Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Current blogcrush badzero continues to engage, with an excellent, supremely polished post on, well, Italian exploitation cinema, Trotsky and Late Capitalism.
Badzero's earlier, brilliant post on pornography ( and K-punk's equally great " Let me be your fantasy") put me in mind of something I wrote several years ago which is sitting, languishing at the back of the 6abnov site and which I drag out into the light of the blogmos, blow the dust off and present for your (non) delectation.
SOME TYPES OF DISTANCE

At long last, I've reached the point of no return.

This is what's happened in the last few minutes. Shifting around, coaxing her into position, trying to overcome her reluctance to let me lie on top, easing her bra off, mouth close to her ear whispering soothing words. And this is how the last few minutes have felt: like the slow, clenched moments as the roller-coaster climbs, pauses for a few clammy seconds at the top, and then plunges.


Christina struggles, tries to sit up, to slide out from under me but I'm too strong, too heavy and my weight keeps her pinned to the bed. Our faces are a few inches apart. Her small, neat face with its disbelieving brown eyes. The face that a few moments ago was nibbling hesitantly at mine, her tongue flicking at my dry lips, my heart pounding so hard it felt like something that we shared, something that was trapped between us as we lay here on the thin mattress, in this bare room.

What's the next move? I've already ripped one side of her underwear away, something which proved more difficult than I would have thought. My original idea had been to pull them down and off, over her legs, but that was impossible given that I was lying between them. Stupidly, I hadn't really considered it, though this is certainly pre- meditated. Lifting up off her, trying to get her legs straight, that would have given her just too much opportunity to escape. Instead, I yanked on the narrower band of material at the side of her panties. I wouldn't have been able to snap it at all had it not been for a little hole in the fabric that I wormed my fingers into until it opened up a rip. That was when she really panicked, at the sound of the material tearing, and she caught me in the mouth with her head, jerking up off the bed. Teeth denting the inside of my lip, Chrissy's free hand whirring out faster than I could grab it, slapping at my face until my right eye watered. That ripping sound. Fibres dragged apart. Loud in the hushed, expectant room. Echoing slightly now the tape player has stopped. A foreshadowing of all the painful plowing up through flesh and cartilage to come, the membrane buckling under the first thrust.

It was a shame to rip them as they were my favourite pants. Ones I’d bought for her eighteenth birthday in fact. Nothing special really, except they were smaller. Plain white ones, high cut with a little red rose in some crinkly silk at the front. Thank god she had them on instead of those odd, unsexy things she always used to wear. Even so, it took me a while, but I used all the anger that her slapping my face gave me. The muscles in my shoulder straining, the elastic, twisted round my hand and cutting into my fingers. I wasn't sure which would snap first. And then my knuckles, almost broken against the wall next to the bed when the material finally gave. Her face sprayed in spit, a strand of saliva trembling on her neck, pink with blood from my split lip.

“Relax,” I hiss at her. The side of my face puffy, a thin whining in my right ear. ”Relax Chrissy. Jesus Christ.”

Why won't she just relax? Chrissy’s left arm's crumpled up against my chest and I quickly snake my hand under her neck as she lifts her head to protest, grab at the thin wrist, pull the right hand in toward her head. It flutters uselessly there like a sick bird, chin forced down against her chest by my forearm. Good. That gives her less momentum if she tries to sit up.

I gaze at her for a moment, pluck the thick-ish strand of spit from her chin and wipe it on the bed. Then I look away, away from her face. I know mine is ugly, bruised now and broken out of shape by anger, while hers is almost serene. Fear I suppose. Or the shock scooping her out somehow and leaving her hollow. I let my eyes travel down the length of her body. One of her breasts is falling slightly back toward her chin and hummocking against it, spilling over the side of her chest, partly covering her armpit. I can feel the other squashed elastically up beneath me. I want to grab at her breast, test its weight and firmness, pull it out from her chest, feel how large it is in proportion even to my big hands but for the moment I resist, keep trailing my eyes down what I can see of her. Along the sheer indentation of her narrow waist, her short body, stomach flat and corrugated with muscle, past the broken strap of elastic and the triangle of wet white fabric glued loosely over her pubic hair. Down her long legs.

Really, she has no business being a virgin. I'm hard again by the time I've stopped looking at her. My stomach dense with poison. I can feel it, something intractable, a solid ball of need, spiked, trawling through my insides. Something I can't pass or digest until I've done this thing.

I clamp her to me and move my hand down to pull what's left of her underwear away. Predictably, she starts to spasm in protest and I ride about on top, relaxed, easy, as she bucks and swells beneath me.
“Chrissy,” I sigh out impatiently. For the moment everything is calm and I feel her hips chafing gently at mine as she struggles, warm breasts bussing my throat. Her thighs are locked together at the top, trying to keep a grip on the shredded pants. I can see how tightly tucked they are into the damp, green crease between her legs, as though she had little hooks or suckers in there she could use to hold on to them. Full of lazy certainty I pluck at one edge of the material and get a peek of her sandy blonde hair before it flaps back down again.

