The Fart Wedding

A few years ago, my wife and I were invited to a wedding in Big Bear, a cluster of mountains two hours outside L.A. There’s snow in the winter and decent skiing. In the autumn, the turning leaves almost transport you to Connecticut (I’ve never been, but I have Google.) But regardless of the season, the best part of Big Bear is escaping the L.A. smog.

The brown, yellow gunk covers the city like a dirty blanket. My wife and I couldn’t wait to take in a lungful of clean mountain air. As we got halfway up, the euphoria nearly sent me driving off the cliff. I couldn’t help but smile. This was how a person was meant to breathe, deeply, without fear.

As we pulled into the tiny resort, Jess kissed my cheek.

“It’s so pretty,” she said.

She’d booked us one of the cottages. They looked like dollhouses for adults – a little pink porch, pink roof, and all sorts of flowers. They were cramped, but cute, lining the winding trails leading to the altar.

My wife had gone to school with the bride. Neither of us had met the groom, but if history was any guide, he’d be a hippie just like her.

Normally, my weak constitution for stink keeps me from attending events with more than two or three of the Patchouli clan, but this wedding was outdoors, high above the sea. No funk could possibly survive.

Little did I know that in forty minutes, the entire reception would have the farts.

Not little squeakers or booming belches. No, these were long, arduous, silent toots, which literally and figuratively took the wind out of you.

The first twinge struck just as the best man gave his toast. I fled to the bathroom. A pretty lady hurried out and I nearly collapsed in what she’d left behind. It wasn’t the worst I’d ever smelt, but it had density.

I couldn’t leave though. My fart was already here. It lasted so long I actually got bored. It’s a miracle I didn’t shit my pants, because my butthole stayed open longer than Macaulay Culkin’s mouth in Home Alone.

Later, I found my wife walking by the pond. She looked gorgeous and happy, tiptoeing the edge of the water. She’d been dreaming of of this getaway for months. We’d been struggling financially and this was our only chance at a vacation. I didn’t want to ruin it by telling her about my stomach issues, so I shut my mouth and walked into a wall of stink.

“Jesus! Jess, is that you?”

“I’m sorry. I just can’t stop farting.”

My eyes widened. “I can’t stop either.” It was like backpacking across Europe and finally running into another American. No longer lost and alone.

“That’s why I came here to the pond,” she said. “I couldn’t be around anyone.”

“What do you think it is?”

“I don’t know. Something we ate?”

I knew the culprit.  It was the couscous, maybe the roasted Brussels sprouts.

“Do you think other people are…?” she asked.

I looked back at the party, the grimaces, crinkled noses, a few blissful smirks. All while the bride and groom shared their first dance.

“What do we do?” Jess laughed. “Are we just going to sit in farts all night?”

“I don’t know. I guess.”

“Then I’m getting drunk.”

And we did. We even stole a bottle of wine after the reception and headed for the pool. Jess turned on the timer and jumped in the hot tub with her dress. The jets were going full blast. I could hardly see her face through the steam.

“Get in,” she said.

I didn’t want to ruin my only suit, so I told her I’d be right back and headed to the dollhouse to get my trunks.

I accidentally passed out when I was changing.

Thirty minutes later, I woke, realized what I’d done. I ran through the forest picturing my wife dead, eaten by a bear or hacked up by some deranged mountain man.

Instead, I found her still in the hot tub. She was alive and the bubbles had stopped.

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Mr. Miyagi’s Full of Sh*t

I loved The Karate Kid as a boy.

No, not this one:

This one:

I loved it so much I chose to see it on opening night over a Michael Jackson concert. The King of Pop was in town for one show, and My father asked what I wanted to do as my birthday present. And I chose Daniel LaRusso. I chose a four dollar movie over a once in a lifetime experience. Yes, I now realize I could’ve done both – gone to the concert and seen the film any other night – but I was that obsessed. Because in a time when men were told to look like this:

John G. Avildsen’s said heroes also looked like this:

And at the time, I looked like this:

So the movie gave me hope, it gave me confidence. I practiced “painting the fence” and “sanding the floor.” I even perfected the almighty “Crane Kick.”

I thought it made me invincible, because as said, “If do right, no can defense.”

