Tuesday, May 20, 2008

At 16, Part 5


I met her on a Friday night just a few weeks ago, and fell for her instantly. Fell hard. A traveling carnival was in town for the week, and had set up the sad-looking rides and rigged games in the parking lot of a large hospital that’s named after a dead president. It was one of those no-frills sort of carnivals, with cheap stuffed animal prizes and rides held together with rusty bolts and spit. I wandered around aimlessly with Vito, checking out the girls. We were a little drunk. A lot drunk. All smiles and stumbling cheerfulness. We rode a few of the smaller rides, the ones intended for little children, and then I threw up behind the freakshow tent. After vomiting, I felt better and more lucid, but still had a nice buzz going.

My older brother was there that night. Dave had just returned home from another stint of incarceration, and was in good spirits. He was not drunk, not high, had inhaled no illegal substances. Dave was just happy to be alive and free, and had vowed to change his ways. For once, he actually gave me money. He handed me a twenty and said, "Here, Erv, have fun." It was nice seeing him this way. Happy, funny, relaxed. That night, I had fun with my brother. I wasn’t at all ashamed to be related to him, which was a nice change of pace. "If you need anything, just let me know," he said, just before I wandered away with Vito.

"Your brother is acting weird, almost like a normal human being," Vito said.

"I know. It’s freaky, right? It’d be nice if he was that way all the time. I’m really liking Dave right now. When he's not being an asshole, he's actually kind of awesome."

The carnival started to shut down at eleven o'clock. Most of the employees were missing teeth and had huge, ugly tattoos of naked women and flaming skulls covering their arms. As they packed up for the last time, as they prepared to move on to a new city, I noticed that Dave was helping take apart the rides. They’d recruited him. My brother fit right it. Dave looked like he’d been a carny all his life. With his missing tooth and his black cross prison tattoo, he was one of the guys. I waved to him and he waved back, and I’d never seen him as happy. Dave suddenly had a purpose. Had real work to do. Had a place where he belonged. Dave was Carny Folk now.

After I lost my last dollar trying to knock over a stack of plastic bottles with a rubber ball, Vito and I walked away from the carnival. The flashing lights had stopped flashing. The cotton candy had been put away. The smell of dirty, underfed animals began to fade. The show was over. Another year, another carnival. Vito was in the middle of telling me how many girls he could have banged if he wasn’t such a good friend ("Dude, there were, like, ten girls all over my shit tonight, but I wanted to hang with you, ‘cause you’re my boy. If I was by myself, I’d have gotten at least four blow jobs."), when suddenly a big-eyed, tall girl stepped in front of me and smiled. She wore tight, carefully-torn jeans and a Metallica T-shirt, and had long brown hair, parted in the middle. messily feathered. I was immediately taken by her impossibly large green eyes. So big they almost ruined her face. Almost. There’s a fine line between lovely and hideous, and her eyes were just the right kind of big. I couldn’t look away from the sparkling green.

"Hey," she said, her grinning face close to mine. She stood directly in front of me, blocking my way. She reeked of cheap mall perfume and pot, but I didn’t mind. "You’re really cute, you know that?"

I turned and looked at Vito, then back at her, and I couldn’t help but wonder if she’d made a mistake. She must be talking about Vito I thought. But she was looking right at me. Her eyes were bloodshot, bright green streaked with uneven lines of red, and she was definitely stoned, but there was no doubt she was talking to me. Talking to the skinny, pale guy in the Wolverine T-Shirt.

"You’re cute, too," I said. "I like your eyes. They’re really green and big, like big green balls of, um, I don’t know, green." Real smooth, Erv. I was quickly damp and hot, hands trembling, heart racing.

Vito stood nearby, quiet, possibly in shock, watching the scene unfold.

"I’m Lacy," she said. Then she stepped forward and put her arms around me, pulled me closer, and, as if in a dream, shoved her tongue in my mouth. Within seconds, we were full-on making out. We were all tongues and sweat and heat. Her mouth tasted like schnapps and cigarettes. I grabbed her ass. I was bold as hell and wondering what had gotten into me. I was groping a girl I’d never met before, in public, with a small crowd looking on.

"Damn!" Vito said, jealously watching. "I’m next!"

"I’m Ervin," I said to Lacy, at the first opportunity to speak, as I gasped for air.

She smiled, a dopey, stoned, lovely smile. "I've been watching you for, like, an hour, and I've been wanting to kiss you, so I did."

"I’m glad you did," I said. "I’ve been wanting to get kissed, so it all worked out."

We kissed again. I grew dizzy. Couldn’t believe this was happening. I didn’t know this girl. Our tongues were connected. Most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. Didn’t know where she came from. Didn’t care. The world was out of focus around us. There was just us. Everything else a blur.

