the+kiss.doc - 1 The Kiss The thunder is closer now almost...

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1 The Kiss The thunder is closer now, almost seismic, as much inside the car as outside. 'Just made it,' Kenny says as he noses the dusty Mercedes in among the pillars under the house. He switches off the ignition and lights. Utter darkness. 'Relax,' Tom's voice somewhere in that darkness, 'the car would have dried overnight.' The rumble of the words, as disembodied as the thunder, seems to have Kenny surrounded. 'Yeah - streaked like a fucking zebra.' 'You worry too much. Live a little, for fuck's sake.' 'It's my neck. Not yours.' But now that he is safely home, the car undamaged and his neck safe, Kenny is able to see that his friend is right. They could have joyridden the dusty back roads till dawn and still had time to clean the thing; his parents are not due back till late the next day. 'Take the old zebra for another gallop,' Tom's voice rumbles drunkenly on somewhere, and chuckles, pleased with itself. 'Take the old zebra back out on the savannah...' 'Just empty the fucking ashtray before you get out,' Kenny says. There is no anger in his words; the obscenity comes as naturally as music, or poetry, a necessary rhythm. 'Say please.' 'Just do it.' He climbs from the car and steps out from beneath the house into the October light-and-sound show. The humid weight of the impending Wet presses upon him, squeezing an answering wetness from his skin like a kind of juice, but he is beyond the discomforts of heat and sweat. The dark night air carries powerful scents: a
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2 cusp-mix of Wet season and Dry, dust and imminent rain. The thunder is constant, a grumbling sound horizon. Lightning flashbulbs the darkness, alternating night and day. The first rains are surely no more than hours away, although they have seemed no more than hours away for weeks. Tom's voice, at his shoulder, startles him. 'Drink?' The sweet-sherry flagon is offered; Kenny waves it away. Tom takes a swig before speaking again. 'This is just a tease. Foreplay. The Wet is still a month away.' 'Bullshit. It's going to piss down any second.' Mention of the various liquids - rain, sherry, piss - seems to increase the pressure in Kenny's bladder. He vaults the low back- fence, and walks to the edge of the small cliff above the beach. Lightning flickers with special intensity on the far side of the harbour, a distant fireworks, embedded in banked cloud. Perhaps the Dry has already ended over there. More lightning; the mud- flats below are revealed, hidden, then revealed again, the low tide- line half a mile out. Tom materialises at his side; they unzip and send two long, steady arcs of urine over the edge of the cliff and down into the darkness of the mangroves. Years before it would have been a simple physical contest - higher, further; contests mostly won by Tom. At sixteen, sweet-and-sour sixteen, Kenny is finding words more useful weapons.
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  • Spring '14

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