"He missed the stupid stuff everyone missed, the wifi and the workhorse chromium toasters, mass transportation and gratis transfers, rubbing cheese-puff dust on his trousers and calculating which checkout line was shortest, he missed the things unconjurable in reconstruction. That which will escape. His people. His family and friends and twinkly-eyed lunchtime counter folk. The dead. He missed the extinct. The unfit had been wiped out, how else to put it, and now all that remained were ruined like him. He missed the women he’d never get to sleep with. On the other side of the room, tantalizing at the next table, that miracle passing by the taqueria window giving serious wake. They wore too much makeup or projected complex emotions onto small animals, smiled exactly so, took his side when no else would, listened when no one else cared to. They were old money or fretted over ludicrously improbable economic disasters, teetotaled or drank like sailors, pecked like baby birds at his lips or ate him up greedily. They carried slim vocabularies or stooped to conquer in the wordsmith board games he never got the hang of. They were all gone, these faceless unknowables his life’s curator had been saving for just the right moment, to impart a lesson he’d probably never learn. He missed pussies that were raring to go when he slipped a hand beneath the elastic rim of the night-out underwear and he missed tentative but coaxable recesses, stubbled armpits and whorled ankle coins, birthmarks on the ass shaped like Ohio, said resemblance he had to be informed of because he didn’t know what Ohio looked like. The sighs. They were sweet-eyed or sad-eyed or so successful in commanding their inner turbulence so that he could not see the shadows. Flaking toenail polish and the passing remark about the scent of a nouveau cream that initiated a monologue about its provenance, special ingredients, magic powers, and dominance over all the other creams. The alien dent impressed by a freshly removed bra strap, a garment fancy or not fancy but unleashing big or small breasts either way. He liked big breasts and he liked small breasts; small breasts were just another way of doing breasts. Brains a plus but negotiable. Especially at 3:00 a.m., downtown. A fine fur tracing an earlobe, moles in exactly the right spot, imperfections in their divine coordination. He missed the dead he’d never lose himself in, be surprised by, disappointed in.
He missed shame and guilt and a time when something higher than dumb instinct directed his actions."
This year’s Literary Review Bad Sex Award finalists are in and hoo boy are they terrible. On a not-entirely-unrelated note, here’s a near-perfect excerpt from Colson Whitehead’s Zone One.