“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
That little gem comes to us from the fevered mind of gonzo journalism's most celebrated spurious doctor, the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson, and it serves as a rallying cry when things get bizarre and lesser, or less resilient, people abandon hope or the premises. I'm no Dr. Gonzo in the sense of being professionally weird, but I believe I can take most anything in stride, have indeed been privy to, and embroiled in, some seriously advanced weirdness, and was confident for most of my life that I'd seen, if not “it all,” then enough of it to have a rough idea of the potential degeneracy of the human race. I was, of course, mistaken.
Take the weirdest thing you've seen or even imagined and rest assured that someone out there is doing something out there that makes it look like a Mormon elder eating a grilled-cheese sandwich.
The pin that burst my bubble began with a phone call. I was ambling cheerfully down State Street in Ukiah early one morning, having just left the Von Motel after a chance assignation with a woman I'd met at the Burger King. She was driving from Enid, Oklahoma, to Eureka, had pulled off the highway for some sustenance and, realizing how tired she was, asked me if I knew of a cheap place to stay. Her name was Ada and she was impressed that I knew Ada was also a town in Oklahoma. I explained that as a crossword aficionado I knew a lot of short, obscure, vowel-rich words. Wouldn't you know it, she liked to do crosswords too, and one thing led to another thing and when all was said and done I was flush with the particularly blissful sense of confidence and well-being that certain emotionally undernourished people get from having sex with strangers.
She got back on the road shortly after five and I could've lounged around until checkout but felt that life’s too good to waste time in that dump. After a shower and a revivifying blast of the ol' chicka-chicka-wow-wow, I hit the street with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
I crossed the street and started walking south, and as I approached the laundromat the pay phone outside rang. Without missing a beat, I picked up the receiver and said brightly, "Good morning!"
I should mention here that in addition to my post-coital glow I was suffering from, or rather enjoying, the pleasantly loopy effects of several days sans sleep and aux lots of crank and I blame that condition on me not having the sense to terminate the conversation at any point prior to its reaching terminal weirdness and thereby avoiding the posttraumatic heebie-jeebies I still get when recalling it.
“Hello?” peeped a small, hesitant voice on the other end. “Who is this, please?"
"This is Flynn !" I said heartily. “Who the hell is this?"
“My name is Ricky. What are you doing?"
“Well, I was walking down the sidewalk when this phone rang. I answered it and now I'm talking to you. What's up?”
"I wanted to ask you a question.”
“Me specifically, or just whoever answered the phone?"
“You. I can see you."
“Get the fuck outta here. What am I wearing?"
"Black jeans, blue tennies, gray Dickies jacket.”
“Where the hell are you?” I said, looking around worriedly.
“I'm close by. So, listen. Tell me. If I was very, very small, would you put me in your shirt pocket and carry me around?"
What the…? I paused briefly, wondered where this could possibly be going, and decided to run with it.
"Sure, why not. You'd have to be pretty darn small to fit in there, though."
"I know. Teeny-eeny-weeny. And would you walk all around with me in your pocket? And if I was very good and quiet would you stroke my head with your finger?"
"Uh, sure, if that’s what you'd consider a just reward for good behavior."
"And could we go to a restaurant and you would break off little bits of food and feed them to me?"
"Man’s gotta eat, right? Sure, I'd feed you.”
His voice took on a slightly darker tone. "What if I was bad? If I was very bad how would you punish me? You wouldn’t crush me, would you? Would you crush me?" His voice rose and quavered with the last question.
"Nah, hell no," I said. "I doubt somebody that tiny could do anything crushworthy. Maybe I'd make you ride in my back pocket for awhile and smell my farts, how would that be?"
"I would deserve it. Are they very stinky?"
"I don't know, I live on Cheetos, Gatorade, and crank, what do you think?"
"I wouldn’t be bad for you though," said little Ricky, suddenly contrite. "I would always be good. What if I got dirty? Would you wash me?"
"Well, I guess I'd fill up a bowl with water and cut you off a little sliver of soap. You could wash yourself."
"But you'd have to watch me very carefully to make sure I don't drown. I'm very small."
"Right. I would be an attentive and vigilant lifeguard. So, listen, Ricky, this has been great but I oughtta be getting down the road. You take it ea—"
"No, just a little longer, please," he begged. "At night, would you put me in my p.j.s and tuck me into my little bed? Would you give me a kiss goodnight?"
