As Dan Wiseman worked his old, worn key in the lock of his office, the corners of his mouth turned up just a bit.
"Guess that key's a lot like me - it still works, but its teeth are just about gone; I guess that's what forty years of working for the government will do to you."
Of course, the youngster standing beside him couldn't really appreciate what was left unsaid in that remark. In forty years, Dan Wiseman had seen a lot... 'more than most people this side of National Geographic, ' he reckoned.
But now, he was being retired. Still a young man at 62, somehow he had made it through forty years working for three branches of the federal government at once... in an office that never officially existed. Turning to the young man next to him, he opened the door and stood aside.
"What's your name again?"
"Franklin, but everybody calls me Frank."
"Well, Frank, welcome to the best fucking job on the planet Earth." Wiseman handed him two typed pages. "Read this, and you'll know all about how the Office of Unusual Carnal Knowledge came to exist.
In 1963, the head of the United States Patent Office was approached by a representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acting on orders from J. Edgar Hoover himself. In an attempt to "flush out" the blatant sexual perversion running rampant in the Kennedy era, Hoover wanted the Patent Office to establish a small, seemingly innocuous offshoot. The newly designed branch would not operate in Washington, D.C. proper, but would instead be housed across the river in Arlington, in a warehouse leased by the Justice Department for extra space for its voluminous files.
The idea was simple. Take out small ads in the pornographic magazines that would accept such filler. The following is a sample of an ad from the era:
"Take your place in the history of the sexual revolution! The United States Patent Office is now accepting submissions to officially recognize unique and unusual sexual positions and acts with patents, in order provide historical documentation to the inventors and originators of such acts. For a free information kit, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to..."
In 1964, the Office of Unusual Carnal Knowledge (government acronym OFUCK) received 125 requests for information kits, 35 of which were returned. Government agents, using the information obtained, opened investigations into the people named. 15 were arrested on morals charges, while the rest remained under investigation. The F.B.I did not disclose how it had received the information that lead to indictments in the 15 cases it attempted to prosecute.
In 1965, OFUCK produced its first reference guide to "Unique and Exotic Sexual Positions." In it, it recognized the 35 people who had completed registrations kits, along with the sexual positions they claimed to have invented. Each was issued a "special patent," denoted by the letters SP, followed by six digits; for example, SP-000001 was issued to Dick and Donna Clear of Oakland, CA for their innovative (and extensive!) use of yoga in sexual technique. Their position was called "The Parallel Bars," and involved placing the feet behind the head...
Dan pointed to the picture on the wall behind his desk, prominently displayed in the upper-left hand corner. "SP-000001. That's Dick and Donna themselves, photographed by a more-than-willing neighbor. Recipients of the first 'special patent' ever issued by this office."
"Did they get arrested?"
"Dick and Donna? No, son, they weren't doing anything really illegal, other than enjoying each other's bodies. Which back then was bad enough, I suppose. No, the first arrest made in connection with one of these was SP-000015." Dan walked behind his desk and fingered the picture with that number. "Mr. Ivan Comber of Pocatello, Idaho. He was the first to apply on the basis of altering his body, aka his member. Specifically, he attached various objects to his penis, and then used it to pleasure different women. Other than his wife."
"Yes, son... attached. Sewn. Sutured. Pierced, even."
Frank took a moment to digest that. "What was he arrested for?"
"Anal sex. Which was illegal in Pocatello, Idaho in 1965."
Priced at $8 a copy, the first printing of "Unique and Exotic Sexual Positions" sold out by the end of 1965, and was not reprinted. However, its popularity proved immense, as people with a copy of the book passed it around to their friends, who marveled at daring of such a sexually provocative guide.
No one really believed the government could have published the book.
By mid-1966, OFUCK had received 400 requests for information kits, 236 of which were returned.
By early 1967, the F.B.I. had arrested 40 of those applicants on charges such as drugs, tax evasion, conspiracy, and, in a small minority of the cases, sexual perversion.
