Written by Panio Gianopoulos on Sunday, April 17, 2016
The first time my girlfriend borrowed my penis we were driving back from a hiking trip. We weren’t driving so much as drifting—the orange fuel light had blinked on and this late in the year all the service stations in the southern sector of Yellowstone were shuttered, so I was trying to conserve fuel by never touching the accelerator. Our only chance was to coast along to the outskirts of Teton where we might find a working gas station. Halfway down the mountain Amy asked me to stop the car. She said she needed to use a bathroom. I told her there weren’t any.
“Then pull over and I’ll use the bushes,” she said.
I shook my head. The sun had just fallen and the color was fading out of the landscape fast. Red had already gone.
“Please,” Amy said. “It’s an emergency.”
“If I stop the car we’ll never get it started again.”
“But we’re going downhill.”
“Barely. We’ll burn the only fuel we’ve got regaining our momentum. We’ll be stuck out here.”
I switched on the radio to distract us from worrying. The reception was lousy. No matter where I spun the dial all that came out was a hissy whine. Eventually I gave up and turned it off. In the sudden silence, I noticed a sound. It was soft and throaty and repetitive, like something was stuck, like a housecat was trying to chew something too big for it. I glanced over and saw Amy crying. She had turned her head to hide it but her crumpled face was visible in the reflection of the passenger side window. I felt terrible. In the year and a half we’d been dating, I’d only see her cry a handful of times.
“Hey, I’m sorry,” I said. Amy just shook her head and buried her face deeper into her hands.
On impulse, I reached down and unzipped my pants. I removed my penis and held it out to her. “Here,” I said. “Use this.”
Amy turned away from the window, wiping her eyes. When she saw the offering, the lines at the corners of her mouth grew dark and severe, like fresh black stitches.
“Use it for what?” she said.
“To pee out the window. While I’m driving.”
“Are you serious?”
“You said it was an emergency. Go on, take it.”
She took my penis and held it between her thumb and forefingers as if it were a piece of dubious sushi, something with eel in it.
“How far until Teton?” she said.
“About twenty miles.” The angle of descent had diminished, dropping our speed from thirty-five to thirty. “It’ll take us at least half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes. If we reach it at all.”
With a look of uncertainty, Amy wriggled her jeans and underwear down below her hips and fastened my penis to her pelvis.
“How does it work?” she said.
“It’s easy. Point and shoot.”
The car began to drift to the right. I steered us back into our lane. Luckily, there were no vehicles on the road. It had been miles since I’d seen another driver.
Amy unsnapped the seatbelt. She knelt on the seat and rolled down the window. Wind burst into the car and rolled around in the backseat like a neighbor’s dog.
“I don’t know about this, Mac…” she said.
“You’ll do fine.”
“Can you… maybe… not look?”
I stared straight ahead and focused on driving. But I could hear her. She was laughing. Then she started hooting and slapping the roof of the car with her hand. She was making such a racket that finally I did look over. Her hips were twisting back and forth, like a sprinkler watering the lawn. Urine spattered against the passenger door handle and the rear window and some even re-entered through Amy’s window to strike the seat belt and headrest.
“Hey!” I said, “Watch out.”
With a chuckle, she collapsed back into the seat.
“That was fun!” she said.
“You got the car dirty,” I said.
“It’s a rental,” she said, and put her feet up on the dashboard.
In the distance, a cluster of tiny lights flared into view. They belonged to homes or businesses or the government. There was no obvious pattern to their arrangement. One of them was supposed to save us.
“Well?” I said.
“What? Oh, did I not thank you? Cause that was sweet.”
I gestured for her to return the penis.
“Oh… yeah, totally. Soon as we get to the station I’ll hand it over.”
“I’d rather have it now.”
She looked down at her naked lap, where the penis was lying against her thigh. With a little smile, she reached down and flopped it onto the other thigh.
“You don’t really need it right now,” she said. “While you’re driving.”
“Okay, okay,” she said, arching her hips to release it. “You don’t have to make a thing out of it.”
An excerpt from my latest short story. To read the rest, pick up the newest issue (Vol. 22) of Chicago Quarterly Review