Subscribe to Granta today

New Voices

|

Every few weeks we will be showcasing original fiction from an emerging writer, as part of our New Voices feature. The next in our series – ‘Conspiracy of Males’. Read an interview with Evan James Roskos here.

Conspiracy of Males

We hated your fat little face. We called you elephant. We called you Jupiter. We called you fat-ass. You asshole. Cocksucker. Dickhead. Shithead. Faggot. We beat you up in fifth grade, eight knees to your temple. You got detention because you were fatter than us. The principal, also the civics teacher, said we were too smart to start a fight with a big kid. How fair, how fair.

We laughed about you all the time. In sixth grade, you carried books on field trip bus rides. You took books to sleepovers. You bought science fiction and comics by the pound. You stayed home to clean G.I. Joe vehicles instead of going to our first party with girls. Well, we didn’t invite you to that party anyway. You walked down the hall with us, asking about the time and who was going. You found out the time and that you weren’t invited.

That was us laughing when you fell off your bike.

That was us that ran over your bike and left.

That was us that stole your new bike and threw the lock and chain into the tree in front of your house.

In tenth grade, we wanted to set your hair on fire. We threw things at your back while you tried to ignore us. We tricked you into saying you shaved your balls like a fag. You’re a fag! You’re a fag! No answer would have saved you from torment. We laughed in your face. We made girls defend you. Girls.

We laughed at the girls you liked. Some were two years younger than you. Ugly ones your age were uninterested. You tried to give a girl charity flowers; she politely refused.

We talked to girls online and fucked them. Some we left at the door because they were too fat. Every time, we made you wonder why us, not you. You fucked no one. You kissed no one. You called no one.

Every Saturday night you bought scratch-off lottery tickets, Yoo-Hoo and egg and cheese sandwiches. You spent Friday nights at home or at work. Aged fifteen you worked because your father worked at twelve. He saved money for a car. You spent money on books and CDs and movie tickets. We loved the movies you hated. You stood up at the end of Face/Off and declared that it sucked, and we said, ‘You suck’. We said, ‘Shut up.’ We said, ‘You didn’t have to come.’

When you were seventeen, driving home from a poetry reading (you’re a fag!), we made sure you looked to the right when you made that left. A white compact car smashed the front of your father’s truck. We made sure your father didn’t believe your story and that your mother cried about you, you baby. The pasty-white paramedic offered to help you, any time, if you were traumatized. We made sure the way he said it creeped you out. We made sure the woman who hit you blamed you and didn’t ask if you were okay.

We were there, laughing, when you told your mother there was blood in your shit. We laughed and pointed and told you there would be a tube camera with your ass in its sites. We were not lying. We were there when the barium milkshake gave you the runs and your mother was pissed that you were going to stay home from school again. We told your mother not to believe that you had an ulcer, stress-induced intestinal issues, depression. We told her not to believe that you considered dying in all its alluring forms. It was for the best.

You started to believe we wanted you maimed and disturbed but not dead. You started to believe in the whispers at school and work. You watched passing cars and gazed through the windows of other people’s houses, wondering where the conspiracy started. You made plans to get away. You were so sure we were only here and not everywhere else.

We were there, way back, watching your grandfather beat your aunt and uncles. Seeing how your mother was never touched. She would have been better off with the biting end of a belt or the flash of drunk fists. We’d love to say your grandfather was our fault. We’d love to take the credit for his glorious, perfect, bastard essence. We learned everything from him and have no qualms about how long he lived or the fact that he died of rectal cancer. An asshole rotting. Oh, the perfect universe.

Your mother was a constant source of amusement to us. Too ugly to fuck, but we said we fucked her anyway. We started stories about your sister getting around that got around. How she was on drugs. We made sure your mother blamed your sister for everything that went wrong. We were compelling liars. We urged your father to drag your sister out of the house, by her arm or hair.

Nothing was your fault. You defended no one. By default, you defended us.

