Later Waiter Masturbator.

I regret every day that I didn't go into advertising. As I sit, hour after hour, unemployed in front of my mother's television, I wish that I had revolutionized the advertising industry - that everyone would be recruiting me for their companies, that television, for thirty seconds at a time, nine minutes per half hour prime time situation comedy, would feel my presence envelop the growing minds of little children, warp the sour brains of teenagers, burden the overworked heads of parents around the country. Not to be hearing the latest sellout campaign from the latest hard-up-for-exposure-and-money musician. Not to be looking at automobiles at every extreme angle possible. Not to be looking at some "Hollywood Ugly" guy wear the latest brand of cologne/body wash/hair gel/zit treatment/khaki pants/basketball shoes/leather gloves in his convertible and all of a sudden, from the minds of sex-starved quasi-virgin "creative" consultants envisioning a perfect geek universe, see him attract the attention of superficial "I love you for your hot hot pants and, oh wait, you're actually a really nice guy too despite your appallingly unattractive face/body/hair/love handles" kind of women they covet so. If I had it my way, instead of enlisting the weight of washed-up B-celebrities to shill your latest incarnation of boysenberry-fused cola drinks, they'd get real people, on the streets, giving accurate opinions of the product. "This can of Fruity Cola tastes like a cross between a three day old open jar of out-in-the-sun jelly and the kind of watered-down flat soda you can only achieve through poor planning, horrible product research, and feet sweat sprinkled vigorously with desperation for cornering the food-regurgitation market." Viewers will see this commercial right after the latest bug-eating-contest show and think to themselves, "You know what? It can't be as bad as all that. I bet it's, in fact, quite tasty and refreshing. I'm gonna go buy me a case of that right now!" Then, they'll try it, vomit all over their giant white wooden spool doubling as a coffee table, ruining the latest issue of Maxim, and word will spread. They'll tell their friends. Friends will buy it out of curiosity and doubt. Then, they'll realize the devil does exist and Soda Conglomerates are canning and selling his urine. By that time, the natural running time of new sodas will have run its course, the company will still have sold millions of dollars worth of their bastard product, and - the best part - they will have told the truth in their advertisements the entire time. People will respect them for their honesty. They'll be more willing to go out and buy variations of their soda they taut as "quality" and everyone will be happy. Meanwhile, I'll get to sit in my mother's new house (that I've purchased), watching her new 62-inch, plasma, high-definition television, reveling (while still in my hole-in-the-crotch, rust-colored stained long johns) in the fact that, in between pissing-contest reality shows created by fifty-year old men hiding in the trees in elementary school playgrounds with pads of paper, listening to five year olds talk about what's fun and cool, I will have created thought-provoking entertainment in thirty-second intervals, for nine minutes every half hour.

But I didn't and I'm not and I never will. I'll remain in this one-bedroom house my mom's still struggling to make mortgage payments on, sleeping on this bed-pulled-from-brown-couch with the lumpy mattress and an uncomfortable lack of springs all around my ever-spreading ass cheeks. I used to live on a university campus. I used to live in a university-sanctioned dormitory. I used to work as a food service type person who would scoop out bowlfuls of "healthy" frozen yogurt at a place where old ladies with permed hairdos resembling thick bushels of pubes on their heads covered by hairnets would accept payment with a cigarette-ravaged "Have a nice day. Please come again." I used to study the great English writers of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries until I realized they were full of shit and they bored the hell out of me. Professors would try to tell me that my generation's culture is too violent, too predictable, too derivative. From The Bible and Hamlet to Crime and Punishment and The Great Gatsby, I've realized that violence is necessary that sex is interesting that criminals capture the reader's mind and tortured heroes sell manuscripts. I didn't need Scorcese or Tarrantino or a six-hour block of South Park to figure that out. So, now I study the art of writing and I've found out some things about myself I've never thought about before. I'm a chronic procrastinator with no dreams, no goals, no determination, no drive, not the persistence to finish, nor the ability to start well, intermittent flashes of brilliance drowning in a marinade of feces and I know this about myself. It's good that I know this. It gives me the confidence to go up to my mother after her 10-hour shift at I-hop where tight-assed college students go for their 95-cent bottomless cups of coffee and leave 5-cent tips, and say, "I don't want to be a teacher anymore. I don't want to believe the façade that I'll make a difference on some 9th grader's life thereby instilling the ethic in her to work hard and nurture her poetic talents. I don't want to make $25,000 a year, working long hours for 9 months, living in debt until I'm 50 and burned out and cleverly known as Mr. Assface (when my real last name is Jones) hanging by the neck from a noose connected to one of the many exposed pipes in my 1 bedroom basement apartment in downtown Fuckville, California. I'd rather make $00,000 a year as a freelance writer (by name) where I find writing inspiration only when I feel so depressed about my life that I create manuscripts about suicide and esophagus raping and child-killing, and then send these to Better Homes and Gardens magazine as a joke and wait for the professional, courteous responses in the mail, laughing all the way to the nuthouse. Aren't you proud of me, mom?"

