“One would certainly think that there could be no doubt about what is to be understood by the term sexual. First and foremost, of course, it means the improper, that which must not be mentioned.”
From The General Introduction to
Psycho-Analysis, Sigmund Freud
The bathroom. The big yellow bathroom. The one right across the hall from my sisters Gumpy and Ruffle’s bedroom. The one two doors down from my mom and dad’s. The one with the lock.
Today, “I, Morton T. Willow, will achieve greatness!”
Everyone is gone. So it seems. My eyebrows twitch, then knot, as I consider the whereabouts of my father. I convince myself finally. He has to be visiting my Grandma Ruby. My somewhat hesitant deduction reduces me to inevitable doubt and I pause. Was there not a ten-pack of baby Pepsis inside the refrigerator just this morning? Whenever he visits Grandma Ruby he brings her the Pepsis, ten diminutive bottles in red, white and blue cardboard packaging. He brings them to her every time. Pepsis, peanuts and dipping snuff. W. E. Garrett & Sons, sweet mild snuff to be precise. Her eyes water. Sad. They droop wide and weighed toward the shiny tin can. Her hand shakes as she fishes up a finger load of the bitter pulverized rust. She drops it succinctly into the fat pink pocket of her moist bottom lip, while simultaneously plunging the salty nuts into the black bottoms of the tiny Pepsi bottles. When she’s finished with the Pepsi, which she holds dear and with great allegiance, denouncing Coca-Cola like communism and sin itself, she knocks the stubborn soggy peanuts from the bottoms of the bottles and they fall into her bottom lip which now looks more like a muddy catcher’s mit.
I’m frozen, recalling how she’d close her eyes and say she loved the stuff more than anything…next to The Lord. She used to use the empty bottles to spit the brown tobacco juice into whenever her lip got too full of her marvelous Lady Nicotine. Once, my retarded cousin Bertrand, nic-name of Thumper…(not after Bambie’s loveable lagomorphic friend, but for the fact that this little turd was quite fond of thumping his casaba-shaped head hard against kitchen doorways and linoleum floors.) …drank an entire bottle of my grandma’s murky spit, mistaking it for the cool refreshing all American beverage. We had long since given up on the idea of cheaper…generic brands of pop, and never did take to lesser soda brands. There is a space in the fridge where the Pepsis were. Plenty of noble tastes for common soda drinkers. He has to be at Grandma Ruby’s. They say nothing is worse than nobility without money.
My mom was working the swing shift at the textile mill way out on the other side of the country line, and I had no idea where anyone else was. But I knew one thing, nothing is this easy. Nothing is ever this easy. I should start from the beginning.
When I got home from school that day, I first went to the front door, which was of course, locked. I could easily have forced it open and no one would have known. No one but my father of course, and he’d have torn an inch of hide off my ass if he’d seen so much as a single scratch, not that my ample backside couldn’t have afforded it, as he was always saying. So I had to go around back, past our ferocious german shepherd Jobber. My clever father had salvaged a very long piece of airplane cable from the desert, and had somehow managed to connect one end of it around one of the giant eucalyptus trees on the side of the house, stretching it approximately forty feet, then running it directly into Jobber’s makeshift dog house, constructed of an upside down old wooden work table on which my dead Grandpa Perky once made beautiful objects d’art. (Pretty green grasshoppers fashioned from old railroad spikes, with arms and legs made from bent, filed-down carpenter’s nails, with shiny ruby red glued on eyeballs.) So Jobber’s leash was connected to the 40 foot cable with a brass ring and he was free to walk from one end (the giant euch) to the other (the “doghouse”), so far as the airplane cable would permit. I always liked our dog Jobber, stupid name aside, and furthermore, I always thought he liked me. But I could never understand the way he acted sometimes. My father said he had a spirit in him, a spirit of canine retardation deemed necessary in the eyes of God, never missing a cue to proclaim the infinite presence of our lord and savior.
Whenever I would come home from school to an empty house, which was rare if ever, I would always have to sneak through one of the side bathroom windows out back. We only ever had one key. My father liked it that way. One key.
My theory was that if anyone, regardless of whether they lived there or not, came around to that side of our unoccupied house, it did not matter. This would set Jobber off every time. He would go plumb shit-crazy! Somehow, the fire rush of adrenaline got the best of him, rendering him shortsighted at best, unable to recognize me or any of my brothers and sisters, he would turn into a big slobbering black hairy mess of a deranged creature, running at you as if rabid, tearing up the gravel and dog shit, his chain connected to the airplane cable, making this chink chink zing chink chink sound of hell fire at rapid advance, the frequency of which got higher and higher as Jobber ran faster and faster. It sounded much like one of those tiny toy rings you blow into…zzzing!!!
