The Blank Pages by Kevin Sampsell




Prose


 


Collage by Kevin Sampsell

 

Am I walking bowlegged? Am I pigeon-toed? Do my legs swing out when I walk faster? Are my shoes too loud? Does my body move like a normal body?

 

 

I told Peggy that I wanted a boyfriend now. That I thought it was time for me to try a totally new kind of relationship.

Do you want to have sex with a man, she asked me.

I just want to be affectionate with a man, I said. I want a companion to do things with and to watch sports with and to cuddle with while watching movies.

Peggy thought about this for a moment and then said, It sounds like you just want a friend.

 

 

The man on the sidewalk asked, How is your day going? I noticed he had a clipboard; something he probably wanted me to sign. I told him my day was fine and I was headed to work. He just smiled, not even mentioning the clipboard. I felt like I’d been tricked.

 

 

Once, in a dream, my ex-wife tapped me on the shoulder while I was at a romantic dinner with someone. She pointed across the table from me and I realized I was actually dining with a well-dressed monkey.

Honestly, I must say that this wasn’t a dream.

And also, there wasn’t a monkey.

I don’t think there was a dinner either.

It was just me, sitting somewhere, as my ex-wife tapped me on the shoulder, a candlelight flickering.

 

 

I raised a son but have never raised a plant. I have planted seeds and then forgotten them. I have walked away. Does this make me a bad human? I’ve owned more cars than plants in my lifetime.

 

 

Have you ever really thought about a key? How it’s just one tiny thing? There are no parts. And yet, it’s what separates us from the animals.

 

 

One word: hotel room

 

 

For a long time, I had a lover who called me “Mr. Bear.”

I would sometimes call her “Little Bear” in return.

When we became just friends, I missed these names. I sometimes want to ask her, “Are we still Bears?”

 

 

There was a girl I went to high school with who was voted class president and was a popular, friendly cheerleader. I admired the fact that she went against the cliché of dating a popular jock and dated the cute artsy skateboarder instead.

A couple of years later, I heard she was working as a nanny for a family in a foreign country.

A couple of years after that, she was living in Seattle and singing for a band that was getting popular in the grunge scene. I’m friends with her on Facebook now and even though she hasn’t been in that band for over two decades, I still think of her as being famous.

 

 

The simple minds tears for fears flesh for lulu Gene loves Jezebel Romeo void big country scritti politti the fixx haircut 100 ABC UB40 the psychedelic furs missing persons Shalimar sigue sigue sputnik big audio dynamite the wonder stuff orchestral manoeuvres in the dark

 

 

Edit: Instead of “her booty was doing something weird,” make it “my booty was doing something weird.”

 

 

The song that I have probably danced to the most in my lifetime is “You Spin Me Round” by Dead or Alive. The singer of that band is now dead.

 

 

I’m not sure if I imagined this but I think Madonna once said that she pees on her feet while taking a shower because it’s good for her toenails. I have a strong urge to Google this right now but I won’t. I’ll just continue to pee on my feet in the shower.

 

 

It bothered me less to turn 51 than it did to turn 50. The number 51 feels sleeker, like it’s standing up straight, getting ready to do something exciting and important. The number 50 seems too bloated and round, self-important and blustery. The number 49 is perhaps even worse. So clunky and awkward. I’d rather just stay asleep that whole year.

 

 

I look at the pigeon, but it will not look at me. I take a step closer and it flies away. It never looks back.

 

 

At my funeral, I want the song “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross to be played.

There.

I said it.

 

 

My last girlfriend preferred not to shave her legs or armpits. I would stroke her knees and think of the man I sometimes thought about. We went to a sex shop and bought a strap-on for her to wear. I made sure it was a small one because I was scared. After much difficulty putting it on, she wore it with confidence, bouncing on her toes and making it bob up and down in front of me. I knelt down and took it in my mouth. I wanted to show her I could do it well. Any man, even if they think they’re straight, knows quite well how to suck a cock.  I wished she could somehow ejaculate on my chest. Okay, she said, and I turned over. I tried to relax, like I was getting a massage. She got our connection slick. She went further.

 

 

Sometimes a long walk will give me visions inside my head. TV show ideas, songs I’ve never heard before, new concepts for sandwiches, jokes to tell little kids. The farther I walk, the more of these crowd my brain. Here they come, I think. And by the time I’m home, it’s all gone.

 

 

The letter L is silent inside the word walk.

 

 

 

Kevin Sampsell lives and walks in Portland, Oregon. His writing has recently appeared in The Elephants, Wigleaf, Longreads, X-R-A-Y, Interrupture, and Tin House online. More of his collage art can be seen at kevinsampsellcollages.tumblr.com