The adventures of a New Jersey college professor with very strange friends, colleagues, and family members.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Frightening Men I Have Known

This is going to be a two-parter, because there’s no way this amount of weirdness can be contained in one entry. Hang in there.

Occasionally, when I need extra money, I take a crappy temp job. A few years ago, I was hired by the FAA, where I was supposed to supervise a large group of insane men who were aerospace engineers. The leader of this dysfunctional group was a man named Steve.

Somehow, Steve found out that I’m an English professor. Usually, I try to keep this out of my various temp jobs, because I find the “secretary with a Doctorate” conversation to be both embarrassing and tedious.

In any case, Steve came down to my desk one day with an enormous pile of paper, and said to me: “I understand you’re an English professor.”

I sighed. “Yes,” I said. I wondered who ratted me out.

“Would you do me a favor?” he asked.


“I wrote a novel,” he said, handing me the huge document. “Would you read it and tell me what you think?”

There was no way to bow out of it gracefully, so I said: “Okay.”

The manuscript was more than six hundred pages long—single spaced. “What kind of novel is it?” I asked.

Steve paused as if looking for words, then said, “well, it’s sort of Science Fictionish."

“Oh, that’s interesting,” I said. “I’ll have a look.”

Steve seemed satisfied with this, and started to walk away. Then he turned around and said: “It’s about horse-people. Is that okay?”

I blinked. “Do you mean people who like horses?” I asked.

“No,” said Steve. “People who are horses.”

I just stared. “How is that possible?” I asked.

“It’s anthropomorphic fiction,” he explained.

In more than ten years as a college English professor, I had never heard of this. I freely admitted my ignorance. “I don’t know what that is.”

“It’s when an animal takes on human characteristics,” he said. “In my novel, they’re horses.”

What the hell did I get myself into, I wondered. Steve left and I flipped through the manuscript.

Five minutes later, Steve sent me an e-mail. Attached was a frightening picture of him dressed as a horse.

It was a very intimidating horse. It stood at least seven feet tall (the hooves were extremely high) and was made of black latex. A long black mane blew in the wind. The accompanying message read: “Does this turn you on?”

I had no idea what to say to that, so I began reading the novel. Oh, God.

The “plot” involved a World War II pilot who woke up one morning and found that he had been transformed into a horse. Weirdly, he didn’t have any problem with this, and by the time the first chapter was done, he had already had sex with a female horse-person (apparently, it’s more common than you would think). The rest of the cast turned out to be deer, elk, foxes, and squirrel. There was some sort of power battle going on that involved magic rings, magicians, and war.

Feeling sort of confused, I left work that day and found a note from Steve on my windshield. It was a poem, and it was so convoluted I can’t even attempt to describe it here. The last line of the poem was: “I want to see you in a rubber doe suit.”

I wondered if this constituted sexual harassment. If it did, I couldn’t even imagine having to explain this to my boss. The whole thing was phenomenally weird.

Over the next few weeks, Steve became more and more obsessed with seeing me dressed up like a deer. He sent me websites. He sent me e-mails. He sent me more pictures of himself dressed up like a horse. (The horse's name, by the way, was Black Destrier, which apparently has something to do with medieval knighthood.) He kept telling me that, if I wanted, he could arrange a "private live viewing" of him and his frightening costume (which had apparently taken years and thousands of dollars to make). I kept politely turning him down, but he simply would not go away.

You probably think by this point that it couldn't get any weirder.

It does.

Stay tuned.


  • At 10:47 AM, Blogger guru said…

    Wow. I'm hooked. When is the next installment???


  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger Algae said…

    What do you mean Stay Tuned?

    I have to wait for the rest of the story?

  • At 2:54 PM, Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said…

    Oh my goodness. This is beyond freaky!

    Bainwen (aka Minstrel)

  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger Mental_Pictures said…


    I followed your link from snopes, and now I'm hooked. I'm both fascinated and repelled by your Steve story.

    I was trying to think how it could have been worse...but it really couldn't have been. Unless he got his 'work' published.

  • At 4:23 PM, Blogger rua_atha said…

    I'm hooked too. Hoping for a happy ending to The Horseguy Saga!

    rua_atha (aka menolly)

  • At 5:53 PM, Blogger Noemi said…

    I'm in trouble, I have to keep checking back to get the rest of this story and for more Count stories, plus I end up feeling like my blog is really boring.


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