"Do you like Bon Jovi?" she asked, between soft kisses.

"No, I like the Beastie Boys. They’re my favorite. I saw them with Public Enemy at the Spectrum. It was awesome."

"That’s a shame," she said. "How about Poison or Winger?"


My heavy metal girl then said, "You need better taste in music, dude."

Our first disagreement. How cute. I wondered how long it would be before she ended up backstage at a Bon Jovi concert, flashing her tits to the drummer.

Vito slipped away while I was jamming my tongue down Lacy’s throat. Guess he’d seen enough.

Soon, too soon, it was over. Lacy and I exchanged phone numbers and said goodbye, kissed again quickly. Lacy waved goodbye and walked off with her friends. They were all giggles as they disappeared from sight. I looked at the small piece of paper in my hand. Next to her phone number she had written, "I want your body!"

I began to walk home alone, my lips tingling, a wet spot in my underwear, the pre-cum a result of some more than mild excitement on my part. I must not have been paying attention, because I bumped into a drunk, dirty, large angry teenager whom I recognized from school. He was a few years older and his name was Eddie. He took a quick disliking to me.

"Watch where you’re fucking going, faggot!" he said.

"Sorry, man, I was, just, um."

"You want me to kick your fucking ass?" He stepped close, bumped my chest with his. The monster on his Iron Maiden T-shirt looked right at me with its cartoon devil eyes.

"No, I, um, really don’t. I was just trying to cross the street. I live right over there." I pointed, showing Eddie where I lived.

"What do I care where you live? What, do you want me send you a fucking Valentine’s Day card or something, queer?" Eddie asked, then shoved me to the ground. He kicked my leg, then bent down and grabbed my shirt. "I will kill you!" He spit a little with each word spoken, and I was getting soaked.

I knew that Eddie had been in at least three or four fights at school; he rode the short yellow bus, affectionately referred to by the student body as the "Tart Cart," and a couple of boys had teased him about it, so he kicked their asses. He balled his fist. Cocked his arm. I closed my eyes. Eddie was going to punch me in the face. I had never been punched in the face before. At least part of my face was numb from all the kissing. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt too badly when he clocked me. I put my hands in front of my face and prepared for the worst.

Then I heard my brother’s voice.

"Let him go, asshole," Dave said.

I opened my eyes and saw Dave and Eddie standing face-to-face. Dave had a small grin on his face. Eddie looked scared. Even though Dave was over eighteen and Eddie was under eighteen, I knew Dave would still kick Eddie’s ass if he felt like it. Age was only a number to Dave. In fact, earlier that night I’d spotted him making out with a sixteen-year-old girl from my Geometry class.

Dave helped me up and said to Eddie. "This is my brother. Nobody messes with him. You got that? You tell everyone that Ervin is not to be fucked with, or I’ll come after them. You spread the word, okay?"

"Sure, Dave." Eddie slowly backed up. "I didn’t know that he was your brother. My mistake. I’ll see ya." Eddie walked off in a hurry.

"Thanks, Dave," I said.

"No big thing. That’s what brothers are for. That kid’s a punk anyway." He laid a hand on my head and messed up my hair. "Who’s your favorite brother?"

"You are, Dave."

He shook my hand, said goodbye, then left town with carnival. He said he’d be back in about a year, when the carnival returned to New Jersey. Dave finally seemed like he had his life together. I thought I’m really gonna miss that guy.

Lacy and I talked on the phone for the next few nights, and our conversations were short but nice. She told me that she’d recently broken up with her boyfriend, and if he found out she was messing around with someone else, he’d surely kick my ass. "He knows how to fight," she said. "His last name is Fish, so, you know, that should give you all the warning you need."

"Of course, but I think I can handle myself," I said, acting as if Dave was a witch who’d cast a protection spell over me. Even though he had left town, I still felt safe. My brother had laid down the law: no one messes with Ervin. Who would dare defy his word?

"I don’t usually just go up to random guys and start sucking their face, but you're just so fucking adorable," she said. "And you’re so, like, straight-laced. You’re the perfect boy-next-door. And those dimples. Sexy."

I took a deep, calming breath and said, "Listen, I have this Junior Prom coming up, and I need a date. Will you go with me?" I felt sick. Asking a girl out always made me nauseated.

"Sure, sweetie. Hey, and if you play your cards right, you might just get lucky. You ever get lucky before?"

"Sure," I said. I made a mental note to myself: Junior Prom, lose virginity.

Everything was going perfectly until this morning. Until Lacy called me and somberly said, "Look, Erv, I have to tell you, I got back together with my boyfriend last night. We had a long talk and decided to try one more time."