He once bit my sister Ruffles, wringing out a hunk of baby fat from her back ham hocks, which secretly thrilled me, as I’d begun thinking Jobber only hated me. My insecurities abounded, ran amuck, controlling my every emotion at such a young age, affected by everyone and every thing. Yes, even dogs. Finally, after the Ruffles biting fiasco, my father, with great trepidation and moral consternation, got rid of him altogether, and Jobber went on to become a local hero and prize possession of our city police department, only to be put down eventually for repeatedly shitting on a statue of Helen Keller in the foyer of the public library. A week after Jobber was gone, my father said, with tears in his eyes, “didn’t like the flies he attracted anyways…retard dog!”
Finally, I managed to get to the back porch. Completely out of breath, the smell of dirt, fear and dog shit in the air, I had to now get myself up high enough to reach the bathroom window. But first I had to get through a waist-high swamp of dog food and old T.V. Guides. I knew from past experiences that I couldn’t stand on top of the deep freezer, as last time I tried, I nearly electrocuted myself, throwing me like an unwanted flounder back into Jobber’s stupid and slobber wet fury. So this time, I lifted myself up to the window, distributing my weight onto the electricity meter, which could have broken completely off of the wall, if I did not balance my flabby rump proportionately. Somehow, finally, I managed to shimmy into the window. Of course, the toilet lid was perpetually lifted and I more than once found myself plummeting head first into a less than inviting commode, mouth wide open, not so eager for an impromptu baptism.
So once I finally got into the house, I immediately yelled out for whomever might respond. One does not normally roam about all unannounced, even in their own home, not knowing whom one might run into. As if an intruder might reply suddenly, ever courteously, “oh just in here…tipping the tupperwear…pilfering the pewter!”
I was just about twelve. Just about puberty. Yes! With a capital “P” for Pathetic! About to blow, anytime! Anytime! An over heated gasket. A hot inner tube left out in the sun all day. With all the queer energies my body seemed to be storing, my bones and joints ached all the time. I could feel my body giving way to growth itself. Since last summer, I’d taken to rubbing vitamin E oil onto the backsides of my knees, due to the strange and sudden formation of thin red lines fissuring their malformed ways up and down my legs. I’d grown nearly an entire foot that year and the unexpected growth spurts had sinisterly marked the occasion with the bitterness of summer’s stinging stretch marks. Now, here I was, a year later and a whole foot taller, shamed and backed up against invisible walls, with the tiny pink, sometime red, maggot lines, thinking to myself, how, with these long ugly striations on my even longer legs, I must have looked like some wild exotic African animal. Which, of course, rendered me an immediate candidate for an adolescent hunter’s shameful tag in a hateful gym class safari. The vitamin E cream I thought, was like salvation in a greasy tube.
It was also at this time that my mother had taken to the very first of her now infamous collecting frenzies, and the very first was, of course, Avon.
“Ding! Dong! Avon calling!”
She collected it all. Avon perfume, Avon soap, Avon cologne, Avon lipstick (though she never ever wore any!), and even Avon bubble bath. Which I, more often than not, would sneak, then secretly bury the empty pink bottles in the back field somewhere. Once, noting my fondness for all things soft and smelling of lily of the valley, I will never forget, my mother bought me a piece of Avon soap. It was shaped in the seemingly innocent guise of Snoopy, which I loved very very much. So much that I took it to bed with me only to awake hours later in the middle of the night, bawling my eyes out, having rubbed them with my sticky stinging fingers. It took me a while to really appreciate anything she gave me from that night on.
She collected Avon jewelry, assorted Avon toiletries, and at one particularly ill-conceived period…even Avon clothes!
