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short fiction
Thisbe Nissen
author of Osprey Island and
The Good People of New York

If you've read either of Thisbe Nissen's novels, you know that she explores topics that are able to touch us all in unusually odd spots.

editor's note: WordSmitten published this story in its original form in our premier issue of WSQJ, Volume 1:1, which is no longer in print. We are reprinting this here for those of you who missed it the first time and who requested that we publish it online. We love this story, too. Caveat for techies: none of the email addresses are real, but if you must, knock yourselves out and test away. Sure, we'd like to see the bot-report data from spam miners.

Woman With Backwards Uterus

by Thisbe Nissen






My freshman roommate in college was a delightful southern belle who dated, during our junior year when we were no longer roommates, a very attractive guy who I knew slightly from a fiction writing class. Years later-nearly ten, in fact-we were reintroduced, via email, by an editor who'd published both of us in his literary journal. We were both still writing fiction. An email correspondence ensued. A lively, witty, dare-I-say flirtatious correspondence.

This Attractive Writer Guy Who Once Dated My Former Roommate The Southern Belle had started his own literary website. He is the person who told me-a Luddite with technophobic tendencies-that when one owns a domain name one can receive emails addressed to anyone@thatdomainname.com.

For instance, if you knew an Attractive Writer Guy who had his own website you could write to him at attractivewriterguy@writerguy'swebsite.com, or billywiggledart@writerguy'swebsite.com or i_had_a_crush_on_you_in_college@writerguy'swebsite.com.

Something else I learn is that though Writer Guy accepts submission to his website and now has many contributors, in its early days most of the content was actually the work of Writer Guy himself, posted under various unlikely pseudonyms. This becomes, for instance, abundantly clear upon reading a certain story, ostensibly written by one Throop Roebling, which appears to be set in the very college co-op house where Writer Guy and My Former Roommate The Charming Southern Lass lived when they were dating, and where they continued to live (rather excruciatingly) for some months after they broke up. The story is told from the point of view of The Ex-Boyfriend (a.k.a. Writer Guy) and takes place after the breakup when Southern Lass began sleeping with One Of Their Other Housemates. Like much of my own early "fiction," "Throop's" "story" appears to rely heavily on autobiography.

In one section, the story contains a hyperlink —

I heard her on the telephone yesterday advising a girlfriend, "Push down with your lower back muscles, you'll bring the front wall of your vagina down to meet your partner's penis. This enables him to stimulate your G-spot, located between your pubic bone and your cervix." I later realized she was reading from a woman's magazine she'd left around the house.

— to an anonymous letter sent to the website's editor complaining that this instructional bit of information included in Throop's story is:

Wrong, wrong, wrong. First off, "lower back muscles" have nothing to do with anything — totally not connected to anything interesting. Secondly, there is no "pushing down" involved, it's actually the opposite: pulling up. Well, actually, pushing down could be involved if you were dealing with a very long one that wasn't in all the way, but really, the only purpose this serves is adjustment, and then you definitely want to go back to the regular cock-gripping action, since it simulates (and stimulates) orgasmic contracting and makes it almost impossible not to come five or six times… I have no doubt, however, that the above description was inspired by an actual women's magazine, because they don't know what the fuck they're talking about. All other descriptions in the story were not only correct, but highly entertaining.

The website's editor (a.k.a. Attractive Writer-Guy), assuming the title of "Super," responds thusly:

Dear Anonymous,

Perhaps you have an inverted uterus. Or maybe it's not the uterus that matters here. Maybe your apparatus is upside down. When jostled in the formative womb, your teeny-tiny equipment could have got flipped, no? In defense of Mr. Roebling's piece, he assured me that all information included in the work in question was reliable, mainly because he stole it directly from a highly respected journal that predominately employs women as fact checkers. He would probably argue that the accuracy of the maneuver doesn't really matter much. I think he's probably more concerned with pushing in any direction with one's lower back muscles. As you indicated, meaningless muscles these. Mine are all gelatinous. Can't do a thing with them. The woman in the story, however, can use these muscles to do whatever she needs to do, and this accounts for her high-moaning in the room next to the narrative-voice guy's: ultimately, whatever direction she's directing her loving surely don't matter much.

