We’re excited to show a new piece from Paul Kwiatkowski’s upcoming novel: “And Every Day Was Overcast is an upcoming novel and photo essay about coming of age amongst the creepshow of swamps and strip malls that is South Florida .”
Warning: The story contains frank sexual language and depictions. Nothing any reasonable adult hasn’t heard before but it might catch some readers off guard.
Kid Tested, Mother Approved
Hialeah Drive was fucked.
As kids, we all had our own version of what went down on that small street. What happened to Hialeah Drive became our own urban legend. We spread rumors: The people living there were swingers, were messed up with kiddie porn syndicates, were cult members with secret families trapped in the basement. In reality, we never witnessed any evidence of orgies or demonic happenings. At most, we saw a consistent rotation of unfamiliar cars parked out front and boarded up windows that sealed Hialeah’s inhabitants from us. In my opinion, the demise was a result of what happens to lonely, bored people and to families that never should have been.
I was alone, walking home down a dirt road from where the school bus dropped me off. The afternoon was sweltering, so I had my shirt stuffed into my backpack. Despite my town’s notoriety for not being especially friendly, a few strangers would occasionally pull over to ask if I needed a ride home. The men probably had no interest in raping and killing me, but, as a rule, I always said no.
A white Honda Civic pulled up beside me. The driver was a woman in her late 30s with a deflated sandy brown perm. She excused herself for creeping up and said, “Hey hun, you’re gonna burn up walking around like that. Need a ride home?”
She introduced herself as Hailey and because she was a woman with a nasally voice that reminded of my television dream girl Peg Bundy, I accepted the ride. I knew that there really wasn’t much to her, aside from having a nice ass with pouty lips that seemed out of character on her narrow face. I remember thinking she wasn’t especially sexy, just another mommy type, possibly MILF status.
Inside Hailey’s car, the air conditioner was on high, fusing the smell of berry bubble gum and cigarette smoke to the seats. Hailey made a lot of smalltalk between mentioning how nervous she was about having a random kid in her car. I could tell by her accent that she was local, South Florida born and bred.
Throughout the short ride I starred blankly ahead while sneaking obvious glimpses at her body. She was wearing an aqua blue hospital scrub, beige leggings and a white linen skirt that was hiked up mid-thigh from driving. She looked like a clinic receptionist and for some reason that made my mouth water.
She took a lot of deep breathes, continually reassuring herself that she shouldn’t feel weird about helping a neighbor, that everything was fine and that I shouldn’t worry.
I wasn’t worried.
She dropped me off at my door without any kind of weirdness.
For weeks after, I cut class to compulsively jack off to Hailey in the handicap stall. I couldn’t explain it. She was by no means hotter than the girls at school — who I didn’t speak to — and it wasn’t like she came onto me. Maybe it was because I was a shy kid alone with woman who wasn’t my mom or an aunt or a teacher. Maybe I was just 14 and horny. Regardless, after that ride, I walked down that same dirt road every day, slower than usual, looking for a white Civic.
Three years later, I was 17 and finally able to drive myself. I considered this to be a radical demarcation between watching the scenery and actively participating in life. I loved the freedom to disappear.
It was a Friday night and I had been guilt tripped into chartering my sometimes-skinhead friend Lee to meet two girls from a ska show I had previously refused to attend. Their names were Shianne and Rainey. We went to Rainey’s house on Hialeah, which smelled like cedar chips and urinal cakes because of her pet ferret.
Shianne’s skin looked pockmarked then sandblasted. She was both pale and ruddy. Her hair was partially shaved into a Chelsea cut and she had on baggy Jncos — two of the most unflattering looks on a girl. Rainey was a fat Goth. Beneath layers of candy bracelets, her wrists were corrugated with scars. They were both cutters. I imagined it started as an act of self-control or self-loathing, then bled over to bonding and boredom. There was something parasitic about their interactions with one another. It was as if they were one of the same, a two-headed pig that headbutted itself to feel alive. I could hardly look at them. Lee wanted to fuck the fat one.