I didn't graduate college - imagine that. Yet, I still find the time to complain about my life to my one and only friend, Robert Pussymore. He started hating school long before I did, so he dropped out at 17 and joined the army at "18." I still write him 20-page rants, no page breaks, no paragraph indentations, no lack of run-on sentences, haranguing the perils of the downfall of old rock bands of the seventies, Paper Mate black-ink pens that run dry in mid-sentence, my run-ins with public library security guards. I've only been caught twice now. Out of twenty attempts, that's a ten percent failure rate. Unqualified-for-work/unsuccessful-career-seeking individuals living at home in the middle of May must have hobbies. Exciting hobbies. Thrilling events to pass the time between Awake-At-Two(pm) and Asleep-At-Five(am). And now, I can't even do it the old-fashioned way. Champion crew sock - white with a hole in the heel - on the outside, in bed, covers optional, VCR remote in left hand, thumb hovering over the rewind button, pillows stacked under my back, propping me up, head aligned evenly with the television screen in front of me, lesbians with D-cups naked and groping and thrusting in my mind. Now that doesn't do it for me anymore. Now I need the thrill. Simply silently stroking with my light-sleeping mother in the next room protected by a seemingly cardboard-thin wall of sheet rock for noise absorption won't help me fire the torpedoes. What could be more thrilling than the library, anyway?

It's not something I planned one night in bed at 4:45 in the morning while naked and wondering. I wasn't thinking, "Hmm, where could I do this where there's a greater risk of getting caught, where there are uncomfortable round footstools and lots of studious nerds, cheap, newspaper-reading old people, junior high students with no friends renting cds, and unspoiled six-year olds running around?" It just happened. One day in the Fuckville Public Library; I remember it was a Monday after a long weekend of drinking and smoking pot through a glass tube. I needed to go and read a book to feel somewhat smart and deserving of my 13th grade reading level. Sure enough, that Abe Lincoln biography bored the hell out of me and put me to sleep within 45 minutes. I drooled all over that shaggy-bearded, top hat-wearing president's carefully crafted congratulatory concoction. I dreamed of lesbians with D-cups naked and groping and thrusting with our 16th president at the Helm, directing traffic flow, clad in only that famous, now age and orgy-ravaged hat and a corncob pipe, puffing away at the latest import from China - Opium, addressing the subject of the annexation of his penis into their salivous mouths. I woke up with a hard-on even Woodrow Wilson would be proud of - since he was, in fact, one of the biggest pricks in the history of presidents. Attendance was low on this sunshine-flooded day for the gods - no one but burned out hippie-wannabies like myself would find themselves trapped at a table surrounded by stacks and stacks of books written by dead people about dead people for people who wished they were dead. I floated along the back wall, scavenging through the marvel that is the Dewey Decimal System, until I located a row far enough from the nearest library patron to provide me with the ease to sustain its density, yet still eliciting the same fear and excitement generated from performing death-defying acts in the realm of jumping off the roof of a moving minivan over the side of a bridge, into a shallow ravine hundreds of feet below while holding onto your parachute with your right hand and a camcorder in your left. At any moment, some 12 year old would stop by needing a book on the subject of Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders of the Old West for his project report and I'd be caught, shorts around my ankles, back shielding his eyes from my piston-like grip. He'd look at me for a moment, cautiously approaching one step at a time, still believing his book was within his grasp, until I turned my head, blushed, scrambled to yank my shorts up. He'd scream or run to the librarian while I'd run out the fire exit, causing the alarm to shriek, wallowing in a forbidden case of the blue balls.

