SAC CITY, IOWA- Residents of Sac City are reeling from the revelation that home town Olympic hopeful figure skater Igor Schmutz is not gay. Mr. Schmutz emphatically declared his heterosexuality in a radio interview several days ago, adding that he hoped that people would not be judgmental about his decision to make his unusual sexual preference public knowledge. “I know that this goes against the accepted norm in my sport,” said a timorous Mr. Schmutz, “but I must be true to myself. I hope to become a figure skater on the Olympic level and I need to quell all of the rumors and innuendo about my preference for women. It’s true…I just like girls. I have spoken at length about this with my fellow male figure skaters and, although they expressed some disappointment at my sexual preference, they are in full support of my decision to go public with this very personal disclosure.”
I took the bus to Sac City to get the lowdown on how the local townsfolk felt about Mr. Schmutz’s declaration and was not surprised to find that they were in an uproar. “Crap in a handbag!” Mayor Tom Tiddy told me in a candid interview at the local laundromat. “Just when Sac City was on the verge of getting national attention, Igor blows it because he don’t blow it! How in the hell does he ever expect to make the Olympic team if he don’t toot the root! I mean just Damm!” Mayor Tiddy took a short break to scrounge up some coins for the dryer. “Anybody here got change for a five?” he hollered. No one was able to help him so I gave him six quarters that I kept folded up in a piece of aluminum foil tucked away in my shoe. “Thanks, Buddy. That shore is neighborly of you.”
Mayor Tiddy took a short gulp on a warm Fanta grape soda that someone left on a clothes dryer and continued, “Everybody knows that you got to be light in the loafers if you expect to get anywhere in the world of men’s figure skating. Dumb sum-una-bitch. Hell, everybody knows gay marriage is legal here in Iowa. He could have gone out and found some pansy, tied the knot, and pretended to be gay but NO…Mr. Let Everybody Know I’m Straight has to come out and screw it up for everybody. As far as I’m concerned he can just get the hell out of Sac City and go back to Coon Rapids or Beebeetown or wherever the heck he came from before he moved here in the third grade. We don’t want his kind around here. No-sireeee!”
I made some further inquiries and discovered that Igor’s parents lived close by. I was given directions to the corner of Corn Hole Lane and Butz Drive where I found their tidy one-story wood frame house. All the blinds were closed and I had to dodge a kid who rode past me on a bike as he tossed a lit paper bag onto the porch. A middle aged gentleman ran out of the house and swept the flaming object off the porch. He warned me not to stomp on the bag as it was probably full of turds. “Damn kids. That’s the fourth one this week.” He turned a suspicious eye to me and said, “I don’t recognize you stranger. You ain’t here to harass me and the wife are ya?” I assured him that I didn’t mean any harm and that I simply wanted to get the family’s side of the story. He seemed eager to talk to a neutral observer and invited me in.
The house was full of skating trophies, blue ribbons, and framed photos chronicling the rise of a young figure skating star. Mrs. Schmutz came out of the kitchen and sat on the sofa as I introduced myself. It was obvious that she had been distraught and tearful prior to my arrival but she seemed fairly calm and composed as she invited me to sit down. She and her husband sat next to each other on the couch as I eased into what was going to be a painful interview. “I just don’t know where we went wrong,” said Mrs. Schmutz. “Maybe Harold here just showed way too much attention to the boy as he was growing up. I mean he was always encouraging little Igor in everything he tried…from baseball to Cub Scouts to Future Farmers of America and what-not. Maybe if I had breast fed Igor ’till he was ten or so and made Harold sleep in the shed…it would of turned out different.” Mrs. Schmutz wiped a solitary tear away as she continued, “I know the townsfolk are mighty disappointed with this turn of events. They were all rooting for Igor because they thought it might help revive the town a bit. Things are mighty tough here in Sac City and everybody was counting on a boost from the gay tourist trade.”
Mr. Schmutz interjected that it wasn’t the boy’s fault that he disappointed everyone by refusing to follow the natural course of a figure skating lifestyle. “It seemed like he was heading in the right direction until….” he stumbled for the right words as Mrs. Schmutz interjected, “Go ahead Pa, tell him. Tell him about the accident!” Mr. Schmutz looked down at his shoes and dejectedly mumbled…“That damn girl…Damn that girl!”
He seemed hesitant to continue and his wife blurted out, “She dropped him on his head!” Mrs. Schmutz broke down in tears as her husband spoke, “It was in 07, that’s when it was…the regionals. He was doing a routine with his partner and somehow they got all tangled up during the chorus of Honey by Bobby Goldsboro. Igor was supposed to gracefully slide over his partner’s shoulder, between her feet and…well, anyway it didn’t work out like it was planned and she slammed his head pile-driver style into the ice…knocked him flat out and he had to be transported to the hospital. Poor Igor didn’t regain consciousness for two days. When he finally did come to it was pretty clear that something wasn’t quite right.”