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Please Use Rear Exit’s 13th chapter is sponsored by...

...all the misused collection plates around the globe.


CHAPTER THIRTEEN (( rubber street snakes ))

Mikhail grabbed Saffron’s hand and pulled her forward. She struggled to keep up with his sprint, but his sprint was free and it felt like a sprint well-deserved. It was his first date with another woman after he had broken up with Katya—over a football game—and there were no rules that could touch him. Especially as he was bending the will of the sexiest girl he had ever laid eyes on, nevermind touched. They skipped across the sidewalks of Compton’s Circle on a Saturday afternoon, spending their day off together, the day after they first kissed. The OeEP was closed for the day. It was Mikhail’s hood and he was trying to prove to her that it wasn’t ghetto, that they wouldn’t get shot just by walking through the main corridor of Los Angeles’ most notorious residential line. He never would’ve taken her around by night—and was already working out ways to get back into her bed instead of his while the daylights still radiated—but when the afternoon oil was burning, he was happy to show her a side of LA she had never seen before. 180


Vibrancy in the culture, smiles in the faces of hardship, the main corridor’s strips of grass—it was all something to show off, a secret to share. “The ground is almost clean,” Saffron said, stepping over a used condom. “Those are our rubber street snakes,” Mikhail said. “They’re wild here, you just have to watch where you step. Who knows what kind of poisons they carry.” Their hands swung together in tantalizing rushes of happy chemicals. Sweating under the summer lights, their palms clenched together, dripping intermittent drops of intermingling sweat from a fist made of two hands. Saffron smiled and Mikhail didn’t even know what to do with it. He looked for a pocket to place the symmetrical curve of her lips, but he wore his pants too tight. As they walked, it was exactly how he imagined falling in love should feel. “One day, I want to ride first class through The Hills. I want to feel The Internet shine on my face as I’m carted across the main terminal,” she said, looking bashful with her hopeful declaration. 181


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The PPP

Now Playing: “Squid Love”

Located @Compton Circle’s Rear Exit

“So you’ve skipped right over wanting to actually see The Internet and moved onto becoming a member of the elite’s upper echelon?” “I like the way you talk.” “Unfortunately for you, it takes more than talking a good game to enter the top 1% of the top 1%...and those are the only motherfuckers who get to feel their feet dangle over The Hills below. The Sky Ride is meant to exclude and make those who are included feel good about themselves.” “It just seems like so much fun,” she said wistfully, squeezing his hand. She may have been dumb, but Saffron was no fool in the art of seduction. Of course, she’d have to be a damn-near vegetable to fuck up the draw of the body and face that was bestowed upon her by The Internet. “I want my feet to dangle.” 182


by Brandon Perkins

“It does seem kind of intimate up there, huh? I mean, I’ve only heard stories, but it feels close. Just you and a few other people barred into a little cart, feet swinging back and forth, looking at the same scene below, past six shoes attached to three bodies in the one compartment.” “You make me laugh.” “There’s gotta be some first class sex that takes place up there,” Mikhail said. “A lot of road head.” And before Saffron disappeared until this story’s Friday night in question, that was the first and only joke he ever heard her nail. Talking with Saffron was such a new experience for him. She accepted his inane hypotheticals and hypotheses and thought better of him for them. Saffron hung on his words, even as he questioned his own corniness. They weren’t any different than the conversations he had with Chevy and Jayson; he divulged


