FICTION: All the Wounded Dogs by John Matthew Gillen


“You had your fucking cock in her, you sick fuck!”

That was the way she talked.

She moved like a porn star and swore like a bitch.

I liked her right away.

“Sarah, fuck, I’m…Jesus Christ, I’m fucking sorry okay? She doesn’t mean anything, it’s just it’s…”

Daniel was chasing her out of some club in Chelsea and trying to tuck his dick back in his pants.

I was just passing by.

“What, Daniel? What? Is it too much to ask for you not to fuck every slut that rubs your cock on the dance floor? I can’t fucking believe you, you piece of shit!”

I took off my headphones.

“It’s not like that okay? Fuck. It’s just—I was—”

Daniel was slurring his stammers.

“Oh, I’m sorry, what? What​? Were you just going to fuck this one slut?”

“Sarah, no, I’m not…I didn’t…”

“Right in front of everyone?”

“Look, she came onto me. I was just —”

“Of course she came onto you, you fucking idiot. Rachel fucking hates me, that’s why she fucked you. She doesn’t give a shit about you. She just wants to hurt me. Fuck, Daniel. I told you she hated me. Why don’t you ever fucking listen?”

She was just over five feet and barely a hundred pounds, but she filled the entire block.

“Babe, I —”


She really didn’t like that.

“Sarah, please I —”

“Fuck you, Daniel! Fuck. You. You said you were just going to stay home and smoke and then Rachel texts me and says you and your fuck boys are all out without me, and I come and find you with your cock up her ass in front of half the school!?”

God, she was pretty.

She took off her heels and stepped into 8th Avenue like she owned it.

“I can’t fucking believe you!”

“Sarah, get out of the street please I —”

“Who fucks on the dance floor anyway? What is this, middle school?”

“Sarah —”

“I’m surprised you could even get your pathetic little dick in her trashy cunt at all.”

Oh shit, macho time.

“Well what the fuck difference does it make!? You don’t even fucking go there anymore you crazy bitch. And anyway, I can’t keep track of you, Sarah. First, we’re in love, then we’re done, then you get thrown out of school, then you won’t text me for a week. I don’t even know if you and Rachel are friends or enemies.”

Calm down, Danny.

“Fuck you, Daniel.”

“Whatever. You know what? Fuck you, Sarah. Ezra’s right. You’re hot, but you’re a fucking crazy psycho fuckin’ bitch!”

Sarah wheeled around and kicked Danny boy right in the schmeckle.


Danny tucked and covered.

She gave him a kidney shot, and he rolled onto his back.


She pounced and went in for a ground and pound.

Fuck me, I don’t want to do this right now.

Danny screamed.

Fuck it.

“Let him go or I’ll call the police.”

She whipped her mane of red hair around and looked me in the eye.


“I said let him go or I’ll call the cops.”

Why do I always do this?

“Fuck off.”

She turned back to Danny.

I hooked her arm to stop the blow.

She whipped back around.

“What the fuck!?”

“Stop. Please, you have to stop.”

She tried to get out of my grasp. “Fuck you.”

I let her go.

She stood up and squared off.

She’d been trained.

Fuck me.

She kicked me damn hard, but I hooked my arm around her knee, then lifted her up by her leg and dropped her down on her perfect ass.

She flipped her hair and looked at me, stunned.

Danny was already down the block.

“It doesn’t matter what he’s done, you can’t attack people like that.”

Her black dress was pulled up enough to show most of a red lace thong, but she didn’t try to cover up.

The look in her eyes had changed.

She looked like she wanted to fuck me to death.

I backed away.


I looked back.

The view from my apartment at night is spellbinding.

Wide windows 37 stories above midtown Manhattan.

She didn’t even glance at it.

She grabbed my chin and pulled my head around to look me in the eyes.

“When are you going to make your move?”

I gave no response.

She rolled her wide ravenous eyes impatiently.


She slapped me then jumped up and wrapped her legs around my waist.

She kissed me hard, and I let her.

“I want you to fuck me like you hate me.”

“It’s like a dog chasing cars.”


“It’s like a dog chasing cars. He does it because it’s part of his nature. It’s hardwired into his survival instinct, so he sees a car and he chases it.

