Bad News, everyone.

I Have Forman’s Condition

Have you heard of it?

Frank T Bird
8 min readDec 10, 2023

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Okay, so you caught me at a bad time.

I’m lying on this bed.

Well, not a bed exactly. Nobody sleeps here for God’s sake. I don’t think so anyway. It’s more of a platform. Let’s call it a massage platform, shall we? Cos yeah, this is one of those places. It’s one of those damn massage parlours where men go to get massaged routinely across their shoulders and a bit on their legs before the girl says something like,

Do you want me to finish you?

N yeah, it’s not the most romantic way to ask but most of the girls I’ve met in these places are in it square for the money. It’s not the kind of job where they would wake up in the morning and think,

Another fourteen wanks and I’m up for promotion.

So here I am.

We’re twenty-five minutes in. I’m done with the massage part and it was average as always. Now we’re at that humiliating part where she puts on a rubber glove like she’s a damn surgeon or something. Then she lubes up the fingers and starts wanking me off like she’s giving CPR to a dead worm.

It just won’t go hard today. The worm, I mean. But I’m old enough to accept that sometimes it’s just like that.

When impotence first hits you in your thirties you can’t stand the idea because you still attach it in some part to your manhood. So you end up punching yourself in the dick and getting pissed off.

Not these days. I’m happy for her to sit and wank my anchovy dick to no avail cos I’m paying for the privilege and I’ve got nothing better to do.

If I wasn’t here I would be at home doing the same thing that she is.

If I’m honest I’d probably do a better job. I’ve spent a lot of time thrashing the orangutan. I know how I like to be handled. She doesn’t. And for a professional, I would expect a lot better. Also at home, I would be looking at some kind of porn or at least imagining some horny scenario. I can’t do that here because I need to feel like I am getting some kind of value. If I can’t watch her white tits bounce up and down and her hands on my junk then what’s the point in paying for this crap?

The trouble is, she’s making a face like she doesn’t want to be here. It’s not mild aggravation even, it’s a grimace of sheer boredom and I want to tell her to at least look a bit like she is turned on but I’m afraid that anything I say will be construed as some kind of misogynist abuse and I’ll be reported to the madame who will bring out her cousin Errol with the big fists to do one on me in the back alley.

It’s not like that has happened to me before. I don’t even know if there is a madame. I’m just one of those polite Englishmen that you hear about, hanging on in quiet desperation.

“Are you going to finish?” she says to me suddenly, and I feel a purple rage swimming around from my frontal cortex down to the tips of my toes and back up again. I want to tell her that her asking isn’t helping in the slightest but I don’t. I just apologise with a stutter instead. It’s the English way.

I look up at the old white school clock on the wall. It says there are two and a half minutes left of my so-called massage. So I ask if she can just rub her titties on my face instead. She rolls her eyes and sticks her size 13A half-filled water balloons into my mug and I take over anchovy duty.

I manage to get a half stiffy and I hold my breath and wank like Ronaldo.

I glance over and there are twenty seconds to go. I can’t work like this. I feel like I’m on some weird Japanese gameshow where I can win a new car if I blow before the time’s up.

So I breathe out past my now sweating upper lip and mouth the words “Forget it. Thank you,” to her.

She shrugs her shoulders and washes her hands before disappearing through a cream-coloured curtain and leaving me to slip on my clothes over moisturised unsatisfied skin.

I pay my bill at the front desk and walk past the three or four desperate-looking men reading magazines in the foyer waiting for their turns. Then I skip down the dark stairwell and out onto the balmy street below.

It’s just after 3 pm on Christmas Day.

I know it’s just after 3 pm because that was the time my failed massage finished. I know it’s Christmas Day because I’m supposed to be having Christmas lunch with my friend Ox and his wife. But I never made it.

And yeah, I was meant to be there at 10.30 for champagne cocktails and gift opening and everything was going tremendously. I had bought a new suit for the occasion. I had gifts for the kids. For the first time in months, I’d finally gotten my allergies under control and was looking for a normal family Christmas.

It was 9.45 when I left my apartment. I was showered clean-shaven, and feeling good. But for some reason, they had decided to shampoo the damn carpet in the spot where Leroy from apartment fifty-three had spewed blood outside the elevator. I considered taking the stairs for a minute but last time I got locked in and it just about put me in a mental institution. So instead, I stood outside the elevator and smiled at the two men scrubbing the carpet before I got a deep whiff of whatever those chemicals were.