Then Chrissy starts to yell and immediately I have to stamp my hand over her mouth, press it down hard until her eyes start to roll about and I feel as if my palm has vacuum sealed against her teeth. Even though there isn't supposed to be anyone back at the Halls until the end of the week I have to be careful. I was prepared for this, for all this protest and even though I'm ready now I know I can bide my time. After a year of waiting, with the best part of today and the night ahead of us I can wait a little longer. Perhaps she'll come round, see the logic of it, wonder after the first time why she made such a fuss. After all, unless I have to, I don’t want to use the kitchen knife I've hidden under the bed.


Chrissy is exactly half my age. She's eighteen, just turned, and I therefore have just turned thirty-six. When I say she's exactly half my age, I mean that. We share the same birthday, the twenty-second of November. A significant coincidence. These are the kind of small mysticisms, along with a suitably tattered copy of Marvell, that I've traded on in the process of seducing her.

Naturally I couldn't be there to give Chrissy the present I'd bought for her. I had my own party to attend after all, but I was able to give them to her the next week when, Julia at her mothers for the day, I took the afternoon of work and slipped out to visit her. She was rather shy about it all. Made me turn around, not look at her as usual as she slipped out of one set of underwear to try the next set on, then lie stiffly on the bed to present them to me. Still so nervous and hesitant after almost a year. Flinching slightly as my eyes dropped softly down to devour her.

We were in her flat at university then, as we are now. Halls of Residence. A communal kitchen. Five stark boxes with white matt walls and a scratchy pinkish carpet. Functional desk. Big cork board covered in photos of friends and essay deadlines. Photos of family too, so that lying on her narrow bed during the afternoons I'd roll over onto my back, glance up and see her father grinning and waving at me from the wall, almost as though he couldn't have been more pleased with what was happening, urging me on in his daughter's gradual defloration.
I experienced odd, conflicting emotions looking up and catching Rob, her fathers, eye. Moments of guilt and excitement, a certain wryness, an odd triumph, some self-disgust. I'd spent the past few years after all watching Christina slowly change and develop, move from being to a child to, physically at least, a woman. As had Rob. And he had confessed to some difficulties with this transformation, radical as it was, from the bendy, beanpole kid he'd agreed to into this eruption of flesh. Christina had been a late and spectacularly fulsome bloom. Now sleeping with your friends wife is probably forgivable, but your friend’s daughter, even though it ought to be a lesser affront, well that’s much more difficult to push away. Especially if your daughter is beautiful. Especially if you're not her natural father.


When did it begin exactly? Last Christmas in that draggy, drunken half-week between Boxing day and New Year’s Eve when the momentum slackens, those few ragged days of lull. Over at Rob's house on the Wednesday or Thursday with Julia, the kids asleep upstairs and the five of us sitting around the big table in the living room, plowing through the leftover plonk. I couldn't keep my eyes off Chrissy and the lechery, it seems, especially as my expression slackened under duress of all that red wine, was obvious. It was embarrassing apparently, Julia told me later. Humiliating. Such a bore. Such a lecher. Preening away at the table with your stupid fucking words. Her usual complaint. How did I think it made her feel? She groaned at me, facing the wall while I made no attempt to comfort or console her. And Rob and Andrea? What must they think? Questions I barely heard as I lie on my back in the bed they'd provided for us, staring up at the ceiling, the pulse in my throat hammering thickly enough to give me a headache, knowing that Christina was just in the next room, coiled up in bed. Knowing something that only we two knew. That I had kissed her.

Which is exactly the right way to phrase it, rather than to say that we had kissed. I came down from the bathroom, more drunk than I realised, each step jumping up at me with a jolt and there was Chrissy standing below me, looking a little flustered, pretending to be picking over the bookcase at the foot of the stairs. Eyes unnaturally attached to it until I was almost on top of her, at which point she peeped up at me and moved away, swiveled, opened enough space up to let me pass. I paused behind her.

“Looking for anything particular?” I asked and she shook her head, back still to me, let me reach over her shoulder and pull something from the shelf, something I recommended. Something I thought might prove to her my left-field credentials. My eternal youth. One of the Beats or Henry Miller, I forget precisely. She had to turn and take it from me as I pretended to be scrutinising the fist page. Before I really had time to consider it the words were out of my mouth. Would you mind if I kissed you? A half- apologetic edge to my voice, slightly reproachful as though it was her beauty that were to blame, that had put me in this embarrassing, undignified position. Her face was sharp against the hazy light in the hall, clean and untouched, no trace of age or experience in her eyes. Pure flesh.

