Seven Nights at the Flamingo Hotel. (Thursday afternoon. The Forsaken Foreskin. Part 1.)
The other female student on your course is Monster Munch Marie. She is fifteen stone and smells fragrantly of the crisps she is always eating; salt and vinegar Monster Munch.
She wears long flowing flowery skirts and, in all weathers, two pieces of diaphanous material connected with a single gold hoop to hold in place her colossal breasts. She has a Joan Didion book bag and a habit of getting her tiny owl shaped glasses lost in the mass of her thick brown hair.
You fall hopelessly in love with her.
In one fantasy you see her as the naked lady in the shell as depicted in Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
You come across a copy of this painting in the university art shop and while the assistant, who you are also hopelessly in love with but who is completely out of your range due to her good looks and impeccable taste, is otherwise engaged you roll it and slip it down the leg of your trousers.
Later you Blu Tack it to your wall.
It sits comfortably between Tennis Girl With No Knickers and your poster with pictorial representations of the fifteen most common type of farts.
In another fantasy you are completely naked except for an apron and you are cooking for Monster Munch Marie who is your guest in a private cavernous restaurant.
To your shame in this fantasy Marie has an identical twin sister who is also your guest.
As you serve them each course you must watch them eat. They do so with their fingers, voluptuously, licking from them afterwards the strawberry juice, chicken fat, jus which you have lovingly made, bent over the stove, hot sweat pouring into your eyes.
As you collect the plates from each course and return to your kitchen you feel their eyes boring into your naked backside.
This will be their dessert.
Face down on their table they will devour you.
In your final and most common fantasy you and Marie are naked and in bed and you are recounting to her your favourite short story, Fat by Raymond Carver.
Except in place of the fat man will be a fat women.
She had fat fingers on fat hands that were connected to fat arms.
This story thrills you in its terse brevity, in its glorification of size, and as you follow Marie around the campus, sit near to her in lectures, stand outside her dorm room window late into the night you dream of how one day she will be yours.
In fruitful anticipation of this in the campus shop you stock up on many packets of Monster Munch salt and vinegar crisps, stuffing them deep into your coat pockets.
When the time comes you will use these to woo her.
One Friday night, while the other students are out carousing in the town’s many public houses, you follow Mary to the university library. Due to the forthcoming exams it has started to open twenty-four hours. This is fine in theory but is less of an attraction than 2 for 1 cocktails and an all you can drink beer on tap happy hour at Hoofers Bar and Grill.
You and Marie are alone.
You are further encouraged when through the large windows of the library you see that the heavens have opened and the snow is falling like confetti. You watch as it buries a car, piles against the library doors.
This is your chance.
You will open the door! You will be her saviour!
She will fall in love with you.
Filled with a chest-busting joy you walk to where Marie is sitting with your toes pointed down. You do this to show how confident you are. It is a technique you learnt from watching Michael Jordan, the 400m runner.
“If we are not rescued by morning,” you say gallantly while you point towards the door, “I will carry you out above my head.”
She looks at you doubtfully and because you do not like to be mocked you gather a number of heavy books off a shelf and use these to act out a daring rescue.
“Have you heard of Sherpa Tensing?” you ask breathlessly as you climb first up onto a chair and then onto a table, your heart pounding, tears of pain forming in your eyes.
Reaching out to a nearby shelf you gather up yet more books.
The pile you are holding is so high you can no longer see.
“On May 29th 1953 he guided Edmund Hillary to the top of Mount Everest!
“I will be your Sherpa Tensing. You will be my Edmund Hillary!”
You are taking that final step up the mountain. You will be famous the world over. You will be able to have any woman you want. But you only want Marie, Marie, Marie!
Unfortunately where there should have been mountain you only find fresh Nepalese air, whipping at your ankles, not buffeting your swiftly falling body.
You do not remember passing out but you awake to find Marie leaning over you. She has narrow lips but thick eyebrows. You imagine them brushing against your naked body, merging and then sticking to your own eyebrows, like Velcro.
“Some people do not have a head for heights,” she says. “Me, I’m the same in dungeons. Put me in a dungeon and I’m anyone’s.”
Her words are like a tonic. With this talk of dungeons she is playing with you.
It is the breakthrough you have been waiting for.
Leaping up you march, arms swinging, to prove you are ok. She laughs at your antics and you march some more.
“Go on,” she shouts out. “March for me.”
“I’m marching,” you shout out.
“Will you be my little marcher?” she cries.
“Yes I will,” you cry out. “I’ll be your little marcher.”
“March then! March!”
And you do. You march like you are in the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, swinging your arms out more wildly and lifting your legs high in a kind of goose step. But then you become exhausted and you remember that the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace lasts only three and a half minutes and if it lasts longer than this the Queen becomes irate because all those thumping steps upset her Corgis who she cares for more than any of her subjects.
You shout all this to Marie and she laughs and says you better come and sit down then and you do and then she pulls a nearly empty bottle of vodka out of her bag and you realise she is hopelessly drunk and this makes your aching heart sing.
To control your excitement you breath only through your nose. This technique you also learnt from watching Michael Jordan, the World Record breaking 400m runner. He is something of a hero of yours.
You find a light switch and turn off the lights. Moonlight reflected from the snow pierces the windows. The library has a collection of music cassettes. You put on Burt Bacharach’s Greatest Hits.
It turns out that Marie is also a great fan of Burt Bacharach and as both of you know most of the words to the songs you sing along.
Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, Close to You, Walk on By, Reach Out, Alfie, I Say a Little Prayer, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.
