1978-1989 + Waterville, Maine
What follows are several stories of a radically different tenor; parental discretion advised. Be forewarned.
Following our separation and eventual divorce, I was a long time wandering aimlessly in the erotic outback. I was alone and terrified to re-enter the thorny thicket of expectation, disappointment, and failure. There were forays, but when I heard, "I don't care that much about sex", I couldn't get past the 'that much'. These forays left me feeling like Custer at Little Big Horn: "Why the *#^* did I ever come the #@** down here in the first place?" I simply gave up.
My fantasy life was sensational; I could hardly keep up with my over-crowded production schedule. I was often exhausted from the pressure of scripting ever more titillating scenarios. Perpetually deprived, I grew skin crazy. My flesh ached for that soothing and exciting sweet velvet feminine touch.
Like Frog in that Alabama bar with Sid, I was headed nowhere. I lay endlessly alone in bed in the dark, longing and fearing. Night after night I felt as if I were suffering a root canal without anesthetic. My would-be message to the women I saw around me was repeated over and over in my dream scape: "I could make it without you, honey, if I just didn't feel so all alone".
There were medical 'breakthroughs': surgically-installed metal, the space-age plastic implants and a pump device to inflate Erectoid like a clown making balloon animals. There was something called the Stuff Method (no kidding). There were mediation techniques:
She: "Close your eyes, sit very still, clear your mind,
feel the throbbing sensation of the blood flowing to
Me: "Ohhmm...Hey, what the fuck! Somebody stop that
god damn dog from humping my leg. Now, what the hell
were we doing?"
I even went to a faith healer, but that was all over when God figured out I was only in it for the hard-on. I was like a perpetually hungry, lonesome diner without a fork.
As I say, sex was definitely on my mind, but in the closet, so to speak. Pandora's Closet, secreted safely away with my other psychosocial unspeakables:
Sex was like a safe deposit,
hidden away in Pandora's Closet,
some day I'd have to try the latch,
and free my E for a bit of snatch.
About then, as unseen virtual particles danced in and out of existence in the vacuum and trillions of neutrinos and possibly neutralinos passed unimpeded daily through the Earth, my body, our atmosphere and into outer space, the Great Quantum Flow delivered up a most improbable concatenation of four variables at one and the same time and place: Jean, Papaverine, Doctor Agnes and Yours Truly.
Jean was a personal care attendant I had hired to come to my home to perform certain highly personal nursing services, such as bed transfer, condom care, bed baths, and stretching exercises. I quickly came to anticipate our evenings together like the convict waiting for his biennial conjugal visit. A touch from Jean set my skin on fire. She was untamed, leggy, and all over country.
She stood about 5'7" and was thin, with long, brown, big hair. She peered at me through luminous, hazel eyes, beautiful regular white teeth, and a curiously coquettish, yet childlike face. She had that look that said, "I've seen too much and forgotten too little." I found her alluring, like a vamp from the movies of the thirties and forties. I was drawn to her as was Othello to Desdemona.
We were constantly touching, rubbing against each other in my 10' 8' plain pastel blue bedroom, with its low ceiling. We talked, everything lent itself to intimacy: Two lonely, sensual people in a tiny, quiet space where we had skin-to-skin contact, comfort, and trust.
Jean: "My dad left when I was six. My mother drank and
dragged me from bar to bar. i had no friends. She died
when I was 14. I grew up too fast. I never had a childhood."
Me: "I fell off a ladder. I lost my marriage, my home,
and my dream. I went to law school and became a lawyer.
Now I'm alone."
She: (in that smokey Marlene Dietrich tone)"You're
different. I never met a man like you."
Me: (voice trembling) "I can't wait to see you. I think
about you all the time."
I was headed back into the thicket.