But the greatest and by far longest lasting of my mother’s frantic and unstoppable collecting crimes was the now infamous Avon perfume/cologne/eau de toilet glass decanters. She had them all. Race car decanters, baby doll decanters, bird, dog and cat decanters, bi-centennial commemorative decanters. Decanters of every shape, size, motif, ilk and/or manifestation the mighty Avon Corporation could dream up. She quite literally had thousands! But worst still, incredible enough every last one of them was filled with the most vile smelling scents you could imagine. I remember, it seemed like there was only ever three standard scents that they ever used. Of course, these three scents had hundreds of different names; Sweet Misty Night, Gentleman’s Wardrobe, Amber Musk, the list just went on and on ad nauseum. Yet all were cleverly marketed in many different bottles, atomizers, and flasks, made to seem somehow separately alluring and altogether individual. But anyone could tell the difference. And it did not matter what sort of bottle it was in, when it came to malodorous distinction and the mighty Avon Corporation, there was always only three varying but obvious differences and they could be summed up as follows; one was the chemically reproduced varicose lilac of a cranky old woman’s sour mouth, two was the whiskey breath of a cowboy gambler trapped in stale smoke and old silk, and three…ah yes…three! What of the third? The third scent which somehow miraculously redeemed all of Avon’s non-differentiating and manipulative camouflage was called simply, Wild Country. It was my father’s favorite. Honest. Virile. My favorite too. Her largest collection was the Avon car collection. She had them everywhere. Every square foot of the house and in every corner; plastic cars, glass cars, chrome plated…displayed all along the valance of the front living room windows. Like one long traffic jam of every make and model, from studs bearcat to Rolls Royce silver shadow. In the springtime she’d make me get up on a chair and one by one take them all down and hand wash them in the kitchen sink. Every week, one of the neighborhood girls who sold her the stuff, would come flying down the block, some deranged human stork clutching hold of one of my mother’s newest babies. My mom would be all aglow every time one of her new “pretties” would arrive.
My father would bitch and moan constantly about my mom’s spending, always saying she should give the money to the church. Though secretly, every Sunday he’d reach for the Rolls Royce, full of the manly Wild Country, and dab a little on his neck. My mom would smell it on him and say nothing. He was always happiest when complaining. He would never allow her to know he took the slightest pleasure from the toilet water, and likewise, she’d never let on that she knew he did.
Her collecting did finally get out of control. I think it’s because she never owned anything as a kid, growing up the daughter of a poor Arkansas farmer. She’d talked the neighbor girl into selling them to her on some makeshift payment plan. Truth is, the only reason the girl agreed was because she had a mad crush on my older brother Virgle. Whenever she showed up, my mom would blush at the new and precious deliveries in her hands, as would the girl when she saw my brother. And even though my brother couldn’t stand her, he called her muy gorda, he did finally screw her once when they got older. Afterward, he refered to her as not just a whale, but a sperm whale. My father would just sit back, his bible on his lap, and laugh brazenly at them as they browsed all giddy and chattering, thumbing through the luscious and glossy new ordering catalogues.
My mom was just like a little girl, and the collection just grew and grew like a cancer, until finally, there was no more room left in the house to display them. So finally, in the end, my mother just took to looking at her new arrivals for maybe a day or two, and then packing them away, wrapping them up in toilet paper and old milk cartons.
But now, I am looking for my favorite.
My very special favorite.
I am a hunting dog on a blood trail…sniffing it out.
I was getting more and more nervous. The seconds became minutes, long horrifying endless minute. My time alone was precious. Very valuable. Very rare. I knew that Ruffles or any of my other brothers and sisters would be crashing down and into the toilet any second. No, I did not as a matter if fact have the common courtesy to unlock the front door. If I had to suffer with the window, the dog, the toilet and all the disgrace, then so did they!
I found myself pacing back and forth in the hallway, out of breath. I was really getting nervous now.
I couldn’t find it!
I felt winded and socked in the belly. My legs were going weak and rubbery. Then I really started freaking. My mother had moved it! She’d moved my favorite! Just where in the hell could it be? No! surely not! She couldn’t have! Could she? Might she have packed it away? I thought, now starting to get buggle-eyed, “I’ll never see it again!” I was just about to give it all up. My heart slowed to a jake-legged jog and then suddenly, finally, miraculously out of nowere, I looked up…and there it was! Smiling…smiling libidinously back at me. Shining. White. Waiting.
This was the object of my infatuation.
It was a small glass decanter shaped like, of all things, a football. A brown glass football-shaped cologne decanter commemorating some ancient Superbowl or Rosebowl or whatever! Thinking back on it now, I can’t believe that I don’t know which…but then, that part, that is, the brown glass football part of it, was not exactly my love’s paramour.
It was a small, approximately the size of my fist, white plastic pedestal in which the brown glass football cologne decanter was displayed.
