A note from the author: Bobby Cotton, the sexually obsessed and just as often sexually frustrated first-person narrator of my debut novel, Magnificent Vibration, is a winning loser at his rope’s end after a rough divorce leaves him penniless, ejected from his home, and even minus his beloved dog, Murray. In this flashback excerpt, Bobby recounts the story of his quite unexpected first sexual encounter at the age of seventeen.
Photograph by Kym DeGenaro.
It’s late Friday morning. Both of my parents are at work and I’ve
blown off school, after a shouting match with my mother, of course,
who has stormed out of the house yelling back at me (and to the whole
neighborhood) that, at seventeen, I am already a LOSER. Which I most
certainly am not, having just bought myself my first electric guitar! My head is currently filled with visions of famous billionaire musicians
who dropped out of school because the pull of the music was so strong.
And how they struggled and fought, persevered and climbed until they
finally reached the top of the mountain, where they plugged in and
played their songs for all the world to hear, adore, and throw money as
a result. At this moment I can play a C chord. Not well. And it hurts my
I can hear Mrs. Whiting reading to Josie. She is actually doing a
pretty good job of caring for my girl. My sister’s hair is no longer matted, her nightdresses are clean, and she seems pretty oblivious as the Reverend’s wife sits with her and reads her page after page after page from the Bible. Although I still consider myself Josie’s main caregiver,
Mrs. Whiting has lightened the load a little and I have begrudgingly accepted her. She is a wispy, almost ethereal woman with ivory skin, flaxen hair, and modest clothes that all have a hand-scrubbed, ultra-sanitary look about them. She seldom talks and almost never to me but when she does, although she may be looking toward me, her pale blue eyes have a downcast aspect.
It’s now early afternoon and I have frittered half the day away as we
adolescents who have forever to burn tend to do. I am still lying in bed,
daydreaming of the possible rock-star future that could very well become
real once I get beyond this single, extremely difficult and pain-inducing C chord. The voice of the Reverend’s wife drifts in and out of my periphery
as she delivers God’s word to what could only charitably be described
as a captive audience. I am about to get up and give my sister a break
from the holy bombardment when the words drifting in from her bedroom
suddenly take shape. Mrs. Whiting is reading:
“Yet she increased her whorings, remembering the days of her youth,
when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her
paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys and whose
emissions were like those of stallions . . .”
What the hell? What is this? How come her husband never reads
that stuff in church?
This gets my and Woody’s attention—I’m lying half-naked in my bed as this ecclesial wife talks dirty just down the hall. I don’t even begin to wonder why it turns me on, but it does. I rise and head to the communal bathroom to start my day with a little healthy self-stimulation accompanied by confused and disjointed mental images of naked Egyptian priestesses mounting donkey-dicked men.
None of us has any idea why the things that turn us on do turn us
on, and in our teen years we are mere puppets of the powerful sexual
forces that will drive us into adulthood and consequently ruin our marriages and our lives but provide hours and hours of crazy, freaky shit to
So I am standing there, perched up on my toes over the bathroom
sink, jammies around my ankles, vertical Woody in hand, when the
bathroom door (which I am sure I have locked) bursts open. Jesus save
me, it’s the Reverend’s wife!
We both stand there frozen for a second in what I assume is abject
shock for her as much as for me. Neither of us moves. Though there are
no train tracks anywhere near our house, I believe I hear a train whistle honk mournfully in the distance . . . a cold coyote calls . . . a cricket
chirps . . .
“Who’s watching my sister?” I ask feebly. It’s all I can come up with,
dick in hand.
