Day 123: Learn an emergency medical procedure.

Some number of years ago, when I was unattached and foolhardier than I am now, I took a break from my life and went on a cross-country backpacking trip. I had a big frame-pack, a one-person tent, an all-seasons sleeping bag, et cetera. I meandered across the countryside, without any sort of agenda, camping out in fields when I couldn’t find a campground, doing an occasional bit of day labor when I pass through a town.

Passing through one of those towns, I met a… let’s call her a traveling companion. We got to talking over drinks; turned out she was doing the same sort of thing I was, wandering the country aimlessly. We decided to wander together for a while.

I had some cash, so we got a room at a cheap motel – partly because it was getting late to find a place to pitch the tent, but mostly because I hadn’t showered in several weeks. (I would ‘have a bathe’ when I found a decent creek or cow pond, but that’s not the same as hot running water.) The next morning, we set off: I’d wandered in from the south-east, and she’d come from the north-east, so it seemed only right – though hopelessly cliché at the same time – that we went west.

Things were good for a few weeks: it was nice having someone to travel with, someone to talk to – someone funny and kind and incredibly attractive. We hiked through some beautiful country, too; sparsely populated, but we kept running across farmers and their salt-of-the-earth farmer’s wives, and they all insisted on putting us up for the night and feeding us – and holy shit, the eggs and the bacon and the steaks, best food I’ve ever eaten – and sending us off the next day laden down with food.

At some point we passed through a town: it had a bar, we had some cash, so we had a few drinks – by which I mean ‘a few too many’. We stumbled back to the tent, which we’d had the foresight to pitch in a wooded area on the outskirts of town. Crawled into our sleeping bags, fumbled around drunkenly for a bit, passed out.

It was still dark out when she woke me up, shaking me none too gently. She had a bottle of tequila; no idea where it came from.

“Drink this,” she said, pouring tequila into my mouth.

I was still half-asleep, and more than half-drunk, and so the only thing that came out of my mouth (aside from a fair amount of the tequila) was incoherent noise.

“I have to circumcise you,” she said.

That didn’t really register, and so I didn’t struggle when she started removing my pants. When she dumped tequila on my penis, though, I started to wonder what was going on – and when she pulled the knife out, well, I started to flip the fuck out.

She was kneeling on my legs, which made it hard to move, and she worked fast – I’m not sure I want to know where she learned to do what she did – but she sliced my foreskin off before I had time to put up a fight. She poured some more tequila on it – which burned like lemon juice in a paper cut, except a lot fucking worse – threw a towel on my bloody, boozy junk, and walked away from the tent quickly and purposefully, a bloody knife in her right hand, my bloody foreskin in her left.

I’m not sure why – or how, really – I followed her, but I did, naked from the waist down, barefoot, bloody towel clutched to my crotch. She stopped a few hundred yards from the tent, and I stopped maybe a dozen yards behind her. There was a man there, a big dude, lots of hair, beard so massive it looked like a bear cub attached to his face. I nearly shit myself, which would have been fine at that point, since I had no pants on.

She threw the foreskin – my foreskin – at the dude’s feet, turned around, and walked silently back to the tent. If she saw me, and she must have, she didn’t acknowledge me. Dude and I stared at each other for a long moment, then he gave the slightest of smiles, turned, and walked off into the night. Away from the town, not toward it. I stood there a while longer, then went back to the tent. The bleeding had stopped – it hadn’t bled much, actually, she did a good job – so I put clothes back on, finished off the tequila, and went back to sleep.

We didn’t talk about what had happened, the next morning or any time after. About a week after that, uh, incident, I decided to head home. Our parting was unceremonious, and I never saw her again.

I miss my foreskin to this day, and I still have no idea what the fuck actually happened that night.

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