Editor's note: You may or may not believe this… but everything I've mentioned in this story, from the psycograph to the irradiated water to the "timely warning", really existed, and was really used in that manner. And, yes, there is a Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, and there really was a "colon fixation" in the late 19th century. The quackery of the human race will never cease to amaze me… shakes head sadly
An Innocent Web Search….
Kitty gasped and squealed, hands to her mouth, as she read through the website on her screen. Jubilee, Siryn, and Rogue looked up from where they were playing a pick-up game of hearts on the dorm beds.
"Whatcha find?" Jubilee asked.
"Omigod, omigod, omigod, you're not going to believe this," she exhaled.
Rogue set her card hand down. "What, did you find something like I-screw-dolphins-and-gerbils-on-Sundays.com?"
"I found some place that has all this old medical stuff that people thought worked, and some of it is just weird!" Kitty turned in her seat and waved everyone over. "C'mere, you gotta see this!"
She moved her seat aside as the rest of the girls got up from the bed. They gathered around the computer screen. Currently, there was a text page with a complex line-drawing of some strange helmet-like device. Kitty pinted to the drawing as she spoke.
"Remember when Dr. Hank said 'I thought that went out of style with phrenology' earlier? I started doing a search on it, and it's some really dumb idea that you could tell someone's personality by reading the bumps on their head. And then I found this place with this machine that was supposed to measure your head and give you a personality test or something."
"The 'psycograph'," Siryn read. "That sounds like something out of a bad sci fi movie."
Kitty waved her hands with barely contained excitement. "But that's not the wierdest stuff! Look at this! I mean, people really used this stuff!."
She quickly changed pages. The next image got a startled shriek from the rest of the girls, coupled with incredulous laughter.
"Oh. My. GAWD," Rogue drawled quite loudly. "If Ms. Munroe sees this, she's gonna think we found a porn site."
The girls would never know if it was their shrill giggling or the word "porn" that garnered such attention, but in seconds it seemed that the entire student population was in their room. Boys and girls alike. Staring at the items in question. Making very rude comments about the items' shape, size, efficiency, and use.
"That's so gross!" Jamie said, making a face. "You'd never catch me using one of those things!"
Someone knocked loudly on the doorframe, startling all. The students looked back to see Ororo standing in the doorway, eyebrow raised and arms crossed.
"All right, what's going on?" she demanded. "You'd better not be somewhere you shouldn't be…."
"It's a museum! Honest!" Kitty defended, pointing to the screen. "Look! It's called the 'Museum of Questionable Medical Devices'! It says so right here!"
Oh dear. Ororo knew just enough medical history to have an idea what kind of implements the students had found. She sauntered over, the students parting for her. She then winced as she saw what was on-screen at the moment: two "prostate curative devices", one designed to "warm", and the other to route. Sometimes she hated being right….
"Did people really shove these things up their butts and turn them on?" Jubilee asked breathlessly.
Ororo bit her lip against a rather caustic remark, reminding herself that Jubilee had no idea that she'd just said a double-entendre.
Oh, well, she thought. At least it's somewhat educational. Aloud, she said, "Yes, they really did. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, people had this strange idea that constantly flushing out your colon would improve your health."
That got a coordinated "ewwww!" out of her students. As Ororo was busy trying to field questions, some of which she felt less than qualified to answer, Logan came in.
"I could hear you guys all the way downstairs," he began. Then he looked at the screen. "Holy shit. What're those? 1800s vibrators?"
The students giggled. Ororo wanted to slap Logan for that little remark, but decided against it to save bruising her palm.
"No, they are NOT," she snapped.
Before she could go any further, the students eagerly filled Logan in on all the gory details. Logan's lip curled in a snarl of disgust.
"Lemme get this straight. People basically shoved a sparkplug up their ass to cure prostate cancer?"
"Logan!" Ororo shouted.
Logan pointed to the screen. "'Ro, it's got lightbulbs, ferchrissake! Gives whole new meaning to 'turning yourself on'--"
Ororo slapped a hand over his mouth, but it was a little late. The older students had picked up on the joke. Then someone tapped on the windowpane. Everyone turned, already knowing who it had to be. Sure enough, Kurt was clinging to the windowsill outside, looking in curiously. He teleported in only when the other children made it abundantly clear he was wanted, clinging to the ceiling and hanging above the crowd. Then he saw the afore-mentioned devices of quack medicine. He recoiled in disgust.
"That is insane," he muttered.
"No, you want insane, there's stuff in here that irradiates your water," Kitty said, quickly switching pages. "People were getting cancer all the time from drinking this stuff, and they thought it was helping them!"
The next page showed something called the Revigator, along with a plethora of text. It wasn't anywhere near as interesting as the last page, as the device in question just looked like a water dispenser.
