmas," Calvin says softly. "Said you left your notes in there. Found some interesting stuff."

My eyes flare. "Like what?"

"I don't know; he didn't say," Calvin says.

I wrinkle my lips.

I can't help but wonder why people are what they are and do what they do. And never in my life do people advise me to stop and think, or to bask in the moment, or to come up with my own way of looking at the world. It's always preparation for the next thing; there isn't time to not know what I want; there isn't time to not know what I believe; there isn't time to even be sad or worrisome about it.

And I can't help but wonder if that is part of the way the world perpetuates everything that it is doing; the way forces in the world sculpt me into a working cog.

And as for the electric pretense of a dream, of controlling my own destiny-maybe that is really just a magnet that holds me in a place.

Someone shouts from across the room.

"Yo Calvin!"

Calvin and I turn our heads and he nods at us.


Chris is the hardest for me. I think it's the spot where his carefully trimmed brown hair becomes fuzz as it tapers into the bare skin of his neck. I guess he has two of these places, one at his head, and one at his middle, and they both get me. His golden brown eyes are so soft I feel myself melting into him every time I see him. He smiles-his dimples set--and I feel warm.

I weaken as he walks over, my breath shortening, like I am running.

"Hey Travis," Chris says.

"Hey Chris," I say, keeping my voice steady. "How's life treating you?"

"Pretty good I suppose," Chris says. Chris isn't arrogant, but the cocky way he carries himself, the chipper, flippant attitude, and the casual unearned smiles do paint that picture sometimes.

I fight off the urge to bite my lip and take a glance at Calvin.

"You trying to steal my friends? You want a piece of my status?" Chris asks, his eyes glittering. He is looming in front of me, his dimples casting shadows on his chin.

I look down.

"No-of course not," I say softly.

Chris laughs. "I'm just fucking with you, Travis," he says.

I try to chuckle. Hopefully he can't hear my heartbeat.

Chris turns to Calvin. "Hey man, I'm getting the guys to go to Pit Stop 7 after school today. You better be there or I'll stop inviting you to these things. And then--you will have no one to hang out with but your cousin Sissy."

Chris's eyes linger on me for a moment and I can tell he is thinking of inviting me too. He squints and wrinkles his lips for a fraction of a second as he turns away.

I wait for my heartbeat to return to normal.

"What are you sweating so much still for?" Calvin asks, punching me lightly on the shoulder.

"I'm going to shower," I say softly.

I usually wait a while like this. It guarantees that I can be alone. And on most days, I can spend the between time calming down.

"You aren't alone, Travis," Calvin says. "Just remember that."

I shake my head as I walk away.

The shower is warm and timeless. I wash it all away. No more Calvin, no more Zane, no more Chris, no more children's games.

No more wheels, no more power.

No more God.

Usually everyone's gone when I finish, but this time, I can hear noises. A pair of boots squeaking against the floor. Coach is the only one who wears shoes like that.

I'm in nothing but a towel when he slaps my ass.

"Come into my office," he growls.

"Uncle Ben!" I yell, rubbing myself where it stings.

"It's 'Coach' here, and don't you forget it. I don't want the team thinking you get special treatment."

"Sorry, Unc---Coach," I say softly.

He turns to walk and I follow.


When I get to his office, he gestures to sit down-so I do. He waits for about a minute before he starts talking.

"I found some interesting things in your locker," he says, looking down.

"Such as?" I ask.

He opens his drawer and tosses some papers at me. They were ripped out of my notebook.

"I'm pretty sure that isn't what you are supposed to be writing in the margins," Coach says. "'Benjamin Franklin is a whore?' You titled this next page, 'Our Founding Hypocrites.'"

"Those are my personal notes. Whatever helps me remember for the exams," I say. I speak clearly but fail to look at him.

"And what about this page, where you wrote 'Chris Valdeo will never love me,' seventy three times?"

"What about it?" I say. The smoothness of my voice finally breaks.

"Travis, I am worried about you. You spend all your time alone. Even when you are with the team you make yourself alone. Your mom used to speak so fondly of the times you spent with Calvin, playing games and horsing around. What happened with that? What happened to you? Now you are always in your own world. It is scaring me."

"Don't be worried. And don't be scared. I have everything under control."

Coach looks me straight in the eye and I gulp. "You'd better, Travis. I don't want your mom calling me again."

"She won't."

"One more thing, Travis. You have put on some holiday weight. I wasn't sure if I should tell you in front of the others, but by my measurements you have moved up a weight class. Either lose it or turn it into muscle."

I swallow. I moved up a weight class. That would mean I would be practicing against Calvin, Zane, and Chris. I can't wrestle them.

"I understand, Coach," I say.

"Good," Coach says. He relaxes and stands up, rubbing my hair.

"How I enjoy these pep talks," I say. Then, I get up and give him a hug. He pushes me away after a moment.

"You only get to hug me when you are wearing a medal, son."

I smirk at him and he raises his eyebrows as I leave. I shake my head as I round the corner, where I collide headlong into someone.

"What the fuck, asshole?" he mutters.

It's Zane.

"What are you even still doing here?" I ask.

"Looking for my fucking jock strap. I am missing like three now."

"Is that why you keep walking around naked?" I ask.

Zane looks at me like he just accidentally stepped in me.

"No, fucktard, it's because I'm trying out for an invisible swimsuit modeling competition." He looks into my eyes with those green daggers. "What are YOU doing here? What are those?" he asks, gesturing to the papers in my hand.