And I believed him until I saw it on TV the other day.

Indefensible my ass!

He’s just going to kick you with the foot that’s on the ground. He even lets you know when he’s going to do it. As soon as he jumps up, drops the knee, the other foot’s coming up.

This guy could stop it.

I can’t tell you how hard this was to watch. It shattered my childhood, and I’ve dealt with the truth about Santa Claus, my parents getting a divorce and learning my mom hid her sexuality for forty-five years.

I should’ve just gone to the concert.

How American Idol Ruined Christmas

A few years ago I didn’t feel like going home for Christmas. I wasn’t proud of how things were going in my life and I didn’t want to answer a bunch of questions. “So…what are you doing these days?”

“Crying mostly.”

After some badgering, my wife agreed to stay in L.A., but she refused to be cooped up in our apartment being sad. She wanted to do something. She wanted to volunteer, so we found a church that was handing out gifts and dishing turkey and mashed potatoes to the homeless. We got there early but the kitchen was already filled, so the coordinator asked Jess to hand out plates and for me to go to the parking lot to direct traffic and tell people where to line up.

I wanted to hand out toys or pumpkin pie, to see some kid’s eyes light up, but I didn’t want to complain so I stood outside and waved cars into the crowded lot. After twenty minutes, this guy in a trench coat came bounding up. He had a big smile of yellow teeth. I figured he was about to tell me how grateful and hungry he was. But then his face twisted up in anger.

“Shit, you ain’t no motherfucking Ryan Seacrest.”

“Huh…?”

He jabbed his finger in my face. “You ain’t no motherfucking Ryan Seacrest!”

“Uh…I’m…no…I’m…?”

I started to laugh because it was funny and scary and I giggle when I’m nervous. He kept jabbing that filthy finger.

“I mean, I’m all excited walking up, and you just some fucking nobody.”

 I’ve experienced humiliation. I’ve shit my pants on magic mushrooms, popped a boner because of Viagra in a Mexican pool; I’ve had my wife’s finger jammed into my butt after the Super Bowl, and I was nearly committed for suicidal thoughts. But having a homeless man call me a fucking nobody was new cold layer of soil.

The guy said this was all bullshit. I kept waiting for him to laugh, to say he was just messing with me. But he was really pissed. I felt people staring, like I was doing something awful. I wanted to yell, “I’m just trying to help here! Fuck you, man!” But I bit my tongue. How would it look? Me bawling out this homeless man at a church on Christmas morning?

He was just crazy and amped up. I actually started feeling bad for NOT being Ryan Seacrest. If I’d worked harder in my career, if I’d been famous, this man wouldn’t be screaming. Christmas wouldn’t be ruined.

Why didn’t I just go home to see my family?

Heck, if I’d just been inside the church I could’ve offered the guy a warm roll or an iPod Shuffle as an apology for not hosting American Idol. Out here, all I could do was point him towards the line wrapping around the block.

“Oh, you motherfucker,” he muttered and shuffled off, stopping by a group of men and telling them I was a “liar” and “trying to fool poor folk.”

You think I’m tricking people? Yeah, that’s EXACTLY what’s happening. It’s a plot to rope homeless people into a free meal.

But I just stood there and pretended like I didn’t hear him calling me an asshole.

Merry Christmas.

Please Don’t Make Me Poop in There

I’ve never taken a normal poop in a .

I probably never will.

I’m terrified of germs.

I don’t care if God says all I have to do is take a regular doodie at Denny’s to save my seat in heaven, I’ll be standing outside the pearly gates with shit in my pants.

I’m not saying I’ll never, ever  in a communal commode; I’m saying if I do, it won’t be “normal.” It’ll be rushed, sweaty, panicked, and traumatic.

I know I’m not alone.

No one strolls into a and kicks back for leisurely plop.

You’re in that back room because you’ve run out of options. It was either soil yourself or sit in a stall while poop particles float around your head like some septic snow globe.

Yes, I realize there are worse places to make. You could pinch one off in poison ivy or get the squirts in Calcutta.

I mean, in all likelihood, at this very moment, thousands of people dying of diarrhea.

In this golden age of prosperity and medical breakthroughs, half the world is one fish taco away from shitting out a soul.

