Fiction

Priapism

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 FICTION
Priapism

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The man has an erection and the woman is locked in the bathroom. The children are downstairs playing with toys. The dog is in the yard. The back door has been left open and the light in the hallway is on and so is the television in the living room. There is a roast in the oven. The kitchen table is set.
     The man loses his erection. The woman emerges from the bathroom. She is clothed.
     It’s gone away.
     I was in the bathroom.
     What were you doing in there?
     I was doing what I do in there.
     That again.
     What’s gone away?

promotion

The man has something that looks like an erection but doesn’t feel like an erection. It doesn’t feel like anything. It feels like it belongs to someone else. It is someone else’s erection. The woman is locked in the bathroom. The children are playing with the dog in the yard. There is a new pool out there. The children and the dog are swimming and throwing balls around for each other to retrieve. The back door has been left open. The light in the hallway is on and so is the television in the living room. There is a roast in the oven. The kitchen table is set.
     The man knocks on the bathroom door.
     I have an erection.
     What? I am in the bathroom.
     When are you coming out?
     Do you need to use the bathroom?
     Why can’t you hear me?
     I’m drying my hair.
     You’re what?
     I’m in the bathroom drying my hair.
     I thought it was something else.
     What did you say?
     I have someone else’s erection out here.

The man has an erection. He has one. There is nothing noteworthy about the erection. It’s his. The woman is locked in the bathroom. There’s no telling what she’s doing in there. She is always in there and no one knows what she

The man hides his erection under his shirt.

does. There are no children downstairs playing with toys. The man and woman are barren. They tried this position and that one, mornings with her on top, evenings with them sideways, boxers, vitamins, supplements, acupuncture, appointments, specialists, tests. They sought second and third opinions. The dog is in the yard. The back door has been left open. The light is on in the hallway but not the television in the living room. The house is quiet. There is nothing in the oven. The kitchen table is not set.
     The man studies his erection. He assigns it a six on a ten-point scale. It is purple and angry but leans left toward pathetic. The woman comes from the bathroom naked except for a towel wrapped round her head.
     Is dinner almost ready?
     I think so.
     I’m not even that hungry.
     Neither am I.
     I’ll go check then.

The man has an erection. He has one and there is no reason for it. The woman is locked in the bathroom. The lock is new. The woman had a locksmith over and he put a lock on. The man came home one day to a new lock on the bathroom door. There is a roast in the oven. The man bought the roast at the supermarket and not the butcher’s. The man and butcher had a consultation this time last year. The butcher bled the man’s nose in front of two old ladies and a brisket. This is what happened. The woman read an article in a magazine concerning protein and sperm count. The man was not to eat meat for two months. The butcher misunderstood the man, what he’d said regarding meat and sperm count. Then the consultation. The light is on in the hallway and so is the television in the living room. The kitchen table is set.
     The man hides his erection under his shirt. The woman comes from the bathroom without clothes.
     What is this?
     I’m ready.
     You checked yourself?
     I’m ripe.
     You did the thing with the thing?

He wants to paint it different colors, colors an Indian chief would wear during battle.

     Stay right there.
     I shall.
     Whose is this?

The man has an erection, but barely. There is not much this erection could be expected to do. It resembles a magazine that fell into the bath and died there. The woman is locked in the bathroom. Before, one could walk in on another in the middle of anything, in the middle of functions. This only happened once or twice, but it happened. The dog was put down last year. The dog was old and had to be put down.
     The man knocks on the bathroom door.
     Will you come out of there already?
     I don’t appreciate this.
     What don’t you appreciate?
     This.
    The man has an erection. This is his compass erection. This is the one that can take an eye out at twenty paces. There is no reason for this one to come along now. No magazine, no denied proteins, no minerals, no prolonged abstinence could explain this erection. The woman is locked in the bathroom. She is in there. The back door has been left open. The children are in the pool swimming and playing ball. The roast is burning in the oven. The kitchen table is set.
     The man contemplates his erection. He wants to paint it different colors, colors an Indian chief would wear during battle. The woman emerges from the bathroom wearing a nightgown.
     Where is the dog?
     In the yard?
     Are you asking me or telling me?
     The dog is in the yard.
     Is dinner almost ready?
     Dinner.

The man has an erection. The one you wake up in the middle of the night with. This is the erection that’s useless. The erection that also has to urinate and good luck in there with that. The woman is locked in the bathroom. She might be painting it some too brilliant color. There are stirrers, brushes, and rollers splayed about and the smell of paint coming from the bathroom. It smells like a mistake. The dog is eating what’s left of the roast in the yard. He jumped onto the table and snatched it away. He is good at this. The back door is left wide open. The children are out back watching the dog eat what’s left of the roast though they are thought to be downstairs.
     The man is toying with his erection. The woman comes from the bathroom wearing a leather corset and sailor’s cap.
     Is that for me?
     Aye, captain.
     They proceed in orderly fashion.

The man has an erection. The woman is locked in the bathroom. The light is on in the hallway. The television is on in the

They tried pornography, protein, lingerie, herbs, surrogates, specialists, strings.

living room. The oven is on and the back door is left open. This time last year the man and woman had a consultation over the electric bill, over the locksmith and over the paint. Everything was always on or open or locked or foul and the man blamed the woman for this. He threatened to bleed her nose in front of the children and dog.
     The man flaunts his erection. The woman comes from the bathroom in a terrycloth robe and regards the man.
     What are you doing?
     I’m not sure.

     The man does not have an erection. He is impotent. He has been impotent for years. They tried pornography, protein, lingerie, herbs, surrogates, specialists, strings. They sought second and third opinions. The woman is locked in the bathroom. There is no dog or yard or back door left open. No roast. The kitchen table is not set.
     The man looks at the bathroom door but says nothing. He has a string wrapped round his penis. The woman emerges from the bathroom wearing nothing.
     What are you doing here?
     Waiting for you.
     How long have you been waiting?
     It’s the strangest thing.
     What is?
     Did you put this on me?

The man has an erection. The woman is locked in the bathroom. The kitchen table is covered with electric bills and receipts but is not set for dinner or anything else. There is nothing in the oven. The dog is dogging his way through the darkened hallway and the rest of his natural born life. The children are sinking in the backyard pool. Everything else is almost ready.
     The man ignores his erection. The woman comes from the bathroom without a towel or robe. The man and woman look at each other like butchers look at locksmiths.
     They tangle.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert Lopez‘s fiction has been published in BOMB, New England Review, The Barcelona Review, 5_Trope, Taint and many other print and online journals. He teaches an experimental fiction workshop at The New School.

©2005 Robert Lopez and Nerve.com