I was practically hyper-ventilating, waiting for Jean's next visit. She didn't disappoint. She wore skin tight blue jeans, black leather boots, and a low-cut, translucent powder blue blouse. She was a dead ringer fro Shania Twain. Each chance touch that evening was 10,000volts of nuclear excitement. Adrenaline and sexual tension transformed my room into Chernobyl-on-the-brink. Tonight had to be it.
When the work was done, she stood by my bed whispering good night. I gazed into her 'Go ahead, I won't say 'no' eyes'. I felt lost in the haze of her delicate ways, reached out, and drew her to me. Unresisting, Jean was in my arms and in my bed. "I've wanted this a long time," I said. Jean responded, "Me, too."
We became bed mates. Make-out bed mates, that is:
Shania: "Oh, oh, ah, ahhh...what should I do now?
...how can I?...Can you...what if I..."
Your author: "No, that won't work. I can't...sorry."
She: "That's OK. I understand."
"I understand" was a jarring echo of, "That much". I had to find some way out of Pandora's Closet.
What happened next, fortuitous and felicitous as it was deserves a drum roll and a grand oratorical flourish. "When in the course of human events...", "Friends, Romans, Countrymen..." As Lewis and Clark had stumbled upon Sacajawea, who rescued the Corps of Discovery, I came upon El Dorado. Actually, as we'll see, it's fairer to say El Dorado discovered and delivered me. For just then the Fates, those magnificent invisible couriers on the breeze brought me wind of PAPAVERINE (peth-PAV-err-even).
The dictionary papavrine doesn't impress"
"A crystalline alkaloid derived from benzyl-isoquiinoline,
that constitutes about one percent of opium, that is
made synthetically from vanilla...is used chiefly
as an anti-spasmodic because of its ability to
relax smooth muscle..."
That chemical jargon, however, translates into a miracle erectile creator. [This was 1988]
I thought, "This is just the thing for our dilemma." There existed, however one huge potential deal-buster: papaverine must be injected directly into the penis. In case you don't quite get that, that's a needle in the pecker. I'd do it if i could, but I could, I wouldn't need to. That's got to be a conundrum of paradoxical proportions, from the 'there's always something' file.
I ruminated, 'How am I ever going to ask Jean that?' I had to at least try.
I started stammering, feeling like I was walking the plank, at sword point:
Me: "Jean there's this stuff that will allow us to be more intimate.
I mean, you know, go all the way, have sex like men and women do."
She: "Good, let's do it."
Me: "Well the thing is, you'd have to inject me. I mean, into my
That dropped into the conversation like a stink bomb at a dinner party. Jean never flinched. "No problem," says she. "Oh man," says I, "I've got real sex as far ahead as the eye can see!"
Let us digress a moment to consider the philosophical implications here. Does it seem likely that God (so-called and as generally understood) would have knowingly brought together Jean, Papaverine, Doctor Agnes (whom you'll meet in a moment), and your author so i could have quadriplegic sex out of wedlock with an employee? I believe that is highly unlikely. St. Augustine would be scandalized speechless.
Coincidence? The odds of this particular confluence of improbabilities occurring to these particular people at this particular time in this particular place had to run: (1) Meeting jean--1 in 8, (2) Jean willing-- 1 in 10, (3) Me willing--1 in 1, (4) hearing of Papaverine--1 in 12, (5) Finding Agnes--1 in 5, (6) E responding--1 in 2 = 1 in 9,600 chances. Statistically, that is . Aquinas would never hear of it.
Payback? Did the facts owe (as my friend Michael would say)? Were my labors as chronically unsatisfied sexual sparring partner about to be rewarded? If so, the equation, beginning on Day 1 of the Fall, must be: 6 shit scenes + 15 piss episodes + 8 bladder infections + 2 bladder operations + 1 anterior vertebral surgery + 1 divorce + 2 1/2 years of depression + 11 wheelchair years + 4 years of loneliness + 6 years misery + 15,000 tears = 1 shot at the carnal title.
