I sit here, attempting to write a story. Like everyone else, I need to believe there’s a point. It's about a man, godless and alone, thinking:

He knows he has to, but he doesn’t seem able to think of the face he wants to imagine tonight. Oh, he can dredge up someone from his memory; someone he once looked at with lust in his eyes, even someone he once hated or wanted to kill. But whenever he thinks of a personality, he can’t help but remember the name. They all sound cliched and foolish. Either ordinary, laddish names (Mark, Steve, Andy, etc) or outlandish and ridiculous (Tarquin, Ricardo, Zachary, etc).

In a way it’s a reflection of his life. To see someone in the street, moving past on business unknown, is pleasure enough. To drown in the appreciation of your own eyes as they slide up and down over his clothes and his skin, as they run up and down each strand of hair and take in the roughness of the chin and the wetness of the lips; all this is pleasure enough. To curl up in a jerking bundle of hand and shaft, to gasp and moan with his body in your mind, to ejaculate with a vision of him; all these things - every one - are pleasure enough. And one word, one phrase can fuel the fire, however mundane the statement may be. One sentence to repeat over and over in the mind, to fill the consciousness as your/his cock fills your hand; one line can fuel the fire. But every phrase is a step closer to familiarity, and the bastard child of this is none other than contempt.

That part is almost about me. In fact, I’ve never been able to cope with knowing a man. However much I wanted the guy, however hard the thought of his body made me, all it took to stop me dead was a name. Many of us spend most of our lives with the fervent belief that somewhere is a partner for every one of us. I prefer to believe that such a thing is at best misguided, and at worst the result of one person being so weak-willed as to accept their fate as the raw material for someone else’s mould. I’m a cynic, really, with a romantic heart.

A god is nothing without faith, and the clouds represent that faith. Enough vapour, snatched close and held, means faith held close. Remember this.

He mentally flails, blindly seeking a vision of eroticism made flesh. He sees faces he knows, but none that he wants to know further. Then, rising from the depths of his mind, he sees the pale skin of some nameless guy. Long time past, he was wearing light green jeans and a green/brown check shirt. His hair was dark brown and short. His fingers were long and slender, but strong as well. He remembered wanting to take each one and lick it from knuckle to tip, to taste whatever those fingers had touched. He’d imagined the fingers wrapped around the boy’s cock, pumping and jerking, the thumb rubbing over the flared rim of his cock, the index finger squeezing out a bead of clear, sticky sweetness for him to lick away, tongue flicking over the tip of his cock.

I’m on my way to somewhere now, something sexual. Perhaps this is the point of the story; the same point there is to everything.

As he imagines, his own fingers steal down his body. He imagines the hand he feels touching him belongs to the man he is thinking of and that the cock he feels in his hand belongs to the man. He incorporates this incongruity into the contents of his head. It meshes well.

He thinks: Two guys cop a feel of each other in a darkened cinema. They bask in the fluorescence of the scenes that project over their heads, their eyes trained on the screen as their hands scout around. The first one (blond, common, laddish: Mark) is worming his finger down the waistband of the second one (exotic, outlandish, ridiculous: Tarquin) and burrowing his way down the back of his pants. Tarquin has chosen to get his hand right inside the front of Mark’s jeans where he’s stroking at Mark’s cock as though he were soothing some timid little rodent. It feels almost the same; silky smooth, warm and snug in his palm. In fact, he’s imagining he’s George from Of Mice And Men. He’s imagining he’s George and it’s right at the start of the book when he’s just been told off for keeping that dead mouse and he’s waited until Slim’s asleep because if he can’t pet a mouse he’s damn sure he’s going to pet something. It was a teenage fantasy. Eventually, Mark’s cock comes in George’s/Tarquin’s palm and the two watch the rest of the film in silence.

People ask me why I like the dark. I try to explain that it hides everything; that there are a thousand havens in the covering darkness. In the dark even the light obscures. But they can’t see it, of course, because the truth is blinding them, just as the light in the darkness blinds those whom it illuminates.

So he’s lying on his bed, thinking of the face he wants to love. He doesn’t seem able to picture him, and the clouds rush fast, so fast.

Which is why I sit here, trying to think of the story I want to write. A story about not writing a story, all interspersed with pieces and guys. The sky is a machine for making gods: the blue is the machinery, poking through. Remember this.

He thinks: Some guy (Pretentious, decorated, unremarkable: Bryce) pulls on his jacket and flips up the collar against the wind. He jogs down the steps outside, enjoying the feel of the metal in his ears; so many rings that he hasn’t felt able to wear for a long time, a succession of oversized metal. Mark is waiting at the bottom of the steps, a newspaper under one arm and a cigarette hanging from his lips. He lets it wag from the corner of his mouth as he speaks. And he speaks of nothing, of course, and the two boys soon become bored and jerk off in a nameless alleyway, their breathless hush accompanied by the rustling bags of rat-squirmed trash skips. Halfway through Mark loses it and goes narcoleptic, so Bryce quickly jerks himself to orgasm and leaves Mark in the soft stench of rotting garbage, his flies undone and his cock still out. He doesn’t even leave the money.


He thinks: Mark’s temporarily vacant body doesn’t attract much attention. A dog sniffs at Mark’s balls just before midday, and even gives them an experimental lick before limping on its way. Uninterested. Even the two guys who come out of the back of the restaurant just muse briefly on the size of his cock before stamping out their fag-ends and wandering back inside. If it wasn’t for his cock he’d be getting no attention at all. Eventually he comes round, tucks his balls back inside and wanders on his way.

And finally, the man achieves what amounts to a grim and dribbling climax.

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