Steve Grogan is an ongoing contributor to Writer to Writers. He has published several short stories on the site, which can be found on the main page under the heading “Steve Grogan’s Fiction.” He has had several poems and short stories published over the years, some of which are available on Amazon. (See the announcement at the end of this post.)
He is the writer and creator of the ongoing, zombie, post-apocalyptic, Romero-meets-Dungeons-and-Dragons webcomic REDemption. Alternatively, Steve describes the comic by saying, “It is to zombie fiction what KILL BILL was to kung fu movies: everything I love about the genre housed under one roof and mixed with my voice.”
October 26, 2008
Time 8:25PM, Mood Restless, Size 18” (length), regular girth
This is bizarre. You wouldn’t think that being restless would result in great length. Then again, maybe it’s because restlessness is closely related to agitation. That could explain my current size.
Well, today was the day I got to work on my Believers-inspired idea for some relief from the size curse. Time to record what happened.
True to my word, I got on the internet as soon as I shook the sleep-induced haze from my brain. I went to my good old friends at Google and searched up various terms like Santeria, voodoo, curses, protection, magic, and much more. I wasn’t shocked that the first few pages of searches were nothing more than Wikipedia and other informational websites. This did not deter me. No, I was like a dog with a fucking bone, and I didn’t care if the answers I needed were buried 100 pages into that Google search. I was GOING to find relief today, dammit!
I paced the apartment for a while, thinking some time away from the keyboard would reboot my brain. To my disappointment, it didn’t. My frustration started to grow exponentially. How was I ever going to get rid of this curse?
That was when it hit me: why not ask Google? After all, I didn’t have to just type in my keywords. I could type in a full-blown question!
My fingers were shaking with excitement so bad that it took me quite some time to type the question properly. Eventually I got it, and I hit “enter.”
I drew in air sharply when I saw the results. Not only were there sites on how to remove a curse, but there were even people who claimed to be shamans that could do the dirty work for you.
There were several sites that advertised things like, “Remove a curse FOR FREE with our curse removal spell!” However, the few sites I glanced at had complicated recipes, and they and involved ingredients (some of them unsavory) that I did not have, nor did I have any way of getting. It is also worth noting that some of the ingredients were ILLEGAL in some states.
Illegal possessions or not, I could not use any spell that required something I didn’t already have in my apartment. That meant I had to rely on people who could remove the curse for me. I knew this might mean having to go somewhere for this, as I was pretty confident voodoo priests and the like didn’t make house calls. However, I figured I could navigate my way around that problem once I ran into it.
As I suspected, the Capital Region wasn’t exactly teeming with people who could remove strange curses. I found that out because I typed in keyword chains like “people who can remove curses in Troy, NY” and the like, going as far north as Ticonderoga to try to find the help I needed. No luck. In fact, this area is so devoid of what I need that the results I got were nonsensical and not even related to the terms I entered. For example, when I plugged in my hometown, one of the results said “Rentals – Troy Pharmacy – Lindsay Drug Company.” How that relates to curse lifting, I will never know.
Sadly, I had to take any nearby cities out of the equation. The nearest city to me that yielded any worthwhile results was, of course, New York City. There were plenty of people in the Five Boroughs who could address my needs, but that would be a three-hour trip for me. Well, plus the time it would take me to get to the bus station and then to wherever the magician’s base of operations was. Travel was out of the question so, as I suspected, I could get no relief from my condition.
I felt a great fury bubble up inside me, so much that I grabbed my computer off my desk and stood up to throw it at the wall. However, just before I let it go, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that made me pause.
It was a link to an article about a gentleman named Nathan Fox. The title of the article was, “THIS Witch Doctor Makes House Calls!”
I sat back down and clicked on the link. The article described Nathan, a gentleman who had been born in Brooklyn but now lived in the Bronx. It started out by saying he was less than thrilled with the title of the article because he preferred the term “shaman,” but he understood how the periodical had an obligation to be clever and provide their audience with eye-catching titles.
My impatience got the better of me, and I skimmed the rest of the page. Most of it was information that was irrelevant to me, like where Nathan got his first exposure to the shaman life, where he went to be trained, and so on. None of that interested me. All I cared about was this “house call” stuff! By the time I reached the end of the report, I was angered to discover that it hardly touched upon the subject of this service. This infuriated me because the only reason I clicked on the damn thing was to learn about it!
