Johnny America


Male En­hance­ment


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.

I won­der.

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.

Filed under Fiction on August 11th, 2009

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