Latest gay male story: Mikey and the Chickadee – Chapter 6
My willingness to listen had, a handful of times, placed me into a peculiar conversation with individuals who, although hailing from vastly different walks of life, each described the same phenomenon. There existed at some point in their past an insurmountable inner-struggle (addiction and negative thought processes were examples) which they had suddenly conquered, not because they fought ruthlessly against all odds and lack of self-restraint, but because the energy input required had mysteriously vanished.
My struggle, if I was allowed to invoke the connection, had undoubtedly manifested itself as a daily, interminable anxiety surrounding work and, more recently, the question of whether or not to move. But over the past couple of days, I could not have been paid to care about my career standing, nor to predict the events that would rain down at the end of March. It wasn’t that I had somehow acquired all of the weapons necessary to combat such stressors; instead they no longer occurred to me as issues over which to bother oneself in the first place.
It would be tempting to conclude that Mikey had single-handedly towed me up from the depths, but in keeping with the mysticism surrounding others’ similar experiences, I felt he was only an accompanying aspect of my new quieted understanding. The true origin was not something I grasped, but it did not keep me from sleep.
The next morning Mikey looked worse for wear, relative to his regular vigor. I asked him how he was feeling.
“Didn’t sleep well last night,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Your text sounded so relaxed.”
“I know. I felt pretty relaxed. Just couldn’t get to sleep. It happens to me sometimes.”
“Maybe it was the nap,” I suggested.
He smiled. “I sort of forgot about the nap. Maybe. Naps don’t usually do that to me, but who knows?”
We both stood under the eve, scrolling through our phones. I drew peacefulness from the weight of his presence as we silently conducted our own lives.
After we boarded I slid in against the wall of the bus and Mikey fell into the seat next to me.
“I hope you’re able to take it easy today,” I said.
“Don’t worry about me,” he said. “I can nap at lunch if I need to. I also didn’t have time for coffee at home this morning, so you’re seeing me at my worst. In half an hour I’ll be fine.”
I smiled. “Okay.”
“I have to send a couple emails, but I think I’m going to wait until I get to work. Right now I just want to sit.”
“What if you fall asleep and miss your stop?”
“That’s why I need you to keep me awake,” he said. “You ask me a question and then I’ll ask you one.”
I thought for a second. “How far is your stop from mine?”
“About three minutes,” he said. “Will you ever start writing again?”
“Wow, this is really rapid-fire.”
Mikey turned toward me, leaning against the back of the empty seat in front of him and gave me an expectant look.
“I’m sure I will,” I said. “Where do you keep all of your drawings?”
“In my drawing desk. Or on top of the refrigerator. A few other places. Can I read some of your writing?”
“If I can find it, maybe. Why are you so obsessed with my writing?”
He leaned back and looked up at the ceiling of the bus. “We need a rule that says we’re only allowed to ask questions that have short answers.”
“That seems a little subjective,” I said. “Any question can have a short answer. Maybe it won’t be a very good answer, but it still counts as an answer.”
“Fine,” he said. “I’d like to see your creative side. It makes me feel sort of…closer to someone. Is that short enough?”
“Yes,” I said. “How long have you been drawing?”
“Since around fourteen years old. I took art my first semester of high school. When did you start writing?”
“Probably around the same time. At least that was when I started to take it seriously.” I paused. “What were you like when you were fourteen?”
He thought for a moment. “Honestly, kind of a wild child. A terror to my parents for sure. I didn’t have a lot of focus.”
“Really? Did you just sort of grow out of it?”
He smirked at me, wordlessly accepting the fact that I had broken the chain. “I guess you could say that. Or maybe I’m just extra buttoned-down around you.”
“No, I think I can see it. You’ve still got a little wild streak to you.”
“That’s good. I don’t want to turn into some boring…I don’t know; can’t think of anything.”
“Accountant,” I offered.
“Right.” He grinned. “Thank you. Some boring accountant.”
I received a text from Jennifer, the coworker with whom I sometimes took lunch. “If you’re looking for inspiration,” it read, “Calvin is leaving T&D. He doesn’t want to move. Fern Hill would be way better with you there. Just thought you should know. See you at work.”
“Thanks for the info. See you soon,” I replied, then put my phone back in my pocket.
“I don’t care if you text,” said Mikey.
“It was just a quick work thing. Apparently one of my coworkers is quitting instead of moving to Fern Hill.”
