Thing is, I didn’t do drugs. Stimulants, okay: caffeine, booze. But not one bong hit or acid tab or peyote button; never once did I geez or trip or snort Bolivian marching powder. You’d never find me pulling a Leo DiCaprio circa Basketball Diaries, ballsy Leo eradicating his heartthrob image giving mouth-whoopee in a grotty pay toilet for a taste of the white rock. Or that scene in Trainspotting — Ewan McGregor shitting in a bucket and screaming bug-eyed as a freak-o plastic baby crawled across the ceiling — it mesmerized me because I could draw no correlation to my own life. I may as well have been watching two bulb-headed aliens screw; that would’ve left me with the same disassociated outerspace feeling, as if a metal plate in my skull were pulling in video signals from another planet.
Why didn’t I get into them? Nancy Reagan had nothing to do with it; the barrel of that particular dogmatic revolver wasn’t aimed at my generation.
The more likely truth is, I’m the sort of asshole who gets stuck in ruts.
Take this example: my father came home after a hard day at the drill press with his hair
stinking of burnt steel, grabbed barley pops from the Amana and, because he wasn’t in the mood to drink alone, and since I was sixteen with a scraggly beard, handed one off to me. Labatt 50: coal miner’s beer. Bluest of blue-collar brands. So I’m thirty-one, work in a cube and still drink it.
What I’m saying is, it was a matter of circumstance. If my Dad had come home from the carnival’s Pop-A-Shot booth and split a joint with me, I’m sure I’d be sparking spliffs and tripping to the psychedelic cover art of a Molly Hatchet album these days.
All told, I’m pretty damn fortunate.
Which made my situation two months ago all the more implausible. I found myself in the bathroom of my shitty efficiency with a needle jutting out of my sun-starved ass. It was full of yellow fluid that could’ve been rendered hog fat or vitamin-rich piss but was in actuality a cocktail of testosterone ethenate and Equipoise.
I hit the plunger. Three cc’s of dubious-quality narcotics saturated my fatty tissues. Sweaty and tweaked out, I wandered my kitchen wondering if I’d die. What a treat I’d make for the boys in blue who found me: rigid and pasty with my skivs wadded ’round my ankles and a ginormous honkin’ needle flagpoled from my keister.
Can you envision a more ignoble death?
Remember “The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac,” the one-page comic book ad for those Charles Atlas Isotonic exercise courses? It starred Mac, the ninety-seven-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face at the beach.
Bully: Listen here, I’d smash your face, only you’re so skinny you might dry up and blow away!
Mac: The big bully! I’ll get even someday!
Girl: Oh, don’t let it bother you, little boy.
Mac: Darn it!
Well, I was sick and tired of being a scarecrow, same as Mac. And while I wasn’t going to run around the gym decking guys — “Here’s something I owe you!” — nor did I wish to be cowed in any man’s presence anymore.
Unlike Mac, I wasn’t a believer in an isotonic exercise regimen.
I am now halfway through my rookie steroid cycle. I’m
on a dog’s breakfast of pills and injectibles. Testosterone levels: off the charts.
But I’ve got . . . tits.
Soft, sorta floppy. Left one a touch bigger than the right. Tits. A pendulous set of man-cans. I bought a bunch of tight, white undershirts to flatten them down: girdles for the bosomy gent.
Most alarmingly, of course, are my nuts. What nuts? I’m considering hiring a crisis negotiator to talk them down from my abdominal wall, where I assume they’ve retreated. Atrophied so badly, they’re two BB’s from a kid’s Red Ryder gun rattling around in there.
You know how amputees suffer from phantom-limb syndrome? I’m plagued by phantom-testicle syndrome — every so often I’ll reach between my legs searching for those apricot-sized lumps only to find nothing. I’ll be rooting around, gasping, freaked out and thinking that like a vestigial tail they’ve shriveled away. Only once I’ve located a token raisin through that wrinkled turkey wattle am I able to breathe again.
Why keep it up, you ask? I told you: I’m the sort of asshole who gets stuck in ruts.
Here’s another reason: the juice works.
I’m pulling off stuff I never thought myself capable of. It is in-sane. Benching my own weight plus, repping leg presses until the hydrostatic pressure gets so intense it feels as if my skull will rip apart like a birthday piñata. Sometimes I’m so racked and stacked I feel like if Superman stepped from the pages of some dusty comic book and saw me pulling reps he’d say, “Mighty Jor-El’s beard, that dude is jacked the fuck up.” And me, I’d give him a gimlet-eyed grin and say, “You got that straight, motherfucker. Now how’s about you fly around the world and turn back time to the instant before you pissed your fruity tights at the sight of my ripped awesomeness.”
