Phallus in Pigtails, A
NOTES: Thanks go to Nestra for taking the time to spank my commas. Livia, I think this woobie's for you.
Definitely on the bullet train to the special hell, and taking Patty with me. Title borrowed without permission from David Bowie's lyrics in "Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed".
He'll never know what it's like to be a real woman, to walk without anything taking up space between his legs, the way their hips and elbows bend differently, the casual way they carry their breasts.
Tits are heavy, man.
He tells himself he doesn't want to know, that the bacon cheeseburger should stay cloaked in a mystery of barbecue sauce and onion rings.
He's lying. He didn't want to know before all this happened, but now he needs to know.
He needs to know how women do it. How they deal with it. Guys looking at them all the time. Expecting shit. Seeing T&A and a convenient cunt. Ugly girl'll put out because that's all she's got to offer.
Yeah, he fucking knows that's what they're all thinking. Men are such fucking pigs.
Adam's not supposed to understand what it's like to be a woman.
A pretty dress out of the corner of his eye, him halfway to the rack to see if there's one in his size. A tube of pink lipstick on the makeup counter advertising that it doesn't rub off. The shoes.
Nobody warned him about the shoes.
Adam's not supposed to know what it's like to be a woman, and he thinks it might be driving him insane.
That's if the nightmares don't get him first.
It's just... flashes.
His old room sliding across his eyeballs. The stale reek of weed, sweaty armpits and fresh spunk. Sticky taste of cranberry on his tongue, the rasp of his skirt over his thighs.
The last thing he really remembers is staring at the back of his closet and thinking about how much it hurt his ankles and hips to squat while wearing heels.
Rest of it's just... blank.
Until he wakes up snuggling with Jimmy.
Adam's blacked out before, but he never worried about it. It didn't occur to him that he had to worry. Most that could happen was a magic marker makeover or a couple of embarrassing pictures with strategically placed dildos from the DOG house supply.
He worries now.
He feels vulnerable, and he fucking hates it.
Adam really fucking hopes he never made a girl feel like this. And even if he hasn't -- which he's not thinking about because he can't handle the guilt right now -- the rest of the KOK house probably did with the walk of shame.
That's one of the first traditions he'll kill as KOK president.
That, and the strut. No one should ever have to do that fucking strut.
Dave's handling things okay. Looking all soulful and understood, and taking feminist theory courses with Leah. Last time Adam saw him, Dave was handing out flyers for the Vagina Monologues.
Leah still calls him Daisy.
Adam thinks that might be a little fucked up.
Doofer's still with the French girl, and since Frederique shaved off all the facial hair, Adam thinks Doofer got pretty fucking lucky. He's helping her with her English, and Doofer's trying to learn French. So far, the thing he knows how to say is "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?"
God save them all from Doofer's Patti La Belle impersonation.
Makes him wonder where he could buy a good boa.
It's possible that Adam's slightly drunk.
Door's locked, windows are locked, lights are off, and Adam's rapidly drinking himself into oblivion.
Only thing that stops the nightmares.
He can't fucking believe they gave him his old room back.
He can't fucking believe he took it. Because everywhere he looks, it's flashes.
And then it's blank.
He watches one of his tapes while he waits for his fingernails to dry. Doofer's hardly ever in their room anymore, except to sleep sometimes. The tape's not really turning him on much despite the fact that Debbie Whatshername is riding him like she's eight seconds to glory. He blows on his fingernails. Black this time. Guys can wear black nail polish.
Well, goth guys can. It'll take a little more panache for a preppie frat boy to carry it off.
Satisfied that his nails are dry, Adam picks up the remote and turns off the TV. His dick's not rising to the occasion. His dick hasn't risen for much of anything lately except morning wood.
He hasn't gotten laid since --
Adam's pretty sure that time doesn't count.
He doesn't remember it, so it didn't happen, right?