Her colorless face is suddenly flushed and her eyes are pinpricks of
blue fire. She moves aggressively toward me and I flinch and hunker
down, ready for the righteous blow I am sure is coming, already conjuring
up explanations for the rather compromising position in which she
has stumbled upon me. But the wallop does not come. Instead, my eyes
still squeezed shut against impending doom and/or severe embarrassment,
I feel, for the first time in my life, a hand other than my own wrap
itself around poor, shunned Woody and start stroking the little guy for
all he is worth. Her hot and labored breath is on my neck as she works
her unexpected magic, and although he hardly produces the emission
of stallions, Woody makes me proud by shooting his meager load into
the sink and I shiver with pleasure, confusion and, yes horror. I look
down just to make sure I’m not imagining things, and it is indeed the
Reverend’s wife’s hand swaddling my quickly deflating member. Without
a word from either of us, she turns and bolts from the bathroom, slamming
the door shut, and I am left there with a mixture of nakedness,
shock, guilt, wonderment, fear, euphoria, shame, distress, joy, chagrin,
confusion, excitement, insecurity, virility, daring, defeat, triumph,
awkwardness, self-consciousness . . . did I mention joy? I feel usurped,
stunned, in peril, and completely at a frigging loss to explain what has
just happened. I actually say under my breath, “’the fuck was that?” I
stand there for a few minutes trying to decide the next best course of
action, pajama pants still around my feet, shrunken wanger hanging
limply against the cold sink. That was nuts! Did that really just happen?
I can’t pull all the disparate pieces together to make any kind of sense of this unlikely equation. ME: a kid/jerk that no girl seems interested
in and whose only sexual release has been self-stimulation of the old
beanpole + SHE: Adult woman, churchgoing, pious, a mature member
of the real world = HER HAND on my little Woodland Hills whitesnake,
stroking it into ecstasy.
In a fog, I pull up my pants and bolt from the bathroom to my bedroom to get back into bed so I can think about this and try to process it. Does this mean I am no longer a virgin? I’m pretty sure it means something along those lines, and I punch the air in a salute to my newfound manhood. Then comes the guilt. I begin, mentally, to go through the screaming matches as the Reverend and I face off over the attentions of this suddenly desirable and comely woman. I hear my mother crying and berating me for the destruction of her church. I fear the inevitable condemnation by God. She is, after all, the wife of one of His servants. Could I actually go to hell for this? I see newspaper headlines spinning at me with that cheesy effect the old TV cop shows used to use—
HORATIO “BOBBY” COTTON: PUBLIC DEGENERATE NUMBER ONE!
Geeky Kid Makes Church Lady Whack His Mole!
He Saw , He Conquered, He Came.
The Debauched Life of Bob Cotton!!
Oh Jesus!! I try to breathe through it to calm myself and then begin
conjuring up possible explanations to everyone peripherally involved as
to how this could have happened in the first place. Could I possibly explain
it as an accident? She rushed in, seriously in need of the restroom,
stumbled, tripped, mistakenly grabbing my wiener on her way to the floor; I tried to pull away, which only applied more friction to the aforementioned
wiener, thus resulting in a “finishing move” and subsequent loss of manly bodily fluids. We were both shocked and embarrassed and apologized to each other profusely, she backing out in tears, me damning my manhood to a lifetime of abstinence and myself to a commitment of service to the Church for the rest of my existence, Hallelujah, we are all saved, and no harm, no foul.
And then there is Josie. I have used and abused her caregiver. Appropriated
an angelic and innocent woman who was committed to my
sister, just so I could have my wanton way with her while she struggled
and fought to save her honor and get back to her duties. I’m sure
Mrs. Whiting is in Josie’s bedroom right now weeping for her maidenhood
and her innocence lost, thanks to my uncontrollable and lustful
desires. Damn mankind and his erect penis! We are monsters all! I need
to go to Mrs. Whiting, fall to my knees and beg her forgiveness for my
wicked, almost-copulating ways. I am clearly the sinner here and she
shouldn’t feel that she’s in any way responsible for the shameful act that
just went down.
There is a noise at the bedroom door and I look up from my insanely
lame mental meanderings. It’s the Reverend’s wife. She is still flushed
and has maintained that slightly hyper-intense look in her eyes. She’s
swaying ever so slightly as though she’s high or something.
“Are you okay?” she asks, and her voice has lost its timidity. She
sounds like another person entirely—her voice is almost husky and
somewhat out of control. I fake a casual attitude, but inside, my soul is
whipping like a flag in a gale.
“Yeah, I’m good,” I lie.
“I’m glad,” she says, but the words have more attached to them than if she were merely pleased about my current state of mind. She moves
into the room and closes my door. Oh yeah, there is waaaaaay more
going on here.
“How’s Jo—” I begin.
“She’s sleeping,” she interrupts and moves farther inside the room.
Okay, I’m seriously in over my head.
There is that pregnant pause again as we face off where the train
honks and the cold coyote calls, etc., etc.