"The Fish guy?" I asked.

"Yeah, him."

"So, what are you saying? That you don’t want to go to Prom with me?"

"No, no, I’ll still go if you really want me to. I said I would."

"Don’t sound so excited."

I knew that Prom was ruined. I was taking someone else’s girlfriend. I no longer had a date, I had a friend.

She sighed. "It’s just a tough spot for me, you know. I’m in a bind here. But I won’t go back on my word. I’m no cunt. But don’t worry, my boyfriend said I could still go with you. He won’t beat you up or anything, as long as you don’t try anything."

"Well, thanks," I said.

Right now, I am in a limousine with Lacy, and Manny and his date. It is very apparent that Lacy does not want to be going to Prom with me. I know this because five minutes ago she looked at me and said, "I should never have agreed to this. I should be with my boyfriend."

After several minutes of complete silence, Manny leans over to me and whispers, "Don’t worry, man, I’ve got a surprise that’s gonna make it all okay. Just try and enjoy yourself. Screw her if she doesn’t want to be here. Fuck that bitch."

Manny hands me a bottle of cheap peach schnapps and I quickly guzzle half the bottle.

I want to get drunk, high, wasted.

Lacy looks wonderful in her lime green dress. Goes with her eyes. And I would tell her that if I didn’t want to strangle her instead.

Manny asks me to move in close, and he opens his jacket and shows me what he’s packing. His special surprise.

Turns out, Manny has an eightball of cocaine. A very large bag of coke. Enough for many, many lines. I vowed never to do coke again, but now I just don't care. I am not going to lose my virginity, so instead I will snort copious amounts of cocaine. Makes sense to me. This will definitely be the last time. I believe that a broken heart and a fucked up experience at Prom gives me special dispensation to be an asshole.

"What time’s this thing gonna be over?" Lacy asks me.

"Soon, I hope," I say.

We arrive at Prom and immediate have our picture taken. Lacy gives a fairly believable smile, then asks me to dance, and I begin to think that maybe this evening won’t be so bad after all. We dance for three minutes, a slow dance, to Berlin’s "Take My Breath Away," and Lacy seems distracted through the entire song. Manny and his girlfriend are dancing and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. Must be nice.

After my dance, Manny and I sneak off to the bathroom, lock ourselves in a stall, then snort a few lines of white powder. In my fancy clothes, I don’t just feel like a drug user, I feel like a well-dressed drug user, like a Mafia kingpin. I exit the bathroom, wiping my nose, body afire with pleasure, and discover that my date is no longer in the building. Apparently, her boyfriend, Fish Dude, arrived at the ballroom and took my date away. They made out in front of everyone, then took off. People feel sorry for me. I hate when people feel fucking sorry for me. But I like to feel sorry for myself. "Dude, that’s fucked up," Manny says. "I can’t believe that bitch." The news spreads quickly, and I am suddenly Prom’s big loser. I’m the guy whose date took off with another guy. Everyone stares at me, pointing, whispering, giggling.

I am now at Prom without a date, unless you count Manny, who is pretty like a girl but in a very manly way. Manny and his date have rented a room so they can fuck all night long, and they invite me along because they feel sorry for me, but I say that I’d rather just go home and fall on a knife. Manny gives me what’s left of the coke and I go home, to my small matchbox of a house, and I cry only a little, just enough to let myself know that I’m not a robot. I snort more coke and watch Animal House on HBO. My mind is in a million places at once, and my body feels like a hundred women have their mouths on my flesh. I think I am going to die because of the tremendous amount of coke that I’ve ingested this evening, but I don’t die. I don’t sleep, either. I look in the mirror and decide that I don’t like myself very much. I have lost my identity. I used to be good. Now I’m not. I am some kind of defective person. Just another white kid in suburbia numbing his pain.

The sun is up and I haven’t been to sleep. My skin is tingling and hot, and I need more drugs, but I’m out of coke. I’m sitting at the kitchen table, eating pizza for breakfast. All I ever seem to eat is pizza. I’m still wearing my wrinkled Prom suit. My mother enters the kitchen, wearing her waitress outfit. She’s just come home from the overnight shift at the grease-pit diner.

"Did you just get home?" she asks.

"Nah, I’ve been home for awhile."

"How’d it go?"

"It was okay. Nothing special."

I am such an asshole.

Mom sits down next to me. I try not to look her directly in the eyes, for fear that she will instantly know that I am on drugs. Moms know these sort of things. Moms can just tell. I try not to sniffle. There’s cocaine inside me. In my bloodstream. In my hair, my skin, my saliva. I want it out.