Except he felt it the morning after, didn't he? Thought he'd just slept wrong when he clomped down the stairs and wobbled across the street in those damn heels, but he'd let out a definite yelp when he tried to sit down on his bed. He's just glad Doofer didn't seem to notice.
Something did happen, and he doesn't remember it.
Little fucker better have used a condom.
Adam wakes up in the middle of the night stinking of sweat.
His fear smells sour.
He's too young to have a heart attack, but he can't fucking breathe here, and he doesn't know what's wrong with him.
He flails around in bed until he gets free of the sheets, falling off the side like he's trying to walk in heels again. Gets dressed. Covers his bed hair with a hat.
Adam pulls the bulletin board of shame from under his bed.
Half the house is sprawled on the stairs, the couches, the floor. Passed out, air thick with the smell of booze and smoke, and tinged with vomit.
Old habits die hard, but he figures it's good that at least somebody around here is having a good time.
He steps over a body passed out on the stoop and jogs across the street. The DOG house is quiet. All the lights are off. They're all probably in bed like good girls.
And they are. Good girls. Not the prettiest by a long shot, but they forgave him. More importantly, he trusts them, and lately he's had some pretty fucking massive trust issues.
The kitchen door is unlocked, so he steals a metal garbage can from underneath the kitchen sink. He's pretty sure all the garbage cans at the KOK house are full of puke by now.
He lights the first Polaroid with his trusty Zippo and tosses it into the garbage can.
Adam can't remember all of their names. Some of them are smiling. One's flipping off the camera, and yeah, he definitely remembers her.
The rest of them just look humiliated.
He knows how it feels. Adina really wishes she'd bothered to check her mascara before leaving Jimmy's room that morning.
He lights another one and watches the flames flicker and creep up the Polaroid, blackening and bubbling the film. Burning a hole right through the shocked girl's face. Her name was Amy. Or Allison. Started with an "A", he knows that much. It's burning his fingers before he lets go of the Polaroid, flinging it into garbage can with a jerk of surprise.
"Fuck," he mutters.
He dumps the stack of Polaroids into the trash, bending over to run his Zippo over the edges until the flame catches. The film hisses as it heats up. Adam stuffs his hands in the pocket of his sweatshirt.
It's the flashes again. He thought burning the pictures would help, but it's just making him remember in little slideshow bursts behind his eyelids.
Until he doesn't remember.
Adam closes his eyes and presses his hands against his eyelids, but it doesn't help. It just makes things more vivid and cluttered with bright spots of purple, and shitfuckpiss, the beer's roiling in his gut and he thinks he might need to puke soon.
He jumps. Leah's standing in the doorway and wearing a robe. Her feet are bare, and she's got some crazy hair action going on.
Daisy must be braiding it for her again.
"Adam? Is that you?" she says, and of all the fucking times for her to be wearing her glasses.
"Yeah," he finally says. His voice is rough and thick, like he just smoked a pack of Reds and took too long a hit off the water bong.
"What are you doing?" she asks sleepily. She looks too tired to be in top bitch form. Small favors.
"Um, just... ritual cleansing," he improvises.
"At four o'clock in the morning?" she asks, spoiling the sarcasm by yawning halfway through the sentence.
"Yeah," he snaps. The Polaroids are almost gone. When he's sure the fire's out, he can go back home and -- "Fuck!"
"Is there something wrong, Adam?" Leah asks, clutching at the neck of her robe and doing that fidgety dance that means her feet are probably freezing.
"No. Yes. No."
Leah squints. "That was a spectacularly inconclusive answer." He grunts. "So, are you okay, or what?"
"I'm fine," he tries to say, but it comes out sounding broken.
"You don't sound fine."
Her concern is robbing him of his righteous fury like Spence ganking the cruise fund. It's making him feel all kinds of emotional crap, and that pisses him off.
"What do you know? You're a lesbian who likes dick," he says, kicking the trash can and sending a whirlwind of dying red ash into the air.
