short story

TBTS (Throwback Thursday Stories): The 40 Penises of Freshman Year

Today we are throwing it back in a few different ways to a few different places.

Throwback Thursday Stories is a segment I used to do on my blog which, as the name suggests, included a “throwback” story that I posted on Thursdays. (We like to keep it literal over here.)

On top of that, the story I’m posting today was one of the very first I ever had published. The website, In the Powder Room—which unfortunately is no longer active ☹—was actually responsible for both of my first ever publications (the other was about the first time I did a juice cleanse which you can read here) and the friendly editors that helped me prepare my post were the first people to ever make me feel like a real writer.

And on top of that, I figured since school has started back up for a lot of people, why not re-share one of the most—uh, unexpected first days I ever had?

It’s a win win win as far as I’m concerned.

(Except for past Kim, she’s still a little shaken up.)

There I was on the first day of my second semester art class. While completely ashamed of my lack of artistic ability, I was just as determined to improve as I was the previous semester. I walked into room 68 and found a spot near the front just as my teacher clapped her hands together to get our attention.

“We’re going to dive right in this morning. No use wasting any of this precious time. Let’s just keep it loose and have fun today.”

I nodded, smiled, and quickly began to search my bag for my pencil box, silently pondering what we’d be drawing.

As I propped up my drawing pad, a man took the stage my teacher had vacated and I saw him nod to the class before I flipped open the front cover to reveal my first blank page.

Now, the actual fall time of the front cover behind my seat was probably around a second or two, if that, but due to its likeness to a curtain on Broadway, the descent seemed to last a lifetime.

Beginning with its peak height—which completely blocked my view of the stage—the cover fell slowly, carefully revealing what I was sketching inch by inch. First I saw the man’s head. His eyes were gazing away from me, towards the door in the back left corner of the room. Then I saw his chest, now bare, and his arms laden with goosebumps. Then I saw his…WAIT, WHAT?! The cover hit the back of the chair and I sat, stunned and still amongst my classmates, unaware of what to do. I started again with his head, sure I’d had some kind of pornographic stroke. I again moved down his chest and arms until I again found his…

WHAT KIND OF CLASS IS THIS?!

I looked around, desperate to find someone in the same amount of shock. And while I saw a few of my classmates wincing as they sketched, making a conscious effort to keep their eyes up, no one seemed to completely object to our subject.

“If you are uncomfortable, or feel it will use too much of your time, please feel free to draw fig leaves in the place of genitalia. And if the time comes that you do feel comfortable, challenge yourself to complete full body sketches.”

I’m a modest person. I knew the day would never come when I’d find myself adding drop shadows to a stranger’s anaconda, so after class I assigned myself five hours hard research on the anatomy of a fig leaf.

Much to my surprise however, intricate knowledge of this greenery would do me no favors as the parade of peckers continued throughout the semester. I failed to take into account the variety of sizes and shapes that would take the stage, and I neglected to consider the impact the model’s pose would have on the angle at which gravity would…umm…pull.

Not to mention, despite my thorough research, there were times my fig leaves failed to appear, well, leaf-ish. For example, one afternoon I sketched a man that appeared to be squatting on a burning bush, and later that week, I drew a gentleman whose crotch had seemingly sprouted a snowflake.

To make up for the blunders down under, I decided to start drawing the models’ facial features.  I reasoned that if I was forcing my teacher to grade a drawing of a man giving birth to a pineapple, the least I could do was give her a face to sympathize with.

This however, did not go well.

Turns out, if you are as tremendously terrible as I am, a butt chin can look a lot like what is hidden behind a fig leaf, and facial hair can look a lot like what keeps it warm in the winter.

As the semester drew on, it was clear that I was never going improve; however, I did grow more comfortable with being told to stare at a man I’d never met as he pointed both up and down at the same time. I even went back and forth on the idea of taking that next step with my colored pencils, and attempting a schlong sketch. What did I have to lose?

