Errata Literary Magazine

Bucks County Writers Workshop

The General Indifference
or The Unpublished Writer Part II
by Dolores Mentis

Francis was a pathetic creature. His marriage was on the brink of extinction and Francis had to enter the hospital in two weeks to get a new penile prosthesis. He needed his first one because of clogged penile veins from those white diabetic filaments. He needed his first prosthesis just six months before those white filaments clogged his vessels feeding the heart. The heart damage wasn't as easily remedied. That took by-pass surgery. Did he really want to write because he thought time was running out and desperately needed to commit his thoughts and dreams to paper?

The apparatus worked fine but he had delayed orgasms, which drove his wife to distraction. He completely alienated her when he suggested she work out to increase her upper arm strength to have the necessary reserve muscle power to bring him to orgasm. Actually the culprit was the anti-depressant Zoloft. The psychiatrist assured him, "Two per cent, only two per cent, that is the number who have delayed orgasm and you are not vone of the two per cent. Get it out of your head."

Vell, the doctor vas mistaken. Sexual dysfunction due to Zoloft turned out to be very high. When Francis went off of the Zoloft, his prosthesis worked and there was a measure of sanity restored to his and Mary's sex life. But then a more serious malfunction occurred. The reservoir implanted in his abdominal muscles was no longer working. It took him one hundred and forty pumps to get his penis erect. Mary was a patient woman, but her nerves had been brought to the outer limits by her addled-brained spouse.

Francis, hardly a diplomat, said, "Since I relieve you of the task of having to get me erect, what will you do to make up for the foreplay I spare you?"

She said, "I think I'll work out and improve my upper arm strength so I can knock you into tomorrow." Whereupon, she pummeled him with all her weak and feminine upper arm strength. Francis ended up on the floor having to deflate himself without any sex that evening. It was also the end of any conversation about upper arms or make up fore play.

Francis went to the urologist with his list of complaints. "Dr. Roane, it takes me between one hundred and thirty to one hundred and forty pumps to get erect. Is that a lot?"

"It doesn't sound very efficient to me. You might even lose interest during the wait, I mean for your partner. Let's go to the examining room and we'll have a look." Francis was on the table. The Doctor pulled on the latex gloves and with utter confidence worked on Francis' scrotum. He was pumping away and Francis forehead broke out into a sweat. "Doctor, Doctor."

"Please, just a minute until I get you inflated."

"But Doctor, please Doctor."

"What is it Francis, can't it wait?"

"Doctor, you are squeezing my testicle. The pump is in the middle between the two balls."

"Oh my, so it is. It's never in the middle." No apology, Doctor Roane just shifted to the pump in the middle of the scrotum. He was embarrassed he couldn't tell the difference between a ball and a little pump in a plastic swing. He pumped fifteen times and said, "Christ, this is going nowhere, there's something wrong here. I don't have the time to pump one hundred and thirty times. Your pump is defective. You need a new one. See me in my office and I will show you what we are now installing."

The doctor reappeared with half an apparatus on a plastic slab. It felt soft like skin and had the subtlest of tabs attached to the plastic rods.

He said, "Francis, squeeze the little tab twice." The tab was no bigger than a label on a dress. Francis did so. "Now feel the inserts," hard as a rock.

"How do you deflate."

"Just a third of the way down the shaft, bend the penis and you are flaccid." "Will I be big when I am not erect?"

"Oh, yes, quite, we try and keep it just as you are!"

"When I am hard will I stick out perpendicular."

"Oh yes, perpendicular, maybe with just a little minor listing."

"Doctor, I can't believe it, just two squeezes and I am erect. What a break for my wife."

"Yes, Francis, it will be that easy."

Then Francis began to fill up at his blessings and the thought that there would be some peace in the bedroom, from which all strife emanates, at least according to Tennessee Williams. When Big Daddy banged the bed and said with wisdom and authority, "Son, these are the rocks, these are the rocks." Francis turned to his wife when they were in the theater over the Christmas holidays and said, "You see Mary, I told you that was where all our troubles lay."

"Francis, shut up and watch the play."

In two weeks Francis would get a new dick. He went Monday for pre-op, Tuesday for his esophagus and Tuesday evening to the Writer's Circle. Of course he told them he would be missing the next meeting because of a shaving of his prostate, which was a procedure he had completed two years previous. He thought the sympathy vote would curb their criticism, which ate at his soul like a sulfuric acid drop from a titration pipette. He could have told them he would have no dick in two weeks. After expressions of sympathy they would have handed him his ears on a platter in critiques and recommendations. This group of unpublished writers would not shirk their duty. Neither rain, snow nor hail, would deter them from their appointed rounds that would lead to publication, the sought for prize of all unpublished, unread authors who have to live by faith. A near impossible task in an age, which has lost all contact with the theological virtues of faith, hope and love!

Francis would have to go on his third honeymoon with his old, retrograde penis, one hundred and thirty pumps. He and his wife had decided on a week in Old City Quebec, at a bed and breakfast. They left with some misgivings: would the damaged penis hold up? In Quebec, Francis decided to make himself erect in the bathroom and then appear in the bedroom dressed in a white robe, which he would unveil with great sensuousness, showing off his erect penis already inflated. Would Francis forget about being a writer and just enjoy the moment, would Mary be able to overcome years of agitation and irritation by her bi-polar spouse and genuinely renew her marriage on this their fourth honeymoon? By the way, Mary was correct. It was their fourth honeymoon, not their third. Francis was always trying to make up for the fact that their first honeymoon had to be canceled after two days because of a lack of funds, and he could never count his exaggerations with any precision. When he exited the bathroom he hit the door against a chair to get Mary's attention. He was a little too intense and the chair toppled making a crash, which brought Mary to the door. She got a full moon view of her husband bending over to pick up the chair. "Francis, where did you get the robe. I don't remember buying it for you."

Bucks County Writers Workshop