The Firth of Tay by Erich von Neff


McGonogles Bar… Dundee Scotland. The clinking of glasses, of ice cubes floating, melting, knocking into each other. Voices: soft and harsh. Some raspy, some sexy sounding… vying each other, fading into each other. Rosy cheeks and noses. Mouths drinking Scotch whiskey and beer. Succumbing and not caring. Warm bodies pressing against each other. Moving apart, recombining.

I savored Glenlivet, I heard voices, ice cubes, felt bodies pressing and slipping away. Warm female flesh was pressing against my right shoulder. I made room. I sipped and savored.

“Glenlivet,” her voice said. She too began sipping. She looked at me out of the corner of her eye. I remained silent. I didn’t try to explain myself. Ritual demands that a man try to explain himself when nudged by a strange female in a bar. I hate rituals. I hate lots of things.

Husky hot breathing. I turned toward vaporized hot air. Slits of eyes looked at me, then widened. “You look like an American,” she said. “I’m from San Francisco,” I answered. I am a firm believer in city-states. I live in the city-state of San Francisco. I have lived in the city-states of Manila, Berlin, Munich, Florence, and Fiesole.

She continued sipping her Glenlivet. “I’m from Inverness,” she said. I nodded as if I had expected this reply. Highlanders do not like to be confused with lowlanders. I looked at her face, puffy from whiskey. Very light blue veins were on her forehead just above her temples. Blonde curls outlined her face. Curls upon curls tickled her shoulders.

Male and female bodies warmed the room. Conversations started, fell off, and began again. “How long have you been here?” she asked. “About a month,” I answered. I felt I should have said, “a year,” “a week,” “a day.” That for some reason “about a month” was not the right length of time. She blinked her eyes as if forgiving me. “I’ve been here about a month too,” she said. The common bond of people who have been here “about a month.” Maybe I had said the right thing after all.

“Two more?” the bartender asked. “Two Glenlivets,” she said. Further bonding. I started to pay, but she pushed my money back and hers forward. There would be no obligations… this round. I sipped. She sipped. Parted lips against glass, leaving red stains.

She looked at me. Her eyes were mongolian. Upturned slits. Ages ago Attila the Hun had scattered wild seeds. Drunken sailors had sown them. We drank Glenlivet after Glenlivet and shared the expenses. She leaned against me. Lips wet with whiskey. Saliva. Wet saliva.

Male and female voices sought each other. In bars voices seek. In bedrooms bodies seek. Sounds testing. Bodies probing.

Between wet sips of whiskey. Between hushed and husky sounds our voices had sought and played; found and liked. Acceptance of voices prior to body heat.

We decided to leave. By mutual agreement. We walked toward the door. Between other bodies and other voices.

We walked up Perth Road, surrounded by Scottish fog from the Firth of Tay. Our forms were enveloped by mist which clung to our hair. We turned left at Shepards Loan.

“Here,” she said. We entered a first floor apartment. She turned on dim lights. Loneliness. Two separate bodies surrounded by cold wet stones. Outside, fog kept welling up from the Firth of Tay.

We undressed. Disposing of outer covering. “Come on,” she said as she sat her bottom down on a quilt of faded tartans. Light blue veins laced her breasts. I didn’t know whether to consider them sexy or ghastly. She pushed them against me. I decided they were sexy. We mingled Glenlivet from our soaked lips. Her blonde wet curls caressed my face.

Scottish sex commenced. Wild abandonment. Bloody wars between the clans. Live now. Die tomorrow. Does it make any difference? Strong legs and arms worked me over.

I lay there panting. I was in the clutches of a monster. From Lockness via the Firth of Tay who was yearning for more and more.

I heard the quilt rip. Tartans torn asunder. She raked her nails against my backbones. The blue veins of her breasts engorged with blood . . . from the Firth of Tay.

I was aroused again. Our whiskey breaths were on fire. We grappled. The Lochness monster had risen from the Firth of Tay.

Ripples. Vaginal surges emerging from the Firth of Tay.

The blue veins in her breasts and forehead dilated.

I sat on the edge of the bed. Her bottom pressed against my back. The she-monster was subdued. The quilt of tartans united us. “You may as well stay on,” she said. “Sure,” I answered.

We pulled the quilt over us. Outside, fog from the Firth of Tay shaped and reshaped itself. The tide was ebbing. The fog settling. We lay beneath torn tartans, dreaming.

Erich von Neff publishes in France where he has 8 small press books, a grant for one of his books, 26 prix, readings at the Café Montmartre, and much more. 

Published 10/28/21

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