So yes, I know that complaining/whining about my fear of public restrooms is, as my father-in-law would say, “A high-class problem.”

Still, if you counted up the time I’ve spent worrying about toilets and stalls, creating excuses to stay in because my tummy’s feeling wonky or just sweating in some restaurant booth afraid to get up, I’ve lost years.

My friends think it’s hysterical. Once at a concert, they locked me in a Port-o-Potty and tied it shut with a rope. I still have nightmares.

But I don’t blame them. It was really funny. I got so flustered I started stutter-swearing. “F-f-f-ucking l-let me out, d-d-dickheads.”

But until two nights ago, I’d never really examined the genesis of my phobia. I hadn’t a clue where it all began. Then Emery Emery (host of ) helped me pinpoint the moment.

I was in first grade.

My mom had taken my sister and me to the park for a picnic. We’d invited our neighbor Loretta and her daughter, Tabby, to come along. I had a crush on Tabby. She was two years older and she always wore these bright blue overalls. She could blow bubbles the size of my head with her , and she rode a bike better than anyone on the block. She could pop wheelies.

Anyway, that afternoon, mom set us up under a tree, and we ate PB&Js. I scarfed down three to show off for Tabby. She didn’t care. She just wanted to hit the slide behind the baseball diamond. I asked if I could go, and my mom said yes. “But be careful. That thing’s not sturdy.”

“I will,” I said. I’d never been to this particular park, but I wasn’t worried. It was a slide. How dangerous could it be?

Tabby tore off over the hill. I tried to keep up, but my abnormally large, unwieldy feet made it seem like I was running in .

Tabby was halfway up the ladder when I saw the slide. Thirty feet tall. Almost straight down. The sun bounced off the tin and blinded me good. I scurried into the shade.

Tabby got to the top and told me to watch. She looked like one of those daredevils that  jump into baby pools with only an inch of water.

“Here goes!” Tabby kicked her legs forward and flew down like a comet. Her feet hit the ground and she kept going, running across the field, finally turning back. “Alright, your turn.”

“Yeah…” I stared up the ladder, gulped and grabbed the metal bars. They were hot and sticky. I felt Tabby’s eyes and started climbing. I focused on the rungs, tried not to look down. My stomach was tumbling like tennis shoes in a dryer.

A breeze hit my face, and I realized I’d reached the top. My palms were sweating like crazy. I almost lost my grip.

“Don’t let your legs touch the metal!” Tabby yelled through her cupped hands. “It’s hot as hell.”

I looked down. Everything tunneled. Right to Tabby. She was so tiny, so far away. But all I had to do was sit and let gravity take me to her.

I just had to get my feet under me.

Metal creaked. Everything swayed. My mom was right, this wasn’t sturdy at all. The slide was dented, warped, and less than two feet wide. One lean and I’d topple over, snap my spine like a carrot.

Sweat trickled down my forehead, plopped on the tin and sizzled. I wondered if that’s what my skin would sound like on the way down.

“Come on, chicken shit!” Tabby yelled.

I had no concept of time. It felt like I’d been up here for days. I needed to get this over with. I needed to look cool. I took a breath, then lowered myself when—

My stomach burbled.

I knew that feeling. I shot up quick, stood tall. My mouth watered as the metal frame creaked. Another little sway.

Another burble.

Why did I eat all those sandwiches?

And why did I think Tabby would be impressed?

My bony knees clacked into each other.

My butthole pulsed. Clench…release…clench…

Please, no, no, no…

I squeezed my cheeks, squeezed so hard my whole body shook, but I couldn’t hold it.

It started gushing. I clenched more, saw the bathrooms past the treeline. Only a hundred yards, maybe less.

Tabby blocked the sun from her eyes. “What’s wrong with you?”

I breathed through my nose, tried to will it all away, but the .

My anus tried, but he couldn’t hold.

A wet, hot clump squished into my underwear.

I’d been breached.

Shit cascaded down legs, shorts, and socks.

I watched it flow over my laces and stream down the slide like microwaved ice cream.

Tabby’s face squinched up with disgust.

“Sorry…” I said as my foulness rolled down like a sad, stinky avalanche.

