Fiction: Robert Duncan Gray’s “Helen”

Fiction: Robert Duncan Gray


Helen is dead.

We used to have sex. We had three types of sex. The type of sex we had most often was mediocre sex. The type of sex we had second most often was bad sex. The type of sex we had very rarely was good sex. When we had good sex, it was sort of by accident. Like, maybe the stars were aligned or something, or the moon was just so. Maybe we were the perfect drunk. I don’t know. Neither did she. We used to talk about it.

Was that good?

So good, yes. That was so good.


I don’t know. It was just so good.

The conversation would go round in circles. Sometimes the only way to stop it was to have sex again, in which case we would have mediocre sex or bad sex and afterwards we wouldn’t talk about it anymore.

Helen is dead. I haven’t talked to her in a few years. I just know she’s dead because Facebook keeps reminding me. People are writing on dead Helen’s wall. They write directly to her. They say things like: I still can’t believe it. I miss you so much. I am so sorry for your loss—which is extra weird. Do they believe that Helen is checking her Facebook in the afterlife? I am so sorry for your loss. I am so sorry for the loss of your life. I heard you are dead, Helen. My condolences.

I remember this one time we had good sex. It was crude. We combined our bodies the same way dogs do and I remember thinking she was shaped exactly like a china teapot. I imagined that every time she moaned, steam was whistling from her mouth.

I watch pornography and masturbate. It’s a popular pastime for men my age, to watch strangers fake love and rub themselves together. I am a pretty tame pornography watcher. I like it to start with all characters fully clothed. Undressing is important. Nudity, foreplay, penetration, orgasm. Pretty standard. Sometimes something special, like something to do with the anus, or perhaps nonchalant ejaculation, like a facial or whatever, like honey dripping from a flushed cheek. I prefer it when the woman involved is there of her own accord and enjoying herself, but when I think about it critically I realize that a lot of women are only pretending to be there of their own accord and only pretending to enjoy themselves. I do not feel good about this. Like when you go to a Mexican restaurant and the waiter calls you amigo and smiles. You are not really friends and they’re not necessarily happy. It’s just part of the job.

I am watching pornography and masturbating and a girl who looks exactly like Helen, or like I remember Helen, is undressing and talking to the camera at the same time. She asks the camera if it wants to see her tits and then flashes a tit quickly before putting it away again. Eventually she stops putting it away. She has both tits out and she is playing with her panties. She asks the camera if it wants to see her pussy and then moves her panties over to the side, offering a quick glimpse before letting the fabric snap back into place. This charade doesn’t last long. Soon she is naked and she is wet and she seems to be here of her own accord and she seems to be enjoying herself. This is the kind of pornography I usually enjoy, but I am not masturbating anymore, just watching and thinking. My penis is flaccid. I glance down and it looks so small in my hand.

I try to pump it hard again, but it doesn’t work. I put it away and check Facebook.

I miss your smile, my beautiful Helen. You are like a beautiful flower picked too early. Hope you are sleeping safely in heaven, my sweet angel. What the fuck? Some crazy old lady, probably Helen’s aunt or something. I click Helen’s photograph instinctively. This takes me to her profile. I click her photo tab. This takes me to her photos. I scroll down to Photos and Videos of Helen. Thankfully there are no videos, only photos. Helen smiling. Helen surrounded by people. Helen clearly drunk. Helen dancing. Helen in a bikini. Helen passed out on a couch with a dick drawn on her face in permanent marker. She gave really great blowjobs. Helen dressed as a zombie cheerleader for Halloween. Helen doing zombie cheerleader moves. Helen, a china teapot. My penis is erect. So fully erect. I stroke it, scrolling through pictures of dead Helen. Helen in a wetsuit, leaning on a surfboard. Helen in soccer cleats. Helen in a prom dress. My dick, the size of a Barbie doll. Helen doing a handstand. Helen in the middle of a large group of strangers, not smiling. Helen riding a bicycle. Helen asleep. I am masturbating good. So good. Helen smiling. I am masturbating so good, sort of by accident. Helen dancing. Like maybe the stars are have aligned or something. Maybe the moon, just so. Helen smiling. Helen dancing. I have had nothing to drink today, no alcohol. I am so good. I don’t know. Helen singing karaoke, probably some awful sloppy pop song, something off a soundtrack for a romantic comedy. Helen laughing. I am almost there. She is there. I am there. We are here. An orgasm escapes from a depth I do not recognize, somewhere inside myself I have never been before. An old house filled with the preserved bodies of dead butterflies and the bones of extinct animals. A museum of amateur pornography. A pyramid. A perfect diamond. Was that so good? So good, yes. That was so good. Why? I don’t know.

Helen dancing in a green summer dress through the streets of St. Petersburg, a swarm of honeybees in her wake.

Helen, a china teapot, steam whistling through her pursed lips. It was just so good.

I am crying now. Now I am crying.

Robert Duncan Gray (aka COLDGOLDCHAIN) is an English artist currently living and working in Portland, Oregon. More:

Photo credit: DuBoix,

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