tagFirst TimeThe Tie on the Door

The Tie on the Door





Harmon screamed into the first floor mens' room shared by his frat and the dorm attached to it. He walked up to the only shower in use and talked to the curtain.

"Pratt, is that you in there?"

Harmon threw open the curtain. Josh Pratt stood in the spray, doing his best to ignore Harmon.

"Pathetic. Pratt, do you ever say anything?"

Harmon snapped the curtain shut just as his frat brother Gonzo walked in.



"You go to kegs last night?"

"No, we got back from fucking lacrosse at, like, 2am."

"You win?"

"No...god damn it."

Harmon chuckled and shook his head. "You guys suck, man..."

Gonzo sighed. "No fucking kidding. It's bad."

"Well," announced Harmon, clearing his throat, "I went to kegs. And you will not believe what I saw. You will not fucking believe it."



"I don't know."

"No, guess. You won't get it."

"Dude, I have no fucking clue."

"Okay, you're not going to get it anyway, so I'll tell you: Pratt was there. And," (he raised his voice, as if making a proclamation) "he was there...WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND!"

Gonzo laughed. "Pratt has a girlfriend? Are you serious?" He walked over to the shower.

"Pratt! How'd you pull that off? Is she blind? Deaf?"

He stuck his head in the shower.


"No, I am totally serious, dude," said Harmon. "But that's not even the shocking part. I mean, if you think that's shocking, this next part is gonna scare you shitless."

"Pratt's girlfriend is a piece of ass. A. PIECE. OF. ASS. And actually, not even just a piece of ass, I mean...I don't even know what I mean. She's beautiful. She's fucking amazing."

"Pratt!" Gonzo strolled back over to the shower. "Pratt, I'm proud of you! Good boy! How the fuck did you do it? You holding her family hostage?"

"I guess they started dating in high school," said Harmon. "And, you know, Pratt's from, like, Bumfuck, Iowa, so she must have had, like, pretty fucking slim pickings."

Josh silently put the soap back in the dish and reached for the shampoo. He heard the sound of a faucet turning on full blast, then a laugh from Gonzo.

"Dude, what are you doing to his towel?"

"Well, you know," said Harmon, "Pratt's making me angry this morning. He's making me angry because I'm thinking about that god damn smokeshow he gets to fuck, and it makes me feel like something bad needs to happen to him to make up for it."

"Dude...you're bad."

"God," Harmon muttered to himself while he ran the towel under cold water. "I am so f-ing funny."

Josh slid his bar of soap back into the red plastic container he kept it in.

"Actually," said Harmon, "wait a minute. Has he fucked her?" He shouted into the stall. "Pratt? Have you fucked her?"

"Felt her tits?"

"Held her hand?"

"Or do you just do her homework? Then when she's left, you lie in bed and jack off thinking about her?"

"'Cause that's what I'm gonna do," added Harmon. Gonzo burst out laughing.

"Harmon, you're sick."

"Yeah," said Harmon, continuing his monologue as he and Gonzo walked out of the bathroom. "That's actually a pretty damn good idea. Right now, I'm going to jack off thinking about Pratt's girlfriend! Hot damn, this is going to be a great morning!"

Josh stood in the shower for another four minutes, turned it off, wrung out his freezing towel, and walked back to his room.

No classes on Tuesdays, so after filling his day with Xbox and linear algebra homework, Josh had kept the morning's humiliation out of his head.

Until he remembered...oh god: Kristin is coming over for kegs. SAE kegs, the frat next door. Harmon's frat. He couldn't take his girlfriend there.

A knock prompted Josh to open the door, where a breathtaking girl with long, dark hair, a rust-colored sweater, and a black ski jacket stood smiling.

"Kegs...?" asked the girl hopefully, bouncing on her toes.

"Uh...I don't think so."

"Seriously?!" she asked. "Why not?"

"I, uh...guess I'm not feeling that well. Headache. Mind if we stay in?"

Kristin scrunched up her mouth, as if saying she wasn't sure that was an adequate substitute.

"Doctor Who?" offered Josh.

She brightened up. "Awesome!" she said with a gasp. She was a fan.

Josh turned off the lights, started the newly-torrented Who episode on his PC, and slumped under his bed covers while Kristin took off her coat.

