Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
JBob and I had always joked about how our dorm was really a sanitarium. We even blasted the Metallica song of the same name, every night after study hall. Aside from our former roommates, and the poster child for safe sex that was Roadkill, there was no shortage of weirdos in our dorm. Right around the time that Denton was getting kicked out of the school, someone began shitting in the showers. It started on the third floor, prompting an all-floor meeting about sanitary conditions. A week later, there was an incident on the first floor. Then the second. And, eventually, even our own floor was hit. After four weeks of terror at the hands...or...ass of the Phantom Shitter, a few of the hockey jocks set up a sting operation, and a kid named Jaleel Johnson was caught dropping a deuce during a late night shower session. He was put on Disciplinary Probation for a semester, and the shitting ceased.
Shortly after his probationary status was up, the third floor was besieged by an even more terrible odor than was usual for a floor full of adolescent jocks. When a floor parent discovered that someone had shit in the communal trashcan, an all-dorm meeting was held. It didn't take long before the finger was pointed at Jaleel. "I mean, come on." David said. "The guy shits for fun. As soon as he is no longer in danger of getting kicked out of school, he starts shitting again."
"I swear, guys," Jaleel said, "it wasn't me. I mean, shitting is the shower is funny, but shitting in the garbage can is just gross."
The Second Phantom Shitter was never publicly outed, but during his free second period, screams could be heard from Jaleel's bedroom. After a few minutes, a couple of the hockey jocks came out of his room, laughing. Jaleel showed up at the dining hall that afternoon in a hat. His prodigious afro had been shaved off. From then on, all shit was directed into toilet bowls.
The hockey jock alpha male was a hick named Francis White. He was six feet tall, and two hundred and forty pounds of mostly muscle. In addition to putting the hit out on Jaleel's hair, he was commonly believed to be the mastermind behind the Charlie Denton kleptomania outing, and was rumored to be the Master of Ceremonies for a weekly gathering of hockey players that involved a game called Dirty Nachos.
"Dirty what?" I asked JBob, when he first told me about the meetings.
"Dirty Nachos." He said. "Basically, a bunch of the teammates get together in Francis's room the night after a game. They all whip out their cocks, and start jerking off onto a pile of nachos. Whoever finishes last, has to eat them."
"That. That. That is THE most disgusting thing I've ever heard."
JBob laughed. "Now you know why I don't play hockey."
"I thought you didn't play hockey because you were too short."
JBob was, in fact, five foot two. Some of the hockey jocks joked that JBob hadn't hit puberty yet, but as his roommate, I can attest that if he hadn't yet reached adolescence, then he was the hairiest prepubescent boy in the history of the human race. He had hands like mittens, and otter legs. Jonathan Fletcher Tork the Fourth started referring to JBob as ALF, after the popular alien TV star of our childhood. One weekend, my parents drove me home for a doctor's appointment and to announce the dissolution of their marriage. While I was there, I picked up the stuffed ALF doll that my grandmother had given me when I was in the fourth grade. While JBob was away at class, I put one of his hats on the ALF, and left it on his bed. When I got back from my own class, I found the ALF doll, still with JBob's hat on, hanging by the neck from a water pipe, with a handwritten note taped to his chest that said "You're next."
To make up for the prank, I bought him dinner from the best sub place that delivered to campus. "Mmmmm, turkey and bacon." JBob said, as he devoured his sub. "All is forgiven."
The next weekend, JBob's girlfriend visited from New York. I gave them as much space as I could, spending most of my day either at the library, or down in the basement watching cartoons. When she left, she gave JBob a quick peck on the cheek and said "Later Juicy."
"Juicy?" I asked.
"Yea." She said. "What do you think JBob stands for?"
I had no idea. I thought it was just his name.
"Juicy Buckets of Bacon."
My spleen burst.
"His real name is James."
"I swear to God," JBob said, "if you tell anyone, I will kill you in your sleep."
I didn't tell very many people. But when I was feeling frisky, I'd often poke him in the stomach and say "Juicy!"
He didn't kill me very much.
Though the two of us survived the year, both as friends and roommates, we decided to try our luck with incoming juniors the next year. Both our roommates ended up being slightly annoying, but not nearly as bad as Yao Wen or Denton. Still, my roommate got homesick halfway through the fall trimester, and moved back to Germany, and JBob's roommate moved to the other campus to be closer to the stoners he hung out with. We, briefly, entertained the idea of rooming together our Senior Year, but ended up tempting the fates of the admissions office. JBob roomed with a Korean student who spent most of his non-class time swimming and making lame jokes. My roommate was a Saudi Arabian with a serious addiction to masturbation. I'd walked in on him at least four times, and several of our floormates had caught him, too, so I asked if he minded moving down the hall to one of the singles. He didn't mind. This gave me all the time in the world to indulge my own masturbation addiction, without the fear of getting caught (I knew when to lock the door). I was in the midst of one of these sessions when the sophomore across the hall came knocking on my door.
I think JBob was the one who nicknamed my across the hall neighbor, Fledge. "He's a You in training. A little fledgling Adam." He'd said. "He has the same obnoxious laugh, he makes the same weird noises, and he tells the same stupid jokes you used to tell when we were roommates." He was right on every count.
