TW: graphic content, genital mutilation
by Ryan Loveeachother
- His idea of foreplay:
Naked, he rolls drumsticks on the snare. You undress slowly. Slivers of silver candlelight flicker off the striking sticks. His loft is drafty. He’s perched on the throne, balls jostling, right and left.
- The doctors told his mother:
Infants can’t —and then air-quotes—remember the pain.
- Trace the behavior to its birth:
Scream, frigid metal, no anesthetic, flail, clamp, sever foreskin from glans.
- As you squeeze the tube:
The KY Jelly, like the whiskey, blurs the shaking. The condom unrolls like spent latex gloves. Your teeth cut his nipple, lower belly. Becomes cold scalpel cutting. His fists flex, mind flees, goes back to the brass cymbals and lead vocals, throaty refrain, double-time, yelling fuck the pain away.
- The infant’s autonomic response:
Flood bloodstream with stress hormone called cortisol.
- At 2:12am:
His bones sink under the sheets. You fuck. And he comes in the most desperate way—chin lifts, hips droop, throat to the ceiling, grey-sky eyes flee.
- After he ejaculates:
It’s not his nakedness, but the echo in his eyes, under boyish eyebrows. You’ve never
seen someone so exposed.
- A coping mechanism:
Instead of finishing you, his eyes reach for the pair of notched sticks on the nightstand—
- Why you swipe right:
Before the last song, the drummer introduces himself. My name is Trauma, he says. This song is about male genital mutilation in America. In his black boots and black nail polish, you’re too curious.
- The only three words in the last song:
Don’t. Hurt. Me.
- Research shows:
Neonatal circumcision is the infant iteration of PTSD. This trauma and pain can be re-lived during adult sexual activity.
- Clinging to the brick walls, in torn plastic wrap:
The band’s debut album, titled Dysfunction.
- After not orgasming:
You sip bitter coffee, sobering. Do you have cream? you ask. His sticks collapse, then rise up. He’s somewhere else. His flaccid penis dangles, right foot tethered to the pedal, hammering the bass drum.
R. Loveeachother is an artist, writer and former attorney from Minneapolis, MN. She has spent the past decade studying trauma through the lenses of social non-conformity, mass media, and emotional vulnerability. His flash fiction works to bulldoze the cultural haste and white noise in order to make space for emotional exposure and conversations about our traumas. Presently, they are an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Georgia College & State University, with work recently published or forthcoming in Potluck, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Canyon Voices.
Photo credit: neilO via Flicker, all creative commons