As Samuel taps his foot against the lobby tile and waits for the elevators to ding, he feels the erection that he’s had for three days ramming its head against the elastic of his boxer shorts. Three days! What loyalty. His penis has become a needy pet with pleading eyes. What do you want from me?! He’s been asking his penis this question every morning since Monday that it’s woken him up, perpendicular to his body, gauging the air like a golfer’s finger.
The more people that surface into the lobby through the revolving doors, the faster he taps. When the elevator finally comes, people pile in, half of them Pfizer employees, the breakfasts they’ve plucked from their private cafeteria balanced on fiberglass trays. Samuel rotates his courier bag over his shoulder so it covers the front of him, so his hard-on won’t poke this nice lady in the back. In the confined space of the elevator, as everyone tries not to stare at one another, holding their breaths, everything is so still that he can actually feel his heart beating through the pulse in his penis.
What’s wrong with me, he thinks. Is having a hard-on for three days normal? Does this happen all the time and I’ve just been lucky until now? He tries to think of who he can ask that won’t laugh in his face. He comes up with nobody.
In the dim lighting of a bar last night, as he’d tried to get Lynda drunk enough to sleep with him again, the black pants he’s wearing and the oversized sweater were enough to hide the little monster. But, wearing the same outfit today, he notices once he gets a look at himself under the fluorescent lighting in the men’s bathroom, there is no denying the enormous lump in his pants.
He presses the heels of his hands against the edge of the sink and closes his eyes to think. Samuel is not the meditating type, by any means. He’s not religious and he doesn’t even really know how to pray. But in the past few days of having this stalwart hard-on, he’s taken to deep breathing, inwardly focused thinking, cries for help. He’s willing to try anything that will wrestle a cry of mercy from his mongoose.
Now he stands against the sink and tries to channel his thoughts toward the pure and innocent. He sees his grandmother’s face and the drapes of flesh that hang from her Cherokee cheekbones, he tries to remember PE class and the humiliating rope climb, he thinks about the Mets, the hamster named Eddie that he brought home for the weekend in first grade that chewed through the curtains and swore his mother off animals in the house of any kind. He thinks about children playing in the sandbox, dumping sand slowly from pail to pail, tracing lines with their plastic, primary-colored rakes, he remembers his French teacher, Mrs. Beauchamp, who was always spitting at him for chewing gum in class, “Pas de gum, Pierre. Pas de gum en classé,” he thinks about his mother’s funeral when he was a freshman in college and how his father didn’t show up, how his father never talked about her now, how no one did, as if she’d never existed. After about five minutes, he gives up and opens his eyes after managing to make himself sad but failing to move his heartless hard-on, which still forced itself out from his body like a revolutionary fist.
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