A dumb little story with one or two good lines, based on a completely predictable joke.

0th Draft

Sex consumes a lot of guys, but not me. What I'm thinking about is a time of quiet unconcern, letting things come as they will. Not looking for a girlfriend, not dwelling on romance, just giving that part of me some breathing room, working on writing, trying to learn something from the peaceful aloneness rather than hoping for a date.

I was over at my friend's last night, and he brought out a pair of his ex-girlfriend's panties. "She used to wear these," he said. "That's what I gave up."

"Have you sniffed them?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, putting them to his nose like a blanky. "I miss her so bad."

But I don't have his problem, nope. I'm not going to miss sex or access to sex one bit. In fact, when I had to throw away an empty box of condoms tonight, which I found under the bed, I didn't feel the least pang of regret or disappointment, because sex is just not something that's in my life right now.

I had a dream last night, I can't figure it out. I was out in the yard at my childhood home, and there was something wrong with the garden hose. It was stuck, and we couldn't get any water out, and there were about 20 women in the yard. Each one of them tried to tug at it in turn, until finally one of them, who looks a lot like a client of my company, took the hose and bit it hard. It sprayed a huge gush of water over her face and neck, and she rubbed the water into her skin and smiled at me as the water soaked her clothes and hair. Then she took a big drink from the hose, which was now just dripping a little, and said "thank you" to me.

Like I said, I don't know what that means. All I'm saying is that I don't think sex is an option right now. I have important stuff with which to bide my time, really important stuff I can't write about here, but important. I pretty much spend my days unconcerned about that whole erotic side of things, you know. And I've never been the type for fixation or compulsive behavior, either, not in the least, except that I chew every pen I own until there's ink on my face. Other guys, they're obsessed, but me, I'm absolutely not interested 99% of the time.

After that dream I had another where I was running through a soaking-wet tunnel with a hammer, the soft, jiggly walls of the tunnel painted light red, and I was trying to find my way out. The tunnel kept shaking and the hammer was pounding up and down in my hand, and my whole body was throbbing. Every time I tapped at the walls of the tunnel, the entire thing would shiver, and the wetness at my feet would rise. Finally, in despair, I just leaned into the wall and pressed my face into it, and a light appeared to my right. Going towards the light, I finally found my way out, and when I did, the hammer was soft and limp like a slug, and my first-grade teacher, Ms. Yoas, was sitting in a folding chair smiling at me, wearing a nightgown. Whatever any of that means.

I've made my peace with this situation, and I'm getting ready to enjoy a kind of casual celibacy, totally a natural, spiritual way to be, as long as I don't look at breasts, soft, wonderful, beautiful smooth breasts, breasts like summer strawberries, or think about nipples in my mouth like gumdrops. I'm fine if I don't do that.

Basically, I know myself, and I don't have a problem if I don't concentrate overly on the areola, the perfect little rugged ovals, that gorgeous territory, letting my hair drift over the goosebumped skin, slowly and lightly rubbing my fingers, and eventually taking my tongue and lips and--what I'm actually saying here, in case you can't see, is that I need to just avoid breasts in their entirety, get them out of my sight, that's what I'll do, as a strong person with an important itinerary, and when I see them, I'll think of something unbreastlike, like an octopus, or a lamp, and if that doesn't work I'll bite my lower lip until I can stop thinking about them.

In my final dream last night I was a rocket-ship pilot, and we had to land our huge, stiff ship in the pink swamps of Venus, right in a big canyon, and SHIT! I just bit my lip so hard it's bleeding, entirely without meaning to. Enough.




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

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