"What? No. Gross."
"But I'm so little. I need someone to take care of me and love me."
His voice was shaky and halting, his breath ragged, and it finally dawned on me what was going on. "Ricky!" I yelled. "Are you pleasuring yourself, goddamnit?"
"Don't hurt me! I’m just tiny!" he shrieked.
"You fucker! You goddamn degenerate! What’s wrong with you, anyway, taking advantage of my good nature! I will crush you, you sick sonofabitch! '
"Oh, Gawd!" Ricky moaned. I could hear him thrashing wildly in the background.
"Stop that immediately! You disgusting sicko. Sit up straight!" I softened my tone. "Say, Ricky. Where are you, in the apartments?"
"Nope, you'll never catch me. I'm too small. I'm going to run away in my mousehole and you'll never be able to catch me."
"No, but I will beat the living daylights out of you if I ever find you, you vile thing. I bet I can find you. You'll be the 300-pound troll in the Hello Kitty diaper, right? You're not tiny at all!"
"Eeek! You're mean! I hate you!" Ricky piped.
"Later, freakazoid," I said, hanging up the phone way too late.
I stood there for a moment, anger building in place of the disgust and shame I was feeling. “Ew!” I said aloud. “Ewewewewew! God! Not in all my born days would I ever have imagined it! Aaaah!"
I shivered dramatically and began scanning all windows within eyeshot, but I didn't see anyone peeping out. I raised both my middle fingers high, did a slow circle, and continued southward.
I felt soiled, besmirched, and violated. I wanted never to have sex again unless it was between clean sheets with a nice girl named Susan, with the express purpose of begetting nice, polite, collegebound children. This kind of rank depravity made me want to cash in my human credentials and go dwell amongst the beasts.
Naturally, my first impulse, once I'd calmed down and disinfected myself with a nice brisk walk in the bright sunshine full of cursing and angry gesticulating, was to do a little research to find out if this was an isolated incident or in fact one of the many common perversions unknown to we dewy naifs whose enjoyment of sex, in both the practical and observational aspects, remains mostly within the standard Tab A/Slot B ambit.
Sure enough, the trusty DSM/IV revealed it as a recognizable and documented pathology, this imagining one is a homonculus and obtaining sexual satisfaction from the fear of being crushed. Takes all kinds, I thought, and the size of this book is proof of that. I wasn't about to delve into whatever presence these Lilliputian deviates might have online. I'd have a hard enough time banishing the memory of Ricky riding around in my pocket — in fact I clearly haven't.
I wonder sometime about all the quirks, bends, right angles, U-turns, corkscrews, deviations, pathologies, idiosyncrasies, neuroses, oddities, shortcomings, and eccentricities that constitute my own personality and feel damned lucky that none of them have ever interfered with my sexual wiring. I've always had a healthy outlook toward sex and a robust, balanced sex life without feeling any need for accoutrements or fantastical scenarios. When enjoying porn, I like to see a couple of healthy, attractive people involved in a mutually pleasurable, consenting romp in which no animals are harmed or even involved.
I expect that most of the kinks or deviations priming the pumps of perverts can trace their origins back to childhood, either in the form of inappropriate contact or some other nonsexual trauma that somehow became ensnared in the sexual machinery. Again, I count myself fortunate never to have been fiddled with as a child, despite being a prime candidate. I was a good-looking kid, slight and slender, and spent a lot of time alone. Most of the adults I came in contact with were often drunk and/or high. I began hitchhiking by myself around the age of eight. The only reason I can think of for having remained undefiled is that I was such a sullen, disagreeable child that even the pedophiles wanted nothing to do with me. You can see this from the photographic record, wherein every school picture I have from the period has me glaring balefully at the camera as if trying to mind-murder the photographer.
This may be a safer and surer tactic to safeguard your children than the old “stranger danger” litany. If your kids grow up polite and cheerful, a lot of pervos are going to construe that as flirting.
Instead, teach them to be rude, angry, sullen, insufferable brats. They may not be too pleasant to live with, but at least they won’t grow up and call strangers on the phone pretending to be mouse-sized to get their twisted rocks off.