At age nine I felt nothing for my grandfather but the unconditional love one has for extended family at that age, abetted by the fact that I knew nothing about him. By this time he and my grandmother Emilie had already been divorced for a few years. They decided this shouldn't interfere with the rest of the family, so every so often we'd drive out to New Rochelle to visit my grandfather and his wife, Trudy. They had a couple of Siamese cats who didn't really like to play, and overall there wasn't much there for kids to do. Even the candy my grandfather had consisted of licorice pellets and hard butterscotch; like any child I felt that all sweets were under my demesne and was offended by these conditions.
Trudy mentioned that there was a huge stash of old comic books that my uncle John had left behind. It was in the living room, an area fairly barren and unused, my grandfather's cigarette-stinking den being the social center of the house. While the adults talked and played cards I lay on the green berber carpet among lackluster, squarish furniture, immersing myself in ancient copies of Detective Comics and Richie Rich.
Before long I needed to take a leak, and used the bathroom off of the living room. I emerged with some new reading material. Dirty magazines were a foreign concept to me, given my sheltered young life. I'd encountered fragments of smut courtesy of MacLean, the amputee boarder my mother had taken in and subsequently escaped to New York from, and there were some stag film reels my dad left behind, but nothing to suggest what I'd find as I leafed through the issues of Hustler I'd discovered.
Mostly I found gash. I'd never seen a woman naked below the waist, and the girls in the pictures looked horribly sliced open down there, particularly with their labia fashionably spread and stretched and inflamed as they were in more explicit men's magazines such as these, their insides raw and pink like undercooked steak. I knew girls didn't have dicks but I hadn't formed any idea of what was there. It was creepy. My skin crawled, like it did when I would think about amputations and deformities. But I had to read further.
The mutilation theme continued in the surreal 'Titburger' article; on its facing page was a hamburger using what looked like two severed breasts for the bun. A concept piece combining two great American passions, fast food and huge tits. It was very convincing. The ketchup helped. It seemed to be tied in with another article involving a sadomasochistic Nazi McDonald's chain (complete with cartoons). Near the back of the magazines were strip comics featuring a very rude Mickey-esque rat; in one he roasted his little mouse companion on the end of a stick ("Finesse 'em, fuck 'em, fricassee 'em").
The afternoon was waning and before long my fear got the better of me; I knew this was a 'you are going to get killed if they catch you' situation and I put the magazines back. It was time to go home anyway. I got to take the comic books with me.