Every thrust of my hips is like a knife to her fluttering heart. It gives her palpitations. So does drinking soda. She tells me that when I press her face into the pillow with her right arm held behind her back, she imagines her mouth filled with sand. The sand of Lake Berryessa. Golden, warm, and tainted with the death of innocents. Unable to breathe, she pictures her lungs pierced by the blade of the Zodiac’s knife, and the harder I go, the deeper the wounds. Gasping with my hand around her throat, she believes it’s his frayed rope or the rope wrapped around the lifeless body of Sharon Tate. She likes Sharon Tate. Not so much her movies—she’s never seen them—but the tragedy of her short life. She likes looking at the crime scene photos. The black and white horror of it all hardens her nipples. In these moments only we will ever know, we do our best to chase death. We block out the outside world and allow our bodies to become portals to places far beyond the confines of ordinary minds. Sometimes, when I’m giving it to her, and she’s crying out for me to stop and keep going in the same breath, I blink away the sweat and picture myself on the streets of the town where we first met. With a hand on her breast and the other on her chin, I grind through the layers until I feel the rain lashing against my face. Light at first, it falls heavy as I spy the two younger versions of ourselves from the opposite side of the road. Cars and trains are speeding unseen, and the silhouettes of strangers dart back and forth from the corners of my eyes, but it’s not them I’m interested in. Digging my fingers into her flesh, the answers I seek are somewhere in the days that are hard to find. I know they’re out there though, and that upon the lips of her younger self, the secrets I yearn for more than anything glisten beneath the glare of streetlights that once shone on us like the greedy sun now gazing through the window. Fucking and writing are the two things that allow me to seek what I wish to seek. Alcohol and solitude the lube. Everything else is useless. Watching a spider crawl across the ceiling, I hear Meeko calling to me, yet her words don’t register. The spider observes me the same as the angry sun, and the closer he comes my way, the more my heart beats like it does when I’m about to come—or put the finishing touches to a sentence that will go some way to freeing me of a great and heavy burden.