"That's boring," Regis said. "Anything else cool on there?"
"Well, I just found this place. Lemme look around," Kitty answered.
A thousand nightmare scenarios went through Ororo's mind. Cranial drills, dissection kits, chastity belts, still more enema machines…. She quickly put her hand over Kitty's to stop her mouse clicks, prompting disappointed shouts from the students.
"Look, some of the stuff in here might not be appropriate for the younger students," said over the objections.
"But Ms. Munroe, it's a museum!" Jamie whined. "You're always taking us to museums!"
"You're not trapping me with that, Jamie. I don't take you to every museum I find."
At that point, a very amused Hank McCoy arrived. "O-HO! I see you've discovered one of my favorite websites!"
"Dr. Hank, Ms. Munroe's trying to shut it down!" Jubilee complained.
Ororo rolled her eyes and inadverdantly wound up looking right at Kurt, hanging above them.
"You could back me up, you know," she said.
He put out up his hands, which, in his case, was down. "I'm not the medic here. I just teach gym. I bow to your authority."
"You mean you're weaseling out," Logan added.
Kurt nodded. "Damned straight."
Hank pushed his way to the computer and tapped Ororo's hand. "Allow me, my dear."
"Hank, is there anything else worse than those 'prostate cures'? Some of these kids aren't even thirteen yet," she whispered urgently into his ear.
Hank stopped for a moment, a thoughtful look on his face. "Hm. You may have a point." In a booming voice, he called to the crowded room, "All right, everyone under sixteen has to leave!"
The whining was deafening, but Hank was not to be deterred. He stood firm, arms crossed imperiously over his imposing chest, shaking his head against all protests. The students turned to Logan, who had pointedly moved to the now open window to smoke. They even looked to Kurt, dangling from his feet on the ornate ceiling. He, too, shook his head, as he let go and dropped behind them.
For extra emphasis, he crossed his arms, turned aside, and put his tail up between he and the students, spade out. "Talk to the tail."
Amidst much complaining, the vast majority of the room's inhabitants left. Kitty held her ground, arguing that she found the site in the first place, and that it wasn't fair she was getting kicked off, but eventually she just sunk through the floor. That left the four teachers, along with Poitr, Bobby, and Rogue. Ororo shut the door to the room as Hank started navigating the website.
Logan sat his stogie on the windowsill, cherry out, and walked over to the assemblage. "So whaddya got in mind, Hank?"
"To truly understand the depths of medical ignorance, you simply must see the 'Timely Warning'," Hank replied brightly.
"This is sending off warning bells," Ororo muttered, shifting nervously.
The photographic image was not very clear, but the line drawing below it was brutally so. Rogue snorted and tried to cover her frantically twisting lips, while Piotr tilted his head in confusion.
"What is that supposed to do?" he asked.
"Jeez, it looks like an S and M cock ring," Logan said.
Ororo elbowed him in the stomach.
"Actually, Logan, you're not that far off," Hank stated casually.
"You mean… you put it on… your…?" Kurt started hesitantly, gesturing vaguely as well.
"At the base of your so-called 'Don Johnson'," Hank finished for him, pointing at the diagram. "Notice this is a double ring, one just inside the other. The smaller ring is supposed to fit comfortably during 'slack' periods."
"But… there's spikes on the outer ring…," Bobby said with a note of rising horror.
Hank shrugged. "Well, you see, in the very early part of the 20th century, people somehow had the idea that erotic dreams were harmful and had to be stopped before they caused irreparable harm."
Logan wore a half smile; a wary, "you're shitting me" sort of half smile. Bobby swallowed nervously. Kurt started hunching over, his tail twitching.
"And so, you wore this little device, which would thoughtfully wake you up in the middle of the night, out of a pleasant dream, with the sensation akin to that a small rodent biting your manhood off."
Kurt's hands flew to his ears as he shouted, "I AM NOT HEARING ZHIS!"
"Hey, elf, cut the accent down to a seven, willya?" Logan asked.
"ZHAT VAS A BLANK SCREEN! ZHERE VAS NOTSING ZHERE!" he went on, his eyes closed and his accent thicker than mud.
Piotr actually gave a single laugh and shook his head. "What some people will do to themselves."
Hank nodded. "Yes, that's exactly what I think." He turned Kurt's way and went on, a bit louder, "And they were actually worn by some people--"
"MY! ZE OUTSIDE VINDOWS ARE VERY DIRTY! LOOK AT HOW DIRTY ZHEY ARE! I AM GOING TO CLEAN ZEM NOW!"
And then there was just the smoke and smell of brimstone.
"That's it," Ororo said. "I'm blocking this site."