Man Born with Two Penises Moves to Utah and Marries Twin Sisters
by Scott Anderson

Sweeper was at a summer writing camp in the Catskills, or maybe it was Breadloaf, they all looked the same after a few sessions. He was sixteen. There was a cute girl working in the kitchen. She was a fledgling poet, raised in a wealthy family - her father was a high-octane attorney - and she could have simply paid the conference fee like everyone else, but she chose to work in exchange for tuition, part of the aesthetic, she explained. They became great friends the first day.

The girl invited Sweeper to her parent’s house on the weekend. Her father, Marvin, picked them up in a black Jaguar. Marvin was a callous man, not at all hesitant to stuff Sweeper into the little rumble seat in the back of the Jag and ignore him, as if he were a sack of groceries.

There was an equal lack of chemistry between dad and daughter. She sat with headphones on and stared vacantly out the window as dad raced along the turnpike, weaving in and out of traffic. Marvin was either showing off or he was a genuine madman, slowing down only when the radar detector chirped.

Their Bucks County estate was straight from a movie set, with a long winding driveway that traversed apple orchards and horse pastures, complete with a caretaker’s cottage, restored 19th century stone house, courtyard swimming pool, and sculptured gardens.

Sweeper thought that it would be cool to actually be their caretaker someday, and he mentioned that while munching appetizers in the formal library. This revelation didn’t impress the folks much. Mom was equally driven, chairing nonprofit boards along with her duties as head of the architecture department at Villanova. They grilled Sweeper, wanting to know all about his ambitions, and his writing, what could he say? He was just a kid.

Sweeper tried explaining his story Man Born with Two Penises Moves to Utah and Marries Twin Sisters. The mood in the library felt strained and Sweeper figured the folks might back off a little if he projected an aura of avant-garde creativity. Sweeper had already decided to write them into a story someday when the casting called for stuffed shirts and stuck-up bitches.

“Granted, it’s a long title for such a short story,” he offered, “but that’s the way short stories should be formulated: short. Consider the alternative. A man approaches a lectern pulling a red wagon. He announces, ‘I’m Jim, and I’d like to read you my story.’ The title of Jim’s book is Eternity. He’s got the first 60 chapters in the wagon and the rest is in a Courier Dispatch van pulling up to the auditorium.” 

Marvin interrupted Sweeper’s discourse, more interested in the double dicks than the book of Eternity.

“What would happen if one of the sisters went shopping,” he asked, as his sardonic smile twisted into a disturbing leer, “and her twin wanted to make love? Now you have two tools and only one garden patch. Does the odd appendage pretend to be preoccupied? Does it feel like a voyeur, left in the lurch, resigned to sloppy seconds? These are questions any man might ask.

“Do we get a kinky double penetration scene? Or perhaps the dynamic duo suggests pulling a train and you invite all of the neighbor ladies over after breakfast, lining them up two by two. After all, fiction does grant unlimited license.”

Marvin lived for premise and rebuttal and his creepy analysis set everyone on edge. Sweeper wished that he had brought up a different story for discussion. Mom breached the awkward silence by calling them to the table.

Dinner was brown trout, poached in lemon juice and smothered in capers, almost inedible, but they were allowed a few glasses of dry white wine. Girlfriend got a little tipsy and excused them from the table. She took Sweeper’s hand and led him along a path smooth with flagstones. It was dark out and underwater lights cast a surreal glow on the ceramic-tiled pool. She slipped off her sun dress and dove silently into the steaming cauldron.

Sweeper managed to struggle out of his own clothes and joined her in the deep end. They paddled around, spitting water and eying each other. She was a playful little nymph. A haggard moon overhead illuminated the occasional June bug swimming frantically in the warm, chlorinated water.

Suddenly big sister appeared on the pool deck, home early from a date. Sweeper could only watch, speechless, as she peeled off her clothes and jumped in. This was a startling twist to Sweeper’s earlier story, prophecy foreshadowed before dinner and now urgently unfolding, only key elements were inverted. Sweeper’s singular appendage quickly doubled in size, as if to compensate. Big sis was twenty years old, worldly and voluptuous, and she swam a slow breast stroke around Sweeper, in ever smaller circles, as her laughter floated across the restless sea.

Had it not been for mom, Sweeper might well have blacked out from the excitement, as there was precious little blood left in his upper torso. Did I mention mom? Of course she was next in line to stand at the edge of the pool, forty-something and equally curvaceous, although of an artificial design, and Sweeper wondered if the entire family would soon be frolicking together like a pod of slippery seals. Not that night. Mom offered Sweeper some pointed advice.    

“Get your bare ass out of my pool, Needle Dick, I’m gonna go find Marvin.”

And she was off toward the house at a trot. Sweeper didn’t wait around for Marvin, running barefoot down the cinder drive, stopping only to pull on pants and T-shirt at the security gate. He walked at least five miles before a state trooper picked him up and gave him a ride back to camp. Sweeper never saw the girl again.

Meggie Trioli