Susan stood over the kitchen sink, vigorously scrubbing the carrots. They were dirty little phallic things, she had always thought so. Her Catholic upbringing had taught her to hate perverted thoughts like these, yet she always seemed to have them. Carrots became cocks.

Tonight, it was hard to ignore the profane reminder in her hands, after what she had discovered on Fred’s computer. She set the carrots on the cutting board and circumcised them into little nubs. Flecks of orange skin flew everywhere.

Fred expected a sit-down dinner, so Susan was preparing one. As if she had not worked all day herself, then gone to the gym, then run the family errands, all before returning home, where she found the door to the attic stairs ajar.

Fred’s home office was in the attic. Often he went up there after dinner, or after they had watched their evening shows, and stayed there until one or two in the morning. Working, he claimed. Now she knew what he was working on.

Outside, she heard the Camry pull into the driveway. It still seemed strange to have Jessica driving herself places, though Susan welcomed the convenience. Jessica seemed to enjoy the freedom, too. Only three years until Brian turned 16. Then both of her kids would be off living their own lives.

The kitchen door flew open and Jessica sailed in, her friend Caitlyn in tow, the girls dressed in their soccer uniforms.

“Hey, Mom,” Jessica said. “We’re home.”

“So you are. Caitlyn, are you staying for dinner?”

“Mmm, maybe,” Caitlyn said. “What are we having?”

“Hot dogs,” Susan said. “A familiar favorite.”

“Yummy,” Jessica said, seemingly answering for both girls. “We’re going to start our homework.”

“How was practice?”


They were already out of the room, virtually running upstairs. Susan remembered a time when she had felt so free-spirited. In a different life. Before she cooked hot dogs for her demented husband.

Generally, she stayed out of Fred’s office. She had her own craft room, in the basement, and they respected each other’s spaces. But Fred seemed to have left some music on or something, from the night before, so Susan had ventured upstairs to turn it off. Fred’s computer was on, and several websites were open, including a music-streaming site, and also a site showcasing the most appalling pornography she had ever seen.

She should have turned the computer off, pretended nothing had ever happened. So men looked at pornography. Everyone knew that. Neither were women made of stone, for God’s sake.

The website on Fred’s computer was As far as Susan could tell, from a few disgusted seconds of browsing, the website featured videos of a middle-aged man, naked and aroused, wearing a hideous plastic pig mask, vigorously masturbating.

It was an image Susan knew she would never be able to purge from her mind. But that was not the whole horror. She still should have merely shut down Fred’s computer, deserted the attic, maybe spent the rest of her life praying for Fred’s eternal soul. But instead, she spent a few minutes searching Fred’s hard drive, where she discovered hundreds of Pig Boner videos. She only needed to watch two or three before she recognized Fred’s body as the offending vessel onscreen. The setting for the horror flicks was the attic she was standing in. Fred was the creator and star of

Susan experienced actual chest pains.


Jessica pulled Caitlyn into her bedroom and shut the door. They dropped their backpacks and soccer bags on the floor. Jessica tucked her finger into the waistband of Caitlyn’s shorts.

“I hate hot dogs,” Caitlyn said.

“I know you do,” said Jessica.

“And those hot dogs. I’m a vegetarian.”

Jessica kissed the salty skin of Caitlyn’s neck. “I know you are.”

Jessica’s parents had no idea she was a lesbian, a secret that thrilled her almost as much as the discovery of sex. For as long as she could remember, she had only liked girls. Now that she had her driver’s license, and her parents had bought her a car, the town and the world were hers to explore. She could take the long way home from soccer practice, diddling Caitlyn the entire way.

“I want to take a shower,” Caitlyn said. “I’m all sweaty.”

“I like your sweat,” Jessica said. “Fooling around after practice always turns me on for some reason.”

Caitlyn grinned. “Like an animal.”

“Like a wild she-wolf.”

Caitlyn fell dramatically onto Jessica’s bed, her legs spread invitingly. Jessica stared at the bare white thighs between the hem of Caitlyn’s shorts and the rims of her knee-socks. This was the best part, she thought, the moment right before they got naked.


Brian heard the girls giggling in the hallway. He paused his video game. His ear was like an owl’s, perfectly trained to detect the mousy footsteps of his sister and her friend. Jessica had been bringing Caitlyn home from school almost every day since she got her driver’s license.

He had been playing Call of Duty for almost two hours and was nursing a healthy tumescence. Or maybe it was unhealthy. It vaguely concerned him that he got a boner when he played violent video games. Whenever he took aim with the digital sniper rifle at a helpless, unsuspecting enemy soldier, the bead of his crosshairs hovering over the soldier’s head, he felt the warm rush of blood to his groin. He had talked to his friends about it, and learned that many of them got hard while gaming. It was just part of being a teenager.

Jessica’s bedroom door whispered shut. Brian yanked his own door open and glided down the hall. He carefully turned the doorknob to the attic, padded up the stairs to his father’s office.

The attic was full of secrets. Brian had been sneaking around up there since he was a little kid and had discovered all kinds of things. There was a section of floor uncovered by carpet, where an old heating vent provided a tantalizing portal into Jessica’s bedroom.

He crouched by the floor and removed the vent’s grate. Down in his sister’s room, the girls were kissing on the bed. Brian leaned forward for a better view. There was just one more item that made his fantasy complete.


