Monday, January 26, 2009

Tom Savini’s Frankenstein Mask and Lisa Hill's Butt

Warning: the story you're about to read contains full-frontal nudity. Well, okay, it's just one drawing, a sketchy and not terribly detailed cartoon image, but it's of me taking a naked picture of myself when I was fourteen years old. That case of Ian-decent exposure is the central image of this sordid narrative of youthful folly, and it would be counter to my trademark "Egad, The Man Knows No Shame!" approach not to have included it. I considered drawing a little black square over the naughty bits, but that seems silly, especially when the "bits" in question are just a couple of squiggles with a Sharpie. R. Crumb and Chester Browne, both big influences on my autobiographiacl noodlings, have tackled similar material without censoring themselves.

So, with that caveat, forward, or rather, backward, to my degenerate adolescence. Seriously, folks, this may well be my most depraved story ever. I'm not actually sure that I want random strangers reading this, but I can't seem to help myself.

When I was fourteen years old, or maybe fifteen, I'm not sure which, I was greatly enamored of Lisa Hill (I’ve changed the name for obvious reasons), who sat in front of me in my algebra class. Lisa was a tall solidly-built redhead who scowled at the world through big hippie-chick glasses and who strode through the hallways with a loping Bigfoot stride. She was, in modern parlance, "thick." To put it another way, she looked like she'd been co-designed by R. Crumb and Russ Meyer.


Now, I must confess that, at that age, I wasn't the suave and sophisticated charmer I am now. To say I was socially maladroit, even by the norms of early adolescent geekdom, is a gross understatement. Truth to tell, I was utterly unsocialized and downright creepy. I didn't talk to very many people, and none of the few I did talk to were girls. As the character Jeff once remarked on the Britcom Coupling, it's very hard to talk to people when you're imagining them naked. Being a spotty little perv, that's what I was doing most of the time, my hormonal imagination fueled by fantasies about Pam Grier, Adrienne Barbeau and Frank Frazetta's cavegirls.


I never talked to Lisa. I never even smiled or made eye contact with her. But five days a week, I sat behind her, gazing straight into the inviting abyss of her butt prominent cleavage. It was hard not to. Although Lisa seemed nearly as introverted as me, she didn't dress in concealing nerdgirl clothes, but favored tight high-riding t-shirts and low-riding bell-bottoms that exposed her buttcrack when her ample freckled bottom was squeezed into the seat in front of me. Five days a week, I stared into that delicious strawberry abyss, and if the abyss didn't stare back, there were times when it seemed to be speaking to me.


"Iaaaaaan," it whispered, "Iaaaaaaaaaaaan! Here I am, just waiting for you. Go ahead and stick your finger in me. You know you want to."

Eventually, I obeyed.

I'll always remember the first time I touched her skin. It was not an insertion, just a glancing touch, the first knuckle on my right hand brushing against her right butt cheek. I expected her to protest, to at least shudder or gasp in muffled outrage, and God knows what I would have done if she'd whipped around given me that witheringly direct stare of hers (or, even more deservedly, a sound thrashing). But no, she just stolidly sat there. Not a sigh. Not a gasp. Not a quiver. I hand might have been as insubstantial as that of a ghost or The Vision in Marvel Comics’ The Avengers.

So, I did it again. Again, no reaction. From her, I mean. My own body reacted plenty, from heart-beat to hard-on.

I spent the last five minutes of Home Room with one knuckle pressed against the base of her spine, right above the deepening cleft of her butt, that quarter-inch of skin-to-skin contact a conduit for a heady rush of feelings I can't even begin to describe.

And then the bell rang, and I snatched my hand back, and she got up and walked past me without looking at me, head held high and massive chest thrust out, the same formidable loping stride as always. Nothing about her attitude suggested she was fleeing or even stalking out in an indignant mood, just going about her business. My eyes followed the stretched denim covering her bulging bifurcated backside out of the room, as I sat there waiting for my tumescence to subside.

I spent the next day's Home Room with my knuckle pressed against her butt the whole time. Once again, she didn't acknowledge the contact in any way. She shifted in her seat, as anyone does when sitting in one of those uncomfortable chairs, and sometimes her movement broke the contact, but at other times, it pressed her cleft back against my clenched digit.

After a week or so of this, I finally dared to extend my forefinger and actually insert it into the top of her exposed butt-cleavage. Not deeply, not a full oil check, and no, the experience never became proctological. Just to the first joint, which, considering that she was almost as voluptuous in the rear as she was in the front, wasn't all that far at all.

And so, day after day, and then week after week, I spent Home Room with my finger in her butt and neither one of us acknowledging it.

You'd think this would have been my cue to, you, TALK to her, to ask her on a date, to make eye contact and smile. But no, I couldn't bring myself to do that. Which, in retrospect, makes absolutely no sense. What kind of creepy perv finds it easier to stick a finger into a girl's butt than to talk to her?

Even then, I was more comfortable putting things in writing than saying them out loud. Clearly, I told myself, Lisa in some way welcomed my bizarro attentions, or at least didn't seem to mind them. Clearly, I needed to declare myself. Clearly, I needed to let her know that I wanted to know her. Yes, really. I wanted to know what she watched on TV, what movies she went to, what she read, what she did for fun. But I couldn't ask her these things out loud, even after I'd been putting my finger in her butt for almost a month.

