Oral Wisdom
A Short Story by Jeremy Benjamin
Written using the suggestion "Jungle"
Originally featured on 03-12-2009
As part of our series "Where the Wild Words Are (Words Gone Wild!)"

“Listen closely, son, here’s what you do. Take her to a café or a delicatessen on your first date, any place as long as it serves sandwiches. Make it somewhere you’ve been to before and know what’s on the menu. The most important thing is that the sandwiches come with a toothpick or one of those little plastic swords, like they use when the sandwich is so thick the top would slide right off and half the meat along with it in a landslide if there wasn’t a sharp object holding it in one piece. If the sandwich isn’t speared, then it’s not a suitable venue for your first date. If there’s no toothpick, there’s no second date. It’s that simple. Get it? I’m sure you don’t need me to explain the rest, but I will anyway, because I’m an old man and I like to talk.

“Get her yak-yak-yacking. That shouldn’t be hard to do. By that I mean don’t just get her to talk, get her telling stories, the kind of stories that she’ll get lost in, so lost in that she’s not even talking to you, she’s just reliving her story. The key is this: while her focus is entirely on the words coming out of her mouth and the images they’re sparking in her head, your focus is on that goddamned sandwich. You’re strategizing each bite—think of your teeth as soldiers laying siege to a foreign shore. That sandwich is a country, in the middle of that country is an island, and buried deep in the soil of that island…is a treasure…and that treasure…is your one in a thousand chance of the evening going precisely the way you want it to go. And the way you want it to go…involves lubricants.

“See what I’m talking about? If you give the impression that you’re listening intently, she won’t know what you’re really doing until the blood dribbles down your chin. You’ve got to find the right moment to do it—for reasons I’ll never understand, the right moment is always when the lady speaks a word starting with the letter S. Don’t ask me why, the universe just works that way, kid. Now, if you’re a pro, you’ll chomp down on that toothpick hard enough to pierce an artery in your throat but aim so that you don’t do any lethal self-damage. Don’t try it until you really know what you’re doing. I suggest practicing at least seventeen times with sewing needles in your bathroom before you go out on that first date. And it wouldn’t hurt to reserve a few medical books from your local public library, y’know, familiarize yourself with the anatomy of your mouth.

“And son, be careful. I won’t say this again, but really. I knew a guy who severed a nerve in his tongue pulling this stunt; permanently lost all taste sensation. How’d you like to go through life not knowing whether you’re chewing on dog terds or fillet mignon? But if you do it right…if you do it right…

“If executed successfully—and don’t be afraid to bleed on your sandwich, you can still eat it afterwards, especially if it’s pastrami on rye—her hands will be wrestling your cock from your jockeys faster than an earthquake can dislodge an anthill from a rose garden. Don’t ask me what I mean by that. It means sucky sucky—Hey, you asked me for advice.”

Chancy relit his cigar. The unspoken afterthought was, it’s a jungle kid.

Read More By Jeremy Benjamin

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