[Nsfw, adult themes, violence]
The cottage of Ainsley and Edgar Pennington sat like a proud fat parrot on their lane. All of the flowerbeds curved into a perfect rainbow in front of their property. The flowers might have well screamed ‘GAY’.
The husbands, with their son Hugh, liked to spend sunny weekends pruning their garden. Near the gate, Hugh watched Ainsley hammer a sign into their perfectly waxed lawn, it read ADAM AND KEITH NOT ADAM AND EVE! Edgar took the pink hammer from Ainsley and offered him a handkerchief to wipe the moisture from his brow. ‘Oh you work so hard, darling!’ Edgar popped a hand on his hip and admired the handiwork. Ainsley made a show of fanning himself with his necktie. ‘I know, pookie-pie. But we must persist, for the good of the bent nations!’ Other queers walked by the house and gave their commendations. ‘Hugh, go and hang up the new pride flag!’
‘But papa, we hung the other one up earlier this week.’
‘It’s faded in the sun, plum. It doesn’t sting your eyes as much. It’s tacky.’ Hugh’s fashion senses were failing him. He couldn’t spot a difference but did as he was asked. Hugh climbed a ladder and hung a flag the size of a double bed onto the cottage. It wavered behind him as he gazed upon his neighbourhood, its technicolour backdrop making him look like a gay martyr. All seemed to be in order, the gays were driving to their retail jobs in bugs of every colour, whilst the lesbians drove on the other side in their tanks to the army bases. Occasionally, men whose outfits weren’t colour coordinated, or women who let their crew cuts grow an inch too long, were beaten in the street. What happened on their lane that day went unheard of.
At the foot of the ladder, Hugh watched a girl sweep past their hedge. She was on the wrong pavement! Her face was an advert for cosmetics. Her blond hair flowed after her like a cloak. She smiled, adjusted her boobs, and winked at him as she passed. Edgar gasped aloud and leapt over the hedge. He whacked her with a STRAIGHT to Hell sign like she was a stray rat in a kitchen. Sensing drama, their neighbour gave Hugh their pair of binoculars so they could join in with punishing the thing. It was like 50% off man bags! Everyone queued up for a kick. Other neighbours stretched like flamingos over the hedges to kindle their gossip.
Hugh had never seen a straight outside a correctional centre, and had never witnessed such a blunt flair of heterosexuality. Shock beat through his body rather than hatred. ‘Fetch a sign, Hugh. We can’t have scum like this infecting our community!’ Hugh drew a sign from the ground and stalked over to the chaos. The girl looked like a crumpled bird. Her outfit had been ripped and spat on. Blood dripped from her nose and bits of her hair were ripped to confetti on the pavement. She was strong enough not to cry and held her mouth in a solemn line. The girl looked and muttered to Hugh like he was a desert oasis. That really did it. Hugh gave momentum to his swing and crashed it down onto the girl’s face. The sign STRAIGHT to sin bore a face print of blood. ‘Lovely, darling.’ Edgar said, ‘That’s the finishing touch. Just the thing we fancied for our garden display.’
On Sundays, Hugh’s fathers gave him money to keep his wardrobe in tip top fashion. That Sunday differed. Instead, Ainsley and Edgar thought it best to send Hugh on volunteering duty at one of the town’s many correctional centres. ‘After yesterday’s scare and everything’ Ainsley explained, ‘It will do you some good to teach the sinners.’
The correctional centre were delighted by Hugh’s visit. Any extra mouths to spit on the straights were welcomed. Some of the wardens even fancied a piece of Hugh. ‘Since you’re from a fabulous family, that does nothing but kindness for our town, I’m sure you’ll be able to help with -’ the warden’s voice deepened ‘this one.’
The warden gave him a neon key and then tottered off to swear at the other prisoners. The straight was stretched face-first onto the cot. Lanky. Shaven. It made no move to suggest it knew Hugh was there. Hugh scraped the wooden chair across the floor, to see if he could startle it. No result. He cleaned the chair with the sanitizer from his man bag, and spread a handkerchief over it before sitting down. Hugh cleared his throat emphatically before pulling the usual speech from his brain.
