(Special note: This story references my real name, Karolis Gintaras Zukauskas.)
When they shut off his heat, I made love to Cam on the floor. Instant goosebumps from the cold linoleum, and my skin so electric, the touch of his callus hands so coarse. This final failure meant something was lost forever...the next step was eviction, and then who knew? But I didn’t care—I meant it when I said I was his. Cam bit my earlobes, pressed my neck and temples, kissed my eyelids, the bridge of my nose, and his shivering hands took my shoulders. He whispered, called me his girl, held me so tight that our bodies grew warm, or so I could continue writing, lying to you, indulging in this fiction when there is only one bitter and blue truth:
The bastards have turned off my heat. The only bed partner I have is my own visible breath.
And I’m not at all female. I’m a white guy, heterosexual; only air is more common here in Illinois. As you can see above, my name’s Karolis, not Cam. I’ve definitely tricked you, but face the facts: if I had introduced myself and said they’ve turned off my heat, gentle reader, unable to pronounce my name, you would have given exactly one shit’s ass about my freezing condo. But change things around, allow a woman to tell how she is screwing (You imagined her gorgeous, didn’t you? Naomi Watts, maybe?) some guy named Cam and all’s perfect. No reason to flip the page. And so, to continue:
Cam’s callus fingers dug into my hips and I pressed my heels into the small of his back. I had let go, abandoned every thought, given myself to him completely. My comfort eased him—I had never seen him so gentle and manly at the same time, sure of himself, but certain he needed me. He was fulfilling my fantasy of sex so intense, with a partner I trusted so well, that I lost the ability to know where my emotions ended and his began. In the cold, I was gaining his trust. I was seeing myself fill a space in him that no one else could, and he welcomed me. If it hadn’t been for that bastard, his interruption...if the jerk had let me describe the bristles of Cam’s cheek against the inside of my thigh, his cold nose against my navel...yes! Gentle reader, this poor young woman is falling tragically and painfully in love for the first time in her life. I could let her continue with these sentiments, but they matter very little. What matters is that my fingers are so stiff I can barely type.
It does warm me a bit to imagine a woman like this, a Naomi Watts look-alike when I’m freezing, piss poor and lonely. But it is mostly depressing, because she doesn’t exist. I could start believing in her and wander around places where good women come to be met—launderettes or dog parks—but she’d never show up. I won’t ever see her folding panties or using a plastic bag to pick up droppings (Anything a gorgeous woman does is amazing). I’m sure I’d run into Cam before I found this woman, certainly before I bumped into Naomi Watts herself.
I can already see it: a Clark’s Gas or a BP in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the middle of a bitter cold winter, my black Honda Civic stained with salt, the vicious wind drags a million razors across my face. I can’t sit in the car to tank up, because I have to make sure to spend less than $6.25 at the pump. Along comes this guy in a baseball hat, a kid really, hands forged from iron. He’s got that gaunt look so many guys in Michigan have these days, their crystal-meth edges roughed up from winters endured without heat. He says, Hey, I’m Cam, the guy you wrote about. Remember me? ‘Course you do, jackass. I was in the middle of a real deal before you started flippin’ switches, pushin’ pieces arounda checkerboard. Was gonna bust and coulda screamed when you pulled the plug. You didn’t seen it in her eyes the way she wanted me. You didn’t know nothin’ about how good it was, to fuck like that when you ain’t got nothin’ left, or when you don’t even know is the sun gonna come up again. So fuck you, Karol Krap or whatever’s your damn name. Go around blue ballin’ people like this, see where it gets you. Ain’t help you afford a full tank of gas, that’s for sure.
Dear reader, I can’t tell you how this Cam has found himself in my mind. I can only say that I’d trade a week of life, subtracted from the end of some cancerous, solitary death, to have his girlfriend knock on my door right now and lay me on the floor. I’ve got freezing cold Pergo, not some crappy linoleum. Also, I have a thick Austrian comforter we could throw down, and a Luther Vandross CD tucked away somewhere. Dear lady, I want you to know that my haircut’s better than Cam’s and I’ve never owned a baseball hat. To tell you the truth, I’m writing this only because I hope it gets published in a journal you’re likely to read. Because you’re sophisticated, but you’ve got a Jesus complex and pity men who can’t get their shit together. Believe me...I’ll gain your trust like you’ve always wanted, and love you to euphoria, the line where you end and I begin forever lost. We’d complete each other, fill each other’s gaps, then steal some rich asshole’s BMW motorcycle and ride off to a hot clime where we could be homeless all our lives and fuck outdoors. In the good weather, neither of us would age. So, if you look like (or are) Naomi Watts, please write me an e-mail message at karolisaintcam.yahoo.com. In your subject, please
Reader! Excuse me for interrupting this, Karolis’ pathetic moment. Also, please excuse this my accent. I am Karolis’ wife, Maria, Ukrainian. I only went away from home for short while, about month, but finally I come home. And what I find here? The broken furnace and computer full with download pictures, some blonde bitch actress who loves monkey. Then Karolis wrap his self in blankets in room full with candles and oil lamp, like he’s alive in some Tolstoy book. But also he has open oven, big heat, maybe 300 degrees (Celsius), like from the village. Embarrassing, no? I call man to fix furnace and he’s coming early tomorrow. I tell Karolis we can make love on floor if he want, but he whimper like baby, say it’s too cold. I even say I put on blonde wig — my figure is perfect, like actress, believe me, even better — but he refuse. He say, “That’s a kind of thing the desperate freak do.” Yes, and “Why do it on floor when bed’s so comfortable?” I’m sure he probably thinks, why put on wig when I can imagine any color hair I want? Pervert. Anyway, girls, listen to me: it is true , like idiot, I married writer. But can be worse. For example, he’s not Russian. He’s not dead and still drunk on floor, frozen with no money, all vodka finished and friends steal the tape recorder, shaver and hairdryer. So, it’s not so bad, and Karolis still kind of sweet after seven years trying to find normal job, publish something. But this kind of non-sense can be headache and maybe you feel a little bit sorry for me anyway. I hope so. If yes, then thank you.