“. . . if you don’t fill it full of stars and falseness” is written on the wall of the King Edward SkyTrain station. Above it are wigs suspended from the ceiling. They just hang in the air, like there’s a noose tied around an invisible neck. I don’t know why. I don’t know if anyone does. I have no idea what it means, but sometimes I walk to that station, even though it isn’t the closest to where I live, just so that I can be reminded.
This city is always trying to tell you things. There are giant letters on top of a building on the waterfront that spell out, “Everything will be alright.” I guess it feels a need to assure us, because when the rain won’t stop everyone feels like they’re drowning. Like eventually they’ll be pulled under once and for all and never resurface.
Someone spray painted, “Because nothing really matters” on an abandoned mattress in an alley in East Van. I’ve walked passed it a dozen times. It’s been there for weeks. Maybe it will be there forever. It doesn’t matter. The mattress is filthy. There is a rainbow of stains on the fabric, which is torn and ragged. The spray paint is bold, and red, and angry. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and I used to cut words into my arms and legs. I carved “LOVE” in capital letters so deep on the top of my left arm, sometimes I think it’s still bleeding. Love wounds never heal.
Everything will be all right because nothing really matters if you don’t fill it full of stars and falseness.
“I’ve been Wrecking my whole life,” Milan says, his shorts off so his tiny ass can tan in the sun.
I turn away from the uncut penis I’m admiring and say, “Me too” before I realize he’s talking about the beach. His ass is tighter than mine, and I’m jealous. I spank it and hope it stings. His cheeks are sun kissed. Even the sun kisses his ass.
The sun isn’t just kissing me, it’s raping me. I feel it burning my skin. I don’t take off my shirt or my shorts. I’m the only one, except Kent, who thinks he’s too cool to even taken off his Doc Martens. I can’t get naked. Not just because I’m insecure. Not just because my nipples are soft. But because when the sun rapes me I don’t find it pleasurable, which is weird. I usually like being raped. But the sun doesn’t stop until the burning is all you feel, and even though I like the burn, like the distraction, I’m afraid if it starts I’ll never want it to stop. I’ll end up going home and killing myself just so that I can keep feeling the burn in hell.
I wrap a towel around my neck and lean against the log, the waves crashing behind me.
Kitty is wearing a tiny baby-pink bikini, and even though there are naked girls all around with everything exposed, more men still stare at her. She’s oblivious. She’s smoking a joint and drinking a beer, and when a naked guy, the one with the uncut penis I’ve been admiring, walks by our blankets carrying a backpack and says, “Ice cold beer” she gets really excited and jumps up even though she just bought a six-pack and it’s getting warm in one of her bags. She forgot about them and started doing her makeup. She always gets stoned and does her makeup, even though she doesn’t need any. She has camel-toe in her pink swimsuit, and I’m kind of turned on. I keep thinking about how if she were wet, the pink would turn a darker shade. She looks at me, her platinum hair blowing in the breeze, and I’m not surprised that all the guys are staring even though her tits aren’t hanging out, because she is so beautiful. Her freckles have bloomed in the sun, but she hates them. That’s why she keeps putting on makeup. She’s trying to hide. “Does Sebastian want another beer?” she asks in her baby voice, which matches her pink. I almost kiss her but stop myself and smile instead. She passes me a Cariboo and I open it, drink half the can in one gulp. It’s not ice cold, but I didn’t pay for it. I never do. So I don’t complain.
“I am so Wrecked,” Milan says. And even though I know he’s talking about the beach, I still turn to him and ask, “Who isn’t?”
I get bored, so I take a beer and go for a walk down one of the trails. I think it’s the one where gay men cruise, but I’m not sure. I keep walking barefoot through the sand, and in the parts where the sand is wet I hope I’m not stepping on piss, and where it’s sticky, I know I’m not. I know I’m on the right trail now, so I keep walking, faster. There are two naked guys leaning against a tree and they look at me and then look away, and even though I’d do them both, not because I’m attracted to them but because I’d do anyone, I keep walking. They don’t look interested enough, and I don’t care if I’m not interested in whoever I find so long as he wants me. Only me. All of me.
I pass a silver fox lying on the sand sunbathing. He looks at me, but I keep walking because he has his shorts on and I’m worried it’ll be too much effort and I’ll get bored. There’s another guy a few feet away anyway, and he’s naked. He’s older, hairy, muscular. He’s wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, so I can’t really see his face, but I don’t care. About anything.