Then she reaches up behind her back and I hear a long zipperunzipping
sound. It’s almost comical, it’s so loud and so blatant. But I am
not laughing. Not at all. I go cold . . . hot . . . I don’t even know anymore.
Her scrubbed, Reverend’s-wife dress falls to the floor and she is completely
naked underneath. She’s not even wearing some mildly modest
underwear, a petticoat or some unnamed and secret church garment à
la the Mormons. Nothing. She is BUTT NAKED!!! Although I am confused,
nervous, and scared, Woody is paying serious attention and she
seems to sense this. A slight smile—one could actually say a “devilish
smile”—curves one corner of her now quite moist mouth.
I have never seen a live, completely naked, full-grown woman before
and most certainly not in my own bedroom. I am in awe. She’s frigging
naked!!! In my room!!! With me!!! Even as freaked-out as I am I take
note of her attributes. She has very white, almost translucent skin. Her
frame is thin and her breasts are only slightly larger than mine, but
they are larger, so I note this as a major plus, now that I’m a man of the
world! There is a thick, dark patch of pubic hair between her pale thighs
that kind of scares me, but I finally learn what the phrase “the carpet
doesn’t always match the drapes” means. Blond hair, dark pubes. Noted.
As she comes closer and sits on my bed, I realize I have been holding
my breath since she entered the room.
This is no longer the demure, numinous acolyte I thought was tending
to my sister. She is now a supreme, fire-breathing, chest-heaving succubus
intent on, apparently, seducing me. Instead of her usual awkward
sideways glances, she is staring right into my eyes. Through my eyes. It’s
pretty intense. And freaky.
Her hand goes under the covers and finds that Woody has been paying
very, very rapt attention to the proceedings. She leans in and kisses my
neck, then slides the covers down, climbs up onto the bed, and straddles
my hips, handing Woody a skilled shiatsu at the same time. I’m thinking
this woman has some serious talents that her ecclesial community may
not be aware of. I feel her naked skin against MY naked skin. I have NO
idea what to do or what is going on, but she does. “Am I about to actually
get laid??” is the only thought I can register as my head swirls and
I feel the pressure and weight of her body on mine. I watch, absolutely
flabbergasted as she reaches between her legs, takes authoritative hold of
the Woodman and, saints be praised, guides him up into the saddle like a
champ. She moans and begins to ride me up and down, eyes closed, head
swaying back and forth, and I hear her muttering softly, breathlessly.
And what I hear is, unbelievably, “. . . She played the whore in the land
of Egypt and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like
those of donkeys and whose emissions were like that of stallions . . .” and
other crazy shit I never even knew was in the Bible. She is reciting it all
from memory between gasps, sighs and whimpers as she rocks her hips
back and forth. It is a heady cocktail for yours virginally.
I don’t yet realize what it means but she is as wet as a Vietnamese
monsoon down there and Woody throws his nut after a dozen or so
strokes, such is the inexperience of youth. It is a magical moment. Yes
those words actually form in my brain as I orgasm for the second time
under someone else’s power. “Whoa!” is pretty much all I can squeak out verbally. The Reverend’s wife—should I call her Virginia now?—seems to
sense I can do no more (at least not right away) and disconnects us. She
leans in and with that weird husky voice I don’t recognize whispers in
my ear, “This is just between us, okay? No one else needs to know.”
“Uh-huh!” Again, all I can manage.
She rises silently, dresses quickly, and is gone out of my room before I
even land back on planet earth. Un‑spanking-believable. There is a moment
of rustling, a chair squeaks, a sigh, a beat, and then in her original
voice (the one the Reverend’s wife usually uses when she isn’t naked)
I hear her once again begin strafing my sweet sister’s brain with the
“non-rude” verses of the Bible.
I lie there listening, trying to piece together how this could all possibly
have happened. And it is, for me, another good, hard, and permanent
tie to sex and religious freakdom. A further melding of the crash,
heat, and intoxicating power of the forbidden. An intense fettering of
aberrant sexual ties to organized faith.
For more information about the book, please visit www.magnificentvibration.com.
Excerpted from Magnificent Vibration: A Novel by Rick Springfield. Copyright 2014 © Rick Springfield. Reproduced by permission of Touchstone, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.