I couldn’t look anymore. I started back down the ladder, but I slipped. The mess had spilled backwards. It was dripping down the rungs, slicking them so there was no way to get footing.

That’s when I realized…there was only one direction to go.

“D-don’t l-look,” I stammered.

Tabby shook her head and turned. I crouched, stretched my legs. My shoes sloshed through the filth.

And I saw Tabby peek. I started to tell her to stop, but it didn’t matter. She’d already seen too much.

I just hoped it’d be over quickly, that I’d be off this stupid thing so we could go home.

I shoved off but hardly moved. The shit was congealing in the heat. I had to grab the sides and scooch. Shit splattered in these little arcs like when a car hits a puddle.

Finally, I got to the end and stood up, dripping and stained. I was crying. Tabby just stood there in horror.

“Please don’t tell anyone,” I said.

“Yeah…sure.”

Tabby and I didn’t go to the same school, so I have no idea if she broke her promise, but I don’t see how a person could keep a story like that in.

I just hope she has forgotten.

I know I never will. My only prayer is Alzheimer’s. Maybe then I’ll be able to poop at Applebee’s.

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The Story of a Psychedelic Shit

The last time I took magic mushrooms I shit my pants. And I can say with absolute certainty, this was the worst moment of my life.

Let me set the stage:

Autumn, New York City.

I was in my first year in grad school. I’d made fast friends with two jovial drunks, Adam and Mike. Adam had lived in the city for years and took us to some of the filthiest bars and terrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

One night he scored some shrooms and invited Mike and me to a rooftop on Flatbush Ave. I ate a stem and a cap. Mike shoved a fistful in his mouth and kept snacking every few minutes.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“What? You eat until you puke, and then you trip.”

“Who told you that?”

“I don’t know.  Some guy.”

“Jesus…”

Ten minutes later, Mike was…

When the drugs took hold, the New York skyline danced and jittered on the horizon, beckoning us off this rooftop prison.

I suggested we take a walk.

“Dude, you don’t want to walk around here,” Adam said.

“Then why the fuck did you bring us here?”

“To do drugs. And now we’re tripping and I’m not going anywhere.”

“WellI can’t stay here. I’m losing my fucking mind.”

I pestered. I whined. Finally, we took a stroll around the block. The place was like a demilitarized zone. Mike started writing our obituary.

“Let’s go uptown,” I said and we got a cab and Adam kept asking the driver if he wanted some of our mushrooms. We ended up at a bar. Adam started chatting with a few girls. I couldn’t stop sweating. The faces in the bar kept morphing.

Adam asked the girls if he could do drugs at their table.

“No,” the girls said in unison. They told him to go away.

I pulled him and Mike out the door. “Let’s go to campus. We can sit on the grass.”

“Whatever.”

We walked the five blocks to Columbia. I had to piss. I wanted to just whip it out and go on the lawn, but I knew I’d get arrested that way. So I took a deep breath, walked into Dodge Hall and headed for the men’s room. The stream hit the urinal and I farted, only, I didn’t just fart. I followed through.

Oh GodOh GodOhGAWD!

Luckily, I was alone, so I jumped into a stall and assessed the damage. It was fucking awful and I was still high, which made it so much worse. I stripped down and tried to clean myself up.

How is it on the front of my knee?!

The door opened. “Anthony?” Mike said. “You alright, you’ve been in here forever.”

“I’ll just be a sec.” I used my bare foot to slide my shoe closer to me.

“Well, hurry, Adam’s climbing on stuff in the lobby.”

I finished wiping and tossed my underwear in the trash. I found the two of them on the steps. We sat there for a few seconds before Mike turned to me.

“Hey, man, II know what you were doing in there.”

“You do?”

“Yeah.”

Oh Jesus! I just started school, and now I’m going to be the pants shitter. Fuck.

“You were… You were masturbating.”

“MasturbatingYes, I was. I was masturbating.”

“Wellwhy’d you have to take off your pants?”

“I don’tknow…”

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Why Would You Call Your Restaurant That?

This arrived under our door today:

Normally, I don’t  pay attention to delivery menus. I just stuff them in this binder we keep above the refrigerator, but I couldn’t stop staring at this. What in the hell is a “Surprise Pizza Restaurant?”

Do they turn out all the lights and jump out with a slice? “SURPRISE!”

