What did the leper say to the prostitute?
Keep the tip.
The first time my right eyeball fell out of my head happened when I was eleven. I was hanging upside down on the monkey bars at recess and Tammy Bollinger yelled for me to watch her jump off the swings. I turned and it just popped out–no dangling nerves, no blood, no pain, no loss of vision–just my eyeball laying in the dirt beneath the monkey bars, staring up Billy Pledger’s red Umbro shorts.
I learned two things that day: First, I was gay and had a thing for jock-types. Second, that I could freak the fuck out of everyone around me with my special talent.
Mr. Giffords, the PE coach and playground monitor, saw the commotion and came running. At first he didn’t believe my eyeball could still function. So I turned my back and demonstrated by telling him how many fingers he held up.
I rinsed the orb and popped it back into my head.
Mom and dad refused to believe the story until I showed them. When I pulled the organ from my skull that afternoon, dad fainted and mom had to sit down. Then I showed them I could still see through it and it became a problem.
“How dare you scare your father like that!”
“What happened? That’s not normal, son. That’s just not normal.”
“For heaven’s sake, don’t let the neighbors know about it! They think you’re weird enough as it stands.”
I didn’t come out to them until last year, my final year in nursing school. Oddly, they handled that fairly well. My eyeball, however, remains the family secret.
When Billy called during my final semester, my heart skipped a beat. Earliest crushes often don’t give a shit about who lusted after them, but he wanted to have dinner, to talk about the past. It didn’t hurt that he played short-stop for his college baseball team, either–that’s still very much a part of me.
Dinner came and we met at the bar. A couple of drinks and he asked me over to his apartment. My head throbbed, my heart sang–blonde, blue-eyed, perfectly tanned Billy Pledger. Holy fuck.
On the couch, side-by-side, he placed his hand on my thigh and asked me for a favor: “I’m engaged and I think she’s cheating on me. I remember that thing you do–with your eye–and I hate to ask, but could you maybe…?” His hand slid to my package, rubbed my crotch, a finger flicked at my taint through my khakis. How could I refuse?
A handjob, some necking, the irony wasn’t lost on me, and the plan came about: he’d make a gift to her of my eyeball. She was pre-med, goth, and held a deep appreciation for the macabre.
“If this works out,” he said. “I’ll give you a show–something you’ll never forget.”
My eyeball came out, went into a jar of saline solution, and on Billy’s nightstand.
I can’t say I minded at first–his bedroom habits proved tantalizing. Sit-ups, push-ups, stretching in the nude–perfect physique, perfect form, and a thick uncut eight. Then he gave her his present.
For two weeks I sat on her shelf, watching her listen to music, paint, write, and study chemistry. No other boys. No cheating. And I began to wonder if Billy had valid suspicions or not.
After a month, the eye-patch became conspicuous and people started asking questions. You can only says “conjunctivitis” so many times before people suggest an antibiotic, then suspect a compromised immune system. A rumor started, persisted, dogged me down the halls as the other students pointed and whispered: “HIV.”
I texted Billy, asked him for my eyeball back. He agreed but reminded me of the show he promised and my cock twitched at the prospect.
That night he arrived at her apartment early. She let him in and they made out in her bedroom. Clothes came off and he climbed on top of her. Suddenly she was pounding on his chest, trying to shove him away as his hands tightened about her throat.
She stopped moving and he stayed atop her for several more minutes before climbing off. He held up a note for me to read: “One down. Many more to go. Glad to have you along.”
That was three months ago. Thus far the body count is nine: five women, four boys. He’s prowling again, somewhere near Chicago by the looks of things.
I’d call the cops, tell them what’s up, turn him in, of course. But what would I say? How would I explain my special gift? And above all else, what would the neighbors think?