Secondary Living by Adam Kelly Morton

Secondary Living

by Adam Kelly Morton


"Last Call at RedStar", Copyright © Devin McCawley, 2015

“Last Call at RedStar”, Copyright © Devin McCawley, 2015


The Oyster Shack is closed and Bob is drunk, upstairs doing his cash. With the lights out and the front door locked, the cops won’t be able to see Carole and me having a few nightcaps after hours. Not that they come around on Tuesdays anyhow. Or ever.
We’re on to whiskey with our beers. Bob’s iPod is playing Exile on Main Street. Carole is beside me smoking Next Reds, ashing into a conch as Mick belts out “Loving Cup”. Bob might join us later. It’ll be all right if he does, because there’s no way I’m going to fuck this bitch tonight. Tomorrow morning is another story. I’m hungry for it when I’m hung. It’s the best cure.
“D’où tu viens, exactement?” Carole asks through her brown teeth; when we first met, a few days ago, she told me they’re because of a calcium deficiency from when she was an infant. But I’m pretty sure it’s nicotine too. Dentists nowadays can fix brown teeth. Otherwise, Carole’s not bad. Her hair is greasy, but blonde when she washes it. She’s skinny, but she’s got a fine ass. I’ll tap that shit first thing, with her lying on her side. Just the way I used to with June.
For now, Carole wants to know where I grew up. I light up another Players and take a pull of my pint while staring up at the fisherman’s net. “Doesn’t matter,” I tell her. “Montreal.”
“Ouais, mais d’où?” She wants to know if I’m from the suburbs. Fucking downtown whores are all the same: French or English, they want to get an edge on you, so they can fuck you over. Why can’t they just be sweet?
Fuck it. I’ll tell her. “West Island,” I say.
“I knew it,” she says, in that nasal, whiny, Quebecker drawl — smoke pouring out of her dragon’s maw. “One time, I think about moving out there, for my two boys. But it too far from downtown without a car.”
I don’t say anything, and throw back my whiskey. Carole picks up our Cutty Sark and pours me another thick one, clanking the bottle back down on the blue tiles.

