Twister by Simon Larter
“Right hand green,” Joey called, and Marissa bent herself over my outstretched leg. She was balanced on two feet and one hand, torso twisted, other hand planted on her upturned hip. Her hair had fallen across her face, and she frowned as she tried to puff it away. I was splayed across the mat as well, right leg extended. Marissa’s shirt had pulled up, and, if I tucked my head down far enough, I could see the belly button ring silver against her pale skin.
“What are you looking at?” she asked, and slapped at my upturned ass with her free hand.
“Ow!” I yelled. “I’m not looking at you, you dirty slut! I’m trying to look up Mitch’s shorts!”
Mitch’s knees slapped together. “Cut it out, homo,” he laughed. “Quit trying to scope my junk!”
“You know you love it, fat boy. It’s the most attention you’ll get all week,” I said, grinning. Mitch responded with a genial Fuck you, and I turned back to Marissa. “But hey, could you slap my ass again, Riss? That felt good.” I wiggled my hips at her.
She snorted. “You wish, freak. Now shut up and play the game.”
She looked over to where Joey was sitting sideways in the dilapidated easy chair. “You going to spin again, or what?”
Joey had just taken a drag of his joint and waved an extended middle finger at us as he fought back the coughs. “I’m busy over here,” he rasped. “I can’t spin and smoke at the same time!”
“Well excuse me!” Marissa said. “Sorry to interrupt your highness, but my arm’s sore, and I’m tired of having an ass in my face, so just fucking spin, wouldja?”
I shimmied at her again as Joey flicked the wheel, and she swatted me. “That’s what I’m talking about, baby! You can hit me harder if you like, though.”
She laughed, and Joey called out the next move: “Left hand blue.”
On nights when she wasn’t there, Marissa was the favored topic of conversation. She was tall and lean, with dyed black hair and a bleached-blonde streak that she seemed to be constantly flipping out of her eyes. Her style trended toward form-fitting black jeans and Doc Martens, cutoff t-shirts and studded chokers. Each of us was attracted to her, but none of us had the balls to do anything. Why she hung out with us was anyone’s guess, but we assumed that it had a lot to do with the free weed and beer.
So now she was straddling my leg, slim stomach arched, and I found myself distracted by the way her breasts hung against her Misfits t-shirt. “Right foot red,” Joey said, and Marissa and I changed positions. She got her foot to the nearest circle first, forcing me to twist sideways, arms spread and weight to one side. I was sweating from the effort. Marissa’s right arm was by my head. Moisture glistened on her skin, too.
I couldn’t see him, but I knew Joey was checking out the mat, the positions of our respective limbs, and evaluating the next call for maximum discomfort. I heard him flick the spinner. The scrape of plastic on cardboard came to a halt. “Left hand yellow,” he said, and Mitch sniggered. I looked at the mat. There was just no way.
“What the hell, Joey?” Marissa panted. “You made that one up.”
“I did not!”
I nudged Marissa with my hip. “On three?”
“Fine,” she said. “Whose idea was it to play this dumb game anyway?”
We counted, and with an explosion of movement we both went for the same circle. I reached it first, knocking her aside, and her elbow buckled when her hand hit the mat. She tipped into me, her shoulder jabbing into my ribs. I held for a moment, straining, before we both went down. She landed on top of me, elbow in my stomach. The air went out of me in a rush, and then we were on our backs on the mat.
Marissa’s head was back, and she was holding her gut as she laughed. Her neck was a long, pale curve. Joey and Mitch were grinning and slapping five. “Good one, Joe,” Mitch was saying. I raised myself on one elbow, weak with laughter. Then I looked at her lips, maroon, smiling, and I had to kiss her.
Before I could think, I reached out and touched her cheek with my fingertips. Her eyes opened and she turned her head toward me. I leaned in and pressed my lips to hers. They were cool, and her lip ring pushed into the side of my mouth. She smelled of cannabis and flowers. Then she parted her lips, and I could taste the smoke on her tongue. Her body curved against mine. Her hair tickled my cheek.
We broke the kiss, and I pulled away. She remained still, looking at me, something indefinable in her sea-green eyes. I looked up.
Joey and Mitch were staring at us. Joey held the forgotten spinner in his lap. His mouth was open, and the joint in his hand sent a stream of smoke toward the ceiling. Mitch was half-frowning, his eyes wide. In their faces: jealousy, anger, dismay. They looked away, Joey first, then Mitch. I felt the change in the close air of the room, felt it pressed full-length against me, tasted it on my lips and on my tongue, and I knew that our easy, uncomplicated summer was over.
© 2005-2009 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas