My name is Dick Handsome. I'm a paranormal gynecologist.
"Ohmigod, he's sooooo hot!" shrieked one teenage girl.
"He is so, like, God's gift to women." replied another.
It had been like this all night. My head was pounding from the high-pitched squeals and the occasional MARRY ME COCKY bedazzled poster board bouncing off my skull. I was one of the very few men in the crowd and I was the only one old enough to buy alcohol, which coincidentally seemed like a great idea at the time.
Me and the sea of overstimulated hormones were all waiting to be called backstage to meet Cocky Rocko, the "sexiest singer/songwriter like, ever" according to Tiger Beat magazine. We had already sat through his concert; ninety-odd minutes of lip-syncing and elaborate dance routines. And screaming. So much screaming. The majority of the audience was slowly being corralled out to the parking lot, but us lucky ones who had won backstage passes or bought them (Me, for a ridiculous amount of money. Goddammit.) stayed behind, eagerly waiting to meet the man himself.
For the record, I am not a fan.
At the front of the crowd, a very large bald guy with a black CREW tshirt appeared out of thin air and began trying to get everyone's attention. Yelling didn't work; I couldn't hear him over the crowd, I doubt anyone else could either. Next, he tried standing on a chair and flailing his arms about. This was also futile as I was the only one who seemed to notice him. Finally he reached into his pants, pulled out a 9mm, and fired a single shot into the air.
I hadn't considered that the security would be packing heat. A nasty oversight on my part, but it was better to discover that now rather than later when things got ugly.
Discharging a firearm in the middle of a crowd filled with excitable teenage girls probably wasn't the smartest idea, but it worked. He had the entire crowd's full attention.
"Alright everybody," he said, "we're gonna start moving you all in to see Mr. Rocko. I know you're all excited to meet him, but if you all could calmly line up single-file and have your backstage passes ready and visible, it'll make my job a whole lot easier."
For the most part, everyone was compliant. The tween squeaking and OMG'ing was reaching fever pitch, but they still managed to herd themselves into the makeshift security gate pathway, their backstage passes in shaking hands, ready to present them to the security guards. I of course followed as well, eager to get this mess over with. As each person got to the security guy, he'd eyeball the pass and wave them down another gated pathway that led them to a black door, beyond which I assumed was the private party area.
As I got closer and closer to my turn with the security guy, I could see him eyeing me, trying to figure out my story. I could understand - in a crowd of tween girls, a grown man stands out like a sore thumb. I looked suspicious as hell. I was just hoping security wasn't going to make a big deal out of it.
Turns out they were.
When it was my turn to present my pass to security, I tried to act nonchalant. Unfortunately, they weren't buying it.
"Sir, do you mind stepping aside for a moment? My associate would like to ask you a few questions." the security guy said.
I couldn't draw attention to myself just yet, so I'd have to play nice for a little while longer. Fortunately, I had planned for this exact scenario. I agreed to his request, trying to look as naieve as possible. He pointed to an open area past the security gate where a large shaved gorilla with a buzzcut and too much spray tanner stood.
I made my way to the gorilla, putting on my best stupid-and-harmless look.
"The security guy said you wanted to see me sir?" I asked.
"I'm gonna be perfectly straight wit'cha." he said. "When you're in the business of doin' what I do, and you see a guy your age at a show like this, it can mean only one of two things: father or pervert. And I don't see a kid with you. So, why are you here?"
Smart guy. Knows what to look out for. Fortunately, I was prepared. I reached onto my jacket pocket and pulled out a white envelope.
"Look creep, that better not be a bribe you're holding there." he said.
I didn't say anything. Instead, I opened the envelope and showed him the pink 'Get Well' card inside.
"My daughter's in the hospital." I explained. "She wanted to see Cocky Rocko, but the doctors say she's too sick. All I want to do is have him sign her card. It would mean the world to her."
The guard immediately changed his composure; his shoulders drooped slightly and his chest deflated. "Aw geez. I'm sorry man." He said, his voice even different now. "I had no idea."
"A completely understandable mistake." I assured him. "Now, where can I find Mr. Rocko?"
"Oh yeah." He pointed to a makeshift walkway created by paths of waist-high security rails. "Just follow that path. It'll take you behind the stage to a door marked 'VIP'. There'll be a guy at the door - that's my boy Joey - just show him your pass and if he gives you and trouble, tell him Steve cleared you."
"Got it." I said. "Thanks."
"No prob. And tell your little girl I said get better."
I made my way down the instructed path, pausing only to toss the 'Get Well' card in a trash can. There was no longer a line as all the VIP fangirls had made their way backstage while I was bullshitting my way through security, so I'd be arriving to the party fashionably late. Very well. I wasn't really counting on the element of surprise anyway.
Joey was waiting outside the VIP door as I arrived. I flashed him my pass and told him that Steve said I was cool before he even had a chance to question me. He nodded and waved me inside.
The VIP room was apparently just some sort of all-purpose lounge. There was a rent-a-bartender (female) in the far corner (not really doing much of anything as almost everyone here was under drinking age) and a dj (also female) in the opposite corner spinning records on a portable rig. A snack table was placed against one wall. Small flocks of girls would sporadically swoop by to pick at it's chips and finger sandwiches as they eagerly waited for their darling Rocko to arrive. I made my way to the bar and ordered a scotch.
For about ten minutes, I nursed my drink and waited for the man of the hour. I was all-to-aware that I was the only guy in the room. Occasionally, I'd catch a group of girls checking me out and muttering to themselves, no doubt wondering what a grown man was doing backstage at a tween pop show. I ignored them and waited.
Then, he arrived. I was at the bar with my back to the room, so I didn't actually see him, but the sonic explosion of dozens of teenage girls shrieking in unison tipped me off (and almost made me choke on my drink).
"Good evening, my adoring fans." he said, an enormous smile spread across his big, stupid face. "Did you enjoy the show?"
The crowd screamed in the affirmative. He beamed. He was wearing a silk shirt half unbuttoned to reveal a tuft of chesthair and too-tight black leather pants. Physically, he looked like Ron Jeremy with jerry curls. Time had taken it's toll on him since I last saw him, which made this whole scenario that much more bizarre.
I couldn't take much more of this. I threw back the rest of my drink, made my way through the crowd, and approached him. When he saw me, he smiled even bigger.
"Dicky!" He said. "I haven't seen you since the academy! What are you doing here? I didn't know you were a fan!"
"Actually, I'm more of a Johnny and The Facekickers fan." I replied. "Pop really isn't my style."
"Fair enough. To each their own and all that." He laughed. "So how have you been? Still stuck in that gyno thing?"
"The banishment continues indefinitely, but I stay busy." My token reply to that ever-nagging question.
"It's a shame, The High Order banishing you like that." He said as he put one clamy hand on my shoulder. "It's kinda funny though. I keep in touch with some of the guys from the academy - we've all heard of your encounters and exploits and whatnot..."
He was interrupted when an overexcited group of girls shouted, "WE LOVE YOU COCKY!" - possibly an attempt to sway his attention away from me. I then realized every girl in the room except the dj and the bartender were all gathered in a circle around me and Cock, their complete and total undivided attention directed towards everything their superstar said and did.
"I love you too ladies!" Cock shouted back. He then returned to me. "Anyway I was saying: we all think it's funny how The High Order and their so-called 'Council' stuck you in gyno to keep you out if trouble, but since you've been their you've had more paranormal encounters than the rest of us. Guess you showed them in the end, right?"
I didn't come here to reminise with old classmates, and I was never one for formalities. It was time to get to the point.
"I'm here for the book." I said.
Cocky laughed. A slight hint of fear was present, despite his painfully obvious attempt to hide it.
"What are you talking about? What book?" he said.
He was a terrible liar. I hoped his denial was just an automatic defense response because if he actually thought I'd buy the nervous, panicked load of crap he just threw at me then he must think I was phenomenally naive.
"A few days ago, a couple of representatives from The Order show up at my apartment." I explained, "Apparently, The Vaginomicon was recently stolen from it's chosen holder. The holder reported the theft to The Order and since they're responsible for monitoring the use of powerful relics, they went on red alert.
"It turns out, because of my banishment, I'm automatically a suspect anytime The Order has to do an investigation. So they show up at my place and grill me for a couple hours over a book I had all but forgotten about. When they finally leave, I turn on the tv to try to relax, and what do I see?
"I see an old classmate, Cock Rogers, singing and dancing on some music channel. Only now he's going by Cocky Rocko, and he's apparently god's gift to women, even though he looks like a troll and his music is terrible even for pop standards."
A random fangirl chimed in, "What's this guy talking about Rocko?"
Rocko snapped his fingers. "Hush now, dear."
The moment his fingers snapped, every girl and woman in the room stopped. Their arms went limp and dropped to their sides. Their eyes stayed open, but were glazed over, staring at nothing. They just stood there lifeless.
Me and Cock were now the only fully-functional people in the room.
"Nice trick." I said.
"Just a little something I picked up." He said.
"Bullshit." I replied. "That wasn't you. That was the book."
"Aw, c'mon," He said. "Surely you can recognize a basic stasis spell when you see one, can't you?"
"How stupid do you think I am?" I asked. "A stasis spell that can take out an entire room of people, but not affect the two guys that are standing in the middle of it? You're gonna sit here and tell me that you - of all people - have invented some kind of smart-bomb magic? Bullshit Cocky. Bullshit."
"I don't appreciate these accusations Dick. I think you need to leave." Cock said, trying (and failing, miserably) to give me his toughest I'm-dead-serious face.
"Really? Well you wanna know what I think?" I asked. "I think you stole the Vaginomicon from it's rightful holder and now you're using it for your own petty desires."
He tried to interrupt, I didn't let him. "I think this because I remember you showing an unusual amount of interest in the book when when we learned about it in the academy. 'Oh my god, a tome that grants complete dominion over women?'" I mocked, "'To hell with Chosen Holders, how do I get me one of those!' I explicitly remember you saying that Cock. Then the book is missing and you're suddenly the ugliest, untalented-but-still-ridiculously-successful pop star out there; and you're going to stand here - in the middle of a female-only stasis barrier that I can't feel the slightest tinge of psychokinetic energy off of - and tell me you've got nothing to do with it? Where's the damn book, Cock?"
One of the girls started looking around. She looked groggy, like she just woke up from a hard night of drinking. She started to mutter some random confused syllables when Rogers noticed and put her back on pause with a nonchalant wave of his hand.
"Alright, ya got me." He said, his aggravation obvious. "I took the book. So-friggin'-what? It's not like The Order's ever lost a relic before. They probably don't even care; they were just looking into to it as a formality. They'll barely look around a bit, figure 'screw it' and mark it off as lost or destroyed. And the world will carry on as if nothing happened."
"What about the chosen holder?" I asked.
"Aw, screw the chosen holder!" He said. "What's so special about him? What did he do that gives him the right to posses the book's power? Nothing!"
Another girl began to stir and groan, looking around with eyes glazed over. The sounds of her groaning, although faint, were enough to wake up another girl standing next to her. As they both began to look about in their half-awake, half-asleep state, Cock rolled his eyes, sighed, and waved them back into false-sleep.
He continued. "Why should that guy get everything? He doesn't deserve it! Why don't I get to have any fun? I say he's had his time with the book, it's my turn."
"It's not about who gets to have fun with the book." I replied. "It's about balance. Misuse of any powerful artifact could send this world spinning into chaos."
Another batch of girls began to stir. Cock waved them back to sleep. "Screw the balance." he said. "I'm not affecting anything more than the glorious chosen one was.
"And don't sit here and act like you care about any of that crap. You're just trying to get back into The Order's good graces. Do you really think if you return the book to them, they'll release you from your exile? Don't be naive Dick. The Order doesn't care about you, me, or anybody else. All they care about is control, and right now, their panties are in a bunch because they lost a little bit of that control. But they'll get over it when they realize the world hasn't ended, and everything will be WHAT THE HELL!"
A couple more girls were starting to wake up. He snapped his fingers frantically until they were out again. He was starting to get a bit flustered and confused trying to keep them all under.
"I'm not doing this for The Order. I never for a second thought I could get out of the banishment that easily, not after what I did. I'm doing this for them." I gestured towards the girls, who were becoming more and more resistant to Cock's charm. "They're being held here against their will. They may think that they love you and everything you do, but that's just the Vaginomicon clouding their minds. It's not real, it's psychic slavery. And I'm putting an end to it now."
"That's really moving Dick, very noble of you. I, the villain, stole a book of unending power over all womankind, used it for my own personal gain, and now you're here to reclaim the tome and make everything right again." He said.
"A bit dramatic, but that about sums it up." I said.
"Well, the only thing stopping you is me. And an army of devoted fans that would tear you apart if I so much as willed it." He laughed, giving me time to appreciate my situation. Yeah, they were tween girls, but there was around thirty of them. If Cock could turn them against me, I wouldn't stand a chance.
Fortunately, that wasn't going to happen.
He continued. "How exactly do you plan on getting the book?"
"Simple." I said. "I already have."
All the girls were waking up now. Cock could no longer keep them under control.
"Goodbye Cocky." I said as I turned and started towards the exit.
"What do you mean, you already have it." He shouted. "That's impossible! Girls! Destroy him!"
But there was no response. His spell over them was gone. As I moved past them, I heard a few girls commenting that they were bored, that Cocky wasn't that cute in person. Most of them were already on their cell phones, calling their parents for a ride home. Rogers had turned to screaming obscenities at me, but he was harmless. I left the VIP lounge and made my way to the parking lot.
I was in the parking lot long enough to finish a cigarette when Sophia, the receptionist at my clinic, pulled up in her Buick. She rolled down the passenger-side window and leaned over to greet me.
"How ya doin' Mr. H?" She said. "Need a ride?"
"Got the book?" I asked.
"Right here." She pointed to her purse in the passenger-side floorboard.
"Great." I said as I a got in the car. "Any problems finding it?"
"Not at all." She explained. "The guy guardin' Cocky's dressing room is a friend of my brother Tommy. I've known him since we were kids, so he let me in. I snooped around for a few minutes then all of a sudden I felt a huge surge of dark energy coming from one of his briefcases. I checked it out and boom - there's the book."
"The surge must have happened when he enacted the stasis incantation." I said. "As I was talking to him, it became harder and harder for him to keep control of his fans. That's how I knew you had the book. His power became weaker as you got the Vagimomicon further away from him."
"Well now that we've got the book, can I take this thing off?" She asked, pulling a silver necklace adorned with a large ruby pentacle charm out from under her shirt. "No offense, Mr. H, but it's a bit goddy for me."
"Sorry Sophia, but the Vaginomicon is a very powerful relic; it holds immeasurable powerful over all females. Even without an owner, there's no telling what kind of effect it could have on you and that sigil is the only thing protecting you from it."
She relented, tucked the protective charm back into her shirt, and we left.
A few phone calls, a night's rest, a few planes and a rental car ride later, Sofia and I were in the sitting room of the chosen holder's mansion. We spoke briefly to his assistant and she had us wait while she summoned him. After a few minutes, he arrived.
"You two must be my heroes." He said.
I stood and shook his hand. "I'm Dr. Handsome, this is my assistant Sophia. You'll have to forgive me, I'm not caught up on my pop culture. How should I address you?"
"Just Prince." He said. "The Artist-Formerly-Known-As thing is long over."
I handed over the book. "Well here's the book. The Order insisted that, since I was the one who retrieved it, I should be the one to return it."
The Purple One took the book and looked it over. "I was told that you refused to reveal the thief's identity."
"What he did was wrong, but he doesn't deserve The Order's brand of punishment." I explained. "Life without the book will be punishment enough."
"Very well." He said. "But if he's still out there, you better watch your back."
"I appreciate your concern, but I can take care of myself." I said.
"Solid." He said. "I hate to cut this short, but now that I have the book again, I have to begin cleaning up the mess left in my absence. Thanks again to you both, and may the Holy Light be with you."
We said our goodbyes and left. As we drove back to the airport and made our way back to Jersey, I couldn't help but think about Prince's warning; that somewhere out there, Cock Rogers was cursing my name.
But that's just how it works, it's the balance. For every good deed done, for every evil defeated, there's a new enemy somewhere in the shadows, beaten and scarred, but reinvigorated by anger and fueled by revenge.
But I know all about balance. Good. Evil. Light. Dark. The innocent, the guilty, and me, somewhere in between. Trying to keep everything in order.
My name is Dick Handsome. I'm a paranormal gynecologist.