A few summers ago I lived near a little dive bar out in the country. It was the only halfway entertaining place for miles and had good drink specials, so sweet. I spent a lot of time over there during the first few months and quickly made friends with the regulars and the employees. I use the term "friends" loosely; most of these guys believed that an awkward boob grab was a suitable greeting. I suspect that paint huffing during pregnancy was endemic in this area. But I digress.

One of the characters I met was a guy I'll call Jethro. Not his real name, but it fit. He was tall and skinny and had a long, flowing mullet. Not bad looking as far as dudes go, but there was still something...off about him. Regardless, he was friendly and always bought me my first drink of the evening. We ended up being good friends and hung out quite a bit outside of the bar, usually just sitting around at the cabin drinking beer and listening to music and shooting the shit for hours. All of this was fine until finally he put two and two together.

"So you're a lesbian? Fuckin' sweet."

This is the kind of shit that nowadays I recognize as trouble, but I blew it off. It helped that we didn't discuss my sexuality that much, but it turned out to be a ticking time bomb that finally blew sky high one evening.

I had decided to forgo the bar that evening for one reason or another. At any rate Jethro called me around closing time, completely freaked. Apparently there was a woman in the bar who had been stalking and harassing him for some time. This didn't surprise me much; the guy was quite open with his status as a "player". He told me he was afraid to go straight home after leaving work for fear that she might follow him and find out where he lived, and wanted to know if he could come over and hang out with me for about an hour or so. I really didn't feel like having company, nor was I keen on the idea of this potentially crazy woman following him to my apartment, but he sweetened the pot with an offer of free beer, so I acquiesced. Woe be to she who hath a weakness for free booze.

So about 20 minutes passed and he hadn't shown up yet. I was starting to think he'd changed his mind or something had come up or maybe, just maybe I wasn't being turned over karma's knee and spanked heartily after all. So of course the phone rang then. He was on his way, but he had to stop and pick up a friend who had expressed an interest in meeting me. Goody.

The two showed up about five minutes later. At least the friend was a woman. She was, to put it gently, bordering on obese. Not like having her own gravitational pull kind of obese but enough that, were she a celestial body, a satellite would surely wobble in its trajectory as it cruised past her equatorial region. But she had a pretty face and a nice smile and hugged me when introduced, something I find inexplicably charming despite my aversion to unnecessary physical contact. She had also brought me a giant bag full of ears of corn, freshly picked, still in the husk. Welcome to Indiana.

The three of us retired to the kitchen and broke into the case of beer. All was well for a pretty long time. The friend was funny and talkative and even kind of intelligent, and Jethro was being on his best behaviour. That being said, it was on this occasion that I learned Jethro is one of those drinkers with a clearly defined threshold; that is, a set drink limit that spells the difference between normal drunkenness and anything from gin-scented proclamations of undying adoration to nudity. Let's just say I would have gladly accepted the standard drunken "I love you man" and snot on my shirt sleeve as an alternative to what happened that evening.

So with about his third beer Jethro crossed his threshold with a vengeance (I assume he had a nightcap or three at the bar after closing time, which would explain why beer was the catalyst). He stood up and announced, "Hey girls, wanna see my new thong?" (although it came out more like "hay girth, wan see mah froo throng?") No one said yes, but he didn't let that stop him. He dropped his pants and proudly displayed his pink and purple (!) man-thong (!!) and a feeble whiskey dick.

Fucking-A. I cook food in this kitchen dude. I started to feel nauseous so I excused myself to the bathroom. I stood in there for a while, despairing, wondering what the fuck I should do. Common sense dictated that I toss the chicken-fried Chippendale out on his ass, but I was too drunk and shell-shocked to consider this. I glanced up at the window. As bathroom windows tend to be, it was small, maybe 1' by 1', with vertical sliding glass. The opening created by sliding the glass aside was about half that area. But maybe, if I popped the glass out entirely and dislocated my shoulders thus...

What. The fuck. This is my apartment and I'm contemplating escaping out the window. All because of a phallus in the kitchen. I've seen penises before. I'm always a little worse for wear afterward, but I'm made of tougher stuff than that. I flushed the toilet to complete the illusion that I'd actually used the bathroom and marched back out into the kitchen.

I really wish I could have somehow bet money on what happened next. In the time it took me to make my faux-run to the lil' girls' room Jethro had somehow misplaced his pants AND his banana hammock while I was in the can and was now flopping his vile junk around. At this point it was a lateral move, so I just took my seat and opened another beer. He sat down as well, at which I made a mental note to burn that seat, and all returned to normal, or as normal as a situation involving a half-naked mullet-headed redneck can be. The friend, who had become curiously silent during the debacle, noticed the psychology and philosophy textbooks on my kitchen table, recent purchases from the university yard sale. She started waxing about philosophy while I started praying for a brain aneurysm.

I got the next best thing, a gentle numbness when my brain cells quietly excused themselves, and that was when Jethro then managed to horrify beyond belief yet again. Well, I blamed him at least; I'm not sure who initiated it since I refused to look at either of them at this point. All I know was there was a colossal boob now exposed and being fondled. And this chick was still fucking talking about Kant and Epistemology with a vaguely aroused look on her face.

Meanwhile I was having something of an existential crisis. I couldn't help believing I had brought this on myself through a series of very bad choices. I always said the world would end horrifically, probably because of something I did, and this event suggested that time was indeed nigh. I'm cool with the idea of lighting the fuse on the Apocalypse, but I would much prefer to do so with incendiary grenades, or at the very least a woefully misfired NOS-fueled potato cannon. Suffice to say, a mullet-headed male stripper does not factor at all into either of those things, so clearly something had to be done.

I wish could say at this point that I dispatched the opposition with slick sexy jujitsu razzmatazz and a snappy one-liner that would force David Caruso into early retirement, but alas. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Also I'm kind of a chicken shit. This was a golden opportunity to diffuse a sticky sitation like a BAUS, since for once I was not in the wrong. Instead I stood up with half-assed authority and mumbled something about being tired and having some pressing task to accomplish before bed, etc. I suck.

To my surprise they both instantly turned fifteen shades of purple and apologized profusely. Jethro looked ready to cry as he retrieved his wayward garments from the living room floor and insisted that I keep the rest of the beer for myself. The friend apologized even more, saying she felt so bad we got off on a bad foot and hoped we could hang out again sometime. I half-ass accepted their pleas for forgiveness and walked them to the door. I then went back into the kitchen and cracked open another beer. As I did so, I could not help but recall the astute words of one Lord Simpson: "To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."


Shortly after the Banana Hammock Incident, as it came to be known by anyone unfortunate enough to hear this story from me, I would learn that Jethro had intended to propose a threesome that night, and my protest was the only thing that had stopped him. I would also learn that Jethro was a registered sex offender, convicted of four counts of child molestation. I also learned during that slow evening at work where boredom reduced me to tracking down sex offenders online, that at the sketchy apartment complex I lived in when I'd first moved to Bloomington there were no fewer than four violent offenders residing, their crimes ranging from incest to voluntary manslaughter. Someone, or something, wants me dead, maimed, molested, traumatized, or otherwise irreversibly damaged. That is what I could be thinking were I not a fighter and a generally optimistic person. Instead I'll just reflect on how this tale is a cautionary one, not to mention damn funny to tell at parties.

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