By Ray Pride
Johnny Ratones is humping my leg with quiet urgency as I simmer on the porch swing waiting for Sally to come from the kitchen with the smokes she’d stowed just above the freezer with the taped-down tearsheet of Johnny’s Cash’s extended digit. Even in the worst neighborhoods, sitting on the back porch on summer can be the most romantic escape. I miss having my own back porch, I think, as lightning lights, thunder cracks. The filthy black Lab hopes to bite into my thigh as I shake off his embracing forelegs.
It’s late July and as humid as dew on an impossibly small and perfect peach. Small soft drops scatter. This is how I like summers to be. Now the shearing squawk of the screen door: “Are you fucking with my dog?” Sally’s half-joking, and the dog hears the semi-serious part. Johnny looks dumbly up to her, eyes wide, tongue askew. The last paw falls from my leg. The rain bursts and flies into all our faces, sudden, welcome relief. Cue whimpers. Sally’s coal brightly flies. “Bad boy. Bad. Bad dog.” The wine bottle falls over as he attempts an escape. We kiss and she tastes like Marlboro Lights and buttercream frosting and pretty spit.
It’s good in the middle of a thing to think that you shouldn’t ought to be thinking in the middle of a thing, bashing the walls down the hall: bruises, perhaps, as shove push and pants and skirt and panties fall. Naked as warm-wet wind tousles the curtains in the open window. The bed is western land. We fuck through the “Sopranos,” on in the other room. She knows this episode. The sound is down. I hear sounds but register only Edie Falco’s timbre from the buzzy set.
The dog sniffs at my feet, cold wet at arch. Sally doesn’t want foreplay but urgent now. Fuck cunnilingus and forget fellatio. “Put it in.” The boy remembers: July’s ripest watermelon cracking open readily as the sky past midnight in Kentucky childhood, sugar, wet. Don’t remember. Here, now. Sally, wet. The bed. Mattress where sheet’s pouring to floor. Feet spilling. Wet. Thundercrack. Downpour. Gush. Wet. Not blood not piss but girl. Commingle. Ratones gently howls. The bed a sea awash in an ocean, her, me, pulses, pulsing, sensation, two come. Silence with five-seven-nine seconds of white like daylight’s explosion and the crash of thunder down the block and up her spine and down mine and the funhouse jumble of the bed as the dog cowers violently beneath the frame, rumbling the mattress. Float, not swim. Release. Let go. Hold me. Let go. Summer. Make this last the summer.