Trigger Shy
Casey Hannan

Smoking on the porch outside the secret orgy, we keep looking over at each other, hoping one of us will say what comes next, or that it's time to go inside and take off all our clothes. But then a deer moves down the street, tapping hooves on the asphalt so evenly, like the back of a head against a headboard.

We both wonder aloud, "Must be time, huh?" Then we giggle, a little, before the demonic laughter takes us over from the inside out. Our faces are lit only by the matches we scratch—one cigarette after the other, after the other, after the other. We laugh so hard our cigarettes look like little boiled noodles.

I say, "That deer walks like someone who's worn heels all their life." You howl as if you've just received bad news. I light another cigarette by making my cigarette kiss your cigarette. I say, "There's a name for that, you know."

You say, "What, frot?"

I laugh and cough at the same time. "Yeah," I say, "the tips of our cigarettes are 'frot' with longing for each other." I make our cigarettes kiss again and ashes fall to the porch like a cindered emission.

You love wordplay, so you howl until it transforms into a scissored cough, like your breath is caught in a rock tumbler. I realize this will be your last cigarette ever. You bleed your coughs onto the shoulder of your t-shirt in big, tacky blotches, and you say, "This is it, Case, my only chance to do something like this before I die. I'm dyeing, God, how I'm dyeing this shirt right in front of you."

And then you scream, but the people inside can't hear you—the music and the moaning are just that loud.

You startle the deer, though, and it leaps into the intersection, hitting a car full of orgygoers just back from a beer run. Some of them are already naked because they can't wait to taste a stranger, but the only thing they taste now is the blood and the glass and the shame that comes from being naked during a travesty.

The deer is dying too, so it keeps kicking someone in the face through the windshield. Teeth crack like vibrating dishes. I keep smoking on the front porch. You never know what you'll do when you don't know what the fuck to do.

Someone says, "Help. Me." So I pull out my phone like I'm easing a gun, like maybe someone else will make the call first, but I realize, between puffs, there's no one else around who isn't slowly dying.

Casey Hannan lives in Kansas City. He has stories in or coming from Necessary Fiction, SmokeLong Quarterly, Metazen, Dogzplot and others.

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Detail of photo on main page courtesy of J. König.

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