This Is Memorial Device, the debut novel by David Keenan, is a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and…
March 17, 2017 | by Faber Social
I Dared Him To Lick It But He Drew The Line At That: Peter Solly went to Israel with Sam Shreds where he stuck an ancient artefact down his pants.
I was thinking the other day about people with odd names and just in case you think I am making this all up I was thinking of a guy named Michael Rocks who is real and who lives in Glasgow and who is probably on Facebook so look him up. But then I remembered Sam Shreds.
Sam was Jewish and his real name was something like Samuel Shredowitz but the point is everybody called him Sam Shreds. And you know how when like you start living up to your name.
Sam had a Fender Telecaster and a Gibson Les Paul. He stole his mother’s vibrator from her wardrobe and he lay his Les Paul down on the bed plugged in and he played it with the vibrator. What a sound. I dared him to lick it (the vibrator) but he drew the line at that.
His family lived in a big huge house in Drumbathie Road in Airdrie which had no central heating and an abandoned loft where we used to pile all the chairs up in a huddle in the middle of the room and then masturbate together.
At first we thought it was the word that gave you an erection and not the thought or the imagination. So we would look at our wands – Sam called them wands, that’s what he said they were called – and we would repeat the word ‘fanny fanny fanny’ and watch as our wands rose up as if by magic. Sometimes he would dress up as a girl and him and Katy, my sister, would go down the town together and shop for make-up.
Either that or we would take walks and find old ornaments and bird skulls and combine them in sculptures in the abandoned attic.
Sam always wanted to go to Israel. He had never been. But he had been to Auschwitz. He carried around a ticket stub from Auschwitz in his wallet. When you asked him why he did that he would say, I did it to keep my hatred sharp. I thought it was an amazing thing to say. But years later I realised he was quoting the terrorist Andreas Baader from the Red Army Faction who had trained with the PLO and the PFLP and I felt even more confused.
We took a boat to The Holy Land. Sam’s mother insisted it was the only way to go home. This is us as we passed through the Strait of Gibraltar, where the statues of Hercules used to be.
We swam in The Dead Sea and we explored the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls had been discovered. We found a stone with Hebrew letters on it but Sam grabbed it before I could look at it properly and he stuck it down his pants. It’s not for the profane, he said. I said to him then perhaps it shouldn’t be in such close proximity to your so-called wand. The Jews have a long tradition of sacred sex rites, he said to me. To you it’s just a penis. Then he walked away with this big bulge in his pants. I thought about the power of words. That holiday was an education.
Years later he became kind of ordinary and he got a normal job. We fell out but when I would see him I would point him out and say, that guy’s name is Sam Shreds he’s a legend but no one would ever believe me.