But if he catches the car, he realizes it isn’t what he really wanted and he doesn’t know what to do with it.

It’s the same thing with me. I have a natural instinct to pursue women. Like I have a sex drive and a desire for release so I-”


“Yeah, yes, release OK? Sexual release. I’m a healthy, young, adult man, sometimes I want to cum, okay?”

“I can give you release.”

“No, you can’t.”

“Yeah I fucking can. I can make you cum so hard you’ll pass out.”

My chest tightened.

“That’s not what I’m talking about. That’s emptiness in the end. It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t lead anywhere.”

“It leads to a great orgasm, what the fuck are you talking about?”

“It’s not just about cumming.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it’s not Sarah. Sex isn’t just about cumming really hard or doing kinky shit. It’s not just a competition of conquest and pleasure.”

“Yes, it is, dude.”

“No, it’s fucking not.”

“Well what the fuck do you know about it anyway? If you’ve never had sex how the fuck would you know?”

“What makes you think I haven’t had sex?”

“Have you?”

“That’s irrelevant.”

“Tell me.”


“You must have had sex with someone, you’re like 23.”

“I’m 24.”

“Really? You’re 24, and you’re trying to tell me you’ve never had sex? I just turned 19, and I’ve had sex with like hundreds of guys.”

“I didn’t say…wait what? Hundreds?”

“I mean how could you make it halfway through your twenties without having sex? I’d fucking kill myself.”

“No wait, what did you say? Hundreds of guys? You’ve had sex with hundreds of guys?”

“Yeah. Probably more, I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Sarah, why are you having sex with hundreds of guys?”

“Because I like it, duh. Sex is awesome.”

“Yeah well I like chocolate cake but I don’t eat it for every meal.”


“I’m just saying that seems excessive.”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“I’m not changing the subject, I’m concerned about you.”

“Oh, yeah I’m sure you really give a shit.”

“I’m just trying to —”

“Will you just shut the fuck up and come fuck me already?”


“Why the fuck not!?”

“Because that’s so vacant. There’s no human dignity in it. It’d be worse than masturbation.”

“Dude. Whoa. No. It’s way better than masturbation. You have no idea what you’re missing.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“No, seriously, you have to trust me. You’re missing out big time. Sex is fucking amazing you seriously have to try it.”

“Sarah, I’m not going to fuck you tonight.”

“Oh, my God, are you serious right now? Why the fuck not? I’m here. You’re here. We’re both horny. I’ve got condoms and I’m on the pill. Your roommate’s gone…Look if you’re worried or nervous or whatever I promise I’ll teach you everything and I won’t laugh at you at all or anything. We can do anal, oral, anything you want. I’ll even eat your ass if you want me to.”

God damn woman.

“Jesus, Sarah.”

“Well don’t you want to fuck me?”

“Of course I wanna fuck you, you’re gorgeous. But it’s not just that, I…”

“So, what’s the fucking problem? I mean I’m naked, shaved, and plucked, laying in your bed, begging you to fuck me. What else do you fucking want?”

“I want…”

“What? What is it? Whatever it is I promise I won’t be grossed out no matter how fucked up it is. Just tell me, come on.”

“I want a fucking wife!”

Sarah stared at me.

“I want a woman who annoys me because she wants my attention and pushes me to be a better man.”

“I want a woman who fights with me, and jumps on the bed, and brags about me to her friends.”

“I want a woman who knows her beauty doesn’t come off the shelf at Victoria’s Secret, and makes art even if no one gives a shit, and asks me questions I can’t answer.”

“I want a wife that will still be there when I make her breakfast in the morning.”

“I want a woman who will say ‘I Love you,’ not just ‘I want you.’”

“I want a wife.”

Long silence.

“I used to masturbate more when I was younger. For a long time, I didn’t masturbate at all, but once I started it was easier to just keep going.

At first it was fun, and new, and exciting, all the fantasy and discovery and everything, but over the years it slowly turned hollow and empty.

It put ideas in my head that I didn’t like. Robbed me of energy and time, started to change who I was and who I was becoming.

I’ve been in love before, with women I still care about very deeply.

