In my inbox, an e-mail tells me I can improve my erectile function. I can enlarge my size and girth. I can prolong my stamina and live a sexually stimulating life. I look at my backyard. I look at the trees behind my house. Grass.Patio. Shrubs around the patio. Flowers in the shrubs. This house is a new house. I am the only one home. The e-mail asks me if I want to increase her pleasure. I think, “Maybe.” I think, “Her pleasure is important.”
I read the e-mail again. Having a larger, harder penis is possible. There is no reason for a man to not have a larger, harder penis. A man with a larger, harder penis is more confident and experienced in the pleasures of love-making. He lives a gratifying life. He sires many children with several different women. These women bear him boys; boys who grow up to be men. Men with large, hard penises who will have their own sexually stimulating lives.
I look at the shrubs along the patio. I can see where a deer has trampled the shrubs while eating the flowers. The deer. I wonder how much building a fence would cost.
I wonder how much a larger, harder penis would cost.
The next day there is another e-mail. There is a picture of a woman. She stares at me. Deeply. She wears a bikini and a bellybutton ring. She is blond. There are large red letters beside the woman. The message reads, “No Gimmicks…Just Real Science.” I think about science. I read the message twice and feel confused. I look at the woman. Bikini. Bellybutton ring. I feel part of a scheme designed to make me believe my penis is soft and small.
My wife comes in with a bag of groceries.
I am sitting there, not doing anything.
I turn the computer off.
My wife starts talking about something. She is loud. Also the television is on and the governor is holding a press conference. Breaking news. He apologizes to his wife and children. He mentions the campaign. His staff. He admits to an extramarital affair. He is sorry. He wipes away a tear.
“Be quiet for a second,” I say. I put my finger to my lips.
My wife stops talking. She starts complaining; I never listen. I don’t care about her or anything she has to say. She has an annoyed look on her face. I picture her blond in a bikini. I feel her fighting the urge to start screaming.
“Sorry,” I say. “I’m only trying to listen to the news. Why are we talking about everything while we’re watching the news?”
She goes into the bathroom.
I think about all-natural male enhancement. The governor pretends to be remorseful. I watch commercials for five minutes.
My wife comes out of the bathroom and stands by the sink.
“So, what did you want to tell me?” I say.
“About what?” she says.
“I don’t know. Your day, or something.”
She walks over to the couch and pushes the off button on the television remote. The screen goes blank. I think about the governor and feel angry at him.
“I’d like you to help me organize things,” she says. “We need to finish unpacking things. To get organized.”
“Yeah,” I say. “Okay, sure.”
She stares at me, deciding something. “Okay, what?”
“I don’t know,” I say. “I mean, okay. I can’t remember. Never mind.”
My wife walks towards the kitchen table.
“What’s for dinner?” I say as nicely as possible. “I mean, I’ll eat whatever you feel like eating.” Her pleasure. Her satisfaction. I say, “If that’s okay.”
A large deer stands in the backyard. The deer. A buck with antlers. Long and hard. My wife files her nails in the living room. The room is lined with unpacked boxes. Lamps without lampshades. I see the deer’s hooves trample the shrubs along the patio. Slowly, the deer nips flowers with its teeth and chews. Its antlers do not move. I can’t remember planting flowers. I don’t remember my wife planting flowers or ever mentioning flowers. I remember how angry she got the day we moved in, when she discovered the flowers had been eaten.
I get in my car and drive to the gym. I will organize my life. I will strengthen my body. I will enable myself to maximize her pleasure and my own. I step onto a treadmill. I want to run at a speed faster than everyone else running on treadmills beside me. I control myself. I run at a moderate pace. I feel small and soft. A woman climbs a Stairmaster in front of me. I wonder if she knows that a more fulfilling sex life is attainable. I run three miles and feel exhausted. I drive back to the house and pull in the driveway. I look for the deer but the backyard is empty.
Inside, my wife is folding laundry. I massage her shoulders and smile. She doesn’t look at me; her face is annoyed. I walk into the kitchen and pull out a carton of orange juice from the refrigerator. I drink a glass and feel strong. My wife walks into the kitchen. She doesn’t look happy.I put the orange juice back into the refrigerator. Beads of condensation had already formed on the cardboard and my fingertips are moist. I touch my wife’s shirt and dry my fingertips. I am sweating. My wife is looking at me. A deer appears in the backyard. The deer.