You have terrible singing voices but you egg each other on to go ever louder and louder. You open your mouth wide to let out all the pain that has been inside you. You are not a scoundrel. Your life will not end in loneliness and despair. This is it.
It is hardly two o’clock in the morning when Marie asks you if you would like to have some fun.
Up close you have noticed that one of her ears is a different size and shape from the other. Looking at her from each side she is like two completely different people. Mork and Mindy. Cannon and Ball. Reagan and Gorbachev.
The two dining sisters from your recurring fantasy.
“Let’s go for it,” you say and she pushes you roughly up against a shelf of books. Then she drops down to her knees and starts pulling at your belt.
You look down at her thick brown hair. You see her owl shaped glasses entangled in her curls. You imagine how in years to come this will continue to endear her to you.
Damn and blast I have lost my glasses again!
Here they are my darling. In your hair!
What a great lummox I am.
No, you are beautiful and you are mine.
You feel cold air on your nether regions. You are in the European fiction section. There is a poster on the wall opposite advising you to be quiet. Another one has an iceberg on it and ‘AIDS’ in red letters. Your naked bum is pressed up against Balzac. Nana, The Black Sheep, Eugenie Grandet, Père Goriot. You imagine one of these books, probably Nana, getting caught between your buttocks and this will be a funny after dinner story you will share with friends in years to come.
You close your eyes. You do this to appear nonchalant having in your mind that nonchalant lovers are also the best ones.
Later you will take her to your bed. You will undress her with your teeth, only using your fingers if you struggle with a button. You will ask her which part of her body she is most ashamed of and then you will praise this part until she falls in love with it.
She will be grateful to you.
You will tell her she does not need to be grateful. She is perfect.
In the morning she will fetch full butter croissants from the bakery. She will not eat one. Now that she is in love she is determined to become stick thin. You tell her this is not important to you. You say you like to watch her eat.
You tell her that you will cook for her. You reveal that you will do this wearing only an apron. She claps her hands in joy.
You do not ask if she has a sister.
That will come out all in good time.
The hands on the library clock move and you wonder what the delay is and you open your eyes and you find Marie has found the packets of Monster Munch you had secreted in your pockets.
“I always get a bit peckish around this time,” she says, looking up at you. “Especially if I’ve had a bit to drink.”
“Then eat my dear, eat,” you say.
The sound of the bag ripping open thrills you.
You have never been happier.
Your only previous experience of oral sex is with the old men in the park when you were homeless as a teenager. You would let them service you in return for a bag of chips, a clean pair of socks, 10 or 5p.
This is much better than that.
As Marie folds the last bag into a neat square she shuffles towards you on her bottom. You wish you had one of those Polaroid cameras where you press the button and the photo comes out of the slot at the front so you can remember this moment.
Instead you only watch as her tender mouth closes over you. You want to thrust forward as great lovers do but you do not want to intimidate her.
Shivers run up and down your legs. Then, instead of extreme pleasure, you feel an intense burning.
What? Oh what?
Stars form behind your eyes. In them.
You count to six before you pull out and grip yourself with both hands. Tears roll down your cheeks.
“Did I do something wrong?”
Marie looks at you hopelessly.
Trousers around your ankles you make your way over to the door. The snow is pressed up against it. From somewhere comes the sound of a concertina. There is a bird singing. It might be a nightjar. You do not know what a nightjar is.
You sweep aside the leaflets and collection box for the blind and clamber up onto the table by the door. You smash the glass from a small window with your elbow and squeeze through.
A group of students stand laughing outside the Buttery. Someone has built a snowman, given it four bright red buttons and a crooked nose. A light flashes on and off in the student halls of residence.
“Jesus mother Mary of God,” you scream in one long crescendoing bellow.
You fall down to your knees, let yourself fall forward onto the snow.
“Oh yes,” you say. “Oh yes.”
He has a long nose like a basset hound. His fingers are short and stubby and as brown as cigars. He has six pens in the top pocket of his white jacket.
The doctor tells you it is a teaching hospital and the examination will be watched by medical students.
Do you mind?
You do mind.
Well, that is a shame. A real shame.
There are fifteen in the room with you and another twenty-five sitting on benches behind a glass window. Others, you are told, are watching via a live feed.
“Just think,” said the doctor. “You can be seen in China, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates.”
You are surprised by the size of the room. There are some motley looking instruments on a trolley. Several of the students have the kind of bags under their eyes that indicate they have been drinking heavily.
“Well, well, well, what have you been doing?” asks the doctor.
He is playing to the crowd but at the same time he has a bored manner that you believe would be more appropriate to the elderly.
He puts on some goggles and examines you with a long thin instrument.
He takes off the goggles. He reminds you of Dirk Bogarde in one of the many films where he played a doctor.
“You have some considerable crumbs lodged deep in your urethra and a case of frostbite.”
The doctor advises you he can do the procedures right there and then, a deep flushing and a foreskin removal otherwise known as a radical circumcision, and he fixes your legs up in stirrups and puts a clamp around your lower regions. You are positioned in such a way so that your bumhole must appear as a kind of bullseye to those students gathered behind the glass.
And the long lens of the camera.
You close your eyes. You can see the medical case study spread across two pages in The Lancet.
After several conferences, low-key and in Nordic states, your case history will be picked up by a radical consumer rights group. They will go all out after the makers of Monster Munch. They will successfully win a court battle in which you will receive a huge payout and a public health warning will be placed on all bags of Monster Munch and on other snacks of a similar kind. You will be famous, not your face, but your bullseye, your legs up on stirrups, body flat out on a gurney.
For a short period in history it will be a logo as recognisable as that of Coco-Cola.
This will happen.