Boomer by Erin Lyndal Martin

Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, September 30th, 2015

"...I come before I know what I’m doing. Never does he look attractive..."

NAILED fiction image by Hyuro


I didn’t know he could run until he was running after me. Or jogging, rather, in this weird stop-motion way. I looked back because I heard someone calling my name, but I didn’t recognize him, a sweaty man in an ill-fitting navy suit. Then he turned his sweaty head, and I saw his face.

It was the face I’d first encountered at the restaurant that night, a face so ugly that I can call it ugly with complete objectivity. There’s no nice way to put it. It’s asymmetrical, with deep lines and several bulbous moles. And then there’s a mustache that makes him look worse than an aging ex-porn star. It’s sloppily groomed and graying and uneven, and maybe it hides more gigantic moles and therefore serves a purpose. Most likely it’s just bad facial hair.

But he introduces himself, a businessman in town with no one to eat with, and offers to pay for my meal. Just like that. I’m not ugly in that profound way but I’m also not deeply pretty, either. I guess I looked harmless enough, though. Ergo, dinner. Ergo, the swordfish. Ergo, conversation about the small hobby farm he has, his wife (who doesn’t get much air time, I notice), his kids (ditto), his dog, who he shows me pictures of on his phone. I eat my food and have an acceptable amount of drinks but not too many. It’s raining hard now, and he offers me a ride home. My bike is safely locked up at the co-op, so I accept. I don’t like to bike in hard rain.

He—I can’t remember his name for the life of me—drives me home in the downpour. He pulls around back like I tell him to, and it doesn’t even occur to me to ask him in. It also doesn’t occur to me that he’d like to be asked in until I open the door to get out, thanking him for the ride and dinner, and he makes one last, desperate attempt at whatever it is he’s attempting. He pulls me to him by the waistband of my pants, and before I know what’s happening, unzips them and puts his hand inside. I’m thinking about his wife, about whom I know nothing, and I’m thinking about his moles and garish mustache. But at the same time, my body is replying yes!  The sensation of having my labia parted is so foreign these days, but so familiar at the same time. I come before I know what I’m doing. Never once does he look attractive to me.

What now, I wonder. Do I have to return the favor? Stick his dick in my mouth? I reach for his pants and he helps unbutton them to reveal his crooked member, still sleeping like a baby snake. I lackadaisically curl one hand around it, feeling for any change. I hope he can’t get it up. I play with his dwindling cock some more but nothing happens. When he lets out a sign of frustration, I remove my hand.

“Sorry,” I say.

“Too much beer,” he says. “I shouldn’t drink at my age.”

I was looking for something reassuring to say, but mostly I was looking for a way out of the car. I could see my door and my porch light and all the wonderful things that were all mine and that he would never see.

“It’s cool,” I finally say. I put my hand on the door handle again. “Listen, dinner was great, and I hope you have a good time while you’re in town.”

He says some things about this being amazing or wonderful or some other over-the-top adjective I can’t recall. I blocked it out. It was decent swordfish and a mediocre orgasm. A pity orgasm; I revise.

My body and my mind stopped thinking about the pity orgasm, his grimy hands, his mustache looming toward me. No wonder, then, I didn’t recognize him months later and in broad daylight. He crossed the street to get to me, jogging against the pedestrian signal, dodging cars until he caught up with me on the curb.

We exchanged hellos and how-are-yous. Boomer! I suddenly remember. That’s the nickname his friends have for him!

Then he looks at me and asks, “Why did you run away from me?”

“I wasn’t running. I just didn’t hear who called my name.”

“After that night. I gave you my card. I thought you’d be in touch.”

“Look,” I level with him. “I never meant for anything like that to happen between us. It’s just, well, my body kind of let you in, even though my mind wasn’t sure.”

I thought it would be cruel to meet his eyes, so I watched the sweat on his hairline instead.

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If you enjoyed this piece, then you might also like “From the Streetcar” by Stephen O’Donnell, which can be read here.

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Erin Lyndal MartinErin Lyndal Martin is a poet, fiction writer, and music journalist. More of her flash fiction can be read in Literary Orphans, Smokelong Quarterly, and Cease, Cows.


Matty Byloos

Matty Byloos is Co-Publisher and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. He was born 7 days after his older twin brother, Kevin Byloos. He is the author of 2 books, including the novel in stories, ROPE ('14 SDP), and the collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss ('09 Write Bloody Books).