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 27, 2008
Time 10:42AM, Mood Anxious, Size 4” (length), 2” (girth)
Why am I anxious? Well, it shouldn’t be too hard to tell. Nathan said he would start toward my place at 7AM, and I know it is approximately three hours to get here. We are bordering on four. He doesn’t have a cell phone because, per his website, he doesn’t “believe” in them, so I can’t even call to find out where he is.
Hold on a moment. I just heard a car door outside. Let me go look.
Well, he may not believe in cell phones, but he sure as hell believes in fancy, extension-of-my-manhood cars. There is a brand new, blood red Ferrari parked in front of my building. Standing by the trunk, taking out two suitcases, was none other than Nathan Fox himself. When I left the window, he was locking up his car and heading toward the front door with his bloated-looking suitcases.
And there’s the knock.
I’ll be back soon!
Time 04:07PM, Mood No words to describe it, Size 2” (length), 5” (girth)
I opened the door to let Nathan in, and I was greeted by a scrawny, skeletal figure with gray hair and piercing brown eyes. He wore khaki shorts and a plain white T-shirt. The sandals on his feet let me observe the fact that Nathan didn’t believe toenail clipping should be a regular part of one’s hygiene regimen, which I thought was a gutsy move for a guy who claims he can heal people. When I saw those velociraptor-like talons, I wondered how he could lift my curse if he couldn’t even tend to his own toenails on a regular basis. Then it dawned on me: maybe he never got around to it because he was so busy curing other people.
“Hello!” Nathan said. “I’m Nathan Fox.”
“Hello, sir,” I said. “Come on in.”
I moved aside so Nathan could walk past me. He set his suitcases down in the middle of the living room and looked around while I shut the door. The look on his face told me the shaman was impressed by my humble abode.
“Nice place you got here,” he said, confirming my suspicions. “You live alone?”
“Of course,” I said. “With a curse like mine, there’s no way in hell I could live with anyone.”
“Understood,” Nathan said. “Sorry I’m late, by the way. There were an unusual number of accidents on the way up here.”
Had my face showed a look of displeasure? Did he know I was upset about his late arrival, or was he just being courteous? I decided to assume Nathan had not been able to detect my frustration, and I responded to his apology with a wave of the hand.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. I mean, if you lived right around the corner I would be a little pissed, but you were coming from New York,” I said.
He smiled, but said nothing for a couple seconds. I can’t explain why, but this made me uncomfortable. After this feeling registered, I chided myself. How could I not understand why it made me uneasy? I’d never been a confrontational person. Maintaining eye contact just wasn’t my main forte.
“I’m glad you’re so understanding. When most people are desperate for my help, they get very impatient. Empathy is the first thing to go out the window,” Nathan said.
“Well, you won’t have that happen with me,” I replied.
“Good,” he said.
Another moment of silence passed between us. I looked toward the front of my apartment, no longer able to meet Nathan’s gaze. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him walking toward me. When he was less than arm’s length away, the shaman put his hands on my shoulders. At this point I felt I had no choice but to try and meet his gaze. It wasn’t easy, given how powerful and penetrating his eyes were, but I did my best.
“Well, if you don’t mind, I have some things to set up now for the ceremony. Why don’t you go change?” he said.
“Into what?” I asked.
“Well, I’m assuming you don’t want to hang out around your apartment naked with me here. However, I DO need to get at the afflicted area in a little bit,” Nathan said. “Do you have a bathrobe?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Okay. Then go put that on, and nothing else, while I get set up.”
I nodded and headed off to my room. Once I was inside it, I closed the door over but left it open just a crack so I could peek out and see what Nathan was doing. He moved his suitcases side by side and opened them both. Then he started removing items from them, various trinkets and potion bottles whose purpose I could not discern. The only items I recognized were a small bowl, a book of matches, and some sticks of incense. My imagination went into overdrive, imagining all kinds of weird rituals going on in the middle of my apartment.
At one point, Nathan paused and looked toward my room. I jumped back, hoping he hadn’t seen my eye on the crack in the door.
“How’s it going in there?” Nathan asked.
“Fine,” I said. “Just looking for my robe. It must be buried in my dirty laundry basket somewhere. I hope the smell won’t offend or distract you.”
With a laugh, Nathan said, “No need to worry about that, my friend. I have gone on retreats where people have never even heard of running water. Funky smells are nothing new to me. Besides, you won’t need the robe for long.”