"Have you been drinking?" Mom asks. She’s smiling a little, as if she’s almost proud of me. There was a time when everyone in my family thought I was gay, so for Mom to know I was out with a girl makes her very happy, and to know that I’ve been drinking, well, maybe she’s proud of me for not being a complete and total nerd.

"Oh, yeah, I had a couple of drinks."

"That’s okay, Ervin. I’m not mad. You’re a good kid. You’ve never caused me any trouble. Good things are going to happen to you, because God sees how good you are."

I want my mother to stop talking. She’s making me feel like complete and utter garbage. I’ve stolen, lied, cheated, indulged. I am a fraud. I’m embarrassed and ashamed. My mother sees none of my flaws, because I’m her angel. I could fuck a goat in the living room, shout, "Hey, Mom, I’m fucking this goat in the living room," then kill the goat and eat it, and my mother wouldn’t even notice, or she’d blame it on Dave. I could say, "Mom, it was me. I fucked and killed that goat," and Mom would reply, "No, you wouldn’t do something like that. You’re the good one."

But that’s all I want.

To be good.

Friday, May 9, 2008

At 12, Part 2


I’m in Nicole’s sixth-floor apartment, adults absent, about to begin a heated game of Spin-the-Bottle with a group of kids from the building. Just a small motley assemblage of horny eleven, twelve, and thirteen-year-olds, looking to get some hot tongue action. Or more. We’ve just added a new wrinkle to our game play: Seven Minutes In Heaven. A boy and a girl alone in a dark closet for seven blissful, possibly tit-touching minutes. The suddenly more adult nature of our game was Todd’s idea. No surprise since he’s the oldest, tallest, and most likely to be arrested for a sex crime in the future. When Todd floated the idea of "special closet time," no one protested. No one wanted to come off as scared. I’m sure that we’re all terrified of the idea, save Todd, of course, but none of us wants to show fear. I certainly don’t want to admit that the idea of time alone with a member of the opposite sex terrifies me. So we proceed. I see fear in people’s eyes. Hands shaking. Beads of sweat on almost every forehead. My heart races. My stomach burns. I can’t wait to begin—if I don’t run and hide in a moment of panic, that is.

There’s seven of us. Four boys and three girls. Aside from myself, there’s pervy Todd; Nicole, the pretty, blonde, shy object of mine and Todd’s lust; Gerry, he of the buck teeth, flabby body, and club foot; Juan, equal parts white, black, Spanish and Native American, and clearly the stud of our little group; Talia, Juan’s skinny, tall, obnoxious, beautiful sister; and then there’s Lisa, who’s just moved into the building and is still a bit of a mystery, with her dark hair and eyes, her flat-chested, boyish figure, her vampire fangs, her short punk rock hairdo. We know almost nothing about Lisa, but the boys are clearly intrigued. This is her first appearance at our now-weekly, surprisingly innocent (thus far) make-out sessions. Talia and Nicole are clearly jealous, as they’re used to getting all the boys’ attention. But a new girl changes the equation. It’s going to be an interesting night.

Truth is, we’re just kids playing grownup. Doing what we think adults are supposed to do, even though we’re still children. I still collect comic books and action figures. I’d rather read the latest issue of Detective Comics than go to the mall and look at girls (I mean, girls are great and all, but no girl, no matter how big her boobs are, is cooler than Batman), and I recently taped firecrackers to all my Star Wars action figures and blew the hell out of the Empire. Then I burned down my Death Star Playset. Lit the large plastic toy on fire and watched it melt and ooze black smoke. I still prefer Saturday morning cartoons to adult movies on cable, though the gap is definitely closing (I recently had some uncomfortable, just plain wrong thoughts about the animated ladies from "Scooby Doo."). I do not want to grow up. I like being a kid. But the kissing is a nice way to feign adulthood without having any of the responsibilities. Tonight may get serious in a sexy kind of way, and it’s possible that I’ll lose more of my innocence than I’d like to.

It’s not just me. It’s all of us. Todd spends his weekends playing Frogger and Moon Patrol, and solves a Rubix Cube faster than anyone I know. He’s also strangely fascinated by "The Smurfs," but I think that could just be his perverted interest in Smurfette, whom he believes has to service all the male Smurfs on a nightly basis. Nicole, my Jewish Princess, has an extensive Barbie collection. Gerry is addicted to Lucky Charms and Bazooka Joe gum. Juan is a break-dancer, and carries a large piece of cardboard around with him; he keeps telling me I need to buy a nice silver pair of parachute pants to match his, so we can walk around town and challenge people to dance-offs. I haven’t quite mastered the art of break-dancing. Or dancing in general. Or moving my body in any sort of coordinated manner. Lisa says she still fiddles with her Easy Bake Oven. Talia collects stuffed animals. We may just be a bunch of poor apartment kids about to stick our tongues in each other’s mouths and swap A.B.C. (already been chewed) gum, but I get the feeling we’d all just rather pull out a Monopoly board and fight over who gets to be the shoe. Except for Todd. He’s still a kid at heart, just with a bigger boner than the rest of us.