Thankfully, at the time, but now a major cause for my burden, I didn't get caught that first time. Envisioning Abe and the Lesbians with D-cups all around me in the public library chanting my name while all the other unsuspecting patrons looked at each other, mystified, did the trick. I shot some of it all over that Teddy Roosevelt book (sorry, kid) and felt a sense of such danger and amusement park thrill that I went back the very next day to do it again. This time in another part of the library. Periodicals. Higher traffic flow. At 4:30. Kids out of school doing homework, parents dropping by for videos for the evening, music buffs seeking freebies to burn onto their hard drives. Look and behold: National Geographic! Three minutes. In and out. Someone in the very next aisle looking at a Sports Illustrated from April gave me quite a scare, but I persevered. After this victory, I couldn't be stopped. The phenomenon was too great. Had I only been caught that first time. Perhaps I wouldn't be where I am right now. My public-starved masturbatory fantasies dominate my ever-increasingly useless life. But, libraries are practical. They're quiet and I've been conditioned over time to be the same out of necessity for not getting caught. Rows and rows go hours at a time from being walked in. The gamble is picking the right one at the right time. I've guessed wrong only twice - the first requiring me to find another library to patronize; the second pushing me back to the first library with a celebrity "disguise." Sunglasses, baseball cap, trench coat, in the middle of May in the formidably hot city of Fuckville. If only I could achieve this kind of success in the stock market, I could build and operate my very own "libraries" in 23 states around the country (coming soon to Wyoming!).

It didn't take librarians and library security long at first to catch on - with my chronically-short visits, me leaving in a hurry, red in the face - that I was up to no good in their place of work. "He never checks anything out. He just turns the corner and we don't see him for a few minutes. Then he leaves." That must have been what they were saying to Butch the Security Guard. Otherwise, why would he be picking that very day, on my seventh attempt, to patrol the geology section of the library, one minute after I entered? He saw, he yelled, he was 18-24 feet away, at the other end of the bookshelf. I ran south at the east end, he ran south at the west end chasing after me. I reached the back first, turning west until I reached the emergency exit halfway down the row. He grazed a hand on my tank top, nothing more. I ran, hopped the hedge to freedom, scraping my legs on the various branches, and hid inside the bus station for an hour until I felt safe. That fright only cemented my addiction. Public Indecency charges bring out the animal in me, it seems. Though, I'm sure there will be plenty of indecent acts thrust upon me in prison. I'll have all the Abe Lincoln books I can handle in there while I'm being anally raped on a daily basis. Thankfully, it hasn't come to that yet.

But, if I'd majored in advertising, or anthropology, or archeology, or even Arabic language, then maybe I'd be in a different place. Maybe I'd have a job. Maybe I'd have something to do to pass my days besides 12-hours of Cheetos and Saturday Night Live reruns, with brief periods of release in the local romance sections of my own version of hell. At the very least, I could have avoided two years of "What are you going to do?" What are you going to do after college? What are you going to do with an English degree? Isn't dropping out the equivalent of an English degree anyway? Shouldn't you just prepare yourself for asking this question, "More coffee, Mr. Buttshire?" When that's all you hear from family and friends and your only responses are, "I want to be a teacher / I want to be a writer / I could always go into editing / Hmm, you know, I really don't know / Maybe I should just find a job now, just in case," then you know you're doomed. I never had a plan going into college. I never had a plan during college. I never planned on finishing college. Now I have to face, "When are you going to get a job?" from my mother when she gets home at midnight and I've just finished cleaning out my bong.

