Lane and I are back in Rock Island for a week, visiting my family and old friends, going to my old haunts.
On Saturay night, we go to JR's and meet a bear named Dave: in his 50s, grey hair and beard, hairy chest. He's lived in Rock Island for all of his life, but we never ran into each other at the bars or at the church:
"My partner and I stayed pretty much to ourselves. When we wanted community, we went to Chicago. It was only after we broke up last year -- he dumped me for a Cute Young Thing -- that I started looking at the gay life of the Quad Cities."
We go back to his apartment in Davenport for "sharing." He's an oral bottom, small-sized penis.
Which is fine with me.
In the morning we have breakfast and tell him about life in the gay mecca of West Hollywood. Gay men everywhere, not just in the bars, but at the gym, in the supermarket, strolling down the street. Your friends, your neighbors -- all gay men.
"It sounds great," Dave says, "But here in the Midwest we have something that you'll never get out in La-La Land. The biggest penises in the world."
"Well, I don't know about that," I tell him. "I've seen some pretty big ones."
"And felt, and tasted," Lane adds.
"You haven't seen anything like these!" Dave exclaims. "Are you guys busy this afternoon? I can lead you to the Promised Land of gigantic penises."
We go back to my parents' house -- they're still at church -- to read the Sunday newspaper and play with the dogs. Dave picks us up at 1:00 pm, after Sunday dinner, and drives us across the river, through Davenport, and out into the countryside to the Scott County Fair!
I'm not a fan of county fairs. Crowded, noisy, garish, tawdry, with the sun beating down and leering carnies trying to get you to bet on stuffed animals and rubber ducks. Nothing to eat but gut-busting fried stuff. Nothing to do but go on nausea-inducing rides.
Besides, how is this the Promised Land of Gigantic Penises? Everyone is fully clothed.
"Did you mean the bulges?" Lane asks.
There are some nice bulges around, but we can see that guys with bulges in any bar in West Hollywood. Bigger, more explicit bulges, and the guys don't mind being ogled.
Here, they get suspicious fast.
"Oh, no, not the bulges," Dave says. "Be patient. We're getting there."
Lane and I glance at each other, puzzled. Is there a bathhouse at the county fair? Maybe a shower room? Lockers?
Next Dave directs us to the bathroom. I don't have to go, but I try a pre-emptive strike.
It's cramped, dirty, bad-smelling, but at least it's trough-style, where there's no barriers between you and the other guys, and you can get a sausage sighting.
We see a cowboy with an enormous cut Mortadella, maybe a Mortadella+, staring straight ahead as he urinates.
Nice, but...the Faultline in West Hollywood has a trough, where you can see the same thing. And ogle openly. And maybe even do some fondling.
"Nice try," Lane tells Dave as we emerge, "But you can get a sausage sighting at any urinal in the world. What makes the Midwest so special?"
"That was just the appetizer," Dave says, clapping us both on the back. "Are you ready for the main course?"
The Promised Land of Gigantic Penises!
Filled with curiosity, we follow Dave past the Grandstand and into the agricultural area.
Lane and I look at each other, puzzled. Is Dave bringing us to a nudist camp for cowboys? A nude weigh-in for 4-H Club teens? A glory hole station?
He leads us into a long row of stalls. The air is moist and hot, and smells of hay. In the dim light, we can see...
More after the break
The weirdo likes to look at horse penises!
"Um...um..." Lane begins, shocked. "I prefer my penises attached to a man."
"Wait, wait!" Dave exclaims. "Don't get me wrong -- I don't actually do anything with horses. It's just aesthetic! Have you ever seen a more spectacular penis?"
Lane touches my shoulder. "Let's go check out some more cowboy bulges. Maybe we'll get lucky and find a gay one."
See also: In Search of the World's Biggest Penis