She rolls her eyes and does a really unattractive thing with her mouth. "If you're looking for Dave --"
"I'm not looking for Dave, okay?" he says, and if he's sounding a little tweaked, Leah won't be able to tell the difference after witnessing one of Adina's rants. "Dave can kiss my fucking fat ass."
"Shit," she mutters, like he's escalated himself from an annoyance to a situation. "Look, are you going to get off our lawn?"
"I'm going. Don't get your panties in a twist."
She frowns at him. Adina makes him stalk off before he can say anything worse.
"What did you say to Leah?" Patty asks as she pulls him through the window into her bedroom.
"What?" he gasps out, wondering why the hell he thought climbing up the trellis to avoid the person in question had been such a brilliant idea. "When?"
"She said you came over yesterday." Patty blinks at him, all doe-eyed and mournful. "She seemed really upset."
Adam falls backwards onto Patty's bed and snags one of her chenille pillows, curling himself around it. "I was, uh, kind of a jerk to her."
Patty gives him her scary look, the one where she lowers her eyebrows and stares at you like you're a spider that just crawled into the bathtub. "You will apologize."
He covers his face with the pillow. "Yes, ma'am," he says obediently.
After a moment, Patty says, "Did you want to talk about it?"
He pulls the pillow off his face. His nail polish is chipping. "Talk about what?"
The scary look's gone now. It's just Patty perched on a chair that's too short for her, her broad hands hanging loose between her knees. "Whatever's making you act like a jerk," she says.
"Nah," he says. "I really don't."
And he doesn't -- he'd rather eat crushed glass than talk about this. He just wants to get over it. Somehow, any way he fucking can, because right now it's like having wanderlust and one foot nailed the floor. It's making him twitchy as hell.
Maybe getting over it entails not obsessively thinking about it twenty-three hours a day.
It's a thought. In fact, it might even be a good idea.
Patty reaches out and twirls a lock of his hair around her finger. Adam freezes and experiences a few panicky seconds where his brain screams that Patty's coming on to him.
Only she isn't. She's touching him like she'd touch Adina.
He'll never admit to it even under pain of waxing, but he likes it. Girls touch more than guys do. Guys punch and slap each other, armwrestle or try to pants each other, maybe, but they don't -- they don't touch.
"I could do something with this," Patty says, tilting her head.
"Yeah?" he asks, high and breathless, and fuck, Adina wants to play dress-up.
Turns out Patty does hair. She's too tall to get her hair cut at a regular salon without the stylist bitching about her arms going numb, so Patty's had years of practice trimming her own.
She clips his hair short on the sides, bit longer on the top. He apologizes to Leah when she wanders into the room while Patty is running her fingers through his hair with styling gel.
He's an asshole. This isn't news.
"I look like a punked-out dyke," he says when he looks in the mirror.
Leah laughs, her eyes crinkling up behind her glasses. She knows it's a compliment.
He touches the black spikes with the palm of his hand and wishes he had some lipstick.
He sneaks away during the monthly DOG/KOK mixer, smiling pleasantly as he walks upstairs. Katie's on her way down the steps, towing some young blond guy that isn't Jimmy behind her.
Her makeup's smudged. She looks happy.
Jimmy transferred to a different university last week. Adam didn't realize how much hard work he'd put into repressing the urge to beat the ever-loving shit out of Jimmy until he didn't have to do it anymore.
If he'd been thinking, he never would have let Jimmy near the girls. But there was no thinking involved back then, just a desperate need to repress and deny. Then he'd moved on to obsessing.
Now he's just living, corny as it sounds. Trying to, anyway.
He still has nightmares, but they're fading. He knows that sleeping on his stomach seems to make them happen more often.
Then again, he still dreams about the time he nearly drowned in the family swimming pool when he was eight, so he doubts the nightmares will ever completely go away.
"Hi, Adam," Katie says, and for once, her voice falls into acceptable decibel range. She's been seeing a voice coach.
