Cut, a short story for my creative writing fiction class
They said they didn’t want other kids to make fun of me. That somehow, between playing tag, kicking soccer balls, and jumping off swings, we would all stand in a circle and whip out what little we had and some kid would point to mine and say, “Hey, your peepee’s weird.” Perhaps it never occurred to my parents that not having my foreskin cut off might make me the odd one out. It didn’t matter, since we were too busy running around and napping to worry about what each others’ peepees looked like anyway.
We started worrying in junior high. Put together a bunch of snot-faced children newly finding themselves at the bottom of the totem pole after reigning supreme at their elementary schools and brats having just escaped from that position, and it’s no wonder you end up with insecure kids trying to prove that they’re cooler than the other insecure kids. Every day was a competition of who can run faster, jump higher, look tougher, and come up with the most depraved insults. We started off with stupid, dumbass, idiot, got braver and moved on to pussy, retard, shithead, and then finally the holy grail of curse words, fucker, but only when we had looked down the hallway both ways to make sure that there were no teachers nearby. We muttered it under our breaths, smug in the knowledge that there could be nothing worse, when one day a new word spread like wildfire: chode.
No one knew what it meant at first, not even the cool kids who thought they knew everything. Still, we whispered, chanted, yelled the word, daring each other to say what it meant because surely they weren’t cool enough to know, all in the hopes that someone would actually enlighten us all. “It’s a dick that’s wider than it is long.” It became an essential part of our vernacular, rearing its ugly head whenever we wanted to describe the classmate who asked too many questions, the kid who cut in front of us in the lunch line, the teacher who gave the pop quiz. We also teased each other, asking “you have a chode, huh?”, asking because we didn’t want to be asked. Everyone accused everyone, all of us projecting our worries that the lottery of puberty would end up cursing one of us with the most unfortunate transformation.
The only person that wasn’t accused of having a chode was Gary, our in-house high schooler. Even though he was really in junior high with us, he was at least a couple years older and much bigger than any other boy in school. And he was hairy. His curly, dark brown hair was everywhere, covering his face, his chest, his back, his arms, and even his feet. We called him Gary the Gorilla. Apparently, he once bragged to some boys in the locker room that he had more pubic hair than all of them combined and then went ahead and proved it. When I heard that, I went into the bathroom to inspect myself. Three short, brown strands. Gary was what we imagined all high schoolers must be like. Surely in addition to being tall, strong, and possessing endless pubic hair, all high schoolers had big plans for their lives and even bigger dicks. Gary would do well in high school.
The summer after junior high, I felt almost ready for high school. Puberty was hitting me at full blast, and I had several strands of armpit hair to prove it. Even my pubic hair count had gone up from a measly three to a blossoming twenty-six. Puberty wrought other changes, too. My friends had introduced me to the world of porn, and every day I found new sites, new videos, and new pictures. Every night, when my parents went to sleep, I lay in bed and waited until I heard my dad start to snore softly from the master bedroom. I counted to 300 in my head, then crept out of my bed and spent hours on the computer devouring everything in sight. Pornography taught me the model of the ideal penis — a foot long, circumcised, and as thick as an arm. According to the vast array of samples I had observed, that was the penis required to satisfy women. The evidence spoke for itself: Bigger is better. Circumcised is better. I made the decision my parents didn’t and asked to get circumcised.
I found myself lying naked, slightly propped up on a green mat in an old, worn-down doctor’s office. My mom had been banished to wait outside after making the unforgivable suggestion of staying to watch. The doctor was an older man, possibly in his 50s, looking like he wanted to be anywhere but in the room. He had spoken very few words, undress and lie down, and his stern and unfriendly demeanor made me question his personal dedication to making sure that my penis would come out flawless. I half-wished that my mom had stayed after all to guarantee that the doctor wouldn’t slip up and render me a eunuch, but quickly changed my mind. This surgery needed to be an affair between men.
“Are you going to put me to sleep?”
With that, he walked up beside me.
He held a shot in his hand, and he slowly brought it closer to my body. Before I could say another word, he pushed the needle straight into the base of my penis, and I shut my eyes and clenched my teeth together to keep from screaming out from the pain. I regretted that I had decided to trust this doctor, regretted coming to the clinic, regretted ever wanting a circumcision, regretted ever looking at porn, regretted ever making those friends. I slowly opened my eyes to find him looking at me, probably to make sure that I hadn’t passed out.
“That was the local anesthetic.”
I said nothing in response, not having yet fully recovered from the shock. I watched as he brought another needle to my body, grimaced, and braced for the worst. The needle penetrated the base, but this time, I didn’t feel the needle. Or anything in that region for that matter.
The doctor proceeded in the same way, sticking several more needles in until my penis looked like a lion with a mane made of porcupine quills. He got up once, and walked over to a drawer to take out a pair of scissors. He clamped down the sides of my penis by the foreskin, and made a straight cut at the head. I thought back to a time in elementary school, when I had walked around the house in jeans without underwear, simply because I had accidentally peed myself and didn’t care enough to put on another pair. I had just finished peeing in the toilet, and was zipping up when I felt red hot pain at the tip of my penis. The zipper had caught onto my foreskin, and it felt like it was being torn apart. Now, with this doctor cutting my foreskin off, it really was torn apart. Snip, snip, snip. No more foreskin.
When I got home, the first thing I did was waddle to the bathroom to inspect my newborn penis, freshly released from its womb. The doctor had given my mom a dixie cup, telling her that I had to wear it for at least a week to prevent infection. The moment I put it on, I felt like my penis was its own entity, a neutered dog with a cone around its head. I looked inside the cone now, hoping to see the beginnings of a foot-tall giant. Instead, my penis looked smaller than ever before, smaller than it had been before the circumcision. A frown crept onto my face as I worried about the fate of my penis, but a single thought consoled me — at least it wasn’t a chode.