We didn’t leave you behind. In college, you had lunch by yourself. We sat close enough to hear your stomach gurgle, to see you wince when your intestines cramped. We were there when you curled up to die every chance you got, stared out of your dorm room’s window, took photographs of the same two trees (in snow, in rain, in spring) like some pathetic Ansel Adams.

We broke your clocks. We broke your toaster. We broke the locks on your windows. We pushed your mouth together and ground your teeth while you slept. You woke up with a sensitive, flat smile. You entered your apartment one day and found spiders menacing you from every corner of the ceiling. We wanted you to kill them, but you cupped each one and tossed it lightly into the front bushes. Your responses became fascinating.

When you found a dead mouse under the laundry basket, you cried, imagining it struggling for air, just air. Twenty years old and crying. Crying because of a cruel crossing of paths – the basket dropped as the mouse ran by. Crying, believing that everything was just the pure, dumb luck of your life.

Do you remember pacing in your apartment that night, wondering how we could kill a mouse but not you? Do you remember sweating, your stomach full of static, your feet wearing a path from the front door to the TV and back? Do you remember grabbing the keys to your truck, the one you smashed that was never the same? Do you remember driving at two in the morning with the windows down, the radio off, contemplating the only escape? Do you remember the loose wheel beneath your hands, the lure of the trees?

We want to know what made you hold on.

We want to know what kept your wheels on the road despite our logical urging.

Do you remember the next morning, standing pale, standing naked in the steam of the shower, looking out the small window, admiring the gold leaves on the trees behind your apartment? Remember how the sun and cool air and hot water made things feel better, even in the clutch of autumn? Do you remember how everything seemed to lift, and how the world was beautiful and soft? Thinking that maybe you could shake us off? Thinking you could be alone, perfectly alone, and we’d stop caring about the minutiae of your suffering?

Do you remember wiping your soapy eyes and suddenly seeing a man, of course, smiling, of course, scaring you and looking at you until you shut the foggy window?

That was us. That was us. That was us. That was us.

Comments (37)

You need to create an account or log in to comment.

  1. Walman

    Wed Jul 16 09:59:03 BST 2014

    Can I just say what a relief to uncover somebody who actually understands what they are discussing on the internet. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people have to read this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you're not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift. http://tour-de-singkarak.blogspot.com/ http://blogger-books.blogspot.com/ http://walman-blog.blogspot.com/ http://tour-de-singkarak.blogspot.com/2014/06/daftar-isi.html http://blogger-books.blogspot.com/2014/07/daftar-isi.html http://walman-blog.blogspot.com/2014/07/daftar-isi.html

    #
  2. igov99

    Mon Jun 02 07:09:50 BST 2014

    Virus komputer adalah suatu program komputer yang dapat menduplikasi sendiri dan menyebar dengan cara menyusup salinan dirinya ke dalam jaringan atau dokumen program komputer.Virus komputer dapat di samakan dengan virus dalam tubuh manusia yang menyebar dengan cara menyisipkan dirinya sendiri ke sel makhluk hidup.http://goo.gl/Tp0adp

    #
  3. cinta

    Thu Apr 17 02:43:47 BST 2014

    Thanks for the info, maybe I can use this ended my tufted marketing and I've been use untold anulus media in run a interaction and they someone existing a big amend on me http://goo.gl/YIuEsf

    #
  4. MuazaLas

    Wed Jul 30 20:41:00 BST 2014

    Hannah - i love this. I kept thinking of the old house in Hagerstown - thanks for writing it!
    http://putperjaka.blogspot.com/2014/07/agen-texas-dan-domino-online-indonesia-terpercaya.html

    #
  5. gegegr

    Fri May 23 01:50:38 BST 2014

    S'interrogeant <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-porsche-iphone-5s.html">housse iphone 5s porsche</a> sur l'achat <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-louis-vuitton-iphone-5s-housse-lv-pour-iphone-5s.html">housse iphone 5s louis vuitton</a> d'un iPhone à six dès qu'il sort plus tard cette année?