‘Being heterosexual is an abomination. Men and women have different purposes and should not mix in matrimony.’ Hugh shuddered at the thought of what this prisoner may have done with another offender, how they may have stared, spoken to each other, and touched in untouchable places. ‘God invented the beauty that is science, so that we can be sophisticated as a race. To have better, superior children with our own gender.’
‘Wrong.’ The prisoner replied, not moving an inch. Hugh pretended not to hear and spoke louder. ‘The procreation of male and females is lazy and unforgiving. Like draws to like, it is evil to question this.’ Hugh heard scoffing from the cot. He wouldn’t stand for that. Hugh scooted his chair closer to the cot and brought out his copy of Brokeback Mountain. A grin passed his face. The sensuality of the story often brought out some effect on the prisoners. He could help this one. He knew he could.
As the story found its climax, Hugh spoke with the fervent tone of a preacher. He himself was fully engrossed in the story and forgot about where he was. A sigh slipped from his lips. The prisoner caught onto the sound and sat up into the bed. She looked him over, indulging in the sight of his red cheeks. ‘Oh I bet you like that story, I sure do too.’
Hugh nearly leapt from his skin. He slammed the book shut. He cursed himself for mistaking her for a boy. And it was her, the sinner from yesterday. Her head was shaved and she owned a few bald patches. Hugh desperately sought for The Colour Purple in his bag to redeem himself. The girl leant towards him and threw the book to the other side of the cell. His pulse clapped like the book hitting the concrete. Her cleavage definitely shouldn’t have been flattering in a prison vest but it was. It was. He screwed shut his eyes, running images of Johnny Depp through his head, but her chest jiggled above all else.
‘Don’t stop now, sweetie.’ She mumbled and ran a hand along his arm. ‘Tell me more of that other story, the men sounded so hot.’
‘No!’ Hugh jumped out his seat. He smoothed his shirt and buttoned up his cardigan. She wasn’t startled in the least. The girl saw no need for personal space, and smirked at the effect she had on him. ‘What’s wrong about it? I’m so drawn to you. You’re so attractive. It’s so natural.’ Slowly, she leant in to kiss his cheek. Hugh knocked her away from him, her elbows scraped across the concrete floor. ‘Don’t touch me! You won’t infect me with your evil.’ Hugh locked the bars behind him and shrank against the wall away from sight.
Hugh’s breath was heavy and he could feel it. That damn thing. Sin was building itself under his corduroys. Satan was gently rising in his boxer shorts. Revulsion overswept his tingling skin. His man bag was large enough to save his situation. Hugh held down the bile in his throat and rushed to the warden. ‘That filth tried to seduce me!’ He screamed at the warden and dragged him over to the cell. ‘I want something done about this. Now.’ And so it was. Hugh had the privilege of watching the girl once again, fall under pummelling fists.
‘You were brave to come back here, hun. We’ve decided a more extreme solitary confinement would keep her comfy. She won’t try any funny stuff. She knows what will happen next.’ The warden gave him a pat on the shoulder and left. As a force of habit, the girl tried to tidy her hair when she saw Hugh. The bruising gave her skin the look of an overripe mango.
‘I didn’t think you’d pay a visit again.’
Hugh sat down. His heavy eyes watched the floor.
‘Are you okay, sir?’
Why did she kneel close to him and ask such a question in her state? The state he had brought upon her? Like a burst balloon, Hugh broke into tears.
‘It’s nothing to be ashamed of,’ she smiled in encouragement. ‘They can do what they like but this is who I’ll be, and who you’ll be too.’
‘You saw it didn’t you?’ Hugh’s voice was hoarse from crying.
‘That lump in your trousers?’ The girl wove her fingers through his. ‘Yeah, yeah I did.’ She sat down in front of his chair. ‘There’s no need to hate yourself. If you say I’ve been “corrected” to the wardens, I can help you.’
Hugh didn’t answer her for a while. Instead, the idea of change polluted his mind. Hugh squeezed her hand.
This piece was very anti-realist compared to my usual style. I consider myself an ally of the LGBTQA+ community and don’t intend to cause offense so please feel free to leave criticism so I can improve this piece for the better!
© 2016 Elizabeth Brown All Rights Reserved