[lost in mind]

"I've been a very bad girl, Mr. Lincoln. I think you should have your way with me."

"Nonsense, Titty McCuntson. Four score and seven years ago my father told me never to conceive with whores and to dedicate my life to creating pleasure in others. Mike Jones, why don't you take over?"

Why thank you, Mr. President. Don't mind if I do. Now, Titty, you go over there to Fiery Crotchhole and rub her down with oil. I'll be watching over here with Abe while we both pleasure each other with -

"Hey." That's all he had to say. Not judgmental. Not threatening. Just like one would casually say to a friend passing by you down an empty hall on the way to the john. Not your best friend. Not someone you're excited to see. But, someone who would expect a greeting of some sort. So, you say "hey." All blood flow from my heart ceased as all major arteries exploded. My mind became clouded as visions of Abe with the Lesbians with D-cups shifted to minions with pitchforks stabbing me in the neck. On my back, with my knees bent, feet planted on the ground, hands full, I opened my eyes to the sight of a 24 year old guy with shaggy brown hair and thick black-rimmed glasses staring down at me. Scrawny, with a ripped Ramones t-shirt, hands in his pockets, bending over me, three feet from my face, smirking. "How you doing?"

Paralyzed, I said, "Fine." That's the standard response; that's the first thing that came into my head, though I was not fine at all. My heart kicked in again, enabling me to conceal my contracting penis under my shorts. I sat up against the Stephen King section of the horror section. The blood collected in my cheeks. I stared down at my sandaled feet.

"Couldn't help noticing what you were doing there. Had to come over here and ask you why you would choose to do that in the library." He pointed down at my crotch. "Any response?"

At ease with his approach, I smiled and replied, "The thrill."

"I see. Well, then I think I know of a group for you. If you'd like, I can give you the address of where we meet."

Gaining new abilities every second, much like a toddler, I found I could stand. "Wait. This isn't some support group or anything, is it? I don't want to go there and find out I've just walked into an M.A. meeting. I don't want to take any 12-steps here."

"No, not at all. We're . . . more like a club, really. We get together, share stories, plan new . . . adventures. It's really just a chance for people like us to feel like we belong in this society. Like we can serve a purpose."

"This isn't one big circle jerk, is it? Because I don't really swing that way," unless it's with Mr. Lincoln, but he didn't have to know that part of it.

Looking frustrated, he squeezed his temples with his right hand. "No, not at all." He thought for a moment, then returned, "Listen. How many times have you been asked, 'What are you going to do with your life?'" Instantly, recognition struck my eyes. He saw this and smiled. "You see. We're not so uncommon. We're not filthy, dirty people who need to hide in the shadows. We shouldn't be made to feel like we have to hide who we are, under the blankets, ostracized from the outside world! Made to fear those less comfortable with their bodies! Made to - "

"Shhh." A quiet-seeking everyday subscriber to the free New York Times in the wooden newspaper stick stared at us for another couple of seconds, until he was reasonably satisfied that his threatening tone forced us to comply.

"Look, just show up here, tomorrow night at 11:00. The password is 'Twist.'" He handed me his business card. Howard Wrinkles, associate. Associate in what?

[you'll be satisfied]

" . . . and unlike other similar groups, we don't force you to hand over all of your Earthly possessions. In fact, we know you don't have many to begin with, and that's what we like about each and every one of you. Now, the eight of you have been handpicked by Brother Wrinkles personally, so I would like to extend the invitation to you all to join in our latest project. But, that will come in time. First of all, why don't you just have a seat and share with the group."

I took my seat and placed it in the hard plastic school chair under me. We seemed to have raided the elementary school gymnasium or something, because there were basketball hoops everywhere. I looked around. There were about thirty or forty men sitting in the bleachers on either side of the court, all staring at us, wearing their normal day-to-day sweat pants, khaki slacks, Levi's 501 jeans, wife-beaters, tank-tops, cream-colored t-shirts, all with bright red superman capes. Just the eight of us in chairs, in a circle, with the headmaster sitting in the middle, in a swiveling office chair, prepared to stare any of us down and dominate in a game of monkey-in-the-middle if he had the chance. He turned to the man two seats over and nodded.