God this morning was embarrassing, he thought. (Ugh. Why did he have to think about this? What was the point? Couldn't he just enjoy watching TV with his girlfriend? Apparently not.) Harmon was so fucking intimidating. Huge. Loud. Unstoppable. He scored so many girls that it was comedic walking by his room each night to see the same red and blue tie hanging over the doorknob, indicating his "occupied" status. Kristin and Josh would always laugh at the ridiculousness of it, and at the naivete of the girls dumb enough to file into his room like clockwork.

Kristin slipped her knit sweater over her head, arching her body, catching Josh's eye. The flickering from the monitor lit her in kind of an astonishing way.

He'd watched her undress before. But after being accosted that morning, accused of being, in essence, a shitty male specimen, Josh felt like maybe what he was supposed to be doing—rather than absorbing a British sci-fi show—was ogling the fantastic-looking girl undressing in front of him. He tried examining his girlfriend's body through fresh eyes. Harmon's eyes.

Whew. Okay, here goes.

As she slipped out of her jeans and stood there in bra and panties, half-distracted by Doctor Who, he studied her hair, eyes, lips, mouth. Perfect. Conpletely perfect. And that's being as objective as he could be. She really was flawless. Everybody thought so; it wasn't possible to think otherwise.

That was tame; he could do better.

What fucking amazing tits, he thought. About ready to burst out of the luckiest bra in the world. Just the thought of playing with those would be enough to get any guy to sign away a testicle.

That was better: more Harmon-esque.

And those legs, smooth like...well, smooth like something really smooth, leading up to that juicy—

Ugh. God. What a terrible exercise. Harmon is repulsive; trying to be him for even twenty seconds was too long.

Josh liked that Kristin was beautiful, but it didn't matter. Or at least barely mattered. He'd fallen for her through the conversations they'd had in AP Calc about math, physics, comp sci...Josh had never found a girl so interested in those things, so it just felt natural that he'd love her for the things she thought and dreamt about. Not for what she looked like. Noting again, however, that he didn't mind how she looked.

She turned to him, her hand unconsciously playing with the front of her bra. Her hair was tousled in kind of a spectacular way, and, not really trying—'cause that's how effortless her beauty was—struck a pose that felt, Josh thought, kind of Victoria's Secret-ish.

"The Cybermen are awesome," she said, commenting on the onscreen action.

And that's why he loved her.

She slinked into bed. "You cold?" she asked as she wriggled up against him.

"A little," said Josh, "but getting better."

"I remember camping junior year," Kristin whispered, "when we were under the covers like this, and it was so cold outside that the tent froze shut."

"Jesus," he said. "Yes, that sucked."

An onscreen explosion drew their attention back to Doctor Who, and they finished the episode. They watched two more beyond that, intermittently interrupted by discussions of just how, precisely, time travel worked on the show. And then Josh heard the tiniest snore.

Kristin's sleeping face was close to his. He loved how she looked with her eyes closed; loved the shape of her mouth, her lips just parted. The way her body was angled made it impossible not to look down the front of her bra. He thought about Harmon again, how he accused Josh of not being physical with her.

Harmon was wrong. Josh had felt her tits. A lot of times. And he'd be feeling them again, too. In fact he was going to right now.

He stretched out his right hand and lightly ran his fingers underneath the cup of her bra. He saw her smile just a bit. He didn't know whether she was asleep or awake, but he liked the idea of her smiling either way.

With not very much difficulty he gently undid the fastener on the front of her bra—happily, he'd become sort of adept at this—pulled it back, then reached in and lightly ran his hands over her. Holy hell she felt nice.

Fuck Harmon.

Next morning, early, after Kristin had slipped back to her dorm, Josh quietly slinked to the bathroom. It was before seven and he knew Harmon would never be there so early.

"Pratt!" Harmon screamed from inside a shower stall. "That you?"

Oh god. Harmon was up early.

Harmon ripped his curtain open; he stood there naked, the spray washing over him.

"Pratt, it is you!"

Josh walked to the sink to brush his teeth. He couldn't look at Harmon.

"Hey," said Harmon. Josh didn't respond.

"Hey!" he said again.

"HEY!!" he screamed, and Josh glanced quickly at him in the mirror.

"Moron," yelled Harmon. "Tell your girlfriend thanks for the fucking awesome jack-off session I had yesterday morning. And last night. Twice. Shit, that god damn body of hers I practically shoot my wad just thinking about her."

He continued. "And you still haven't introduced me to her! Fuck do I want to meet her. She'd fucking love me!"

"God I cannot even imagine what that pussy must taste like," he said. "Pratt, what does she taste like? It must be fucking unbelievable."

