Horatio writes: This heart-wrenching ballad was told to us by Dan from Ontario:
John Box became a legend in my school for all of four weeks. He was a quiet kid who generally kept himself to himself. And then porn came into our lives, in a trickle of magazines and videos that were passed surreptitiously locker to locker. Out of nowhere, John Box piped up that he had a mound of porn at home he had been given by his Dad -- a Kareem-sized stack of Playboys that by his telling could keep the sailors of the Sixth Fleet busy for an entire shore leave. John Box quickly became one of the most popular kids in school. To sit at his table at lunch was an education as he held us entranced with tales of both pictorials and articles. Rapt, we begged him to ignore the bell that signaled the start of afternoon classes and tell us one more story. Throw us a bone here John Box! After two weeks of wining and dining on his stories, and metamorphosing into one of the most confident, ney a little bit arrogant, boys in our year, things were going rather fantastically for John Box until one lunch time when Jason Corran had the tenacity to pipe up at the end of a marathon virtuoso porn recital and ask Box if for once, he could bring in a couple of the magazines so we could feast our eyes on their splendor. Box laughed a nervous laugh and promised he would on Monday. Frankly, many of us were so devoted to John Box and his story telling that we shouted down Jason Corran and tsk-tsked his rudeness as inappropriate... but the Corran faction were proved to have a point when Monday came around and Jason Box came to us empty handed, citing that his grandmother's moving in for the week as a defense. Yes, we all continued to sit with him at lunch times. We were addicted to his stories. But something in the air had changed. The exchange was functional. There was less laughter, awe, and respect. Things came to a head the following Saturday when after three broken promises to bring in some booty, I went with Jason Corran and two other boys from my year as we invited ourselves round to Box's house for a sleepover. To Box's credit, he dealt with our unannounced arrival with aplomb, using his Pong as what must have been a last desperate attempt to make us forget the real reason we had come round to his house. And it almost worked. That game is crazy catchy. But after what must have been five or six hours, we remembered why we were there. Jason Corran calmly stated "You know why we have come. Lead us to your stack." To Box these words must have sounded like the phrase "you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead." Nowehre to run, nowhere to hide. He stood there and grinned a lob-sided grin. We watched the life drain out of his face. He knew the game was up. And as Corran stepped forward to deliver the knuckle punch to the eye on all of our behalf, I realized that the pain of that was nothing, compared to the realization that for 12 year old John Box, the high point of his life -- those four glorious weeks when he was the toast of our town -- were now behind him.