To pass the time, we took turns doing shots of vodka from a plastic jug. As the girls got hammered, they became oblivious to us, more interested in chatting with other Goth girls via web cam. On the computer screen, all their rooms looked the same: dingy and cluttered. I envisioned them trapped in tiny virtual pods, orbiting the planet but never touching each other nor touching down.
It wasn’t long before Shianne, Rainey and the web-cam girls were daring one another to make out. My only contribution to this game was convincing Rainey — the fat one — to let Lee shove a bottle in her ass. After a word or two, she actually bent over but Lee pussied out. Like most skinheads, he could only do something if five other guys were doing it too.
I had given up on thinking I could drink myself into wanting to fuck either of them. The situation was pointless. I was bored, drunk and alone, trapped between a two-headed pig and a hopeful swine-fucker. I claimed I needed to piss and explored the house. Rainey’s mom was sitting in the living room alone, watching Conan. I couldn’t tell if she had noticed me, so I said hello. She looked up startled.
It was Hailey.
She timidly introduced herself and asked how I knew her daughter. I told her I didn’t. She had no idea who I was. Since last I saw her, Hailey’s naturally pouty lips had become bee-stung, swollen and sloppy. Her hair had collapsed into matted strands.
She couldn’t hold eye contact without blushing. It never occurred to me that an older woman could feign interest in a 17-year-old boy. She asked if I was bored with the girls and wanted to watch Conan with her.
Before I could agree, my moment was interrupted by Rainey. She mockingly screamed from the kitchen, “Oh my god, mom, are you flirting with that guy?!” Shianne chimed in, “Do it, dude! She needs a good fuck.”
Hailey turned bright red as she sent the girls back to their room. Down the hall, I saw Lee cutting lines of Oxy on the sly. I was relieved knowing they’d all be passed out soon.
We were alone.
Hailey’s eyes were unfocused. I could tell she was drunk. Though she was looking my direction, her eyelids flickered like she was trying to focus on something far behind me.
Sitting on the other side of the couch, I made a half-assed attempt at smalltalk. She stayed friendly enough but unresponsive. There was a lot of staring followed by a long pause during which I panicked thinking of the right thing to say. She giggled. I could tell she enjoyed watching me squirm.
In an almost commanding but tender voice, she asked me to help her move two boxes from her room into the attic. I noticed the boxes weren’t sealed. They were filled with boring shit like documents, books, albums and opened envelopes. Upstairs in the attic, I peaked inside a few of the envelopes. They were mainly family photos as well as personal outtakes of Hailey in the mix. I was never much of a thief but stealing those pictures was one of the best crimes I’d ever committed.
Everything after felt like a dream. When she kissed me, my stomach raised and felt hollow. She pulled my collar down leading my head down between her legs. Having pussy come to me this effortlessly was unreal. With her panties still on, I pulled her thong to the side then ate her out. With her guidance, Hailey was the first woman I ever made cum and in return she let me finish in her mouth.
In less than three years I watched Hialeah Drive, a street of maybe eight middle-class homes, go from dilapidated to annihilated. All the families moved out after nearly every house was inexplicably burned down. The police never found any witnesses. When asked, they would say there were too many suspects to even consider an investigation. The few homes that weren’t set on fire eventually collapsed from neglect. Over time their remains receded into the swamp and Hialeah Drive became a dead end.
I still think about Hailey, about her blowing me and wonder what her mouth looks like now, and whether she’d still remind me of Peg Bundy. I wonder if she still dresses like a clinic receptionist or if she’s become homely. Part of me is even curious if Rainey and Shianne are still alive.
I don’t know how my experience tied in with the demise of Hialeah Drive. I like to think that my encounter with Hailey caused a small a ripple, one of a million instances of outsiders, strange cars, boarded windows and shady gatherings that eventually forced the homes on Hialeah Drive to gradually implode. Maybe some things are just meant to die slowly, while we watch. I don’t know.
All I do know is how good that pussy was.