I was about to give up all hope when I noticed a section at the bottom of the article, written in italics:
“For more information about Nathan or to hire his services, visit this site…”
Then it gave the good old shaman’s website address. I clicked on that, and I was bombarded by a psychedelic flickering of colors swooshing about the page in random, circling patterns. Eventually these colors took shape in words, and I found myself reading the message, “Welcome to the Home of NATHAN FOX!!!”
Jesus, I thought, this looks rather cheesy and overly theatrical. I dismissed this judgmental thought less than a second after it entered my mind. What did I care if the guy’s site was corny? If he got results, that was all that mattered.
The main page consisted of news and articles Nathan had either written or appropriated from other sites. Turned out he was available to be hired to give weekend- or week-long seminars on his teachings/beliefs. Normally my curiosity would have inspired me to read about him further, but today I couldn’t be bothered. The house calls were the only thing on my mind. Where was the information about his house calls?
It didn’t take me long to find my answer. Along the top of the page were several menus. One of them was called, oddly enough, HOUSE CALLS. I clicked on that and was brought to a description of this service. The write-up boasted that Nathan was the only shaman of his kind to do one-on-one house calls. Most wouldn’t go anywhere unless it was for a big payday like a seminar.
The site didn’t list prices. Instead, all it offered was this blurb, “To discuss the time and price for a house call with Nathan, send him an email at the address below, or call him at his office number.”
Email was a more convenient way to reach to him, so I tried doing that first. I was excited when my email notified me of a response less than a minute later. To my dismay, it was one of those automated “we are in receipt of your email and someone will get back to you as soon as possible” messages.
Dammit, dammit, dammit! I needed to speak to this guy! I needed relief, and I needed it NOW! Last I checked, “as soon as possible” was NOT a time I could find on any clock, no matter where in the world I found out!
This wasn’t something that could be delayed any longer. Now that I found Nathan, I needed his services IMMEDIATELY! The only chance I had to achieve this goal was to try the other way of reaching him.
I picked up my phone and dialed the number. As it started to ring, it dawned on me that I might wind up in the same position. They might have voicemail, and I would have to wait until he got around to replying to it! Well, if that was the case, there was nothing I could do about it except leave a message and then pace my apartment endlessly until someone returned my call or email.
What wound up happening was a “good news, bad news” sort of thing. The good news was someone answered the phone. Bad news? It was an operator in a call center.
“Thank you for calling Nathan Fox, Inc. This is Tony. How can I help you?” the overly cheerful voice said.
I was taken aback. Tony? Who the fuck was Tony?
I must have been silent for longer than I realized, because the shiny happy person on the other end of the phone said, “Hello? Is anyone there?”
For a moment, I was still too confused to answer. Then it hit home: I was the one who was supposed to respond to this gentleman! I wasn’t sure what to say to him, but I cleared my throat so he could at least know I was there.
“Hi, sorry about that,” I said. “I was taking a drink when you answered.”
A lame lie, of course, but he bought it.
“No problem at all, sir,” Tony reassured me. “How can I help you today?”
“Well, I was calling to speak to Nathan actually,” I said. “I found him through an article that talked about how he does house calls, and…”
Tony cut me off. “Yes, sir. He is one of the only shamans to offer something like that, not just in the country but in the world. With that in mind, I’m sure you can understand there is quite a high demand for Mr. Fox’s services. That’s why he wound up having to open this call center, so we can screen calls. As you can guess, we have our share of prank calls here. Once we separate out the jokes from the real thing, we then determine the severity of the problem the caller is having. Then you are put into a queue, and Mr. Fox gets back to you personally when it’s your turn.”
“Well, this problem is pretty damn severe,” I said, “and I am sure Mr. Fox will want to talk to me ASAP once you hear what it is, because I bet he’s never dealt with anyone else who had this problem.”
Tony released a small chuckle. “Sir, I don’t mean to insult you or anything, but do you know how often I hear that in a day? Also, not for nothing, but everyone and their mother thinks THEIR problem is the most severe.”
His smugness and dismissiveness pissed me off. Without knowing me or my situation, this prick Tony decided he had me all figured out. Yep, here we go with another crazy who thinks he’s the only person who needs Nathan’s help! Well, I’ll show you something new, you bastard!
“Now, having said that, I need to get some details on you and your condition,” Tony said. “What is your name and address?”
I gave him this information, and he whistled through his teeth. For some reason, that noise pushed me over the edge.