The next thing, I felt that damn itch in my nose — the damn itch that has become the scourge of my excuse for a life — the damn itch that has forced me to miss so much. I pinched my nose and tried to breathe through my mouth but it was too late. I dropped all of the gifts and desperately tried to control myself.

“Are you okay, man?” said one of the carpet cleaners. I wanted to explain that I wasn’t about to have a heart attack which is what it must have looked like. It was just a sneeze, a simple damn sneeze. But there was no time to explain or even curse. The only thing to do was surrender.

HA-SHOOO!

I was sitting on the edge of the curb — basically in the gutter. I’d lost my jacket and was down to my shirt which was now open and full of some kind of stain — maybe curry, maybe sauce, maybe spew. I had a half-drunk pint of scotch in one hand and a leaflet for a local dance competition in the other.

I didn’t recognise where I was. It looked fairly residential and being Christmas Day there weren’t so many people around to ask the usual deranged questions so I stood up and started walking. One by one I glanced in at the houses and saw tinsel, Christmas lights and families eating together and arguing.

“Excuse me, mate, do you have the time?” I said to an old gentleman leaning against an old Ford Cortina.

“2.35 Mate,” he said.

It was another confirmation that the leaps were getting longer.

So once again, with the backdrop of suicidal depression, I ditched the whiskey and headed in a single direction until I found a bus to take me the two hundred metres or so back to my neighbourhood where I headed up an old staircase and sat down looking at a magazine.

This massage parlour for me has been like therapy for the last few months.

I met a girl there. Sure, it’s pathetic. But she’s nice and she likes me. She wasn’t there today which is why I ended up with old Pinky Grimace with the saggy tits instead. What can you do?

Which brings me back to this balmy street where I’m standing, unsatisfied and, now with a semi-decent boner. I could head back in and try again, but what’s the point? I know once I got in there faced with the grimace we would be back in anchovy land so I head West instead back toward my apartment.

I used to think the impotence was a side effect of my time travel issues. And, yep, I used to think it was a time travel issue. It started at age eleven. Every time I sneezed I would shoot five seconds into the future. I could have dealt with that if it had stayed the same, but it didn’t. The leaps as I called them got longer to the point where they could be as much as five hours.

I spoke to a therapist about it once. I was reluctant, believe me. It was like one of those moments you see in films where someone is trying to explain that they are time travelling. The therapist sent me to get some brain scans in one of those claustrophobic machines. Later I sat down with the brain expert guy who informed me that I wasn’t a damn time traveller but I had a disease called Forman’s Condition. It’s where some part of the brain has a fucking spasm every time you sneeze and it causes you to black out for a while.

For me, the spasms got worse which is why the blackouts got longer and longer. I still called them leaps because I still wanted to believe I was time travelling although the situations I found myself in gradually made me realise they were right. I was blacking out. Like that last story, I told you about. I woke up in the gutter with a leaflet for a dance competition. That means that some crap happened while I was out. It also means that I had aged. I had missed parts of my life rather than leaping directly to the new time. And what really tortures me isn’t that I missed out. It’s that this other guy is living my life in my body while I‘m not there and he obviously has a different agenda to me cos if I sneeze while I’m doing laundry, the laundry doesn’t get done. I just end up sitting in a damn field with my cock out or something.

And if the universe wasn’t laughing at me enough, I developed several allergies in my twenties. First, it was dust, then smoke, then chemicals of any kind. I almost ended up as one of those people walking around in a dust mask 24/7.

Thankfully I discovered a pill called Merflex which was supposed to dilate the mucus pistils in the upper nasal passage preventing sneezing up to 74% of the time. And look yeah that still left 26% but that was a darn sight better. To me, it was fourteen fewer sneezes in any linear twenty-four-hour period and in my condition, that meant an extra forty years of my conscious life potentially.

Anyway, I can see you’re bored shitless.

That’s the trouble with you people in your time. You’ve just got no attention span. So, look, I’m gonna go get a drink. You’re free to join me if you want. Otherwise, let me know if you feel like hearing more and I’ll come back.

I’m free around six forty-five, alright?

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