Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Saga of the Stray Condom, part one

When I was a little boy, my mother decreed that I had to spend at least part of each summer day outside. Sometimes I suffered under this dictate, since I was a dreamy kid who would like nothing better than to spend the afternoon holed up in my bedroom, writing stories about skeletons with battle axes and constructing elaborate forts out of my bedding. It didn’t matter. I would be shoved out the door regardless. Usually it turned out fine. There were plenty of children in my neighborhood and I had lots of friends, most of whom were similarly forced to endure the fresh air. Sometimes, however, my little compatriots would be at camp or grounded or down with rickets and I’d be sent out into the world alone. When that happened, I’d toddle along to the park down the street, imagining that I was the only one capable of saving my corner of St. Paul from an army of skeletons with battle axes.

One of these days, I found myself wandering through a weedy baseball outfield, my stomach full of sugary cereal and my head full of zombie-slaughtering tactics. Suddenly, my attention was drawn to an object on the grass. Whatever it was, it caught the sunshine, causing it to light up like a tiny flame. I approached it, cautiously at first, but before long my curiosity took over and I crouched down right beside it. It was a metallic foil wrapper, torn open on one side, with something slithery and moist oozing through the slit. Even though I was only nine years old, I knew immediately what it was. It was one of those things you put on your thing when you do that thing with a girl and her thing.

My heart beat faster. This was a fine piece of contraband. Were school still in session, I would be the most popular guy in class for, like, two weeks if word got out that I had discovered such a thing. In that moment, skeletons with battle axes were the furthest thing from my mind. What I needed now, more than anything, was somebody to show off my treasure to. There was no one around, though. This brought up certain problems. It didn’t seem like I should pick up the rubber. It was probably teeming with diseases and all manner of man-spew. Under a burst of inspiration, I dashed off for the narrow woods that separated the baseball diamonds from the pea-green townhome development. There, I would most certainly find a stick. With that, I could parade my trophy up and down the streets without soiling my fingertips.

I was so caught up in this that I didn’t notice that I wasn’t alone in that forlorn stand of trees...

(To be continued)