Becoming a Man

I nearly killed a boy named Jonathan Pilby when I was fifteen. If that nosy jogger hadn’t found his busted bloody body under the bridge where I left him, then he might not have made it. But unfortunately the jogger had to be a hero. Jonathan Pilby. I’d kill him again if I got the chance. Some days I think the meaning of life is to one day find him and hold him underwater till the bubbles stop. Jonathan Pilby. All because he took me to see a woman. Said she’d introduce me to my manhood. I borrowed Father’s Buick and we drove to Loveland, to a trailer park on a hill. “Here,” he said, “is where you’ll find your bliss.” It was filthier than anything I’d ever seen on television. Grubby, grimy, snot-nosed kids running rampant on the gravel roads. The whole place ripe like a pig farm. Hollowed car shells, engine parts, broken toys and lawnmowers, snow blowers, bicycles, broken diesel trucks splayed across a front yard. Alley cats with mange hissing viciously from trash heaps. “She’s inside,” he said. Little varmint-faced Jonathan Pilby, with his mullet, smiling like he’d farted. I went up alone. He said she liked to play a little game. “Act like you’re there to talk about Jesus,” he said. “That’s what she likes to play.” I nodded my head, felt for the condoms in my pocket, adjusted my tie, then went up the walkway and knocked on her door.

Christopher Higgs curates the website His most recent work appears or is forthcoming in Post Road, Beloit Fiction Journal, Salt Hill, and DIAGRAM.