Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sic Semper Tyrannis

The play is boring. Sebastian and I wait outside the box, yet another night of endless staring at each other, his hands toying at his sideburns, running down his chest when he’s sure no one’s looking to play at his breeches. I’ve been trying to forget those nights, after endless drilling and marching and drilling, the sounds of the men in tents gasping, some with the etiquette to escape to the woods, most just unbuttoning their Union suits, grabbing some bacon grease and quickly abusing themselves. It was the only thing to do. The smell of the men would loom in my nostrils, the heavy salt and sour of their sweat, the curdled food too, and the dizzy boring panic. Nauseating fear and lurid scraps of the living. All of us piled too close together in one clearing or another, mosquitoes, hard tack and buggery.

“Do you remember how easy it was for me?” Sebastian asks.

I can’t think of what night he’s referring to. It could be one of several. He could be talking about me or Hubert or Adam or Ogden. A couple walks by, some soldier and his young, pregnant wife, all of us trying to repopulate The Union as quickly as possible. She sees Sebastian and I and seems to test us, to mark if we’re serious enough for our posts. Her husband grasps the back of her elbow and clears her of the alcove.

“I’m going in,” Sebastian says. “Can’t do a damn thing out here anyway.”

I follow. I don’t know how I ever came to outrank him. That I am his thrall is obvious. He stands behind The President for a while, as a formality, then slips behind a curtain. Again, I follow. There are a few moments of listening to each other’s breathing, the smell of Sebastian, distinct enough to render me instantly tumescent, trapped in the folds of the velvet and silk.

“We were marching to Vicksburg,” he whispers, “and our legs were so tired that we made do in the mud. You were down in my breeches, and you remarked upon the beauty of my cock.”

I take his hand and slip it in. I am in an instant returned to the side of that dirt track, the taste of him between my lips.

“We were so tired every part of me felt like a cannonball,” I whisper into his ear.

“And every bit as hard,” he whispers back, before pulling at my mustache and sipping my breath. He grasps my cock too hard and I blurt a nasal moan. He takes it as a sign of weak obedience. It is. His hand withdraws from my breeches and he grasps instead either end of my mustache. He pulls me down. I go to my knees. He rends braces from trousers, dropping them with alacrity, and I pull his drawers down to his boots. “There you are sir. Attend to your man.”

I take him in hand and tease the tip of him with a few licks. His back falls to the wall. A roar waves across the audience behind me. I start at the noise, my hand searching for a weapon, and remember that it is only laughter. That it is a comedy. He knocks my cap off and forces me upon him. “Sergeant, teach your man how to do it. I’m just a bumpkin. I’ve never been under the hand of a superior before.” I take his full length into my throat, such that his short hairs tickle at my nose. He bends his knees into my armpits. My tongue twists along the underside of his cock as my mouth makes its sweet ascent and descent.

“Mmm. That foul evening in the muck and you were down my front, much as you are right now. I glowered at the blood-red clouds at sunset, you taking the last of me. I felt that if I should die the next day, this is what I would want for my last night on this earth, in the earth, really, as we were half sunk in the mud.”

He leans forward a bit, losing balance, and I raise my arm to shove him back against the wall, lest he fall upon me. I redouble my efforts, the laughter of the audience becoming more sincere behind me, the end of the play will be coming soon. He tastes of soap and savory, my tastebuds rubbing at his skin.

“I couldn’t move even if that should have been what I wanted,” he continued. “Your body and mine so lean from the drilling and the starvation, and pounding at each other each night.”

He’s trembling. It’s true that we do have a bit more on our squalid bones now. He has a pouch that my forehead slams into. It makes him more attractive, if anything. More like a real man than the walking specters that we were not so long ago. There is a howl of laughter from The President. It shocks me into a pause.

“No, sir, you must continue,” Sebastian says. “I’m quite beyond the threshold.”

I wasn’t planning on stopping. Sebastian’s cock, harder still than the bodies we had on the battlefield, sure that death was all that was ahead of us, not planning on anything more, is alight and pulsing. He seems to vibrate in my mouth, but it is easily explained by the numb friction in my lips. Pins and needles.

“And when I came, my soul rising from the… squalor… and the… mmm… insects and… it seemed that my balls were… gunpowder… and you… you were the fucking match. Mmmph!”

He’s almost there, epiphany and ecstasy now. I’m going to finish him in time. I hold at the tip of him and work simply with lips and tongue. He squirms like a dying squirrel, trying to force me into thrusts.

"Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal—you sockdologizing old man-trap..." I don’t know what the line means, but it makes everyone laugh, including Sebastian. I am wrong, though. He is coming, the sweet and bitter sludge on my tongue and between gum and lip.

“Sic semper tyrannis!” I hear, and then a gunshot. Sebastian and I are recovering, panting, but we must hurry, as those laughs have quickly become screams.

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