April 5, 2024

Sex Goblin
by Lauren Cook

The following is an excerpt from the book Sex Goblin (Nightboat Books, 2024).

There’s something I want my lover to understand.
I always want to hear what you have to say. I
always enjoy listening to what you have to say.
Maybe I haven’t made that clear lately because you
don’t feel like I’ve been listening or because I talk a
lot normally anyway. But, if you think you want to
tell me something I’d love to hear it. I know I
make fun of everything. So, I think you get scared
I’m going to make fun of you. But I’d never really
make fun of you. If I thought you were stu pid
and annoying, we wouldn’t be here. 
This “Doomsday Preppers” husband and wife
team have this secret emergency spot they meet
in if they’re separated when the world ends
and it’s the first place they ever kissed . . . 

Demons getting to me 
Being in a bathtub when it falls through a ceiling
Being hurt while walking down the street
Someone i love killing me in shame 
Things i learned to like that i never liked before:
Sharing food 
i make a list of things to ask you, things i forget to ask you in the moment: 
Do you have cousins
Where do you want to travel next 
What’s your ideal party situation 
Favorite smells 
Do you watch porn 

Tamara opens her front-facing camera, opens Instagram, takes a deep breath, and hits the
“live” button 
“Guys, I’m sorry . . . I’m gonna let some people
trickle in . . .” 
There is a pause for about forty-five seconds as
the viewers climb from single digit to thousands,
as people join her livestream. 
I know I’m usually happy. I know I try to spread
positivity with my page and be who I wanna see
in the world but I don’t feel good today. I don’t like
who I am and I don’t like my life and I don’t have
the energy today to pretend for you guys.”
Tamara waits nervously for their responses
Hundreds of comments start flooding in
“Don’t worry tamara we love you” 
“Tamara i love u for who u are” 
“Tamara you don’t have to be anyone else” 

Oops, for a second there I almost forgot about
my agony 
My quiet night 
I want to protect you and I want you to protect me
Waiting for my delusions to pick me up
because I’m gonna ride them all the way home 
Predicting the future is often times not even
a beneficial power for the protagonist to have

Excerpted from Sex Goblin by Lauren Cook (Nightboat Books, 2024). Copyright (c) 2024 by Lauren Cook. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Lauren Cook is a transsexual naturalist and the author of I Love Shopping (Glo Worm Press, 2019). He is from upstate New York.