Potion Magazine - Poetry + Fiction
Richard Peabody
Use as Needed

A naked man was placed inside a woman's bathroom as a day long experiment. He stood at the end of a row of sinks. In his hands above his erection he held a sign that said: Use as Needed.

The first woman who entered fled when she saw him. So did the second and third. After that a woman went about her business and simply ignored him. Percentages afterwards broke into several different camps.

9.9% of the women kicked the naked man in the genital area.

Another 8% would shyly touch him to see if he was real or not.

Eventually, after some sort of collective consciousness level had been achieved, and the information passed around, things begin to change.

12.5% would touch his erection once or twice. Groups of women were more curious. More apt to actually manipulate the erection.

18.5% were women who remained in the bathroom until there was a sense of safety in numbers. They would talk to the other women and eventually they would take things further. One might grasp and play with his erection, another might stroke his side.

7.5% attempted to take the naked man and his erection out of the bathroom. They would try to lead him out of the room by pulling on the erection.

And then there was one woman in the entire test group who walked up to the naked man, pulled up her dress, and mounted his erection. She had to be restrained.

Another 6% if alone in the bathroom took the opportunity to perform oral sex on the erection. If another woman entered they would stop and quickly leave.

Another 8% would wait until the first woman had left and then they would continue the oral sex until the act was completed.

One woman left a $20 bill at the naked man's feet afterwards.

Another woman pocketed the $20 bill.

The experiment ended when a woman attempted to separate the erection from the man with a pair of shears. She was not successful.

None of the women ever touched the naked man when he was flaccid.

Richard Peabody wears many literary hats. He is editor of Gargoyle Magazine (founded in 1976), and has published a novella, two books of short stories, six books of poems, plus an e-book, and co-edited six anthologies with Lucinda Ebersole including--Mondo Barbie, Mondo Elvis, Mondo Marilyn, Mondo James Dean, Coming to Terms: A Literary Response to Abortion, and Conversations with Gore Vidal. He has also edited A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat Generation and Grace and Gravity: Fiction by Washington Area Women. Peabody teaches fiction writing for the Johns Hopkins Advanced Studies Program. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and two daughters. You can find out more about him at: www.gargoylemagazine.com.

Copyright 2005 Richard Peabdoy.