My wife and I watch it lean down, pick up a flower, and swallow.
I want to laugh, but I feel physically drained.
“Do something,” my wife says. She stares at me. “What’s the use of having a backyard if we can’t take care of it?”
“I’ll take care of it,” I say. I get the feeling she blames me for the dietary necessities of ruminant mammals. I am a deer. I trample shrubbery. I have antlers. Small, soft antlers. Something like that. I’m not sure.
I open the door little by little and walk into the backyard. I think, “Being larger is not impossible and it doesn’t require surgery, prescriptions, gadgets or exercises.”
I look at the deer. The deer is eating flowers. Through the window, my wife looks at me, then looks at the deer. I walk towards the deer. I stop walking. I look at my wife. She looks at me for five seconds and looks back at the deer. She points at me, then at the deer.
I think about a safe and effective blood flow stimulator that makes the most of my natural potential.
The deer looks at me. I look at the deer. It chews. It stops, then swallows. The deer’s antlers look longer up close. I do not move. I cannot move. My wife watches. The deer suddenly turns and runs, disappearing into the trees. I look at my wife. I close my eyes.
In the kitchen, I say, “If this is a problem we should put up a fence.” I think about a fence. Its shape. Its length. “But I don’t know how it could be. We don’t even know who planted the flowers anyway. I mean, it isn’t really our garden. We’ve only lived here for a few weeks.” I don’t understand why I’m saying what I’m saying. “It’s only a deer. It’s only an animal.”
“A wild animal,” my wife says. “I don’t feel safe with a wild animal living in my backyard.”
“It’s not living there. It’s eating.”
“What if it decides to stay,” my wife says. “Then what? A whole herd of them will move in. Then what are you going to do?”
I look at the ceiling. There’s a ceiling fan, with a small brass chain swinging from it. I focus on each individual link in the chain. The links are made up of three erectile chambers. When aroused, blood flow increases into these chambers, and the outflow of blood is decreased, producing an erection. My wife walks into the kitchen and pours red wine into a coffee mug. I remember when we lived in an apartment. Before we lived in the house. The house with the deer. We were both younger looking and healthier. Happier. We drank wine from wine glasses. I remember the courtyard of the apartment complex with a pool surrounded by a fence. No unpacked boxes. No deer.
My wife takes a sip of wine and leaves the kitchen.
I walk into the living room. I take a pillow from the couch and fluff it once. The pillow is new and stiff. I wonder if this is natural. I call to my wife, asking if this is normal.
“What?” she says.
“The pillow,” I say.
My wife walks into the living room and I offer her the pillow. She takes it but she doesn’t want to set her wine down. She holds the pillow one way, then another. She screams. “Haaaaaaaaa,” she says. She strikes me in the head the pillow. Stiff and hard. I briefly lose balance then right myself, laughing. My wife laughs and strikes me again. Some wine spills on the floor and soaks into the carpet. I take the pillow from my wife and strike her with it. She falls over, laughing. All her wine spills. Red stains smear the carpet. It looks like someone has been murdered in our living room. I laugh. She laughs.
It is dark outside when I decide to clean up. The wine stains are starting to look permanent. I open every cabinet in the kitchen looking for cleaning supplies. Nothing. I check laundry room. The closet. Nothing. My wife is asleep. I make myself go to the store.
I drive around the neighborhood three times, trying to see how fast I can go from 0 to 30 mph down a suburban block in my wife’s Volkswagen Jetta. I become bored, so I drive to the grocery store.
I can’t remember the last time I was in a grocery store. Celine Dion is singing inside. I picture her voice box gyrating and wonder if she is sexually satisfied. The lights glow and illuminate the plastic packaging of every shelved item. I stand in the middle of the cereal aisle, wondering what to do. There is a clerk stacking cereal boxes on the shelf. I look at him. He looks at me and I look away. I stand motionless, trying to breathe. The clerk looks at me again. Smiles and asks me if he can help me find anything. I look at his name tag. He wears a red vest over a white collared shirt. I don’t say anything. Celine Dion stops singing. Michael Bolton starts singing. I envision Michael Bolton pleasuring many anonymous women, repeatedly. He is interrupted by a voice on an intercom. The voice says, “Price check - register two.” The clerk with the red vest smiles and walks away.
