by Matthew Dexter
I masturbated in the bottom bunk and blew thirty milligrams of Ritalin to the rhythm of chapel bells. I didn’t finish. Residual powder from prescription stimulant medications dripping down my throat, a knock came from the door:
I cursed Jesus, stuck my penis upward inside the waistband of my boxer shorts, pulled up the zipper and buttoned my beige slacks, and let my dress shirt hang down over the erection. At boarding school, fornication is nearly impossible, but snorting Ritalin, marijuana, and masturbation is more common than banging erasers on chalkboards. Every single hour since 1906, students have been masturbating at Kent School in Kent, Connecticut; and an angel gets its wings every time. That freshman in formal dinner is sticking her fingers in the chicken, peeling the yellow skin back, but an hour earlier, just after sports practice, before her shower, she let her thumb and index fingers linger a little too deep inside those tight orifices that the deans don’t make mention of in the student
handbook, so now she’s sitting a little funny, grinning like it’s nothing, but there’s something yummy in her dorm room hidden in that bottom desk drawer behind that bottle of Ritalin and hollowed out Bic pen she uses as a blower. Her crusher is an overturned hour glass.
“I’m coming--goddamn it.”
My tie hung over the tip of my penis. There was a little bulge but as long as the demented purple appendage didn’t rip loose from the elastic waistband it was still a secret. I removed the lacrosse stick from the door handle. Didn’t bother to take out my dip--big fattie of Skoal Straight in upper lip--burning through my flesh.
“What the hell’s going on?” I asked.
“What the fuck you think--Dexter--we’re flipping some nigger Anderson Brenner on the second floor tonight--”
“His roommate left the door open for us.”
“What the hell does that mean?” I asked.
“Shut up and cover your face so you can’t be seen….”
You could see their smiles while they waited for more patriots to join their cause. Something sketchy was about to go down. A closer inspection revealed that they weren’t wearing masks, but black t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts tied around their faces. Evidently they were pretending to be ninjas. People were always pretending to be something at Kent. It’s Disneyland for the privileged. But I didn’t know there were so many damn delinquents till I learned what “flipping” was. I heard Spanish spoken with Mexican accents and realized this was cultural diversity at its finest. I don’t know if the white kids invented it, but we all did it. It wasn’t just about hatred, but preying on the weakest of the dorm. It wasn’t racist either, since Anderson Brenner wasn’t even black, but terms like “nigger” and “Jew” were more common than expulsions at Kent.
They claimed it was hazing, but to me it was different because students who got flipped in the middle of the night were not the ones initiated into the cliques and higher social groups of the dorm. In fact these innocent victims were the geeks, the shy pimple poppers who beat off five times a day and fantasized about the prefects in their palms as they shut their eyes and glanced over to make sure they locked the door before blowing their wads.
“You have any meds Dex?” someone asked.
“No,” I lied. Sharing Ritalin was not one of my favorite things. We were all blowing hundreds of meds every day for years on end. Hell, we would have injected the shit in our veins if we had the equipment to do so. The only time we actually swallowed Ritalin was during SATs, when we would blow meds in the gymnasium bathroom from contact lens containers hidden in our socks, powder all ready, so wired we were shaking.
We walked down the stairwell and I followed like I usually do when I want to be accepted. We tiptoed past the faculty apartment, headed toward one of the farthest corners of the second floor. We all linked together in front of the door like a football huddle and I thought of Mr. Stone: the stoic piece of shit dorm master varsity football coach and athletic director whose only friend was his dog. He would expel me for smoking weed soon enough; though I didn’t know this at the time. There were a couple people watching the halls. One of the leaders placed his hand on the doorknob--twisting it slowly and careful as a fucking ninja. I mean it--flipping was stealth marksmanship--and perhaps it’s no coincidence many of those involved in bringing the action would eventually become US Marines and Army men.
The door opened with a soft creak. I cringed as I stood in the hall and let the leaders creep into the room. You could hear Anderson Brenner breathing softly as we walked over to his bed. I didn’t know what to do or expect so I just stood in the shadows of the door and observed. Half a dozen assholes grabbed the mattress and slipped their hands underneath the edge to get a good grip. Then, all together, they lifted the mattress at an angle almost vertical to the cement wall, slamming Anderson Brenner’s miserable head and body into the concrete. We hollered and ran out of the room like a bunch of fucking criminals. I felt like an asshole but I couldn’t stop. We made it back upstairs into somebody’s room and stayed quiet for a good hour. Then we flipped another few students and eventually went to sleep. Into the hall we went, like bank robbers, walking fast to our rooms, safe inside. I locked my door with meticulous dedication that night and watched the lock for a good five minutes before I summoned the courage of conviction to shut my eyes. I was up till near dawn waiting to get flipped. It never happened.