(Josh was repulsed...but made a mental note: that's the kind of observation to make if you're going to pretend to be Harmon.)

Harmon peered out of the stall.

"Do you know?" he asked. "Do you even fucking know what that tastes like?"

Harmon yelled over to Gonzo's shower stall.

"He doesn't know. HE DOESN'T KNOW!!" and Harmon laughed. "God, what a god damn waste you are, Pratt. Embarrassing."

"God damn it!" Harmon blurted out a few seconds later. "Now I'm so fucking worked up thinking about Pratt's girl that I'm going to have to jack off again. Right here."

"Uh, Harmon..." said Gonzo. "That is gross."

"Oh, if you knew what this girl looked like you wouldn't think so."

"And...here we go!" yelled Harmon. Josh couldn't help but glance in the mirror to see Harmon in his shower stall, curtain open, staring dazedly in the air and stroking his enormous cock.

"Hot damn yes," he continued, "she's on top of me and fuck does she look good. I just flicked off her bra and am squeezing the hell out of those beautiful tits...oh...oh Pratt... oh fuck, yeah. And yeah she is getting so wet it's like fucking embarrassing..."

"Now she's begging me to nail her so I rip her panties off and...oh...oh..oh fuck yeah goddamn, Pratt, now my cock's in her and she has the tightest sweetest little pussy, and..."

"oh god...oh god...oh fucking god...yeah...here it comes...Pratt here it comes..." and Harmon let out a howl.

There was silence for a few seconds, then he yelled.


Gonzo stared at the wall of Harmon's shower.

"I hope you're cleaning that up," he said.

Every day it was something different.

On Wednesday Josh returned to his dorm room to find a little stick figure scrawled on the dry-erase board on his door. The figure had long hair, a tiny skirt, and huge circles on its chest; FUCK ME JOSH was written underneath. Josh pulled out the glass cleaner, the kind that cleans those dry-erase boards really well, and removed every trace.

Thursday the dry-erase board was covered with the well-endowed little female figures. Actually, so was the whole door...all over. All of them were engaged in some sex act with little male figures with huge cocks. At the top of the door, written with permanent sharpie marker it said JOSH WHY WONT YOU EAT MY CUNT.

It was going to take at least an hour to clean all this off. Josh called Kristin, panicked, trying to intercept her before she got to his room. He bailed on their date, sending her off to the movies without him, then spent three hours cleaning until the door was whiter than it'd probably ever been. He could tell she was upset.

Friday, same thing on his door, but more of it. I WANT TO MEET PRATT'S GIRL was scrawled around the border. The door was also covered in ketchup, now dried into a brown crust. On the doorknob was some other white-ish liquid, partially solidified into gelatinous form. Josh suspected what it might be but didn't want to think about it. After canceling the long-standing dinner plans with Kristin's visiting parents that night—Kristin was furious, but what else could he do—Josh spent another three hours cleaning it all off.

After that, Josh stopped letting Kristin come over to his room entirely.

Instead, they went to hers. Every night, for weeks, watching not just Doctor Who but every other sci-fi series he could think of, then Orson Welles films, then...and it became obvious it was grating on Kristin. Why don't we go to your room? she'd ask nearly every night (going out, she already knew, was out of the question) with never a straight answer from Josh in return.

Kristin thought a lot about Josh's self-deprecating comments, made since the day they'd met, about how boring he was. She'd always laughed and told him that was stupid. But over the past month...he'd turned so quiet. She made the hideous discovery that she really had become bored with him. Crazily bored.

She hated staying in when all of her friends were out. And after being asked out on two separate occasions by guys from class, it was more than she could bear. Kristin met with Josh and quietly told him that maybe it was time to try just being friends.

Kristin had a date: a guy named Andrew from her econ class had asked her out. While she was excited about it, something she didn't see coming was the wide-eyed reaction of the other women on her hall, each of whom knew precisely who Andrew was, and were everything from overjoyed to insanely jealous at the news that Kristin had a date with him. She'd never felt part of the popular crowd—at least, it had been several years since she felt that way—and the attention it brought her was unexpectedly nice. Refreshing. Exciting.

Andrew picked her up—god he looked amazing—and for the first hour or so, she felt wildly uncomfortable. What was she doing out with someone that wasn't Josh? Everything was different and out-of-sorts: Andrew's BMW was nicer than Josh's beat-up Focus, which made her feel incredibly guilty. She didn't want things like that to make a difference. But Andrew's car was so nice. He dressed differently than Josh...better. God how could she do this to Josh?