One of the ways I knew I was falling in Love was that I didn’t want to masturbate anymore. I still had the same appetites, but jerking off wasn’t satisfying. I lived on her smile, and her laugh, and the way my heart beat faster when she said my name or looked at me.

That’s what it’s there for. That need that men have. To make us love a woman, and have children with her, and protect and provide for them.

It may not be politically correct anymore, but I felt that machinery, that instinct, turning in me like an engine in a car.

There is something inside of a man that tells him that when he falls in Love, and has an orgasm, things are supposed to be a certain way.

And if they aren’t that way then he feels wrong in his spirit or somewhere.

But it didn’t work out.

It never works out.

I can’t fucking do it.

All the women I’ve ever loved have all left me and cut off contact completely.

They all have happy lives with other men.

And somehow that just stripped my gears.

But after trying both being in Love, and having a lot of meaningless orgasms, I know the difference.

I still masturbate sometimes. I’m not a monk. But it kind of makes me feel sick, like I’m dying inside.

After all the heartbreak, and all the years of getting my hopes up, and all of that shit, I’m just too fucking tired in my soul anymore.

But I still pursue women. I can’t help that. I know it’s not going to lead to anything, but it’s hard-wired into my biology.

But somehow, I don’t have the stomach for all of this casual empty fucking.

All this swipe right, hook-up shit.

Using women like a Kleenex.

Maybe this doesn’t make sense to a young woman, I don’t know, but I just feel like if I did that — if I just went around fucking every woman who let me fuck her — I’d rot from the inside until my heart stopped beating.

I’m not gay. I’m not stupid. I’m not a saint, or a priest, and I don’t think I’m better than everyone or anything like that. I don’t want you to think I’m some kind of holy righteous fucker or whatever the fuck you’re thinking about me cause I’m not. I’m not any of that shit.

I’m just an injured dog chasing cars.”

I didn’t know what else to say so I stopped talking.

And looked at her.

“You’re fucking crazy, dude.”

I sank.

“Yeah I know.”

“Jesus Christ man, I hope you figure out a way to deal with all of your bullshit and get off your high horse and just be a normal person.”

“Alright yeah thanks.”

“I mean holy shit I’ve heard some fucked-up shit in my life, but God damn dude, you need help.”

“Sarah, please —”

“I bet you’ve got like some super dark weird painful shit in your past that’s just fucked you up so badly you can’t get hard anymore or something.”

“You were just grabbing my hard cock ten minutes ago.”

“That doesn’t prove anything.”

I started to get annoyed.

“Alright don’t do that okay? Don’t act like I’m the only one with weird problems.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I mean everyone is dealing with a lot of shit.”

“Yeah maybe, but not like you, dude. You’re fucking crazy.”

“I recognize that.”

“Like you’re bad fucked-up. I mean if you’re straight, and you can’t fuck women you’re attracted to, then you should see a doctor or something because that’s seriously fucked-up.”

“It’s not that I can’t it’s just that —”

“That makes it worse!”

“Well what about you?”

“What about me?”

“I mean what was all that out there on the street before?”

“Fuck you. That’s none of your business.”

“Well I don’t know about that. I mean we’re both naked in my apartment at 4a.m. so it kinda is a little bit my business. I’m sure you and Daniel really had something special.”

“You don’t know anything about my life alright so go fuck yourself.”

“Does Daniel know how many guys you’ve fucked? Is that how this started? He found out about your little hobby and was trying to catch up?”

“Oh, my God, can you please just stop all this bullshit and come back to bed?”

“No, no, I think we’re finally making some real progress here. And why do you want me to fuck you so badly anyway?”

“Look it’s not some big mystery okay? What you did was really fucking hot so I wanted to fuck you. How was I supposed to know you were some crazy fucking psycho?”

“How was I supposed to know you were the biggest slut in the New York?”

That was cruel.

I admit that.

But at the time I wanted to get a rise out of her.

She dropped her chin and flared her nostrils.

I’d touched a nerve.

“I mean do you really think getting fucked one more time is going to solve anything? What do you think you’re going to suck out of my dick that’s going to help you so God damn much?”

She picked up the glass on my night stand and threw it at me.

I ducked and it shattered on the wall.


She grabbed something else off the nightstand and stood up in bed.

