Except for Mary Jo Kopechne and soldiers in Viet Nam, 1969 was the perfect year, with a summer memorialized by Bryan Adams, the first Moon-walk, good, cheap pot (Okay, I too was a child of the sixties) and my graduation from college.
But it didn’t start out that way.
1969 began as an auspicious year for me: I had outgrown most of my immaturity (See The Blue Pube, Batman and The Legend of Chicken Hawk), I’d been admitted to Law School the following term; I was consistently on the Dean’s List, and I was engaged to the most beautiful girl on campus, a blonde beauty of Brahmin Chicago stock who said she’d love me to death. (Little did I know then that she occasionally rode a broom or that her Brahmin upbringing carried some plague-bearing fleas).
Way out east on Third Street, I had a three bedroom Knightridge Manor townhouse apartment and three wonderful roommates, all good friends and two of them my fraternity brothers. John and Carl were the fraternity brothers, and I’d met Malcolm while he was president of our Freshman Class and I was its treasurer. The four of us had jelled like pudding. Malcolm ran campus politics, John was the biggest stud in Bloomington and Carl was a giant with a Teddy Bear disposition. I’d fallen into a fairly consistent routine by then: classes late morning and early afternoon, a Noon shift at the Gables, six hours of concentrated study in an Administration Building room, then some hours for a party or a poke with my fiancé.
Life was good. But little did I realize that I was about to encounter one of the most unpleasant and embarrassing experiences humans can suffer.
It all began one Saturday night when I returned about Midnight from a date with my fiancé, who for some reason wasn’t spending the night. Awaiting me at the apartment were John, Carl and Tim, another fraternity brother who I hadn’t seen for awhile. Malcolm was away for the weekend at some political function probably plotting the next stage of the Viet Nam war.
Sadly, Carl, John and Tim weren’t alone. Accompanying them, guzzling our home-made, ultra-potent, gut-rotting red wine, stuff which made Ripple taste like a fine Bordeaux, were two of the poorest excuses for women, if that’s what they were, that I’d ever seen. Both of these skanks were well over forty and one of them outweighed me. Now I was a big guy, 6’6”, 220, but this broad could have tossed me around like a feather pillow. She looked like a larger version of Tony Soprano’s sister although I didn’t check for the breast tattoo. I thought she looked a little familiar, perhaps as someone last seen in a children’s book baking Hansel and Gretel into cookies. The other woman, again that term is used loosely, resembled Anne Bancroft, not as she looked as Mrs. Robinson, but as she looks now.
Eeeuw, you say? That’s how I felt. Not wanting any part of what I suspected was about to transpire, I said hello to Tim, nodded to the trailer-trash, grabbed a beer and made my way to my bedroom, mine alone by luck of the draw. Now, I’m basically a lazy guy when I can be, and I saw no purpose to sleeping under a sheet and blankets if I could avoid making my bed in the morning. My fiancé liked a made bed, so when she wasn’t around, I slept in my sleeping bag. That way, my bed was always made, and when she stayed with me, she made it before leaving. I thought it was a good system.
So I finished my beer, climbed into my bag and zipped up. As I’m a light sleeper, I tuned my radio to a soft classical station, hoping to drown out what I anticipated would be raucous calisthenics in the other bedrooms.
Sometime later, through a Mozart haze, I either dreamed or heard some muffled giggling, the soft whoosh of my door slowly opening, a whispered “Shhh”, then a gentle rustling, like clothing landing lightly on the carpet at the end of my bed. Moments later, I was crushed under a slobbering blob of fat, which was moving up my bag to my face, murmuring or cooing something that sounded like, “Oooh, baaaby, let mommy gobble you up. I got lots a love for you, thweet baaaby”
I sensed myself being swallowed by an anaconda.
Instantly awake now, struggling to find the zipper of my bag while I tried to climb up the headboard to escape, I saw the grinning faces of John and Carl before they shut my door.
Now, I’d had trouble with zippers before, you know, how they tend to get stuck while you’re in the urgency of reaching your spear before the moment passes? But this was a new urgency, like running from fire. And I was panicking. Wrestling with Godzilla’s mother, my arm was pinned and I couldn’t get a good grasp on that damn metal tab, and once I had it, I couldn’t yank it down with any force. I rolled to the left, then to the right, trying to shift the blubber with enough momentum to tear that tab down.
