Landline: An Introduction to Gay Porn

A photo of an introduction to gay porn.
“What are you doing? What is this?” He clicks on a link that takes him to a screen that warns: “You must be 18 or older to view this website.” “Porn.”

By B. Root

The door slides open, and I hop down the steps and onto the street. The school bus drops me and a few other kids off at the entry to our neighborhood. The cement feels soft beneath my new Sketchers. Mother bought them for me last weekend. After pay day, she took me to the Payless and let me pick out a new pair. She said my last ones needed to be replaced because they had gone to hell. The other kids run down the street, but I take my time walking home, looking down at my sneakers the whole way. My new Sketchers are gray with black and red stripes. A gray letter S, outlined in red, is on each side of the shoe. There’s a red stripe that runs along the bottom above the white sole, and I have them tightly tied against my feet with red laces. Mother thinks I’m going to get them dirty, but I’ve been trying very hard to take care of them.

I pull the key out from under the mat and open the door. I pick up the landline in the living room next to the rocking chair and dial the number by memory. Michael’s Arts and Crafts, Theresa answers. How may I help you? I say hi and tell her it’s me. Hey, Braden! How are you liking fifth grade so far? I tell her, It’s good, and I ask to speak to mother. I bounce my sneakers up and down and watch the laces rise and fall while the hold music plays in my ear. I can tell she’s had a long day when she picks up the phone. I made it home. She tells me about the rude customers she’s had to deal with today and apologizes because she thinks her manager is going to make her close tonight. That’s okay. Can I go over to Marcus’ house to play? Mother asks who that is, and I remind her that he’s the new kid in my math class I was telling her about. She says that’s fine as long as I finish my homework. I already did. I haven’t. Okay. They’re dinners in the freezer when you get hungry. I’ll see you tonight. I love you, baby.

I watch my sneakers push off the sidewalk as I run down the street toward his house. Marcus and his father moved into the neighborhood a few weeks ago. He said his father got a promotion or a transfer or something—I don’t remember. But they had to move here. I don’t think he’s made very many friends yet. I knock on the door and Marcus answers almost immediately. I walk in and notice a few pairs of shoes lined up against the wall next to the door. Marcus asks me to take off my shoes and I do so, placing them at the end of the line, with my socks tucked inside. Marcus’ house is very clean—much cleaner than mine and mother’s has ever been. The furniture and decorations look nice and expensive. I sit on the edge of the couch and Marcus walks to the kitchen. He pulls two Capri Suns out of the fridge and hands me one. I stab the straw into the pouch, take a few sips, and put it on the side table next to me. Oh! Here. Use this. Marcus hands me a coaster from the coffee table. Your father has a lot of rules. He laughs nervously and agrees before sitting down on the other side of the couch. So what do you wanna do? I shrug and look at their flat screen sitting on the entertainment center. Got any video games?

Marcus’ bedroom is messy. There’s a Lego set spread out in one corner of the room, but I can’t tell what it’s supposed to be because it’s not finished. There’s a stack of pictures leaning against the wall beside his nightstand that haven’t been hung. The boxes next to the closet look like they’ve been dug through, but not yet unpacked. Marcus goes over to turn the TV and Xbox on. I follow him, trying not to step on his dirty clothes that are sprawled across the floor. I still can’t believe Marcus is allowed to have a TV in his room. Mother won’t let me have one in mine. Marcus hands me a controller, then plops down on his bed. I really like two player on this game, but I never have anyone to play with. I push a few game cases out of the way to clear some space for myself on the floor. Doesn’t your father play with you? Marcus has put in Halo. He says video games are stupid. I’ve never played Halo, but all the boys in school talk about how awesome it is. What about your mother? Can’t she play? Marcus selects something called “Slayer” and a battlefield. No. She left. I want to ask where she went, but Marcus rushes through the controls before I have a chance. Basically, you just run around shooting each other. The game loads, and I appear inside some building. Even you? I look up and see he’s grinning. If you can. I click through the buttons to figure out how to run, jump, and shoot. But before I get going, someone comes up and shoots me from behind. Marcus laughs. I respawn, but this time, I’m in a field. There are some people in the distance, so I run towards them. I start firing my gun as I get closer to them, but someone gets me first. You suck at this. He’s right. I’m not very good. He sighs, tossing his controller on the ground next to my feet. I’m bored. Wanna see something cool in my dad’s room?

There’s a king-sized bed in the middle of the room. On each side is a nightstand with a lamp on top. Above the bed hangs a painting of a single oak tree on a hill. It’s winter in the painting. The limbs of the tree look weak and bare. The sky is a cloudy gray, and the ground beneath is covered in a deep layer of snow. Directly across from the bed is a wood-stained dresser, and in the corner of the room is the matching desk that he leads me to. Marcus sits down and turns on the computer. Here. He moves over to make room for me. I squeeze in next to him and watch as he enters the password and logs in. Marcus opens the Internet and searches “naked woman getting fucked.” What are you doing? What is this? He clicks on a link that takes him to a screen that warns: “You must be 18 or older to view this website.” Porn. He clicks “Enter” and explicit photos pop up. Does your father know you watch this? He scrolls through the site a little before clicking on a video. Yeah, he don’t care. The video begins with a girl on her knees. She has blonde hair and is wearing a tight white tank top with red lipstick on. I don’t think she is as old as mother, but she couldn’t have been much younger. I watch as she unbuttons his pants and begins rubbing him back and forth. She does that for a few moments before he shoves her mouth into him. She seems uncomfortable, and looks like she might be choking, but she continues, looking up at him while she does—until he tells her to take off her shirt and get on the bed. She lies on her back and I watch as his hands come up to her hips. He tears off her shorts and underwear in one motion. He then pulls her legs up and around his shoulders and—standing over her—begins thrusting into her. The video shows her entire body lying on the bed, but only his back is shown. I never see his face. Pretty cool, huh? Marcus elbows me. She’s moaning loudly now as her chest is bouncing up and down. I’m watching, but I feel nothing. Are there always girls? I ask without looking away from the screen. What do you mean? I repeat the question. Wait, you mean like gay porn? I don’t answer because I’m not sure. Ew. That’s gross. Marcus laughs and gets up to leave the room.

Once he’s gone, I go back to the search engine and type in “naked man getting fucked.” I click on the first link I see. A video of two skinny guys kissing each other begins to play. One is wearing a hat and the other has long hair. The one in the hat takes off the other’s shirt just before the long-haired one unbuttons his pants. The one with the long hair goes down on him like the girl did in the other video. Marcus walks in with another Capri Sun just as the one with the long hair pulls down the other’s underwear and begins stroking him. What the hell is that? Marcus drops his drink and pushes me away from the computer. You need to get out of my house before I call the cops! I look back at the screen to see that he has pushed his hair out of the way and has his mouth on the other guy. Marcus goes over to the landline, and I hear him dial 911. Get out of my house, faggot! I don’t think. I jump off the chair and run out of the bedroom, through the living room, and out the front door before I give the operator a chance to pick up.

The cement feels hard beneath me as I run towards home. I glimpse down to see my bare feet pushing off of the sidewalk as fast as they can. There are tears in my eyes, but I wipe them away. I don’t turn back. I don’t stop running.

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