“Wow. I didn’t realize that was the only alternative.”
“They kind of implied it,” I said. “It’s their expectation that we’re willing to move around. I’m surprised he’s quitting, actually.”
Mikey looked down at his knees. “I doubt that’s something anyone takes lightly.”
“No,” I said. “You’re right.”
He yawned and warmed his hands on his neck. “Friends rest on friends’ shoulders sometimes.”
I laughed. “Yes, that is accurate. Do you want to sleep until my stop?”
“Not sleep, just rest,” he said. “I’m dying over here.”
I patted my shoulder to indicate that he was welcome. He slouched down in his seat a little and tilted his head against my frame. We were both quiet for a few minutes as the bus pounded its way across the bridge and entered downtown.
“You’re more comfortable than the window,” he said.
He didn’t say anything else until we approached my stop and he sat up. “Maybe you should talk to your coworker today. The one who’s quitting. See what he has to say about it.”
“I was considering that,” I told him.
He stood up to allow me access to the aisle. “Cool. See you after work.”
I said goodbye and stepped off the bus.
I arrived at work a little early, and just a handful of staff already milled around. Jennifer nearly plowed through a row of desks to reach me. “Don’t let Calvin sway you too much. He doesn’t have anything nice to say about T&D right now. They’re only giving him the rest of this week.”
“Can they do that?” I asked.
“Contractually, yes. Not that they should, but they can.”
“Alright,” I said. “I’m definitely leaning toward moving. I just want to hear his side.”
“That’s fair,” she said.
About an hour into my workday I asked Calvin if he had time to meet at lunch.
“All the time in the world,” he said, leaning back with his hands clasped behind his head. During my time at the company, Calvin’s initially brusque demeanor had grown on me. Short, moderately overweight, loud and strong-willed, he was an open book and rarely withheld his opinions.
We met for pho across the street and after ordering, he said, “So you’re not sure about the move, huh?”
“Right,” I said. “Is there any specific reason you’re not going?”
“Actually, no,” he confessed. “There are a few general reasons, but I mean, it’s not like I’m unable to leave the city.”
“That’s kind of where I’m at,” I said. “I just don’t want to move. But that reasoning ends up sounding pretty lacking to me whenever I really start to consider it.”
“Don’t you think if you were really into the job, you wouldn’t be hesitating?”
I paused. “I don’t know. I haven’t really considered that.”
“Here’s my thing,” he said. “My immediate response was like, ‘Fuck no. I’m not doing this shit.’ Then later, even thought I’d gotten over all the initial stuff, I still had a pretty clear feeling of not wanting to do it. I know if I was obsessed with this job, I never would’ve had those feelings in the first place.”
Our food arrived and he unwrapped his chopsticks. “Actually, it’s been good for me because it’s helping me realize that I chose the wrong career.”
Unexpectedly, his last statement dropped like a lead ball into the bottom of my stomach. It held no nuance or shocking revelatory properties, but nonetheless left me with a distant, icy feeling that faded slowly.
“T&D has been a real bitch about it, to be honest,” he was saying. “I really feel like they should have given me more time before cutting me off. It’s not like I wouldn’t be productive over the next month here. But then again…I’m the one who signed the papers when they hired me.”
“What was their reasoning for letting you go so quickly?”
“They said they don’t want to continue with someone who isn’t headed the same direction as the company.”
“Corporate bullshit,” I said.
“So you’re thinking you chose the wrong career?”
“I think so. Like I said, if I had no big doubts about it at all, I’d be fine with moving away for a while. Instead I’m jumping ship.”
“Okay,” I said. “I follow you.”
“That’s just me, though. Maybe you chose the right career and you just don’t want to move to fucking Fern Hill.”
I laughed. “Maybe.” We ate in silence for a few minutes. After giving it more thought I said, “Your logic is pretty sound, though. I can’t be that different from you. I mean, I wouldn’t call accounting my passion.”
“Well, how not-passionate would you say you are?”
“I don’t know. Obviously I’m not feeling much if I’m not totally willing to move for the job.”
“Yeah,” he said. “Well, you’re more undecided about it-that’s for sure. It was a lot easier for me to say no. That probably tells you something.”
“It does tell me something. It tells me the decision will be harder for me than it was for you.”
He grinned. “There you go. Glad I could help.”
We finished eating and as we paid at the door he said, “Hey, no matter what you decide, my advice would be to wait to talk to them. I should have just played stupid for a few weeks and stayed on payroll.”
