By Ron Riekki
In Montréal, we ate ants. A lot of ants. We were addicted to ants. Chocolate ants.
We was me and Mathew.
Mathew’s now in a psych ward because he thinks the government’s constantly trying to film him naked. He stopped taking showers, and put a screen around our toilet that he put in the bathtub and ran extremely hot water on it before using it, thinking it’d destroy any bugs, any cameras. He can’t do that now though.
When we were roommates, he stole five hundred dollars worth of porn from my other roommate. I don’t know how anyone could own five hundred dollars worth of porn. I always thought used porn was worth nothing, sub-nothing. Even worse, I asked the other roommate if that meant all of his porn was stolen and he said, “Just the good stuff,” which meant we had a whole lot of bad porn left in the house and I could only imagine the horrors of ‘bad porn.’
My other roommate was in the Navy and he’d ship all his porn from base to base and the military let him do it. I was stationed on Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean overrun with chickens and cats, and the base bookstore had a Civil Rights section that consisted of two books—Martin Luther King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail and a Martin Luther King coloring book—but the bookstore had a massive wall dedicated to nothing but porn. I noticed a large section dedicated just to ‘black booty,’ which made me want to write a letter to the Commanding Officer, asking him if he was more racist or more misogynist and I saw a portrait of him and, to be honest, he kind of looked like a mixture of both.
Mathew was in his bedroom, eating chocolate ants with his shirt off, when my unnamed roommate came in and grabbed him by the throat and Mathew does not like to be touched and this is the strange thing is Mathew was worried it was filmed and that it would look like porn, his roommate grabbing him by the throat, and this is when I got the first hint of his mental health issues.
Sometimes I daydream where the porn ended up. I imagine it vacationing on Champagne Beach in Vanuatu, its pages suntanned, a smile on its stupid pornographic face, waiting for Mathew.
Ron Riekki's books include U.P. (Ghost Road Press), The Way North (Wayne State University Press), Here (Michigan State University Press), and And Here (MSU Press).