Ultimately however, I talked myself out of it. I concluded that any attempt I made would not only be pitiful, but also insulting. Picture a kid trying to explain a drawing of their family to their teacher in preschool. Now picture me explaining why I’ve added a pre-explosion Hindenburg blimp between the legs of Bob from Torrance to my college professor.

On the upside, I did eventually perfect that fig leaf.

Waiting (A Short Story About My Time in an Underground Drug Ring.)

I make deliveries for my job. No, I’m not a mail carrier, and no, I’m not a hooker. (Although that would make a great dual profession. Just think of all the shameless puns you could make as a hooker dressed as a mail carrier.) My dad owns a machine shop and I’m the runner.  I pick up and deliver aerospace machining parts. Did I just see your jaw drop in awe and jealousy? Thought so.

Right now I’m sitting in a waiting room, waiting—what?!—for a plug gage that we ordered. Valuable information to you. I assume everyone here knows what a plug gage does about as much as everyone remembers high school geometry. Regardless, I’m waiting. I’m sitting in a black leather chair that leans a little too far back and doesn’t have enough padding. Behind me is the staircase I climbed to get here. The weird thing about this particular company is that when you walk into the building, all you see is a table, a telephone and a staircase. The telephone has a note that says “Dial 0 before proceeding upstairs. Don’t hang up.” As you can imagine, the first time I came here I assumed I stepped into a drug ring…

Dial 0 and Jeff, whose actual name is King Pin—whose actual name is probably Marian—will answer the phone and ask you what you’re here for. After stuttering, you tell him you’re here to pick up a gage—which actually means a kilo of cocaine—and he says to come on up.  As you ascend the stairs you start to wonder if this is such a good idea, but before you can rethink it, there’s “Jeff.” He’s wearing a button down shirt with a tie, but you can see his tattoos peeking out on his neck and hands. There is also a scar right below his left eye and three piercings in his chin. He welcomes you and tells you to take a seat. You take a look around the room and see two black leather chairs and start towards them when you hear chatter from a distant end of the room.  With Jeff no longer in sight, you poke your head over the counter to see two women at a desk, laughing as they try to spin black Evian bottles as fast as they can. You smile and think what a nice place to work this must be. They have so much fun here.

Wait.

Those are not Evian bottles.

Those are definitely hand guns.

THEY ARE SPINNING HAND GUNS….AND LAUGHING.

One of them catches your eye and winks, and you cower into one of the “waiting room” chairs. Your knees start to shake and you start daydreaming about your future prison roommate, T/Jay. (It’s a slash, not a dash, GET IT RIGHT, she’ll say.) Jeff emerges with a box and asks you to sign your name on the white sheet attached to the clipboard on the counter. You hesitantly nod and grab the clipboard and attached pen. As you scroll down the page to find the next open signature line, you glance at the names signed in the weeks past. “Dynamo”, “S-Train”, and “Tito G” are the 3 most recent customers, all of whom wrote “your mom” in the “Reason for Visit” column. Tito G even included a sketch of male genetalia in the date column. Classic Tito G.

You sign your name neatly, fill out all the required columns, and hand the clipboard back to Jeff. Jeff then takes you in with his eyes. He looks at your body, your hair, your face, your hands, and you begin to wonder if he’s never going to let you leave.

No, you think. This is your life now. In a few weeks’ time you will forget everything you once knew and you will be sitting across from those girls playing spin the boom stick.

Jeff doesn’t make you stay though, in fact, after a long, horrifying look he thanks you, and tells you to exit the way to entered. You take the box, not daring to shake it whilst still in the building, and hastily make your way down the steps and out the door. You pass a woman on the street walking her dog and you bark at her, you don’t know why, but you don’t care. All you care about is getting back to work, dropping off the smack and driving as far away as fast as you can….

I’m still waiting. Nancy, the nice woman behind the counter, says it’s going to be just a few more minutes. I smile at her and tell her it’s no problem, that I’ve got time, that I’ll keep waiting.

So here I sit.