You Can’t Block the Porn
Ron Riekki

Spring 2022

They have ways of getting around. I remember
when we went on vacation to Green Bay; it was
our Disneyland. We’d get a hotel and that hotel
was a seminary, a galaxy, a Wisconsin bewitching
perfection where we couldn’t believe how a pool
could be heated to such perfection, like we were
swimming in our own urine, and perhaps we were.
I remember a comedian at the show my parents
took me to, how he said he peed in the pool and
couldn’t believe when everybody else complained,
even if he was standing on the balcony when he
did it. I searched for his name on the Internet,
the comedian, and found nothing. Did he die?
Did he never exist? Did his stage name die?
It was so many years ago. Decades. I was so
little. I was never little. I’m huge. The last
woman to break up with me, a self-described
“Malaysian-Chinese-American” who was so
beautiful that she asked me to please stop
telling her how beautiful she is, also told me
that my height is “freakish.” I remember her
standing in the doorway, the light outside like
a choir. I didn’t watch her walk to her truck.
I remember my father pulling into the ugly
gorgeous Green Bay streets and how I pointed
to an adult bookstore, saying I wanted to go
there. He said no. I said I was sick of children’s
literature. I wanted to read an adult book.
He said it wasn’t what I was thinking it was.
I asked what he meant. He didn’t laugh.
My mother looked uncomfortable. I didn’t
understand. Decades later, I bought a porn-
blocker for my computer. It didn’t work.
A friend of mine is a social worker. She said
that Google and Amazon have made billions
on porn, that the industry owns everything.
She’s dating a girl who, she says, used to be
in porn. I ask her about it one day, after I
just lost in Scrabble. She asks what I want to
know. I ask how much she made. She asks,
That’s it? That’s all you want to know?
I tell her I don’t know. I hear a toilet flush—
their upstairs neighbor. We know every time
he goes to the bathroom. Such a strange thing
to know. She tells me she made a thousand.
Total? No, each time. That’s it? She hates
my response. We hear the toilet flush again.

Monday Nov 5 2018