The discovery was incidental; I was taking stock of the birthday and Christmas gifts my parents hid on the top shelf of their shared closet when I noticed a black shoebox. Were it not for such incongruous placement, it would not have elicited my curiosity. My dad wore a size 16; there was ample room for a lot of things in that box, enough space that my imagination ran wild with the presents my father was potentially hiding from us.
It would have to be quite spectacular to warrant not only being hidden behind the rest of the gifts, but stored in a black box as well, I reasoned. I pulled the box from its place, careful not to disturb the items surrounding it. I wasted no time in opening it once safely on the floor, knees grating against the sand-colored carpet as I flipped the lid back.
The blankness of the stickers stood out against the black plastic sides. At the back of the box were three cassettes that were clearly not meant for recording missed television programs. These were the real deal, complete with pre-printed labels and hard plastic cases, each sleeve emblazoned with fiery red and yellow title text over a mess of thumbnail images depicting real people engaged in acts that left nothing to the imagination.
The sound of the front door put an abrupt end to my analysis. I frantically returned the box and my makeshift ladder to their rightful places, avoiding both detection and reprimands for nosing around. The passing thrill of spoiling my own gifts wore off quickly, but my curiosity about the contents of the tapes only increased with each passing day.
I dutifully rewound the tapes, carefully returning them and their box to the corner from whence they came. My shape was comprised mostly of angles; skinny arms and legs were firm proof that my body was still shackled to childhood. I wondered if my chest would be flat forever, and if round bottoms were a prerequisite for desirability.
Then again, how could I be shocked by a discovery made when I already knew what I was looking for? He was having computer problems. The crescendo of his swearing cascaded down the hall; the lunacy of listening to another human shouting at an inanimate object glued me to my seat with a looming sense of dread.
When he appeared in the doorway to my room, I did not expect him to ask for my help resolving his technical troubles—this was a man who kept the door to his office locked at all times. It was a man cave of the highest order, neither my mother nor I were ever granted entry. I let my feet drag against the carpet as I followed him into his office. He motioned to the rolling armchair and I took a seat, timidly scooting myself closer to his desk. Though only three inches tall, she strutted her way down the toolbar-cum-runway in tiny heels and a bikini like a well-seasoned pro.
After several time-sucking uninstalls and reboots, my dad gave up on overseeing the operation and plodded off to bed. This, of course, was my opportunity to do a little snooping. Though I could feel a growing level of concern for what my dad had been watching, I was far more concerned with the heavy feeling between my legs.
I narrowed my inquiry to what had been saved on the hard drive. The first picture I opened was a full-length photo of my father; hairy chest and gut proudly on display, smiling genially, cock limp between his legs.
I hastily closed the window and double-clicked the next file—a video. As it loaded, the pit of my stomach dropped. I closed the file before clicking the next, and the next, and the next.