I’m dreaming of girls. Young and old. Freckled and sunburnt. Fat and thin. Images of bare body parts flash through my brain like a quickly-shuffled deck of naughty playing cards. I’ve only recently seen my first pair of non-National Geographic breasts, on late-night pay cable. Mom ordered cable last month, and a whole new late-night world has opened up for me. After midnight, hand down my pants, under a blanket on the living room floor, I've watched 1001 Erotic Nights, Laura’s Toys, and more Emanuelle movies than I can count, my small television screen filled with copious amounts of female flesh. I’m ten years old, and I think I now officially like girls, though I certainly won’t admit it to my brothers or my sister, because they will tease me unmercifully. When my mother is not working, she’s sleeping, so I can watch whatever the hell I want, as long as I can stay up later than the rest of my family. And I can. I will stay up for days, weeks, forever, if I know that eventually I will get to see some skin.
I’ve also started masturbating. I like it. A lot. I’ve heard from older kids at school that stuff is supposed to come out when a guy finishes jerking off. Nothing comes out of me. Still, I get a tingle, a funny feeling, a warmth. If I were the last man on earth, I’d play with myself all day long. Jerking off is the best thing ever. Jerking off is better than Star Wars, and I’m not even kidding.
Lately, I can’t sleep without the sex dreams, and tonight is no exception.
In my slumber, I’m imagining what those girls from the dirty movies would feel like if pressed against me. Smell like. Taste like. In some of the movies I’ve seen, the girls appear to enjoy rubbing against each other, or touching each other’s boobs, and based on the weird sensation I get down below when two girls kiss, I seem to enjoy it as well. I guess that’s as good a way as any for me to find out that I’m not homophobic.
The dream takes a sudden turn. It’s no longer just images of random body parts. I’m now involved. Taking part in something I know nothing about. I’m on my back and the girl is on top. She’s in charge. I’m an innocent victim. A blushing pre-pubescent boy serving as a toy to many fully-formed, shape-shifting ladies. I can do nothing but take it. Sex in my dreams is a lot like wrestling. I’m pinned to the ground by the girl of my dreams, and that girl is a shape-shifter, is in constant flux. She’s the Bionic Woman and I’m her Bionic Boy. She’s tomboyish Kristy McNichol from "Family." She’s Shelley Duvall from The Shining—so pale, so sad, so beautiful, so on top of me right now. She’s Marcia Brady with a bruised, swollen nose, trying to kiss me but her huge honker is in the way. She’s sweet, innocent Linda Blair, then she’s possessed, nasty Linda Blair, and for a second the sweet dream becomes a nightmare. She’s busty Pam Grier, as Foxy Brown, naked atop me and holding a big-ass gun between her boobs. She’s Wonder Woman tying me up with her golden lasso. She’s that underdressed woman I saw at the supermarket whose unwieldy boobs kept falling out of her top and into the stack of bananas. She’s Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith, the lovely, vacant, glowing, snapping-pussy-having blonde who sang and fucked her heart out as the lead in the musical porno version of Cinderella. I love all the girls. And they are on top of me. All of them. At once. They can’t get enough of me. They sit on me and wiggle, because I don’t know what sex entails, but wiggling is definitely somehow a part of it. I know my penis is involved, but I’m not exactly sure what to do with it. I used to think that my penis was supposed to go inside a girl’s bellybutton, and until recently it probably would have fit. All I know about sex is that the boy and girl are supposed to get naked and move around a lot. And make weird noises. And silly faces.
I’m ten years old and on my way to Pervert Town. I’ve already watched the sexy, nudie, funny version of Cinderella five times, and I can’t get the jaunty, nasty songs out of my head (Do it, do it, do it to me!). I could dream about sex forever and not care. Like a superhero given his greatest desire by a villain, placed into an eternal slumber with no need to ever awaken. Lex Luthor running wild while Superman dreams of a Krypton that never exploded. My dreams offer naked, smiling beauties. The real world offers cockroaches, head lice, hand-me-downs, and government cheese. I don’t want to wake up. But someone is whispering my name. I want the dream to continue.
"Hey, Ervin, wake up!"
"Nnnn. No. Don’t wanna."
