(A character sketch from Reluctant Witness – a work in process – occasionally, a witness doesn’t come forward because to do so could result in his or her arrest.)
Monday Ricks. The first syllable stretched, like the word yawn, ‘mawn’-day. What did that say about his parents, that they gave their only child a name that made a person sound as if they were bored out of their minds when they said it?
Thinking about it made his head hollow. He yawned. His large, stained teeth protruded from his mouth as his lips peeled back, and a string of spit connected an upper incisor with its lower mate. His whiskers were rough against his beefy hand as he contemplated whether to shave, or not. Maybe the shock effect would be greater if he was scruffy. Monday didn’t have many kinks, but the kink he contemplated was a doozy.
The kink was born out of a lonely childhood. He was a quiet, chubby boy that looked at the ground when he walked. As a teenager, while the other young men paraded the school with frantic, on fire energy, he watched from the shadows and wondered when his flame would ignite. Teachers called him phlegmatic and dull. He had a mind, a good one, he just didn’t use it much, except to daydream that he was someone else, someone with fire in his heart, fire that drew girls like moths to a flame. Girls. Was there anything else to think about at that age? From the moment he woke until the moment he slept, and even then, his mind was filled with girls, girls, and more girls.
However, the reality of his life was solitary, a solitary male hungry for attention but too awkward and brutish to attract it. Beetle-browed and heavy boned, kids cast epithets at him like “Cave man,” “Neanderthal,” “Loser,” and “Gorilla.” What girl in her right mind would want him around? None of them. That was the living truth. High school passed with none of the glory, none of the conquests, none of the fun. As he aged, he became more brutish, more beetle-browed, more solitary, and more obsessed.
College wasn’t better. He shuffled to his accounting classes, head down, defeated and no more social than he’d ever been. His classes droned on until his junior year when he found a listing about human sexuality in the psychology department. If he couldn’t enjoy firsthand experience, he could at least learn about it, so he signed up.
The professor was a kinky sort of dude, with long hair that he kept brushing back. On the first day of class, he wore tight leather pants, and a sleeveless shirt with a faux sheepskin jacket. Monday was fascinated, and took copious notes about kinks and sexual deviations. The class ended quickly, though an hour and a half had passed. As students hustled out of the room, the prof called him back. The class, listed as advanced credit, had pre-requisites he had not completed.
“I can’t let you into this class unless you pass an entrance exam. Come to my office at 3pm today and you can do that. That is, if you want to continue this.”
“Uh, Yessir, I will be there.” As he left, he wondered if the prof was aware that the only thing Monday saw with his lowered eyes, was the man’s male package outlined by the leather pants he wore. It was humiliating, but, also, he couldn’t help feel an edge of excitement.
He walked out of the classroom and the door shut behind him. He could still see that package in his mind’s eye. He felt shocked and unsteady, but it was a heady feeling, a revelation about the power of a man, a part of himself he had never paid attention to before that day.
The next year, he took gym class, an unfortunate requirement. It was an hour and a half of tortuous overexertion. Showering afterward was mandatory. His beetled brows and lowered head hid the fact that he delighted in peeping at all the nude bodies, but it was paramount that no one saw him undressed. That was not a problem if he could get a private shower stall. His luck lasted most of the semester. Until Thursday, May 11, a day forever etched in his head. Monday was a slow runner. He was the last person to finish the assigned walk-run assignment, a half-mile, four laps around the track. All of the private stalls were occupied. He sat on the bench surreptitiously watching naked men, waiting his turn for privacy.
Coach Summons, the gym instructor, strode into the locker room and announced, “Fifteen minutes, people. Then this place is locked.” He looked at Monday. “Ricks, what are you waiting for? Hit the shower.”
It was lucky for Monday that his eyes didn’t register every emotion that flitted across his mind. Everyone would have seen abject terror reflected there. He shuffled to the darkest corner he could find and slipped out of his clothes. He padded as quickly as he could to the nearest vacant shower head in the communal shower stall. He lathered quickly, and rinsed quicker. Then he wrapped a towel around his private bits and slunk back to his corner.
He heard a soft, feminine “Oh” behind him, but when he turned to see why a girl was in the locker room his towel fell away exposing his flaccid manhood. He curled over his display and looked up.
She stood stiffly, as if tased. Her shocked eyes were wide with fright. Her round ‘oh’ twisted in dismay and repulsion. She uttered a growl of distress, turned, and ran out of the locker room.
Monday was mortified, but his man parts had a different idea. He stiffened quickly, which made it awkward to dress as fast as he wanted to. When he pulled himself together, he hurried home.
After dinner, while he replayed the episode in his head he drew her picture. It was his way of coming to terms with the humiliation. Happy with the outcome, he put her shocked likeness on the wall across from the only chair at the small table in his minuscule kitchen. Just looking at it brought a titillated rush of excitement, so much so in fact, he had to run to the bathroom to take care of his urge. If he were to pinpoint a reason for his major kink, he would probably pinpoint that exact moment.
He didn’t know of course, but the drawing became his first trophy.
Her picture would remain on the wall as the first of so many shocked and repulsed viewers who unwittingly gave him a satisfying release after two and a half decades of ripping open his heavy coat to flash them.
(I want to thank the lovely beta readers from The Women Writers of the Well and their terrific questions. Gentle souls, I appreciate you so much.)