Adam smiles at her for real and keeps walking. Her control's not all that good yet, and he's had enough to drink that he might be honest if she asks him what he thinks.
Adina won't let him be a complete asshole anymore, but she can be a stone cold bitch when she's drunk.
Their room's still empty, Daisy's froofy blue robe hanging off the back hook. He wonders how much longer he'll have this place before new pledges show up and take it over. Adina should probably raid the closet while there's still time. There's a cute little plaid skirt she never got to wear.
Adam shuts the door behind him and flops onto the bed. There are makeup smudges on the pillow and he can smell the faint trace of Adina's perfume.
His face feels naked without foundation and mascara.
He's so very fucked.
"I'll play football with you if you take me shopping," Adina says. She caps the nail polish and extends her fingers for consideration. "What do you think?"
Patty takes her hand and brings it closer. "Won't the glitter flake off?"
Adina frowns at her fingernails. "Good question," Adina says. "This is why we need to go shopping."
She dressed for shopping today specifically. Adina needs to stop borrowing the other girls's makeup and clothes, and an ugly girl shopping is still less conspicuous than a guy in the changing room with an armload of pink sequins.
Adam knows Adina isn't going away. He doesn't want her to. They just have to work out some kind of time-share deal so his professors don't knock points off his grade for lack of attendance.
"Let me get my purse," Patty says, digging into the pile of papers and shoes next to her desk. Adina blows on her fingernails one last time before plucking her clutch off the floor and smoothing her skirt over her hips.
"Ready?" she asks breathlessly.
No one makes a rude comment on the bus to the mall, and Adina's fairly certain Patty's fierce glower is the reason. She feels protected. It's a nice change, even if she can kick any guy's ass on the bus if he looks at her funny. She can probably get away with it, too. No guy ever likes to admit it when he loses a fight to a girl.
Once they're at the mall, Adina bypasses the jeans and sweatshirts and works her way around a circular rack of discounted three-quarter-sleeve shirts. She has an outfit in mind, something that's a little less pink than usual and a little more... red. Something that says pretty boy in a dress instead of ugly girl with a big ass.
The wig itches, and it's obvious she's not a natural blonde. It's an experiment; Adam wants to try something a little more butch, anyway.
Patty pulls a light blue dress off the rack and snorts. Adina looks over and sees that the floor-length cotton barely comes down to Patty's knees.
"It'll show off your legs," Adina offers.
Patty just laughs. "I think this color would look better on you, anyway."
Adina rolls her eyes. "I bet you say that to all the ugly girls."
"Hey!" Patty says. The glower's back. Patty pulls Adina in front of the mirrors next to the dressing room and anchors her there with her hands on Adina's shoulders. "You are not ugly, Adina."
All Adina sees is a cheap wig, second-hand clothes, and a face that earns a dog-catcher whistle. At least she can't see her ass from here. "Yeah, I'm a prize."
"You're beautiful," Patty growls, her fingers tightening painfully on Adina's shoulders. Her expression clears up a second later. "But I think you'd look even better as a winter. Come on."
Adina counts it as a victory that she doesn't stumble over her high heels when Patty drags her over to the makeup counter.
He goes clubbing a week later dressed like a Catholic schoolgirl reject, wigless and with his lips stained a deep berry. While he's there he realizes some things.
Adam still likes watching lesbians make-out on the dance floor. Adina wants to test the endurance of her new stay-put lipstick. He's totally repressed the fact that he used to fantasize about David Bowie when he jerked off in his early teens.
That last one really should've been a cluestick to the head, but all of this doesn't come to him until he's sandwiched on the club's dark dance floor. Warm girl behind him, her fingers hooked in the waist of his plaid skirt. Her breasts soft and rubbing against his back below his shoulder blades. Guy in front with his hand up Adam's skirt, kissing him hard with teeth and tongue. Stubbles rasps over Adam's cheek, and then they're kissing again like it's impossible not to, the sting of a soft girl mouth on his neck.
