As I approached the bus stop, I noticed a large crowd standing on the sidewalk. I hated crowds, so I felt apprehensive. I felt the urge to turn around and leave.

They stood around staring at something that lay on the sidewalk. They were mesmerized. I couldn’t see what it was until I was almost on top of it. It was a penis—a real human penis. They were staring at a penis that lay on the sidewalk. A crow landed nearby and started pecking at the penis.

People were revolted and curious. I could tell they wanted to turn away, but something about this penis kept their interest.

A man turned to me and said, “You’d better get that before the crow eats it.”

I stared at him and wondered what he was talking about. He could see my confusion.

“That’s your penis,” he said.

I was surprised, and then I realized he was right. I had noticed something familiar about the penis on the sidewalk, but it hadn’t registered.

I went over to the penis and scared away the crow. Everyone was staring at me now. I bent down and picked up the penis. It was cold and had some damage where the crow had pecked it.

I looked at the crowd. The people stared at me and whispered to each other. I put the penis in my backpack and sat down on the bench and waited for the bus. The crowd continued to stare at me for a while, but I avoided eye contact and they moved on.

A woman sat next to me. “Is it going to be all right?”

“I think so,” I said.

“Can I see it?” she said.

I took it out and showed her.

“It looks hurt,” she said.

“I know.”

“Can I hold it?” she said.

I handed it to her.

“What happened?” she said. She carefully inspected the penis.

“I loaned it to a friend, and she must have dropped it.”

“You should be more careful about who you loan it to,” she said.

“I know,” I said. “It’s ruined. I might have to get rid of it.”

“Don’t do that,” she said. “I don’t think it’s ruined.”

[February 1996]

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