I recall reading a story about a scientist who invents a drug that stimulates the primal desire cortex of the brain. Not talking boner pills: this drug revved up that bundle of grey cells where all lusts take root. Do I need to tell you the story ends badly? He takes a hit of his own stuff, and goes utterly sex-bonkers: he fucks a chick, another chick and a dude, all in the space of an hour, then fucks his way down the evolutionary ladder. He screws a dog — just wanted a warm hole — then a knothole in a maple tree, and by the end he was rubbing his dick over a brick wall, stark raving mad, rubbing and rubbing like a bored kid reducing his pencil eraser to pink shreds on his school desk, until there was a big red smear on the brickwork and his hipbone showed.
I read it as a teenager, and even then,
horny little bugger that I was, failed to relate to the scientist character.
But now I’m tuning into his wavelength.
Fifteen times the normal level of testosterone pumping through my veins to play havoc with my libido. The cravings of fifteen men trapped in one lust-bloated, musclebound vessel: moi. Something’s got to give — in my case, it’s got to give four or five times a day. That, or else I’m gonna start biting the heads off kittens.
I’m turned on by anything. The slightest stimulus, no matter how bizarre, has me unzipping my fly and flopping the old warhorse out.
I cannot emphasize the anything part quite enough. I’m jerking off to stuff that has me questioning my sanity. The huge tanned she-bears at my gym: all those lovelies earn a whack. Corpse-white models on a website called Gothic Freaks, so skinny they may once have resided on the Island of the Bone People.
I’m this infant who’s discovered the pleasure principle, and I’m touching myself with that same infantile lack of restraint. I’m in the gym washroom choking it, fantasizing about all that trim ass-candy aerobacizing on the other side of the washroom wall. I’m shooting pocket pool while buying fresh packs of man-girdles at the mall. Christ, I’m ogling streaming pornos — The Naughty Nuns of St. Neverlaid a personal fave — on my office computer, flexing my stone-hard cock against the underside of the particleboard desk.
I’m a mess of mass, muscle and ungoverned libido. The cliff’s within sight, and I’ll be pitching myself over that fucker before long.
I don’t have a girlfriend.
Not that those who’ve read this far should find that in any way surprising.
There is, however, a lady whose phone number I have in my possession. This lady doesn’t take offense at late-afternoon calls inquiring about her evening availability: unlike the maitre de at the city’s upscale eateries, she won’t laugh me off the line. Her name is Clarise, and, not to put too fine a point on the matter, she’s a horndog. We horndogs can smell our own.
I extended the invitation to dine at my place. Why not,
she said, if I’d spring for the cab. She showed up in blue jeans with moth-eaten knees and a rocker tee some ex must’ve bequeathed to her. No makeup; one step shy of hair curlers and a cold-cream mask in terms of presentation. Fact was, she still looked tremendous. I knew why she’d done it: a not-so-subtle signal that I wasn’t worth getting dolled up for. An old, not particularly memorable notch in the bedpost that tonight would get grooved a little deeper. And sure, I felt much the same way — still, I’d dressed up, splashed on cologne, ordered in not-bad Thai . . . was it too much to expect she make a token effort, if only for the sake of the mood?
“You look different,” she said, kicking off her sneakers.
I flexed slyly, man-bosoms held in check by an extra-thick ribbed tee. “Better?”
“What’s cooking? Smells good.”
We plowed through two bottles of wine with dinner. Clarise drank the only way I’d ever known her to: as if to obliterate the part of her that might raise a red flag over what came next.
We were both well greased when I got up to fill our wine glasses, giving Clarise a good view of my hind end.
She said, teasingly, “Nice bum, where you from?”
I took this as an offer to sexy up the proceedings. Unable to come up with a risque couplet — Nice tits, stick around for a bit? — I bared my teeth and said,
“Clarise, I’d like to eat your ass with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Her face registered a deep-seated distaste. “How debonair.”
I didn’t get it. To me, both what she’d said and my reply fell under the wide umbrella of titillation. But clearly she felt her comment — a throwaway appraisal of my buttocks — was playful, while mine — a boldly expressed wish to make a meal of her ass — was crass.
Women. I honestly did not understand them. With my mechanically inclined disposition, the only way I could comprehend anything was by ripping it apart to see what made it tick. And since I can’t do that to a woman to peek at her cogs and springs and gears, I shall be forever mystified.
We ended up in the bedroom. This conclusion was foregone the minute she walked in the door.