In the end, we are inaccurate all over the place. The majority of the work on this site is grossly . . . Nevertheless, we welcome your comments and wish you happiness.


Whereupon I — knowing full well that Throop and Writer Guy and Super are all one and the same — take it upon myself to write a note to ThroopRoebling@writerguy'swebsite.com, and relate this true story:

From: "Thisbe Nissen" <thisbe@home.com>
To: ThroopRoebling@writerguy'swebsite.com
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 2:06 PM
Subject: fan letter

Dear Mr. Roebling,

I am writing to tell you that I greatly enjoyed your story and was greatly humored by the anonymous letter linked therein, and by the "Super's" response to it, which got me wondering as to whether the "Super" and the Editor of that website might be one and the same person, or at least in close cahoots, since I happen to know for a fact that one of the Editor's ex-girlfriends did in fact have an inverted uterus, which may have led to the so-called "Super's" accusation that the anonymous writer of the letter might suffer from the same affliction (i.e. uterus inversion). If you, Mr. Roebling, are in contact with Anonymous, you might want to relay to her a funny story about the editor's ex-girlfriend, a charming southern belle who was my freshman roommate in college, at which time (pre-The Editor), she had a boyfriend back home down south to whom she had relinquished her virginity. Problem was: said Southern Gentleman was apparently epicly endowed. Might not seem like a problem, unless you, like Southern Belle, happened to have a backwards uterus (or at least it was as such that she described her particular affliction). Sex between said Southerners was apparently painful as gout. Should she find herself a new boyfriend? This was the question. We considered a personal ad: WOMAN WITH BACKWARDS UTERUS SEEKS MAN WITH SMALL PENIS. We imagined hoards of men showing up at our door, dropping trou, steadfastly insisting No! Mine is smaller! But perhaps you've heard this whole story before, Mr. Roebling… if that is indeed your name… If you, indeed, exist at all… Anyway, I liked your story. I just wanted to let you know you have a fan.

Yours Sincerely,
Thisbe Nissen

To which "Throop" responded:

From: "Throop Roebling" <throop@writerguy'swebsite.com>
To: <thisbe@home.com>
Subject: RE: Fan Mail
Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2002, 3:37 PM

Dear Ms. Nissen,

Thank you very much for your nice note.

I am sure that the website's Editor and "Super" are one and the same. He occasionally also indicates to others that he and I are the same as well; this is a blatant lie, however, as you can see, since this message has originated from me and no other.

I know little about this man. We met a few years ago, in a far-off place, when I was doing field research for my forthcoming novel Throop Roebling's Big Book of Jokes and Riddles. I was investigating an untranslatable Honduran joke and ran into him at the time. We exchanged e-mail addresses and he asked me to submit some work for eventual inclusion in a nasty little website he runs. I submitted, thinking that I could bring a little meaning to the poor fellow's life, working the wonders of my adventurous prose to buttress his apparently rather tender affect. Nevertheless, I know nothing of his former girlfriend's inverted uterus, although it does seem like a very likely connection, one that you picked up on quite remarkably.

Your message also makes me wonder about the penile dimensions of this so-called "Super" . . . for if he "fit" the young woman with the inverted uterus, he must have been under-endowed. I do know he has very large feet and hands, however, and is rather tall, soaring well over six feet. Next time we're out drinking together I'll have to follow him to the urinal to surreptitiously catch a sidelong glance at (what must be) his tremendously undersized endowment.