I knew it was a given that part of this ceremony would require me being naked before Nathan had even stepped foot in my apartment, yet there was something in the way he said this that set me on edge. Again, I dismissed it to my peculiar personality and the PTSD-like memories of my ex-girlfriend laughing when she saw my penis. There’s nothing to worry about, I reassured myself, this man is here to heal you. Despite this attempt at calming myself down, I still found myself making slow work of removing my clothes before putting on my bathrobe.
What I saw when I exited my room did nothing to increase my anxiety.
Nathan stood in the middle of the living room, surrounded by a circle of the artifacts I’d seen him removing from his suitcase. There was a small table inside the circle with a bowl on top of it. The shaman had removed most of his clothing, waiting for me there in nothing but a loincloth that covered his genitals but still left little to the imagination. His attire allowed me the chance to see he was not such a scrawny twig after all. In fact, Nathan had the kind of washboard abdominals and rippling musculature that most men would spend hours in the gym to achieve. What a crime that a man who had such seductive definition hid it beneath that godawful hippy New Age appearance and caused such distraction from it with his funky toenails!
“Please,” Nathan said, “come inside the circle.”
I nearly spoke up and told him to never say “come inside” again, but I managed to shut my mouth. As I stepped inside the ring of unknown trinkets, Nathan knelt before the table. He grabbed a handful of incense sticks, lit them, and then put them in the bowl.
“Stand across from me,” Nathan said.
I got in the requested position, and the ceremony began. Nathan closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, expanding his abdomen so far out that he had the appearance of the average frat brother’s beer gut. Then he exhaled, and he repeated the process a couple more times. Upon releasing the final breath, Nathan started to make a noise to accompany its departure. Given the type of character he was, one would have expected the noise to be the infamous Buddhist “ohm” sound, but that wasn’t it. I’d never heard anything like it in my life, and I’m hard pressed to find the proper words to describe it here.
Whatever the noise was, it had the same hypnotic effect as the long, drawn-out Buddhist chant. I felt my eyes getting heavy, and my body swayed slightly. Nathan picked up the incense and waved them vigorously in the air. The fires at the end of each stick temporarily increased in brightness. He moved them so fast that they seemed to leave light trails, like some bizarre psychedelic vision. I found myself wondering how he could have accomplished this feat.
For a moment, I started to wonder if he had dosed me, although I had no idea how he would have done this. After all, he hadn’t given me anything suspicious to eat or drink. The only thing he had done was put his hands on my shoulders. I wondered if maybe there had been something on his hands that could enter my system via my skin, but then I remembered I was wearing my shirt still when he touched me. Panic rose in my throat, threatening to boil over into a scream.
Then Nathan changed the pitch of his chant, and miraculously the worry dissolved. I felt more and more disconnected from what was going on. Even though I observed him through my eyes, it was almost like I was watching a movie from a first-person point-of-view shot. All the tension in my body and soul had dissolved. There was no worry to be found. In fact, I wasn’t even concerned about the size curse causing me to expand or contract to some ridiculous, embarrassing length.
I was so unplugged from my fear that I didn’t even flinch when Nathan spoke up and said, “Take off your robe now.”
I loosened the belt and let the robe fall away without a second thought. At this point, my penis had developed into a respectable and believable size. Nathan’s eyes went to it, and I saw what appeared to be a look of admiration in his eyes. If I had been in my normal state of mind, my face would have been turning eighty shades of crimson. As it was, I found my mouth curling into a smile. For some reason, I found it strangely pleasant to have another man admire my cock.
Then I noticed something bizarre. All while one part of me was okay with this, there was another voice in the back of my mind screaming at me, kind of like that obnoxious filmgoer at the back of the theater, yelling at the screen when a pretty blonde woman runs upstairs instead of out of the house when being chased by the slasher. The voice said, “What the fuck are you doing, man? Get your robe on and kick this son of a bitch out! He’s up to no good!”
In response, my body did nothing. Again, I draw the comparison to the filmgoer, whose warnings will go unnoticed by the latest lovely lady victim.
Nathan stood up and, without a hint of bashfulness, removed his loincloth. His penis sprang out and up, already in full erection. I’d seen my share of penises in my time in the locker room back in school, but I realized this was the first time I was naked in the same room as another man for reasons other than showering up after engaging in sports activity. The size curse had made my cock increase to such gargantuan proportions that it’d be difficult to find any other male in the world whose measurements impressed me, but I found Nathan’s equipment to be quite aesthetically pleasing.
I felt a familiar stirring down below, which meant my cock was increasing in length. However, I was shocked to see that this wasn’t due to the size curse. Instead, it was because I had risen into an erection. The voice in the back of my head screamed louder, but the only thing I could do was to utter a meek inquiry.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“You are viewing the length and girth that a man ought to be,” Nathan said, “and the sight is pleasing to you.”
