Micrograffiti: Boys by Ann Claycomb


Boys by Ann Claycomb

“What are American boys like?”

It was the only reason the girls talked to me. We made eye contact in the bathroom mirror, around starburst cracks in the glass. They sprayed their mohawks, twirled their nose-studs. I put on lip gloss.

I said boys in California were blond except the Mexican ones, who had long black hair. They all wore clean white tank tops and had arm muscles. The girls nodded, licked their lips.

I didn’t tell them British boys smelled the way I’d imagined boys would smell, like sweat and cigarettes. I hid behind my long blond American hair, watched a pack of them take over an Underground car, jeering and shoving.

Dean turned as they were leaving.

“Aren’t you coming?”

He shaved his head except for a shock in front. There were angry red pimples on the back of his neck. I followed him onto the platform and he dismissed the others with a nod. His mates, he called them. “They know when to leave best alone.”

He backed me up against the wall. I bit where his neck met his shoulder. He bit me back, looked at me unsmiling.

“Bam,” he said. “Right between the eyes.”


Ann Claycomb is a writer living in West Virginia.  She has made out on subway platforms, but not in a very long time.


Micrograffiti is a project edited by Stacey Swann. The writers were asked to respond with fiction to Ben Walters’ photographs of the South London graffiti tunnel. Click here to read more >>


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