It was a glorious day, the day that stage of evolution came to fruition. It
happened around two in the afternoon. Suddenly, spontaneously, for no
biologically determinable reason, the male genitalia developed a method of
constant self-cleaning that allowed men, once they had finished urinating in
public restrooms, to forego the tedious business of washing their hands.
The development was especially beneficial to men with SBS (Small Bladder Syndrome),
who had to wash their hands so frequently the skin of their fingers and palms
had begun to wear away like house paint. A beautiful thing had happened.
Inspired like Romantic poets under the influence of the Muse, virtually every
man alive, ranging from Wall Street suits to third world pygmies, made a break
for the nearest public toilet. Most of them didn't even have to urinate, but
this communal bum rush was of course not about urination. It was about freedom.
The enthusiasm with which the penises of the world were removed
from their housings and handled by excited hands! The joy with which
men returned their penises to their housings and paraded out of the
restrooms without so much as glancing at the restroom sinks and soap
dispensers! By six o'clock men stopped washing their hands altogether.
If their hands got dirty, all they had to do was shove them down their
pants for a few seconds. Some even opted to eat their dinners off
of their genitalia, but these men were all poseurs--the utilitarian
value of a cock and balls, after all, doesn't compare to that of a
porcelain plate when the consumption of food is involved. Despite
this piece of unpleasantness, however, things were running very smoothly.
For the first time in their lives, men were admitting to themselves
that life was worth living, unlike that morning, and all of the days
preceding that morning, when men had been intensely, if not pathologically
suspicious of the merit of life. But that period of doubt and trepidation,
it seemed, was over . . .
. . . until the next morning, around 2:35 a.m., at which point a
mass movement of horny, shitfaced men stumbled home from the restaurants
and bars and lizard lounges they had been celebrating in and crawled
into bed with their women. They took their women by their shoulders,
shook them like rag dolls until they woke up, and began to have sex
with them. The women, in turn, began hollering. Not because they were
still half-asleep and weren't in the mood to have sex. It was because
of their men's penises. "Your member is too clean!" shouted the women.
"I like your member dirty and filthy! It feels like I'm being violated
by a bottle of Formula 409! What happened to your nasty old member!
This cleanliness is disgusting!" In response to these exclamations,
the men frowned and cursed. What had been, in the blink of an eye,
communally perceived to be a joyous occasion was, in the blink of
another eye, communally perceived to be a nauseating occasion as women
angrily shoved their men off of them and told them to go to hell.
The men, then, still frowning and cursing, retired to the bathroom
toilets to relieve themselves. And while they were relieving themselves,
they each employed their own individual variants of drunken logic
to figure out a way to reverse the socially liberating yet sexually
estranging process of evolution . . .
D. Harlan Wilson's fiction has appeared in a number of American, British
and Australian magazines, among them Doorknobs & BodyPaint, Redsine,
Eclectica, Samsara Quarterly, The Café Irreal,
The Dream Zone,
Locus Novus, Thunder Sandwich and 3 A.M. Magazine. His first full-length
book, a collection of forty-four stories called The Kafka Effekt, was
published in 2001; and his second story collection, Inoperative Communities,
is scheduled to be published at the end of 2002. Wilson holds two M.A. degrees,
one in English Literature (University of Massachusetts-Boston), the other
in Science Fiction Studies (University of Liverpool). Currently he is working
on his Ph.D. in Twentieth Century American Literature and Theory at Michigan
State University. (D. Harlan Wilson's official
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