Friday, March 9, 2012

The Birds And The Bees

Excerpt from my memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope:

When I was thirteen my best friend Ricky Delgado asked me, “What do you think of Sally Perkins?”

“Sally Perkins? I dunno. Why do you ask?” Sally lived three houses down. When she was five or six, she pulled her pants down over by the lamp post. I hadn’t thought about her much since then.

“Do you think she’s cute?”

“I guess so.”

“Don’t you think she has nice boobs?”

I hadn’t noticed that Sally Perkins had boobs, nice or otherwise. “I guess so.”

“My old man tried to give me ‘the talk’ last night,” Ricky said. “God, was he ever lame.”

“The talk?”

“Yeah, you know—the talk. That shit about the birds and the bees.”

“Oh, that,” I said, trying to sound knowledgeable.

Dad had attempted to give my older brother David the talk a few years earlier and David still laughed about it. My time had yet to come.

“Isn’t it hard to imagine your parents doing it?” Ricky asked.


“C’mon. I swear to God, sometimes you’re stupider than Hollowhead.”

That was saying a lot. Andy Hollingsworth, who lived across the street, was the closest thing we had to a village idiot. He couldn’t build a model airplane without gluing his hands together.

“I’m talking about sex!” Ricky said, an edge of exasperation in his voice. “Can you imagine your folks doing the ‘deed?’” He’d recently struck the coup de grace to my childhood by explaining the mechanics of human reproduction to me. I was still in a state of shock.

I had difficulty imagining my stern-faced mother smiling, much less having sex. As for Dad; his ability to vanish when my mother was in one of her foul moods (Dad's Disappearing Act) made it unlikely he could keep anything firm enough for sex. No, I couldn’t imagine my parents doing the “deed,” and I told Ricky so.

We were sitting under the sycamore tree in our front yard. He spat out the blade of grass dangling from the corner of his mouth and asked, “Have you checked the top drawer in their bedroom?”

“Why would I do that?”

Ricky looked around to be sure nobody was watching, then fished something out of his pocket. “I don’t suppose you know what this is?” He didn’t wait for a response. “It’s a condom, for sex, when you don’t want the girl to get preggers.”

“You found that in your parents’ top drawer?”

“Yeah, right near a tube of some cream shit. You can find interesting stuff in your parents’ top drawer,” added Ricky, “you should check it out sometime.”

A few days later, my folks went to check on Grandma who was having trouble managing her diabetes. David was off somewhere campaigning for class president. I had the place to myself.

I entered my parents’ bedroom, and just stood there, giving my courage time to percolate. There was only one dresser in the room—I figured it was my mother’s since it didn’t look like anything Dad would use. I opened the top drawer and prowled around. It was definitely my mother’s dresser; Dad’s things were probably in an Army surplus footlocker in the garage.

At first I was relieved to find nothing interesting. Underwear and nylon stockings but no condoms or tubes of goo. Then something caught my eye—a book.

I can laugh about it now, but back then I shuddered at what I’d found. Far worse than a sex toy or a package of condoms—a library book, one of those titillating bodice-ripper romances. The title was splattered in bright colors across the tattered dust jacket: Slave Queen of Tunisia. A picture showed a sultry vixen clutched tightly in the arms of a muscular sultan, whose bare breasts were nearly as big as hers.

With the book in hand, I dashed back to my room and scoured the pages as quickly as I could. I paused to read sex scenes written with an abundance of poetry, but with enough heat to convince me that Ricky’s description of human reproduction was more or less accurate.

Some of the steamy passages fired up my adolescent furnace, but icy water rained on my parade when I noticed the last date stamped on the check-out card. Ricky had explained how long it took for a woman to “pop a bun out of her oven,” and this unreturned library book had been checked out on the eighth of March in 1952—nine months before I was born.

My hands felt like they were burning as I jammed the seemingly red-hot book back into my mother’s dresser drawer. Now I knew the bitter truth; in spite of my best efforts to think otherwise, my parents had actually done it. Now my mind was polluted with a vision of my conception—Mother lying flat on her back as turbaned Dad worked up a sweat to satisfy her, a distracted look on her face as she absentmindedly leafed through her copy of Slave Queen of Tunisia.

My innocence disappeared like piss in a swimming pool.