She flicked her wrist and I heard the click of a blade locking into place and I knew instantly what it was.

She was holding a four-inch folding black pocket knife.

“Oh fuck.”

I ran back to the windows in the living room.

She leapt off the bed after me and stepped on the glass.

“Ow, fuck!”

I grabbed the big blue blanket off my couch and bunched it up in my hands.

I spun around to face her with my hands spread so the blanket came taut between my fists.

She lunged at me with the knife.

“You fucking asshole!”

I wrapped her arm up in the blanket then twisted hard until I heard the knife hit the hard wood.

I kicked the knife, and it skittered into the far wall.

“You crazy bitch!”

I picked her up by the waist with both arms and threw her into the couch.

I should have stopped there. She had been trying to scare me more than anything, but I have a bad history with knives.

And getting stabbed hurts like you wouldn’t believe.

So I get very uptight about people threatening me with knives.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, my reaction tends to be extreme.

“You crazy fucking bitch!”

“Get the fuck off me!”

She kicked me in the stomach.

I grabbed her leg and pulled her up off the couch upside down, swung her around, and threw her on the floor.

I ended up on top of her with my hand clamped tight around her pretty neck.

She clawed my chest and spit on me.

I realized what I was doing and let her go.

As soon as I took my hand away, she grabbed my hips and tried to pull my cock toward her open mouth.

I pushed her away.

“What the fuck are you doing?!”

She tried again.

I couldn’t believe it.

It scared me a little bit.

Something was wrong.

“Fucking stop it.”

“Will you please just fuck me?”

“You’re fucking crazy, Sarah.”

She desperately looked from one of my eyes to the other.

Looking for something that wasn’t there.

Then she started crying.

And I mean like fucking wailing, crying.

Not pretty, gentle crying, but like slobbering, shoulder-heaving, animal grunts crying.

I suddenly became very aware of how much damage had been done to this poor young woman.

Hundreds of men had hurt her before tonight, but tonight had been especially bad.

First it was Danny, and now it was me.

Sarah had changed from a sexy unconquerable woman into a delicate, abused little girl.

I felt like I’d just run over a puppy or something.

I wrapped the blanket around her and hugged her close.

We leaned against the wall.

The salt of her tears stung the fresh scratches in my chest as I sat looking at the city outside the windows.

The sound of her weeping filled my dark, empty apartment.

I rubbed her back and whispered small, deep-voiced sympathies.

The woman that spoke to me now was entirely different than the one I’d met on the street a couple hours ago.

Bloody shards of broken glass.

“When I was younger, my uncle made me do things. Isn’t that pathetic? It’s such a fucking cliché. What I hated the most was how he would always act so gentle and tender about it. How he’d touch my cheek and call me ‘babe.’ Fucking creep.

I finally got the courage to tell my parents, and my dad said I was a liar. He said his brother would never do something like that and I was just repeating something I’d seen on TV to get attention. Can you fucking believe that? I was fucking thirteen. GOD.

And my mom was always too afraid to say anything. She’s so fucking weak she just follows the rules because she doesn’t want to be an outcast.

So I just had to fucking take it. Until one day I couldn’t anymore, and I stabbed him in his fucking leg right in the middle of this big family dinner, and I told him that if he ever touched me again, I was going to fucking kill him. Mother fucker.

After that, everyone hated me. They all thought I was just this wicked violent bitch. So my dad sent me to this like super fucking strict orthodox school, ‘cause apparently I was the fucking problem. And my rabbi told my father that God was on his side. And my mom didn’t say a fucking word.

But that didn’t work at all. I mean my teachers would discipline me, and I would fight back and make it worse. I could never learn all their fucking rules, but by that point I didn’t care. None of them ever gave a shit about me, all they cared about was controlling everything I did, so I got kicked out of that school and sent to a new one.

Then this past Friday I was hungry, and I was late for rehearsal, so I bought a slice of pizza on the street and ran to rehearsal and that fucking bitch Rachel told on me. I didn’t even notice there was pepperoni on it until the rabbi pointed it out.

So, I got kicked out again and I’m never going to be welcome in any orthodox Jewish community ever again. Because apparently, God hates pork more than he loves me.