I know I have to grow up. I know kissing girls is nice, and I do sort of like it. I know I can’t stay a kid forever. But is it wrong to want to? Is it so bad to want another innocent year hoping that Santa Claus brings me a new batch of Star Wars toys to replace the ones I blew up or set on fire? Is it so terrible to not want to go all the way with a girl just yet?

We begin with a spin of an empty Coke bottle and a simple, quick kiss. I kiss Nicole on her cherry lip gloss lips. We’re both mildly embarrassed as the others stare at us and Todd hoots and hollers, but the candle-lit room’s mood lighting hides our surely red cheeks. The game continues. Todd kisses Talia, and she quickly pulls away when he tries to slip her the tongue. "You nasty, boy!" she says, wiping her mouth on her long puffy sleeve, and everyone giggles. Talia dresses like Prince’s little sister, as if waiting for that call to join The Revolution and His Purpleness on tour at a moment’s notice. Gerry spins and his momentary visible excitement fades into stone-faced rejection as Talia extends her hand for a shake instead of a kiss. The girls never kiss Gerry. Not Nicole, not Talia, not one of the three or four other girls in the building who sometimes play in our kissing games, and I’d imagine that the new girl isn’t too keen on lip-locking with poor Gerry, who compliments his crooked buck teeth with sour breath similar to long-outdated milk. I feel bad for him. No one will ever call him cute. As much as it embarrasses me, I do like it when girls tell me how cute I am. If one of the girls here tonight shook my hand instead of kissing me, I’d probably cry and never play these kissing games again. But Gerry always comes back for more. I guess he thinks someday his kiss will come.

I spin and the bottle points to Lisa, the new girl. She smiles. I lick my lips. She says, "Why don’t we take this game up a notch? How about me and you go into the closet, Ervin? I’d like to try the Seven Minutes In Heaven thing? How about it, cutie pie?" I nod vigorously. Todd leans close to me and whispers, "She wants to suck your dick, dude." Lisa stands and takes my moist hand. She’s an inch taller. A year older. A grade above. The girl knows what she’s doing. She leads me into the small, musty closet. Todd shouts, "Grab some tit for me, if you can find ‘em!" I am beyond embarrassed, my cheeks burning. Lisa shoots Todd the middle finger and calls him a neanderthal. He says, "Thanks." Lisa whispers in my ear, tells me she hates Todd, and it excites me to know that Lisa likes me and not him.

We sit together on the floor of the closet, cross-legged, facing each other, our knees touching, a still-wet umbrella pressing against my back. It’s dark, with only a tiny beam of yellow light creeping in. The closet is mostly filled with shoes, and the scent of dirty feet invades my nostrils. I start to sweat immediately inside the stuffy little sex room.

"I wanted to come in here with you because you’re the cutest and nicest boy," Lisa says, and I follow her lips as they move. She’s wearing green-tinted lipstick that kind of glows in the dark.

"I thought you might want to come in here with Juan," I say. "He seems to be the guy all the girls want to be with."

I am by no means an ugly kid. I’ve overheard most say that I’m "cute," and believe me, I’ll take it. But "cute" translates into "non-threatening." I have blond hair, fair skin, freckles, dimples, no muscles to speak of. I’m the boy next door. The sweet kid that mothers love. Juan, on the other hand, is the tall, dark, handsome stud that fathers want to keep their daughters away from.

"Who? That Menudo reject?" She laughs as she rubs my bare knee. "He’s good-looking and all, but not my type. I like ‘em like you. Sweet and shy."

"What do you think of Todd?" I ask, already knowing the answer. I just want to hear her say bad things about the other guys so I’ll feel better about myself. Petty, I know, but ego-boosting nonetheless.

"Todd is crass, but mildly entertaining. He smells like the stuff that gets caught between my toes and he has big ears."

She takes my hand in hers. Her hands are as sweaty as mine. Makes me feel better. Makes me think she’s nervous too.

"Should we kiss now?" I say, smooth as high school bathroom toilet paper.

"Ervin, you’re adorable. Come here, baby."

She wraps her arms around my neck, leans in, opens her mouth wide, and then jams her long tongue into my mouth. If she wasn’t a girl whom I was playing group sex games with, I might think she was an assassin trying to suffocate me. I pull away after a few seconds, gasping for air.

