Heartlocks / by Alan Semrow

At three o’clock every day, Percy and I feel rest assured a guard won’t catch us. Three o’clock is when Percy climbs up into my bunk and fucks me while our hands are clasped around each other’s mouths. Percy’s doing time for robbery and I’m in for arson. Tiny arson—was a tiny house. 

When I got here, a newbie to the whole prison scene, I was scared witless. I thought maybe I’d never see my boyfriend again, that I’d be killed. Percy helped lessen that load. He was modest and he told me that everything would be alright if I just listened to him. He said he knew about prison, though I’m not so sure he was much of a threatening type. When I got there, Percy just wanted me to know the ground rules. And the number one ground rule was to not let anyone else know that you have homosexual inclinations.

The night Percy told me that was the night we first fucked on the upper bunk.

A few weeks of terrorizing adjustment later and I began falling in love with Percy. My boyfriend from the real world hadn’t come to visit and, suddenly, I felt the only conclusion I could come to was that Percy would have to be my new soulmate. 

Now, we eat together, we go out in the yard together, we work together. And no one knows a thing and that is simply because we listen to the rules and we follow the orders and we take shit from people, because we feel it is to pay off in the end. What we want at this point, more than anything else, is to start a life together, to be able to lie down by the Riviera and make love under the stars. I tell Percy often that no one sparkles as much as him.

Percy works two jobs here. When he’s gone and we are forced to be separated from each other, I spend my time reading books from the prison library. Currently, I’m lying on the bed reading something by a man named Cormac McCarthy. It is a good book. It reminds me of my childhood in Texas. It reminds me of that good movie Brokeback Mountain.

I get about thirty pages into the Cormac McCarthy book when Percy resurfaces. He walks into the room smiling. I ask him, “How was work today, my soulmate?”

He throws up his hands and spins in a circle. “Well, baby,” he says. “It was absolutely gorgeous.”

“Got those floors all cleaned?”

He approaches and seats himself next to me on the bed. Percy says, “You could lick ‘em and still be one hundred percent healthy.”

“Well,” I say. “That is no surprise. You are the best of the best, you know.”

He places an arms around my waist and says, “I cannot wait until three o’clock today.”

“You could probably sneak a handjob in,” I whisper.

“I’d hate to risk it,” Percy says, removing the hand from my waist. “See, baby, I got some good news today.”

I look up from the book and into Percy’s brown eyes. “What?” I ask.

“See, I actually had a meeting with the warden today.”

“You lied to me?”

“No, baby. I just didn’t want to work you up over nothin’, that’s all.”

I place the Cormac McCarthy book down on the bed. “Over nothing? Over nothing, Percy? What in the hell did they say?”

“Well, Mitch. Said that they’ve been noticing I’ve been on really good behavior lately. They said they’re very appreciative of it, because a lot of the other inmates have been misbehaving a bit as of late.”


“They said they’re going to release me a few months early.”

I grab the Cormac McCarthy book from my side and shoot it across the room, where it hits the brick wall. I stand up and start pointing at my soulmate. “What in the fuck did you do, Percy?” I’m screaming, just screaming. “What in the hell!”

Percy stands up in front of me and says, “Now don’t you worry. I will wait for you to get out of here, alright? There is nothing to be concerned over here. Just be happy for me please, Mitch. I mean, for the first time in years I get to enjoy the outdoors. I get to listen to good music. I feel like the world is in front of me. Like I could dance to ‘I’ll Take You There’ and spill wine all over my couch.”

“You don’t have a couch, you asshole! I thought you needed only me.”

Percy grabs me tight and hugs me so tightly as I cry into his shoulder. He says, “I do need you, Mitch. And I do intend to wait for you.”

“You’ve left me with nothing.” I grab into the back of my pants, where I have been keeping it, just in case of emergency. I run the shiv into Percy’s stomach. He grabs first at his abdomen and then at me. As he does so, I continue whipping the knife around, slicing at his hand, slicing at whatever I can. He kicks me in the balls, which causes me to fall to the ground, dropping the knife. He quickly grabs hold of it and throws the razor spot on at my heart.




Alan Semrow lives in Wisconsin and is a graduate of English from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His poems and fiction have been featured in multiple publications, including BlazeVOX14, Red Fez, The Bicycle Review, Earl of Plaid Lit Journal, Blotterature Lit Mag; The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society; Former People: A Journal of Bangs and Whimpers, Barney Street, and Wordplay, and he won the Essayist Award from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point English Department for his nonfiction work. In 2015, his stories are set to be featured in several journals, including EAP: The Magazine, The Radvocate, Indiana Voice Journal, andGolden Walkman Magazine. Semrow spends the majority of his free time with his boyfriend, friends, family, and Shih Tzu, Remy.