“Oh, okay,” I said lackadaisically.
Nathan began waving his hands through the air in some slow, strange pattern. It almost looked like he was performing a Tai Chi form or something of that nature. He walked around the table, closing the distance between us. I was amazed at how relaxed I was as this naked, aroused man got close to me.
“Take a step back,” Nathan said.
“Why?” I asked.
“You’re too close to the table, and I need to be able to move around you.”
This seemed like a reasonable enough explanation to me, so I moved back a few inches. Nathan’s slow motions continued, only this time his hands were moving less than an inch over my body. Even though he wasn’t touching me, I felt a light pressure on my skin, as if he were grazing me with his fingertips.
Nathan started on my left side, dropping to his knees and then standing back up so he could move his hands over my entire body. Then he moved behind me to perform the same task. I felt something brush against my buttocks. In my dazed state, I wasn’t sure if it was his hands or his penis, although I imagined it must have been the latter since he had been so careful to not have his hands touch me up until that point.
Despite realizing this, I remained in my spot, completely unaffected by this development. I saw no need to flip out about merely being grazed by it, especially when he made no attempts to go any further and had moved around to my right side. As he went down and back up, I found myself so relaxed that I caved in to the demands of gravity and let my eyelids close.
“Good, my friend, very good,” Nathan said. “You’re relaxing. That is the only real way the curse can be lifted, if you just give up control and let me take over. Then I can banish this condition from your body.”
The floor creaked as Nathan moved around in front of me. Once more I had the sensation of something brushing against me. I felt something touch my cock, and my eyelids slowly lifted to see his shaft had contacted mine.
Noticing my eyes were open, Nathan said, “My apologies. That was accidental. Are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” I said, surprised I was mouthing these words, considering how I had flipped out on my chat room encounter with DandyAndy. “Just work your magic and get rid of this size curse for me.”
That mischievous smile came back to Nathan’s lips. However, when I looked at his grin while I was in this mellow mood, it triggered no alarms. Everything was calm, cool, and relaxed. I was one with the universe, and the universe was one with me.
As I looked into his eyes, it dawned on me that aside from lighting incense, chanting some unknown phrases, and waving his hands around, Nathan hadn’t done anything that struck me as special or shamanistic.
Also, while I appreciated this stoned-like sense of euphoria, I didn’t feel any different. In my haste to get Nathan here, I hadn’t bothered to ask him what this ceremony included or how I was supposed to know if it was working. Oh, what a goddamn foolish move that was!
As soon as it started, my self-admonishment stopped because I realized the man with all the answers was right there, so why not just ASK HIM?
“How is this supposed to work?” I said. “I mean, am I supposed to feel a certain way so I know the curse is lifting? And isn’t there more to this ceremony than just lighting incense and chanting and waving your hands around?”
The words floated from my mouth to my ears as if through a fog. They came from my own lips, but it felt like someone had been standing next to me saying them. Where did I get the nerve to utter these inquiries, to dare question this authority on curse removal? That wasn’t like me at all, but then I remembered my off-kilter state of mind. Easy to not be yourself when your inhibitions are all but eliminated.
I expected Nathan to be angry, but he took no offense to my questions. He took a step toward me and put his hands on my shoulders again.
“Relax,” he said. “Your answers will come. For now, I need you to trust me.”
“I do,” I heard a stranger with my voice say.
“Good. Then close your eyes,” Nathan said.
I did what he told me to do, enjoying the darkness behind my eyelids. Although I could not see him, I knew Nathan had knelt again because I felt his hands slide from my shoulders, down my chest, across my ribs, over the bumps of my hips, and coming to a halt on my thighs. Then he moves his hands to my hips, his chant now no louder than a whisper as he moved his hands in circles. It tickled me because his fingers barely grazed my skin, and I found myself giggling at the sensation.
“Does that relax you?” Nathan asked.
“Tickles,” I said.
“Sorry about that.”
“Oh, don’t apologize,” I said. “After all, you’re helping me out.”
There was a long pause before Nathan said, “Yes. That’s exactly why I’m here.”
Then Nathan did something that finally caused me to react, despite my mental fog. His hands slid from my hips to the front of my body, where one cupped my balls and the other took hold of my throbbing erection. I twitched at his touch and gasped.
“What are you doing?” I said.
“Relax, and you will find out.”