Besides sitting behind her in Home Room, and occasionally passing her in the hall or seeing her from a distance in the cafeteria or library, there was another space that Lisa and I shared. We rode the same bus to and from school. Our stops were far apart, we never got on the bus at the same time, and she tended to sit in the back, with the only friends I ever saw her talk to (I can't even remember who they were or what they looked like), whereas I was always reading a Conan novel or a comic book up front. Even after a couple of weeks of physical contact in Home Room, this routine didn't change. Yes, I surely could have managed to "accidentally" end up sitting near her, or even beside her, but I never did. I never even tried. I didn't have the guts.

Instead, I decided to write her a note. For some deranged reason, I felt it should be an anonymous one. I'd write her, tell that I had an aching crush on her, ask her if she'd be willing to hang out with me after school. But I wouldn't sign it, and would instead give her instructions on how to reply if she was interested, how she should write me back and where she should leave her response. But that wasn't enough. I had to do something more than that.

So I decided to take a Polaroid photo of myself wearing nothing but a mask and wrap that the note around it and stick it through the vent in her locker. Clearly, this was a plan of genius, the masterwork of a master seducer. Don Juan and Casanova and the Fonz were looking down on me from Heaven in awe (well, not so much the Fonz, as he not only wasn't dead but had yet to jump that shark).

I know it makes no rational sense. What can I say? Fourteen-year-olds are fucked-up. I was more fucked-up than most. I truly am better now, I promise. Really. Please don’t be scared.

At the time I had a neighbor named Tom Savini. You may have heard of Tom. He's a veteran make-up and special effects technician who designed Jason for the original Friday the 13thand several sequels and did gore effects for dozens of slasher films in the 80s. He played the biker Sex Machine in From Dusk Till Dawn and a deputy in Planet Terror. To the readers of Fangoria and other such magazines, he is a god, or used to be.


At the time, though, he was an amateur actor who performed in plays with my father at the Fayetteville Little Theater and the Fort Bragg Playhouse, where he also did some very ambitious make-ups. His house was full of masks and costumes, some of which he'd built himself. I liked to borrow his gorilla suit and terrorize the younger kids in my neighborhood. At the time of my infatuation with Lisa, I had also borrowed his full over-the-head mask of the Frankenstein Monster, which he'd carefully constructed of molded latex and real human hair.


After some experimentation with lights and mirrors, I managed to take a Polaroid picture of myself wearing nothing but the Frankenstein mask. And Keds.


I took that picture, wrapped my long and passionate note around it, and slipped it into Lisa's locker. In the note, I told her that, if she was interested in meeting me, in finding out who her naked admirer was (because she'd NEVER guess it was the guy who'd been putting his finger in her butt in Home Room all these weeks!), she should call the phone number I included at the bottom of it between 4:30 and 6 p.m. in the week day afternoon (that is, after I'd gotten home but before my father had).
That day, I got on the bus, wishing I was already home, because I sure she was going to call. How could she not?

My reverie was interrupted by the fact that everyone was staring at me. Some were smiling. Some were laughing out loud. And they were passing something from hand to hand. Something that looked like a Polaroid photograph.

It was, of course, the picture of me in the Frankenstein mask.

Lisa sat with her cronies in the back. Hers was the only face that was expressionless. For what may have been the first time ever, our eyes actually met, but her expression didn't change a whit. She didn't smile. She didn't sneer. She didn't frown. She didn't wink. She looked at me exactly the same way she looked at everyone else, and seemed oblivious to the hilarity around her, even though she must have initiated it by sharing the photograph. And the note, which someone, I forget who, began to read aloud.

I backed off the bus, squeezing past scary Tyrone Gibbons, who told me to watch where the fuck I was going and to keep my fucking clothes on the next time I decided to take a picture of myself. In the back of the bus, someone continued to read my note aloud, mispronouncing several key words. My feet on the sidewalk, I continued to back up, and then I turned, and was walking, then running, away.

That was early Autumn. For the rest of that year, I walked the four miles to and from school. Even during the winter, which proved to be one of the coldest in Fayetteville's history.


Addendum: Since writing an earlier draft of the above, I think I may have found Lisa on MySpace, or at least a redheaded Lisa who went to the same school at about the same time I did. She appears to be gay and a professor of Women’s Studies at a major university in another state. I considered sending her a friend request, but thought better of it.


Blogger Amanda and SuperAmanda said...

OMG that's so hot! And guess what? There WAS a stunning girl named EDNA Hill who had watermelon titties about five grades above me. I mean she was the one!

Hope you've been having a fabulous New Year[s]!


10:32 PM  
Blogger Ian McDowell said...

If you'd been in my class and we'd been comtemporaries, I would never have noticed Laura. Of coure, strapping Amazon that you are, you would have swiftly beaten the crap out of me, and deservedly so, and this would be a different sort of amusing anecdote.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Fecund Stench said...

Wow! Naked Frank with giblets. Thanks.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Ian McDowell said...

Hey, you can't say you weren't warned! I occasionally have this fear that the photo still exists,and may yet come back to haunt me.

I actually found Tom Savini over on Facebook. I need to send him a link to this, as I doubt he has any idea what I did with his mask when I borrowed it (I should also tell him how my father is doing, since they did so many plays together at the Fayetteville Little Theater).

5:44 PM  

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