A Mouthful of Scuzz


“You’re thinking of something hurtful to say, aren’t you?”

Sipping my beer, I eye her body as the sun washes over it the same way the summer rain washes away my sins. It’s as milky as I’ve ever seen. Her body. Not the sun. Although both are a source of life to me, and even though I just said her body was sexless, the hum of her womb makes me stutter and twitch against my best wishes.

“Yes,” I say, casually, “I want to hurt you.”

“Knowing you,” she says, “and I do, it’ll be about the time I moved out, right?”

“You mean the time you cheated on me? Yeah, I think that’s the one.”

She looks hurt and embarrassed, although not surprised. Whenever we argue, it’s the first thing I throw at her. I try not to, but it’s just too easy.

“I didn’t cheat on you.”

“Because technically we weren’t together, right?”

This time it’s she who turns her back on me. It makes me feel bad to hold it against her, and yet I do it anyway. Truthfully, it doesn’t bother me. She moved out, and we did actually split, although very briefly. In that time, we were both free to do as we pleased. She fucked someone else. It happens. It’s not that a big of a deal, but she doesn’t like the finger being pointed at her, and although it would be so much easier if she owned up, she continues to be evasive. I only found out because one of her friends told me. I say, friends, I mean work colleagues. Like me, she doesn’t have any friends. Only people she works with who know her slightly more than strangers do.

“Look, you know I’m going to use it against you, so why start this shit? As much as you can call me a sleaze and a failed writer, in all the time we’ve been together, I’ve been faithful to you. Looked, for sure. But touched? No. Fucked? Less than zero.”

Peering at me from over her shoulder, she frowns and drinks her beer.

“I’m not angry that you chose to fuck someone else. Like, whatever, it means nothing, but your reluctance to admit it is too easy to pass over, especially at times like these.”

Turning my head, I gob a mouthful of scuzz out the window.

“So, either we cut this shit right now and get on with our day, or we have another argument and don’t speak for a week. Personally, I don’t have the energy to argue. It’s too hot, and my balls ache.”

“Back to your balls again,” she huffs without looking.

“Plus, we have a dog now. I’m not sure how this changes things, but it must in some way.”

Hacking up more scuzzy shit from my throat, I spew it onto the sidewalk below where it sizzles beneath the sun.

“We could even talk things through if you wanted. Talk about this guy, get it out into the open and out the way. At least then, if you admit to it, I’ll never be able to use it against you again.”

Studying the side of her face, I try to gauge if she’s tempted, but when she sits down at the kitchen table with her back to me, I know such talk will never materialise. At least not today. Taking one last look out the window, I squint at how bright and vulgar the day is before moving over to her. When I do, I place my hand upon her shoulder, and as my flesh touches hers, a static shock causes us both to flinch.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

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