Bancroft Street By Matthew Vasiliauskas

December 22, 2014 Comments Off on Bancroft Street By Matthew Vasiliauskas

I don’t know, maybe they’d be the better ones to ask, but if I were to reflect, perhaps my greatest accomplishment was becoming that street.

Summer brought forth the scent of mulberries, and everything for us was contained within their moist spheres: laughter, drinking, and the fleeting glisten of descending lips crystalizing into the amber static of dream and memory.

John had recently returned from the war and took to using his pistol as a phallus, sticking the barrel through his open fly and having Margaret suck on it while we all watched, sipping beer as shifting shadows turned them into desperate exhausted voids.

“How long will she go for?”

“Don’t worry, he’ll tell her when.”

“Where did you get the cantaloupe?”

The heat had an effect on us, as it did to everyone then. We’d shed our skins often so that the frozen apparitions behind steering wheels and garden hoses would create dioramas of frayed flesh.

Jim had gotten an off season hunting permit and was skinning a deer in his open garage. Its severed head rested near a bag of sunflower seeds on a work bench. Soon he fell to his knees, and raising his arms, began bowing to the open torso, a garbled, drunken exaltation as Shirley massaged his back.

“We’re nearly out of paint.”

“I can’t move and I love it.”

The tomatoes were ripe, tiny white hairs shivering in the sunlight, an occasional charred wound from a hungry insect inviting us to stick our fingers inside, juices forcing our eyes shut, and the stacks of shifting color allowing us to scatter in the bursting crests of heavy wind.

With Dave and Carol out of town, we began swimming in their pool. We set up a handful of rules and removing our clothes would take turns diving below the surface and swimming between each other’s legs, touching the ankles of the ones we would go home with.

“You double touched.”

“I thought we could if the round ended in a tie.”

“Now we can drown you.”

Blacktops spoke in the rasp of faded chalk, their dry breaths leading to the anthills whose appendages carried bits of grain and stone.

The Fourth of July had passed, and we wanted another holiday. Roger came up with the idea of an August Halloween, so we made masks and costumes and went to the homes of the few children who had not gone to camp.

We’d hold out pillowcases and demand that they turn over their youth and would pelt them with eggs when they just stared at us. As we ran, we’d look back and watch them playing with the yoke in the glow of television light.

We became the cut grass, the pressure of humidity and inebriation pushing us into beds of aster, plumes of dust whispering in the language of blur.

None of us lived much longer after that summer. Well, not really anyhow.

© 2014 Matthew Vasiliauskas

Matthew Vasiliauskas is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. In 2009, he was awarded the Silver Dome Prize by the Illinois Broadcast Association for best public affairs program as producer of the Dean Richards Show at WGN Radio. His work has appeared in publications such as Stumble Magazine, The University of Wyoming’s Owen Wister Review, and The Pennsylvania Review. Matthew currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

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