“What’s that noise for?” I snapped.
“Nothing. It’s just that, while Mr. Fox is known for doing house calls, that’s about three hours away,” Tony explained.
“You said he’s the only shaman in the world that does house calls, right?” I said.
“Yes,” Tony confirmed.
“Well then, I doubt I’m the only person who’s called for help that doesn’t live right around the corner. Plus, I bet people from even further away have called for help. Would you say that’s a correct assessment?”
Tony let out a long sigh before he answered. “Right.”
“Okay,” I said, wondering if he could see my shit-eating grin through the phone. “Since I am not alone in my demands, let’s get on with taking my information, shall we?”
“As you wish, sir,” Tony said. “Now, what is the nature of your condition?”
There were a couple of ways I could play this. I could flat out state the size curse, or I could make statements that slowly dripped the information to him. I made a rapid-fire decision to combine these two approaches.
“I have a curse that needs lifting,” I said.
There was a long pause on the other end. Finally, Tony said, “Okay. Could you please describe the nature of your curse, sir?”
I could hear the annoyance in his voice. Good, I was aggravating the smug bastard just as much as his dismissiveness had gotten under MY skin! That was going to make it even more enjoyable to wallop him over the back of the head with my size curse.
“Well, Tony, my penis changes size at random.”
Silence on the other end. Not a single fucking syllable fell from that arrogant mouth. Oh, how delicious and sweet this was!
When he finally did reply, all Tony could say was, “I’m sorry?”
Oh, what a hoot this call was! It started out infuriating me, but now I was really getting some enjoyment out of it! I had to struggle to keep myself from laughing, and once I managed to choke my joviality down, I described my condition to Tony in greater detail. My story started with the morning after my insensitive ex-girlfriend had left, and I moved my way through time, inching closer and closer to the present. I painted a vivid picture of every single expansion and contraction of my dick. Once each episode was concluded, I paused to see if he would tell me to stop. When he answered with silence, I went on to describe the next occurrence until I finally caught up to the present.
To let him know I was done, I said, “And that’s the current state my penis is in. So what do you think, Tony? Can Mr. Fox help me?”
I was answered with a long, drawn-out silence. Never one to pass up the chance to be a wiseass, I fired Tony’s own words back at him.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
“I’m still here,” Tony said. “Would you mind holding, sir?”
“Not at all,” I replied.
“Okay. I just want you to be aware it might be a while,” he said.
“Trust me,” I said, “I’ve got time.”
“All right. I’ll be as fast as I can.”
With that, Tony was gone, and his arrogance was replaced by the worst imitation Indian music I’d ever heard in my life. What a shame, all these half-assed white musicians appropriating and then shitting on the music of other cultures. Isn’t anything sacred anymore? Are there any cultural graves we WON’T rob?
What the hell am I babbling about? I am a white boy myself. While I am certainly empathetic toward the plight of minorities and/or people of color, I don’t know why I am carrying on about it as if they are problems that affect me. I don’t mind being an ally, and in fact I think the size curse doesn’t just make me an ally but actually makes me one of the marginalized (namely, it makes me disabled), but I don’t think that gives me the right to go on griping about these problems as if they were my own!
Geez, the things I think about when some schmuck puts me on hold!
I lost track of how long it took, but eventually Tony came back to me, and I was happy to discover he was not alone.
“Sir, I have Nathan Fox himself on the line,” the call center rep said.
If I were the kind of person who immersed themselves in New Age-y culture, I probably would have been impressed or excited by this development.
“Thank you,” I said.
“I am going to make sure you are connected, and then I’m going to hang up,” Tony said. “Mr. Fox, are you there?”
“I am,” said a smooth, comforting, seductive, olive oil voice.
Tony gave a quick “okay” and was gone. Nathan’s presence was so grand that it practically oozed over the phone.
“I hear you have quick an interesting condition, young man,” he said.
“I guess the adjective you’d use depends on the position you’re in,” I replied.
Nathan gave a hearty laugh. I was reminded of the awful, over the top acting of Jim Carrey. Well, at least it wasn’t the “pause” acting of William Shatner.
“Very clever, sir,” Nathan said. Then the tone of his voice got serious. “Of course, you do understand your condition is quite unbelievable. I’ve been a shaman for over thirty years, and I don’t recall ever running into anyone who had a curse quite like yours. Are we in agreement about the uniqueness of your situation?”
