boyI was in kindergarten when I first learned about sex. My teacher, Mrs. Rudolph, an older lady who smelled like the Walgreens cosmetics department and wore only pink sweatsuits, fell asleep one day during nap time. Her slobbering face schmushed against her desk and she snored like a female Chinese baby being smothered to death. All my classmates were also asleep, but I peed my pants so I went to wake Mrs. Rudolph. I noticed she was reading something before she passed out, so I pried it from under her greasy double chin. It was a Hustler magazine. I quickly retreated to the cubby closet and got some fresh underwear from the “Clean Underwear For Paul” bin and stashed the magazine in my Alvin and the Chimpmunks backpack.

After naptime, Mrs. Rudolph sat us all in a circle and demanded to know where her “personal reading material” was. She said if someone didn’t speak up, she’d tear out all of our tongues, pin them to our jackets for us to take home to our parents. I didn’t bulge. I had found meaning in life and no empty threat could ever take that away from me. Over the next years, I waved this leverage like a German flag all over old Mrs. Rudolph, blackmailing her into being my sexual mentor. In fourth grade she showed me how to french kiss, which was difficult having only the stub of a tongue after her ad-lib removal of it. It was in seventh grade that she directed me in my ‘home economics’ class to sew a “tongue quilt”. She joked that while there were many with gilded tongues, I would be the first with a quilted tongue. Whenever she would make that joke, I would make a howling noise because I couldn’t properly laugh tongueless.

Years later I married Mrs. Rudolph. During our anniversaries, after I pass out on my annual Appletini binge, she removes another body part. These days I am limbless, facial feature-less and belly-buttonless. But I really do love her with all my heart, although she’ll probably take that next year.

People always told us we would never work out because of the age difference, her chronic vaginismis, and the fact that I was slowly becoming a tapeworm-like being consisting only of an esophagus and anus. But we’re still together after all these years. She is my lover, my friend, my kindergarten teacher, my mutilator, my next of kin, and the victim of my blackmail. But with all that binds us together, it’s still her sense of humor that I love the most.

JJ Stein and Ryan McGivern