MAMA SAY BY CASIMIR DUKAHZ
The following short story by American memoirist Brian Otto Drexel (1909-88), writing under his usual pen name of Casimir Dukahz, was published in the seventh issue, December 1980, pp. 17-18, of Pan, a magazine about boy-love, published by Spartacus in Amsterdam.
The illustrations, apart from the magazine cover, appeared with the story.
It was in San Antonio, Texas, that I first saw him — perhaps 12 or 13 with a ‘new milk’ look about him; boyishly beautiful as a Caravaggio Cupid and inflicting Instant Infatuation — just add boiling hot desire and stir briskly! I go up to him, smiling benevolently as an impotent Big Brother.
“Hello! My name’s Duke — what's your name?”
“And prime Grade-A, too!” So far, so good — he’s friendly, with an engaging drawl thick as sweet, warm molasses. Most young Texas boys are very polite to their elders — if you don't rub them the wrong way! “Where you going?”
“No place in pertickler.”
“What you doin’, then?”
“Jist dopin’ around.”
“So what say we have a nice cold Jumbo chocolate malted-milk?”
“Mama say I shouldn’t drink milk ‘cause it deprives some pore calf of his dinner.”
“Then how about a Giant Double-Burger with all the fixings?”
“Mama say I shouldn’t eat meat ’cause it angrifies the blood.”
“A candy bar with lots of nuts — would you go for that?”
“Mama say I shouldn’t eat candy ’cause it rots my teet’.”
Well at least Little Irresistible here hasn’t been warned about strange men offering candy-bars and other goodies! I try a different gambit. Hey, I know what let’s do! Let’s you and me go to the Bijou Theater that's showing a four-hour-long horse opera where the girl falls in love with her palomino stallion and the villain and hero ride off arm-in-arm into the sunset!”
“Mama say I shouldn’t go to the movies ’cause they is jist cram-full of barnyard sex an’ vi’lence an’ blood.”
“So would you like to come home with me and look at Donald Duck on my new color TV which is painted red, white and blue?”
“Mama say I shouldn’t look at the boobtube ’cause the radiation’ll turn my brains into cornmeal-mush.”
Gnashing my teeth, I realize that Mama has made a total Saint out of her son — but boy saints are a Crime against Nature! ”My goodness!” I exclaim, “Doesn't your Papa ever say anything?”
“Long ago Pappy cut out an’ headed for the hills ’cause he say Mama say too goddam much, but Mama say “good riddance to bad rubbage!”
I sigh in the depths of despair — then I recall a ploy that has worked before and might even be effective here. “Look, Grady, I’ve got a Jack-in-the-box at home which I've had since I was five years old. Would you like to play with it?”
“Oh, yeah” says the boy, eyes aglow. “I always wanted stuff like that but Mama say toys for boys is silly if they ain’t educashunal.“
“This is educational as hell, dear lad,” I say, and I expand on the theme of some things growing when they are played with.
So, hand-in-hand, we go home, Grady occasionally pausing to leap over a hydrant or a sleeping dog or a little old lady bent over tying her sneaker-laces. And we sit side-by-side on the sofa while delightfully he frolics with the toy, and after a while I slip an arm around his slim waist and whisper in his ear an unmistakable reference to his personal Jack-in-the-box and how I would like to buy from it — to the tune of five bucks or more — that which he would only lose in dreams or out of hand anyhow.
The boy frowns at me and says, “Well, I got to see what Mama say about that ’cause Mama say I’m too young to do my own thinkin’ so she do it for me.”
I have the sensation of falling into a bottomless pit but finally manage to quaver, “Oh, God, Grady, don't do that ’cause mothers never understand the finer points of these delicate male-matters ...”
But the kid has already picked up the phone beside the sofa, has dialled and is blabbing his little head off revealing all, and panic-stricken I contemplate abject flight before an outraged Mama arrives with the fuzz, the Texas Rangers and Anita Bryant.
The boy hangs up the phone and fearsomely I stammer, “So what did your Mama s-s-say?”
“Mama say that you is very welcome to do what you wanta do ’cause you is helpin’ to prevent the pop’lation-explosion!” — and blissfully I dissolve into a puddle of anticipated ecstasy as I watch grinning Grady start stripping down for action.