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doors without doorways. by Michael Kaplan

me and my girlfriend addie laid down in spoons.

i asked her if she’d heard about my new ride at universal. she said no but in a soft trailing way that meant i shouldn’t speak. a memory had gripped her. she told me there was an experience she’d had at universal studios that is to date “the most unsettling thing she’s ever seen.”

she was four at the time. she wandered off from the group during the tour and explored a fake city. with no one else there she felt it was her city. it was. she took some time to pick her new home, assessing her options by number of windows and color of bricks. everything was cardboard. she selected a home with tan bricks and two windows, climbed the steps, and opened the door. but the doorway was a wall. white. there was no home. no passage. no space to breathe or think. only a wall, in the doorway, where the doorway was supposed to be. this was how she said it. she fell to the steps crying and called for her mom, who didn’t find her for at least twenty minutes. sometimes i dream about the wall, she said, and didn’t ask me again about the new ride. i could tell she wanted to make love but didn’t want to push me.

we adjusted our position from spoons to forks and knives.

i had a similar experience, i told her. the other night, when you went out with your friends, i was lonely and thinking about you. i decided to pass the time by watching pornography. really? she said, in a flirty way. i kept speaking. i typed in terms like, boyfriend girlfriend authentic amateur natural passionate loving. this brought up sites with tips on how to spice up your relationship, with new positions, new games and toys. to my search i added the terms, porn video fuck. the results that came up were very similar to my search. girlfriend fuck natural boyfriend with passion. amateur loving with new girlfriend teen. odd generic-sounding titles. i clicked on the first one and came to a site advertising some viagra-type pill. i could last looooooonger, it said. there was no girlfriend boyfriend to be found.

we adjusted from forks and knives to stacked plates, her on top.

i clicked on another site, i told her. you missed me, she said, as if she weren’t listening. you missed me like that, she said. why didn’t you tell me? she asked. that’s not the point, i said. i clicked on another site and it brought me to an ad for cartoon pornography between marvel characters. storm and wolverine. iron man and mary jane watson. i’m sorry, addie said. and these weren’t ads on a site, i continued. These were the site. and they’d reload and fire pop-ups in ways that made it impossible to escape. they were doors without doorways. she grinded herself against me. did you cry for twenty minutes? she asked. i guess not, i said, but that didn’t seem like the point either. i asked her to get off. i tried to be polite. told her i still wasn’t feeling it tonight. not yet. ok, she said. that’s ok. no rush.

she patted and petted me, from a distance.

i stood from the bed and walked to the window. i unhooked the locks and opened it wide. jesus christ, addie said. she rolled into a corndog to avoid the outside air. we were three stories up but i was fairly confident i could call down to anyone on the street. or they could call up. i stuck my head out into the frozen air. i wondered if i could ever look down there and feel like the city is mine. like she did. soon the two of us would make love again. often, i hoped. i sucked the sharp wind into the back of my throat and

flung a web to the building across the street, leaping through the window.

no not again! addie called as i flew over the avenue, flinging more webs for balance and control, including a clever shot that closed the window for her so she wouldn’t have to get out of bed. i faintly heard her yell the words, “you said…” but nothing else. i wasn’t wearing my suit, nor had i heard any specific call for help. i’ve been doing this more and more lately, just flying over the city for exercise, or when i can’t sleep, watching out for petty muggers, swinging through dark alleys, making sure drunk passengers pay their cab fares. addie says i’m getting bored. i told her it’s better when villains aren’t terrorizing the city. if we talk about it again i bet she’ll say something like, doors need doorways. she’s clever like that.

i swung around a corner gripping my web with both hands.

someone outside a safeway was attempting to shake the soda machine. they turned around and gave it a donkey kick. i gently let myself land in the vicinity and approached with caution. excuse me sir, i asked, are you trying to rob this soda machine? no, no, spidey, you got me all wrong. i paid for a coke but nothin came out, you see? i see, i told him. how poetic, i thought. i climbed the wall against which the soda machine stood and flung four webs onto the top corners. the thing was heavier than i was expecting, but slowly i drew the webs in, lifting it two or three inches off the ground. stand back! i called. with great relief i let the machine drop, and when it slammed into the ground, a coke bottle shot into the slot. perfect! the man howled. you’re welcome, i said, flinging myself away before he could give proper thanks.

yes, one day soon, i thought, shooting web after web. yes, we would make love again.


Michael Kaplan is a writer and filmmaker living in Portland, Oregon. His stories and films have been published or are forthcoming in Prime Number Magazine, the Florida Review Online, and Hobart. When no one is looking, he bites his fingers down to the bone.

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