My parents avoid seeing me as much as legally possible. They try to keep my brothers and sisters from seeing me or talking to me, too.

I still don’t know how I’m going to deal with all of that, but then Rachel texts me and says she’s sorry and that Danny and my friends are out with her, and invites me to join them. So, I get dressed up, and come out, and then I find her fucking my boyfriend on the dance floor in front of all our friends, and I just fucking lost it.

She’s only doing this because I’m prettier than she is and I beat her for first chair.

It’s whatever though, I haven’t cared about any guy since my first boyfriend Isaac, but he won’t talk to me anymore. He needs a good, Jewish, girl, and I’m definitely not fucking that. He’s been dating this other girl for a while. He still loves me, but he has to marry her or his family will disown him, too.

Ever since Isaac and I broke up, I’ve just been fucking any guy I can find, because it makes me feel good, and I like being wanted for a change.

My pussy is the only thing anybody seems to care about so if I have to be a fucking slut just to not feel like a piece of shit for a couple of hours then that’s what I’m going to do, and anyone who doesn’t like it can go fuck themselves.”

Long silence.

I picked the knife up off the floor and started picking the glass out of her feet.

She didn’t flinch.

“You’re a brave woman, Sarah. God bless you.”

“Fuck God. There is no God. If there was a God, he would have fucking helped me when I needed him.”

I kept working as I talked.

“I heard a story once about a nun.

A long time ago, this bridge collapsed down in South America and killed a bunch of innocent people. And for years afterward people tried to make sense of it.

Why it had happened. How it had happened. What could have been done to stop it. There was one friar who spent his entire life trying to prove that it was God’s will that all those people died on that bridge.

But this one nun just happened to be passing by on the day it happened. And she actually saw all these mangled bodies of innocent people, and she had this moment where she doubted that any loving God could exist if such a thing were allowed to happen.

But then she thought, so what? It doesn’t matter if God exists or not, you still have to love people and care for them and try to ease their suffering.

So she just kept right on trying to help the dying people.

And she spent her entire life caring for the blind, the insane, and the dying.

And maybe that’s all anybody can do. Because God knows we’re never going to be able to make sense of anything.”

I finished checking her feet, and she crawled to the bedroom.

“In the end, it didn’t matter.

All those people on the bridge still died anyway.

But at least she tried.”

I looked out the window.

At the steam pouring out of rooftops.


And getting lost in the night.

I looked and saw her fully dressed, headed for the door.

“Sarah, wait!”

I got up and chased her.

But it was dark.

And I stepped on the glass.

I yelled and stumbled still reaching for her.

“Sarah, wait, please.”

She got to the door and looked back.

I struggled to my feet pressing my hands against both walls of the narrow hallway for support.

Still holding the knife.

Still naked.

Still bleeding.

Still trying to catch Her.

“You know something? I don’t believe in God, but if you were a priest, I would go to your church.”

“Please don’t go. Please, Sarah. Please don’t leave me. Please.”

A shade of sympathy spread over her face.

She stepped forward and kissed me hard.

She broke the kiss and looked into my eyes.

Long silence.

Then she gently whispered, “Goodbye, you crazy faggot.”

I sighed.

And in tender reply said, “Suck a dick, you slutty bitch.”

The door slammed.

I was sitting naked on the floor, reading Isaiah, and picking glass out of my feet with a four-inch folding black pocket knife when I felt warm light on my back.

I never saw Sarah again.

But I cleaned up the glass.

And the blood.



we both died.


John Matthew Gillen

John Gillen Headshot 12212017

When John was ten years old, his parents sent him to a Christian summer camp. Campers were allowed one elective activity. Out of four hundred campers, he was the only one who chose Storytelling. The camp director asked him to choose something else so they wouldn’t have to offer that class. He refused.


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2 comments on “FICTION: All the Wounded Dogs by John Matthew Gillen”

  1. John, this is a remarkably tender story underneath the surface language. You have great command in your storytelling. Succinct, yet layered. I really enjoyed this. I followed you on Medium. I’d love to connect with you in a serious, this-dude-could-have-been-my-best-friend-in-college kind of (non-creepy) way. Kudos. This tale is gold.

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