Quickly! I am really sweating now! I run into the kitchen. I reach for the ultimate of all kitchen catch-all drawers. Being careful not to pull the whole thing out which I have done many times before, spelling certain disaster. Running my wet jittering palms over wooden and metal rulers, chewed-up erasers, bent paperclips, rusty lids to old Mason jars, dull protractors and full bottles of white glue dried out and solid as soap, then I…ouch! I stick myself with the protractor. Quick…look! No blood. I suck my finger. Old Reader’s Digests, a fast glance of Bonnie Franklin of One day at a time on the torn cover of an old T.V. Guide (always hated her!), flour covered rolling pins, splintery ice cream sticks, crusty band-aids and about a dozen double A batteries busted and dripping black grainy fluid…
Then I see it! I grab what appears to be a brand new bottle of Elmer’s Wood Glue. I wonder whether or not the wood glue will work as well as normal Elmer’s Glue…no time! It will have to! I rush back toward the dark hallway, quickly checking out the living room once more, making sure no one is asleep on the couch or on the floor. I run to all the bedrooms. Good! No one is home.
I go into the big bathroom. The main bathroom. My mom and dad’s bathroom. The one with the lock on the door. The one whose lock sometimes worked…sometimes didn’t. There was a trick to the thing, and as much time as I’d spent in there, I had, of course, mastered it.
Once inside, I sat down immediately on the toilet and got to it. I took out my shamefully floppy twelve year-old dick. Laughable. I thought to myself, at the age of twelve, could this be even average? Average surely was not laughable. But to even call it a dick was like…like calling a pigeon a falcon, a snowball a storm, a twig…a tree! No, this was…this was a goober. Like a peanut. Like a dry-roasted Planter’s Peanut. How I longed for what the guys at school called dicks, puds, schlongs, cocks! I was twelve fucking years-old, pathetic, pitiful, and hadn’t grown so much as a single hair on my balls! Let alone my goober! And every single time I said it, or thought it, it just made me angrier. I had seen them. I saw them nearly every day. I made a fucking point of seeing them, every single day. I would linger, slowing up my pace in the locker room, sneaking peeks at the 8th and 9th graders…at the god damned 7th graders! My grade! Springing forth like…like god damned Spring! Black and wirey. Blonde and downy. Curly and coiled! Fantastic bushes red and on fire! Sprouting like forests from their dicks, their cocks, their balls, underneath their arms…some even had it growing right on their asses!
I worked my…what I convinced myself was surely…at least…average-sized penis…goober into solid and steadfast fruition, but even then it only stood half crooked like the steeple of the Baptist church on Juniper street. Now more frustrated than ever, ever alert to the happenings outside the door, I stood up quickly, pulled off my dirty Dickies and Sears combat boots…and then tried for it again.
“There! Done! Now to begin.”
First I went to work on all the hair brushes and combs I could find. Of course, the lid to the Elmer’s Wood Glue was stuck and clogged, so that took even more time. Any one could be home any minute so I frantically work at it with a bobby pin. Then I thought I heard something. What was it? I listen, the floor cold under my feet. It was nothing I somehow decide. Paranoia? I listen closer. I tell myself to knock it off! I’m freaking myself out for no reason.
Then, standing before the mirror, I take it all in. If people were cartoons, surely Thomas “tip” O’Neil, former Speaker of the House of Representatives would be a tall white-haired Fred Flintstone, ABC news anchor Ted Koppel would be Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman and I, pathetic, post-embryonic blob of hairless protoplasm would be the human incarnate of that god damned fat ass fucking Harvey Comics’s Baby Huey! I put the ump in the frump and the dump! Disproportionate and drooping. Boy titties! I had boy fucking titties!
Shaking. Pissed! I squeeze a small dollop of the plae yellow glue and I…I see the radio. Music! Yes! Brilliant! You’re a god damned fat fucking genius! Perfect I thought, just in case someone does come home and things get…too loud. Mask the proceedings. I turn it on, the dial barely visible from all the toothpaste spatters. Finally…AM Radio! I can’t get anything good! “Idiot! You’re being too picky! Stupid! Hurry man! Hurry!” So I settle for Little Tony DeFranco and The DeFranco Family singing “Heartbeat, it’s a lovebeat”…fuck! Am I really listening here? Do I really fucking care? Sappy. Syrup sweet. But loud! Louder!