"Wow," I say, more shaken up than turned on.

"I know, right? Am I not the best kisser ever?"

Her mouth tastes like hot dogs and peanut butter.

"Yeah, best ever." I pause, searching for the right words. I add, "But can we do it without tongues for awhile."

"You wuss!" she snaps. "Without tongues is stupid. French kissing is the only way to do it."

Lisa grabs my left hand and places it on her right boob. Or at least the smallish bump on her chest that I’m hoping is a boob. It could just be a protruding rib. I pinch to make sure, and feel her nipple harden beneath my fingertips. She moans. Her nipples are huge, and I’m aroused instantly. Not just aroused. Ready to burst. The slightest movement, I fear, will cause me to come in my shorts. I pull my hand away from her little tit because I don't want to mess myself.

"So you’re my boyfriend now."

"Um, okay."

"I like you a lot."

"Same here."

"You ever had a girlfriend before?"

"A real one?"

"What, you’ve had fake girlfriends?"

I quickly think of a clever retort. "Sure, I’ve dated a couple of Barbie Dolls. I’ve also dated a lot of girls who didn’t know we were dating, because I was imagining it."

Instead of laughing, Lisa squints and stares at me as if I have a glass eye that’s just fallen out. "You’re weird, Ervin."

She kisses me again. Licks my teeth with her tongue.

We exit the closet a minute later, holding hands, smiling, presenting ourselves to the world. Lisa leads. I follow. Everyone is waiting for us to rejoin the circle, but we remain standing.

"Game’s over," Lisa says. "Ervin’s my boyfriend now, and I don’t want him kissing other girls, and I’m sure he doesn’t want me kissing other boys, right?" She squeezes my hand. Digs into it with her nails. Breaks the skin. Hurts me.

"Right," I say, on cue.

"Ah hell, you pussy," Todd blurts out. "Thanks for ruining the game." He stands up, shakes his head, then walks straight out the front the door.

Juan shrugs indifferently, then goes back to fixing his curly hair in the mirror.

Nicole stands up and, without a hint of jealousy, says, "Well, I guess that’s it."

Lisa looks at me and says, "Now what?"

I don’t know. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’m not sure what a guy is supposed to do with a girl once she’s his. This is all rather sudden. Guess I’ll just have to make it up as I go. And in the future, I’ll have to figure out how to get away with touching a girl’s boob without having to make a long-term commitment.

So, now I have girlfriend. A girlfriend whom I barely even know. What the hell was I thinking? My relationship with Lisa is only minutes old, and I'm already trying to come up with a way out. Maybe I can convince my mother that we need to move, like, right now, before my new girlfriend tries to have sex with me.

Monday, May 5, 2008

At 16, Part 4


We’re heading to Camden to buy drugs of the snortable kind. Myself, Vito, Manny, and Derrick, another Pizza Tent cook craving a few lines of blow. Each of us is finishing up our junior year at Cherry Hill High School West. All that’s really left of this school year is Junior Prom and final exams. Tonight, though, school is the furthest thing from our minds. We’re not concerned about the future. We simply want to snort a few lines of coke and then maybe score a hooker. I’m not sure where the prostitute idea came from. Just a thought floating in the air as we drove to Camden. I’m sure we were all thinking We’re going to Camden and there are hookers in Camden. Then Vito, Manny and Derrick began to discuss all the different ways they were going to fuck said hooker. But what kind of hooker to get? White? Black? Thin? Thick? Young and fresh? Older and experienced? Maybe more than one hooker? We are four, after all.

It’s decided that we’ll only need one hooker, since I’ve stated vehemently that I won’t be "doing no naked sex stuff with no hooker," since I am, apparently, a grammatically-challenged big fucking pussy. It’s then decided it’ll only be blow jobs for the gang and not full-on penetration, because Derrick has a girlfriend and he doesn’t want to cheat on her. We’re all certain that a blow job isn’t really cheating. It’s then decided that the hooker should be as young as possible. The less time she’s had on the streets, the less hardened she’ll be, and the greater the chance that she won’t yet have acquired too potent an STD. An agreement cannot be reached on whether or not our hooker should be black or white, so the decision is made to split the difference and purchase a Spanish girl’s time. None of the boys are too concerned about the hooker’s weight, but she must have nice breasts and a pretty smile. Since I’m not participating, my input was not required. But they still need my twenty bucks. "Least you could do," says Vito. "You wanna be a chicken, you gotta pay up."

My reasons for not enjoying a nice bit of head from the hooker aren't especially noble. I don’t feel bad for any of the streetwalkers, and I certainly don’t begrudge them making a living. I am not on some moral high horse. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I’m just scared. Plain and simple. I’m almost as afraid of hookers as I am Demonic Possession, heights, spiders, and Global Thermal Nuclear War.