How did you learn about the Birds and the Bees?


  1. Oh, this was funny! Still laughing!

  2. That, my dear, would be telling!

  3. Very funny stuff. You have a wonderful memory for the facts of your youth. I don't even remember how I heard about the birds and the bees. I can assure you it wasn't my parent. I lived with only one parent (my dad) and there would not have been "the talk". I am relatively sure, I learned it like the majority of know...the most reliable source there is...the dumbass friend with a big mouth and the facts somewhat askew.

  4. So your conception was inspired by The Slave Queen of Tunisia? Wow books are powerful.

    My parents never taught me anything about sex. I had to rely on books, movies, and school

  5. Hey I asked you before, is this in book form? Am I being stupid not being able to find link to your books on your blog? If so let me know where to buy. If not, you ought to publish! I mean it!

  6. Jenny:

    I sent you an e-mail but I can't tell if it went through or not. I haven't had anything published yet but I'm thinking about self-publishing "The Kid in the Kaleidoscope" as an e-book that I can market on my blog. Until then, I've posted two excerpts under Pages: "Riding the Hammer" and "The Zone." I hope you enjoy them, and thanks again for the interest.

  7. So... your mother stole books from the library?

    The talk didn't happen. We had a couple of weeks of learning about reproduction during the second semester of the eighth grade and my mom handed be book about reproduction sometime about that time. Otherwise it was just kids talking and mostly getting it wrong

  8. I sure didn't learn anything from my parents. Mostly from my girlfriends who didn't know anything either and later in life by trial and error. Great story.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  9. Mom sat me down and explained it all, with the help of a book, when i was seven. Not a bad way to take care of it.

  10. OMG! That is so funny and sweet!
    We had a movie in fifth grade at night with all the mothers and daughters in red-faced attendance. Without preamble, we watched this movie about menstruation, and then quietly filed out. On the way to the car my mother asked me, "Do you have any questions?" "Nope." That was the extent of my sex education. I think they preferred girls to be very naive back then...which was a very dangerous practice indeed. ;)

  11.'re like the slave child of the slave queen??
    OMG- do you think they role played??


  12. Did you know that if you Google Slave Queen of Tunisia it will bring you to this blog?

  13. I "learned" about sex from my friend, while playing pool in his basement. The stick, the ball, the pockets. Get it? I didn't at the time. Seemed too ridiculous to be true. Sometimes, it still does.

  14. I've enjoyed catching up on your last few posts - you are so funny. Thanks for making my smile on my first day back at work after vacation (I'm also smiling because it's Friday & I have the weekend off - ha!)

  15. Too funny...I never got the talk...I learned from the kids at school..but I do remember my parents' laughter coming from the bedroom all the took me a while to figure out what was going on in there:)

  16. LOL - great story!

    My sisters and brothers and I learned mostly in school and from books. When I was old enough to start comprehending "that stuff," I was convinced that my siblings and I were conceived through immaculate conception. At some point, that thinking wouldn't work any longer. So I decided that my parents had sex five times. And I refused to think about all five of those times.

  17. hehehe scary shit when you're little. Very funny

  18. I really benefited a lot from your informative blog post. Thanks so much and more power!

  19. FUNNY! Love it. I grew up in the day when Playboy magazine was considered evil beyond belief, and you know what happens when things are forbidden.....we kids had a triving black market going in used Playboy's. Those images plus some tales of conquest by some of the older guys in the neighborhood taught me all I needed to know. By the time my dad gave me the talk, using all the proper anatomical names, I was pretty much a dashing man-about-town. Or so I thought. Haha!


  20. Great story! I like your style. :) I'll be back soon to read many more in your archives (hectic day planned for today, so no time right now).

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've hit the "join" button (my little anonymous icon will likely appear on the last page of your followers). Looking forward to reading many more fun tales!

  21. They said it all. Really enjoyed this.

  22. you would be shocked if you knew what they teach 11 year olds in public school.. the banana demonstration is outrageous.

  23. Oh how you paint a scene with your words. This was a hoot.

  24. So The Slave Queen of Tunisia was involved in creating you? If that doesn't instill a sense of sexual prowess, I don't know what would.

    Thanks for pointing me over here, Stephen. It's a unique, fun story.