The Condom

shit show short stories

Read at True Stories: NSFW

truestories

I shook the boards of the 6-foot privacy fence in my mom’s backyard, checking for weak spots or an entry point where the vile vandals could have gotten in. “Someone’s going to pay for this!”

My mom, Nancy, is a proud Southern woman in her 50’s. She feels most presentable after a fresh at-home bleaching with Miss Clairol, and a crisp blowsy Chico’s, ensemble crowned with a statement necklace. She’s really into eyebrows right now and is concerned when mine are not on fleek. She loves things to be picture perfect, like a magazine spread in Garden and Gun. Yes, this is an actual magazine she subscribes to, and eagerly waits for each month. If you think this publication has a limited target audience, you should know last week she and her garden club went together to get conceal and carry permits, you know, in case you have to shoot away the weeds.

She’s not only an active member of her local Garden club, but the Vice President and current title holder of top recruiter in the commonwealth of Kentucky. Evangelizing for Garden club is her tactful, nonracist way of beautifying her community. “Oh dear, the new neighbors have planted Nandinas in even numbers, bless their hearts.”

Anytime I visit, no matter what time of the day, it’s imperative for me to walk around the yard and play her favorite game, point out everything that’s new or different. There’s no clear way to win this game.

One day we were doing a walkthrough, and I had my pug, Mook with me. She was showing me her newest greenhouse or batch of chicks when she pointed to something across the yard. “Paulina! What is that?” she gasped, as if I was somehow responsible.

We strode over to the spot and gazed at a slimy used condom in the middle of her perfectly pruned grass. My mind raced to jump to 100 sinister conclusions.  This is the thing I would expect to see discarded on the side of the road outside an Arby’s, or off the trail in the public park, but not Nancy’s garden! The place she spends six months of the year digging, planting, weeding, and replanting in preparation for the Annual Garden Club Tour, which she herself spearheaded.  People in our antiquated town pay money to stroll through her flowerbeds and drink sweet tea on her front porch. A porch that comfortably seats the entire Duggar family and is attached to a Victorian Home built before the Washington Monument was completed.

The skies turned black and the birds shut their beaks, as her backyard was relabled the scene of a sex crime. Nancy stood speechless, a helpless victim, as I took action to locate clues and find the repulsive culprit.  “Could someone have snuck back here to have sex in your yard?” I asked.

Nancy’s eyes got wide, “No, no. That wouldn’t happen here.” Like any good detective, my first suspects were known enemies of the victim. I cut my eyes to the small building in the corner of the lot we called the “bungalow”, because my sister moved in there after flunking out of college and refusing to get a job or her own apartment.  She had electricity, heat and air inside, but no running water. Nancy had a small deck built onto the front to make it feel homier.  She planted bushes; added patio furniture and a couple wagon wheels for good measure, but inside was a derelict twenty-something’s hideout covered in fast food cups and a lingering aroma of BO and skunk weed.

“Do you think Portia put it here? Do you think she’s getting revenge for telling her the yardman can tell when she pees in the yard?”

“No, I just told her that because she was doing it in the middle of the day.  I didn’t want anyone to see her and have to add registered sex offender to her criminal record. She’s already banned from Wal-Mart for stealing that sub sandwich.”

That ruled out my sister as a suspect. Another dead end. My mind was still racing.  “Then where did it come from? This is disgusting! What kind of monster would do this?”

My mom looked up at me knowingly.  What was I missing? She pointed to Mook, my overheated pug, the Watson to my Sherlock, panting next to my feet.  “He did it.”

This was too much for me to handle! My poor baby!  He brought this over here?? “Where do you think he got it? Oh my God! Do I need to get him tested for STD’s? Is there Canine AIDS? Where would he have gotten a used condom?”

I still wasn’t getting it.  Nancy had to spell it out for me.  “It came out of his butt.”

The wheels in my brain finally clicked, “He shat out a used condom?” An awkward pause. “OH! That’s…mine? Ewww…Oh God…He must have…I guess he got it out of the trash…I mean, I forgot to take my birth control.”  My faced turned a shade of red that put her prize winning Hibiscus to shame.

Even though I was in my late twenties and in a long term committed relationship, my mom and I had never really had the talk.  We didn’t have that kind of relationship where I came to her after losing my virginity.  I’m sure there was a point she accepted that I lost my V-card, but we never commemorated it.  I was raised very conservatively.  In 8th grade I attended Christian School and participated in a purity banquet.  My mom bought me a fancy dress (still have it) and a gold ring that said “True Love Waits”. I remember thinking, “something’s not right about this” when she was presented with a skeleton key during the ceremony that somehow symbolized my pre-teen abstinence.  She kept it on her keychain and probably grinned like Sarah Palin on a snowmobile every time she started her car or unlocked the backdoor.  The plan back then was to not have sex until I got married, just as the Lord prescribed, but of course, in 8th grade, with only one other boy in my grade, getting laid was not on my radar.  All I wanted in life was to kiss Leonardo Dicaprio, wear jeans to school, and not to have a King James Version of the Bible as my only textbook.

Interestingly, I kept that vow all through high school. (How did that happen?) I kept the ring…in a jewelry box. But like the ring, I pawned my virginity in college to buy groceries.  Just kidding. I lost it to a normal dude who told me he loved me, and it was fine, but yeah, I pawned the ring and hope it was promptly melted down into a classy cock ring.

I don’t know when mom took that skeleton key off her keychain, or where it currently resides.  The only significant event was when my family lost the “living in sin” argument when I told them if they didn’t want me to live with my boyfriend then they could pay my rent.  Suddenly the Old Testament wasn’t so literal. My point is Nancy had to know in her heart I’ve knocked boots before, but now she had physical evidence, oozing into her lawn, baking in the sun.

The discomfort of this situation wasn’t all her fault.  I was perfectly fine with her believing she had birthed a perfect oldest child.  I was the kid who set the standard by which my other siblings could never live up to.  I got my first job at 15, worked my way through college, and had good enough credit to buy a house at age 22.  I was the suck-up of the family, and proud of it.  I could have gone to my deathbed letting my mom believe my hymen was intact, but now that was impossible.  The gig was up!

With the case closed, it was time to clean up the crime scene. We couldn’t leave it there and let one of her designer chickens get it caught on their wooly talons. These hens are swanky, lay organic eggs, and have a better pedigree than the Kennedys and even better hairstyles. Eager to get the place back to normal, Nancy made the first move, “I’ll pick it up.”

“Oh God, NO! Don’t touch it.” I ran inside to get a paper towel with the guilty pug at my heels. How could something so pure and innocent ingest something so foul? When I looked in those big black bug eyes now all I would see was dirty dirty sin. We buy you name brand food, and Puperoni’s, and this is how you repay us? And you just HAD to shit it out here?

By the time I came back outside, Nancy had gotten rid of all proof.  It was as if it never happened. We didn’t speak of it again until I told her I was writing this story and telling it to an audience. She said she didn’t remember. What had been a moment in time stretched out to defy the laws of physics for me was just a repressed memory for her. Or maybe she was being polite, like when you pretend you didn’t see your friend eat the entire basket of roll at O’Charleys. They must have only brought us two, let’s get more. At least I know this situation can never repeat itself. We’ve graduated past condoms for birth control in my decade long courtship. Now let’s see that pug shit out an IUD.

Thanks so much for editing help from Gary Jenkins, Kathleen Cosgrove, John Lavey and Alissa Greenberg!

Leave a comment (unless you're a troll)