A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama! is a fictional tale set in the very real Culebra Cut, an engineering project along the Panama Canal. It required carving a river through the Continental Divide. The men who went were divided by Gold and Silver, the two-class system based on race and ethnicity. Peter remembered this inequality from his childhood when his father brought his family to the Culebra Cut to live in one of the Gold Villages where married white Americans could keep their family together. The Gold Bachelor colonies and all Silver housing were male-only environments. Having seen these bachelor quarters firsthand as a young boy, he filed them away in his imagination for later fictionalization in this book. Peter spoke often of the “inner chamber” or the “second room.” Even in this early work, the narrative focuses intensely on this second sphincter between the rectum and the sigmoid colon. Apocryphal accounts of Peter’s sexual escapades confirmed that his enormous endowment was a frequent visitor to men’s “inner rooms.” He is reputed to have once said, “If you can’t get there, you should take a passive role and let the big boys take you there instead.” Ironically, he also lamented how his oversized manhood scared away many potential love interests.The author wrote A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama! in the summer of 1957. Penis size was an obsession for Peter. Enduring pain for another’s pleasure is the overarching theme of this work, whereby the act of giving oneself to another is the goal, not the orgasms, which are mere side effects. Peter himself had a reputation for being extraordinarily well endowed. In this story, the narrative focuses on Quentin Fournier, a man with a less than average endowment. Friends remarked that Peter lost many potential love interests because of his large penis. Dale Clark, who appears later in the story, is likely an exaggerated self-portrait of the author. Sadly, no one like Quentin corresponds in Peter’s life. The perfect anatomically compatible couple living out their years together in San Francisco at the end of the story was pure fiction. Peter never found a lasting love.
Dark as a Dungeon was written by the author in the mid-1960s. Themes of drugs, phallic worship and sado-masochism were common in all his works, but Dark As A Dungeon was one of his strongest examples of phallic extremes and torture. Peter himself had a reputation for being extraordinarily well endowed. We believe that Shorty McCool, the first person narrator with the impossibly large penis, is an extension of Peter’s psyche. Shorty’s extraordinary tastes and dangerous desires, as well as his ultimate desire for a loving mate may well reflect the desires of the author himself.
Dark As A Dungeon was one of Peter Schute’s few attempts at telling a story in the first person in lieu of an omniscient narrator. He described the challenge of telling Shorty’s story in his own words. “…the paucity of vocabulary of an 8th grade-educated Kentucky coal miner proved too difficult to overcome. I created an epilogue that gave Shorty a belated college medical education so he could ‘use big words’ and ‘describe what went where.’ I then went back and rewrote the entire story with a richer vocabulary and very little Southern jargon.” Peter later said in an interview in After Dark magazine that he felt most comfortable using dialogue to give his characters voices reflecting their background and intelligence level, while allowing the narrator to give information in an intelligent, neutral voice. Peter was a master of grammar and form. The reader should pay close attention to the shift in narrative voice that occurs in Chapter Two the moment Shorty snorts the powdered diet pills. The past tense becomes the present progressive tense for the duration of the chapter.
Bunkhouse Buddies is one of Peter’s earlier works, written in 1960. The prose is salacious and shocking, given the time period. This raunchy story could not be published in the United States until after the landmark Memoirs vs. Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling which cleared the way for erotic to be protected under free speech. Peter had published in Denmark prior to the court’s decision. Peter was quoted about Bunkhouse Buddies:
It’s no secret that many men became cowboys because they preferred the company and camaraderie of other rough and tumble men to the gentler life with women. These cowboys lived in groups of six to ten in bunkhouses – housing provided by the ranch owner at no cost or at the cost of lower wages. The function of a traditional bunkhouse was to give a young cowboy an opportunity to find his footing and save money before he settled down and married. Not every cowboy had those particular plans. Many just wanted to be around other cowboys like themselves, confirmed bachelors. Buried deep in the Big Hole River Valley of Montana, the Cock Crow Ranch bunkhouse was entirely made up of lifelong bachelors. When a new cowboy came along, it was never certain if he would “fit in” with the bachelor lifestyle or if he was going to have to find a new ranch with morals more in line with his own. A good fit was rare, but when that cowboy came along, he got to share in a brotherhood unlike any other. —Peter Schutes, 1961 Los Angeles, CA