Sarah Rose Etter
She got the men from the bar. That’s how they ended up behind Plexiglas.
A push-up bra a black shirt perfume. Look coy wrap lips around straws keep eyes up lashes lashes lashes every time. Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike.
She had her pick. She waited for a certain bone structure the right set of eyes a brown stubble where a beard could grow. She preferred beards wanted to keep beards created beards in a way kept beards.
Extending soft hands, My name is Jessica.
Her name was Tina.
The unraveling of the men went something like this each time slight variations:
Nice to meet you. My name is Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike.
And what do you do?
I’m a professor butcher lawyer guitar player construction worker.
Would you care to buy me a drink?
That’s all it took, eye contact for that long. She hated this part hated the Jessica bits but thought about the end – their eyes behind the glass their movements hushed. She thought about love.
How many drinks does it take? By the fourth she can lean over like a lady put a hand on a male thigh whisper Come home with me say it very pronounced like there was a period behind each word making each word matter very much.
Then it was grins thousand-watters billboard faces cheekbone fireworks.
In her house, things move the way she wants them to. First no coats. Then on a couch a move a hand somewhere new then the sprawling backs on upholstery bodies pressing pressure pressed.
The kisses are a heat a promise a future good mushed mouths clutching at each other. The hands rove well with desperation pressure grabbing nerves thrilled.
Come downstairs, JessicaTina says at the exact time fingers are on her belt flesh on silver a pulsing pushing crave.
What’s down there?
Something special, she says and puts her own hands on her belt buckle another flesh color on silver here comes a wicked thing.
It was bullet-proof Plexiglas thick like ice dustier than frozen water murkier. It split the basement in two a room of clearness. The carpet deep burgundy a cream couch before the glass a place to view. Behind the glass were couches chairs places to sit books to read.
Let’s try it back here, she says, luring still-grasping hands through the clear doorway. I love it back here.
Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike think she is playful kinky coy. Walking through the clear she always thinks of entering an ice cube feels chilled.
Inside she asserts maneuvers straddles sucks kisses gently quickly rougher. When the eyelids of Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike get lust-heavy she stands takes the heat of her body away.
Where’re you going? Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike ask hard.
Once through the dull crystalline it becomes simple easy shut door smile flip the lock.
She keeps the others in the attic when she goes out for a new one. She brings them back down at gunpoint.
Finally there are five Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike. Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike.
First they protest bang on the glass look for ways to escape.
She ignores them sits on the cream sofa stares into their eyes watches their movements falls and stays in love with all five of them.
It very small things motions flicking hair from their eyes stretching, pressing fingers to the glass looking for weak spots their Adams apples pulsing stubble on their cheeks growing into full beards the shapes in which they slept best of all their quiet during meals.
At work she wrote their names in the margins of her day planner: Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike.
During meetings she thought of their gestures the way they read the books she had painstakingly picked affection seeping from her heart to her limbs making her moist between the legs.
Tina, the work people ask. Do you have the monthly reports?
I do, Tina says, snapping eyes open passing in the same numbers from last month written into this month’s template.
We’re holding steady, the work people say grinning.
Very steady, Tina says then thinks of the way the men drink gulps of water, how the bottoms of each of their five necks were formed so gracefully how their five sets of shoulders were made from bone and skin how very beautiful that was.
It had been enough time now weeks.
They had stopped pawing at the glass relaxed into the space and themselves.
Did they think about leaving? Did they talk about escaping together?
She didn’t know couldn’t hear them the glass was that thick.
Sometimes she pulled the television to glass for them and then watched them watching.
Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike turned to each other spoke gesturing through glass to screen.
Seeing them breathe move interact made her heart feel large like big cities ever expanding higher newer wider.
Her favorite part was feeding them dinner. She sat on the cream sofa each time.
Each night she cooked Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike exquisite meals slipped steaks asparagus smashed potatoes through a three-inch slit the construction workers made.
Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike moved not in unison but separately forks sliding into meat and vegetables jaws working against the flavors she had combined.
Her heart nodded in her chest agreeing with the scene.
Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike chewed licked lips savored enjoyed did not look for escape did not stare longingly elsewhere.
The way Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike ate was the way birds flew through blue graceful faraway untouchable.
This was the apex of love the opposite of catastrophe this is what twinhearts were constructed from multiple red adoring fibers twining combining.
But the biggest part of her love was the silence their mouths working through nourishment behind a wall that kept disgust away.
She did not have to hear teeth gnashing saliva against inner cheekwalls swallowing sounds slap slurp digest those noises killed so much before crushed adoration between molars ruined everything.
As they ate silently she loved all five men Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike fully with her heart until it swelled went swollen she felt it would never stop expanding until it finally grew out of her chest who would not love her then?