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And the Floor Stopped Yelling

Story by Christopher James (Read author interview) December 19, 2016

Art by Volkan Olmez

Outside the resort, the twilight was a gorgeous Guatemalan phthalo blue. Their fifth night, and Davis had again left her alone at the pool to play golf all day, before returning late and crying off the restaurant. “Let’s order something to the room instead.” And now, dinner done and dirty plates discarded in the corridor outside, he was complaining about the loud love-making in the next suite over. CrcktybmpAh! CrcktybmpAhAh!

“God! Should I bang on the walls?”

“Yes dear.” Sara was playing a game to amuse herself, seeing how many times she could say “Yes dear” without him noticing. Thirty-eight so far and counting.

“They never stop. He must be wired to the mains. I’ve seen them too, creeping out the room, one at a time, pretending they don’t know each other. He’s my age.”

“Yes dear.” Thirty-nine.

The noise made her sad. She had never made love like that with Davis. They were thirty when they’d met, and she’d thought at that age that love-making should be quieter and more efficient.

“Anyone with half a brain can tell. If they wanted to keep it a secret, why would they make so much noise as soon as they jumped into bed?”


“It’s guilt. They want someone to catch them.”


“YesDearYesDearYesDear! You’re a broken record!”

Unlike him to snap at her. He was inattentive, but not angry. The problem with a couple rutting like rabbits in the next room: the noise brought out a man’s insecurities. Could she say it again? Would he notice?

“Yes dear.”

“This is ridiculous.” He threw his jacket on and fished in the drawer for his wallet and phone. “I’m going to sit in the bar,” he told Sara. He didn’t invite her to join him, and left before she could say it again.


Crkty. Crkttty. AH! Aha.


When the sound stopped, Sara was alone, staring at the imprints in the carpet that showed one of the chairs was in slightly the wrong place. Wondering what else she could get away with before Davis noticed.

What, she thought, if there were no couple in the room next door? What if it were him, having an affair? The noise a signal for him to come over and join somebody. Unlikely, granted, but an attractive thought. Or maybe it was a signal for her to go next door. She no longer understood signals.

At the pool today, a muscular man had stared at her a long time. Every time she looked his way she found him looking back. When the sun was setting he was there with another woman. A wife? A girlfriend? A daughter? They’d hugged, and with his head over the woman’s shoulder he’d winked at Sara. And she hated him for it.

She checked the time on her phone; gone nine. Time to help herself to a vodka from the minibar. Experimentally, she rocked her hips, making the bed move.


She let the sound fill the room. Did they hear it next door? If Davis was outside, would he hear and wonder? She did it again. Crcktybmp. And she moaned. Ahh!

Again, a little louder.

If she moaned in bed with Davis, would he moan back? More likely, he’d look at her funny. What was that? Are you sick?

Alone, in the room, she laughed. Yes dear!

She rocked harder. Crckytbmp! Crktybmpbmp! Crktycrktybmpbmpbmp! AH!

Rocking, rhythmically, back and forth, stronger, faster, harder, better. Thumping into the walls, the glasses on the other side of the room shaking now, the light swinging, the floor talking, yelling at her to keep it the fuck down.

Davis came back, but she didn’t see him because she had her eyes closed, howling.

“Have you lost your mind!”

And in her mind, she shouted at him. Shouted No!

But in real life, of course, she didn’t do that. She stopped rocking, stopped shouting. She waited until the light stopped moving.

About the Author

Christopher James lives, works and writes in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has previously been published online in many venues, including Tin House, McSweeney’s, SmokeLong, and Wigleaf. He is the editor of Jellyfish Review.

About the Artist

More of Volkan Olmez’s photography can be found at Unsplash.

This story appeared in Issue Fifty-Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty-Four

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