Susan did not have time to shower before dinner, but she did throw her sweaty gym clothes into the hamper. Pulled on fresh jeans and a sweatshirt. Stared at herself in the bathroom mirror.

How could she possibly show herself in public as Fred’s wife, having discovered Even if nobody ever found out, she would always know. And if anyone did find out, she would have to divorce him. Move to a different state.

She rubbed deodorant under her arms. Jessica had her friend over for dinner again. Susan could not be a sweaty mess before the teenagers.

A glass of wine sat on the rim of the sink. She tipped it back and drank. Rinsed it out. Dabbed her toothbrush with a sprout of toothpaste and quickly scrubbed her teeth.

Then she pulled her jeans and underwear down to her ankles. With two quivering fingers, she reached up between her legs and gently removed the hot dog she intended to serve to Fred from her anus. A dreadful perversion compelled her to sniff the soiled meat, but she managed to restrain herself, fearing that if she did smell it, she would throw up. Instead, she held her breath, closed her eyes, and re-inserted the other end of the hot dog.


Brian crouched over the vent. He knew that later he would feel guilty for watching them, but in the moment, he could not resist. He assured himself it was Caitlyn he was watching. With her gumdrop nipples and pierced belly button. He tried to shut Jessica out. If he closed one eye, he could almost…

The suffocating plastic over his face heightened the thrill. He had read about kids who choked themselves off in closets, were later found dead in states of horrifying self-defilement. That would not be him. No one would ever discover his secret. By the time Jessica and Caitlyn finished diddling each other, Brian would be back in his room, cleaning up.


Susan turned on the stove and set the hot dogs to fry. She poured herself a fresh glass of wine. One thing bothered her more than anything else. The pig mask. What the fuck was it and where had Fred gotten it? On the videos, it looked like a ghoulish severed head with wobbly fake tusks and little piggy eyes. It was repulsive. Why would a person wear it during a sex act? What sort of creature found the pig mask sexy?

Susan decided she could not spend another second in the same house as that mask.

Fortified with wine, she left dinner cooking and stalked upstairs. In the hallway, she heard Jessica’s music playing suspiciously loud for what she had been told was homework. Also unusually, the door to the attic was ajar again. Susan pushed it open and hurried up the stairs.

When she reached Fred’s office she saw a pale, naked figure crouching by the floor, the figure’s bare arm pumping wildly. A lightning bolt of panic rippled through her chest. The figure turned its head, startled, and Susan saw the pig mask staring straight at her. She clutched her chest and screamed.

“Fuck, Mom!” Brian cried. His legs suddenly went numb and he fell forward, his crotch and clenched fist busting through the vent in Jessica’s ceiling. Horribly, his untamed manhood chose that moment to announce itself.

Jessica felt a warm splatter on her butt. “What the hell?” she murmured, her mind gone in the glorious confusion of bringing Caitlyn to orgasm.

But Caitlyn did not come. She leapt from the bed, shrieking.

Jessica’s whole body turned cold. Somewhere, she heard her mother screaming. She turned and glanced at the ceiling, saw the vent cover dangling free, and what could only be her brother’s penis protruding through the open vent.


Fred sat stiffly at the dinner table, his fingers clasped for the evening Grace. Susan sat across from him, her eyes wide and catatonic, a wine glass quivering in her hand. Jessica and Brian sat across from each other, their eyes buried in their laps, their faces pinched in agony.

“Guess I’m saying Grace by myself,” Fred said.

No one else said a word.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with everyone, but I’m tired of being the only one embracing the dinner tradition.”

He glanced from his wife to his daughter to his son. No one seemed to have even heard him.

“How was everyone’s day?” he asked.

“It was fucking great, Dad!” Jessica shouted. “The best fucking day of my life!”

She stood up and stormed away from the table.

Fred stared at Susan. She narrowed her eyes at him. He turned to Brian. “Son?”

Brian’s body suddenly seized, his face turned a pale, olive green, and he threw up all over his untouched dinner.

Susan released a sigh that seem to last several minutes, hours, years.

“Well, I had another meeting with the design team,” Fred said quietly, when it seemed clear that it was up to him to salvage dinner. He swallowed the rest of his strangely-sour-tasting hot dog and told them about his day at work.


After dinner, Fred went upstairs to his office. His family was still giving him the silent treatment, and he had no idea why. Susan’s silence seemed especially venomous.

He turned on his computer and opened his investment portfolio. His website had earned another six grand this month. Fred had initially been ashamed of Now he was proud. 15,000 subscribers!

None of whom would ever know that he started making the videos after discovering the vent in his office floor.

As he opened his video program, he saw that he had left his camera on all day since last night, creating an enormous file on his desktop. He turned and saw the blinking green light on the office bookshelf. He had mounted the camera there so he could film himself standing over the vent.


Something told him he should just turn off the camera and delete the video, pretend it never existed. Scold himself for being so careless and just move on. But instead, he opened the file and watched it, fast-forwarding through the empty hours of his empty office.

Then Susan appeared onscreen. He watched as she sat down at his computer. Saw his own videos on the screen. Now everything made sense. The silence at dinner. Her seething, drunken rage. She knew everything.

His stomach turned. Dinner was not sitting well. He knew he should go downstairs and confront his wife, but first, he had to know everything she knew. He had to watch the rest of the video.

Now his son appeared onscreen, naked. Wearing the pig mask.

Fred had no idea things were about to get much, much worse.