Then, standing directly in front of the mirrow, I take the glue, and I start to rub it…rub it slowly. Slowly because it is so thick…wood glue…under my arms,,,my smooth hairless underarms. “Not enough!” I squeeze more. I rub more, under my now sweating pits. Something…now something…sour! Then I take an even bigger squeeze into my hand. Somehow thicker now. Kinetic energy stubbornly now turned sloth. Then I reach down, down under my balls, watching myself in the mirror. I slowly slide and slather the thick stuff from my asshole to my belly button. But I need more glue! Still more! Then I turn and reach for the hairbrushes and combs. I frantically start pulling out all the hair that I can. Old hair, young hair, black hair (my sister Ruffle’s) gray hair (my mom’s maybe?). I work up a big fat ball of it and then piece by piece, slowly, strand by strand, then clumsily clump by clump, I start sticking it onto my body. My arms start getting weak. Heavier. I can barely move them. The glue under my arms has mixed with the sour wet sweat, dripping down my arms and onto the side of my body, my ribs and my ass. Each move of my arms becomes slower and slower. Then they started to somehow adhere, creating a sort of dirge of suction, slowing me down considerably. Again, I look into the mirror. It is not enough to satisfy my needs. I NEED MORE HAIR! Then suddenly, inspiration!
I unlock the door, look both directions down the hallway, and am out of the bathroom and now suddenly in Ruffle’s bedroom. I pull open her clothes closet. Half a dozen Styrofoam decapitated wig-heads painted in mock beauticious horror spill out and onto my cold bare feet followed by two eyeless and viscerated ragdolls. Then I see them. All of them. Naughty and naked. I lick my lips, feasting on their long plastic curves, staring hard at them like greasy meat on a bone. And then I grab as many as I can carry and quick tail it back to the toilet.
I am now in the hallway. I’m in the hallway now and completely naked. For a sudden and very brief moment I do not care. I could be butt ass naked dancing in the oval office with Dick Nixon for all I knew or shooting pool with Minnesota Fats, nothing, and I mean nothing, that very moment, meant anything at all to me. The moment. The moment! I rush back into the bathroom and slam the bathroom door shut which sounds as loud as a prison cell. Then I reach up into the cabinet. “No scissors! No scissors!” I realize that the nearest and I think only pair in the whole house are back in the kitchen. In the same aforementioned god damned catch-all drawer! Now the moment becomes a complete unthinking frenzy! I reach over for another palm full of the yellow glue. I know now that risking the trek all the way back to the kitchen would spell certain doom. I stare vacantly into the mirror and feel something snap in my hands. I reach for another…snap! Then another. Before I know it, my feet are littered and piled high with the plastic carnage of at least ten headless Barbie dolls, their stumpy necks now hollow nubs. Not removing my eyes from my own gaze, I glue the blonde hair nervously but strategically into place.
What matter color? I needed hair damn it! What matter synthetic? I needed hair!
And then the final moment. I had been, I must admit, eyeballing it for quite some time. Up there on top of my mom’s curio cabinet. Ostentatious. Regal. Sitting quietly between my father’s carnival glass circus clowns and the tiny ceramic Cupie Dolls glued to pennies. I reached down to my overalls in a heap on the floor with other assorted towels and dirty rags and fished it out of the deep denim pockets.
It performed its job well. It disturbed no one, yet awaited me. It sat up there holding the stupid glass football. No one understood. I was the only one. It was as if I, and the thing, were one. Amidst all else, it might have been as if a tiny grain of sand. Superfluous. Gratuitous. No purpose. Wasted and rotting. But I knew. And it knew.
My dick was now very hard. Yes! That’s right! My dick! Mighty…well at least as much as I knew…average, but nonetheless a dick! I looked into the mirror and for once, I loved the way my body looked. All that…all that hair! I was a man now!
“God damn all! Would you look at the size of that cock!”
Determined and vexed now, I spat into the cup of my hand, glossed over with glue and sweat, and rubbed it onto the shiny head of my massive tool. I loved the way my dick felt. I loved it. The thing. And it loved me too. It was perfect! I lifted it to my mouth and spat gently into the small…average sized hole, and then carefully stuck it onto the head of my glorious manhood. It felt warm. It felt slick. It felt magnificent! It felt…odd.
Oh I’m not so deluded and caught up that I forgot that for a second. But that’s what made it so sublime. I had a plastic Avon product, no not even product, a plastic accessory to a product manufactured by the Avon Corporation, stuck onto the head of my …and I know…my God…I know exactly how odd it is!
