Read, Write, Repeat.

Essays, fiction, photos and nonsensical ramblings by Joel Zlotnik


Chrissy slides her hands slowly down my back. I close my eyes and feel them slip under my shorts. They dip lower and lower until her nimble fingers come to rest firmly on my ass. Beads of sweat begin to populate my forehead. One of the drops makes a run for it, sliding down my cheek before hopping off my skin and landing with a dull plink on the white sheet below us.

“Come on Joel. Let me feel it. Let me feel it.”

I focus on her hands pressed against me. She’s trying hard to turn me on.

“You can do it. Squeeze it. Squeeze it.”

I’m trying desperately not to disappoint her. And I’m trying desperately not to disappoint myself.

“Come on Joel. Arch your back. Let me feel it.”

The harder I try to get turned on the more I find myself wallowing in failure. I hear a clock in my head ticking or maybe it’s my heart beating. I’ve only paid Chrissy for 30 minutes and the seconds speed past. No one has ever had her hands on my ass for this long with so little response.

She stops talking and her silence is a signal that I’m not the only one whose frustration is mounting. I feel like telling her this has never happened to me before. Crack a joke maybe. I could say something like there was this one time in college but I was really, really drunk and I think someone slipped something in my drink too. Which is true, mostly. I should say something to break the tension.

She beats me to it.

“We’re going to have to do this another way.”

The words frighten me. What does she mean, another way? If she can’t turn me on like this, what else could she possibly have in mind?

“Turn over.”

“Turn over?”


I sit up and flip catching a glimpse of the clock. 8:30. Have I really been trying this long? Sure, we did some other stuff first but the half hour is already gone. I lay on my stomach, my face pushing into the pillow. She bends my right leg at the knee and returns her hand to my ass.

“Do it, do it now.”

And I do. I feel my ass cheek shudder.

“Do it again.”

I do. Another glorious shudder.

“One more time.”

And there’s the twitch.

“See that’s your glute. I knew you could turn it on.”

She drops my leg to the table and lifts the other. Her hand takes up residency on my other cheek. We go through the routine on the other side.

“Commit that feeling to memory.”

“How could I forget?”

“We have to get you to learn how to turn on your glutes when you walk. That’s going to take the pressure off your back and hips.”

“You’re telling me I’ve been walking wrong my whole life.”

“Yes. Stand up and walk.”

And I stand up and walk. I focus on pushing my hips back, leading with my chest, tightening my abs but not so much that I can’t breathe, keeping my head straight and in line with my shoulders, which are back over my hips. This is what I’ve been practicing for the last two weeks. And now the cherry on top of this physical therapy sundae is squeezing each butt cheek when I push off with each step. I strut up and down the hall feeling not unlike a newborn giraffe who perhaps has somehow managed to have a walking stick inserted into … well you get the idea. And all this will help relieve the pain from my mildly bulging disc.

I go back and forth a few times and Chrissy seems happy.

“Yes. That’s it.”

And because she’s happy, I’m happy.

“Now. Work on squeezing your butt all day. When you’re at a stoplight, squeeze your butt. Do one cheek, then the other, camera one, camera two.”

And as she says that, I squeeze.

“And then do them both at the same time.”

I tell her that I’ll be thinking of my butt and her all day long. I grab my hoodie from the chair, and wallet and phone and shoes and I practice my barefoot butt walking to the car. I realize I’ve forgotten my coffee mug and turn around and head back into the office. As I’m thinking about my butt, I forget that I’m holding too much in my hands to grab the door. But I reach for it anyway and my wallet and shoes fall to the ground and the money clip part of my wallet springs open and bills and business cards go flying.

Chrissy watches me through the door on my hands and knees. She takes pity and brings me my coffee mug.

I finally have all my belongings and hop in the car and head to work thinking about Chrissy and squeezing my butt and by lunch my ass cheeks sting far worse than my back. Oh and now my knee hurts.

Joel Zlotnik • March 24, 2015

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