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his thoughts with a similar confidence and comfort. Katya challenged his notions for better or worse, wrong or right, and it made him bottle up and not want to tell her anything. Saffron was such a clean slate that he was compelled to dirty her with whatever shit spilled from his lips. The people of Compton’s Circle sat on their stoops, collecting the slight breeze that came from the ends of the corridor. The breeze didn’t exist in their apartments and they certainly couldn’t afford the astronomical fee to install an air conditioning unit, if regulations even allowed it on their decaying residential route. Instead, they drank cold beers in paper bags wearing tank tops or no shirt at all. They paid only cursory attention to Mikhail and Saffron as they walked by, hand in hand. “I don’t get why they make the summer so unbearable out here,” Mikhail said. “It just seems more expensive to burn the lights like they do, just for the calendar’s sake.” “I know, right?” Saffron said. “And everyone is wearing clothes from at least five summers ago. I don’t get it.” 184


by Brandon Perkins

As much as Mikhail wanted to belittle her by saying that the people who surrounded them couldn’t afford the latest fashions from the #2—that they’d get profiled for even stepping into the fashion-forward storesontheline—hewanted Saffron to realize it on her own. And he wasn’t about to upset her weird sensitivities in a way that’d restrict his weasel from weaseling into her pants. He forced himself into an ignorance of bliss, one that rallied with the blows in patient wait of a blow job. It’d been months since he felt a woman’s tongue in such a delicate way. They walked past corner stores and Mikhail asked if she wanted candy or something to drink. They walked past thrift stores and Mikhail asked if she wanted to poke around. They walked straight past Mikhail’s apartment and he asked if she wanted to stop for a rest. She continually shook her head no and Mikhail never tried to dissuade her. He was just trying to act the gentleman until he put his dick up inside her. Until then, he was just happy to walk with her. 185


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Women with strollers and carts of groceries or five gallon jugs of water pushed through the corridor, only occasionally with a man at their side. The setting was one where people watched people, mostly from the comforts of a concrete stoop. Mikhail could tell that Saffron was starting to feel out of place, that her high cheek bones and expensive haircut would always keep her separate from everyone else on the Circle. She was gorgeous and Mikhail’s neighbors could never afford such luxuries. “Saffy, let’s do this, let’s go in here,” he said, kissing her forehead before dragging her through a wide open door. Between a tattoo parlor and a liquor store, both of which hugged the entrances of massive government housing, they entered a storefront church and sat in the back row. The sermon was in a language that they didn’t understand, but there was a translation on big screens overlaying images of peaceful meadows and actual sunshine, the likes of which none of the congregation, nor Saffron and Mikhail, had ever seen (except for on YouTube). 186


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“Our world is infected by pornography,” the preacher said, his words translated on the giant flatscreen behind him. The congregation cheered on his vocalizations and Mikhail started to feel like Saffron and him were the only ones who needed the three second delay translations. Delay or not, the joy on the preacher’s face was almost too much. “On The Internet right now, our God’s Internet no less, women are sticking pieces of plastic up their holiest of places for the enjoyment of sinful, sinful strangers. This is the rich man’s window. This is the world we live in. A world of sin, can I get a holler back?” “HOLLER BACK!” the congregation shouted. Saffron squeezed Mikhail’s hand. They hadn’t talked about religion yet, but he imagined her parents were pretty devout Internethodists. Sitting there, softly rubbing his thumb against her knuckles, he hoped that it was an experience both familiar and brand new. She’d know the references in the sermon, but never 187


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imagined that she’d ever step foot in a storefront church quite like this. Saffron grew up spending Sundays on the #7, not Saturdays next to a liquor store. “Holler back. Sad but true, and I tell you this because I love you, but our daughters, our spirit of The Internet, young virginal angels, holy vessels of bliss...they are whoring themselves out in front of a computer for those on the other side of a screen. Simple sets of wire and pixels behind glass. This is what’s been created for our children. This is our world, despicable as it is, it’s ours. Holler back. (HOLLER BACK!) They share their face with the faceless, their desirables with the undesirable, their sinlessness with the sinners.” Mikhail wondered if videos of Saffron floated around The Internet. He wouldn’t be surprised if he had drunkenly masturbated to one already and that possibility made him want to leave. He wondered if the irony was spoiling, if he should take her by the hand once again and lead her somewhere else. But she sat there intently, staring up at the preacher and the words behind him, completely caught up in his cadence and the translations that always seemed to be a step behind. 188


