Friday, September 26, 2014

"Junior" by Ray Bradbury

Deal Me In Lite, Week 13: "Junior" by Ray Bradbury

We have reached the halfway mark in my little Deal Me In Lite project, and this week the half-deck of cards dealt the two of spades, which led to a very strange little story by Ray Bradbury.

But first, let me tell YOU a little story.  One fine morning, a famous writer named Ray woke up and bounded out of bed as was his wont, and immediately went to his typewriter and sat down.  (Hey, this is my story, I can have him using a typewriter if I want him to.  Anyway, for all I know, that's something he might have still done.)  He sat there and thought, "What shall I write about today?"  He pondered for a moment, only a moment, and then he said, "AHA!  I know!  I think I will see if I can get away with writing a story about an old man who wakes up one morning with an erection!"  And so he did.

The end.

I kid you not.  The "Junior" of this story's title refers to a penis.  It belongs to an 82-year-old man named Albert Beam (the first of MANY double entendres in this story, I am afraid).  Junior makes an appearance one morning and surprises the heck out of Albert.  He thinks it's his knee at first, which tells us Albert doesn't have a terribly good grasp of anatomy.  Such is the wonder and rarity of this appearance that he immediately consults his little black book and calls three of his lady friends to come over and see the Blessed Event.  They do, and... that's about all that happens in this story.  Like I said, a weird little story.

I can't recommend this story unless you just like to see Bradbury doing what he does best, which is playing with language.  But I'll give you a little taste of that, in case you are still sitting on the fence about whether or not to read this story:

He dropped the phone, suddenly fearful that after all the alarums and excursions, this Most Precious Member of the Hot-Dog Midnight Dancing-Under-the-Table Club might dismantle.  He shuddered to think that Cape Canaveral's rockets would fall apart before the admiring crowd could arrive to gape in awe.

Now I am curious, however -- anybody know any other instance of a story where the narrative revolves around an erection (barring the pages of Penthouse and like-minded periodicals, of course)?


  1. Years ago, there was a short lived television series "Ray Bradbury Theatre" which was hosted by the author and feature dramatizations of his stories and stories like his. I think it ran for one season.

    The opening sequence feature Ray Bradbury sitting in his study at his typewriter. I think he always used an old manual typewriter. He would look around the room at all of the stuff he had and the voice over would say something like "What shall I write about today?" Then he would see something, his expression would go "Ah-ha!" and he'd start typing.

    So basically, your story is pretty much the way Bradbury told it.

    I can't think of another story that matches this one, but Lawrence Sterne's Tristram Shandy is basically a novel length joke about an accidental circumcision. It's a very, very funny novel.

    1. Ah-ha! So I'm not COMPLETELY crazy! Thinking about it further, I may have also been channeling his information from Zen in the Art of Writing, a fabulous book.

      Tristram Shandy is one of those classics I have heard about forever, but never read. It's going on my list!

  2. "The Blessed Event" ! Sounds like a very funny story!

  3. You sure this one wasn't from the humor mega-pack?!? :-). But seriously, I was unaware of this Bradbury story. I'll see if I can get any inside info on it from Jon Eller from the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies the next time I see him.

    1. I know, right? Even though it's not my favorite Bradbury story, it's WAY funnier than just about anything I've read in the so-called humor anthology. I'll be looking forward to any insight your friend can shed on this story.