I blame The Last American Virgin. No, not me. The movie. Virgin is a teen sex comedy that haunts me. Most of your typical teen sex comedies, Porky’s and the like, are fun, irreverent, nudie romps about high school kids trying to get laid. Virgin is a little different. Sure, there’s the prerequisite nudity, drugs, sex, and comical STD scenes, but the movie has one of the saddest endings ever put on film. There’s a scene where our Hollywood-typical group of teens (you’ve got the fat one, the horny one, and the sensitive one) visit a prostitute. A mean, jaded, awful hooker who berates the main character, the sensitive one. Who calls him names and says awful things about his manhood. Who turns his first sexual experience into a nightmare. Since seeing that movie, I’ve had nightmares about random hookers laughing at the size and ferocity of my penis. So, at all costs, I’ve made it a mission of mine to never allow a prostitute to see my manhood. Also, I’ve decided to never again dance in public, but that’s not an issue tonight. Just the hooker thing.

Our hooker happens to be named Precious. We picked her up and worked out a reasonable deal for her services. She’s on my lap. Grinding on my not-completely limp dick. About to, I’m sure, make fun of me. But, in a shocking turn of events, I’m suddenly fully hard. Respectably hard. Bulging beneath my jeans, my cock looks almost...impressive. Vito is driving, with Manny sitting next to him. I’m with Derrick and Precious in the back. Precious on my lap, grinding. She’s a tall, thick young girl, with a nice face and long dark hair. Her left hand is resting on Derrick’s crotch. Messaging his pecker over his jeans. Precious smells like she’s had a long night already. She has the lingering odor of recent tricks.

Vito looks into the rearview mirror and sees the sexy scene going on in the back and says, "Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about! Give it to her!"

I’m a little drunk. Had a couple of beers. Don’t know what’s going on. Don’t know how to stop it. Don’t know if I want to stop it. Vito parks the car in a dark alley, and I am taken with a great and all-consuming panic.

Vito takes the key from the ignition and says, "All right, Erv goes first. Everybody else get out."

Manny turns his head and offers a large smile. "Good luck," he says. "Don’t catch anything I wouldn’t catch."

"Why can’t I go first?" Derrick wonders, climbing out of the car.

I stare ahead, focusing on the large fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror. Wondering What’s going on here? Also, silently panicking. I, of the clean penis and strong anti-sex-with-hookers mantra, am about to engage in unseemly acts with a professional-type lady of the night whose fingers smell like the cock and balls of fifty questionable men.

Vito, Manny, and Derrick fire up a joint and smoke up while leaning back against the car. They allow me my privacy. My friends seem to have forgotten that I didn’t want any part of this madness. I was the one who protested. Yet here I am. Alone with Precious. Precious is still a teenager. She’s possibly the same age as me, possibly younger. Too young to be in this line of work. Old enough to know how to grind.

"My nuh-nuh-name is Ervin," I say, with no small amount of difficulty.

"That’s great," she says. "But not really important, Erwin, unless you wanna be my boyfriend or something."

"That’s okay," I say.

She’s straddling me. Facing me. Her pleated skirt pulled up. Her sheer panties on the floor. I’m still fully dressed. She lifts off her tight shirt and presses her tits against my face. Precious wears too much makeup, I'm guessing to cover her obvious acne problem. Her breasts are large and soft. I should know because I’m practically eating them. I’m also about to pass out from lack of oxygen. Mercifully, she pulls her tits away from my face. She pushes me down on the backseat and unzips my pants. I like that she’s not as ostentatious as the other streetwalkers I saw tonight. Her outfit is somewhat demure in that it covers all of her dirty parts. At least it did until about a minute ago. She’s now mostly naked, just wearing the short skirt and black high heels, and trying to pry me from my clothes.

"I’m not sure about this," I say. "I mean, I don’t know anything about you."

"I fuck for money," she says succinctly.

As she slides my pants and underwear down, fear gets the better of me. Outright panic. My erection fades fast. Like a tire losing air. Precious places the deflating member in her mouth, performing sexual CPR. Sucking, stroking, squeezing. Nothing. I am limp and I am going to stay limp. This is not working for me. I don’t want my first time to be with this girl, that much I know. Still, an erection might make this moment less embarrassing. Even a partial erection might lesson the ego-crusher I’m about to experience. I think Please don’t let this hooker laugh at me.

"I’m sorry. This isn’t going to happen," I say, looking down at her and the sad little shiny thing in her hand. I’m ashamed, and relieved.