Do they label the boxes “Pumkin Pie?” so when you open them, they can say, ”HA! You though pumpkin pie. But it is pizza!”

I can’t solve the riddle. I even enlisted my wife to help. She suggested that the owner might not speak English. There is a large Russian population in the area. Maybe it’s just Google Translate’s fault?

But it feels like there’s something more, something sinister. I kept asking my wife to throw out possibilities. She grew tired of my pestering. She got up to pee. I waited a few minutes before sneaking up, throwing open the door, shoving in the menu and screaming, “Surprise!”

She nearly fell off the pot.

I went back to pacing, turning the name over and over in my mind. “Surprise Pizza…Pizza Surprise…Surprise…Surprise…”

I’m still confounded. I can’t believe anyone would think this is a good name for a restaurant.

I’m tempted to order, but I’m frightened. I won’t be able to stay calm. I’ll just be staring at the windows, the balcony, waiting for some crazed deliveryman to pop up with a pie.

“PIZZA, MOTHERFUCKER!”

Why did they have to slip this under my door?

Why can’t I let it go?

Yes, I realize it’s not as bad as the , but still, it’s driving me mad.

Have you ever seen a restaurant with a terrible name? Have you dared eat their food?

Five-Year Anniversary

Five years ago, and I did this:

I said this:

“I dropped to one knee. You asked if something was wrong with my leg. I said, No, nothing is wrong with my leg. I asked you to marry me. You cried and said yes. That night I was so confused as to why you loved me. I watched you sleep and thought about all the things we’ll do, like buy a house and a car with air conditioning and open up a theater and take trips to Brazil and laugh at Americans trying to order Churrascaria and we’ll kiss in the Parthenon and ride camels and go to the premier of our first movie and take the stage to accept our Oscar and get so drunk at the after party that you pee on Steven Spielberg’s lap and I break up with you and tell you to lie down in the grass and you cry and say you will and I feel awful and pick you up and we give up drinking for two months and get into the best shape of our lives and you say we’ll never drink again and we get drunk that night and make love on our new deck and we’re so loud the neighbors put up their house for sale and we buy that house too so we can build a wiffle ball stadium in the backyard and you tell me you’re pregnant and I kiss you because we’re ready and we raise the kid to be an atheist even though I read God is Gay to him when he’s sleeping and you tell me I’m a good father and I tell you that you’ve never looked more beautiful and you say it’s because of the fake boobs and I shrug and a month later I finally finish writing Why Can’t I just Die because for the first time I don’t want to kill myself and we take jobs at a college and teach and write plays and screenplays and you say we should go to the Himalayas and so we go to the Himalayas and meet a boy who recognizes you and says he loves Charlie Moose and Hatch Lemon like brothers and we laugh because the kid has never even heard of Kraft Cheese and you start to worry that we’re not doing enough with our lives so we go to New Orleans because for some reason things never got fixed and we help an old saxophone player build a new house screw by screw, and I notice that my finger skin starts to dent in like my grandmother’s and you take my hand when the doctor tells me I have lung cancer and we laugh and say, Thank God I quit smoking fifty years ago, and I go through chemo and get better and help you with your physical therapy for your new feet and I say it’s about time you got that hearing aid and you finally say okay and we hold our grandchild and sit in the living room as he watches Nick the Saint for the first time and he says it was the bestest best movie ever and I walk out into our tomato garden and see your legs lying lifeless and I hold your hand and tell you I love you and I find myself laughing because your socks never did match and we bury you behind an oak tree and I kick myself for not buying side-by-side plots and I have to wait until no one is around so I can dig up the guy next to you and put him somewhere else and then hire an immigrant from that new country of New California and have him shoot me in the gut and dump piles of dirt me and I start crying and I whisper through the earth and tell you I’m scared and that’s when I hear your voice for the first time in months and you say, It’s going to be okay, Anthony. I’m going to take care of you. Nothing bad is going to happen, and I say, How do you know? and you tell me it’s because we were wrong, Heaven does exist.
Two months ago you saved my life, and I promise I will do everything to make sure you never regret it. I love you and I will never, ever quit us.”

Then we did this:

Then this:

This:

And this:

Somehow we made it.