I ask him if he wants a blowjob and he smiles. We go between some bushes and he pushes me to my knees and says, “Suck daddy’s cock.” So I do. He throat fucks me and I keep gagging. I’m scared I’m going to puke and my eyes are watering. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I keep doing it anyway.
He keeps saying, “Good boy, yeah, that’s my good boy.” And that turns me on because I never knew my father.
When I open my watering eyes I see that the silver fox is watching us from behind green leaves. His shorts are down now and he’s jerking off. I take the dick out of my mouth and tell him he can join, but he doesn’t say anything or move. He just keeps looking at me, and I’m confused, because right before he comes there’s disapproval in his eyes.
When I get back to our blankets, Milan asks me where I went, and when I tell him I was walking along the shore he just smiles like he knows better and goes back to painting his nails opal, which turns iridescent in the sunlight.
We don’t leave until sunset. It’s starting to get cold, but I’m too cross faded to feel anything. Milan doesn’t want to get in the car with Leif because he’s drunk and he’s afraid we’ll die. “But it might be fun,” I shrug.
Kitty is still talking in her baby voice, but to Leif now, and they’re holding hands. I sit on a log as everyone packs their bags, as Leif tries to shake out Kitty’s beach blanket, which is brown with golden marijuana leaves on it, while still holding her hand. He never wants to let her go. She’s his only accomplishment.
Winona is grinding on some fat old naked guy. He’s huge and has no hair on his head, but lots on his body. It’s as white as his pasty skin. Everyone laughs and watches her until she turns around and, through her glazed eyes, sees us. Her boobs are hanging out and so is her gut above her booty shorts. I wonder if her boobs are implants or if they grew from hormones. I wonder how big her dick was before she turned it into a clit. If she ever misses it.
She comes stumbling through the sand and leaps onto Kent’s back. I hear his neck snap, but he just laughs. There’s drool falling from Winona’s foaming lips, and I vaguely wonder if she’s overdosing. She’s on GHB, and she drank all of Kitty’s warm beers when Kitty was too busy looking at herself in her compact.
I suddenly realize that no one has taken my picture all day, and so I feel like I wasn’t even at the beach, even though the sand is still beneath my feet and the tide is coming in, the water inching closer, closer. I ask Kitty if she has her iPhone and she digs through her makeup bag. We make Leif take the pictures because who wants him in them?
We lose Winona during our photo shoot, while Milan and I are busy fighting over who gets to be on their good side.
When I ask where she disappeared to, Kent says, “She went home with the black guy who has no arms.”
At the top of the stairs, which go upwards forever but hurt so much I’m sure they’re the stairs to hell and not heaven, that hell is in the sky, that it’s all around, Kitty turns to me and says, “Do you think Winona ever regrets?” I’m panting out of breath because Milan wanted to race. I won even though I’m drunk and he’s the one who rollerblades on the seawall every morning. Of course he thinks he won. He always does. “Or does she just wake up and feel glad to have been fucked?” Kitty asks.
I think about it and try to catch my breath. I think how she probably wakes up and feels glad to feel, but Kitty is already crossing the street to Leif’s sedan, which is so ugly I’m glad when he starts puking in the middle of the street, hoping that maybe we really will crash.
The next morning I wake up and I’m at Kitty’s apartment in Kitsilano. It smells like animal. She has a cat and a bunny, which she stole from Jericho beach. I can’t look at it, because it’s eyes are so haunted and pleading. I keep telling Kitty that it wants to escape, too.
She boils water for tea and starts rolling a joint. I’m still lying on the mattress in her living room floor where I always sleep. We stopped sharing a bed when I kept waking her up with my erection in the middle of the night.
It’s already the afternoon, but I feel like I didn’t sleep. The bunny kept bouncing on me, whispering in my ear. The guy across the alley who always sits next to his motorcycle and pretends he’s fixing it is playing classic rock so loud we can hear it even though the windows are closed. “I want to kill him,” Kitty says. “I want him to die.”
She lights the joint and I ask if I can see the pictures we took. She passes me her iPhone but then remembers that Leif didn’t take any pictures; he was so out of it he was recording videos instead, and she deleted them because her tan didn’t look even.
“Did you have fun at the beach?” she asks, blowing a cloud of smoke out of her dry, puffy lips.
I just look down at the blank screen and try to remember.