I laughed. “I’ll definitely keep that in mind.”
Mikey texted me after work as I waited for the southbound bus. “Hey, I left work a little early. You weren’t at your stop so I’m probably ahead of you. Can I persuade you to come over and hang out today? I forgot to tell you that I’ll be out of town for four days starting tomorrow.”
“Sure,” I replied. “Just boarding now. I’ll see you soon.” As the bus merged with traffic I reflected back on my conversation with Calvin. The concept of having chosen the wrong career had lost some of its initial bite. Still, I was fascinated by his ability to speak with such pragmatism (and perhaps disregard) about something I considered momentous.
When I arrived at Mikey’s he lit up the doorway with renewed spirit.
“You’re looking a lot more rested.”
“I know. I did end up napping at lunch. And of course…” He smiled and pointed at the mug in his hands.
I took off my coat and tie after entering and draped them over the arm of the couch.
“Are you hungry?” he asked. “I made some beef and rice last night. There’s still a lot left.”
“I will need to do something about dinner,” I said.
“Let me heat some up,” he offered. “I’m hungry, too.”
I accepted and Mikey went to the refrigerator.
“Have you done any drawings lately?” I asked.
“Yeah, actually. Last night. It’s still there.”
I walked over to his desk and studied the sketch that lay on top of a jumbled stack of papers. Two birds (a cardinal and a robin) stood planted in a small circle of grass, the robin pulling taut a worm that was still partially anchored into the soil. Although the lines were not as rough, lending the sketch an augmented sense of finality over what he’d drawn for me, the creatures each possessed the same minimally human expression of unencumbered joy.
“I’m currently obsessing over birds, thanks to you,” he said.
“It’s amazing, Mikey,” I said, to which he did not respond. I considered lifting up the drawing to see what others might lie underneath, but decided against it.
“Alright,” said Mikey from the kitchen. “You can come serve yourself if you want. I’ll get you a plate.”
Once we sat down to eat at the coffee table Mikey said, “I meant to tell you sooner about traveling this week. Sorry about that.”
“That’s right. I totally forgot about your text. It’s alright.”
“It’s weird,” Mikey continued. “I’ve known about this trip all along, but up until a couple days ago, I never would have thought to let you know about it.”
“Before last week you didn’t even know me,” I said.
“I know. It’s so weird,” he said.
“Are you flying?”
“I did last time, but this time I’m driving. It’s about eleven hours. The Honda’s first road trip,” he said, smiling.
“That’s awesome. Have a good time.” I took a few bites and complimented him on his cooking.
“Thanks. My mom and I cooked together a lot when I was growing up. Sorry there are no greens. I ate them all last night. Also the beef got a little overcooked when I reheated it.”
“It’s a free meal,” I said. “I don’t care about that.”
After we finished I insisted on washing the dishes. As I set them to dry Mikey said, “Do you play video games?”
“Sometimes,” I said. “What do you have?”
“Grand Theft Auto might be fun,” he said. “We could just take turns and watch each other.”
“That’s actually one of the few I know.”
Over two hours later we remained on the rug together in front of the television, Mikey now at the helm, which I preferred because his lovable, childlike enjoyment of the game buoyed me into my own guileless mood. At times I rolled over into a fetal position, he barely maintaining his composure at my side, debilitated by waves of laughter brought on by our virtual misadventures.
“Sometimes you just have to take the country cruise,” he was saying as he guided a 1950s-era sedan down a canyon highway. “Do a little of this and a little of that, and-” The car plummeted off the edge of a curve, scraping its way down a rock face and landing on the shore of a lake. It remained miraculously still operable and we spent over half and hour fruitlessly attempting to sweet-talk it over rocky terrain and back up to the highway.
“I think it’s time to admit defeat,” said Mikey, who had since offered me a shot at freeing the car. “That was fun, though.”
“It was,” I said.
“Do you want to do something else?”
“Sure,” I said, with no idea what he had in mind.
“It is so fucking hot in here.” He went over to his bedroom area and cranked open a long, slim window near the ceiling that ran the top length of another large window by the bed. He also opened a narrow door at the foot of the bed that I had not noticed before, which led out to a small balcony. “If we hang out over here it’ll be a lot cooler.”