But as they settled into dinner, things got easier. Not all at once...but Andrew was charming and interesting and easy to talk to and she thought about Josh less and less. Not to mention: she was actually out, not sitting in a dorm room.

The party he took her to afterwards felt fun. His friends seemed great; she spoke easily with them; they were happy to see her. All attractive; the kind of group she was never a part of in high school, consciously so...but today it felt thrilling to be accepted by them. She felt a part of things, for the first time in a long time.

And Andrew. Being with him felt effortless. Kristin knew she was a little starstruck, but even beyond Andrew's easy charm, great friends, his looks...Kristin felt something. During a lull in conversation with his friends, she looked up at him and flashed a huge smile. She couldn't believe how beautiful his blue eyes were.

It wasn't just his eyes. He was beautiful all over. She hadn't felt this way in a long time. She wanted to rip his clothes off.

Coming back from the library, Josh slogged down the hall toward his room.

Josh held his breath as he approached his door. But nothing was splattered on it tonight: no ketchup, no jizz, no caricatures, and nothing destroyed. Actually, he was on a roll: it'd been more than a week since any of that had happened. This is what passed for a good Saturday now.

Josh dumped his books and slouched on his bed. It was two weeks since he and Kristin began their "time out." He'd written two emails to her in that time. The first time, he got a response from her: a very friendly one. Kristin asked about Josh's grandma, and if she were coming home for Thanksgiving. At the time Josh wondered, do people ask about another person's grandmother if they don't care? Was Kristin probing the possibility of spending Thanksgiving with him? In his response he broached the subject in the most delicate way possible, but it had been eight days since then and he hadn't heard back.

A week ago, he'd imagined tonight would be the night he'd write Kristin again, asking if maybe he could drop by: Game of Thrones was premiering. Or maybe they could even try going out somewhere. But now that tonight had arrived, sending the email didn't feel right. But soon. Maybe Wednesday.

He held the copy of Gödel Escher Bach she'd bought him. He read the love note she'd written on the inside cover. In here—in this book—she wasn't bored with him.

Then he spent a wonderful two minutes pretending he was watching her undress.

He wandered down the hall to brush his teeth, passing Harmon's room. Another tie on Harmon's door. Good fucking god.

Behind that very door—the door with the distinctive red-and-blue tie hanging from its knob—Kristin was getting a tour of Andrew Harmon's music collection. (Yes, that Harmon, the frat-boy Harmon, the one who'd spent the past month torturing Josh.)

It seemed so bizarre to Kristin now, how she'd spent the past semester making fun of the guy who lived in this room with its perpetual tie on the door—the "hyper fratboy", the "player" with the freshman girls cycling through—and all that time it was Andrew, the charming guy who'd taken her on the best date she could remember. She was hoping it wasn't going to end yet.

Josh was just down the hall, so close by. Kristin was careful to make sure Josh hadn't seen her sneak into Andrew's room. Not because she was embarrassed to be here—quite the opposite—but she knew he wouldn't understand.

She wondered if she should feel more guilty than she did. But this wasn't about Andrew's car, or his looks. Josh had wanted to hide her; Andrew wanted to show her off. She couldn't wait to show Andrew how much she appreciated that.

Kristin's head was buzzing; she hadn't felt like this in a very long time. She thought about jealous Anna on her hall and how Anna had said she'd give anything for five minutes alone with Andrew. In fact, all the girls wanted Andrew. Kristin wasn't going to let anything mess this up.

Josh briefly flashed through Kristin's mind again while Harmon started to gently coax her sweater off, thirty seconds into their hasty make-out session. Why didn't Josh realize that the world was a friendly, fun place, filled with great prople, instead of something to be scared of? But that wasn't her problem anymore.

She was so preoccupied with kissing Harmon she didn't even notice him reaching over and starting the camera on his cell phone, recording a video that maybe he'd show to Pratt some day when he felt like torturing him.

Getting her top off was way easier than Harmon had ever imagined. In fact her bra came off so quickly he heard a little gasp. (He could get a bra off quicker than than anyone, women included.)

Good god it was fun playing with those tits. Harmon had spent weeks thinking about them, and they didn't disappont. It was especially fun running his hands over them in front of the camera...you know, for Pratt's benefit. "So nice..." mouthed Harmon silently to his phone, while Kristin, blissed-out and dreamy-eyed, looked as if she were experiencing the best moment of her life.

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