But I love it. The smooth…smooth plastic. A perfect plastic fit.
Faster. I go faster. It does not go any further down than an inch or so. Even that is perfect. I don’t want it to touch any other part of my body. Just the head of my dick and my hand, my hand which seems foreign and more odd than the thing itself.
Now faster…and faster still. I am having a grand time! Faster! Faster! Now harder and harder! Rubbing harder. Loving my body. Loving my hair. And I am thinking now. I am thinking of the burly chest guy…the guy with the hairy chest inside the T.V. Guide. Advertising! The Peck Buster! Bigger…better pecks…with the Peckbuster!
Now I am him! I am certainly as hairy. Perfect and formed patterns of virile proclamation. I should be in T.V. Guide! What a chest! You men of men! Just look at all…look at all that…hair?
Suddenly horror! I look into the mirror again. I do the singularly most mentally deranged double-take. I can not believe what I see. I forgot my chest! I forgot all about my chest hair! How stupid of me! How absolutely idiotic! Of all things…my chest? What the fuck was I thinking? But not to worry. I look to the floor…everything’s just fine…I…but then I see…that is… I realize…there’s no more hair! There is no more hair! I scramble for the brushes and the combs. Cleaned out! My eye twitches and coils. I look down at the massive pile of Barbie bodies.
My neck starts aching. My knees pop. But still, somehow, I continue. Pump…pump…pumping.
Then a brainstorm. Genius even! I dig deep down into the trashcan beneath the sink. There, beneath used toilet paper and cardboard tubes…I pull out a monstrous ball of hair! Dark brown…perfect! More gray…perfect still! Suddenly I can taste the industrial strength hair spray my mother uses to shellack her proper middle-aged textile worker’s helmet.
Working up quite a suction now. Pump…pump…pumping…
The bottle of glue is now nearly empty. I rub what is left of it all over my chest, then begin to untangle the massive ball of hair, distributing it into appropriate…allocated areas. Chest to collar, and of course…a now happier than happy ever could be happy-happy trail…down to my newly grown…man-made manly man…area.
Once again, I look into the mirror. Now, I am a man. I am now looking at a big hairy man. I begin to wonder, “what would I do with such a man? He’s so handsome. All that…hair!” I reach out and I touch the mirror. Reaching out. He is so beautiful.
Then suddenly out of nowhere…I hear…someone! Something! Something is coming down the hallway! But it’s too late! I turn, and instantly, the bathroom door opens wide, and standing there is my nine year-old retard cousin Thumper, with his stupid wet mouth, shock horror…frozen open! I remember then, that in the sudden rush to get the additional hair from my sister’s bedroom, I’d forgotten to re-lock the bathroom door. My mongoloid cousin (The one who drank my grandma’s tobacco spit. She called it bug juice!) is just standing there. He’s wearing a green bathroom towel around his neck pretending to be superman (Super Squiggy! My older brother used to call people with Down’s Squiggies because he thought that the guy who played Squiggy on Laverne and Shirley had Down’s Syndrome) and he is holding an open package of orange kool-aid. Quickly, I reach out, in full artificial bloom, slick with sweat, glue and soggy multi-colored hair and slam the door shut. I reach out to try and lock it…but now it won’t lock! Fuck! Shit! Fuck! Turds! Now! Now it won’t lock! Then I hear Thumper racing off, screaming the laughing language of a thousand deranged half-wit cousins. I still cannot get the lock to work. Standing there butt-ass naked, something like…like shame mixed with one of those big pink marshmallow cocoanut snowballs stuck half-way in my throat …I begin to panic. Now I hear more voices coming down the hall. It’s my mother! Let me die now. Let me die and go straight to a firey hell for all eternity where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth and the worm dyeth not! What in the holy name of God is my mother doing home this time of day? She should be at work. She should most definitely be at work.
I decide, at this point, to immediately abandon all of my previous efforts until a more appropriate date and time. Retribution trumps inspiration any day of the week! I run to the sink. Quickly, I turn on the water. Then I run back to the door, stamping my bare foot up against it as a barricade. I tell myself, “No one is getting through this door!”
Then I hear my fuck-face cousin Thumper again. I can hear he is talking to his mother, my cousin Glona, some gibberish…a gasp for air…him…gasp…slobber…me…I cannot make out what he is saying. Fortunately, I don’t think she can either. God bless the child. I can see from the steam that the water is now getting very hot.
