Josh Olsen

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by horrorsleazetrash on September 28, 2010

Josh Olsen lives, teaches, and writes in Southeast Michigan. He welcomes comments, questions, and hate mail at


“Dada!” my son called from the other side of the house, beckoning me to wipe his ass.

Though his mother was quite literally right next to him, brushing and flossing her teeth, it was me who he demanded…as always

I couldn’t imagine he enjoyed my particular method of wiping, or that I got him any cleaner than his mother, so I concluded that his intentions had to be punitive, malicious even, and that he derived some sort of sadistic pleasure from degrading me, forcing me to smell his shit.

And yet, because he was my son, my first and only son, I willfully submitted and accepted my penance.

“Don’t you think you’re old enough to wipe yourself?” I asked, with the only thing between my fingertips and his anus a doubled-up sheet of two-ply, and though he remained silent, he responded by punching me in the testicles.

We stunk

A pudgy young woman sat on the curb, smoking a filterless cigarette.

She took a sharp drag – inhaled, exhaled – then indiscreetly sniffed under her right arm.

As she looked up from her pit, we made eye contact and she clumsily attempted to hide behind a paperback novel she extracted from her handbag.

Yet, as crude as it was, I sympathized with her inquiry.

It was the end of a long, hot day in front of the blackboard.

I had overdressed for the weather and felt last night’s dinner seep through my pours.

My skin, hair, and clothes were sticky with the essence of oyster sauce.

I used to have a girlfriend who claimed that my sweat and semen smelled and tasted like garlic…and was slightly spicy.

One morning in bed, belly to sweaty belly, she innocently brought her hand too close to my face and I unintentionally sniffed her fingertips, which smelled sharply of shit.

Her armpits, unlike mine, were smooth and smelled like ivory soap, but the fact was that we were animals.

We stunk.


While picking out flagstones for our new patio, I felt compelled to say, “Hand me that Wyoming lookin’ motherfucker,” but, truth be told, geography was never my strength, and I was deftly corrected that the stone in question was closer in resemblance to North Dakota.

Perhaps it was all the Annie Proulx I had been reading – Wyoming was just on my mind.

While digging in our backyard, I liked to think of myself as one of the men in Proulx’s stories, hardworking men with big, rough hands and dust in their nostrils and lungs who die young and tragically, either from a tire-iron to the skull or being swallowed whole by the very earth they hunt and work and drink on.

At the end of the day, I pulled a beer from the refrigerator and rubbed KT’s neck, enjoying her soft, cool skin.

I wanted to fuck and then jump into a cold shower, but she flinched under my hand, told me I stunk, and demanded I wash my ass before sitting on her couch.

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Tharren ran into my ex-girlfriend. “She was in town for a funeral,” he said. “She lost weight…She caught me looking at her tits.”

“She asked about you,” he said, and I wanted to ask about what it was he told her, but changed the subject and ordered two shots of Bacardi 151, instead.

“Fucking bitch!” a tall woman bellowed, her voice as large as her dark Amazonian body, and threw her dirty martini at the girl who accidentally elbowed her breast.

“Well…time to go,” said her husband, nervously twisting the gold band on his finger, and tossed his cocktail into the crowd, as well.

Tharren and I just looked at each other and laughed. Broken glass and Spanish olives punctuated the dancefloor. The DJ threw on some Michael Jackson.


I blacked out in a friend’s basement and woke to the muffled cry of bedsprings and the sound of Craig cumming into his new lover.

I pulled on my boots, threw up in the kitchen sink, and slept off a hangover in the back of Sam’s pick-up…Yep, I was home again.

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