I was a little wobbly in front of the urinal. Left and Right seemed to call my shoulders from center, while my head surfed evenly above their oceanic bobbing. My aim was good at least.
I caught the guy to my left, a short chubby fellow with long hair and a black leather jacket, peeking down.
He saw that he’d been caught and smiled. “American?”
“What?” I shook. “Yeah.” Stuffed. “How’d you know?” and zipped.
He kept his eyes up as he gestured towards my nethers with his whiskered chin. “You’re cut… and you don’t strike me as the Jewish type.”
“Your Peepee wears a V-neck, mate.”
I sat down at the bar next to my friend Elaine. She was a good friend from Chicago who’d lived in London and taught high school science for five years. Her friend Isabella was tending bar. Isabella was from Argentina, but had been in London long enough to sound British. I had a bit of a crush on Isabella.
Elaine looked tired. It was a school night. “Well, I’m heading back to the flat if you wanna come.”
“No,” I said. “I think I’ll stay for another drink.” In the hope that maybe I’d be able to walk Isabella home when the bar closed.
As Elaine left, the man from the bathroom emerged and took her stool. “So, what’s that like?” he asked.
“I dunno. Fine.”
His eyes excreted an angry flame, like a solar flare, that was gone as quickly as it came. “Fine my ass. It’s bloody child abuse.”
I felt a little ashamed. “Well, I didn’t do it to myself.”
“Damn good thing. I’d a kicked yer ass if ya had.”
Isabella smiled from behind the bar. I wondered what her feelings on the subject were.
“You know it steals the sensation.” He pointed towards his own crotch.
“It’s been alright for me. Sex, I mean,” I said loud enough to be heard by both the bar’s patron and tender.
Now he smiled. “That’s cause you haven’t tried it with my cock.”
Another smile from Isabella
At that point a six foot blond Asian with a waist as thick as a pipe cleaner and roughly head-sized fake breasts threw in her two cents. “I don’t give a damn if it’s snipped or it isn’t as long as there’s coke on the tip of it.”
“Well, that’s just filthy, doll,” said the man as he put his arm around the small of her back.
The woman made a gesture as if sniffing coke from the tip of a handheld phallus, and the man and I exhaled long-lost breaths from the deepest places in our diaphragms, united in some primordial frustration that can only be tapped by the mimicry of sex acts.
Isabella was closing the bar, but it seemed that the man and a few others, including the Amazonian Asian Brit, and myself would be allowed to stay.
He ordered drinks for everyone. Shots of whiskey and pints. “You a musician mate?”
“Not professionally.” I took the drinks he offered. “You?”
“I play a bit.” He sipped thoughtfully. “Where you from?”
His head tilted like a puppy that hasn’t completely grasped that human speech will always be unintelligible. “Is that the one with all the buildings and whatnot?”
I decided to go along. “Ummmm… yeah.”
“I think my band played there.”
“What’s your band called?”
Two hours later, we were still talking foreskin. I’m not sure where he obtained his stores of knowledge on the subject, or even if the facts he was spouting were accurate. There was a world out there, conspiratorial without a doubt, but frighteningly feasible, in which every human peril was symbolized in this one little snip of the scissors: Global warming, Ebay, the Iraq invasion, Mel Gibson… I can’t for the life of me remember how, but it all came together, ever so briefly, that night only, in the act of circumcision.
The giant Asian woman was now sitting in his lap, which made for the impression of a greyhound sitting in the lap of a pug. He continued to explain it all. I continued to absorb.
Finally, Isabella said it was time to go, and we all ushered ourselves under the metal shutter and stood their beneath sharp pellets of rain on the cold London street.
He lingered like a little kid under a tree, protected from the rain by the arching branch of the giant Asian’s arm. “Come back to our place for a drink?”
I was tempted, but thought better. “I gotta get back, man.”
“Make it worth your while.”
I couldn’t even begin to imagine exactly what his making it worth my while would entail, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t up for it.
Isabella and I stood in the rain and watched them walk off.
“Who the hell is the Darkness?” I asked her.
She sang in her highest pitched voice, “I believe in a thing called love.”
I thought I might want to touch her hand, but I didn’t.