This is... new. New and good. Broad hand on his cock and a soft girl shimmying behind him, and how could this not be good?
They run out of breath finally, and the guy pulls back. Adina notes that the lipstick hasn't smeared all over the strange guy with the pretty blue eyes, and the oxygen rushing back into his brain reminds him of something.
He's kissing a guy.
He panics for all of three seconds, sweat prickling in the creases of his skin, and the area around his mouth and chin tingling from beard burn. And then this guy, this beautiful blue-eyed guy bites along his jaw and does this thing on Adam's cock with his thumb. The cute little pixie girl behind him tongue-fucks the back of his neck.
Maybe he's a slut, maybe they're about to get arrested for public indecency, and maybe he's got enough issues to star in ten doctoral dissertations, but it feels good and his dick is happy, and that's enough for him right now.
Well, maybe it's enough. Maybe not. But Adam's been quietly freaking out for months now, and his dick's telling him to shut the fuck up and enjoy.
So he does.
Adam likes women, and Adina's voicing a definite interest in men. Technically, Adam thinks with some measure of hysterical irony, he's still kind of heterosexual.
Except for that thing where's he's apparently been as queer as a three dollar bill since puberty, because he still thinks David Bowie is hot.
He decides to worry about it later.
Maybe he'll just wait and see where he ends up in another ten years.
"Wow," Dave says, looking him up and down.
Adam thinks it's maybe the skirt, or the Docs, or the spiked hair, or maybe the fading hickies people of various sexes have sucked onto his neck the last few weeks. The debauched schoolgirl look has been a hit for a while now, and Adam is justifiably proud of the accomplishment.
"Hey," Adam says, slumping on the couch next to Dave and swiping his drink.
"You look... different," Dave says.
Adam's already gasping out, "Te-kill-ya," and shoving the drink back into Dave's hands. He and Jose Cuervo haven't gotten along since sophomore year spring break, with good, stomach-pumping-charcoal-slushie reasons. His eyes are watering, and Dave hasn't stopped staring. "What? Did my mascara bleed?"
"Who are you supposed to be?" Dave demands, like it's Halloween and Adam's been deliberately obscure in his choice of costume.
"Me, last time I checked," he says.
Dave's got this look on his face, the same one Dave had when Daisy's pantyhose was pinching his boys. "Yeah, right."
It strikes Adam that Dave is still the pretty one, and it makes him wildly jealous for a minute before he remembers that he's got his own thing. He's got his own thing, and it's working for him in ways he never dreamed of back when he was bagging TriPis every night.
"Is this about..." David flounders, then regroups with, "You're not trying to prove something, are you?"
"Dave, Dave, Dave," he says, propping his Docs on the coffee table Leah had purchased after Doofer broke the old one. His skirt rides up his thighs, and he notices Dave trying not to look. Adam flings his arms over the back of the couch and grins. "What could I possibly have to prove?"
Patty's voice floats down from upstairs. "You're taunting. Leah said no taunting under her roof!"
"I wouldn't be taunting," he yells back, "if you'd get your ass down here so we could go!"
He feels Dave staring at him. Somehow, he keeps himself from laughing. Much.
Patty thunders down the stairs and strikes a pose, her curled hair still bouncing on her shoulders. Adam finds himself whistling in appreciation at the bronze, clingy thing she's wearing. The wolf-whistle makes Patty beam, and he can't imagine why he ever thought she was unattractive. It occurs to Adam that he could do worse than Patty. Astronomically worse.
But that's pretty much up to Patty, and he thinks he can handle being the guy who threatens her dates with death and dismemberment if they ever hurt her.
Kind of like the look Leah's giving him now.
"Oh, relax," he says. "It's a dick night for both of us."
Dave says, "Oh," very quietly, and he looks at Adam like he thinks he knows.
He doesn't know. Maybe someday Adam will tell him.
But not tonight. Tonight, he's taking Patty dancing.
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