"Whatever, I’m still charging you," she says, wiping her mouth. "Send in the next faggot."

I pull up my pants, while repeatedly telling her that I’m sorry.

"You know what your problem is, hon?" Precious asks.

"What?" I ask. She has my full attention. Maybe this young prostitute has all the answers. Maybe she will help me. Guide me. Show me the way. Turn me into the great stud I'm destined to become.

"You’re the kind of dude who needs to be in love. You can’t just go out and fuck some girl you don’t got no feelings for. Find yourself a sweet little high school girl and get some high school nookie. Hookers ain’t for you. Sorry, kid, hate to break this to you but you ain’t no stud. Now send in the Italian kid. I’ll bet he’s got the best shot at getting it up."

I smile and tell her thanks. My days dreaming of being a stud are over. I am what I am. I’m a relationship guy, not a fuck-and-run guy. At least she didn’t make fun of me. Well, not directly, anyway. She didn’t call me names. I won’t be scarred for life from this. Just for a day or two.

As I climb about of the car, Vito climbs in. "Hope you got her warmed up for me. I’m gonna fuck this bitch silly."

The door closes and Manny squeezes my shoulder. "How was it?"

"It was okay," I say.

"You didn’t do it, did you?"

"No, not really. I was going to. Honest. You should’ve seen the boner I had. But I’m saving myself for someone special. Or, you know, Prom."

Manny laughs. "You lying shit."

Precious begins to scream. Manny looks at me and mouths Holy shit.

Derrick says, "What’s he killing her or something?"

The three of us take a quick glance. Precious is on all-fours on the backseat. Her face pressed against the side window. Vito fucking her from behind. Pulling her hair. He’s pounding her like he’s holding a grudge.

Precious moans, "Oh shit, baby, that fucking hurts! Fuck yeah!"

Vito says, "You better believe it does!"

We turn away from the car and let Vito have his privacy. None of us wander too far from the car, in case we have to make a speedy getaway. We are in Camden, after all. People are murdered in Camden frequently. And four non-black kids from the suburbs cavorting with a hooker in a dark alley are prime candidates for some of that nasty murdering business. I do not want to be murdered. I don't want to die, not yet, not until after Batman comes out next summer, at the earliest.

Vito and Precious climb out of the car after ten minutes of hard screwing. Vito is grinning. Precious does not look well. She’s wobbly. Her makeup is smeared. Her eyes are damp and bloodshot. Her hair is a mess. Strangely, she doesn’t appear unhappy about what just took place. She’s showing a hint of a smile.

"That’s it," she says. "I’m done fucking. The Italian guy wore out my pussy and I need a rest."

Vito smiles proudly. "You hear that? I wore that pussy out."

Derrick says, "Shit, what about my turn?"

"You still need to learn a thing or two about how to fuck a girl," Precious says to Vito. "You may have a big dick, but ramming it in me like a fucking city worker trying to put a hole in the street ain’t proper form."

"Do you need a ride?" Vito asks Precious.

She applies a layer of blood red lipstick and says, "Nah, I’ll walk. You boys have a good night."

I wave and say, "You too, Precious."

A minute later, we’re back in the car, looking for an honest drug dealer. The drug dealers inhabit nearly every corner, so we can be choosey. We’re looking for a trustworthy rock-slinger. A decent businessman.

"Fuck!" Vito shouts. "That fucking slut took my wallet!"

Derrick says, "Shit! Mine, too!"

I don’t carry a wallet, but the three twenties I had in my pocket are gone.

"My wallet is safe," Manny says. "But I only have six dollars left. That’s not going to be enough to get us any coke."

Vito wipes sweat from his forehead, then says, "I can’t believe that hooker ripped us off."

"Really?" I ask. "You have trouble believing a hooker would steal our money, Vito? I find it quite believable."

"Shut up, Erv," Derrick says. "At least you got laid. I didn’t get any pussy, and now I don’t have no money, either."

"I didn’t do anything with her," I say. "I couldn’t."

Nearly a minute of silence passes before Manny smiles, looks at me, and says, "Maybe we should’ve gotten you a male prostitute, you limp-dicked faggot."

Vito and Derrick laugh, and quickly all three of my friends are laughing boisterously at my expense. I smile, take it like a man.

We drive home. We didn’t get the drugs we had planned on getting, but still, we’re laughing and having fun in the car. Manny suggests we go back to his place and play video games. We all agree that that’s a great idea. I want to play video games and forget that I’m growing up. I want to forget about hookers and drugs. I want to play Pitfall and Spy Hunter and pretend that I’m ten again. Recently, I've felt like I've been living someone else's life.

What happened to my life?

Where have I gone?