The Deviant Diaries: "Skinemax After Dark"
Updated: 4 days ago
A story of the time our family movie night was stopped early, courtesy of my grandparents' bootleg cable.
Television is the gateway in which most kids are introduced to the world.
It was certainly my introduction to the world, as I'm sure was also the case many other millennials' growing up in the 90s. It was the time of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dinosaurs, and Ren & Stimpy. Cable was a staple at my grandparents' house, they always had the upper division channels that always played the best films, like Pulp Fiction, Apollo 13, Titanic, and Ghost. TV was many millennials' gateway to the world, but for some of us, TV also had its share of awkward surprises, especially when the whole family was involved.
My grandfather was a huge movie buff, he watched everything! From action, romance, mystery and comedy; you name it, he’s probably seen it - and could probably give you a synopsis of what happened and who were the main actors. He also, by the way, had a subscription to Playboy and kept a stack right next to the toilet. I was quite familiar with the work of Hugh Hefner, even from a young age, having spent many a hour on the toilet reading articles. (Pussy never really interested me and Playboy had, surprisingly, really good journalism!) Grandpa was just a cool, down-to-earth type of dude who liked Playboy, and never rattled easily.
(Pussy never really interested me and Playboy had, surprisingly, really good journalism!)
My grandmother, on the other hand, was very tightly wound. My cousin, Paula Jean, who was a few years older than I, was musically talented and had a wicked sense of humor. She always told me a joke when I was younger about how grandma was so "stuck up she refused to even pass gas, except for on the toilet." She would hold in all of her farts all day until she could reach the toilet, then just let them rip so hard she would fly off the seat like a rocket. And I, as a 12 year old, naturally found this image pretty fucking hilarious. Grandma was very strict. She and I butted heads quite a bit because I simply couldn't be bothered with following rules. As I got older, though, our relationship did eventually get a lot better.
My grandparents were on the cutting edge of cable technology, thanks to my father and his technical ingenuity. He had installed a black box, with cables that ran through the backyard and hooked into the telephone pole which stood behind their house. Just a little snip here, with a little twist there - presto-chango! Instant cable with every channel imaginable. And I do mean, every single channel.
Paula was about 17 or 18 years old so I must have been about 12. We were all watching the wholesome family film My Dog Skip (2000) starring Frankie Muniz, it about a boy and his dog. (I know, what a cheesy movie!) It was playing on one of the upper division movie channels, probably Cinemax, and we were watching it with our grandparents.
Grandma was sitting in one of the recliners while sipping on a Gin & Tonic she made earlier, and grandpa was kicked completely back, laid down flat on the couch with his fingers crossed across his belly. I was on the floor in front of grandma, and Paula was on the pther couch near grandpa. Gin & tonic aside, it was perfectly wholesome movie night with the family, and nobody was the wiser to the madness that would soon ensue.
Our grandparents had a huge grandfather clock in the foyer that made loud chiming sounds every hour. Yes, the family on my father's side was pretty well-to-do. It's because they saved all that money on their cable bill due to that bootleg cable box which, incidentally enough, had an uncanny knack for switching channels at certain times. Usually to something very inappropriate and not family friendly. None of us were the wiser on this night though, as we were all kicked back and enjoying the movie. But it was 9:59pm and the witching hour was fast approaching.
At 10pm sharp, the grandfather clock chimed a song that sounded less like a grandfather clock, and sounded more like a death rattle.
A mere seconds after the chime rang, the channel suddenly flipped, and our wholesome family movie suddenly switched to something that was definitely not family-friendly. Suddenly Frankie Muniz and Skip had flipped channels and what once was a wholesome family moment turned into something with a woman lying face down on the ground of a locomotive. Above her was a swarthy gentleman wearing a conductor outfit, lying on top of her. And just in case you weren't sure from the man's outfit of his profession, the woman on the floor was screaming about his "huge conductor cock" just so you were clear.
What appeared to be happening was with every thrust from the conductor, the woman's legs also seemed to be kicking coal into a furnace. This engine apparently ran on pussy power. I have no idea the logistics of how this worked, I'm no railway expert, but clearly the coal needed to be put in the engine to make the train go, and these two seemed to be doing the job fine. As for Cinemax; well, my family got an eye full of Skinemax, sprawled all over the family television, and heard in Dolby Digital surround sound.
This engine apparently ran on pussy power.
The next few moments appeared to go in slow motion as my grandmother let out a blood-curdling scream and dropped her gin & tonic onto the carpet near me, the bitter smell wafted into my nose, but my eyes were glued to the television while the grandfather clock continued its death bell.
Grandpa had jumped up from his once relaxed position and had a look of sheer terror all over his face. I looked over at Paula and she was stuck staring at the TV as well, her face was ecstatic, her mouth twisted into the biggest grin I had ever seen. Grandpa finally collected himself and grabbed the remote from the coffee table, but kept fumbling it, dropping it every time he picked it up again while the lady on the movie squealed with each thrust from the conductor. The noise she made sounded like a mixture of both pain and excitement. I was just stunned at what just happened and was bewildered at all the panic that was transpiring, my eyes still stuck to the TV.
Grandpa finally got his bearings enough to change the channel, and Grandma shouted at both of us, “Movie’s over! It’s time for bed! Get to your rooms now!”
Skinemax was kind of an open secret, we all knew it was there and we would occasionally sneak out of our rooms late at night to watch. But when we were all watching TV, grandpa usually flipped the channel before it was time. This was the first time grandpa had missed it. Both Paula and I were slightly shocked at what had just happened, but we knew better than to disobey grandma, and we both went to bed. I don't even think we really spoke again of what transpired that night again. (Until I actually called her while writing this story to confirm details) Even as a joke, we both knew it was never a good idea to bring it up to grandma and grandpa. We would sooner lose a limb than ask them any questions about sex or about the events that transpired that night.
All excitement aside, I learned a lot about sex from my grandparents, even if they didn't mean to teach me. They taught me about shame, stigma, and fear surrounding sex, and the damage it can cause. Of course they also taught me about how truly difficult it can be to talk to our parents about sex. But they also taught me that having a safe space to explore ourselves and having a proper sexual outlet (like keeping Playboys in the bathroom, under the bathroom cabinet) was totally healthy sexual behavior. For those lessons, and the laughs Paula and I shared over this story, I thank them both.
But the worst part of the whole ordeal though, was never finishing watching My Dog Skip! I hope I didn't miss much. :)