Have you ever written topless? At your desk, the door to your room open behind you because you are alone in the apartment. Everyone goes to their real jobs and you sit and the bra band is gone and your ribcage can finally open. Did you know that’s supposed to happen when you breathe? Your lungs are bigger than you know. Notebook pages brush the underbelly of your breast.
I only ask because this story is about tits. It ends weird shit and it starts with some smartass hipster poets but mostly it’s all tits in between. Maybe you think you know what that means and I suppose you could be right, who knows.
I used to write normal stuff, with fairies and satyrs and gods and shit. I wrote more than one story about goats. Anyway I’m saying I don’t start stories about tits on purpose. But it was almost midnight and Aiden showed up at Emma’s apartment where everyone but me was already drunk and he’d bought a typewriter from some high school kid online. It came with ribbons and everything for only fifty bucks.
Emma’s apartment should have been an omen, a tiny one-bedroom downtown that she shared with her animator/skate-board-shop-owner boyfriend. It was crammed with vinyl records whose faded covers I didn’t recognize, not that I would anyway. I wouldn’t recognize Justin Bieber standing in front of me. When Aiden arrived later he oohed and aahed over the collection, picking out his favourites for Emma’s record player. In attendance were also Luke and Dionne; they were all poets I’d met in a writing course. When the semester ended we decided to keep in touch, and this was the group’s first attempt at socializing outside class.
“Here’s your prompt,” Aiden said. Aiden the bearded wonder who had pointed ears. Our messiah who had brought us the holiest of all outdated writing hardware. Aiden who read Michael Ondaatje, which pleased Luke, who also read Michael Ondaatje, although neither of them liked The English Patient. I still have never read The English Patient, partly because of them. Aiden was a Campbell. Still is. Matt the MacDonald, also from the class, was absent that night. Perhaps if we’d had the MacDonald in the same room as the Campbell some clannish force of fate would have been thrown off balance, changed the course of history, spared me from what was to come.
Aiden said, “Here’s your prompt,” and pulled a stool up to the coffee table where he plunked the typewriter’s elephant case: “cheeky monkey ice cream.”
It should be said, if only for Aiden’s sake when he reads this, that I hate these games. I hate continuing stories that aren’t mine and I hate improvising and I hate performing on command. But Aiden snapped open the case and unfolded the typewriter over the table and wound a white sheet deep into its belly.
Emma wrote first and then Aiden and then Luke, but Dionne was refusing her turn because her boyfriend had just dumped her. And that’s when I got worried because I realized I would have to follow Luke. A significant proportion of Luke’s poetry is allegorical for sex and the prospect of writing a collaborative sex poem with a group of intoxicated poets I had no desire to see naked horrified me.
As per the rules, when I sat at my typing post, I read only Luke’s text, the rest of the sheet folded back.
|were less than helpful. like modern octogenarians sans teeth and gnawing the air without control. this was only a small bit of what was to come and she had to get home soon. her ice cream was melting.|
|tits, he thought looking at the ice cream bowl. it looks like tits, cleanly scooped and cherry-topped. she’d let it melt again, and it dribbled down the side of the bowl. the monkey watched her eat the ice cream and licked his lips.|