My Adventures at the Sperm Bank – Part 1

After grad school I masturbated into a cup. It wasn’t on a dare. I didn’t have a fetish for plastic containers. I was broke and there was an ad for a sperm bank. I’d found the ad on Craigslist, so there was a little concern I might end up murdered, but it was fifty bucks. Plus, I was curious, and I was planning on doing that that afternoon anyway. Figured why not get paid?

So I drove to the sperm bank’s office, which was next to UCLA’s campus. It seemed like a legitimate medical building, so I walked up to the second floor. A group of college guys sat in school desks filling out forms.

There was a nurse behind a glass partition. She was pretty, which sort of creeped me out. I wanted this to seem more scientific, not just dudes whacking off for cash. I remembered what happened to Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights.

At the end of the hallway there were two doors. A guy walked out of one. He looked sweaty. He had a plastic cup and a DVD. He gave both to the nurse. She slipped the DVD into a thick binder. There must have been at least a hundred videos, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the plastic cup. It looked like watery mayonnaise.

The nurse slapped a label on it and stuck it in a mini-fridge. There were dozens of containers and a brown paper sack. I wondered if it was her lunch?

She handed me the forms, told me to bring them back when I was done. I squeezed into one of the school desks and started writing. The questions were fairly basic, stuff like height, weight, hair color, education, history of disease…

I couldn’t decide whether I needed to list my allergy to pollen when a guy passing by bumped me. He apologized.

I was about to say, “No worries,” when I saw his little cup of sauce. He’d almost spilled it on me!

I should have walked out right then. Instead, I wrote faster, turned in my forms.

The nurse asked if I had any preference.

“Huh?”

“For the video?”

She pointed to the binder. She wanted me to tell her what I liked. I felt the eyes of every guy in the room.

What was I going to say? “Well, I do have a thing for thigh high stockings.” I simply stammered, “I-I-I don’t care. Whatever.”

Carefully, she flipped through the collection and handed me a disc, along with a cup. “Now, it’s very important not to use any spit or lube. It’ll contaminate the sample, okay?”

I nodded, hurried down the hall and entered a tiny room. There was a TV and DVD player in the corner. The walls were covered with pages ripped out of Playboys and other nudie magazine. I imagined it’s what a serial killer’s bedroom must look like.

I set the plastic cup on a table. There was a folding chair. I thought about all the hairy butts that had touched it.

I’d have to do this standing up.

That’s when I noticed the DVD, Ass Blasters 3. The nurse must of thought I was into anal. I wondered what tipped her off? Do I have a tell?

Worse, she’d given me Part 3, assuming I’d seen 1 and 2.

I used my knuckle to press eject. I popped in the disc and looked around for the remote. It was on the table. I started to pick it up, when I thought about how many thumbs had been used to fast forward and pause. There were paper towels. I tore off a sheet and wrapped the remote, like you might do to a pickle.

Problem was, the paper towel covered the buttons, so I couldn’t see what I was pushing. I ejected the disc, brought up the menu and turned off the player before I finally got things going.

Ass Blasters 3 wasted no time living up to the premise.

This monster dude was pounding away at this tiny lady. They cut to a nasty close-up shot that looked more like torture. I wanted to fast forward, but I didn’t want to risk pushing the power button again so I let it play out. I needed to get this over with. I heard someone enter the next room. I focused on the tiny lady. She seemed to be enjoying herself.

So was the guy next door.

He started grunting. He said, “Yeah…”

This must be what prison is like.

I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t finish. I tried looking at the wallpaper porn. I tried closing my eyes and just listening to the DVD, but all I heard was the dude next door moan. A minute later he turned off his video and left the room.

How long have I been in here?!

I pictured the nurse checking her watch, pissed that I was taking so long. It was embarrassing. Did the other guys think I couldn’t get it up, or worse, that I was trying to make it last?

I closed my eyes and thought of Angelina Jolie, of the Sears catalogue from my youth. If only I had some lube. I was beginning to chafe. But I couldn’t give up now. I couldn’t walk out with nothing.

Finally, I felt a stirring, but just before the one gun salute, I remembered:

The cup!

It was behind me on the table. I had to spin, reach, bend over, line up the target.