Sisyphus? Was I doomed to Camus' Existential nightmare? Was I fated to roll my metaphoric boulder up that hill, knowing its return to the bottom was preordained? Would all those alkaloids and vanilla set me free?
Through an extremely improbable chain of events that validates the farthest reaches of Chaos Theory, involving a chance dropped remark to a variable stranger, an ad in a never before seen magazine, several unlikely phone calls, a guy who knew a guy who knew a..., I got hooked up with Doctor Agnes over the phone, sight unseen. She gave me a script for my very own Papaverine, $75 bucks for a tiny vial and about a million of these darling bright orange mini-syringes.
The Doctor said I had to come with my partner to her medical office in Augusta to be counseled, trained, and injected. Thinking, 'Winning the billion-dollar Multi-State Power Ball Lottery has got to be worth at least one day off work,' I took a very personal day for unmentionable activities of a medical nature. I was not up to the task of telling my female boss I needed to rediscover my erection in order to have sex with someone who worked for me. I couldn't even begin that conversation. Administrative matters done, Jean and I drove to Augusta on a dark, cold, and rainy weekday afternoon.
The Doctor's office was one of many in a suburban medical complex. The complex was sprawling, neo-modern efficiency with cream-tinted bland stucco walls and overhanging, black faux-Spanish tile roof. Jean and I checked in at the ubiquitous reception desk with a gum-snapping, uninterested clerk like two skittish, unmarried teens at a cheap motel.
We took our seats among the coughers and hackers and attempted to disappear from what felt like inquisitive eyes. 'Likely couple. I wonder why they're here. Syphilis, I bet, maybe gonorrhea, or worse,'
"Mister and Misses Gill, the Doctor will see you now." 'Yeah, Doc, great way to start,' I thought. We were led into the inevitable, brightly-lit, avocado-tinted mini-exam room. This cramped space was replete with fake-leather exam table, jars of tongue depressors, and cotton balls. This was the same unimaginative decor one sees all over, remarkable only for its unerring capacity to be absolutely uninteresting.
Left alone, we waited, whispering nervously how strange it feels to be here doing this. We waited some more, gazing blankly at the wall chart of some poor bastard who's going through all the stages of stomach upset, ending with the flame-thrower ulcer and spontaneous gastric combustion. Uh, oh, I heard footfalls sounding doctoral.
In sweeps our short, portly physician who seems more like a modest matronly middle-age maiden aunt than doctor. Aunt Agnes the Anchorite. She, however, was all business. "Get him up on the table, pants down, present penis." There was nothing frivolous here. Jean and I snapped to attention.
We were both put off by the abrupt Doctor and the hermetic sterility of this room, which was all alcohol, autoclave, and antiseptics. This felt like an utterly strange, Alice Down the Rabbit Hole situation. We half expected our Doctor to return as the Queen of Hearts. No such foolishness. With all the brisk efficiency of a German brain surgeon, Agnes inspected, injected, and exited. Jean and I were impressed. I was thinking, 'Jean, we'll soon be three; thee, me, and E.'
Woe the while, nothing happened. No blood flood, no anti-spasmodics, no erectiles, and no penis rising. Excitement and anticipation became frustration and disappointment, and eventually resignation and despair. As time passed, I sensed the light from our window of opportunity growing dimmer and dimmer. That afternoon seemed to drag on and on in slow motion. Our precious time became, as the Bard said, "Like a foul; and ugly witch, [that]...did limp/So tediously away...". The air in that miserable little antechamber seemed to be a thick, gloomy fog destined to smother out our sexual fire.
Agnes came bustling back in and looked'er over. "Hmmm", she commented, and bustled out. The good doctor was visibly unimpressed.
Let us recap: I lay supine on a medical table in a sterile, impersonal doctor's office, with my pants down and my dick limp. I re-lived a decade of miserable, crushing sexual failures, while trying not to look into Jean's sometime come-hither eyes. She self-consciously looked up, down, away, sideways, anywhere and everywhere but in my eyes. She fidgeted nervously, shifting from foot to foot. She cast intermittent, clandestine, hopeful glances at Flaccid Freddie, my want-to-be Erectiod. I thought, 'This is just like all the other ** times the *^#* thing didn't work I've got to get the hell out of here.'
