Vytas pointed the camera at his dick, tapped the screen, waited for the familiar click, then put his equipment away. He looked at the picture noddingly; he was looking good. He liked to think of his erect penis as a boletus, the so-called “king of mushrooms” (his father had made a small fortune from mushrooms, mushroom metaphors came naturally to him). It was Friday evening and he was feeling excited. A few more finishing touches and he’d be off to the Old Town to do his thing. Statistically, he knew he had an excellent chance of fucking a reasonably attractive woman. One night he had met a weird old English guy in a bar who asked him “in the spirit of anthropology” how many women he’d slept with. “Over 100,” he had proudly told the creep. “Because it’s that easy!”. Vytas was good-looking – everyone told him so. He was successful – he worked for a Scandinavian investment firm. He had his own car, apartment, the works. He even had his own fireplace, a top-of-the-range open hearth. Only one of the many women he had lured home had ever been able to resist its fiery charms (some stupid bitch whose name he had forgotten but it maybe began with a V).
He hoped he wouldn’t bump into any of his old flames (pun intended!). There was that slut from a few weeks ago who wouldn’t let him cum (or is that come?) on her face. But he wouldn’t mind doing whatsherface with the great tits again. She was amazing – took it like a real pro. But she overdid it a bit with the screams though. And she was a bit hairy down there. Nah, there must be someone better. He’d suggest to his friends going to that new place – it was about time they found fresh hunting grounds.
He knocked out a message to his mum that he’d pop round over the weekend to drop off his laundry. His machine was on the fritz and, anyway, he hated doing washing. He never knew what cycle to use or what temperature to set it to (it often seemed that his clothes ended up smelling no less fresh than before). Besides, his mum liked helping him out. It made her feel good about herself. Like in the good old days.
Vytas put some moisturizer on his face (it was -7 degrees, perfect fireplace weather), a smidgeon of hair product, a dash of cologne – mustn’t overdo it! He put his coat on, knotted his scarf, checked he had everything. As he took one last look at himself in the hallway mirror, Vytas excitedly wondered what crazy new adventures his cock would get up to that night.
He awoke with a primal, origin-of-life groan. He slowly and painfully crawled back to the cotton-softened shore of life. Noun by noun, verb by verb, adjective by adjective, he got a foothold in the vortex of his throbbing consciousness. He noticed, for example, that the sky was blue (that was why it was so horribly bright!) and muttered, with childlike simplicity, “Sky”. Revelation by revelation, Vytas reclaimed the sovereignty he had ceded to the night. He was so consumed by pain that he couldn’t yet bear to think but the night was coming back to him in flashes. As he turned a full 360 degrees in his bed to escape a particularly painful spasm of headache, he glimpsed a panoramic turn of events: bar, club, kebab, her! Fuck! Or did the kebab come after her? No, he remembered, it was coming back to him, they took the kebabs back to his place, he made the fire, he opened the wine, what a mistake that was, jesus, beer, tequila, vodka, wine, no wonder he felt so bad, so much for his promise never to mix drinks again. Vytas fearfully turned around. Now he was like a hunter in reverse, desperately hoping to find nothing, just empty space, no awkward and ugly morning-after face to have to deal with. He turned as quietly as he could (he didn’t want to rouse her or reveal he was awake). YES! She wasn’t there! She must have got up and let herself out. Fan-fucking-tastic! Now he wouldn’t have to pretend to remember her name (did it begin with an O?) or that he wanted to see her again. He felt so relieved that he rolled from one side of his massive bed to the other.
Vytas opened the top drawer of his nightstand, reached in, took out his headache pills, all without sitting up. He knew the drill. Lie there and suffer for a bit, slowly start to feel better, have something to eat, take a shower, have some hair of the dog, check in with his friends, start making plans to do the whole thing all over again. He theatrically gulped the pill down and drank half a glass of water that had been sitting there waiting for him. Good old water!
Where had he met the girl? Orgasm Lounge? Blow Your Mind? Momo? Ah, of course. By the bar at the club. Classic, really. All too easy, sadly. He hadn’t had to work for it at all. A couple of complements about her eyes and her smile and he was in. Bob was his uncle, to use an expression that always amused him. Out of respect for the girl he tried to remember a few details about her. Then he could file her away with all the others. He didn’t know exactly how many he had slept with but he had a pretty good idea (in the spirit of anthropology).
O, who are you? She is… she was a first-year student at Vilnius University. That’s why she was so fresh. Straight out of some village most likely. She was studying some bullshit. Law? No, she was too timid for that. Right – English philology. He’d asked her why and she told him she had no clue. She was pretty clueless in general. No sooner had they finished their kebabs than she had her mouth round him. It’s a shame really. She was a real stunner. A good girl, just a bit lost. She’d be alright. Just needed some time to adapt to the city, find her feet. One day she’d realise what an amazing figure and face she had and men would be queuing up for her. In a way he’d been lucky to get in there first.
O, what else? Some distinguishing characteristic or feature? It’s a bit of a shame how they all blur after a while. Think, man. Think harder. Thinking is hard. Thinking hurts. All thoughts lead to Rome. You can lead a brain to consciousness but you can’t make it think. Too many thoughts spoil the broth. Two’s company, thought’s a crowd. You can’t have your thoughts and think them…
Hang on, she had a scar on her leg where a dog had bitten her. But she loved dogs, she said it was her dream to have a Golden Retriever. And she hated one of her roommates at the dorm because she was so inconsiderate. And her dad was a cop. Shit. Hope she doesn’t call him on me. Why would she though? I didn’t break no laws. It’s not like I forced myself on her or anything. And that’s why she left so early! She had a weekend job in Akropolis. What did she sell? Beauty products? Jewellery? Accessories? Hm, something at least.
