beth/slash/nathan

January 12, 2010 at 12:01 am (writing) (, , )

Beth/slash/Nathan

by Drew Rhys White

Food provided the bulk of their pleasure these days. Beth pulled the car to the cement bar at the end of a ShopRite space and moved the gear shift to PARK. Nathan felt his center of gravity sink from his sternum to the base of his gut as the engine stilled.

“Want anything else?” Beth asked, gathering her purse.

“No thanks,” he said.

His wife stepped from the asphalt to the curb with the slight hesitation of a much older person.

Fat ages you, Nathan thought. It’s aging both of us.

Two skateboarders left the store, laughing. One was dark and curly; the other fair and shorn. They had the same shorts, the same hoodies, the same bright, empty eyes.

If any pair on Noah’s gangplank matched, these boys matched.

Two by two, thought Nathan. Beth and I would sink the boat.

***

They were between diets. As Beth walked the gauntlet of sugar, corn syrup, white flour, and fats, she saw repentance looming at the end of the aisle. Soon someone in her small group Bible Study would loan her the new wonder-working diet book, and a portion of Beth’s energy would go into changing how they shopped, resisting temptation, and keeping Nathan on track.

Lately, intercourse had become nearly impossible. Nathan would apologize, she would apologize, and they would sink back into the bed, eat the cookies, and watch the extended Two Towers on the flatscreen.

And Beth would be spared the sad spectacle of her larded husband laboring to whet an appetite for something he hadn’t ever wanted.

***

Slash, Nathan reasoned, was text. Innocent words. If Beth perused his browsing history she would see text, and suspect nothing.

God would surely not begrudge him these moments of harmless sexual tourism. His visits to the Lord of the Rings slash archive sometimes allowed him to perform with more enthusiasm when discharging his husbandly duties.

Beth was good. Kind. He was lucky. He wanted to please her. Even if pleasing her didn’t please him.

Fighting his nature was the only real drama or conflict in Nathan’s life. His one chance to be a hero.

Like Frodo, fighting the will of the ring.

***

With Beth, she supposed, his selfless, devoted Samwise.

She did the dishes; Nathan had cooked. He excused himself and left her to listen to the Fellowship soundtrack. She would not bother him in his study. He might be preparing a sermon, answering parishioners’ emails, praying over the phone with a troubled husband—or—wandering the Library of Moria.

Beth knew from his browsing history exactly what turned Nathan on. Naïve, tubby hobbits surprising suave elves in the woods.

She dried her hands, and roused her laptop from hibernation. Hobbits had always struck her as a bit fruity, falling so comfortably into male pairs. Married to a fruit, she could be a paper fruit for his sake—and her own amusement.

Frodo/Legolas, Beth typed. NC17. On the long journey to Mount Doom, Frodo finds comfort in an unexpected quarter.

Drew Rhys White has stories in Last Drink Bird Head and the Polluto “Steampunk Orange” issue. Two ofGeez magazine’s 30 Sermons You’d Never Hear In Church were his. In 2008, Drew’s play, Another Night with the Henriksens, debuted at the Player’s Theater in New York City. Drew is a graduate of the Clarion San Diego class of `07, and lives in Philadelphia, where he is learning to tango.

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4 Comments

  1. Selena said,

    Awesome!

  2. southernweirdo said,

    Very good!

  3. jan said,

    this is cool, esp the way the title worked into the story. it’s meta slash fiction, or something!

    thanks!

    jan

  4. kencarl said,

    that was really good and fun drew!

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