My Unsent Letter to Penthouse Forum
(Recently discovered in my old bedroom at my mother’s house under one corner of the rug.)
I used to think all those letters you publish were a total load of crap until this happened to me.
I was in the school library minding my own business reading The Odyssey when this chick, one of the smart kids wearing a sexy pair of wire-frame glasses and her hair done up in a pony tail, sits down at the table right across from me. She’s eyeing me and checking out the cover of my book and I can tell right away that she’s sizing me up as the intellectual type, right? So I’m acting like I don’t know she notices me, playing it cool, when I reach into my backpack and “accidentally” let my combination pocket thesaurus and dictionary drop out, like I didn’t mean it. So now it’s confirmed in her mind that I’m some kind of brainiac, which is what I want. Luckily I had my pocket protector already in place stuffed with about forty pens, and I was wearing those khakis that expose nine inches of sock even when I’m standing up, because nothing turns a chick like that on more than plenty of sock, if you know what I mean. They see all that white sock, comfortable and highly absorbent and cushiony, and they think probably your shoes are sensible too, which was true, they were practically orthopedic. I mean, my mom knows how to shop, you can ask anyone. Anyway she’s got me pegged for a true Mensa type now. Perfect.
But I see it’s up to me, the man, to start the conversation, because after a while she breaks out her notebook and books and starts to make like she’s all into studying, a total act. I see it’s second year AP biology, so I lean over and go, “How much do you know about the medulla oblongata? I always get that mixed up with the hypothalamus.” She gives me this look like I’m breaking into her concentration and acts like the question is beneath her, as if I’m a complete moron, obviously giving me the old “hard to get” approach, which is not very convincing I might add, but I decide to play along. So I go, “Hey, from one scholar to another, help me out here.” And then she — get this — she picks up all her crap and moves to another table.
So there she is, supposedly all in a huff, and whose table does she go to but the one that Bradford Mcinnerney is sitting at. Let me tell you about Bradford Mcinnerney. He wants people to actually call him Bradford, not Brad. That should say everything. He’s some big jock, a hero in the lacrosse world apparently. It looks like he spends an hour each morning brushing all one hundred and twenty of his teeth and styling his gorgeous locks. So this chick tells Bradford something and then he looks at me like he’s Clint Eastwood, all squinty-eyed with what he must think is a very intimidating scowl, so I quickly yet calmly stow The Odyssey and my thesaurus/dictionary into my backpack and commence a dignified and rapid exit. Only now Bradford stands up, even though the chick grabs his arm like she doesn’t want him to.
So Bradford and, as it turns out, his Neanderthal buddy Edward Sudhalter, who was my friend in elementary school until he grew about ten feet and his fat turned into muscle, they cut me off and Bradford starts to say one thing and then he stops, looks at me hard, and says instead, “Wait a minute, aren’t you the kid they caught with his hand down his pants staring at Maryann Williams in Mr. Roberti’s chemistry class?” So right there I say the perfect thing, I say, “No,” although in my mind I’m thinking that technically my hand was not down my pants and I thought her name was Mary Jean.
So then he goes, “Oh yeah, you’re the guy. Schprockman, right? Heading home now to violate your pillow thinking of Cheryl over there?” Which immediately was score one for me, because now I know her name is Cheryl. Pretty crafty, right?
Then Bradford grabs me by the arm and tells Eddie to grab my other arm to help him escort me out of the building, which Eddie does, because he’s so proud to be Bradford Mcinnerney’s flunky, his supposed right-hand man, which believe me is no honor if you want to know the truth, only most people don’t realize it. So they kind of frog-march me out of there while Cheryl, who before pretended to not want to associate herself with me, now gets up all concerned and says, “No, Bradford, don’t,” which is score two for me, because now I’ve got the old sympathy going, her betraying her true feelings and all, very key to my master plan. But Bradford and Eddie, who, incidentally, must have forgotten it was me who taught him chess and helped him with fractions back when he was “Edward,” hustle me out just the same.
So we’re outside and it’s a chilly fall day and I realize I left my jacket back in the library. Cheryl starts to get frantic and says, “Don’t hurt him, Bradford,” which Bradford hears but keeps his eyes on me and says stuff like he ought to play connect the dots with my zits and quit pestering girls who want nothing to do with me, etc., etc. And he’s gonna let me go, like he’s done with me. But I — get this — I — and I don’t know where this came from — I say, “Fuck you, Bradley,” which offends him on two levels, the obscenity part and calling him Bradley. So he goes real still at first, then turns slowly around, and asks, “What did you just say?” and I don’t even finish saying “Fuck you, Bradley” again before he hauls off and punches me right in the mouth.
Well it’s score three for me because Bradford cuts his hand on my braces. He immediately grabs it with his other hand and yells, “Son of a BITCH!” and I would have laughed, really, only I was sort of fading in and out of consciousness at the time and my mouth was filling up with blood. Other than that, though, I would have laughed like a hyena right in his face, I swear to God.
Bradford allows himself to be ushered by Eddie back into the library like Eddie’s his mommy, although, obviously, the nurse’s office is really where he should go, with Eddie even saying, “That might take a few stitches,” and “I toldja he wasn’t worth it.” Yeah, thanks, Edward old pal.
And then the only one left is Cheryl looking at me on the ground, blood all over my clothes. And she says, “I’m sorry,” like she really means it and waits a full half a second before heading back to the library door.
So it’s just a matter of months before she starts speaking to me, gentlemen. All according to the plan.