J. Edgar Hoover considered the program a success, and issued a special citation recognizing Dan Wiseman's accomplishments in "promoting the general well-being of the majority of right-thinking American citizens."
Wiseman proudly pointed to the wall on the right side of his desk, where a gold-framed certificate hung proudly beside a small portrait of former F.B.I Director Hoover.
"It was the only time the office was officially recognized, of course. Hoover himself died not long after that, and, ever since, we've kinda kept under the official government radar. There've been times when we've enjoyed a certain, well... favor in high-government circles..."
When Nixon was elected President in 1968, he was briefed on OFUCK's existence by no less than Hoover himself. Excited by the success of the program, Nixon authorized enough funding for a third printing of "Unique and Exotic Sexual Positions," as well as more prominent ads for the application kits.
In 1969, "Unique and Exotic Sexual Positions" recognized over 1000 of America's strangest and most inventive singles and couples. The book again sold out, this time producing a profit. Those who read it took to calling it the "Guinness Book of World Sex Records." Applications skyrocketed. People were clamoring for more application kits.
The F.B.I. only arrested 5 people in the next two years.
"Of course, that was a true blow to the program," Wiseman continued. "If the F.B.I. wasn't arresting people, then nothing else really mattered. So the decision was made to shut the doors. Except..."
In 1973, a completed application was on Dan Wiseman's desk. In and of itself, there was nothing to the application. It was standard fellatio - man seated, woman kneeling - with nothing really unusual or exotic, not even bestiality or positioning to differentiate it. Wiseman was about to throw it in the trash when...
'No... it couldn't be! He couldn't really be caught on film... with a girl that's obviously under age. He'll lose his House seat for sure... if this picture comes out!'
With nothing to lose but his job, Wiseman picked up the phone... and dialed the office number for a member of the House from the great state of Massachusetts.
"You don't mean..."
"All I'll say is that he became a great supporter of this office, and he also received his own 'special patent' - SP001499. I keep the picture locked in a special file that will never leave this room. Even though he's long dead, I'll always keep my promise to him to never let it out.
Wiseman smiled at the memory of his first meeting with his long-time patron. "When I met him at his office and showed the member his member, the first thing he said was 'Oh, fuck.' And I said 'How did you know?'"
The late 70s and all of the 80s was a time of indifference and neglect for OFUCK. With moralistic Presidents in office, the small offshoot of the Patent Office was unknown to all but a few of the most powerful people in Washington, which was fine with Dan Wiseman. The requests for applications kits kept coming in. And Wiseman kept issuing "special patents." Right up to number SP-015121.
That's when things got a little weird.
"As I remember it, he was a little geeky fella, some sort of big brain at NASA,
who'd always wanted an 'sp' of his own, and had applied for 10 consecutive years without any success. And then, one day, he just walked into my office."
"That's me, sir. What can I do for you?"
The thin, bespectacled man stared uncomfortably at the floor, not saying anything. The silence stretched for so long that Wiseman started to get up from his chair to escort the man out of his office. That's when the young man looked up.
"Will you trade?"
Wiseman was puzzled. "Trade?"
"Trade with me. Give me a 'special patent, ' in exchange for something I've invented."
"Son, you've got the wrong section of the patent office. If you want a patent on an invention..."
"No, I want to give you an invention... in exchange for you granting me the 'sp' number that I've been requesting for the last 10 years."
Now Wiseman was really confused. "You want to trade me an invention... ? What, you're trying to bribe me into issuing you a patent?"
"What's your name, son?"
Wiseman looked him up and down. "Your parents didn't do you any favors, did they? You look like a movie star like I look like Hulk Hogan. Hang on a second."
The OFUCK administrator looked through his rejection files for a moment, quickly finding Calhoun's application.
"Ah, yes, Mr. Calhoun. Yours is a rather unique sexual position, but it has been done. SP-005691, granted to Mr. Rateesh Hayml of New York City, NY. 'Can insert own penis into own rectum.'"
.... There is more of this story ...