I open my eyes and see Dave staring down at me. He’s smiling. It’s not an evil Joker smile. It’s an easy, trustworthy smile. And what’s not to trust? He’s my brother. My blood. One of us. Dave is cool, and when I get older I want to be just like him.
"What’s going on?" I ask. "What happened?"
He sits down next to me on the bed, careful not to crush little William, who’s sleeping soundly next to me.
"I need you to come outside and see what I got. It’s like Christmas."
I sit up. "Like Christmas, with presents you mean?"
"Oh yeah. But it’s a secret. Our secret. And it’s better than Christmas ‘cause it’s right now. Who needs Santa Claus when you got me?"
I’m happy Dave thinks he can share his secrets with me. I’ll never tell. I like having a brother like Dave who always has secrets. Always tells you stuff you’re not supposed to tell anyone about. He’s mysterious and fun, and he’s my brother. I think When I’m older, I want to be just like Dave, cool like Dave, awesome like Dave.
I climb out of bed and follow my older brother. I don’t know him very well. He’s my brother and I should trust him. That much I do know. He’s been gone most of my life. Dave is almost a stranger to me. I’ve heard a lot of stories about him. Fights he’s gotten into. Teachers he’s cursed out. Furniture he’s tossed. Jokes he’s told. But only now am I getting to know him. He spent time in juvenile detention, and then went to live with a foster family. My mother believed they could give Dave a better life. A husband and wife who couldn’t have kids of their own. Who had lots of love to give. They promised Mom that Dave would have everything he’d always wished for. Promised Mom her second child would be happy. They made many promises. Mom agreed and reluctantly let Dave go, and he went to live in a big house in a nice neighborhood. It was like he’d won the lottery. But Dave’s new family quickly tired of him and sent him back home as if he were defective. They could have no children of their own but decided nothing was a better option than Dave. So he was returned to us like a defective watch. The only statement Dave ever made about his foster family was, "They were boring." All I know about Dave is that he smokes cigarettes and likes to make people smell his fingers after he’s had sex with a girl, although I’m not sure why. His fingers smell awful when he forces them in front of my nose. It’s funny, though. We both laugh. He tells me that I’ll understand when I’m older. After I’ve gotten myself some pussy. After I’ve popped my cherry, whatever that means.
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time hiding in the closet. Hiding while Ron and Dave beat the hell out of each other. Chased each other with baseball bats. Smashed electronic equipment. Punched each other in the face until they were both a mess of blood and bruises. My two older brothers, just a year apart, were constantly fighting. I hid and covered my ears. Blocked out the screaming. The cries of my mother. It was safe in there. Dark and private. I stayed far away from the shouting. I covered my ears. I hid. But a kid can’t hide forever. I used to think Dave was scary, but he’s not so bad. Dave’s nice to me, and he’s always smiling and giving me things, but sometimes when he talks louder than he should, I want to run and hide in the closet. Sometimes I want to close the door behind me and disappear.
"Get up," he whispers. "C’mon. You won’t regret it."
I trust him. I follow.
"You’re gonna love this," he says. "Hope you’re hungry. You like candy, right? Chocolate bunnies and shit?"
"Yes," I say. "I could eat chocolate forever. Until my belly explodes."
Dave smiles and pats my head. "Good. Then you’re just the man for the job."
He flashes a devious, charming, gigantic smile. "You’ll see." He’s wearing jeans and a damp T-shirt. Sneakers but no socks. His hair is a mess. He smells like fish, because yesterday he took his fishing rod out to a dirty lake and caught a big, hideous catfish, then cooked it in the kitchen and stunk up the house. Now, everything smells like catfish, especially Dave.
Dave leads me out into the backyard shed, and there it is. His bounty. Boxes and boxes and boxes of candy. Mostly chocolate. Chocolate animals. Chocolate bars. Chocolate eggs. Jelly beans. Candy canes. Enough sugar to get me high for weeks. We sit on the floor of the small wooden shed, which before the Great Chocolate Windfall was used mainly by Dave and Ron as a place to bring loose women so they could smoke the pot and drink the beer and have the sex. Dave has exited this shed with smelly fingers on numerous occasions. Once, I heard a girl ask Dave if she could come into the house just after they’d finished makin’ it in the shed, and he shook his head and said, "No, you’re only allowed in the shed. Only girls I really like are allowed in the house. So, sorry." She then ran off crying, but Dave didn’t seem to care. He simply sniffed his fingers, grinned, then came inside and ate a large bowl of Frankenberry cereal.
