The blonde waitress was named Katerina, and she lived high in the Hollywood Hills. Four nights after I met her, I was sitting in her apartment and looking out her picture window at the multicolored lights of the city flickering below us. We sipped wine and got high on marijuana. Fucking hell, I was living the dream. Nobody in Borough Park would even believe it.
“You seem very young to be a director,” Katerina said. “I think you’re the youngest one I know.”
“I’m starting out. I’m more of a writer-director, so far.”
“In Prague a lot of people have two jobs,” she said.
“How old are you?” I asked.
“Twenty-four. If I stayed in Czechoslovakia, I might have grandchildren already.”
At midnight, pizza from Damiano’s arrived at Katerina’s door. We washed it down with our third bottle of chardonnay while listening to Appetite for Destruction.
“Ever see Guns N’ Roses live?” Katerina asked. “They’re really awesome if Axel isn’t too drunk.”
“I didn’t know music like this existed until you put it on.”
“We didn’t listen to rock ’n’ roll back home.”
“I thought Czechoslovakia was fucked. Are you really American?”
“Maybe not. Sometimes I feel like an alien.”
“I like sexy aliens. Your ears are pointy,” she said, pulling at one of my ears.
“Are they?” I wanted to change the subject. The way she touched my ear was weird. “Did you like growing up behind the Iron Curtain?”
“Fuck no.” Katerina laughed. “You think I’m an idiot?”
“A stupid question. We all leave home for a reason.”
Katerina nodded and finished a glass of wine, then refilled it. The girl loved to drink.
“Smart ones leave. Life is a struggle, but I wouldn’t change one thing.” Katerina self-consciously covered her mouth. “Except my accent. I sound too foreign, don’t I? Especially after drinking.”
“I like your accent.”
“You’re being nice.”
“Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent didn’t stop him,” I observed.
“Austria is a better country.” Katerina pouted. “They’re not communist.”
“I have a question for you.”
“It’s pretty strange.” The wine-and-marijuana combination made me brave. Katerina’s blue eyes were on me.
“Now I’m curious. What’s your question?”
“Do men in Czechoslovakia have circumcised penises?”
Katerina choked on her wine. “That is a strange question.”
“I ask because I’m circumcised.”
“I don’t want to scare you. If you’ve never seen a circumcised penis before.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve seen plenty.” Katerina took a cool sip of chardonnay.
“Mine’s a bit different,” I explained.
“Really? Why?” Katerina gazed at me, intrigued.
“The rabbi who did my bris was a very old. He had shaky hands.”
“That sounds like trouble.”
“My foreskin was cut at an angle, like ripping the sleeve on a shirt. There’s a flap of skin and some scar tissue.”
“Crazy stuff,” Katerina said.
“I’m completely functional, but when I’m hard, I get a little dorsal fin on my dong,” I confessed.
“What does ‘dorsal’ mean? I don’t know that word.”
“Like a shark’s fin,” I said. “Like in Jaws.”
“Really? Wow. Wow.” Katerina shook her head in wonder.
“I’m telling you. Just in case.”
Katerina studied me with an odd expression before looking away.
“I’m also a virgin,” I added. “I hope that doesn’t bother you.”
“Let’s fire up again.” She grabbed the bong then flicked her lighter. A short blue flame hissed out and curled into the bowl where the marijuana waited. After inhaling a monster hit, she said, “Your turn.”
I waved her off. “I have to pee.”
“The bathroom is down the hall, second door on the left.”
When I stood up, the whole room spun. I could barely walk. “I must be drunk.”
“Please don’t vomit on my rug.”
“I won’t,” I promised.
Staggering down the hallway, I felt stupid about blurting out my penis story. I found the bathroom and sprayed urine in the direction of the toilet bowl. When I came back to the living room, I told Katerina, “It’s late. I better go.”
“You’re not going anywhere.”
“I have class tomorrow.”
“You’re too drunk to drive. You stay here tonight.”
“No arguing. You’re staying, my little shark penis boy.”
“If you insist.” The room spun around me. I plopped back down on the couch. “Do you have a spare blanket I can use?”
“Don’t be silly, we’ll sleep in my bed.”
“Of course, but no naughty ideas,” Katerina added. “No hanky-panky. I don’t want to see your little fish. You keep on your side of the bed, understood?”
“Loud and clear.”
Katerina led me into her bedroom. She changed into a T-shirt and gym shorts. I stripped to my underwear and slid under the covers. Katerina slipped into the bed beside me.
“No roaming hands,” she said. “I’m serious.”
“You don’t have to worry about me. I have good manners.”
“All men say that. Good night.”
As Katerina reached to turn off the light, I noticed a framed photograph on her nightstand. It showed her hugging a handsome guy.
“Who’s the guy in the picture?” I asked.
“Radek was my husband,” Katerina answered.
That jolted me. “Where is he?”
Katerina clicked off the light. “He was killed by a drunk driver three weeks after our wedding.”
“I’m sorry. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t like talking about dead lovers.”
“He’s been gone four years now. I’m getting over it.”
“I can’t imagine,” I said, shaking my head.
“Be glad you can’t.” Katerina turned away and fell asleep facing the photo.
I kept my hands to myself and passed out within minutes.
