Porches “Guys, it’s happening again,” I said, staring at a slant down the steps and into the window directly opposite—our neighbor’s apartment. “Jesus Christ, how much does this guy masturbate?” Speen said. Everyone leaned in to get a view of the scene. Our neighbor kept his blinds closed but he always turned them inward, parallel to the gaze of an audience viewing from a slightly elevated vantage—sitting on steps above, for example. If he had just turned the rod in the opposite direction, the slats facing outward, his room would have been impenetrable. But as it was, we saw nearly everything. Our neighbor hadn’t figured it out, we thought. His bed was directly under the window, and he was on his side facing away from us, his bare ass on display, his left arm moving rhythmically. His iPad was propped up on a pillow in front of him, displaying a woman sucking a small penis. The man in the porn was not in frame. There were subtitles in a language that I didn’t recognize but that Todd, a linguistics major, explained was Japanese. “Poor Dick Dude,” Marla said. “He has no idea.” “We see him masturbate three times a day,” I said. “And that’s just on smoke breaks.” “Maybe you guys shouldn’t smoke here,” Art said. “You could smoke in the yard instead.” “You guys,” Marla said, rolling her eyes. “Don’t try and wiggle your way out of this, wormy boy. You’re complicit. You’re looking too.” “Sure, but I’m not smoking. I’m just here for the times.” “It’s his own fucking fault,” Speen declared. “I have no shame. He’ll never know so who gives a shit.” “We should leave little notes against the glass,” I said. “Sleep tight, sweetie.” NONFICTION | 53
Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art selected for our 2019 contest issue.