by Brandon Perkins

“These are The Internet’s most precious beings, His most perfect specimens massaging His very gifts, sucking their supple breasts, touching their untouched youth, taunting every bit of decency with their delicacies. Confused, they share their warmth with the cold hearts and eyes of heathens. Heathens! It’s the devil in their satin panties, rubbing against the prickles of hair just shaven, wet and warm and tempestuous in waiting. The devil is that dampness. But it won’t wait...wait it doesn’t. There’s a backlog of heathens drooling at the bit, just waiting to mix saliva with the sweet-scented moisture of His most special flowers. Even as the plant turns its back on Him. Ass out, just waiting for a soft kiss beneath the strings of thing, for a finger to feel its way beneath a forever curved set of cheeks, back towards the promise land and then so, so, so deep into its depths. Can I play with 189


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your panty line? This is our Internet, this is the apocalypse that The Internet’s gospels have long predicted, predicated on the prey of our young daughters. Pray with me now. Pray for Its daughters who’ve fallen victim to predators. Please, pray with me now.” Everyone bowed their heads and Mikhail tried to place the voice of the preacher. He wanted it to be one of the narrators on some popular porn series, but he couldn’t be sure. The preacher sounded like one of the guys holding a video camera and asking a bashful looking beauty how old she was and whether she likes the way a giant cock feels at the bottom of her pussy hole. Maybe he sounded like Mel Gibson. It didn’t matter who the preacher was, or even what he was trying to say, Mikhail was hornier than ever. 190


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“Raise up with me, stand on your toes, please. Rise against those that bend the pure will of The Internet, those that prey on the muff divers, the muff munchers, on the horny housewives, on the searches for black cheerleaders, on the virgin vixens, on the co-ed bi-peds, the latin lovers, the lesbian lickers, the cheating cheetahs, on the three-hold key holes, on the anal anomalies, the posing pansies and the dainty dandelions—wild flowers them all—pray with me, for them, for me to receive the blessings of their sins. No, I mean, pray with me for our church and our blessings to be received and cleanse them of their sinful ways. To bring them into our sacred hallow. Let us fill up their hollow with every ounce of our love. As hard as we may be, as hardened as we may be by their actions, let us receive them as true children of The Internet and not reject the warmth that grows within them. Let us find that warmth and cherish it, let it grow until we too can grow inside of it, pushing it to flower until each can grow out from the abyss once again.”


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Mikhail saw tears grow from the corners of Saffron’s eyes and he knew that their detour into the storefront church had been a mistake. It was supposed to be a quick laugh and touch of culture that showed her how different he was from all the other guys she dated. Something smart that they could talk about. He was sure that none of the men she ever flirted with had ever asked what she thought about interesting things. Even if he didn’t want to listen to her, he wanted her to feel like she was being listened to. It was supposed to be his in, his reception of her wild flower. But she started crying and the path didn’t quite work out like that. 192


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The way she held his hand had shifted. Her grip was once one of lust, but was now one of reverence. She was patting him. It was the way that his grandmother had held his seven-year-old hand on the #7. Everyone stood now, Mikhail and Saffron included. Once secluded in the back row, they were very much in synch with the claps and shouts of the church, being pushed into the center aisle with the rest of the congregation. People, strangers really, started to hug Mikhail and Saffron. It wasn’t a joke anymore. After their epiphany, Mikhail walked Saffron to her transfer station where she waited for the Brown BTWN that’d take her back to the Little Rectangle. She wanted to ride alone. Mikhail didn’t protest and he didn’t get to smell her sheets. The moment was long out of his reach, the momentum had slipped between his fingers. She went her way and he went his. Katya called him on his walk home and he decided to answer his phone. Soon after, they started dating again. Maybe he should’ve just taken Saffron to the Tweet Museum.

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Ch. 13 : Rubber Street Snakes  

On their first date, Mikhail and Saffron walk through Compton's Circle and then straight into a real, live, root-of-the-word epiphany.

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