by Joshua Tintner

I remember building spaceships, guns, and cars as a child.  Chunky things, they all ended up resembling 1980s-era Volvos—but then you can’t expect Frank Gehry curves when you give a kid Legos.  Maybe that’s why I never made Lego buildings.  Erecting a building with Legos isn’t creating, it’s stacking. Turning boxes into bigger boxes.

Bat an eye, blink away 20-odd years, and I now live in one of those boxes-made-of-boxes.  I’m walking into one of these sad behemoths, shuffling past the teenage security guard who thinks he’s a soldier.  Above me, rows of windows rise like stale layer cakes into Shanghai’s “foggy” skies.

My girlfriend and I scamper into Building-12, one of its cavities being our current apartment.  Good timing, as we are only slightly damp from the famous Shanghai Autumn drizzle.  We’re both tired from the office, but I still notice a naughty smirk rising on my girlfriend’s glossy lips.

“I wonder if that’s her”, she asks while motioning to the figure ahead of us waiting for the elevator, a 20-something Chinese woman, hip cocked to one side, fingers dancing over a Blackberry keypad.

She doesn’t have to say more, because I’ve already taken in (and been taken in by) the sight before me, and instinctively concluded that, yes, it must be her.  The 2-inch heels tapering to the delicate bulge of her calf,  thighs rising like focused spotlights into the shadows beneath her skirt.  No, my girlfriend doesn’t have to explain her question, but she does, voice rising above a whisper, “I wonder if she’s the one we hear at night?”

Together in the elevator.  “18,” she says with a toss of black hair and an unexpected Italian accent and a friendly smile that lingers into something more.  I push 17 and 18, one circle on top of the other.  Taking advantage of the mirrored elevator door, I admire our neighbor’s fashion sense: a charcoal gray business suit that manages to come off as professional even though everything about the outfit—how it clings steadfastly to the curves beneath her waste yet carelessly exposes those above—screams slutty.

My girlfriend and I walk out first.  “Enjoy the night,” the woman says with upturned brown eyes, “Ciao!  Zai jian”.  The elevator closes before we can respond.

Quickly into our apartment, my girlfriend grabs the Champagne.  I’ll have a headache in the morning, but soon we’re both giddy—well worth the sacrifice. I smoke a joint, wash my face, feed the cats.

The wind and rain have picked up.  I am thankful for the fragile warmth of our apartment, as my girlfriend emerges from our bedroom.  Her bra is obviously discarded, and she is on display in an old gym t-shirt which, after countless washes and workouts, has frayed to transparency.  Although she has flicked off the lights, I still can see the texture of her nipples, hardening discs of clay, embossed into what was once the logo of some California burger chain.  She is sinuous, all supple caressing curves above, dangerous winding curves below, twisting into a pair of gray cotton thongs.

In bed, she takes a fell-mouthed swig direct from the bottle, lips sealed around the glass rim, as I pull off my suit pants, throw off my shirt.

And then it begins, as it has most nights since we moved in.  Starting as little more than a hum, a cat mewing down the hall, probing the walls and spaces that make up this building and separate our life from all others.

Lying on your back, staring at the ceiling, you touch me for the first time, grazing the peak of my tented boxers, making small circles with your flattened palm.

Now the sound takes on rhythm, a trot, a cantor.  It is now undoubtedly a voice, her voice, and it insists upon that rhythm, slick with the duties of passion, inarticulate yet clear in meaning.  Trespassing into our apartment, invading our bedroom, occupying our bed.

You’ve had me hard for minutes already, but only as she rises in pitch do you wrap your palm, your right hand a fawning piston, your left selfishly undulating between your own legs.

All self-awareness is gone as her wails drip through the ceiling, the sounds of a night animal frenzied with the prospect of a fresh kill, ready to engorge on its flesh and fluids.  My will to wait is exhausted.  I pounce, eager for my own feast on your substance.

I can’t distinguish her screams from yours, from ours.  We’re in chorus, an anthem.  And then one voice harmonizes behind the other, fades.  Your breasts, a moment ago overflowing, now cupped fully in my hands, the rough circles of your nipples constricted yet extended a full centimeter.  You push me over, straddling then engulfing me with your mouth.  Your tongue speaks a new language upon my length, as I lap up new tastes at your seeping well.

The bed thumps against the walls, grunting out the bass of subways beneath the sidewalk.  I am on top of you, pinning your arms to the bed, the pillow fallen over your face.  Our voices no more now than guttural pants, like something being coaxed to life.  I am behind you, one hand grasping your hip, kneading your flesh, slipping over and inside you.  The building seems to pulsate, spasms like a bursting heart. You ride me, grinding, plowing, pleading.

And then we explode, end.

And later awaken, immured in the silence.  The rain still rakes the windows, now fogged.  We are cold as the sweat begins to evaporate, and so raise the sheet, I pull you to me, and you unfold until we fit.

You breathe out and I breathe in, flesh to flesh, together and in sync.  “So, tell me,” you ask, “was she as good for you, as she was for me?”

Turned on?  Lay back and enjoy yourself at the Erotic Fiction Night brought to you by HAL Publishing and That’s Shanghai.