11/22/2010 § Leave a comment
I woke up from a night of heavy drinking to find that I had received twelve text messages overnight, eleven of which were from Jake, an old buddy of mine who had this annoying habit of sharing with me his latest sexual conquests. The first message read ‘gnna hav 3some 2nite’ and had come with a photo of Jake with his arms around two skimpily dressed club-goers. The next few went on to describe his deviant plans for the night in the same deformed language. Out of morbid curiosity (with a slight tinge of jealousy) I read on, only to discover that the topic suddenly changed from blindfolds and lesbian kissing to something else entirely. What that something was, however, was impossible to decipher from messages such as ‘o god wtf,’ ‘com get me’ and ‘its rly fucd up.’ Only one thing was clear: something had gone wrong. I read Jake’s last text, feeling the onset of a pounding headache. ‘rly need hlp.’
After a shower I talked with Jake on the phone. “Can you meet me today?” he asked. He sounded as though he was speaking through a fever; I could almost smell the desperation on his voice. “Sure,” I said. “Meet me at the Broadway Chapters in couple of hours.”
When I got to Chapters, Jake had found himself a corner by the self-help section of the store. He was in worse shape than I had imagined: unshaven, underdressed, and no products in his hair. Yet still more alarming was the book in his hands, which was entitled THE SEXLESS LIFE: A DARWINIAN PERSPECTIVE. Naturally, it had a side portrait of Darwin’s face on the cover: an old white man with a long beard, looking vaguely upset.
“Ok, you’re starting to freak me out,” I said. “What’s with the book?”
“Oh thank God you’re here,” he said and cast down the Darwin. “I really need to talk to you.”
“Yeah, I got that much,” I said. “Come on. Let’s get some coffee and we’ll talk.”
We moved downstairs to the tacked-on Starbucks and sat at a table. I got a tall Americano. I offered to get him something but Jake didn’t want anything.
“So what happened last night?” I asked. “Did the girls turn out to be trannys?”
Jake didn’t laugh at my joke. Instead he looked around nervously then leaned in closer.
“Can you promise you won’t tell anyone?” he asked. I could tell he hadn’t brushed his teeth.
“Yeah, I promise,” I said.
“It’s her,” he said. “It’s Monique.”
“Who’s Monique?” I asked. “Am I supposed to know her?”
“She’s… this chick I dated a while ago,” said Jake. “Remember? From Montreal? You met her once.”
I pretended to jog my memory. Of course I remembered Monique. After all, I was the one who drove her to the airport after Jake had given her his infamous break-up line, instead of a post-coital spooning session. That was almost a year ago.
“Ah, the brunette? The one that barely spoke English?”
“Yes, that’s her,” said Jake, slumping back into his chair. “That’s Monique.”
“So… what about her?” I asked. “Did you run into her last night? I thought she was in Toronto.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “She’s done something to me. Something terrible.”
“And what exactly did she do to you?”
He produced a badly crumpled and stained postcard—it had clearly been in a garbage bin—from his pocket. On the front was a picture of Michelangelo’s David, whose penis was blotted out by red ink. I flipped the card, smoothed it out and read the handwritten message.
You are such an asshole. You fucking suck. I spit in your face. Eat cock.
p.s – Je te maudis—tu ne baiseras plus jamais.
“It’s just a hate letter, Jake.”
“That’s what I thought too, but…”
“Let me guess,” I stopped him short. “You couldn’t get it up last night, right? And now you’re worried this supposed never-fuck-again curse is real?”
Jake stared at me for a moment.
“How could you even think that?” he said, “Of course I got it up. It was a threesome—I had two hot, naked chicks—”
“Ok, ok. I believe you,” I said. “But I still don’t understand what the problem is.”
“I need to show you,” he said. “You’ll never believe me if I just told you.”
He got up and disappeared into the bathroom. Then he sent me a text instructing me to join him. I did so against my better judgement—I had this growing feeling that I owed him one ever since Monique’s name was brought up.
When I got in the men’s room, Jake locked the door behind us. I kept thinking to myself ‘Hemingway did it for Fitzgerald,’ though it did little to alleviate the awkwardness.
“I know it’s weird,” said Jake, unbuckling his belt. “But you have to see it to understand.”
“This better not be another one of your sick jokes,” I said.
“It’s not, I swear,” Jake shook his head. “She… she made my dick talk.”