Success, well, mostly.

I zipped, cleaned up, and brought my sample to the nurse. I couldn’t make eye contact. She told me I’d get a call if my sperm count passed the first test.

I’d only done this for the money, but now I was suddenly overwhelmed with a fear I might fail.

For two days I fretted, even though I had no interest in going back to that perverse place.  Then my cell phone rang. I was almost too scared to answer.

“Mr. Szpak?”

“Yes?”

“We’re pleased to inform you that you’ve passed the first round. We’d like to schedule you for a follow-up. Are you interested?”

“Uh…”

“You will receive a hundred dollars.”

“I’m in.”

To be continued…

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Brad Pitt Nude

A few years ago, my wife found “Brad Pitt Nude” on my browser history. She refuses to let it go. She’s relentless. She’ll just blurt, “B.P.N!” out of nowhere and fall over laughing.

She’s whispered it during sex.

Before we go to dinner parties, she threatens to tell our friends. She never would, but she mouths, “B.P.N,” every time I get up to grab a beer.

I break out in sweats. My heartbeat gets all wonky.

My wife thinks it’s hysterical.

She taped this in our bathroom.

She likes seeing how flustered I get. She owns me and she knows it.

I can’t take it anymore. That’s why I’m typing this, why I’m telling the world, “I LOOKED UP ‘BRAD PITT NUDE!’”

And it wasn’t just once. It was TWICE. Go ahead and judge. I don’t care. I’m taking back the power. My wife can’t hold this over me anymore.

Thing is, it has nothing to do with me looking at a naked man. If my wife came home and I was beating off to two dudes on my computer, she’d say, “Oh, sorry, I’ll let you finish.”

It’s the fact that it’s so specific, that it’s Brad Pitt Nude.

She knows I’m a fan. We see all his movies. I own most of them.

And not that it matters, but I wasn’t jacking off to BPN when I Googled him.

I just wanted to see the picture.

Here’s why:

In high school, Brad Pitt was arguably the coolest man on the planet, at least for me. Fight Club changed my life, and after seeing Se7en I actually outran a cop.

In the same way boys idolized Steve McQueen and James Dean, that’s how I felt about Brad Pitt. I didn’t want to kidnap or rape him; I wanted to meet him. I was a fan.

And in 1997 there was an issue of Playgirl. There were pictures of him naked. People were talking about it. It made the news. I was curious. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. But it was 1997, and the Internet wasn’t like today. You couldn’t just Google “B.P.N.” and scroll through a million images.

You had to get a hard copy.

I was too scared to buy it, so I got my girlfriend, H., to do it. She was grossed out at first. She thought I was gay. I told her that wasn’t it. There was a lawsuit. They were going to pull the magazine off the shelves. This thing would be worth money. I convinced her it was a business investment. She wasn’t very bright.

The next day she brought it over. I tried not to look too enthusiastic as she pulled it from her backpack. And there it was, B.P.N. Problem was, it was sealed in plastic. I couldn’t see the pictures.

The front door unlocked. It was my dad. I hid the magazine under the couch. Later, I hid it in my closet. It stayed there for months. I couldn’t open it. It was one thing to “accidentally” flip to an image, but to break the seal somehow made it perverse.

And to be honest, I was afraid of what would happen if I saw the pictures. What if I really liked them? What if they turned me on?

So B.P.N remained in plastic. It protected us both.

Over the years, I moved a lot, even across the country. BPN stayed in boxes, until eventually, he was lost.

I’d actually forgotten about it until a few years ago. My wife had bought us tickets to a double-feature of Se7en and Fight Club. Se7en actually held up better than I remembered. But Fight Club really jogged my memory.

And so later that night, after my wife fell asleep, I typed twelve letters into Google and finally saw what I’d denied myself all those years ago. I wasn’t giddy or aroused.

I was sad.

I thought about that kid in high school who just wanted to see a picture. He was curious, but he was scared. He was ashamed. He worried people would think he was gay, or that he really was, and he’d lose his girlfriend and maybe even his father.

But he had nothing to be ashamed about.

He was just curious.

And gay or straight, who doesn’t want to see a little B.P.N?

Have you ever been busted for something in your browser history?