The next morning I was exhausted. I expected some kind of announcement about the atrocious actions of the previous night, but there was no such announcement. The deans spoke, but there was no mention of the flipping. I expected to find Anderson Brenner with a black eye and a scraped up face. I didn’t see him anywhere all day; but then again I never noticed him before so I wasn’t really sure what he looked like. All I know is that flipping is assault and battery and I don’t know why those victims didn’t come forward and tell the deans. I don’t know why I didn’t do it myself. I just don’t have the balls for that sort of thing. There is a sociological pecking order with flipping boarders: if you’re cool or powerful you will never get flipped. I was somewhere just passed the border--or maybe I was just friends with many of the assholes and flippers. Either way, I wasn’t about to go fuck it up.
Sleeping through third period I fantasized about the girls who were masturbating at the same moment I was. Could we climax telepathically? Would we look at each other differently if we knew the taste of each other’s debauchery? The window fan whistled and I watched the world pass through the blades of the fan, as we’ve done for generations while blowing weed through floral paper towel rolls, after huffing Glade aerosol spray through frozen towels. Ummmm: Country Garden, Hawaiian Breeze, Strawberries & Cream, Bounce fabric softener sheets. Dorm rooms always reeked; it smelled like heaven.
I chopped up teners, fivers, twenty rocks--until I had a hundred milligrams of yellow and white Ciba powder on my desk. I spun the single-edge razorblade thirteen times in perfect circles on the tip of my tongue like a demented wolf to the sound of chapel bells ringing. My demonic waltz; blowing pyramids and lines written in my initials: MD. Ciba was the best Ritalin, MD was inferior generic bullshit. I coughed as the caustic powder entered my nostrils, a puff of white smoke expelling from my mouth. My lungs hurt like hell. I saw Satan and decided to play with myself again, my heart beating out of chest, the bells rang on.
You never have enough time to masturbate at boarding school. Should you dare to do it in silence when you think your roommate is sleeping? I opened the door and was summoned outside the dorm to meet that freshman from formal dinner. We walked away into the madness, I handed her a hundred meds and she tucked the Ritalin into her bra. It was poor quality; the CIBA name was smudged where a student had lipped it poorly in the infirmary while the nurses watched like hawks to make sure we all swallowed our meds with water. We never did. We lipped them to sniff them up our nose.
Ted Danson lost his virginity on the fifth floor of School House. But that was too many steps to climb with Ritalin running through our veins, so we decided to go someplace else. We were lying down on the grass by the clay tennis courts next to the Admissions Office when I slowly reached inside Abigail McAllister’s pants. I slipped my palm across her hairy muffin and pushed my middle and index fingers into her sweetness and rubbed them from side to side as if I was starting a fire. Deep and vertical I penetrated that sweet teenage prep school pussy with my fingers and let the wet secretions of her soul shimmer beneath the stars, growing warmer and slowly flowing more freely from my fingers--sticking gently and innocently to the beautiful hair covering her vagina. This was the mid-nineties, before everyone started shaving off all their pubic hair and girls still had bush. It was the middle of the Clinton administration and I swear to God those were the days. Don’t let anyone say that those were not the greatest times of our lives because they were. That was freedom and hope and naturalism and unmitigated intimacy and the last taste of what America was all about before the fucking terrorists destroyed the age of innocence and everything sacred and girls started shaving their pussies bald with bikini waxes and razors.
Here I was with my fingers inside this girl I barely knew, but I felt closer to her than anyone on earth at that moment. I always did. Goddamn vaginas--always make you feel that way. Don’t ever let one pass without a good examination. I had my hand in Abigail McAllister’s cervix and against the walls of her blossoming womanhood and all I wanted was to give her pleasure. She made no sounds, we had to keep quiet. I couldn’t tell if she was making any faces or biting her lips. She was a princess, stoic and charmed. I was either terrible or she was hiding it, the moon the only witness, the only livid illumination of my imagination. We lay in front of the clay tennis courts next to the Admission’s Office in the shadows of the lawn and I was kissing her neck. She insisted not to leave a mark in her flesh. It was dark, but if somebody would have walked up to me and put their hand on my shoulder I wouldn’t have been surprised. You were always getting busted at Kent when you were least expecting it, as if safety was only an illusion and there was truly no private space for students on the entire campus.
My nose dripped like her pussy to the rhythm of the wind and the Housatonic River. I sniffed, snorted, lifted my head to the heavens and ignored it all. The chapel bells rang on.
Matthew Dexter lives and breathes in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This expatriate author has been known to eat lobster tacos and drink enough Pacifico to kill a blue marlin.
SSF: What's the strangest place you've ever masturbated?
Matthew: Driving a car.
SSF: What is one thing you did this week that you are proud of?
Matthew: Not doing anything salacious to the memory of the Mexican lady making my marlin burrito. There's always next week though. Smoked marlin quesadilla lady watch out.