When my Step-Dad, Jeff, said “it’s my way or the highway”
After Dad walked in on me and Amber going at it in my bedroom, he stormed back to the living room and brought back Jeff. Jeff yelled for a good ten minutes right in front of Amber, chased her out the front door, and then gave me an ultimatum — undergo ‘conversion therapy’ at the spot he knows or find a new place to live.
The smell of the inside of a burlap bag
The location of the place, called “Pristine Pines,” was a big secret, so Jeff had some guys swing by that night and kidnap me. They put a sack over my head and threw me in the back of their pickup.
The drive felt like hours.
If you’ve never been bagged, the smell is eerily reminiscent of that rubber glue elementary kids love to drink, like a sort of industrial syrup.
It’s not good.
When the head counselor referred to himself as a “Star Man”
Once the truck came to a stop, they pulled me out and took the bag off. Their marketing team was either blind or genius — there wasn’t a tree in sight. Just desert all around. We were nowhere.
They led me to the main hall, where metal folding chairs were sat in a circle and filled with people of various ages and gender. A voice echoed over the loudspeakers, saying “Your sinful ways will corrupt this Earth,” and, “You will become the indigo children you were destined to be.”
The look on my face when they brought out the first “challenge”
They paired us into groups — one man and one woman — and asked us to disrobe. A nervous chuckle swam around the room. Someone slipped out of their shoes. Again, they demanded we take our clothes off — all of them.
My partner, a short woman in her mid-50’s, got naked before I did. They told us to stare at each other’s bodies and resist the sexual temptation. They told us to see the human body for what it is: hideous and malformed, lumpy and sagging. As we stared, counselors passed by and watched for bodily signs of arousal.
Needless to say, I passed.
When Billy tried to escape and they shot him in the neck with a tranquilizer dart
Later that night, as we gathered into small groups to “demonstrate our hatred of childbirth,” a kid around my age named Billy took off for one of the exit doors. He was rather big, so he plowed through the first few counselors that tried to stop him.
Once he got outside, he made it all the way to the barbed-wire fence before a watchtower guard popped him right in the neck.
We didn’t see much of Billy after that.
The air sirens
The activities over, we all retired to our group cabins and fought the stone-and-styrofoam mattresses for sleep. Every half-hour or so, a soviet-era raid siren would blast through the paper-thin walls and alert the entire camp that another patient was attempting an escape.
As far as I know, no one made it.
In the morning, they handed us each a dixie cup of clear capsules. Large men dressed in all white watched us, waiting for us to swallow our portions.
“These will kickstart your conversion,” the head counselor said. “Please ignore the side effects.”
That afternoon, as we were cupping each other’s genitals as a ‘testament to our ascension above sexuality,’ my testicles started to throb, and then I watched as one of them shrank. It shrivelled smaller and smaller until I couldn’t see it anymore, and then I couldn’t feel it anymore.
I swallowed hard when it started happening to the other one.
Our final test
After lunch — a bowl of chopped bananas, pickles, and eggplant for the men and raw peaches for the women — we were stripped of our clothes and funneled into a black chamber. They locked the door behind us.
We murmured in the dark.
“How much longer?” someone pleaded.
The sound of gas escaping hissed into the room. Something smelled sweet.
“Don’t breathe it!” someone shouted. “It’s an aphrodisiac!”
I covered my mouth and clenched shut my nose. I could hear others choking, gagging, coughing. Then they started to make wild noises and bark like animals. A woman began to moan.
I heard the sound of sucking, of flesh meeting flesh, and backed my way into the corner of the chamber. I faced the wall and hummed to myself while the bodies behind me gave in to the toxic eroticism.
As it turns out, you can only hold your breath for so long.
When I discovered the rapturous pleasure of a gas chamber orgy
The gas turned me feral, rabid. Groans of ecstasy called to me, beckoned to me. I ravaged against my leash and became something uncaged. Fire burned through me. I gave in to my most carnal desires.
At the same time, my stomach began to churn. I could make out the sounds of vomiting through my sex haze, and soon I also succumbed to the gas’s second effect — the flu symptoms and bile ejection. Soon there was nothing but the smell of stomach acid.
They opened the door and light surged into the chamber. Most of us were too involved to shield our eyes. They dragged us out, prying body from body, and stood us up against the harsh sun. There, the head counselor scolded us, called us “unworthy of the program,” and threw us our clothes.
We were expected to find our own way home.
When Jeff asked if I’d had a fun weekend
I walked for hours along the dirt road. No one passed. On the edge of the horizon, a haze formed and began to take shape. A car — a minivan, to be exact — was heading my way.
It was Jeff. I asked him how he knew where I was.
“Oh, this road is where all the patients end up,” he said.
On the ride home, Jeff wouldn’t stop smiling and pestering me about how much fun my weekend was.
I told him I didn’t want to talk about it.