from “Ham on Rye” by Charles Bukowski


from “Ham on Rye” By Charles Bukowski;

“I was in the fourth grade when I found out about it. I was probably one of the last to know, because I still didn’t talk to anybody. A boy walked up to me while I was standing around at recess.

‘Don’t you know how it happens?’ he asked.



‘What’s that?’

‘Your mother has a hole…’ – he took the thumb and forefinger of his right hand and made a circle – ‘and your father has a dong..’ – he took his left finger and ran it back and forth through the hole. Then your father’s dong shoots juice and sometimes your mother has a baby and sometimes she doesn’t.’

‘God makes babies,’ I said.

‘Like shit,’ the kid said and walked off.

It was hard for me to believe. When recess was over I sat in class and thought about it. My mother had a hole and my father had a dong that shot juice. How could they have things like that and walk around as if everything was normal, and then talk about things, and then do it and not tell anybody? I really felt like puking when I thought that I had started off as my father’s juice.

That night after the lights were out I stayed awake in bed and listened. Sure enough, I began to hear sounds. Their bed began creaking. I could hear the springs. I got out of bed and tiptoed down to their door and listened. The bed kept making sounds. Then it stopped. I heard my mother go into the bathroom. I heard the toilet flush and then she walked out.

What a terrible thing! No wonder they did it in secret! And to think , everybody did it! The teachers, the principal, everybody! It was pretty stupid. Then I thought about doing it with Lila Jane and it didn’t seem so dumb.”

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