No such luck. A gigantic boob to the left of me, another to the right, Beast-woman was centered, and my movements were becoming more constrained as she moved ever upward. For a moment, I had visions of smothering between flabby thighs, of gasping in noxious vaginal fumes and expiring in a place only whale-sized tampax should see. Then, as she began grinding my compressed gonads into mush, she raised up and my arm swung free. Not bothering with the tab any longer, I wrapped my left arm around that flab and lunged myself to the right, rolling both of us off the bed. Thank God I landed on top, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this; I’d be in a very long, very wide, very flat coffin. In a flash I was out of the bag and on my feet, in another flash I was at the door. “Get the hell out of here!” I raged. “Put your clothes on and get out!”
Bulbous was sitting on the floor, her boobs nearly touching the carpet, a dazed look in her sullen, dull eyes. “Come back, baaaby,” she moaned. “Momma wants you.” She wasn’t making any effort to follow my command.
I flipped on the lights, hoping she’d see how foolish she looked. No dice. She stayed where she was.
“Goddamit, Carl, John!” I yelled. “Come get this piece of shit!” There was no sound, their doors were shut. “Dammit! This isn’t funny!” Again, no response. I reached for my jeans and my sweatshirt, and went into the hall, trying their doorknobs as I hurriedly dressed. Both doors were locked, and I could hear some giggling from John’s room.
I turned back to my room and saw Blubber-butt still on the floor. Her flabby arms were raised, imploring me to return.
What to do?
“Okay,” I said as I walked into the room, grabbed the clothing they’d tossed in, then hurried back out. “I’m taking your clothes and I’m putting them outside. If you want to see them again, you better get your ass outside. You can dress there.” Then I did exactly that, tossed her clothes outside while I stood at the open door like a sentry. Some minutes later, weaving to and fro, her boobs swinging in long arcs, Whopper-lady made her way outside. I averted my eyes as she passed, fearful that her swinging mammaries would make me seasick. She said something but I didn’t catch it. I was too fixated on slamming and locking the door.
Problem solved, I made my way back to my room, cussing my roommates all the way. I had no idea where the other woman, the aged Anne Bancroft look-a-like was, and I didn’t care. I locked my door, undressed and went back to my bag.
Some twenty or so minutes later, I heard a loud banging on our front door. I yelled to my roommates but they still weren’t answering.
The banging continued.
Muttering to myself, yelling at my roommates, I struggled out of my bag again, dressed and went downstairs, fearing that Whale-woman was back.
Nope. It was the County Mounties.
The two cops, both looking to be in their thirties and sporting typical cop-guts, were friendly. Obviously, they’d spent some time dealing with college kids. “Look buddy,” one of them said, “this fat woman says you threw her clothes outside and took her purse.”
“Huh?” I said. “I threw her clothes outside because that was the only way I could get rid of her.”
The cop’s eyebrow rose and I could see the other one shift his stance. From a distance, he said, “That’s not a very nice way to treat a lady, buddy.”
“Yeah,” I said. “But she’s no lady. Look, I’ve never seen her before and I didn’t invite her here.” I told them the story.
“Okay,” the first one said. “But what about the purse?”
I shook my head. “I haven’t seen any purse.”
“Look,” he said. “Why don’t you let us in and the three of us can look for her purse.”
I shrugged and let them in. Together, the three of us looked all over the downstairs area.
“Oh crap,” I said. “I bet she left it in one of my roommate’s rooms.” I gestured upstairs. “Let me see if I can get it.”
I ran upstairs and did a quick once-over of my room. No purse. Then I went to each of their doors, rapped on them, and said. “Hey, there are cops downstairs. They say you have that fat woman’s purse.”
I could hear giggling from John’s room but he wouldn’t acknowledge me.
“Damn it, John! I’m not kidding around. There are two sheriff’s deputies downstairs and they say you have her purse. They want it. Now fork it over or there’s gonna be trouble.”
Still they wouldn’t acknowledge me. I turned and saw one of the cops coming up the stairs. “They won’t answer me, officer. They think I’m getting even with them.”
“Let me try.” The deputy pulled out his long, heavy flashlight and banged it sharply on the wood. He followed this with his name and said that if they didn’t come out immediately, he’d kick the door in and arrest them for theft.
Through the wood, I heard John’s closet door slide open. A moment later, both his door and the door to Malcolm’s room opened. It was just Carl and John. Anne Bancroft had evidently been called to another performance.
Well, the cop took us downstairs where he and his partner gave us a stern lecture. Then he forced John and Carl to search for the purse, which John found in his room. The purse tendered, the cops left, and after I railed a bit at both of them, we all went to bed, relieved that this problem was over.
