Categories > Theatre > Rent1 Reviews
Mark really needs to stop listening to Roger. Nothing good ever comes of it, especially where his bits are concerned. (Young Mark and Roger... 12 and 13, respectively.) Warnings: A one-sided Ma...
"The what?" Mark rolled over, propping himself on one elbow to give Roger the full benefit of his skepticism. They'd been stretched out side by side on the spare mattress Roger's parents had in their basement. Roger would go down there and smoke cigarettes he'd filched from his dad's supply, and sometimes bring down beer or whiskey (also courtesy of an unwitting Mr. Davis), or occasionally even pot, though where he got that, Mark wasn't sure he wanted to know. Mark was content to just lie there, doing nothing in particular, as long as Roger was there...
Or he had been, before the conversation somehow turned to improbable mythical creatures. Bad enough that Roger had turned thirteen first, and was lording it over him every chance he got, but this... This was insane.
"The Penis Gnome." Roger was the picture of Cool and Casual, one knee (the one with the hole ripped in his jeans, Mark couldn't help but notice) propped up, hands behind his head, as if he was talking about what he'd had for lunch that day, not fairy tale penis enlargement. "My cousin told me about him. Girls have the Boob Fairy, and guys have the Penis Gnome. At night, the Penis Gnome comes to your house and makes your cock grow. Unless you wank it too much. In that case, he figures it's fine the way it is, and leaves it alone." Roger frowned, looking thoughtful. "You know, maybe that's what your problem is..."
"Yeah, well fuck you too." Mark reached out and shoved Roger in the side. Roger, predictably, didn't budge, and Mark was left cursing genetics yet again. It was manifestly unfair that Roger was so much bigger than him... A five month age difference was no reason for Roger to be six inches taller than him, goddamnit. "Penis Gnome. Right. Not in a million years."
"No, really! You leave your jockstrap hanging off the mailbox at night. That's how he knows you need his help." Roger was nodding in a way Mark was sure was meant to look earnest, but only made him look like a bobble-head dashboard ornament.
Mark was unable to hold back his laughter. "You're so full of shit!"
"Really?" Roger, never one to back down from an implied challenge, hopped to his feet, unzipped his fly, and dropped his pants, giving Mark a wicked grin. "Worked for me..."
Mark wasn't laughing anymore. Mark was staring. And swallowing. And, somewhere in the back of his mind, making the inevitable comparison. As if he didn't already feel inadequate enough...
"You did the mailbox thing?" Mark finally tore his eyes from Roger's assets, trying desperately not to blush.
Roger nodded solemnly.
"And... that happened?" Mark's eyes were drifting downward again. He pulled his glasses off, polishing them on his shirt, breathing a purely internal sigh of relief as Roger faded to a vaguely person-shaped blur. Nope, no penis there, just a fuzzy flesh-toned shape. That, he could deal with.
"Yeah." Roger pulled his pants up, zipping them quickly, and no, Mark was not disappointed. Really, he wasn't.
"And you're not fucking around with me?" Mark mentally congratulated himself for keeping most of the desperation out of his voice, at least.
"Mark." Roger's voice was low, soothing. "We've known each other since we were two. I would not lie to you about the Penis Gnome. Swear to God, it worked for me."
"Well... maybe," Mark mumbled, gnawing on his lower lip. He slipped his glasses back on, adjusting them carefully, still not looking at Roger. Or Roger's now-clothed crotch.
"What, you're gonna try it?" Roger plopped down on the mattress with a thud, and poked Mark in the ribs.
"Ow! Fucker." Mark swatted at Roger's hand, missing, as usual. "And yeah, I guess. It's not like I believe in the Pe--" He was abruptly cut off by Roger's hand over his mouth.
"Don't ever say that!" Roger's eyes were wide and serious. "You wanna be three inches for the rest of your life?" He slowly took his hand from Mark's mouth, ready to clamp down again if Mark showed any signs of finishing his sentence. Mark, however, had other priorities.
"I am not three inches!" Was he whining? He thought he might be, but there were certain things that you just didn't mock a man about. Well, almost a man... There were only three months until his Bar Mitzvah, and that had to count for something, right?
"Fine, three and a half." Roger shrugged, ignoring Mark's glare. "The point is, don't ever say you don't believe in the Penis Gnome. It fucks everything up."
"You're crazy." Mark rolled over onto his back, watching Roger out of the corner of his eye.
"I may be crazy," Roger said, with his usual infuriating grin, "but I'm hung."
"Jackass." Mark took a deep breath and addressed the ceiling. "Fine, what have I got to lose?"
"That's the spirit." Roger reached out and ruffled Mark's hair affectionately. Mark, for his part, reminded himself that Roger had been being a dick, and so smiling at a hair-ruffle would be letting him win. With that in mind, he resolved to not smile at all, no matter now nice it felt.
He almost succeeded, even. Goody for him.
The next morning was disgustingly bright and sunny. The birds were singing, the flowers were blooming, and Mark was not even a fraction of an inch more well-endowed. He'd even measured twice, to make sure. Penis Gnome, indeed.