"I'm Tommy Manimal and I guess the strangest place I've ever done it was in Disneyland," the people in the bleachers smiled and murmured. "On the ride 'It's a Small World.'" Laughter from the bleachers; shock from the people in the circle. "Everyone was behind me, and the person next to me, some old fuck, he was staring at all the stupid robots around us. I gotta say, though, I was starin' at the robots too." Tommy smiled and folded his hands on his chest, leaning back in his chair.

"I'm Myles Long, and the strangest place would have to be in my dorm room in college." Skeptics from the bleachers angrily scoffed. "I was on the top bunk that first year, and I would go at it at least four times a week with my roommate sleeping directly below me. I never once got caught; I was that careful. When I told him, the next year when I moved out, he punched me in the gut." More laughter from the bleachers.

The headmaster swiveled to me and nodded. My face turned white. What should I tell them? That I fantasize about doing it with dead presidents? That I hold the Great Emancipator in healthy esteem? That I get my jollies from a complete lack of ambition? I didn't have any funny stories. I'm not even that good in front of groups, especially people like this. They're out there, and they're judging me, my every movement. I must make a good impression. I must look the leadership-part. I stood. No one else stood, but I did, and I said in rapid succession, "I did it in the library, oh wait, my name is Mike Jones and I did it in the library 21 times and I've been caught three times." Then, I sat down. My mind fogged over. I can't remember what anyone else said, but the headmaster chimed in at the end with his spiel.

"OK, so it sounds like we have some adventurous people in our midst. This should work out well for our project. I'm going to split you into groups of four. The group who completes their task with the greatest results will win the ultimate prize. Regardless, there are no losers, as you all are now members into our society, 'The Society of Creative Masturbators and Fornicators.' SOCMAF. Welcome." The bleachers stood and applauded our induction. I couldn't think through the haze of it all. I just remember feeling at ease when he stopped talking and presented us with our very own red capes.

[love and lust]

The project was called "Exposure." As soon as I learned of the title, I had an idea in mind that would surely win us major points within SOCMAF. All I had to do was convince my group that this could work. Fortunately, timing played a major role in my plan. Group B had their little hurrah. The four of them stormed a local television news program, athletic rip-away pants flung from their bodies. They jumped on top of the news desk and for a brief moment of exquisite live television, their members stood majestically at attention, hands in a cocking motion. But, they got caught and were prosecuted to the full extent of the law: "imprisonment in the state prison, or in the county jail not exceeding one year.*" I knew of an even greater event, and I knew of a way not to get caught. Granted, at the next meeting, words of praise were extended in their directions, but they would be soon forgotten by the next meeting. My troupe would win that prize: all expenses paid vacation to the "Happiest Place on Earth." I'm sure Tommy Manimal would love that!

I told them to keep it hush-hush. "Don't spread this to our brothers. The last thing we need is any additional pressure." I gave them all battle stations. They all had disguises and proper identification. Our escape would hinge on enough chaotic confusion.

The people in charge set up a stage in front of the Fuckville Public Library, for a nighttime speech. Scaffolding above for lights left us the perfect perch for our plan. Really, the whole thing ended up as luck on our shoes. We had the suits of electrical technicians, gray flannel body suits with tool belts and steel-toed work boots. We cut holes around our packages after we were sitting in wait. The main attraction approached the mike stand after hours spent in the library reviewing his speech notes. He stood directly below myself, though in clear range of the three other guys with me; the other people on stage were local politicians and local politician-wannabies, anyone who had the V.I.P. stamp of approval was on that stage cheering him on. Most everyone clapped in the audience. The lights around us made us invisible to the public. The speaker opened with a joke, or what I perceived as a joke, "I love spending time at the library: all those books, all those chances for learning." Right after that, I couldn't wait anymore. I thought of President Lincoln and the Lesbians with D-cups. I thought of female midget wrestlers in a mud-hole with The Rolling Stones. The other three guys, Tommy, Myles, and Gerald Paddio, a former Seattle Supersonic basketball player, all followed my lead. Try as they might, though, they could not gather the troops. Their flaccid members rested in their hands like useless Play-Doh snakes. It was up to me. After a proper build up, and more perfunctory applause from the crowd, I unloaded. The wad of mucus-like goo fell in slow motion. I opened my eyes with glee, looked down in hope and anticipation. It fell like rain droplets, but must have felt like robin droppings. He looked up, but was blinded by the lights. The other three guys started climbing down just as I finished, but I wanted to stay. I smiled proudly. I had finally made something of my life. I now had purpose. No one noticed in time. Secret Service agents couldn't dive in front of these bullets. At the next SOCMAF meeting, and forever thereafter, I was known as the man who came on the president. I still don't think he knows what happened to him exactly. Regardless, I doubt he'd show his face in this town again.