The following morning, I awoke to the aroma of coffee brewing. Sunlight razored between venetian blinds. I unstuck my foul tongue from the roof of my mouth, rubbed my eyes, and looked around. My skull felt like a screwdriver was stuck into it sideways. Katerina w
as gone. I stumbled into the living room. I saw the bong, the empty pizza box, the drained bottles of chardonnay. Then I heard a rustling in the kitchen. I staggered in, wearing just my underwear.
“Katerina?” I groaned.
A brunette with a body like the best piece of a jigsaw puzzle was standing there holding a glass of grapefruit juice.
“Kat went to read for a Clairol commercial a couple hours ago,” the brunette said.
My eyes hung on the brunette’s perfectly shaped fake tits. If Katerina’s breasts were double black diamond slopes, these golden cones were the Himalayas.
“You must be Sam,” she said. “I’m Daisy, Kat’s roommate.”
She held out her hand. I shook it. Then she looked down at my raging morning erection, obvious as a circus tent-pole trying to break free of my old boxer shorts.
“Is that the shark?” she asked.
Matt Steele and I walked across USC’s country-club campus. We were heading to a screening of Truffaut’s Day for Night. I told Matt what happened between Katerina and me, even confessing the awkward details of my mangled dick. Such was my trust in Matt.
“Did she get a look at your cock or not?” Matt asked.
“But it’s an ugly beast, that’s the bottom line?”
“It is,” I confessed. “Especially when it’s hard.”
“You need to see my plastic surgeon, pronto. He’ll make your dick so attractive sluts will be fighting over who gets to suck it first.”
“You’ve had plastic surgery?” I said.
“Just some touch-up work. Nose, chin, eyelids. Nothing major. But Doc Weinberger is really known as the king of tits. The guy is a miracle worker.” Matt pulled out his wallet and passed me his surgeon’s business card. “Remember to tell him I sent you. I get a nice bottle of wine for referring patients.”
I studied the card. Expensive cream-white card stock embossed with raised black and gold printing. It felt like money.
“Those cards are terrific ice breakers at sorority parties,” Matt added. “I give them to skinny co-eds who need boob jobs. Besides activating deep insecurities about tit size, it also gets girls thinking about me in a sexual way.”
“Does it work?”
I slipped the business card into my wallet.
The offices of Dr. Ira Weinberger were located on Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills.
When he greeted me, Weinberger’s eyes lit up like an auto mechanic seeing a classic car. “Sam, you’re a terrific candidate for a new nose. When you start with that kind of sizable mass, it’s easy to sculpt down to an aesthetic ideal. I can give you a Tom Hanks, a Bruce Willis, or even make you look like a model in GQ. Anything you want. You’ll certainly appear less ethnic.”
“You mean Jewish,” I said.
He flashed a friendly smile. Then Dr. Weinberger proudly opened a leather-bound book with photographs of the different noses he’d made. “Let me show you what I can do for you.”
I put my hand out to stop him. He met my eyes as I spoke.
“Not the nose. I have a deformed penis.” It took courage to say those words. It’s hard to speak so frankly when you’ve got a dick that looks like a mutant baby orca. “That’s why I came to you.”
Dr. Weinberger studied my face. “It’s more obvious that your nose needs work.”
“You haven’t seen my penis.”
“Let’s have a look.” Dr. Weinberger motioned for me to drop my pants.
He snapped on pair of latex gloves, then knelt before me and inspected the deformed head of my cock. He said nothing in the first minute of initial evaluation, checking my penis from all angles. Then he spoke. “This is a tragedy. Some of these rabbis think they know how to use a knife, but they would benefit from more surgical training and less Talmud.”
“Can you fix it?” I asked.
“Cosmetic work on genitals is never covered by insurance. I’m afraid you’ll be paying out of pocket for the entire cost of the surgery.”
“How much is that?”
Dr. Weinberger made some notes in pencil, planning his revision on my cock. “You’re looking at a skin bridge, attaching new tissue from the coronal ridge of your glans to the shaft of your penis and removing scar tissue. I’d say eight thousand dollars, minimum.”
“I can’t afford eight thousand dollars. I’m barely able to pay my tuition this semester.”
“USC,” I told him. “I’m in film school.”
“Impressive.” Dr. Weinberger pulled off his gloves. “USC is the best film school in the world. Do you want to be a director?”
“I’m an aspiring screenwriter myself, in my off-hours. What genre do you write?”
“I’m working on a comedy right now.”
“Would you believe I am too?” Dr. Weinberger tossed his gloves into the trash and washed his hands. “Maybe we can work out a deal.”
“What kind of deal?” I asked.
“I need a motivated writing partner to finish my script. It’s about two guys that drive an ambulance. Dark but funny. Think Lynch’s Blue Velvet meets M*A*S*H. If we team up and knock out a first draft, I’ll give you a discount on your surgery.”
“All inclusive, five thousand dollars.”
“Still a lot of money,” I said.
He shrugged. He was a professional, and negotiation was okay, but only up to a point.
“With a penis like yours, I’d find the money somehow.” Dr. Weinberger clapped a hand on my shoulder. “I’m just spitballing ideas. Think about it. No pressure.”
(to be continued…)