Friday 26th March “Shhh… did you hear that?”
Andy had stumbled across a discovery that excited and startled a ten year old and he had to show his best friend, Pete. The two paused briefly before the open office door. Looking back down the hallway they heard the strains of the afternoon football match and the sound of can being opened in the lounge room. Andy led the way into his father’s office and pulled the door partially closed behind them. He sidled over to the built-in wardrobe and slid back the door. Thrusting his head into the semi-darkness he rummaged around while Pete kept watch on the door and listened for approaching footsteps.
“Here it is,” said Andy holding a magazine like a holy object. The front cover was emblazoned with by-lines that screamed of eye-popping full frontals, “the best you’ve ever seen” and other saucy secrets.
They stared in wild-eyed wonder at the burlesque strip tease performed on the pages. Breasts fell out of lingerie and bottoms were exposed from all angles. They had never considered there could be so many variations on a theme: size, colour, shape, pubic hair landscaping, piercings and tattoos.
“Shhh… did you hear that?” said Pete. The boys paused and waited. Each could feel their heart thumping a frantic ostinato. A cupboard door closed shut and the crinkle of fast food packaging joined the sound of the game. They returned to their investigation of masculine curiosity and perversity.
Pete couldn’t believe his eyes when Andy reached the centre of the magazine.
“That’s almost life-sized,” he said.
Andy unfolded the pages to show the curvature of breasts and buttocks and a finely manicured lawn with the staple as a secondary bellybutton ornament.
They flipped backwards and forwards through the magazine stopping to read the articles that made them giggle with words like “throbbing” and “pulsating” and they were unsure why there was a constant reference to cats.
Caught up in their surreptitious discovery, they didn’t hear the door open behind them.
“There you two are. Been wondering what you’d been up to; thought it was too quiet.” Andy’s father suddenly stopped when he saw the naked panorama.
Andy and his father locked eyes. Andy just stared, shamed in his guilt. His father bored down on Andy in parental displeasure but broke contact first.
“That’s not something that you should be looking at,” his father chastised. “It’s not appropriate for someone your age.”
“But why do you have it hidden away in the cupboard? Don’t you want Mum to see?”
His father rattled his brain for the appropriate parental response and grasped at the first one that would get him out of answering the question.
“Give me that. You two go outside and do something.”
Andy’s father took the proffered object of indiscretion and watched them walk ashamedly from the office. He looked at the rolled up magazine and sighed deeply. Checking that the boys were indeed outside playing, he dumped the magazine into the garbage.