"Just some notes on Benjamin Franklin."

Zane raises an eyebrow. He reaches out for them and I turn away.

"Because everyone stays late after practice to hide their notes on Benjamin Franklin," he says.

"Fuck off," I whisper.

"The meaning of that phrase is still lost on me," Zane says. The light in his eyes twinkles.

He slams me back into the locker. I feel the fire rising in my eyes. I push him back; he is on me; the world blurs-bends-rotates.


We are on the floor.

I can feel him flexing into me. I snarl.

He pins me.

"There is a reason your weight class isn't taken seriously," Zane whispers. His breathe is on my ear. He rips the papers from my hand.

He starts looking them over, and I get lost in his eyes, biting my lip.

"Chris Valdeo?" He says softly. He looks at me and his eyes widen. He pushes off of me suddenly, staggering backward to his feet. His mouth is half-open and he is shaking his head.

"Don't tell him!" I yell. I suddenly feel very aware.

"Please Zane."

"Don't tell me what to do, faggot," he says. The surface of his eyes are liquid rage. "I should beat the living shit out of you."

I pull myself up against the locker. "Get it over with then."

Zane's eyes narrow. He smirks.

I see darkness in his half-smile. I shiver.

"I'm not going to," he says at last. "I can't afford to get suspended again right now. Maybe in a week or two. If you piss me off."

"Please Zane," I whisper. "I don't want Chris to know."

Zane tilts his head. "You know-I am not sure I want that either."

He walks away, the papers still in his hand.


God, what is going to happen tomorrow? The walk home is colder than usual. I can hear the wind strangling the leaves, ripping down whatever rogue survivors have yet to fall.

Zane is unpredictable-unknowable.

Hours pass. My parents politely disregard each other at dinner, then quietly ignore me as I recoil into my room.

It's hard to sleep. I look through my old things. I gave most of my old mokimon cards to my cousin Jane, but I had saved a few of the shiny ones. Masctoise, the second amendment turtle. Menusaur, the hippy. Malakazam, the spoon-bending carnie. Mawinz, the cockroach knight. Marizard, the fiery lizard thing. I think that one might be worth something.

Ditzo, the happy pink muffin mokimon. I smile as I run my hand over him.

I put them in my backpack.

I flick the light off, but my mind is still running.

The checkered lines of the windowpane plait the moonlight.

I pull off my boxers and drape them over my face. The smell soothes me. Two of my fingers burrow through the slit like a cock hanging out.

I suck on them softly, trying not to moan.

I run my hand down my naked body. My hand encircles my growing dick and I stroke it slowly. Maybe things will be alright.

Images flash through my mind. Calvin swimming in a tight speedo. Zane pinning me against the locker.

Chris smiling.

No. I can't think about him anymore. It's too damn pathetic.

I try to drive him out of my mind.

I imagine Hiro, my wrestling partner, doing squats. He's Japanese. I feel a pang of sadness, realizing he won't wrestle me anymore.

"Beginning is easy," he would say. "Continuing is hard."

He loved little phrases like that. He would say something along those lines before each of our matches, and they always made me smile.

Frankly, those truisms didn't seem to translate into victories for him.

The new weight class will probably involve a lot less edifying phrases and a lot more of getting slammed.

I conjure an image of the ripped Cuban boy doing crunches, then the beefy Jamaican boy doing pull-ups.

I gulp.

Why do I put myself through this?

Sometimes I wish I was the kind of guy that wasn't attracted to hot guys, or at least didn't fantasize about being such a whore.

In my mind, I imagine Chris exhaling into my ear. My eyes flutter closed.

"I love you."

We whisper it back and forth in my mind.

I snarl. It can never be.

But when I push something out of my mind, something else enters.

Zane laughs, pinning me down.

"Faggot," he growls.

I imagine his grip straining me and I jack my dick harder.

I push him away.

"You aren't alone," Calvin echoes.

I imagine Calvin's breathe on my neck and I gasp.

"I love you," I hear Chris say again.

"Damn it," I whisper, letting Chris back into my mind. I clench my eyes but he won't go away.

"Let me fuck you," he whispers.

"You aren't real," I say, fighting back tears.

I feel him against me, and I arch my back.

"Let me fuck you," I hear again.

I suck harder on my fingers.

"C'mon Travis."

"Fuck me," I whisper at last.

I chew on my fingers. I move my wet hand to my ass and trace it.

My dripping finger grazes my asshole and I whimper, biting down on my tongue.

I push the fingers inside.

"Shit, Chris," I whimper. "FUCK!"

I imagine his arms around me as I tease my hole.

I slowly cycle my fingers in and out.

"Oh fucking hell, Chris," I whisper.

God, I want him so bad.

I want to see his eyes light up when he smiles.

I want to see his dimples cut deep into his cheeks.

I want him to wrap his biceps around me.

I want his muscles to flex into me; to sweat into me.

I want him deep inside me.

"Fuck, Chris."

I pump my fingers into my ass faster, and Chris moves in my mind.

"Fuck," I whisper.

I stroke faster, getting close.

In my mind, Zane is laughing.

"Faggot," he growls.

I imagine Chris's lips on mine.

"I love you," I whisper again.

I'm over the edge. My eyes bolt open. My cum jets out in little ribbons as I shiver in place.

It glistens in the moonlight.

I shake my head and clean it off with my boxers.

I can't help but scowl.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

My fists tremble, and then, in one motion, I rip my boxers in half.

I can't show any weakness tomorrow.

I can't.

I coil into a ball and drift away.


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