“Childhood” By: Eric Balaz

XI. That summer we were covered in rashes and our ears stayed infected. We lived where the Niagara bent and collected run-off and debris. We swam at the site of an abandoned marina; its skeletal structure collapsed on land and spilled into the water. Oil tankers slid through the water to head out into the great lakes, rushing off to better cities.
XIV. I lost my virginity in a dark room, the only light came from the TV. The local news broadcast accompanied my rhythmless thrusting.
Young boy shot dead today on the East Side.
Chemical fire causes millions in property damage.
We’re out of the playoffs. There’s always next time.

I tried not to think of my best friend as he masturbated in the corner.
XVI. I felt nauseous going to math class junior year. I saw two male classmates making out in their car. My nausea was from excitement. I held my hand to my mouth and vomited. I continued vomiting and the pressure built until it started to squirt out between my fingers. I washed my hands in the drinking fountain and went to class.
XI. We wouldn’t scratch at our rashes, allowing the itch to take over our thoughts. When it got to be too much we would rub our bodies together, young boys and girls. Sharing our suffering we found relief. And while the act wasn’t sexual, at different intervals we individually, young boys and girls, would hide under overpasses or behind rocks or in the thick weeds and pleasure ourselves to the memory.
XIV. I woke up the next morning with blood clumped and smeared around the shaft of my penis. I found great satisfaction peeling it from my scant pubic hair. I ate a sloppy Popsicle and played WWF SMACKDOWN! on my PlayStation as she searched for her panties.
Jockeying for position.
He missed! HE missed!
1… 2… 3 ding! ding! ding!
Shrugging her shoulders she pulled on her pants without them. I found her panties the next day, leopard print and bikini cut, shredded in my dog’s mouth.

XVI. During lunch I went to the bathroom by the gym. This kid I knew was standing there in boxers, his leg perched up on the sink. He was shaving the leg with a pink disposable razor. Later, I sat in the cafeteria and felt uncomfortably aroused thinking about it as I mixed mayonnaise and ketchup together with a french fry.
XI. Our ears oozed and we compared the different colors. It was jewelry, strange adornments for the kings and queens of the neighborhood. We stumbled everywhere we went, our balance destroyed by the infections. The police chased us and we made daring escapes. Our thrones in constant danger of usurpers, we welcomed all challengers.
XIV. I saw her next at the park. She was with her friend who was my age and in my class, unlike my girlfriend, who was several years older than I. We all undressed. Her friend wore soft white panties and bra and held herself with her arms, collapsing inward. My girlfriend was completely naked; the wet ground squelched between her toes. We started while standing but quickly fell to the ground.
Bark, woof, ruff.
“Where’s the ball?”
“Sit, roll over, play dead.”
I laid between them, our small bodies intertwined and covered in mud and sweat and semen and grass and leaves.
XVI. Eighth period was English class where we sat in groups, the day simultaneously about to end and begin. Instead of watching The Great Gatsby, this girl and I created a narrative under the desk. We achieved mutual orgasm during the scene of Gatsby floating dead in his pool.
XI. Fall came and we still jumped out into the water. We would huddle together while on the edges of the mighty Niagara, lips blue and rashes purple. As some retreated we knew it was near the end. There was only a small cadre left that last day as we watched one of our friends in the water, ice forming around his unsubmerged edges, dead.
XIV. The next time we had sex was in the basement. It was during a party. The flower pattern of the cushions I put down for comfort, pulled of the family couch, were stark in contrast against the dirt grey of the basement floor. She took me in her arms and laid me down on the cushions. Our friends stood in a circle around us. They talked loudly amongst each other.
“I hear she’s going to break up with him.”
“Just because… no reason… maybe because she finds it funny.”
As I neared climax she whispered into my ear that she never wanted to see me again. My orgasm was total and complete. I pulled out and ejaculated until I was empty and it felt like parts of my soul were being torn out and shot, fading on her skin to be scraped away at a later time.

XVI. Gym class, we would play in the large fields surrounding the school. I, and others, would sit with our backs against the outside wall of the cafeteria. I smoked cigarettes in an act of rebellion against the regime. Two girls promised to kiss if I did the same with the boy next to me. I hid my arousal with my damp shirt. I was not sure why, but I burned the cafeteria down a few days later.


  1. For once, I’m speechless! I’ve read almost everything you’ve written and you exceed yourself with each new story. Keep the stories coming!

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