Sarah Mims Yeargin

[CREATIVE NONFICTION] The Modified Condom Curse

 

Materials:

  • One condom
  • One rusty nail (substitute thorn, if necessary)
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • Four tablespoons of black pepper
  • One permanent black marker
  • Two car crashes
  • A post-op, once-fractured wrist (scaphoid bone preferred)
  • A shit-ton of pain killers (hydrocodone preferred)
  • An abundance of peanut butter sandwiches your mother made for you before she left for work
  • A witchcraft blog you found on Tumblr
  • Innumerable intrusive thoughts about a boy you haven’t talked to for sixth months because he hurt you, bad.
  • One empty house
  • A public trash receptacle

 

Instructions:

  1. If you have not already done so, break your wrist. Preferably, your scaphoid, a tiny bone right between where you think your thumb ends and your arm begins. Best way to do this: get into a car wreck, the second wreck you’ve caused since obtaining your driver’s license less than a year ago. Crack scaphoid by slamming arm into window upon impact with SUV bigger than three of your car put together.
  2. Allow splintered wrist to ferment for three months because no one will believe you when you tell them it’s broken anyway. Ensure crack in bone is too small to see in an x-ray, then have your mother take you to a doctor in the next state who will agree to take a CAT scan. Expect him to discover that no, you haven’t been lying when you’ve complained of a constant sharp pain over the past few months, and in fact, a cyst has grown between the fissure due to the lack of treatment. Concede to surgery to drain it. In addition, do not be surprised when he suggests sticking a screw through the bone to coax it back to its natural position. This is all necessary to the process.
  3. Argue with your mother when she refuses to let you drive for the remainder of the summer. Ask her if she even knows what it’s like to be sixteen. Tell her she might as well force you into a straitjacket and make you watch Friends reruns for the rest of your life while feeding you nothing but peanut butter sandwiches (because that’s all your stomach can handle after surgery). Pretend not to enjoy it when this is exactly what she does.
  4. Though painkillers are vital, do not overindulge. Hydrocodone, if you’re not careful, will make you sleep for seventeen hours straight. This may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the way you see it. On one hand, you will not be conscious to endure thoughts of the boy, the way things were before he turned hungry, back when he bought you chocolates and Ring Pops and called you beautiful without you owing him anything. On the other, there will be no one awake to bring you a sandwich when you finally open your eyes at two in the morning. Regardless of the way you look at it, don’t fight your mother when she begins cutting the pills in half. It’s for the best.
  5. The idea to take up witchcraft should come to you as you come off the high from a nap. Peanut butter will most likely be stuck somewhere on your clothing due to the fact that you now apparently secrete it. Seriously. It’s everywhere.
  6. The logical side of your brain may try to oppose you on the whole curse thing. Don’t let it. Allow yourself to blame the boy for once. It was, after all, his house you drove past right before the wreck. Not in a creepy stalker way or anything. More in a just-want-to-
    see-if-he’s-brought-a-girl-home-while-his-mother’s-at-work kind of way. Because you were the girl he brought home, all those times.
  7. Log on to Tumblr and search “spells.” The first you’ll find are duds, including Old Mother Redcap’s “Bag o’ Luck” Charm, intended to cultivate good fortune; the “Put a Cork In It” Spell, meant to halt gossip; and the Mouldy Peach Curse, designed to banish someone from your life. (Getting closer with that last one.)
  8. At this point, you should change your search to “curses” and scroll until you find one adequate to suit your purposes. This, of course, is Dorothy Morrison’s “Condom Curse.”
  9. In order for the curse to work properly, the house must be completely empty: mother and stepfather at work, brothers away at summer camp, sister somewhere smoking weed with her shady friends. There should be no one around to convince you that what you are about to do is ridiculous, petty, and if we’re being honest, probably won’t even be successful.
  10. Gather materials: condom, nail/thorn, salt, pepper, and marker.
  11. Light a candle. It’ll make you feel better. And witchier.
  12. Check clock to see if your mother is due home soon. If not, proceed.
  13. Unwrap condom and place in front of you, smoothing it flat against the stained wood of the coffee table. (Note: this will be difficult because you only have one useful hand. Use teeth to rip packaging. Opening a condom with teeth is not advisable under normal circumstances due to possible tears in the material, but for your purposes, teeth will work just fine.)
  14. Write the boy’s name on the condom in your best handwriting using the black marker. This part is easier if condom is not pre-lubricated, as you will learn from your first trial. Wash the lubey gunk from your fingers and try again.
  15. Holding the nail or thorn in your hand, visualize the boy wearing the condom. Be aware, this feat may arouse memories you wish you didn’t have, including but not limited to the following: the knot on the back of your head after he slammed you against a locker, his slimy lips on your neck as he pins you on a bed, his hand pushing the top of your head until your knees hit the cold, tiled floor of the janitor’s closet.
  16. Remind yourself you’re strong, and you can do this.
  17. Once your intentions are centered, stab the condom with your sharp object of choice over and over while chanting the following words:

I prick you where it hurts the most

In your pathetic little host.

 

18. Sprinkle condom with salt, continuing:

 

I salt the wounds so that they sting

Each time you try to use that thing.

 

  1. At this point, you may feel silly. Push that emotion away, and keep going.
  2. Blacken condom with pepper until you finish the mantra:

And now I set a penile fire

So when you’re hardened by desire

It burns like hell without relief

Then shrivels up within your briefs

And all that’s left upon your mind

Is how to cool your burning tine.

 

  1. Place nail inside condom, secure with knot, and pocket it.
  2. Wait for your mother to come home.
  3. When she arrives, ask to go to Waffle House for dinner. Tell her you’re tired of being cooped inside all day. Ensure she says yes. If she refuses, you will have to start over.
  4. Once in the Waffle House parking lot, exit the car only after your family goes inside. Should anyone ask, you want to take in the fresh air after spending so much time inside.
  5. Open the car door. Put your feet on the ground. Close the car door. Walk to the trash can just outside the entrance of the restaurant.
  6. You may wish to take a moment with your condom, this being your first curse and all. There are two reasons you must not do this, the first being that your family must not see you gazing lovingly at a knotted-up condom as you dangle it over the garbage, duh. The second: it’s time to let go.
  7. Simply throwing the condom away may seem anti-climactic. Instead, feel free to lightly toss it, or, if you feel so inclined, back up a few steps and shoot it like a basketball. Extra points if it doesn’t touch the rim.
  8. Enter the Waffle House and sit down with your family. Wash your hands first, if you’d like. The odor of latex can be quite overpowering.
  9. When the waitress asks what you’d like to drink, tell her you’re ready to order food, too. You don’t need the menu. Ask for two strips of bacon and a large side of hash browns, extra crispy. Tell her, on second thought, you’d like the hash browns peppered. Smile to yourself. Say thank you.
  10. Go home, lie on the couch where you’ve spent nearly all your summer so far, and fall asleep. Your mother will wake you with a handful of painkillers. Tell her you may need them tomorrow, but not tonight. Tonight, you feel better than you have in a long time.

 


Sarah Mims Yeargin is enrolled at Kenyon College, where she is pursuing an English degree with an emphasis in creative writing. In the past, her work has appeared in Litmus, The Interlochen Review, and Élan. She has a fondness for honeybees and drinks way more coffee than she probably should.

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