I climbed up onto his double bed with him, which, like mine, had been raised up on stilts so that items could be stored underneath. We lay side by side, looking up at the ceiling for a couple of minutes without saying anything. The cool air that poured over the metal lip of the vent window was as soothing as he had promised. Eventually I tilted my head to the right, watching Mikey’s chest rise and fall. He still wore a rather formal white button-down but had untucked it from his pants. The untextured fabric rose up to cloak his pectoral muscles and descended to his slim waist.
He said softly, “I like that we can be quiet like this. It’s nice to think that if there’s nothing left to say, silence can be comfortable. It’s not like that with everybody.”
“I know what you mean,” I said.
“Not that we need to be quiet. Loud is good, too. We could yell if we wanted-hey, give me something to yell.”
“What? I can’t think of anything.”
Verbatim, Mikey screamed the words I had just said, jolting me to back to full alertness.
I laughed. “Quit it.”
He yelled that, too, his voice slamming against the ceiling and every wall in the apartment.
I clapped my hand over his mouth and he tore it away.
“I won’t be silenced,” he boomed, a gigantic grin spreading across his face. He held my arm down at my side and wrestled his way on top of me.
I locked my arms around his torso and rolled both of us back to his side of the bed, so that I now lay on top of him.
He struggled for only a few seconds before overpowering me and I found myself on my back once again.
“Okay,” I said, “I give up. You’re stronger.” I relaxed my muscles and let the weight of him sink slowly into me.
“I’m not,” said Mikey. He offered a minor thrust, pressing his waist into mine, and I felt that he was becoming hard. I thrust back. He lifted himself up to a sitting position, still straddling me, and unbuttoned his shirt. “It’s still so hot and this shirt is way too restrictive.”
“Maybe I should join you.” I began tearing through my own buttons.
“Yes please,” he said. He pulled off his cotton undershirt, tugging it up over his head, and helped me to remove mine. I only had a few seconds to observe his dark, bare chest, which towered above me, appearing more substantial than ever. He lowered himself back down so that our naked skin could meet, and already I felt a cool dampness from the sweat shared between us. Mikey wrapped his arms around me and gave another thrust, firm and definite. I countered and we began to grind up against one another, his pronounced hardness sliding repeatedly over mine through our pants. I was not only aroused, but fully stimulated by the motion. I felt his fingers grip the skin of my back, trapped slightly under my weight as he continued to grate his body into mine.
“Fuck. This is hot,” he said. “If we keep going like this, I’m not going to last.”
“Keep going,” I said.
He pressed on, increasing only slightly in intensity before I could feel the entire nature of his movement adjust slightly. “This is it,” he said. “I can’t stop it. Oh, fuck.”
My consideration for the brutality of his heft pounding into me, the animalistic physicality of him that had advanced into immediate, natural release, and that I had brought this about in him-all of it sent me directly over the edge and I discovered myself climaxing just as he announced his own arrival, so that both of us released at once, coming wildly against one another, into our underwear.
Mikey continued to grind softly against me in small, metered, seizing movements until we had both subsided. He rolled off of me and onto his back. We now panted peacefully, staring up, a pair of heaving chests wet from the heat and activity. Once again we were silent for a few minutes as distant city sounds and scattered voices from the dark street below came gradually back into focus.
“I don’t know how else to put this,” he said, “but that’s really going to help me get through the next four days.”
I smiled. “I feel the same way, and I’m not even going anywhere.”
A siren wailed by and Mikey got up to close the small door to the balcony. “Do you want a fresh pair of underwear? I’m going to change mine.”
“Do you mind?” I asked.
He went to his dresser and tossed me a pair. He then went around the partition to the living room, offering me privacy as both of us changed. Mikey wore a similar, rather tight-fitting style of boxer-briefs.
He offered to wash mine for me and return them later, and I thanked him. “Ooh,” he said. “Trading underwear-so sexy.”
I laughed as he returned to lie again at my side, both of us still bearing the skin of our torsos. “I didn’t even ask you where you were going,” I said.
“Where’s Boise?” The name sounded only vaguely familiar to me.
“Idaho. I’ve spent a little time there already from the last time we helped them on-site.”
“Oh. For some reason I assumed all of your clients were local.”
“The newer ones are, actually. But when we first started we were casting the net everywhere.”
“I see. Well, I hope you have a good trip to Boise. Do you like it there?”
“It’s okay,” he said. “It’s a lot smaller than here. I don’t mean Fern Hill-small; it’s just not a big city. Some strange in-between size, I guess. But it’s clean and the people are nice.”