At this point I couldn’t help but open my eyes a little. I looked down and saw Nathan’s eyes were glued to my genitals. He continued looking at it when he spoke again, as if he were under the impression my penis could understand his lecture. How humorous! I thought to myself: hey, man, that’s not the head with the ears or the brain in it! The thought made me chuckle.
“I want you to feel my hand on you,” Nathan said. “Be aware of the size that you currently are. THIS is what’s normal. THIS is how you should look consistently. You should never change from this again. No longer or shorter, no wider or thinner. Your dimensions right now are normal, perfect…” He took in a gasp of air and let it out with a sigh, accompanied by one more word: “Beautiful.”
I felt twin clouds of crimson rise to my cheeks, and I closed my eyes. I just couldn’t look at him after he used that adjective on me.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“Shhh,” he said. “Don’t talk.”
Again, I followed his command, listening to his words as he heaped praise after praise upon me, saying how proud he was that I had not changed size again, that I was listening to and believing his words.
I went into that zone again where it felt like I was floating between dreams and waking life. Even though he spoke words from a language I understood, his voice became more like a drone to me, equivalent to soothing background noise like I might hear courtesy of an app on my phone that makes nature sounds.
I lost track of time and place. Where was I? Was I really in my apartment, completely naked in the same room with another man, who was also completely naked and kneeling in front of me, gently cupping my balls and holding my erection? That didn’t seem like something that could happen in the waking world, and yet it was, and we remained in these positions for an unknown amount of time. My eyes were still closed, and I fell into such a deep, trance-like state that all sense of what was going on around me dissolved. After a while, I couldn’t even feel Nathan’s hands on me. Even the noise of his chanting had vanished, but I wasn’t sure if that was because he had stopped or because I just couldn’t hear it anymore.
Then I figured it must have been the former, because when Nathan spoke again, I heard him loud and clear.
“This is excellent,” the shaman said.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“The curse is gone. You’ve maintained these proportions for well over thirty minutes now,” he explained.
WHAT? Thirty minutes? How the hell did I enter a state of mind where I wouldn’t notice so much time going by, considering my shut-in life had made every minute pass like a century?
“Thank you, Mr. Fox,” I said, choking back tears.
“Call me Nathan, and you’re welcome,” he said. “Now, if you don’t mind, I believe it’s time to celebrate this achievement.”
“What does that mean?”
As I asked this question, I opened my eyes just in time to see Nathan do something that snapped me out of my lethargic condition.
He opened his mouth and started leaning it toward my erection.
I was jerked out of my meditative state suddenly, immediately, violently. Just before his lips could touch down, my right hand curled into a fist and rocketed toward his head, landing solidly on his left temple. With a shout of surprise and pain, Nathan toppled to his right. He lay motionless on the floor, putting the pointer and middle finger of his left hand to the wound, wincing even though he barely touched it.
I raised both fists, ready if he should try another move like that. My limbs, so loose and heavy a few seconds ago, now trembled with rage.
“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?” I asked through gritted teeth.
“I might ask you the same thing,” Nathan said. “I came here to help you free of charge, and this is the thanks I get?”
“To HELP me?” I bellowed. “If I had known that included giving me head, I would have said, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’”
“I wasn’t just going to give you head,” he said, spitting the words out bitterly. “Jesus, you make it sound so crass.”
I was ready to scream, but the last thing I needed was to have crotchety old Mr. Washington coming upstairs NOW, so I kept my volume down.
“Well then how the hell should I make it sound? I mean, if you don’t call what you were about to do giving me head, then what do YOU call it?”
Looking me dead in the eye and speaking without any hint of irony or sarcasm, Nathan said, “I was completing my work with you.”
At this point I was totally confused. All I could say by way of further inquiry was a furiously phrased, “WHAT?!”
“It’s how I work with people shamanistically,” he said.
I scoffed. “Is that even a real word?”
“Absolutely,” he said.
“Well how about clueing me in as to what the fuck it means?” I said.
“Lots of clients like you come to me, people who are damaged inside. That’s the true source of your curse: your feelings of inadequacy. It’s why you expand to the size of a tree trunk. That happens because you don’t WANT to be inadequate, but that is how you’re used to feeling. Whenever those feelings take control again, that is when you shrink back down,” Nathan said.
“Yeah, yeah, enough about how the scared little boy inside never got over his childhood traumas,” I said impatiently. “What did you mean by ‘shamanistically?’”
“I’ve had people come to me who were raped or molested. Those wounds run deeper than you can imagine. They left these people unable to function as normal, healthy adults who enter normal, healthy, sexual relationships with others,” Nathan explained. “Their traumatic experiences cast a large shadow over their lives. They got lost in them, so they came to me, and I helped them find their way out of the dark.”