“So?” she continues. “You a rich guy?” I shake my head. “But Dan, you drink like a fish, ” she adds.
“I didn’t always,” I say. “Eleven years.” Carole smirks and cocks her head, like she’s looking at my dick for the first time, or an oyster, wondering whether or not she’s going to pop it into her mouth. This afternoon when we woke up, she sucked me off. We were in bed, drunk, at her place because my mattress was still piss-soaked, leaned up against the window to dry. When I came, she swallowed it and lay down on the green blanket beside me. I got up and went to the kitchen for a drink and some food.
“Comment ça?” she asks. “You mean you didn’t drink since you was a kid?”
She’s hammered. “Huh?” I say.
“You know, the last time, when you didn’t drink. Since you was eleven?”
I take another hit of beer. “Speak to me in French, for Christ’s sake. Your English is atrocious.”
June’s wasn’t. She read everything, every night in our bedroom, which I painted purple: “The colour of passion,” I’d told her. We bought a beige bedroom set made of maple wood. It had sharp, knee-high corners that we were always banging against. Constantly checking our reflexes. Keeping us on our guard.
Carole means to say that the last time I was sober was when I was eleven. It’s a joke.
“No,” I say. “I was sober for eleven years.”
Carole leans in a little closer. “Vas donc chier.” She’s telling me to take a shit, meaning she doesn’t believe me. “Pis comment ça que t’as lacher?”
Before answering her, I drain my Export draft then reach around the taps to pull myself another. I’m careful to not to spill any on Bob’s clean drip tray. “What about me?” says Carole, jiggling her empty pint glass.
I take it and fill it. “There you go, my little dragon.”
“Hein?” she asks. “Dragon? What for you call me a dragon?” She takes a final drag of her cigarette and crushes it out in the conch before exhaling.
I take a good wash of beer and work on my cigarette.
“Alors?” she says.
“I was married,” I tell her.
C’est cute. I was married, me too. But then my boys’ father he leave us.” Carole’s leg is touching mine. I grab the inside of her tight-jeaned thigh and right away I start to get hard. She places her hand on my thigh and using my other hand, cigarette in my mouth, I make her stroke my bulge.
Carole smiles. “Tu aimes ça, hein?” I let go of her hand and she keeps stroking. “You wanna go fuck me in the bathroom?” she says.
“Shut up,” I say, and finish my Sark. I grab my pint, then her by the wrist, and haul her into the back room where there’s a pool table. If it was a good table I might not take her on the top of it. I wouldn’t want to get our come juices on the green velvet. But this is a worn-out, dollar-a-game banger, and it can take it. I put my beer on the floor, and throw her down on the table.
“Not so hard, Dan,” Carole says.
I slap her across the face. “Shut the fuck,” I say, not bothering to finish the idiom. Was that even an idiom? June was better at those things than I ever was. And I was the so-called English teacher. When we would lie naked, post-love, watching old movies on her laptop, like Ordinary People, or her reading passages of Secret Daughter to me, or Adam Bede — whatever she was reading, I would be looking at my phone.
It doesn’t matter now. All that matters is that I blast my load into this fucking slag. She wants it. I’ve got her with her back on the table. I unbutton and unzip her jeans and start peeling them off. They’re real tight around her full ass — so I yank them down. For what I’m going to do, there’s no need to strip off her ripped boat shoes.
Carole’s not fighting. Her cheek is red, and her black eyes have water in them. I take out my little, swollen cock and turn Carole over on her left side. Her big ass globes are puffed out for me. I clutch the top one and her lower waist, and heave her close. Then I push my middle and ring fingers into the crevasse, expecting wetness. It embarrassed Carole the first time we fucked, on my itchy sofa. “I get wet easy,” she’d said, the mottled chenille beneath her black.
She’s pretty dry now, so I coat my smoke-orange fingers with spit, rub it onto my knob, and shove it into her cunt. She’s looking away from me, towards the brown washroom doors. The skin of her ass ripples each time I pound. Keith is singing about how he needs a love to keep him happy.
“Vas-y,” she says, still looking away. “Défonce-moi.”
I knew she wanted it. I ram away. The pool balls locked in the inner rail are clacking together. Before long, sweat is pouring off me. Meanwhile, Carole’s looking at the women’s room door. It has seashell on it with an F, for Femmes.
“Look at me, you bitch,” I roar. “Stick your tongue out.”
Carole turns her head to me. “Comme un dragon?” she asks.
“Yeah. Like a fucking dragon.”
Her grey tongue slithers out between her teeth. I slow down and start easing it in. The thrusts are coming more naturally now. Building.
“C’est ça, mon beau Danny,” Carole says. “Baise-moi comme si j’étais ta femme.”
She sticks her tongue out again and glides it over her lower lip.
I close my eyes.
You walk into the bedroom and crawl onto the bed between my naked legs. “I love you, Dannyboy,” you sing, and you take me into your mouth. I love you too. Your sea-green eyes are wide, your full tongue clean and pink on my sweet spot, your hair still shower wet, slipping over your cheek freckles in dark curls. Your hair is still a little wet when we meet for the first time at Café Remezzo and sip Greek frappés, sweet, with milk, and talk about how hard online dating is, and about family, and fear, and about never wanting to live in the suburbs. Then all the times at your walkup apartment on Esplanade, with the Nyanza-coloured walls that you painted yourself, and your step-down bedroom in azure, drinking green tea, making love, and in the morning you say, “Marriage is important to me,” and I understand. Then moving-in together, our little apartment on Old Orchard, built in the 1940s, with the built-in display cabinet for all our family pictures, and how nostalgic we are those old-style kinds of things, and Glenn Miller and Art Deco. On our October wedding day, when you come down the long, outdoor staircase with your dad, who gives you away under the gazebo, your ivory dress snug on your full breasts, your face and eyes sparkling in the sun as In The Mood plays over the loudspeakers, and the cheers from our friends and relations. The warm afternoon in July, after forty-two hours of breathing, and walking, and holding, and clutching, and bending, and chanting, and driving to the hospital where you work as a nurse, and showering, and water breaking, and crying, and the epidural, and pushing, and at long last our daughter comes out into the open air, and we take turns holding her on chests, and we weep, and we give her a name: Fiona. And she has wild, pumpkin hair, and she laughs easily, and we laugh with her, and soon she crawls, then wobbles, then walks, and we listen to the “C’est Si Bon” radio program with her on Sundays, listen to Billie Holliday and Artie Shaw, and take her to the splash park, and to the pool, and she loves the water, and when you work late one night and I’m watching her, I get her ready for bed, undress her, and get her into our white bathroom, and in the bath she splashes me, and I tell her No, and she smiles, and I go into our bedroom to get my phone, to look at something, nothing, just long enough. When I finally get in there she is choking up water, I check her and she seems fine, and you get home, and that night she is very tired, and at night she is coughing, so I tell you, and you are angry, and we wake her, and she is delirious, and we take her to your hospital’s emerg, and they take her right away, and chest X-ray her, and draw blood from her, and the doctor says there is water in her lungs, and he’s afraid of something called aspiration, and asphyxiation, and something called dry or secondary drowning, and that it is so rare. Then Fiona’s oxygen levels start dropping, and you start crying and shaking, and they tell us to wait in the waiting room, and then we wait, and then the doctor comes out, and he says that they did everything they could, and that he is so sorry. And our Fiona, on a cold day in November, on the north side of the mountain, called Mount Murray, where they bring the little ones, a small plaque in orange marble, for her hair: Fiona Grace, June 11, 2011 – November 2, 2012. And in the car we say nothing, and never again, all nothing.
I open my eyes and Carole is pulling up her jeans, standing beside me. She puts a hand on my shoulder. “Ça va?” she asks. “Tu penses à ta femme. À ta fille, hein?”
I zip up, reach down and pick up my beer. “Speak to me in French,” I tell her. And as the tears come, I finish my drink. UG

Adam Kelly MortonBorn and raised in Montreal, Adam Kelly Morton makes his living as an acting teacher. He also makes films and children. His writing has appeared in Menda City Review, East Coast Literary Review, and (Cult)ure Magazine, among others. Currently, he is working on short fiction, and on designing a rather elaborate board game. He can be found on Twitter @AdamKellyMorton and at

Posted on by urbangraffito Posted in Fiction, Writing

2 Responses to Secondary Living by Adam Kelly Morton

  1. Stephen Morrissey

    What a powerful story. Powerful, moving, and disturbing. Something happens in a life and then it’s years before we get back to where we were before it happened. Or, one never gets back. Very upsetting story made more so for me because it is set in Montreal and I know these places.

    • Adam Kelly Morton

      Thank you, Stephen. Hope to see you around sometime.