Love Lessoned

It was the last weekend of summer.

Like most kids I felt like the world was going to be over in two days, facing another ten months in the children’s jailhouse, aka school. No reason for me even to celebrate with new prison fashion either because I had not grown an inch over the last two-and-a-half months.

I had just left my friend’s place, you know the ‘cool’ type of friend. But just hanging, playing video games wasn’t for me.

I felt like I was in slow motion cutting through the hot, stinky air, the only thing holding me up was its thickness. The walls were closing in on the freedom of my summer, and there was no way I was going to spend it on a single bed stuck between two fellas toying with joysticks between their legs on a Star Wars comforter. I’d rather fuck my stuffed animals, or rub up against them for long periods of time and wonder why I couldn’t stop.

(My Curious George had become a shadow of his former self.)

I strolled through the middle of a park in what my parents called the projects: Government housing; an empty basketball court with a net-less hoop; and a place I was told not to go. I tried to pass through it every chance I got.

Where did the nets go? The best thing about sinking a basketball is watching it drop silky smooth through the mesh. Is there a basketball-net graveyard somewhere? Do people take them home after a great game? Do they know they are denying everyone the sweet sound of a swish when dropping it in?

I pulled out a cigarette I stole from my mother a couple weeks earlier. She was a heavy smoker, and though I was only a kid in public school I was constantly questioned whether I smoked because of the way I smelled.

Fuck them, I smelled like home. I sniffed that cigarette every chance I had, and I loved it.

The summer started with an event that created an assured marking of where kids should not go. There was a stabbing in the projects that left bloody footprints on the sidewalk and for some reason they were left to bake all summer long. A clear indication of which side of the tracks was the ‘wrong’ side, easier than a sign I suppose.

The stabbing was due to what my parents described as a love triangle, but it never made sense to me. If two people loved the same person they would have a lot in common and should not want to kill each other, right? Either way those bloody footprints were creepy as fuck and I crossed the street.

It was that moment when I found something glorious that would change my life forever: A tattered cardboard box full of Playboys, the elusive magazines always just out of my reach at the local convenience store. The playground, the magazines, the cool rides, always just out of my reach.

If I was of normal height for my age I probably would have walked by with my head held high, but thankfully on this day my pip-squeak nature and low hanging head came in handy in spotting this pot of gold.

Boobs, bigger boobs, more boobs, as well as that thing between their legs that was definitely not a penis. Why was this Holy Grail at the corner of this lot? Why would someone get rid of something so magnificent? There was nothing else out, no furniture, it wasn’t a yard sale, why the fuck would a garbage man leave these behind?!

I pulled down my mock-official Toronto Blue Jays cap to cover my face and looked around, paranoid, put the cigarette in my mouth and focused on the future in front of me.

A shiver ran up my spine thinking of the bloody footprints on the sidewalk that had been there for three months, now sunburnt into the street.

My heart racing, I focused on the beautiful box. This coveted prize was more powerful than any fear I could imagine. And little did I know it would possess a tremendous force, and exhibit control over me for the better part of my adolescent life.

I lit the cigarette, took a deep haul and stared.

After taming my intense coughing fit, I used my naturally hunched stature to bend down closer, pick up the top magazine and open it to the centerfold. I had heard of centerfolds but never seen one before. There was even a charming song on the radio about an angel being a centerfold. I was curious if this was she. My dick tried to bust out of my rugger pants like a swat team through a front door. I knew I had to take her to my place and really have a gawk, so I flicked my smoke in the box, rolled her up and sprinted home with my summer romance like a baton in my hand.

I was nine and in love.

I ran with an Olympic-like flame glowing behind as the rest of the magazines burnt up to the sky signifying my life had finally ignited. Or at least that’s how I remember it years later, my Goodfellas moment.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the balls to steal a smoke from my mom.

There is probably some guy still out there with those un-torched magazines, jerking off into stolen basketball nets, sinking jump shot after jump shot, listening to his swishes.