Then, and for no apparent reason, I remember the time I couldn’t stop mouthing the words, “fuck me Jesus!” It’s like I couldn’t stop saying it. Some sort of turrets shit or something. I’d go to bed at night and immediately after praying I would start mumbling, “Fuck me Jesus! Fuck me Jesus!” One Sunday we all had to pray from oldest to youngest , and instead of mouthing the same exact prayer we all said in some variation or other, I said, “fuck me Jesus.” It just came out. I knew there and then that I was hell bound.
In one fast maneuver I remove my foot from the door, turn, then put the weight of my body up against the door.
And then I begin tearing at the hair. But it won’t come off. It won’t come off! I need water. Hot water! And soap! Another fast run to the sink. Hot water. Shit! Ouch! Too hot! Much too hot! Then I rub it into my chest. Soap. Into my armpits. My balls…my…my…my goober. But it won’t come off! None of it is coming off!
Then I hear another voice. Nervously…strategically I scream, “I’m…I’m in here!” It’s my soldier of fortune brother Virgle. Like cannon fire, he kicks the bathroom door.
“It’s jist me Morton! Let me in! I gotta pee!”
He kicks the door again. Still up against it, my heart pounding, I close my eyes. A slow tearing in my throat, everything slowly slides into my stomach; a child’s indignity, a crude lead ball, the shame of a lifetime, marshmallow, chocolate, shit.
My voice cracks, “use the other!”
He kicks the door again. This time even harder.
“Mom’s in there! Havin’ a smoke. And cousin Glona’s got the Squiglet in the other! Now let me the fuck in Morton!”
Just then, I think I might cry. “You…you…you… you can’t come in! I….I…I’m peein’!”
And with ever the smartass rebut, “well ‘en move the shit over…I got good aim!”
“I…I…I can’t…I…(Say why! Say why not! Why can’t you? Why can’t I?)
He kicks the door again. “why the turdin’ shit caintchu?” This time loud enough for everyone in the house to hear. “Why caintchu?”
I can hear him now leaning against the door now. A short pause. Then, “Oh I git it. I know why now Morton.”
I say nothing.
Then I hear him laughing. “Is it ‘cause ya gotta squat to pee pee?
Cackling now, “Is ‘at it Morton? Does your big ole pussy drip too much ya gotta sit it down on the shitter? Ya big ole pussy girl!”
I look at all the hair still stuck to my body, “I’ll show him who’s a girl! I ain’t no girl. I ain’t no girl! Looking down below, “and that ain’t no pussy!”
Finally, I hear him walking away. Then he stops, and screams out, “fat ass!” Ah go on ahead Auntie Eunice! Go on ahead and have yourself a real good pee. And by the time you’re finished wipin’ and dryin’ ‘at big ugly pussy of yours, I will be outside pissin’ on the doghouse like a real man! Then he chants in a mocking military cadent, “fat’s where it’s at! Dare to be fat! Having a ball with cholesterol! Dare to be fat!”
I try the lock again, still, as if toothless, nothing to grab hold or nothing to grab hold of. Useless! From the other side of the wall, I can hear someone going into my room. I assume it is Virgle. Then the door slams and I know it is him. I hear him opening the bedroom window. Now I know exactly what he is doing. Often, whenever all the toilets are otherwise occupied, he just goes into my bedroom, opens up the window and waters the hydrangeas below. When he’s finally emptied his basketball-sized bladder, he slams the window so hard it might break but doesn’t. Instead, the walls shutter, causing the bathroom mirror to fall, hitting the sink, crashing and shattering into a thousand tiny pieces to the floor. I’m still propped up against the door and know now that any second someone, all of them, will be running for the bathroom to investigate.
I’m standing there now. Slumped over. Hopeless. Suddenly, what was before my manliness…my virility personified, now appears horrifying, horrified, and in thousands of coruscating reflections at my feet. Staring up at me, slack-jawed and stupefied, some prepubescent, prehistoric, Neanderthal monkey boy. Drool dripping down into small sticky pools, a few of the ridiculous hairballs clustered in gray and brown mounds. I look like that fucking freak Chakka from that kid’s show Land of The Lost! But horror abounds, when I bend closer to see, there, staring back at me, equally deranged, bewildered…not just monkey boy…not just me…but what appears to be thousands of Barbie Doll Faces, decapitated heads, monsters multiplied and refracting carnival freak show abomination! Thousands of shining plastic come hither grins now working their wanton smiles ad nauseam.
