published in THE BARCELONA REVIEW

LEON'S STRANGE ADDICTION

The filthy, obscene zit on his neck was growing by the second.  Tam was 14, the prime age to randomly conceive acne, like a careless teen nymphet who slept around without the morning-after in hand.

 

Tam was also unfortunately overweight, and his problematic complexion did nothing to help his already less-than-stellar appearance.  But to his delight -- and his surprise -- the boy of his dreams, Leon, had started to talk to him in their dreary English Class.  Ah, Leon.  Gorgeous Leon with his Denzel movie-star looks.

 

But Tam did not know the reason for the sudden attention paid to him, and he was so smitten that he did not care.  He didn't realize the mortifying truth: Leon was enamored with him not because he was attracted to Tam, but because he was attracted to the fleshy zit on Tom's neck.

The television program "My Strange Addiction," in which horrifying addictions were revealed (the girl who loved to eat toilet paper, the man who couldn't stop tanning until his skin cracked, etc.) wouldn't be debuting until years later, but Leon was ahead of his time.  He was in love with skin ailments: warts, acne, rashes, you name it.  Nobody knew of our heartthrob's secret fetish of course.

 

After three weeks of ferociously trying to destroy the zit, Tam finally succeeded with the help of Clearasil.  The next day he came to English Class triumphantly, feeling sexy squared.  He was ready to meet his lovely Leon, fresh-faced and all.

"What happened to the zit?" were the first words Leon said to him.

 

Tam smiled broadly, his orthodontia-neglected buckteeth gleaming and glistening before he responded.

 

"It's all gone!"

 

From the day on, so too was Leon.