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(Photo of Kody Ford)

 

FAMILIAR TO MILLIONS

            I’m watching the ceiling fan - a blur of 180 revolutions per minute - squinting to see each blade as it moves around and around.  Anything to distract.  She’s grinding on me, riding like a jockey hugging the rail and coming up from behind at the Preakness.  I’m counting to myself, One Mississippi, Two Mississippi

            Her name is “Rain with a y.”  And by the time she had mounted me, I had known her for about two and a half hours, give or take a few minutes.  Rayne is one of those cosplay girls.  In the car on the way to her apartment, she told me that she’s amateur now, but one day hopes to go professional.  She just needs her big break.  You can go pro in anything, I tell her.  Trust me.  I know.

            She’s riding me harder, pressing her hands against my chest like she’s trying to resuscitate me.  She reaches up and grabs the headboard and shouts, “I can’t.  Believe.  I’m fucking.  You.”

            For what it’s worth, neither can I.

            Suppose for a moment, you had been approached by a girl dressed as some anime warrior princess with equally ridiculous measurements in the lobby of the convention center at a Comic Con.  Suppose she had that gleam in her, the one you’ve seen a hundred times.  It always starts the same - the flicker of familiarity that becomes full-blown recognition.  They’ll say, “Oh my God, are you really him?”

            Or: “Holy shit, it’s you ain’t it?”

            Sometimes they’ll even unbutton their shirt a little and start re-enacting their favorites.  “CUMS FIRST. WON’T CUDDLE.”  Or some dumb shit like that.

            Yeah.  You’ve seen me before.  Maybe you even gave me an upvote.  Perhaps you texted it to your friends.  I was once a man.  Now I am a meme.

            I am Sexytime Simon.

            The thing about being Internet famous is the lack of control you have over it.  No stylists or publicists carefully crafting your image.  Just a photo of me from Halloween four years ago, when I dressed like a male gigolo, floating around cyberspace with that big IMPACT font we all know so well, only it details depraved and/or embarrassing sexual situations.  On the grand scale of meme fame it could be a lot worse.  At least I’m not “10 Guy” or “Scumbag Steve.”

            Suppose for a moment that you were never the handsomest or the suavest or the most popular in school.  Suppose you didn’t lose your virginity until you turned 24 and your acne finally went away.  Maybe then when you find yourself Internet famous five years later and some pink-haired anime princess suggests you go back to her place, you’ll say yes.  Because everybody knows you and you never asked for it.

            One of those uber-trendy hipster stores even put one of the early memes of me on a t-shirt.  Rayne made me wear it for this.  I wanted to protest but she took me in her mouth and thrust her fist in the air, clutching the t-shirt like she’d just captured the flag.  I consented.

            And as I take her from behind - that smack, smack, smack of flesh upon flesh creating a carnal rhythm - I grip her hair like reins, holding that bright pink wig and loose brown strands that have slipped from beneath the netting.  I see myself in the mirror wearing the t-shirt with my face.  The same face that my previous employer had said was creating a “ruckus” around the office just before he let me go.  That face that gets me $500 a pop for doing personal appearances at these conventions, signing autographs and saying my memes like catchphrases.  Under those bright stage lights in a hot polyester shirt.  

            Rayne looks up at me in the mirror and she says, “Say it when you cum…”

            For a moment, I’m puzzled and then I know exactly what she means and suddenly, I don’t want to cum.  Not now.  Not ever.

            One Mississippi.  Two Mississippi.

*           *           *

            A few weeks pass before the email arrives.  Not from Rayne, of course. She never answered my texts or returned my calls after the deed was done.  Like the others, she’d had her fun with Sexytime Simon and moved on.  This one comes from my friend Brad, the one who sent my first meme with the message:  “Dude, you’re over 15,000 upvotes - this is so rad!”

            For what it’s worth, it wasn’t rad.

            This email has the subject line: HOLY SHITBALLS!

            A cold rush of adrenaline makes the floor drop out from underneath me.  With trembling hands, I click the link - it’s an article from a gossip site with the headline: Sexytime Simon Goes Balls Deep in Leaked Sex Tape.

            There are a few paragraphs of snark.  This writer is quite proud of his ability to craft sexual puns.  And, of course, there’s another link.  This one with NFSW beside it.  I run to the bathroom to vomit, but only dry heaving comes.  Gripping the grimy bowl of the toilet, tears run down my cheeks for a multitude of reasons.  I never asked for this.  I never wanted this.  But I never ran away from this either.

            Later, after I polish off the whiskey, my vision blurry like rain on a windshield, I get brave enough to open my laptop again and click the link.  When the new tab opens, there I am, wearing a shirt with my face on it, being straddled by Sailor Moon.  The video now at 546,371 views.  The booze has taken hold enough that I click play.  If you’ve ever watched yourself having sex in the mirror, seeing it on-screen is a 100 times worse.  Trust me.  I know.

            The video plays and from the angle it appears that she had stashed a camera somewhere in her My Little Pony collection.  After a few minutes, I figure I’m drunk enough so why not?  And I unzip my pants.  Tears flood my vision but I continue with the self-abuse, chaffing be damned.  It builds and builds as I watch myself watching myself in the mirror, moving in and out of Rayne.  She wanted to go pro in something.  Guess she found her big break.

            On the screen, she turns her head and whispers.  It’s unintelligible in the video, but I know exactly what she is saying.  Within a minute, the me on-screen, that Sexytime Simon, he thrusts his head back and cries out, “CUMS FIRST.  WON’T CUDDLE.”

*           *           *

            The next morning after the realization that millions of people who knew my face have now seen my penis, neither without my consent, I know what I have to do.  I open my laptop and search for something.  Anything to be invisible again.

            It takes a few weeks before I find myself in the lavish offices of Dr. Chip McIntosh, cosmetic surgeon, sipping on a glass of cucumber water and flipping through a binder of noses, ears, chins.  

            Suppose for a moment, you’d seen your face online, on t-shirts and on late-night talk shows.  Suppose you were always the punchline.  Maybe then when the cartoonishly handsome Dr. Chip McIntosh looks at you, flashes those alabaster veneers and asks what you want to change about yourself, you’ll lean forward and press your hands against his mahogany desk and look him right in the eyes.

            And you’ll say, “Everything.”

© Kody Ford


Bio:  Kody Ford is the editor of The Idle Class Magazine, a publication focused on the creative life. He holds an M.A. in Communication from The University of Arkansas. His work has appeared in Fiction Southeast and Flash Fiction Magazine. Follow him at @kodyford.