always remember the night-drive down to Florida that one time. My dad had
a great big Chevrolet Caprice. Todd and I were thirteen, in the back seat, Mom
and Dad up front. The AC was on, so we had a blanket on us to sleep, Mom’s
flat, thin face resting against the seatbelt shoulder strap, Dad’s flabby, bald head
pointed straight at the road. Stupid loud people were voicing their opinions
on a talk-radio show, debating capital punishment.
The dark rolled around the car like oily water, and Todd was pretending he
was in deep sleep. I have my
hand on his crotch. He is way past hard, and I am so fucking excited, just
lit up like Christmas, but have to be silent. I have to keep it totally
inside, which only makes me more gleeful, more alive doing it. I mean, Mom
and Dad are like inches away. But that only makes it better, like the more
careful and quiet I have to be, the more I can feel what it is to be alive all
The silence and the secret blossom out like jellyfish, puking out their own
beautiful shapes, and Todd and I are two boys in a submarine in black
water with voices going away. I pull the blanket over my head, going under,
smelling our bodies mixing their smells. Heat, hair, sex. My hand stays
there till I slip my fingers under his briefs, and eyes closed he moves
to make it easier. I am inside his underwear suddenly, holding it. I start
jerking him off, and I hear him tell me in a whisper to take my underwear off.
I do it. Todd starts stroking me, and I wonder if Dad knows, if Mom has woke up,
and I slip my head out from the blanket and there they are: scarecrows, with
the radio blaring, “I think Bob if the death penalty was a deterrent . . .”
The car is going seventy-five miles per hour.
I go back under. The joy, knowing we are going to Florida. The joy of deaf-mute jellyfish who don’t know any better. The anticipation, this feeling as
we jerk each other off, trying to keep quiet, trying not to move even as we
move to get at each other, the motions under a blanket the only movement in
Finally Todd comes all over my hand, and I come all over his. I smell the
cold-mushroom staleness of it, then lift my head out of the blanket for air.
Our bodies twitch as we relax into the smooth ride of a luxury car.
Mom and Dad say nothing, oblivious. A sign outside passes in the dark,
welcoming us to the lovely state of Georgia.