I am frozen. Then I realize, no one has come running. Perhaps no one heard? Impossible! How could that be possible? I look down, and then up, at myself, and I decide, first thing’s first!
I rationalize, the only way one might when standing naked with a couple dozen Barbie Doll heads glued to one’s sweat slicked body and a solitary white plastic perfume decanter standee affixed to ones penile knob, and tell myself, that my family could much more easily deal with the sudden and miraculous growth of body fur and/or even Barbie herself, than with the white plastic and now not so perfect Avon product/accessory appended to the head of my…goober…penis…dick…where it ain’t ‘sposed to be!
But then my whole body stiffens and I realize…that it won’t come off! I pull at it again. The thing will not come off! I realize suddenly, that during the all too brief throes of passion and what was before nearly divine inspiration, that the Elmer’s Wood Glue I thought would never work…has indeed worked very well! Too well! Somehow it has dripped down my body and right into the hole of the plastic Avon pedestal. It has caused it to stick…stick as in stuck…to the head of my goober! I pull at it again. I keep pulling!
I hear music from my room now. My god damned brother is listening to my records! Shit! I pull harder! Harder! The music gets louder. First it’s Andy Gibb…”Shadow Dancing”…then it’s Rex Smith...”You take my breath away.” I think of the pictures of both Andy and Rex on the slick album covers. Harder! Harder! Now it’s The B-52’s! “Planet Clare!”
“No one ever dies there!
No one has a head!”
Now I wish I was dead! Barbie the whore laughs! I pull at it again. Again, and again, and again, and again!
Then my mother’s voice, “Morton? Are you okay in there?”
My voice cracks, eking out, “I’m fine…I’m fine…mom.”
Then again, “what broke Morton?”
(Pause) (Pause) (Slit my throat) (Pause)
“Uh..what broke? Uh…nothin’…nothin’ broke mom. Nothin’ broke.”
“Oh.” Disbelieving silence. “well, uh…’en hurry up in there…I got supper…and it’s gonna git cold.”
Once she’s finally out of earshot, I frantically start at it again. But the thing will NOT come off! Doomed to a lifetime of genital deformity. Like The Red Shoes. It felt…so…good at first! Wonderful! I thought, for a moment, a brief moment, it was what I wanted. Idiot! Then I remember the end of that story and think the only way they’ll be able to get it off of me once I’ve regained consciousness from the demoralization and sheer embarrassment alone, will be like the young ballerina’s feet. Chop! Off go the feet! Chop! Off goes the goober! I swallow hard. Pull at the thing harder. Harder! Harder! Harder! Harder! Then I think with all the tugging and pulling that I might stretch it out of whack! “Out of whack?” Demented! “Stretch it?” I continue to pull. Up and down. Up and down. The thing, the “thing,” as I have come to know it, is now beginning to scrape the sides. I think that I may bleed. But before I do, suddenly…suddenly something…happened. Something that I will never ever forget, not the feeling…and certainly not the way the feeling came to be.
There and then, my body, still leaning steadfast against the door, my cast iron legs creating leverage, suddenly…went weak. My breathing increased. Then my heart galloped. I thought maybe my heart was trying to work its way out of me. My throat was taught with some morbid thickness of movement. I thought for sure my heart was working its way up and through my neck. Then my head swooned. It felt heavy and light all at once. I thought that I might weigh five hundred pounds…or as light as the wind. Then my eyes began to bulge and roll backward. My muscles contracted. In a flash, my fingers and toes splayed open and out like a Japanese paper fan. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, blocking air that my lungs, at that very moment, strangely enough, did not seem to need. Everything in my body…everything in my mind was doing loopity-loops and twisting aerials in the sky, all systems on some sort of auto pilot.
And then, I looked down to the area in question, the pressure building to the point of intolerance, and miraculously, the white plastic Avon product/accessory popped right off.
Right off. I had no idea what had occurred.
And then I looked down toward the floor and noticed how the tiny chards of mockery and broken glass had somehow lost their luster. And then I saw my own face, along side Barbie’s, and saw that we both were now covered in a milky masque of some muted liquid joy, her baby blues now seemingly glues shut and glassy like water and powdered sugar. Shining. Glistening.From that day on, I would never look at another bottle of Elmer’s Wood Glue or otherwise, into Barbie’s eyes, and certainly not my own, quite the same way, ever again.