Fiction

Hiked, On Premises

Outhouse
Toilet and diaper and snack and shoes and coats and hats and scarves and swingset and birds and airplanes and damp lawn and a little girl sitting on his full bladder bouncing bouncing chortling face framed by winter pastel blue sky going pink. He won’t interrupt this by going to the bathroom.

* * *

I am not going to make it. I just get myself undone before I pee all over the side of the hill. Mountain. A deluge splashing on my boots. I wonder now that I held it so long and if I could have held it a little longer. I wonder if my yard deer will track me here, if they are that attached to my salt when there is surely other salt to be had, other salt in the sea. I am not the only person peeing outside. Surely. Part of me wants to be, part of me thinks how sad, most of me is relieved.

* * *

Palo bouncing on his bloated mind. Not on his mind but in the back of it. Less bouncing than a low steady pressure. An ache. Not in the back of it. Not in the slightest. Below it or behind it or before it. In the outside of it.

* * *

I put myself away. I feel remarkably better. Having peed, I do not know whether to go up or down. But for one thing, all my pee is below me and none above. And for a second, I find that after the great release of a good hard long large productive pee, I still need to pee. And badly. And the top is much closer than the bottom, I can only hope, even if there is no evidence to corroborate that statement.

* * *

The clouds have broken, the Author realizes, if the sky is blue and pinking while his daughter sucks his nose, and then he feels a sense of disappointment when he realizes how overused that line is and how much he’s attracted to it and how few people care and how if he used it no reader would in truth fully know what he meant.

* * *

What I am saying in my own way and I know saying it straight will not clarify anything but will make it less worthwhile than if you got it on your own but I am afraid you will not get it, which is not an insult but is indicative of my own faithless need, the need to go to Antoinette is related to or proportional to or similar to or subservient to but not identical to or equivalent to or the same as my need to pee. Which is unspeakable.

* * *

He knows he is succumbing to temptation but as soon as his wife walks in the door he steals off to the bedroom and closes the door to dash off some ink, after he goes to the bathroom. What he calls ideas, what take the shape of words. About what Palo is doing to Antoinette, what Antoinette is doing to Palo, what Palo is doing to Reb. One must embrace temptation if one is to express, convey, or just write about temptation, he believes, or would if he were tempted to take a moment to put into words what he believes he believes, if only as justification for having embraced temptation, but instead he is writing down ideas.

Mary suffers his disappearance quietly or bears it with contempt or indignation or doesn’t mind his absence or doesn’t notice or doesn’t care; he doesn’t know; he’s not her, and he’s not there with her triaging children. He’s upstairs writing about the slap of pelvis against buttocks and the give of skin and a cry in the woods somewhere between anguish and ecstasy and a stick posted in a box and an exhalation somewhere between a gurgle and a grunt and an inhalation that is a definite gasp and a collapsing under the weight of a limp body, all feeling and experience and blood drained and concentrated in one thumb-sized location. The Author is writing and ignoring his own bodily reaction to what he writes because he wants to see what happens to a man when he ruins his life by the choices he makes.

* * *

For how long I walk and climb, I do not walk and climb that long. Maybe an hour, based on the sun. Which I seldom see. Antoinette has long since completed her toilet when I enter her abode. Antoinette is on all fours, skirt hiked around her hips, bare rear hiked high. This is when it happens, but due to your presence I am not going to go into it.

* * *

The Author has never thought about why he is writing Affair, which is a lie. He has never thought hard enough to measure out a reason, to explain the process, to list his ingredients in so many words. Which boils down to a common self-criticism of him: he doesn’t think hard enough. In contrast to a common criticism of him, which reduces to he thinks too much. He may not agree with the justification of why he is writing which he cooked up to conclude his last paragraph. But it is not really his choice, since he is writing about himself in the third person and inexplicably and ineffectually cutting in cooking clichés and limiting himself to being the Author. Still, it may not be why he is writing Affair. He isn’t the type of author who works off a recipe. Which is to say he isn’t the type of author who works off a premise, which isn’t very helpful, kind of like premises, which are much less helpful than recipes, especially when trying to clarify the premise.

* * *

Except to say that Antoinette is not on all fours skirt hiked around her hips bare rear hiked high. That is a fantasy and untrue. That does not happen in life. Which is why it is a fantasy. And I would not inform you about it if it did happen, so you would not know it was happening even if you had suspicions. Your suspicions are why it is your fantasy.

What is true is she has long since completed her toilet. What else she has done is stacked the sticks she helped me with artfully in a corner like cords of wood. She does the same with the sticks I hold. She does the same with the sticks stuck in my pants, which you will recall and which should have been a clue as to the impossibility of jumping right into Antoinette upon my arrival without due process, besides the notion which is not just a notion but a bodily need of my still needing to pee, after she lovingly extricates said sticks from said pants.