James spun by for some post-Thanksgiving down time. I usually saw more of him as the holidays approach as he had a greater number of local family members to avoid. Though, for the last two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, he’d been completely off the radar.
He pushed past me when I answered the door, stumbled into the kitchen and pulled the gin out of the freezer. With shaking hands, he poured six ounces into a plastic cup and drank deeply, sputtering at the last gulp and gasping.
“Trying to go dry again?” I asked.
He shook his head, red-faced and blinking, then poured another six ounces. “Worse.” He rasped. He moved into the living room and collapsed heavily on the coach.
“Worse? I asked, taking a seat opposite him.
He leaned forward and whispered, “Worse.”
“I quit masturbating for two weeks.”
It took a while for that to sink in. He stared at me expectantly but, after about a minute facing my blank stare, he sighed and rolled his eyes. “An experiment! A social experiment.”
“Not masturbating is a social experiment?”
“Yes.” He drank deeply again, “Now stay with me here, Nach – my theory is that all men are killers and rapists. Or, at least, the potential is there. Some sort of reptilian cortex that’s held in check by civilization. There are the fruitbats who act on the impulses, but normal people are able to suppress that shit. Otherwise I’d be raping Angelina Jolie right now.” He slammed a fist on the coffee table, “Right the fuck now!”
“What’s keeping you from raping Angelina Jolie is probably more related to her security detail than anything else.”
He shrugged. “Well, true. But, still. I say it’s there in all of us.”
“Doesn’t that seem a bit…I don’t know. Broad? Does that make sense?”
“Not at all. We are all capable of it, no?”
“If I say no, is that quitter talk?”
He pointed at me and winked, “That’s right, sonny.”
“So, okay, we’re all rapists. What’s masturbation got to do with it?”
“My theory is that the only thing that keeps a man balanced is if he whacks off five times a day.”
I whistled. “That’s moving into excessive territory, no?”
“Three to five times.”
“I can go with three.”
“I bet you can. So, anyway, whacking off releases what we’ll call ‘rapist humors’ and keeps us balanced and functional.”
I drifted back into the kitchen and made myself a gin and tonic, a much needed companion to masturbation theories.
James waited till I was sitting again before continuing, “So, I said to myself –“
“James, you said.”
“James, I said – because that’s my name – I said, James, I said, what if you stop whacking off? How long before you become…” He leaned forward and hissed, “…an animal!”
“Like a lemur or something?”
“No! A mad rapist!”
“Before we continue – have you actually raped anybody, James? This isn’t some sort of confession freakout like that time you booked a suite at the Hotel George and planned to assassinate the President, is it?”
“No! And that would have worked if you hadn’t of drugged me.”
“I got you drunk at the bar then took you home.”
“Alcohol’s a drug.”
“Back to the mad masturbating rapist.”
He brightened, “Ah! You’re intrigued!”
“No, it’s either this or continue the endless Stargate marathon.”
“You’ve got to stop marathoning that show.”
“I can’t, James. I can’t.”
“So I just wanted to see how long it took before I snapped.”
He stared at me, hands folded on a knee, silent.
He nodded, “So, the first two days were no problem. Didn’t notice anything, really. On the third day I started thinking about whacking off… But was still able to avoid it. Seemed simple, at that point. When things started to change was on the fourth day. I started to get erections at weird times – on the Metro, at the office. It was like I was in junior high again. I’m shuffling off the train red faced and with a briefcase held defensively in front of me.”
“The rapist, illustrated.”
James narrowed his eyes, but continued, “On the fifth day, I started getting little palpitations every time I got one of those inappropriate boners. Shortness of breath. The fantasies began… I started to catalog past girlfriends and sexual encounters, running through all the crazy college sex. Nostalgia erotica…”
“I do that all the time.”
“It hit hard on the sixth day. That’s when I started to assume every little thing was a sexual advance. If a woman’s eyes inadvertently locked with mine on a passing escalator, or on the train, or wherever. The tiniest of involuntary polite smiles, an added bit of graciousness if I held a door open, stopping to ask me directions… It all had this wild sexual undertone. I became convinced that all of those scenarios were open, bawdy invitations to just swoop in and whisk them away to a bedroom somewhere.”
“I also do that all the time.”
“The sensation got worse. After the eighth day, I decided to call in sick and just cloister myself at home. That was okay but, by the end of the second week, the sounds of the neighbors would set me off. The hot Irish bitch in 311 getting up at the crack of dawn to walk her idiot dog… She’d be out there in tight running clothes, her hair a mess… Then there’s that girl in 418 with the baby… And… Oh, god. I couldn’t take it. I’d hear one of their doors slam and I’d race to the window to watch them come and go. I started to memorize their schedules. It was bad.”
“But you managed the two weeks?”
He nodded, “I did, yes.”
“You just finished?”
He sighed, his shoulders slumping, “Last Saturday, yes. Then I spent all day Sunday yanking it raw. I still feel like I’ve been polluted somehow…”
I cracked an ice cube with my molars and grinned, looking down my nose, “You saw the darkness, boy.”
“I did! And it was a terrible darkness.”
We both waved our arms dramatically.
“So, anyway,” James said, finishing his own glass of gin, “What’s the next Stargate episode on your list?”
“The Quest – a two parter where SG1 teams up with Baal and Adria to – “
“Whatever, faggot. I’ll make us a couple more drinks, you get it loaded up.”