    Soyez <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-gucci-iphone-5s-housse-pour-iphone-5s-gucci.html">housse iphone 5s gucci</a> <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-iphone-5s.html">housse iphone 5s</a> prêt <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-ferrari-pour-iphone-5s-coque-ferrari-iphone-5s.html">housse iphone 5s ferrari</a> à comprendre les programmes de commande fraîches et <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-prada-iphone-5s-housse-iphone-5s-etui-pour-iphone-5s.html">housse iphone 5s prada</a> peut-être <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-burberry-iphone-5s-etui-cuir-pour-iphone-5s.html">housse iphone 5s burberry</a> dépenser plus tout autour.

    droit jusqu'à il n'ya pas longtemps, les transporteurs sans fil couramment subventionnés la <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-hermes-iphone-5s-etui-cuir-pour-iphone-5s.html">housse iphone 5s hermes</a> valeur <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-iphone-5s.html">housse pour iphone 5s</a> de votre dispositif.
    les fournisseurs de téléphonie <a href="http://www.housseiphone5s.com/housse-chanel-iphone #

  6. masbullah

    Tue May 06 14:49:15 BST 2014

  7. ola Niyi

    Thu Mar 06 18:21:27 GMT 2014

    Conspiracy of Males is interesting
    https://sites.google.com/site/howtoconceiveagirlnow/

    #
  8. ola Niyi

    Sat Feb 01 19:25:40 GMT 2014

  9. col3

    Sat Jun 28 11:56:57 BST 2014

    Step up height increaser is an amazing height increasing formula that has helped me in increasing my height with good 3 inches. I am extremely happy with the results and I also feel confident with the personality this product has brought in me.

    http://www.stepupheightincreaser.co

    #
  10. zeeshan1

    Sat May 31 01:20:27 BST 2014

    Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.

    agen bola terpercaya
    http://www.sky179.com

    #
  11. Aqibarif741@gmail.com

    Mon Mar 31 17:35:18 BST 2014

    You might comment on the personal credibility of the blog. You should index it's marvelous. Your blog feelings should accelerate your colleagues. https://myspace.com/bubblegum_casting bubblegum casting

    #
  12. mas candu

    Fri Jul 11 22:09:36 BST 2014

    MasterPoker88com Judi Poker Online Uang Asli Indonesia Resmi dan Terpercaya
    http://mascandu.com/masterpoker88-com-judi-poker-online-uang-asli-indonesia-resmi-dan-terpercaya/

    BundaPokercom Agen Texas Poker Dan Domino Online Indonesia Terpercaya
    http://mascandu.com/bundapoker-com-agen-texas-poker-dan-domino/

    Sakaupokercom Agen Poker Online Texas Poker Yang Terpercaya
    http://candu-webs.blogspot.com/2014/05/sakaupokercom-agen-poker-online-texas-poker-yang-terpercaya.html

    Daunpokernet Agen Poker Domino Online Indonesia Terbaik Terbesar Dan Terpercaya
    http://mascandu.com/daunpoker-net-agen-poker-domino-online-indonesia/

    GlobalBolacom Agen Bola Piala Dunia 2014 SBOBET IBCBET Casino Poker Tangkas Togel Online
    http://mascandu.com/globalbola-com-agen-bola-piala-dunia-2014/

    BuahPokercom Agen Poker Domino Online Uang Asli Indonesia Terpercaya
    http://mascandu.com/buahpoker-com-agen-poker-domino-online-uang-asli-indonesia/

    #
  13. JOHN817726

    Sun Jul 20 21:34:39 BST 2014

    Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more.
    http://www.liputan6.com

    #
  14. baiduri

    Sat Aug 16 06:21:57 BST 2014

    nih JAGADPOKER.com Agen Texas Poker Dan Domino Online Indonesia Terpercaya http://tech-kinodeon.blogspot.com/2014/08/jagadpokercom.html

    #