I raced through the back door of my parents’ house in a photo finish between my dick and the baton. I kicked off my Velcro sneakers and jumped seven steps to the basement. The phone down there was very private and I dialed my best friend Toby’s number.

Toby was more like a stuffed toy than a friend: dim, pudgy, shaggy and real loyal. Talking to him was more like dictating to a diary, not that I had a diary. We were real tight, and I couldn’t wait to share this magical portal into manhood I had found.

My fingers had never worked the rotary with such skill and agility. The time between rings seemed eternal. I couldn’t contain my excitement of seeing naked breasts much longer and was going to burst if I didn’t tell Toby immediately. Within a half hour Toby was in my basement and we had the centerfold spread out on the rug I had used as a dinky-car racing track so many times before. On this day the only thing racing on that rug was my heart…and the blood beneath my elastic waistband where my throbbing boy-unit had found a new and robust personality.

I made sure I looked at Angel’s face first, I didn’t want her thinking I was a perv. She had piercing blue-line eyes that I’m sure caused all kinds of men to go offside. Her face was framed by curly brown locks right out of a shampoo commercial. This woman made the most out of her first impression. Panning down to her breasts I felt like I had entered the third dimension, I felt like I could squeeze them and drink from them like water bottles.

Showing wisdom beyond our years Toby and I laid on our stomachs so we didn’t have to worry about any embarrassing bulges. Although if we put out our arms straight out I’m pretty sure we’d both be levitating off the ground and looking like Superman flying through the air. The hair was groomed between her legs like an upside down triangle. I had to be wary of this area.

Minutes went by without us speaking, we were newborns again, seeing daylight for the first time with no ability to understand what it all meant. Well I knew Toby didn’t understand it, but I was getting there.

“They are so round!” Toby blurted out finally.

I paid his simple-minded description no attention and glanced at the Casio on my wrist. It was just a matter of time before my mom hollered at me for dinner. I had to get my hands on Angel fast, so I darted my hand straight for her crotch. Foreplay wasn’t exactly my strong suit at this point. Toby tried to follow my lead, but my hand jumped from her groin and slapped his horny paw away.

My mom called for dinner and I told Toby he could touch her tomorrow. He asked me to promise not to open the magazine again until he came over then. I agreed and we shook on it. I made sure not to use the hand with which I had caressed Angel’s sweet spot, not out of respect for him but out of respect for her. This was going to be the toughest promise of my young life to keep.

That night I attempted to taste my first pussy, it tasted like magazine.

The next day, Toby stopped by for a look at our new love. We hunkered down in my basement away from the outside world loving this new urge inside of us. What lay across these three glossy pages was what mattered now. Feeling guilty about my broken promise I let Toby have the first look and went to get us some juice.

It was a day of celebration, so I didn’t hesitate, I pulled out the champagne of juices for kids, Welches white fucking grape. Usually I cut it with water, but not today.

I returned and caught him with his hand stroking the very part I had licked the night before. He didn’t even notice the wrinkles of love I left as he poked at her with his stumpy, pudgy fingers. I set down our celebratory drinks and yelled at Toby to get his grubby mitts off her. He looked up at me confused, his hand unmoved from her.

I punched him in the face.

Poor guy never knew I would come at him that hard. Shit, neither did I. Dripping blood and crying he ran up the stairs and out the back door. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I looked at Angel, her blue-line eyes looked up at me unimpressed and disappointed, just another guy gone offside in her name.

She would have covered herself up if she could. And I would understand.

Sadness and guilt swept over me.

I knew what I had to do. I closed the beautiful centerfold and went up the stairs. There were bloodstains on three steps. I tied up the magazine in a bag like you would with week-old food and put it in the garbage. I grabbed a bucket of soapy water and washed out the blood. Those carpeted stairs presented a battle worthy of remorse.

The next morning I planned to take paint to that sidewalk.

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About Brett Butler

if my dick were a gun is a collection of short stories by Brett Butler. He is also an award-winning filmmaker/screenwriter and co-creator of the Toronto based entertainment production company SubProd. View all posts by Brett Butler

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