That was, he reflected as he picked at his breakfast, exactly what he deserved for being stupid enough to listen to Roger in the first place. After all, what had happened the last time he'd listened to Roger? He'd been trapped in the basement of an abandoned house for three hours, hiding under a dusty blanket behind an old sofa while some high school kids had embarrassingly noisy sex right on top of said sofa. It would have undoubtedly been educational, if he had been able to see any of what was going on, instead of huddling under the blanket and trying not to sneeze. Roger, meanwhile, had a nice view from behind a pile of boxes. Fucking Roger. He protested afterwards that he had no idea breaking and entering was so popular, but the fact that he seemed not at all sorry to have gotten them stuck there didn't help his case, in Mark's opinion.
And what about the time before that? Running for three blocks, chased by an angry homeowner with a garden hose. And before that, that incident at that place where he almost got arrested, and thank God Mom never found out...
And now... There was a jockstrap on his mailbox. Shit.
Actually, it wasn't on his mailbox anymore, because his mother was coming in with it held between two fingers like it would bite her. Double shit.
"Some hoodlums must have left this on our mailbox last night. The nerve of some people!" She wrinkled her nose in distaste and threw the jockstrap into the kitchen trash, turning immediately to wash her hands.
Mark looked intently at his breakfast, shoving the eggs around on his plate, trying to hide the blush he knew was spreading across his face. No use, though. Within two seconds of turning around again, she'd noticed.
"...You wouldn't know anything about this, would you, Mark?" She was sounding suspicious, and that was never good. Time for a quick escape.
"Probably just some neighborhood kids. I've gotta get to school..." He abandoned his plate, grabbing his backpack and heading for the door as fast as he could without actually running. "Love-you-Mom-bye-I'll-be-at-Roger's-after-school-again!"
He could feel her eyes on his back as he hurried out the door, but priority one was getting the hell out of there. If he was very, very lucky, she'd have forgotten all about this by the time he got home, and he could fish his jockstrap out of the trash without any trouble. And boy, wasn't he looking forward to that...
"So yeah. I have to get it out of the trash when I get home. I just hope she hasn't taken it out yet." They were back in the basement, and Mark was sprawled on his stomach, chin resting in his hands. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this."
"Bullshit." Roger finished rolling the joint he'd been working on, and lit it, inhaling deeply. This, apparently, had been a good day for illicit substances. Mark still didn't want to know where Roger got the stuff. "I didn't talk you into anything. I just provided information you might find useful. Acting on it was your idea." He offered the joint to Mark, who surprised himself by taking it, inhaling, and promptly choking on the smoke.
"Hey, easy." Roger was rubbing his back, and oh, that felt nice. Roger had probably never choked on smoke in his life.
"Well, it's not like it did me any good," Mark muttered, once the coughing had subsided.
"What, you expected instant results?" Roger rolled his eyes. "Have faith in the Penis Gnome, and you'll be rewarded in time, Marky."
"Don't call me that." Not that he really minded, with Roger still rubbing his back like that.
"Whatever. Look, you can't just suck the smoke down. You've gotta inhale up, kinda." Roger snatched the joint and demonstrated, then passed it back to him. "Try it again." A thin trail of smoke escaped from his lips as he spoke, and Mark watched, fascinated.
The second time, he coughed just a little, but he could feel how it was supposed to go down, kind of, and he immediately took another hit. That time, it went down smoothly, and he basked in Roger's approving smirk.
"Great. Now give that back. And, for the record?" Roger paused to inhale yet again. "Incidents like this morning are why you get up early to get it before your mom wakes up. Go out to put it on the box after she goes to bed, retrieve it before she's up in the morning, and everything will go great. Trust me."
If Mark had been paying attention, there would have been warning bells going off inside his head at those two little words. Any time Roger asked Mark to trust him, it never ended well. But the inside of Mark's head was buzzing pleasantly, with no room for bells, and the only thing that seemed to matter was that Roger wasn't rubbing his back anymore. This was a sad thing. It was, in fact, downright tragic. He liked it when Roger touched him, and hey, were there cookies?
"Are there cookies?" Mark asked, poking Roger in the side.
"Hmm?" Roger blinked at him. "Cookies?" His eyes lit up. "Yeah. Hold this." He passed the joint, now more than three-quarters gone, to Mark. "If that's gone when I get back, I'm kicking your ass." That said, he scampered up the basement steps, heading straight for the kitchen.
Mark lazily took a hit while he waited. He'd gotten a bit of a buzz from Roger's secondhand smoke before, but this... This was nice. Everything was nice, really. He could get used to this.
And then Roger came back with Oreos, and after they'd licked out cream filling, shoved cookies into each other's mouths, laughed hysterically, and nearly choked to death on the cookies due to the laughing, Mark's head somehow found its way onto Roger's lap. Roger didn't seem to mind.
And for a few short hours, life was good.
All good things have to end, and, unfortunately for Mark, the end came after he'd gotten home. It was easy enough to hide the smell of what he'd been smoking... A quick shower and a change of clothes, his old clothes left to air out, and no one could tell. No, the problem was the jockstrap.