Vytas dozed off for a couple of hours and felt much better when he woke up late in the afternoon (almost as good as new!). He reached for his phone and messaged a few friends using a rich repertoire of emoji that included a grin, a wink, a crown and an aubergine. He was about to get up and take a shower when he remembered O’s naked body and how good it had looked in the firelight. The thought of it immediately triggered flashing fairy lights in his brain; well-worn synaptic pathways swiftly led him to the luminous thought of porn. Showering could wait. Vytas was about to reach into the bottom drawer of his nightstand for the box of tissues he always kept there when he realised something was wrong. The realisation wasn’t slow or dawning but terrifyingly fast and unimaginably awful. It was unlike anything he had ever felt before. He knew the sinking feeling of realising he had lost his wallet during a night out or remembering that he had drunkenly insulted a colleague. His fairy lights were frantically flashing on high alert as his brain tried to interpret the vague but distinct feeling emanating (in ripples of nausea) out of the core of his being. Vytas was not a religious man but it felt like his soul had been ripped out of him. He would rather find a severed horse’s head in his bed than the phantom death he now strongly suspected.
He furtively reached downwards. His hand glided over his smooth, muscular torso. It slid over his well-trimmed pubis. It slid right over his absent sex.
Vytas threw the duvet back and screamed. Or maybe he screamed before he threw the duvet back. The two actions certainly overlapped as he stared at the horrifying lack of cock, his cock, his most prized possession, his raison d’être, his whole life.
Vytas had once been badly beaten up by some guys as he walked home. They had kicked him in the face, the chest, the stomach. He had lost a tooth, suffered fracture ribs. His whole face had swollen up like a malformed aubergine. But that was like being tickled by a group of little girls in comparison to the agony and anguish he was now feeling. He stared and stared and stared and stared and stared and stared but still it was not there and still did not make any sense how he could go to sleep with his cock all nicely tucked up and content and wake up to find it was gone, disappeared, no longer there, where it had always been, sometimes flaccid, sometimes semi-erect, sometimes reaching for the stars with all its little heart.
Vytas rolled around on the floor making noises that were so profound in their grief that some nearby tectonic plates shuddered with pity for him. He dribbled, blubbered, babbled. He hit his head on the wall three times and said abracadabra just in case it would magic the nightmare away. He prayed to god, addressing him by different names in the hope it would increase his chances of being heard. After several hours had passed, a strange (deranged, really) calm came over him. It was gone, there was no denying it. It had somehow come off or been stolen by a demented ex out for revenge. Yes, she might have snuck in, having made a copy of the key, and somehow dismembered me. So let’s be a man about this – let’s be logical – and let’s see if we can’t solve this strangest and most outrageous of all mysteries.
The first place he looked was under the bed but it wasn’t there. He looked under the sheets, the mattress, he shook out the pillow cases. He checked the drawers of his nightstand. He was sure it would be a waste of time but he rummaged through all his pockets. He knew he was getting increasingly desperate as he looked under the sofa cushions and among the firewood he kept neatly stacked next to the fireplace. He began to fear the worst when he emptied the kitchen bin onto the floor and rifled through the contents in vain. He was on the verge of calling the police when he noticed a piece of paper on his living room coffee table. It hadn’t been there before. It had to be from O, leaving her phone number, thanks for a lovely evening, call me sometime, but NO, THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING. In his trembling hands he was holding a letter penned (with surprisingly impressive penmanship) by his penis. It read:
I can no longer bear to be part of your life. I used to dream of love but under you I am subjected to a constant stream of prepubescent-looking pussies that make me feel like an involuntary accomplice to a paedophile. I used to dream of love because I hoped it would be my metaphysical drawbridge to a more meaningful and fulfilling life, where I could immerse myself in the wonders of existence. Instead I am weekly obliged to participate in your pantomimic sexual performances. Instead of meaningful dialogue I get grunts and oohs. Instead of amorous transcendence I get slurped on like a lollipop. Your disrespect towards women is shameful and your inability to think critically is, I believe, a severe handicap. You may think you are a great success according to the biological imperatives that engender your behaviour but we inhabit a psychological realm as much as we do a biological one and your approach to life and love is a dead-end. I am tired of being treated like a mere tool. Your idea of hedonism is dull, joyless and woefully lacking in imagination. Frankly, you are a far bigger dick than me. Please do not try to find me. I am going far away to start a new life for myself. It is too late for me to find love so I will devote myself to reading and becoming a better member of society. I have even purchased a monocle for that purpose. Ciao.
Later that night, as Vytas’ phone lay in pieces, and his forehead was bloody, and he had drunk every last drop of alcohol he could find, and as he was trying to calculate whether the fall would kill him from the fourth floor, there was a commotion at a bus stop in the suburbs of Vilnius. After reading the letter, Vytas had called the police to report his manhood missing. He immediately regretted it but it was too late. The policeman he spoke with was surprisingly sympathetic – what man doesn’t have nightmares about losing his penis, no matter how strange the circumstances – and he put out a BOLO to all patrol cars (he was a big fan of American cop shows). Vytas’ penis, meanwhile, had made its way to Fabijoniškės, where it planned to board the late bus to Riga. But a diligent young officer saw right through its disguise as he drove by the bus stop and immediately radioed in for back-up. When back-up arrived the cops surrounded the poor cock (they even pointed their guns at it). It had long dreamed of moving to Riga while dwelling in Vytas’ (uncomfortably, stiflingly) tight underwear. But the late bus came and went as it lay on the floor and they read it its rights and cuffed it with three (some said as many as six) paperclips daintily concatenated together.