A Flash Fiction by Olag Motobuchi
“Uh, ‘scuse me. Mr. Donkey-Dick?” Tony blurts, “the giant cock section’s back here.” He grins.
His voice blows a melody into Darrel’s ears, even beyond the choir of moaning TVs. Darrel jolts his head around. “T-Tony?”
“Ohhhh! Look who actually remembers me.”
Darrel raises his voice. “Wow. Tony? Quinones? Course, I remember. Weird running into you now. And of all places…”
“Can you stand how fucking cute we are? I’m not even sure how this trash-can of a bookstore is still open. Essential business, my ass.”
“Yeah…Doesn’t all this remind you of the nineties a little? All the paranoia? The cruising? The seediness?”
“Leave it to the gays, right? We’ll find a hole in any system.”
“Guess so. It’s good to see you. You know, I was thinking of you the other—”
“Ha! Aww… Good one, Darrel. How is what’s-his-name? Ky-Kyle?”
“Oh, right. Not Kyle. Kye. How’s Kye?”
“Ya know, we’re…we’re good. We’re actually…pretty great! We just, uh, moved uptown? It’s…nice.”
“Niiice. Sure sounds like it. He here with you?” Tony reduces to a whisper. “Should I go scare him too?”
Groups of men on TV compete for the most dramatic exclamations of pleasure. A rupture of whimpers accompanies a rapid clapping. For a second, it sounds like an applause.
Darrel starts again. “So, uh…” On the nearest monitor, a droplet of perspiration slides down a yelping face. Darrel hardly notices, but he breaks a sweat of his own while Tony watches.
“What is it?” Tony asks, sensing Darrel’s struggling words.
“So,” he clears his throat a little. “You um…you still riding?”
“Pfffffft. Nah, man. Didn’t you hear?” Tony rubs his chin with curled knuckles. “My sis sold my Kawasaki to cover the hospital bills.”
“Oh, right. Sorry… Didn’t mean to…bring that up. I’m sorry.”
“Fuck, you know I didn’t mean it like—“
“You know how much guilt I had to climb out of, Tony? How much time I spent? Years. A decade! I dunno!? Maybe it’s been worth it. God, I fucking hope so.”
“Ch’yeah. Well, I get to live forever as Ricki Riley. Shit. Couldn’t I’ve picked another name? ‘Ricki Riley,’ they’re always saying. ‘Remember him?’ Well…The real me? I, like, never existed. Tony Quinones died a long, long time ago. And you. You coulda said, ‘adiós,’ Darrel…”
“Tony. I don’t know what to—” The air sucks the heat right out of Darrel’s cheeks.
The two hang back while a single TV bursts with a falsetto. Some limit is reached during a percussion of drenched slapping.
Slap slap slap. Slap slap.
“Yeah. Well. Parts of that movie are worth remembering. Right, Darrel? Goddamn. How can I forget how much you and that bike destroyed my back. Cheesh!” Tony smirks, squeezing his lips into a simper.
“Haaaaaaah. Ya know, there was a point where I told everyone I’d just tattoo Crotch Rocket 3 on my face.”
“Right? Who knew you’d catch that many eyes, Darrel. If you ask me, I think it’s that big, old bush you got. Ya fucker. Then you had to get all popular and run away to New York. Right when the gay cancer found—”
“Listen. We were young. It wasn’t anyone’s fault.”
A moment passes. Tony speaks up. “What kinda night ya having here, big guy? Hot date with…Hairy Potter and the…who—?”
Darrel chuckles. “Don’t be a creep.”
“A creep? In this place? Isn’t that what the kids call hate speech nowadays?”
“Hmp-hmph. Nice one, asshole. Hey. Did you…look to see if they have it?”
“Have what? You mean Crotch Ro—?”
Darrel assumes his porn octave. “Oh-h-h-ho. Fuck yeah, man.”
“¡Dios mío! What a sap.” A few seconds of eye contact, then Tony rolls his eyes.
Darrel steps backwards, and starts for the register. “Hi, sir. I was wondering. Do you have a movie called Crotch Rocket 3? From like, 1992?” He flashes his smile.
Cashier tries to contain a chuckle, looking at The One-And-Only. It is him. He’s been gawking at Darrel this whole time. “Oh, sure we do. He-he-he. Extreme sports. Back between Vintage and Water Sports.”
Twenty feet away, and there it sits—just a DVD on some dusty shelf. On its laminate cover, Tony and Darrel look wide-eyed. While frozen in embrace, the Moto gear hangs from their teenage bodies. Both share the hoist of their emerald throne, a hazard-green Kawasaki. Darrel scoops the DVD in his careful hands. “Damn. Look at us.”
“Wow. I look…”
“You look healthy…”
“My eyebrows didn’t. Can you even see ‘em down there?”
“You look healthy here, Tony…”
“Hey. If you could make it through that, don’t you think you’ll make it through this new virus?”
For a minute, Darrel holds a pause. “This one might be worse though, Tony.”
“You ever think you’ll get out of here? Out of Crotch Rocket 3?”
“I don’t know. You know, I don’t really come here that often.”
“Uh-huh. Sure ya don’t.”
With one trembling finger, Darrel wipes some dust from the waxy print of Tony’s face. His brows carve perfect ovals around those burnt caramel eyes. Behind him, his younger self holds on tight. To Tony. Both erections point up to the illustrated title: Crotch Rocket 3.
“Listen. It was nice seeing you, Tony.” Darrel parks the DVD back on its shelf, feeling just one more time a little heat from that engine. “Seriously. Was real nice. But uh…Kye is probably wondering where I am.”
Olag Motobuchi is an emerging writer exploring identity, trauma, and queerness. In the storms of 2020, they began publishing their work. Find more of their flash fiction in Typishly and Button Eye Review.