But this time there would be no disappointment or failure. Jean and I were determined. The Flow was with us. We both got the same idea at the same time. We were two headlights simultaneously illuminating one dark and dreary landscape. With unspoken agreement, Jean commenced ever so gently stroking the intransigent member, which came alive, bright red and rising. Lazarus re-born. Whether this was benzyl-isoquinoline, the vanilla, the one percent opium, or just our fierce, not to be denied hunger, I don't know. Payback was; I was now a contender. That was enough for me.
In swept Agnes, who caught us in the act. She looked things over, uttered an approving, "Well, now, that's more like it," and swept back out.
By then the pace had definitely picked up. We were busted. Jean and I had been discovered with one naughty, metaphoric hand in the cookie jar. The excitement and sexual tension, the bliss of seeing my swelling scarlet penis, and Jean's relief and admiration, elevated our sexual stratosphere. The fog, the witch, and the limping were gone. Jean gazed down, licked her lips, and made very suggestive oral gestures. Too excited to even think of the risk, "Go ahead," I said. "It's my thing," she replied. I thought, 'I'll die right here from pure happiness.'
Back in swept the proud Doctor, obviously impressed with her stunning success. She beamed as if she had just discovered a cure for cancer. "OK'" she said, "that's it. You can go. Just remember, if you have that hard-on (she said erection, but I'm thinking HARD-ON) for four hours straight, you've got to go to the emergency room to have it irrigated." I thought, 'Holy shit! Four hours, did she say? I swear she said four hours. Four hours. I could open up a fucking business!' Elated and in a hurry to get my newly found treasure home and put to use, I forgot to ask what 'irrigation' meant.
Back home, Jean had to leave. 'This is no way to begin this exciting exploratory enterprise', I thought. It was a lot to expect: an enchanting excursion to that magical Undiscovered Country in the middle of the afternoon after several hours with Aunt Agnes. That would have been sufficient to quench my ardor, were I not a man.
There I sat, two hours, three hours, stiff as a...well, you know. I had a get real session with Erectiod: "Now Dude, we've got to cut a deal. You've got to behave and go away for now. I'll treat you right, no self-wanking, nothing from my half-written do-it-yourself manual, "The Joys of Solitary Sex", or that involves rubber gloves, KY gel, or penicillin. Come when I call. Please, no four hour scenarios. I need the blood. You need your rest. I need your rest."
I was seriously starting to worry, wondering what irrigation was, and picturing the scene in the emergency room. Three and a half hours. I was getting ready to head to the hospital, gathering up my stuff, and wondering what happens to a guy with a four hour hard-on. Could it be permanent? Wow! Think about that! I suppose it would get old pretty quickly. After all, I've only got so many platelets.
Three hours and forty minutes. I was heading out the door when Erectiod finally started to let go. Three hours and forty-five minutes! can you believe that?! 225 minutes, 13,500 seconds. Whenever my mind goes blank, I blame E for so selfishly tying up all those red corpuscles and Vitamin K all that time.
Jean had a serious auto accident that very evening and was laid up over a month. I had to get another personal care attendant. I couldn't wait to see Jean again, for many reasons, not all related to E. When I finally did, she told me she was going back with her old boyfriend.
Those once adorable petite syringes lay exile in a dark, out of sight drawer, unused. That $75.00 vial sat in my refrigerator, mocking me for what seemed like a long time. When I used it again, it had lost much, but as we will see, not all its potency.
This is a wonderful horrible interlude. Like the bends I had probably risen too far too fast. At least I had been erotically alive for that sweet, short time. I had run up and down the emotional ladder.
I accepted that Jean was gone. I was bound to come up for air sometime, right? Right?