I blush as a random girl walks past, pausing long enough to let me know she’s seen me talking to a plush doll of myself. I turn sideways, grabbing Mini and stuffing him into my pocket—
“What was that?” the girl asks.
—too late. “What was what?” I face the girl, smile uncomfortably.
“That doll you just stuffed into your shorts.” She points at my unsightly thigh bulge.
Mini pokes his head out again.
The girl looks at him.
Mini leers back at her. “Want to hear a joke?”
The girl smiles cautiously. “Um…sure.”
“What do me and Theo’s wang have in common?” Mini grins proudly and goes rigid, stretches himself out of my pocket as far as his plushness will allow. “We’re both eight inches long when hard.”
And without further ado, the girl goes away. Far away. Like, down the pool deck ladder, across the lawn, and to the clubhouse, where she stands and hugs herself, shivering despite the blue-sky afternoon.
I glare at Mini, push him into my pocket.
He pops back out. “What?”
“You know what!” I hiss, and push him inside again.
His voice cuts effortlessly through the mesh of my shorts: “Please, enlighten me as to how any girl anywhere would ever not be interested in a show of genital prowess.”
“Just…stay out of sight for the rest of the party, okay?”
“Fine. I’ll hang here with your dick and count pubic hairs, because that’s so much more fun than actual socializing.” Mini recedes into my pocket.
I go back to holding my unopened bottle of water and studying Eva creeper-style.
Ernie comes over to me. He’s amassed an armful of cookies, candies, and cakes. “What was that all about?” he asks.
“I just realized something,” I say.
“Eva’s friends aren’t her friends. They’re her parents’ friends. They’re her friends’ friends—which is a paradox because none of them are her friends to begin with.”
Ernie nudges his chin against his shoulder, tries to dislodge some crumbs from his lips. “Speak the good Queen’s English, white boy.”
“She talks to them, hangs with them, but she only smiles or laughs when she’s with us.” Look. She just did a header into the deep end, climbed back out to cheers and pats on the back from everyone, and yet she seems no more pleased than if she’d opened a door in order to get from one room to another. She looks over at me and Ernie, smiles, waves briefly before switching back to placid mode. “See?”
“That’s your pocket puppet talking.”
I glance down, expecting to find that Mini’s escaped again, but he’s nowhere to be seen.
“Your dick,” Ernie clarifies. “It’s an evolutionary survival instinct. Your balls are pumping you full of hormones and hallucinogenic chemicals designed to eventually coerce you into pollinating the pussy anywhere, anyhow. Pubertal delirium, I think it’s called.”
I glare at him. “That’s not a thing.” I hope to God it’s not.
“Common sense—and sex-ed class.”