It was awkward. The dance steps needed to be re-coordinated to accommodate my new dimensions. She hadn’t bothered to shave her legs, and I didn’t like the way her hands roamed over me: invasive and curious, like I was a giant jelly-stuffed pastry she was keen on consuming. I let her marvel upon my blood-pumped biceps and the cobra’s-hood flare of my back, and when I felt she’d been suitably awed, I flopped my shrunken unit out of my skivs like some anorexic jack-in-the-box: in this, my thinking had been no different than a father who took his daughter to an ice-cream parlor and waited until she’d worked halfway through a hot-fudge sundae to inform her that Checkers, the pet guinea pig, had died in a heating vent. Clarise studied my cock with the sort of skepticism she might’ve given a butcher she suspected of putting his thumb on the scale. She rested her head on me, hair fanned out over my chest — it smelled of bar smoke — and gripped it in one hand: one hand being all it took. She made a puzzled noise, the sort of vaguely dissatisfied sound one might make were they to return to their childhood home to discover that what once had seemed so regal and imposing now, from an adult’s vantage, was actually quite measly.
I took her into the bathroom and bent her over the sink. I wanted to see her in the mirror. Check that: wanted to see myself. I knelt on the tiles and made a token effort at stimulating her, hoping to set the wildcat loose, replacing the sad-clown act she’d offered up thus far, but it was a punch-clock effort on my behalf, the standard slap-and-tickle minus the tickle. Yet I still held out hope that my trencherman effort might at least inspire an ounce of gratitude, when she sighed in exasperation and said:
“My sweet spot is three inches from where you’re planted. Might as well be licking my kneecap.” A lesser man would’ve wilted, but with my current testosterone surplus I could withstand the emasculations of fifteen hale men. I flogged my cock with grim resolve, coaxing and cajoling myself as a drill-sergeant’s voice in my head shouted:
Come now, laddie buck, bash that truant bishop of yours! Get it fighting trim!
Give it what-for! Where’s your gumption, boy? Fortune favors the brave!
By the time I’d whipped my cock into something resembling a hard-on — It’ll do in a fishwife’s pinch, lad; now go mash that foxhole! — Clarise was off in cloud cuckoo land, deep in a reverie I couldn’t touch and spouting the perfunctory entreaties that might get it over with — “Oh, yeah, baby. Harder. You know the way I dig it . . . ” — and the fact that there was nothing between us left me regretful on some faraway level, so I concentrated on our reflections and noticed our breasts were . . . flopping at the same pace, hers bigger and properly feminine, mine the misshapen dugs of some Ethiopian famine mother, and I got a real sense of myself for the first time in months, and it sickened me: pasty and fluid-puffed, I resembled nothing so much as a swine-creature who’d escaped the Island of Doctor Moreau, and the sight was turning me soft so I slapped Clarise’s ass pretty damn hard, leaving an angry handprint, and she hissed through clenched teeth and said,
“Has something happened to your dick?”
“What the hell are you moaning about?”
“It’s smaller than I remember.”
“You . . . bitch. Ever consider the fact your fanny’s gotten bigger?”
I’d already slipped out of her. My cock hung limp as a terrier-chewed rag between my thighs. “I gotta take a dump,” I told her. “You can watch, if you want.”
She dialed a cab. Through the open bathroom door I saw her sitting on the bed’s edge pulling her jeans on. She was talking to herself.
“Why? Why do you do it? What compels you?”
“You’re filled with self-loathing? Well, hop on the train, sister! Whoo-whoo!”
She rested her skull in cupped palms and said, “I used to think you had potential as a human being. Really, I did.”
She waited at the front door until a cab pulled into the drive, then sprinted out to meet it.
“Call you tomorrow?” I called down from the bedroom window.
“Don’t ever call me again, tits.”
I wanted to throw something, but my clock radio was on the other side of the room and besides, she was already gone.
I stalked back to the bathroom and pulled out my kit and filled a syringe and sunk it into my ass and depressed the plunger without aspirating. My heart rate didn’t spike. The gym was closed so I headed to the basement, grabbed a rough beam and did chin-ups buck naked. The beam was rough-hewn and splinters pierced my palms, but I ignored the pain and kept at it, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two until a shard of wood drove under a fingernail and I yelped.
I saw it there, a tiny dark wedge speared deep under the nail, touching that half-moon of white skin at the base — the lunula, is what that white crescent is called.
Pretty word, that. Lunula.
I stood in the light of the basement’s sixty-watter sucking my finger and wondering why I’d done it, all of it, and why I’d continue to do it. The question pinballed around my grey matter for awhile before the answer spat out.
Because I’m the sort of asshole who gets stuck in ruts.
You got a problem with that?
Come find me, then. We’ll talk. n°
©2007 Craig Davidson and Nerve.com.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR:|
|Craig Davidson is a writer living in Calgary after a stint in Iowa. His novel, The
Fighter, will be released this month from Soho Press. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.