I move down an aisle. I’ve never been here before and I don’t know where to go. I don’t want to ask anyone for help. I don’t want to interrupt anyone’s listening to Michael Bolton. Michael Bolton sings, “Said I loved you but I lied.” Other shoppers listen and don’t seem to care. I think about how passive-aggressive my wife has become since we moved into the new house. I think about the governor’s extramarital affairs and feel angry.
I roam around for ten minutes. I find the cleaner aisle and become increasingly confident. I pick up a bottle with a label I recognize. I read the label and consider the ingredients. A proprietary blend of natural herbs and medical grade pro-hormones formulated by a leading sexual health medical doctor, designed to promote sexual performance, pleasure and increased size for men. I set the bottle down. I attempt to arrange my thoughts in a manner that makes sense to me. Long. Short. Hard. Soft. I pick up a different bottle of carpet cleaner and walk to the register. I look at the candy beside the register and listen for Michael Bolton, but he’s gone. Someone is singing a country music song. My head begins to hurt. I pay for the carpet cleaner. I drive home. I clean the carpet. I go to bed.
The phone is ringing when I wake up. The sheets are on the floor. My wife answers the phone. I reach for the sheets and pull them over me. I’m disorganized with sheets and I am unable to get comfortable. I lay in bed for fifteen minutes before I decide to get up. I climb out of bed and walk through the house.
The backdoor is open.
My wife is outside watering the trampled shrubs with a garden hose. I step outside and watch her. Her shirt is wrinkled and stained with wine in a several places. I try to focus my eyes.
“What are you doing?” I say.
She is drowning the shrubbery. I walk towards her. Water is overflowing from the yard onto the patio. I try to take the hose from her but she almost growls. She has the face of a wild animal. I walk over to the spigot and turn off the water. My wife stands with the hose until all the remnant water trickles out. I try again to take the hose from her. It is soft and small in her hand. She lets me have it.
I stare at her. After a while she goes inside and lies down on the couch. She rests her head on the stiff pillow and falls asleep. Outside, everything is wet and muddy. I think about my wife. I think about hiring a psychiatrist for her. I think about psychiatrists. They would study her brain. They would organize a diagnostic treatment plan that is all natural with no harmful side effects. I wonder what she would look like with a bellybutton ring.
I walk into the living room. My wife opens her eyes and looks at me. “Who called earlier?” I say. She smiles and closes her eyes again. I walk towards the couch. My wife doesn’t move so I sit in a chair beside the couch instead.
That afternoon, the doorbell rings. It’s a man I don’t know. A man with long arms. A buck. I shake his hand.
“I hear you have a pest problem,” he says. He nods at me then at the house. I squint as I watch him do this. He says, “I called this morning” and smiles.
My wife comes to the door and invites the man inside. She looks at me, then at the man. She shows the man the backyard. The patio is still wet and muddy. My wife shows the man our drowned, dying shrubs along the patio. She walks in the direction of where the deer stands and eats. She makes the shape of antlers with her hands and laughs. The man laughs. My wife smiles. I feel the urge to sob. I try to not sob.
The man walks through the backyard. He looks around for ten minutes then walks down to the street where his truck is parked. I watch him from the window. He rummages through his truck bed and emerges, carrying two bottles in his hands. He walks back to the backyard slowly, reading the bottles in his hands. I still feel like sobbing.
The man says something to my wife. She watches him from the patio. I go outside and stand on the patio next to her.
“And this will keep it away,” she says. The man tells her it should. He opens a bottle and drizzles the contents around the backyard. On the shrubs. Along the patio. I watch. My wife watches. They ignore me. My small, soft body.
I go inside and look out the window. The man finishes and walks towards my wife. He puts his hand in his pants pocket and takes something out then gives it to my wife. He gives her more intense orgasms. He enhances her desire, power, pleasure and performance. He improves her overall sex life and sexual sensitivity.
My wife signs a paper with a pen and gives the pen and paper back to the man. He folds the paper around the pen with one hand and puts it back in his pants pocket. “Thank you,” he says.
I exhale awkwardly. My eyes begin to burn and I blink. I blink again and again. I cannot stop blinking.
The man walks back around the house to his truck. My wife comes inside holding one of the man’s bottles. I watch him leave. My wife smiles and hands me the bottle. She says, “That should be the end of our problems” and washes her hands. I look at the bottle and then at my wife. “This stuff is supposed to work?” I say, reading the bottle. I stare at her. She stares at the floor. She says, “Individual results may vary.” Her face is red. I look at her. I nod.
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