"Where’d you get all this candy?" I’m amazed. I’ve never seen this much candy outside of a candy store. It’s right there in front of me. I’m practically drooling.
"You know, it’s crazy. I went to the candy store and they were just giving it away? I guess they had, like, too much or something."
I may be ten years old, but I’m not an idiot. I don’t believe him.
"Come on, Dave, really?" I say.
"You ask too many questions. Who are you, Sherlock Holmes? Sometimes it’s better not to ask questions. Questions just get people in trouble."
We sit down together and I watch Dave tear open a box with a brown bunny inside and he quickly starts munching, biting off the milk chocolate ears. He asks me what I’m waiting for. I shrug, then dig in. We tear and eat. Tear and eat. It’s sweet, intoxicating, wonderful, and free.
"We’re not gonna get in trouble for this, are we?"
"No way," he says, with cocky assurance. "There ain’t no laws against eating candy, are there? This is America, right?"
I think about it for a second. "I guess you’re right."
He stares at me, as if we’ve only just met, like he doesn’t know me at all. "Hey, Erv, are you gay?" he asks. "You look a fairy sometimes. It’s okay if you are, just tell me. I’ll hook you up with some slut if you want to test yourself out to make sure you like girls."
"I like girls!" I say, embarrassed.
"Okay, big guy. Relax. Just asking. You want me to find you a nice piece of ass? You don’t mind sloppy seconds, right? Heh." He smacks my back so hard that I fall off of my chair.
"I don’t need any pieces of ass," I say.
I’m sick to my stomach within minutes. Sick in a good way. My stomach tells me that I should run to the bathroom, but my mouth tells me to shove in more sweets until my teeth rot and die from candy poisoning.
We eat enough candy to fill the bellies of a whole classroom full of children, but we hardly make a dent in the stash. I tell Dave I can’t eat any more and he calls me a pussy. He shrugs, licks his fingers, then declares that he is also full. We leave the shed and Dave locks the small door with a padlock.
"Look, Erv, we gotta eat this candy really fast. We can’t have the evidence sitting around in the shed for too long."
"Evidence of what?"
He smacks the back of my head. "Don’t act stupid. Remember, it’s our secret, right?"
"Sure it is," I say.
I’m tired and listless. Eating pounds of candy sure takes a lot out of a kid. I might not even have the energy to jerk off later. The candy gave me an initial jolt of energy, but now it’s wearing off quickly.
"Who’s your favorite brother?" he asks.
"You are," I say, as my stomach begins to make strange noises.
When I wake the next morning, I hear unfamiliar voices. I look through my window and see two tall, indistinguishable, well-dressed men standing out front, talking to Mom. I run downstairs to see what’s going on. I open the door and walk up next to Mom.
"Go back inside, Ervin," she says.
"Wait a second, son," one of the men says.
"How’s the candy?" the other man asks.
"What candy?" I say, playing dumb.
They’re dressed in dark suits, and I’ve seen enough cop shows to know that they’re detectives. The fuzz.
"Look, we know Dave stole the candy. This is the second time he’s robbed the same candy store. He didn’t find any money this time, so he loaded up his van with candy. We know all about it. There’s no reason not to tell the truth. Where’s the candy? I mean, besides the chocolate that’s all over your chin? Did you know the candy was stolen? Were you an accomplice?"
"No!" I blurt out, not wanting to get arrested and sent to the slammer. I wipe my chin. No chocolate. Bastard fooled me.
Mom begins to cry.
I had hoped that this time I’d get to know Dave. That we’d have some good brotherly-bonding time. But that’s not going to happen because he’s going to get arrested. Maybe in a few years we will get to know each other. When Dave is free again. Maybe someday I’ll actually get to know my own brother. Dave is cool and fun, but I’m beginning to think that he’s not all that smart. Who robs the same candy store more than once? Who robs a candy store at all? Who takes candy instead of money? My brother Dave does. My brother who’s going to have to go away for a couple of years. It won’t be all bad. More road trips out to the prison to visit Dave. I like road trips, and hanging out in prison makes me feel like a real badass. None of my friends ever get to go to prison to visit their brother. I guess I’m just lucky that way.