In addition to his warped sense of humor, Fledge was a sci fi fan, and an aspiring writer. Once a week or so, he'd stop by my room, or invite me into his, to talk about ideas he was working on, or to tell me his latest terrible joke. The night he nearly interrupted my masturbation session, I pretended to not be in the room. He made some buzzing sounds, and a few beeps to indicate his displeasure at me not answering the door. I was determined to finish what I'd started. The problem was, that I had started the fantasy thinking of some non-descript, well-rounded ass. There was no one in particular attached to it, it was just the floating ass of pleasure, designed to please only me. If I'd stopped to examine it, I'd probably notice that it bore a striking resemblance to Kevin Harris's ass or, perhaps Jeremy Burdick's. But I didn't stop. And I didn't notice. But when Fledge started making those noises, the floating ass of pleasure started to expand. Soon, it was attached to a smooth back, with defined shoulderblades. Then there were shoulders, and soon, there was even a head at the end of the torso. Fledge's head. And he was making those noises, and he was doing that thing he did with his face when he was pretending to be deliriously happy. And then...and then...and then I toweled off, and knocked on his door.
"Knocked actually. Were you asleep?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "Kinda. What's up?"
He was. I missed the first few sentences of his conversation because his enormous penis was hanging out of the hole in his boxers. "Uhhh, Fledge?" I said. "You're, uhhh, hanging out."
He looked down where I was looking, and tucked it back in. "Sorry." He said. "It has a mind of its own." And he began talking about a band called Floating ass of pleasure, defined shoulderblades, that deliriously happy face. "You know?"
I told him I did know, though I hadn't paid a single bit of attention to what he said. I knew that, while I had successfully beaten it once already that night, my penis was itching for a rematch.
"And I'm pretty sure I could suck my own dick." Fledge said.
"I mean, I'm still pretty flexible from when I took gymnastics, and, well..." He patted his package. "...you know."
I'd like to think that at any other point in my life, I'd have been smart enough to realize that this incredibly hot, well hung, beautiful guy was hitting on me. And not with a fist, he was hitting on me with a sledgehammer. Unfortunately, having the self-esteem of a chalk stick figure in The Louvre, I thought he was idly bragging, and passed up an opportunity to take the virginity of the first acknowledged guy of my dreams. I was no longer a virgin myself. Well, I was still a virgin in the Christian or the Clinton sense, as none of the two pleasure centers below my waist had ever been in any way entangled with the pleasure center below anyone else's waist. I had, however, exchanged blowjobs with a hot Korean guy the night before he'd graduated, and I'd headed back to Cranberry Lake for the summer. When we were done, he'd gone through the school yearbook, and pointed out all the guys he'd found attractive. "What kind of guys do you like?" He'd asked. And, with a totally straight face, I'd told him I wasn't gay. I don't think ignorance is truly bliss, but denial is certainly amusing.
For the rest of the year, Fledge made easily dozens of suggestive and flirtatious commentary that I dismissed because I was too fat to be attractive, and besides, I wasn't gay, I just jerked off to the thought of guys. I dated women.
I'd used Jennifer as my fake girlfriend during my sophomore year. At the beginning of my junior year, one of those heavyset curly haired girls who always wore just a bit too much makeup, and sang alto in the choir, had developed quite a crush on me. I'd remained my usually oblivious self until she rammed her tongue into my tonsils in the hallway outside the auditorium. Kate and I had what I referred to as a platonic romance. I bought her a stuffed white bear shortly before Christmas break, and occasionally let her kiss me. I didn't kiss her back, but told myself that it wasn't because I was gay, I wasn't interested in her because she was fat.
Just after Christmas break, I was in a school production of Romeo and Juliet. Originally, I'd had the role of Paris, as our director had the idea of casting all black students as Montagues, and all white students as Capulets. When the black Romeo dropped out, the entire show was recast. In the new version, I was to play both Benvolio and Balthasar, with JBob playing Mercutio. The roles suited us, and we spent most of our backstage time swordfighting and making jokes. It was during some of my non-JBob backstage time that I first got to know our stage manager, Beckee.
Beckee liked to play with my sword. The prop. She would rub it and purr every chance she got.
"I think she likes you." JBob said.
"No shit." Even I was not that oblivious.
Of course, the problem was, that I was still not dating Kate. "Yea, but..." JBob said. "Kate is...well, you know, and Beckee is...not Kate."
But Beckee was dating a computer geek named Harold. The unharriest Harold in the known universe. One day, in mid-January, unHarry, Beckee, and I had lunch together in one of the dining halls on the other campus. While unHarry looked on, Beckee kept trying to unbuckle my belt, unbutton my jeans, or unzip my fly. unHarry wasn't the only person watching the little display. My choir teacher, my precalculus teacher, four kids from my psychology class, and the kitchen workers had a front row seat. As did Kate, who stormed out of the dining room. She was waiting for me by my dorm room later that night, "You can have your stupid bear back." She said, shoving it into my hands. And I probably could have explained that I wasn't really interested in Beckee, that she'd been flirting with me, not the other way around. But this was the perfect way for me to deKatify. How macho I was, being dumped by the fat girl because the hot purple haired girl with the big breasts couldn't keep her hands off me. How straight.