Up on deck for a smoke break, we’d taken up the topic of aggression between brothers. It was the four of us: Birnauer, Hampton, Foster and I. A homely bunch of E-1s off the coast of Crete, our first Med cruise. The talk was charged with the heat of masculine competition. To have suffered the most under a brother was to have an edge on the others. Plus, we’d decided to make it interesting. Whoever won, we’d buy him drinks the whole time on the island. It had been decided, for no particular reason, that I should go first.
“My brother had access to sausage,” I said. “Not patties but links. He worked in an Italian place. He’d bring home great long hoses of meat.”
“What I wouldn’t give for some sausage,” said Hampton.
“Fry it up in a big black skillet,” dreamed Foster. “Poke it with a fork.”
“My brother would wait till I was asleep,” I went on. “Asleep or passed out drunk. He’d sneak into my room with a foot’s length of sausage and prod with it
at my face. He’d talk to me the whole time. ‘Won’t you nibble on it? Little love bite? Lick the tip. Just lick the tip, that’s all I ask.’ I’d wake up with splotches of grease all over my cheeks and chin. I’d stink of paprika all day long. One drunk night, I took the sausage from him and clasped it to me fiercely. I held it like a teddy bear. He had to get pictures. He made duplicates, put the shots in everyone’s locker at school. Even my girlfriend’s. She could never look at me again.”
“That’s awful,” Hampton said.
“That’s nothing,” said Foster. “My brother hit 12 and went crazy for jerking off. He’d take hour-long showers and jerk it three or four times. He was a regular jizz factory. You could never get it all out of the tub. He’d clog up the drain with it. I’d find little rubbery filaments of his spunk all over my ankles.”
“I never went in for doing it in the shower,” I said.
“Oh I did,” Hampton said. “Still do. Bet I’ve used more Pert on my cock than my head.”
“One time,” Foster was saying, “I had to get in there. Had to brush my teeth. I had a date. I picked the bathroom lock with a coathanger. He knew I was in there. Didn’t care. The whole time in the mirror, I could see his silhouette through the curtain. Oh, he was working it. Milking it. Talking to himself the whole damn time: ‘Getting close now. Getting close! Getting close!’ He was keeping me up on his progress. By the time I’d rinsed and
spit, he was saying, ‘That was a nice one. That wasn’t too bad.’ Out on my date, I couldn’t think about anything else.”
“That’s awful,” I said. I knew I was out of the running.
“That’s nothing,” said Hampton. “My brother’s cock is enormous. Got me by a good two inches, at least. I’m talking length and girth. Two years younger than me, walking around with the stuff of legend up under his Wranglers. From the time I got to where I knew how important your cock is, I knew what it was like to feel inferior because of my own. I understood how impressive his cock was before he did, and all I could do was envy the thrill he’d feel on finding out
“Hard to believe there was a time in my life,” Foster said, “I thought the thing was only for pissing.”
“I get to where I think the pissing mechanism’s only incidental,” I said. “That just doesn’t seem like the main work it’s intended for, you know?”
“Situation similar to yours,” Hampton said, indicating Foster with a nod. “Only worse. He was in the bathroom, I needed in. Only he didn’t have the door locked. I just walked on in. He was stark naked in front of the mirror with that monster in his hand. He wasn’t even hard. He just had it in his hand. He was flapping it, seeing how far up and down it’d swing. I got in there and he
turned so he could show me. ‘That’s where it is,’ he told me. ‘That’s where it is, and all Hawkinsville knows it.’ It was like one of them snake handlers over in Alabama. I just turned and ran.”
That one gave us pause. Hampton stood back with a smug look of achievement. “That’ll be hard to beat,” I said at last.
“That’s awful,” Foster agreed.
“That’s nothing.” Birnauer, whose idea this had all been in the first place, sucked his Winston to the filter and threw it overboard. He threw it like he was throwing a dart, like he had to aim at what he hoped to hit. Then he shook another from his pack and fired up. “Lemme tell y’all what I dreamed the other night,” he said. He gave us each a look. “I dreamed I fucked my brother. He had a pussy, and balls too. I took him from behind, like dogs. Like I used to take my girlfriend, the one in Charleston. He made serious grunts and kept his eyes closed. He had a frown of pleasure on his face. He needed a shave and his skin wasn’t so hot. Little breakouts here and there. When I came, I woke up, and goddamn it all if I hadn’t soiled the sheets and jizzed in my shorts. And I’m not even queer. I don’t know if I’ll ever talk to him again. I’ve barely been able to eat for three days.”
None of us had looked him in the eye while he was talking. None of us was looking at him now.
Then Hampton piped up. He knew it was over, but he wasn’t going down without a fight. “You ain’t sticking by the rules. Your brother ain’t done nothing to you. That’s all in your mind. That’s something you done to yourself. That’s another contest. That ain’t the game we was playing.”
But we weren’t the kind of guys to make much of technicalities. I made a move to go back below deck, and I was glad to have lost.