by | Apr 7, 2020 | Fiction, Issue Fourteen

It would have been an unremarkable workday, gray and chilly and endless, on a rickety bus headed for east transfer station, if it also hadn’t happened to be the day that a sturdy man vaguely smelling of soup lost his balance, stumbled backwards in an attempt to regain it, and, with full heft, stepped on both feet of a scruffy young man named Volkan, who was seated between a stern-looking woman clutching a purse and a pregnant teenager wearing headphones.

Frozen, Volkan watched the ass approach his face in slow motion, and in a perfect confluence between the searing pain in his feet, the loss of air between a stranger’s buttocks, and the raging boner barely hidden beneath his folded hands — the latter a byproduct of many weeks since he’d last gotten laid and the pretty pregnant girl smelling of citrus and apples now rubbing along his side — Volkan came in his pants the way he hadn’t since his teen years, or perhaps ever, a moan erupting from his throat, making the stern-looking woman raise her eyebrows at him, then look away with an invisible smile.

For days, nay, weeks afterwards, each thought of the event made Volkan’s whole body tremble, so, in an attempt to relive it, he got in touch with a few of his ex-girlfriends, most of whom wanted nothing to do with him, two of whom fucked him in a drunken stupor for old times’ sake, but only one of whom, one whose heart he’d been oblivious to having broken over and over again, was happy to step on him as hard as she could, her heels scraping the top of his feet, but she was too light to cause the pain of tiny bones crushing that he craved, too slight to near suffocate him when she sat on him, and, after she’d suggested holding a pillow over his face, she kept it on a little too long with a little too much gusto, and it all might’ve worked but didn’t, so she and Volkan gave up and fucked in that detached sepia-colored way that two exes fuck after they’ve let each other down though the weakness of their reconnection, and, sure, they both came in the end, but just barely, the sad encounter at least bringing the girl some closure, while Volkan lay there, panting, feeling cold terror slowly rise from that void deep within that used to be fillable with just about any sweaty body nearby, the void that now demanded a very specific blend of trepidation, lust, and pain.

Volkan brought a few burly men home, their large, hairy bodies providing pressure, cutting off air, and while it might’ve worked, it didn’t, because Volkan was never really into men to begin with, and he felt fear that he’d get beaten up for disappointing, mixed with guilt over the hurt of rejection that he could glimpse inside the men’s eyes.

He lived paycheck to paycheck with pennies to spare, so the closest he’d come to hiring someone was buying oranges, apples, and a few cans of soup, which he then offered to a tall homeless woman camping nearby, who looked at him awhile and asked what the catch was, if he would fuck her or kill her or both in return, and he said neither but she would sit on him, to which  she said fine and followed him upstairs, where he heated the soup and cut up the apples and oranges, then had the woman step on his feet, sit in his lap facing outward and eat the soup,  while he jerked off with his eyes closed, letting the smells whirl together inside his nostrils and bring the images back to his mind, and it almost worked, it was almost as good as what he’d remembered, the closest yet, so close that two days later Volkan went out to seek the woman again, only to discover that she had disappeared.

Time passed, the edges of Volkan’s memories grew fuzzy, and, as he slowly accepted that what he craved was like being struck by lightning, a rare and perfect moment unlikely to repeat, he felt that void deep within start to close, his resolve for contentment crusting over it.

It was another unremarkable workday, gray and chilly and endless, when Volkan’s bus broke down and it would be an hour until the next one, so he sighed and grudgingly walked toward a metro station — something he seldom did because he hated trains — but he soon cheered up at the sight of a soup cart parked right at the entrance, the smell of broth slithering behind him down the escalator, tickling his nostrils as he found his platform and planted his feet in a wide stance, and then he caught a whiff of citrus and apples, turned around, expecting fully the pregnant teenager with headphones nearby—

A train plowed into the station, horns blaring, a deafening screech of the brakes, doors opening, someone yelling about a bomb, Volkan rendered frozen and watching, in slow motion, the shock wave of bodies descend upon him and fell him like a sapling, feet, so many feet, heels sharp and soft and many, many, many, on his chest, his gut, his face, thromp-thromp, clack-a-clack-a, bom-bom-bom, breaking his skin, crushing the bones in his fingers and the cartilage in his nose, people shrieking, howling, Volkan crying in pain, so much more pain than he’d ever known, and just before a flat heavy heel crushed his balls, before his ribs cracked and his lungs collapsed, before a six-inch stiletto heel skewered his eyeball on its descent into the brain, Volkan felt the void deep within erupt open, and inside it, against the pitch-black abyss, he saw the stern-looking woman with a purse from that bus, and she was laughing, laughing and twirling, as Volkan screamed through an invisible smile.   


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