I nodded and we lay listening to the sounds of the night spilling in from outside. I made up my mind to appease my curiosity about something.
“Mikey, I’ve been wanting to ask. How did your parents die?”
“Car accident,” he said. “A truck driver fell asleep and hit them head-on.”
“Oh,” I said. “Sorry to bring it up, but for some reason I wanted to know.”
“That’s normal. I told you they died but I didn’t tell you what happened.” He paused. “It was a bad accident so I don’t think they suffered.”
I folded my arms across my chest. “I’m glad they didn’t suffer.”
He cleared his throat, pausing for a few seconds before saying, “It’s been almost four years. After all that time…I don’t feel like I expected I would. It still doesn’t always seem like they’re gone. It’s like they’re still around. Somewhere.”
I turned his statement over in my mind a few times. “Do do think they really are? Like, somewhere else?”
“If you mean, like, an afterlife type of thing, then I don’t know.” He turned onto his side, facing me. “I don’t have any specific beliefs about that. I guess I don’t really think that way.”
“I don’t, either,” I said.
“My aunt always insists they’re in heaven. She says that’s why I feel the way I do. I’ve told her that those beliefs aren’t…I don’t know…a part of me.”
I rubbed my eyes. “My mom and I have the same kind of conversations. She’s convinced that life must be empty and sad without believing in an afterlife.”
Mikey moved once again to his back. He seemed to choose his words carefully before saying, “I would rather be miserable than take something like that on faith.”
I turned and looked at him. “That’s how I think about it, too.”
“I mean, yeah it’s sad. It’s pretty fucking depressing sometimes,” he continued. “It’s supposed to be-you know, not knowing.”
I nodded, but didn’t say anything.
Mikey got up to close the window. “I’m finally feeling a little cold,” he said. “I’m going to put on my shirt again.”
I did the same.
We lay together again, wandering through our own minds for a while. Eventually I turned to Mikey, observing his eyes as they darted around the room, lingering in one place for no longer than a few seconds before shifting to the next.
“You look very occupied by something,” I said.
He sighed. “Not any one thing. And nothing that I can really put into words.”
“What time do you have to head out tomorrow? I don’t want to keep you up.”
“Around the same as usual. I’ll be fine. We’ll leave soon and get you to bed, though.”
We faced each other, a safe distance between us, and my eyelids began to feel heavy.
“When I focus on you,” he said, “I stop thinking about anything serious. It’s nice.”
I wasn’t sure if Mikey referred only to this moment, together on the bed, or if, when we were apart, he also calmed himself with thoughts of me. I just smiled at him.
We both grew increasingly drowsy over the next several minutes, and I said, “I don’t want the night to be over, but I’m going to fall asleep if we don’t go now.”
He lingered for just a second and suddenly I contemplated alternate circumstances, in which I did not report to work early the next morning and Mikey did not embark on a day-long drive to some distant, unimaginable city. We would not be bound by time; we would drift off to sleep in each other’s presence and we would come to remove our clothes, crawling under the covers to spend the night together. I wondered if Mikey had considered it, too.
“I don’t want it to be over, either,” he said. He lifted himself up and crawled off the bed. “I guess four days isn’t very long.”
“It’s not,” I said, walking to the living room and gathering my coat and tie. “The work week will go by quickly.”
As we traveled home I felt such an unexpected and profound peacefulness that I fell easily back into a state of fatigue, fighting off sleep more than once.
Mikey noticed and insisted that I close my eyes. “I promise I am far from sleep,” he said. “Driving does that to me.”
I rested my head against the window, abandoning the waking world for at least a few minutes. At some point I had become aware again but kept my eyes closed, absorbing the hushed vibrations that traveled up from the road through the frame of the car and spread into my side. For a fleeting moment I detected, unmistakably, the back of Mikey’s hand meeting with my cheek. It ventured up the edge of my jaw and brushed against my ear before departing. I showed no sign of awareness because I did not want to embarrass him, and because I hoped that it would happen again. It did not, and before long he guided the car off the highway and up the road to my apartment building.
Other Chapters: Mikey and the Chickadee – by kidboise
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 2
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 3
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 4
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 5
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 6
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 7
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 8
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 9
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 10
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 11
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 12
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 13
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 14
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 15
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 16
- Mikey and the Chickadee - Chapter 17