Kind regards,


From: Thisbe Nissen <thisbe@home.com>
To: Throop Roebling <throop@writerguy'swebsite.com >
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: Fan Mail

Dear Throop,

You are very kind to have gotten back to me so quickly. You seem like a nice person. I therefore hesitate to say this, at the risk of you thinking that I'm some kind of a catty gossip or sex fiend, but I just wanted to tell you regarding your comments on penile endowment, that if in fact the "Super," "Editor" and the guy I knew in college are actually all the same person-the person who was the boyfriend of the inverted-uterus woman-then I think you probably don't need to go through with the sidelong urinal glancing (unless you were looking forward to it, in which case, by all means...) The reason I say this is that I, as one among many, had always simply assumed, due to overwhelming evidence and hearsay, that the REASON the backwards-uterus girl and the Super/Editor fellow had broken up those many years back was DUE to their physical incompatibility in that area. It was pretty much common knowledge among a certain, shall we say, "set," that the boy with whom Uterus Girl took up relations after Super-Editor was apparently of such, shall we say, "endowment" that he may as well have come to her in response to a certain personal ad never actually placed lo some years before. If you know what I mean. But you didn't hear it from me.

All best regards,

From: "Throop Roebling" <throop@writerguy'swebsite.com>
To: "Thisbe Nissen" <thisbe@home.com>
Subject: Re: Fan Mail
Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2002, 6:18 PM

Dear Thisbe,

As they often say in the screendoor business, phew!

Oh wait - why would I write "phew"? - Your gorgeous, convolutedly phrased message debunked the puny endowment speculation thing about the, er, trouser snake of "that editor guy I know"? It had nothing to do with me, so why the "phew"?

I guess it's a relief to know that no negative word went around "the set" with regard to the editor's thingy. It would make sense, however, since (1) his last name means "small" in German, and (2) since he is actually not outwardly small at all, there must be some concealed meaning behind his family's surname, and such surnames are typically genitally derived.

Very truly yours,

T. R.

I was beginning to have some suspicions about Throop, which I confided to the Attractive Writer-Guy/Website Editor/Super in a subsequent email.

From: Thisbe Nissen <thisbe@home.com>
To: <writerguy@writerguy'swebsite.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 7:24 PM
Subject: Throop
Hey there-how are you? Just wanted to write and give you a little warning about something… I've been emailing with Throop Roebling whom I contacted after reading his short story (which I quite enjoyed) on your website. I had written to him in a fashion that was admittedly a bit flirtatious, using as a point of entry into discussion my "suspicion" that you and the "Super" of your website might be one and the same person and related to Throop the story of Our Favorite Southern Belle and her upside-down, inverted, backwards uterus. Really I just wanted to contact Throop without sounding like a groupie. But in the course of our communication it is becoming clear to me that whatever romantic fantasies I may have been indulging about Mr. Roebling (who I was probably too eagerly conflating with his fictional narrator in the story I liked so much) are ill-placed, as it seems to me that Throop may himself swing in the other direction entirely and may have a bit of a thing for YOU. Which is to say: next time you happen to be out drinking together watch out when you go to the men's room. I have reason to believe that Throop might try to sneak a gander at your private parts while pretending to be merely pissing companionably at the urinal beside you. Don't say you weren't warned. -Thisbe

From: <writerguy@writerguy'swebsite.com>
To: <thisbe@home.com>
Subject: Re: Throop
Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2002, 9:18 PM

Thisbe- Thanks for the head's-up about Throop. I think he and I have come to an understanding about all this, so not to worry. Actually, we were thinking that the next time you visit New York City, where both Throop and I happen to reside, maybe the three of us could get together for a drink or something…

Less than a week later I was in the car headed for New York. We planned to meet at a bar downtown. Throop never showed. But the Editor/Super/Writer-Guy and I, we were there. Three beers and five hours later I was able (with full cooperation on the part of its owner) to inspect the dimensions of a certain aforementioned "trouser snake," which my perfectly upright uterus was able to accommodate without anything remotely akin to discomfort.

:: WordSmitten's fiction judge, Thisbe Nissen  ::Thisbe Nissen, our fiction judge for a previous year's TenTen story competition, lives with a mysterious writer and some cats.

The cats, although appearing whiskered, bear no resemblance to anyone in this short story. Nissen, who in her short and varied life is noted for her transforming courses taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop and while she was the 19th Zale writer-in-residence at Tulane University, wears her tank tops one at a time, just like the rest of us, so we've heard.


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