“Yes, sir,” I said.
“Okay. Well, having reached an understanding on that, I’m sure you can appreciate my hesitation in heading three hours away from home to treat you.”
The flickering light of hope started to dim in my soul.
“I understand, sir,” I said. “Sorry I wasted your time.”
“Now hold on,” Nathan said hurriedly. “I never said you wasted my time. No, on the contrary I would not have had Tony connect me to the call if I thought this was a waste of time. All I’m saying is I would need some evidence before I head up there.”
Suddenly, that fading fire sprang up again. “What kind of evidence? I’ll do anything I can to get you up here.”
“It’s quite simple, really,” Nathan said. “Take some pictures on your cell phone and send them to my email.”
“I can definitely do that,” I said. “What’s the email?”
Nathan gave me the address. I told him I could send him pictures right away, since my penis was still at currently unbelievable eighteen inches. A few minutes later, I fired off the pictures to the shaman.
I watched my computer anxiously, not sure if he was going to write or call me back. As time dragged on, I wondered what the hold-up could be. There it is, a monstrous dick right in your inbox. You are in the business of healing people, lifting curses. Clearly there is something wrong with the fellow who sent this picture, so why wasn’t he hustling to call me back? Did he think the picture was a phony? What nerve!
To my relief, my phone rang a few minutes later. It was Nathan.
“I’m sorry it took me a while to get back to you,” he said. “I had to make some other calls and shuffle some things around.”
“What for?” I asked anxiously.
“What do you think, my friend? I’m coming up there to help you out,” he said.
I could barely mask my excitement. Nathan has probably heard so much praise that the words “thank you” don’t even mean anything to him anymore, but that didn’t stop me from showing my gratitude over and over.
When my ass-kissing session was done, I asked, “When did you want to come?”
“Does tomorrow work for you?” he said.
“Are you kidding? This condition has me stuck at home all the time. You can come whenever you want!” I said.
“Very well,” Nathan said. “I’ll start up around 7AM.”
“Great!” I exclaimed.
Then the elephant in the room finally decided to sit down on my brain: Nathan did this for a living. That meant MONEY.
“Before you hang up,” I said, “I need to ask you something.”
“Of course,” Nathan replied.
“What’s the cost for this?” I said bluntly.
“My friend, I already gave you good news when I said I’d come up to help you. Now I am going to give you even better news,” the shaman said. “You can consider this one on the house.”
I was stunned. “On the house? As in free?”
I could practically see his grin through the phone. “You got it.”
At this point I knew I should say something, but I couldn’t. Words? What were those? How did I use them?
Eventually I figured out how to work my mouth again, and I said, “Why?”
“Two reasons, one altruistic and one selfish,” Nathan said. “First, with this kind of affliction I bet you live the life of a shut-in. Maybe I am being judgmental here, but to me that indicates you are a man of limited means. Am I wrong in that assumption? Because if I am, I don’t want to offend you.”
“You aren’t wrong,” I confirmed. “Now, what’s the selfish reason?”
With a laugh, Nathan said, “My friend, once word gets out that I have lifted a curse like yours, the amount of work that your testimonial will bring in for me will DWARF any amount I could have charged you.”
We shared a laugh, and it dawned on me why this man could rake in the dough: he was confident, charming, and a pleasure to talk to.
I thanked Nathan a thousand times more inside of a minute. He kept saying he had to go, and I kept thanking him. Eventually he hung up on me.
That’s fine. I’m not going to hold a grudge over it. The man is going to be here tomorrow to cure me of my massive cock syndrome. How can I hold one tiny show of rudeness like that against him?
Simple answer? I can’t, and I won’t!
If you like what you have read and would like to purchase this serialized novel as one complete PDF, then please send $3.50 to Steve via PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, don’t forget to check out his other writing at the following links below:
Author: Redemption Comics
Steve Grogan was born in the often-filmed city of Troy, NY. He has written in a variety of formats (novels, short stories, poems, screen and stage plays, blogs/articles) and genres (horror, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, drama).
Steve is also a father, a boyfriend, a musician, a fitness fanatic, and a martial artist. He has been studying Wing Chun Kung Fu since 1995, and he maintains a blog/YouTube channel that describe his training habits, epiphanies, and advancement. It also candidly discusses his stumbling blocks, such as his struggle with nutrition and mental health issues.
He is no relation to the New England Patriots quarterback from the 1980’s.