I had a feeling I knew the answer to my next question, but I still had to ask.
“And how did you help them out of the dark?”
Nathan smirked. “I had sex with them.”
My stomach turned. I was looking at one of the most repulsive human beings I’d ever seen. Just the mere sight of him made me want to vomit. Now that really says something because I am the guy who used to consume 20-30 horror movies a week. I watched all kinds: slasher, zombie, cannibal. In one of the cannibal movies I saw, a woman delivered a baby while she sat on a riverbank. She looked down, saw the baby was female, and threw it in the river. A couple seconds later, an alligator came along and devoured the kid in one bite. I watched that without blinking an eye, but THIS pathetic piece of shit on my floor nearly made me lose my lunch.
“THAT is what you mean when you say ‘shamantiscally?”” I said.
“Yes,” Nathan said as he got up from the floor.
“My God,” I said, those two syllables filled with enough disgust for him to know how I felt about his statement. Even though I knew I’d gotten my point across, I felt the urge to say more. “You’re no shaman. You’re SICK. These people come to you vulnerable, desperate, gullible. Like you said, they have such deep pain that no one can comprehend it, and you…you take advantage of them!”
“No,” Nathan said, “they leave me healed.”
“No,” I corrected him, “they leave you assaulted once again. You’re not a messiah or a healer or a saint, man. You’re a fucking rapist.”
Nathan raised his hands in an “I give up” gesture. “This is just where you and I see things differently, my friend. You aren’t the first to be alarmed by my methods, but I don’t hold it against you for being unenlightened.”
“Yeah? Well this unenlightened son of a bitch is telling you to pack your shit up and get the fuck on your way before he calls the cops,” I said. “I don’t think your little shaman business can last long with a sexual assault charge on your record.”
Nathan nodded. Without any protest, he got dressed, gathered up his belongings, and left. I stood by my front window and watched him leave, trembling in fury. How could I have been so desperate and gullible to believe this shit would have worked?
It was 4:07PM when I started this entry. It’s almost 5:30PM now, and guess what? As if I needed proof that Nathan’s ceremony was a crock of shit, my cock just grew four more inches.
I’m trying so hard to give myself a break. I don’t need to beat myself up over this. For all I knew, there was real magic behind his New Age bullshit. Nothing else has worked, so I HAD to give him a try. I had no way of knowing he used his business as a way of getting some easy action.
Or did I?
That thought inspired me to hop on the computer and see if I could find reviews of the wonderful, magical miracle worker Nathan Fox. There were a handful of testimonials posted on his site, but I didn’t trust those. My next step was to go to Google and search “Nathan Fox reviews.”
I got about twenty pages of results. Most of them were 4-5 star reviews, with people giving 4 stars simply because he didn’t arrive on time. After a while I got bored of the ass kissing, so I clicked on a link to be taken to any 1 star reviews.
There were a handful. After all, no one can be in business for so long without getting SOME complaints. The majority of them were from people who claimed that Nathan came over to lift their curse or bless this or grant them that, but nothing changed, and when they tried reaching him after his exorbitant fee had cleared their bank account, they couldn’t get a hold of him or anyone from his company.
Then, finally, I found a review from a female that said, “DO NOT hire this man! He is a con artist looking to get laid. I was raped when I was seven by my dad’s best friend. It’s traumatized me ever since, and I’ve been unable to maintain relationships for more than 3 months in my adult life. Everything goes downhill once my boyfriend wants sex. I went to therapy for years but never got anywhere. Desperate, I turned to Nathan. He started some ceremony that I later found out was bogus, and then said if I wanted to be completely healed and enjoy sex, I had to sleep with him. At the time, I was still young and naïve, so I did it. Now I’m in even worse shape than I was before.”
Jesus. There it was, staring at me in Times New Roman 12-point font. If only I had bothered to research him before calling him up. But then again, would one review out of hundreds been enough to sway me when I had yet to meet the man?
I will never know the answer to that one, so it’s best to just let this drop and move on. No point in beating myself up about it. What’s done is done. I’ve learned my lesson, and I’ll never let myself be duped by some sociopath like him ever again.
This whole experience has left me exhausted. I think I’ll make myself a package of Ramen noodles and take a nap.
Hopefully I won’t run into my dear friend Nathan there. He’s taken up enough time in my waking life. I don’t need to have to kick his rapist ass in my dreams too.
Until later, dear journal.
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.