World War Pee

I sometimes pee when I’m sleepwalking, but I’m not the only inappropriate pisser in my house. I’m not talking about my dog either. My wife uses urine as a weapon, not just on me, on strangers. One time we were drinking at The Woods. The bar takes its name seriously. The seats are stumps, there’s a mural of a forest behind the bar, and all of the paneling is – yeah, you fucking guessed it:

The only redeeming quality is their happy hour. Hardly anyone goes to it, so you pretty much have the place to yourself. You just have to leave before the hipsters descend. The hipsters are assholes, and not ironically. They shove and sneer in their skinny jeans and skinny suspenders.

This particular night, we failed to vacate early. Some friends had come to meet us, and we were sitting on this long, communal booth against the wall. The hipsters kept squeezing in, and my wife kept getting nudged further and further away from our table. Twice Jess asked the girls to please stop pushing. She got dirty looks and eye rolls.

I suggested we leave, but our friends had just ordered new drinks, so I went to the bar and stood next to people who smelled like cigarettes and candy.

After about ten minutes, My wife ran up to me, grabbed my arm, and pulled me in. She whispered, “We have to go now.”

“Why?”

“I just… We need to.”

“What happened?”

“Ipeed.”

“You what?!”

Her eyes were wild and giddy. “I peed on their purses.”

I looked down. Her skirt seemed dry. “Idon’t… You…?”

“Yes, and we have to go. Now.”

We walked out, turned the corner. I asked her to tell me what happened.

“They kept pushing. Kept pushing. Then they started tossing their purses in a big pile. Right next to me. Kept pushing. I said, ‘Please don’t. Please stop.’ And one of them looked me right in the eye and she pushed again. So I waited a couple of minuteslifted my skirt, angled andI PEED! ALL OVER THEIR STUPID FUCKING PURSES!”

History told me she was telling the truth.

Two years ago, we’d gone to a wedding in Palm Springs. We were just out of grad school and broke, so we couldn’t afford a hotel. We were planning on not drinking and driving back to L.A. after the ceremony, but are friends offered to put us up in their room and we were having fun. Then we had more fun, like eight glasses of fun. We caught up to the other drinkers and raced past them to buffoonery. Jess dropped her wine glass on the dance floor. I dropped mine next. Parents had to grab their kids so they wouldn’t cut themselves.

Luckily, the reception was winding down. We were told there was an after party a house someone had rented. One of my friends handed me directions on a piece of paper.

I shouldn’t have been driving, but I was told the house was only minutes away. Within a few blocks, we were lost. I was so drunk I couldn’t read the words on the piece of paper. Neither could my wife. I found a McDonald’s parking lot, drove in, and tried to pull it together.

After few minutes, I said, “Okay, give me the directions. I can do this.”

“No.”

“Jess, it’s fucking late. Just give them to me. I shouldn’t even be driving.”

“No, we don’t need them.”

“What are you talking about? We don’t know Palm Springs. We don’t live here. We don’t know where this house is, and I don’t want to get pulled over by the cops.”

“We don’t have the directions.”

“Yes, I just gave them to you. Now give them to me.”

“Fine!” She pulled out some soaking wet paper, the ink smeared and unreadable.

“What the fuck is this?”

“I peed on it.” She sounded proud.

“What? Why – why would you pee on the directions?”

“I don’t know!”

“I-I-I don’t even know how to try and comprehend what’s happening here. Why did you pee on the directions?!”

“I put them under my leg so I wouldn’t lose them, and I must have forgotten when I peed.”

Whyyyyyyy were you peeing in the car?!”

“I don’t know! Stop yelling! I’m sorry. I just started going and I couldn’t stop.”

Jess was crying. I felt bad.

She said, “What do we do now? I ruined everything.”

“No, it’s okay. We’re okay.” I had my cell phone. I could’ve called up my friends, but I no longer wanted to go. Jess was covered in pee. I was done driving. We simply crawled in the backseat. I covered her with my jacket and held her tight. I kissed the back of her head.

“You better not pee on me.”

What about you? Ever tinkled in public?

photo credit: <a href=” Burkholder</a> via <a href=”;photopin</a> <a href=”;

photo credit: <a href=” Brooks</a> via <a href=”;photopin</a> <a href=”;