Before I could process Jake’s words, he pulled down his pants and boxer in one swoop and revealed his penis hanging before my eyes, balls and all. This was not the first time I saw his penis—we’d gone skinny dipping with bunch of first-year girls once—but it was the first time I was forced to examine it. It was literally in my face.
“You shave your balls, huh?” I asked.
“Chicks dig it,” said Jake. “They think it’s being sensitive.”
“Whatever,” I said, looking away. “Can you put your pants back on already? Obviously your dick isn’t talking.”
“Just wait,” Jake said and began to masturbate.
“Dude! What the fuck!”
“It talks when I get a boner,” he said. “Just gimme a minute. Let me focus.”
I cannot say what was more disturbing—that Jake had no problem jerking off in front of me or that his penis, once aroused, actually did talk.
Well, it didn’t exactly talk. Nothing intelligible came out of his urethra. It had no language. If anything, it sounded like baby talk—human needs and desires boiled down to the monosyllabic form. Incoherent, yet the gist of it utterly unmistakable.
“At first I thought I was just hearing things,” said Jake. “You know, like tini…”
“Tinnitus?” I offered.
“Yes, that. But then the girls heard it too.”
“So they know about this?” I gestured at his cock.
“No. They just thought I let someone else in. I mean, they were blindfolded. They didn’t know it was my… I panicked and ran when I realized what was happening.”
“Ok. Ok. So what are you going to do now?” I asked.
“I was hoping you could tell me.”
“I don’t know what to say,” I confessed.
Jake put on his pants, carefully stuffing his still-erect penis inside the boxers. Neither of us spoke for a while after that. We just looked at each other—with only the soft, infantile crying from his crotch between us. Jake looked more haggard and pathetic than ever under the dim orange light. I didn’t know what to say or think. Then someone banged on the door.
“Hey! What’s taking so long!”
When we got out, there was a long line of people waiting to use the bathroom. “Fucking faggots,” some skinhead asshole scowled as we walked past the line. We didn’t respond.
“Maybe it’s a good thing,” I said, as we hit the street.
“How is it a good thing?”
“Maybe you can convince girls to like it,” I said. “There’s bound to be girls who are into freaky stuff.”
Jake contemplated this for a moment.
“Would you go down on a girl with a talking pussy?” he asked.
I gave him an honest answer.
“Yeah, neither would I,” said Jake.
We got on the number 17 bus. It was packed and we squeezed past strangers to find some space near the back.
“What are you gonna do?” I asked. “You can’t possibly pull off the celibacy shit.”
“I know,” said Jake. “I was just looking. You know, just in case.”
Then he got quiet and didn’t say anything until it was almost his stop at Arbutus.
“I think I have to go to Toronto,” he said. “Find Monique. Make it right. I mean, she’s got to be able to help, right? Since she’s the one who did it and all?”
I didn’t tell him that I think he’s too much of an asshole to ever make it right with a girl. Then again, I had never seen him like today before. Perhaps he could change. Change for real. Be one in a million.
“Thanks,” Jake said. We shook hands.
“What for?” I asked.
“For everything. For the bathroom and…”
“Don’t mention it. Ever.”
“I mean it,” he said. “You’ve always been a friend to me.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I only know pieces of what happened to Jake after that day, and what I do know comes from Monique.
True to his word, Jake flew to Toronto and spent weeks looking for her. When he learned that she had moved to New York, he crossed the border on a Greyhound. By the time he eventually caught up with her at Washington, D.C, he was merely a shell of his former self. Monique could hardly recognize him. They met by the Monument, where he begged her to forgive him and fix his penis. She told him to fuck off. She was done with his bullshit. She was no witch and there was no curse. Just angry words.
I don’t know what was going through Jake’s mind when he took off his pants and began to masturbate. Was he angry that she refused his apology? Or was he just desperate to make her believe? I wish I could talk to him one more time, though I have no idea what I would say. I’m sorry, Jake? You had it coming, Jake? Did you change, Jake? For better or for worse?
Jake was arrested for sexual harassment and public indecency. Monique didn’t press charges, and soon he was deported back to Canada. A couple of weeks after his deportation, Jake was found in a shoddy motel room outside of Calgary. He’d tried to castrate himself with a disposable razor. The Mounties thought it was an accident—a session of ball-shaving gone horribly wrong. But neither the police report nor the local newspaper chose to mention the infantile crying heard coming from Jake’s room moments before the motel manager, spurred on by complaints, entered the room to find his naked, cooling body on bloodied carpet.