My prayer was answered. I found a Hustler magazine.
I often prayed to Satan for a Playboy to appear under my mattress. When the urge was strong and the need to see a naked woman was important for a decent pubescent session of masturbation, I would ask the Devil himself to make pornography magically appear to me in the darkness of night while my parents were asleep. I would wait ten minutes then check under the mattress for the magazine because I figured Satan might have a time delay since he had a lot on his plate with giving lyrics to Ozzy Osbourne or Slayer and his trips to Russia to make sure everyone stayed atheist.
Then I would pray to Jehovah for forgiveness; for praying to Satan. My family was Jehovah’s Witnesses and praying to Satan could set it up so God would murder me at Armageddon with everyone else who wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness. My heart stirred at the thought that I was fourteen years old and already Satan had started chipping away at my faith in God and the bible. He was mad that I was a Jehovah’s Witness and that I was in the true religion.
I would preach on Saturday mornings with my father, from door to door, knocking, ringing doorbells, hoping that Jennifer from Social Studies class wouldn’t answer the door and see me in a dorky suit and tie while holding a bible and a Watchtower. I didn’t pray to Satan while I preached because Satan didn’t want me to preach, he wanted me not to be a Jehovah’s Witness.
Lorie from English class had stunning blonde hair and a slightly turned up nose. We talked to each other in 4th and 5th grade, but by high school I was a misfit bible thumper and it wasn’t cool to hang out with the Jehovah Walker who had the latest issues of the Watchtower and Awake! in his hands after waking you up ringing your doorbell on Saturday mornings.
The Watchtower said that masturbating led to homosexuality. The Watchtower said that only deranged people masturbated. And many priests and nuns in the Catholic Church were chronic masturbators.
After I masturbated I always prayed to Jehovah to help me never think those disgusting thoughts again. I would look down at my offending penis and wish I could cut it off.
There’s a scripture in the bible that says if your right hand is making you stumble, it’s better to cut it off and live forever in paradise than to keep it and be doomed to Gehenna. My right hand was working overtime, stroking its way to set me up for destruction at Armageddon. With Satan and with his demons and with anyone on Earth who wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness.
Then, alone at night, with an erection and the flash nipple from a documentary I watched on PBS about early detection of breast cancer, I would pray again to Satan for a Playboy to appear under my bed.
Prayers to Satan were different than prayers to Jehovah. Jehovah can listen to you pray silently. I wasn’t sure if Satan could hear my silent thoughts, so I would mouth my prayers to him without saying them out loud.
“Dear Satan. Please put a Playboy under my bed,” I prayed and waited.
Not sure prayers to Satan should end in Amen, I said it just in case.
I felt under my bed. Nothing.
Then I would dare say it out loud hoping my slumbering mother and father wouldn’t hear my whispers, “Playboy. Under. Bed.” In my out loud prayers I talked to Satan like a caveman.
One day, even though it was a bit disconcerting, Satan answered my prayer and I throbbed in my pants.
I had Hustler magazine on my lap. There was Sonya on a swing wearing only a sweater, her full bush peeking out from between her legs. In another photo she spread open the hair and showed her vagina. I had no idea that much stuff going on in between a woman’s legs. Underneath the triangle of hair.
I stroked myself over my pants and dropped the magazine and cried.
I found them while looking through dad’s desk. He had all of his study books for the Jehovah’s Witness meetings and his bible and more. He was a congregation elder, so he had confidential papers too, stuff written down about who was committing and confessing sins in the congregation, letters from the Watchtower Society on how to be a better elder and how to avoid lawsuits from Jehovah’s Witnesses who were excommunicated.
At the bottom of his elder drawer sat my prayers to Satan answered. What I had been waiting for, aching for, over the last six months.
Satan answered my prayer by making a drunk driver ram his truck into dad’s Honda. There was no chance for dad. He died instantly the doctor said.
The bible says that the wages sin pays is death, so if you die, you’ve paid your debt to God and he would resurrect you in paradise and ask you if you wanted to serve him.
Check the “Yes” box and you’ll stick around with all the other Jehovah’s Witnesses who survived Armageddon.
Check the “No” box and you’re back into non-existence.
It had been a month since dad died. Mom kept everything exactly the same. The Jehovah’s Witnesses in the congregation brought over meals and visited often to comfort us for our loss. They also gave us hope that dad would definitely be resurrected in paradise after Armageddon. The same Armageddon would occur at any moment, killing everyone who wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness.
When I started looking through dad’s desk drawers I really just wanted to read some gossip about the sinners in the congregation. I didn’t think I would strike the mother lode of female nudity. In those days even seeing the instructions on a Kotex box on how to insert a tampon gave me an erection.
I flipped through the Hustler. It showed a guy and a girl and he had his penis deep inside her. He was behind her and her butt was slightly raised and her eyes were closed in ecstasy.
On the opposite page she had her mouth around the guy’s penis and looked directly at me.
I pictured her warm mouth on my penis, and I stroked. I stroked and stroked and finally came in my pants, soaking my underwear.
I wondered if mom knew about dad’s porn stash. I wondered if Jehovah wouldn’t resurrect him because of what I found.
Even though I felt sad, it was kind of cool that dad died. People treated us different. They were sympathetic. Concerned. Congregation elders told me that they would make sure I had a father figure and they would take me preaching. Door to door.
I didn’t want to preach anymore. I hadn’t preached for a month and it felt good. I used to have to preach every week with dad on Saturday mornings.
My penis retracted a bit and I felt the warm puddle of juice in my underwear.
Mom came home with her friend Janet from the congregation and I grabbed one of dad’s old socks and stuffed it into my underwear to soak up my warm and sticky liquid sin. I put dad’s Hustler back where it was. I had the urge to throw it in the garbage, to get rid of it forever and I made a promise to Jehovah in a prayer that I would never pray to Satan, masturbate or look at those magazines again.
The kids at school treated me better after they heard my dad died. I had a clear mental picture of what Lorie’s breasts looked like with her pink nipples. I had a good idea that Jennifer had a black triangle of hair between her legs since the hair on her head was dark brown.
A few months passed and I brought the Hustler to school and showed some of the guys in the locker-room after PE. They were impressed. I ate lunch with them every day after that. Lorie said ‘hi’ to me in Social Studies. Other girls said ‘hi’ to me.
I was no longer the bible thumper who rang their doorbells every Saturday morning. I was no longer a Jehovah Walker.
I prayed to Satan that I could be alone with Lorie and that she would take off her clothes for me. A couple of days went by and it didn’t happen, so I said the prayer out loud.
“Laurie, naked, breasts.”
“Who are you talking to?” Mom asked through my closed door.
“I’m praying,” I said.
She came in and held me in her arms, “Jehovah will resurrect dad, and we just have to wait for Armageddon to come.”
I immediately said a silent prayer to Satan to see if he could put off Armageddon. Then there might be time for Satan to answer my prayer to see Lorie naked.
When mom left the room I said the prayer out loud.
“No Armageddon. Lorie. Naked. Breasts.
— Tony DuShane