His mom had stayed in the kitchen even later than usual, and Mark was starting to wonder if he'd ever get a chance at it. She suspected something, obviously. He, however, was at his most angelic, and after his father made his way downstairs a little after eleven, muttering, "For God's sake, Elaine, come to bed!" Mark was finally free to make his move.
Step one: Retrieve jockstrap from kitchen trash. This took a bit of rummaging, but finally he located it. He had to brush bits of scrambled egg from that morning's breakfast off it, but otherwise, it was still in good shape.
Step two: Put jockstrap on mailbox. Not that he was going to make a habit of this, but somehow, Roger had talked him into giving the Penis Gnome one more chance. But tonight was going to be it, miraculous growth or not, Mark swore to himself. He was almost thirteen, and that was way too old to believe in the Tooth Fairy's perverted cousin, no matter what Roger said. But... just in case...
He was absolutely silent as he made his careful way out the front door, lurking behind the hedges in front of his house until he was sure no one was coming. It was kind of exciting. He was... He was a spy, that was it. Double-Oh-Stealthy. It was up to him to sabotage the Commie base with the super secret explosive that just happened to look like a slightly eggy jockstrap. But that was even better. It was inconspicuous. No one suspected the jockstrap.
If he was caught, he'd be tortured and killed, but the risks were acceptable. For his country, for the good of the world, he'd accepted this mission. He could see it now: the yard in front of him was a minefield, certain death for anyone who tried to cross it. Double-Oh-Stealthy, however, was not just anyone. He had years of training, lightning-quick reflexes, and, most important, a map of the minefield. The map had been given to him by the beautiful woman who had come to kill him, and yet was so overwhelmed by his charm that she gave herself to him instead, choosing to risk her own life in support of his cause. His mind conjured up images of brilliant green eyes, soft, slightly parted lips, and...
Breasts. Breasts, damnit. Women had breasts. They did not look like astonishingly well-hung thirteen year-old boys. Double-Oh-Stealthy shook his head to clear it. The mission. Focus on the mission.
All clear. Time to make his move. And he could see it, just like in the movies. The camera would pull back as he darted from one safe patch of land to another, narrowly avoiding the explosions that sprang up around him, his very own theme music playing in the background.
And then Mark realized several things. First, he was humming his imaginary theme music. Second, his theme music really sucked. Third, dodging back and forth on his front lawn in the middle of the night while humming said crappy theme music and carrying a jockstrap was anything but inconspicuous.
Also, a small, superstitious part of his mind worried that the Penis Gnome might not listen to his plea for help if he made this into some kind of let's-pretend game. Not that he believed in the Penis Gnome. Of course not. But, as he'd said before, it couldn't hurt to try it, right? Right.
He casually walked the few remaining feet to the mailbox. Double-Oh-Stealthy be damned. There. The jockstrap was on the mailbox. He couldn't help indulging in one smug little thought: Mission accomplished.
And then everything went to hell.
A blinding light shone directly into his eyes, and he would have faced torture and death by Communist hands, even the wrath of the Penis Gnome himself, rather than deal with the owner of the voice that was currently shouting from the front porch of his house.
"Mark Elijah Cohen! Just what do you think you're doing?!" His mother. With a flashlight. Shit! Fuck! ...God-fucking-damnit!
"Uh... Mom? I can explain..." Just how he was going to explain the jockstrap on the mailbox, he never figured out, because she was already storming across the front lawn, still yelling, snatching the jockstrap off the mailbox and then grabbing his arm and hauling him inside.
How could he, what was he trying to do, did he want them to be the laughingstock of the neighborhood? On and on, and Mark somehow refrained from mentioning that if she didn't want the neighbors to know, screaming at the top of her lungs when it was almost midnight might not be the best way to keep it quiet.
He was so fucked. So, so fucked. And as he was marched upstairs to face his inevitable punishment, he could only think one thing: I'm going to fucking kill Roger.
"No shit, she spanked you? She seriously fucking spanked you?" Roger was laughing between puffs on his cigarette, and Mark couldn't help but feel a surge of satisfaction when he laughed mid-inhalation and started coughing. Ha. Not so cool after all, huh?
"Yeah, she fucking spanked me. For the first time since I was five." Mark was face-down on the mattress, trying to ignore the fact that he was still sore, and probably wouldn't be sitting comfortably for another couple of days.
"Aww, poor widdle Marky. Does it still hurt?" Roger poked one asscheek, and Mark bit back a groan. "Does widdle Marky need me to kiss it better?"
Oh yes, Roger's death would be slow and painful. Mark was thinking scorpions. Poisonous snakes. Something that would make him swell up like a balloon and writhe in agony for hours. Oh yeah...
Roger, apparently bored with making Mark squirm, changed the subject. "So are you gonna try it again?"
"Fuck, no. The Penis Gnome can blow me, if he's even real. It's not worth the aggravation. And Mom's gonna skin me alive if she ever catches me doing that again."
"So you'll be just three and a half inches forever, huh?" There was laughter in Roger's voice again, and Mark only wished he dared knock that smug grin off Roger's face. Some best friend he was.