They say it takes about three or four days for crab eggs to hatch and grow. Not being familiar with this phenomenon, I had no idea why my groin began itching four days later. Neither did Carl, John or Malcolm. We had all been working out quite a bit, and maybe hadn’t done our laundry very well, so we just assumed it was crotch-rot. A little talc should take care of it.
But the itching grew more intense Friday, and Friday night my fiancé and I were due in Chicago for a fateful meeting with our parents to discuss our wedding day. Malcolm, in turn, was due in Indianapolis for a meeting with legislators about school funding. And John was meeting with his former fiancé, maybe they could patch up their relationship. Carl was staying home alone.
I cannot explain the full agony of that weekend in Chicago. My hands were constantly in my crotch, which itched so badly I wanted to scrape it with a blade. And my fiancé, who’d had sex with me during the week, was beginning to itch too. And it wasn’t just my crotch that itched, my arms, armpits and my head did too. I itched all over. What’s more, I couldn’t sit still; I’d fidget, shift, stand up, sit down, all desperate attempts to alleviate the infernal itching. I showered three or four times a day, using one excuse after another, and nothing seemed to help.
Finally, I could take this misery no longer, so I locked myself in the bathroom on Sunday, stripped and checked things out. As I was studying my crotch, I noticed a little speck of red. It moved. Then I saw another, and it moved. The more I looked, the more I saw them, and they were all moving, quite rapidly I might add. It was if whatever had infested me was on Pogo-sticks. My pubic hairs were swinging vines for these Tarzanic-bugs. Being the curious scientific sort, I found a powerful magnifying glass in one of the bathroom drawers and I applied it to these dancing specks.
I had crabs; there was no mistaking them. Now, maybe I’d been sheltered, but I’d never heard of crabs so small, but crabs they were. The magnifying glass didn’t lie.
I couldn’t get out of that condo fast enough. Making up some lame excuse, I insisted we pack our bags and return to Bloomington. My fiancé wasn’t happy, but when we got to the car, I told her why. By now, she was just as miserable as I was, scratching like a banshee, cursing, but being female, she was much better at hiding her “equipment problems” than I was. Fortunately, she hadn’t looked through a magnifying glass.
My revelation to her about our plight -- and the likely cause of it -- raised my fiancé to heights of anger never before witnessed by man nor beast. That’s when I first saw the broom, but had no idea how often it would show in years to come. Suffice it to say, the trip back to Bloomington was long and painful, in more ways than one.
First thing Monday, we were visiting doctors: my fiancé, John, Malcolm, Carl and me. And John’s former fiancé, with whom he’d re-established relations, was soon to follow. Boy, I would have loved to have heard that explanation. If I know John, he blamed me.
We had to wash and disinfect everything in our apartment, douse ourselves with special shampoo and crab-killing goop, and do it over and over again, because these little buggers leave lots of eggs. And my fiancé and John’s had to do the same with their rooms, plus inform everybody with whom they’d had contact.
But what about the parents and the legislators with whom Malcolm had met? Sure enough, our respective parents were now itching too. You can imagine what fun those conversations were. As for Malcolm’s contacts, we decided to let sleeping bugs lay. I must say the notion of a bunch of legislators scratching madly at their crotches was sorta entertaining.
You think this is the end of this story?
Ten years later found me happily (I thought) married, a proud papa of a baby boy and well established with a prominent Indianapolis law firm. Thinking of my little boy, I decided to visit the local Boy Scout chapter, where after one meeting, I found myself leading the troop on a spelunking overnight. Now, I had spent many a day and night spelunking around Bloomington. I considered myself almost a pro. So, I’d agreed to lead.
As I was the only person who forgot a ground cloth, I was the only one who froze all night in my sleeping bag, and I was the only one who got stuck in a narrow passage. Great trip!
And guess what? That sleeping bag? Yup. The same one I’d used the night I was almost smothered by Crab-woman. I’d never washed it; I’d just thrown it into the closet.
Duh! Wanna guess what I got three or four days later?
My wife didn’t believe my story this time, so I had to schedule an additional appointment for my doctor to assure her that crab eggs will last forever in a sleeping bag, just waiting for someplace warm, like my toasty crotch.
Is it any wonder I don’t eat crab salad?
My ex-wife is an avid camper. My only regret is that I didn’t give her my sleeping bag in the divorce...