[to say goodbye]

As I imagined, I moved up the ranks quickly. The fear I had shown at that first meeting melted away as huzzahs of approval showered down like that good kind of acid rain that will wash away the grime, exposing soft, supple skin. Days later, they voted me into presidency. My natural leadership instincts proved vital in our efforts to expand operations. I opened up new chapters of our group in several different cities, from San Diego to Seattle. We flourished after people found out we were responsible for masturbating on the president. SOCMAF was 150,000 members strong when I opened another chapter in Fort Cockburn, Oregon.

We rented out a convention center, in the middle of town, and I invited all of my highest-ranking officers to attend and welcome the new city with fifty-five new members in-tow. I was forced to realize, however, that all great presidencies end in tragedy, one way or another. Be it the simple fact that your term runs out, or the unthinkable happens and you are assassinated, either way, your greatness is terminated and another man must step in and take your place. On this night on June 5th, over a year after I first joined SOCMAF, a lone gunman approached the stage, weapon in hand. For a moment, he distracted me from my prepared speech to the crowd, but I recovered and ignored the man standing below me. John Henry Cox was his name. He fired three times. All direct hits, one on the neck, two in the chest. The shock forced me to the ground. The realization once I hit the ground forced me into a humble depression. I had been beaten. The next great leader of SOCMAF had just come along, pardon the pun. I returned home to my mother's house later that night, finished with the group I had led to prominence. I sent a letter to my good friend Robert Pussymore and he wrote back three weeks later.

"Listen, maybe if you stopped writing about yourself fantasizing about masturbating all over the place, you'd have something tangible to hold in your life. These little stories about ejaculating all over the president, they're nice, in their own little ways, but really, all you do is whine about how nothing's going your way in your life. Well, you've got to make it go your way. If you're willing to put in this much energy into these fantasies, then maybe you should consider finding a job. At least, this way, you can fantasize all you want, plus you get paid. Or go back to school, for God's sake! Finish your degree and become a writer. Then, for crying out loud, give us a decent story to read! Nobody wants to read this crap you've sent me. You know what sells? Stoning women to death. {The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson} Parents ripping their infants in half. {Little Things, by Raymond Carver} Teenagers having sex with Barbie dolls. {A Real Doll, by A. M. Holmes} Not this homoerotic male masturbation fantasies in public places. You need to get your life together, because I think you're losing it, man."

For some reason, I don't think he believed my story. Plus, now he's starting to sound like everyone else in my life. As far as I'm concerned, it's over either way. You see, I think I broke it. I tried masturbating after I got his letter, but there was nothing. I even went back to the Fuckville Public Library. Nothing. It won't work. Ever since my assassination, I haven't been the same. My livelihood has been taken from me. Now, at nights, before I go to bed, I actually think about school. Maybe Robert was right. I think about taking a writing class again, writing about my adventures. They'll believe me. What choice do they have? They have to believe what the author says. It's right there in the print! I think about going to class one day, before everyone else gets there, after they've all read my obscene story, sitting completely naked on the teacher's desk, masturbating, with the words "Life Imitates Art" painted on my chest. Cliché, yes, but still more creative than 95% of television commercials today.