Something took me over. I didn’t wait for a response, clasped her face between my hands, pressed my lips against hers, felt how inexperienced she was with kissing, mouth screwed closed and only slowly loosening under the pressure. There was a thin and subtle perfume snaking up from her, a long strand of scent that came tickling up between us from somewhere deep inside the tightly layered bud of her womanhood. It was only for a few seconds but I felt her craning up. Knew she wanted it and crushed her to me, released even more of that fragrance, body pressing against mine, ran my hands down her back, circled her waist, until Chrissy pulled away, breathless, or overcome, or shocked, I wasn’t sure. Startled certainly. As we both were. I could see my face in the mirror next to the bookcase, inflamed, nostrils flared, something equine in it, a thin glint of sweat across my forehead. Her eyes were down again, scurrying all over my feet as I stepped back.
“Happy Christmas,” I croaked at her with what I hoped was a jaunty, affable air, as though this was all a part of the pleasant seasonal ritual. I wanted to pick her up off the floor, have my teeth in her throat there and then, feel her taut flesh in my hands, the soft integrity of her skin. Instead I went back into the dining room, sat down opposite Rob and Andrea, sat down next to my wife and smiled. Almost laughed. An exhilaration I'd feared I might never feel again was spitting through me and all the drink that had been weighing me down seemed to lift and clear. Chrissy came back into the room a minute or so later, sat down next to her dad. I could sense her looking at me from the corner of her eye all the while, sense the girlish, unchecked love she had for me and how infatuated she'd become, perhaps always had been. I felt how impressive I was. How desirable. And suddenly, drunk and full of fire, the words were singing out of me, weaving patterns around us in the dim room as she sat rapt at my eloquence.

“Had we but world enough and time/ this coyness mistress were no crime.”

Famous lines that, ever since I've been involved with Chrissy, I've been trying to convey the full significance of, especially that final word in the second line. Crime. That's how the poet sees it I tell her. Virtue. An unhealthy murdering of the natural impulses, an unconscionable fettering of vitality and desire. He's not really talking about Virtue as such, but what that term is a mask for, timidity. This whole poem is a hymn to Vitalism. It predates Nietzsche but it’s in his register, I tell her. These are things that check and counter the great impersonal forces that wear us away to dust. Our compensations, lust for experience, for colour and sensation. It is a kind of crime not to live fully and with all your passion, to live without continually testing the boundary of your own courage and experience, a kind of murder of ones unborn future selves. The greatest crime is innocence, I've reminded her, after the manner of Genet. Christina has nodded along and said that she understands. She’s a bright girl certainly, but she's had difficulty converting these ideas into any kind of active principle.

I want to whisper those lines in her ear as I lie on top of her now, just as I've whispered them in her ear many times before. I know she likes it, that she’s receptive to this, the warm air eddying around and draining down into her, raising the skin up on her arms. How she almost squeals and tries to pull away when the tip of my tongue intrudes a little into the tallow dent of her ear-hole, or if I catch the lobe and grind it gently between my teeth.

The beauty of that first line is in how breathy it is, the long vowels, the plosives and fricatives filling her ear up until its overflowing, pleasure trickling down and bringing the colour out on her cheeks. Her pale and slender neck flushing red, a light mottling, lips swelling with the blood whispering out around her, breasts growing heavier and more malleable, the aureole around her nipple darkening. Everything swelling up in displacement for the small ingress of my tongue or breath into her ear.

I press my mouth against the side of her head, smelling her hair, feeling its texture against my face. She tries to move away but I have it securely clamped. We jostle about on the bed a little and I watch her breast roll around like a panicked eye. Let me whisper in your ear Chrissy. Let me overwhelm you with this poetry, the words and the real, sensual feel and flow of language as its uttered, its effects upon your skin, on your blood and nerves. That’s what I want but she keeps trying to move her head away, turning her face toward me so she can bury her exposed ear in the pillow. I kiss her forehead instead and she closes her eyes. I kiss those too. Feel the eyeball swimming gelatinously around under its thin hood, the veins that my tongue bumps over.

“Open your eyes, Chrissy, look at me,” I tell her and they bound open. Such huge eyes, greedy eyes gulping down the light in long draughts as though darkness could drown her. What's in them? I think I see some surrender, some softening, her dry fear moistened a little now with sensuality, making her more pliable. Her nostrils are pinching in and out slowly, in time with her more controlled, less ragged breathing. Perhaps we're getting somewhere. The room is growing dimmer, settling down, the day giving way slowly under the pressure of the night. I go for the ear again and she whips her head violently around, almost breaking my nose, a sudden itchy clangour behind me eyes that forces tears out. In a burst of rage I pull my hand off her face and slam it down on her cunt, my finger burrowing away at the material bitten into it. A yell of protest comes tearing up out of her and I'm obliged to leave the dry fissure between her legs for the moment and slap my wet palm back down over her face.

No choice. I'll have to gag her somehow.


The effect that first kiss with Chrissy had upon me was extraordinary. For the next few days of keeping the kids amused and visiting relatives the blood was humming in my veins. A thick wad of dead skin sloughed away, toughened up and clean, as though all the heat that clasping her body against mine released had annealed me somehow. People commented on what good spirits I was in, jocular, frivolous, more fun than I'd been in years. But in my mind, obsessively, again and again I replayed, in the realm beyond touch, the feeling of her body against mine, saw it as broken disks and ellipses overlaying her silhouette, a phantom tingling in my hands, a nettling in my palms that I knew could only be soothed against the coolness of her flesh.

I made a token effort to try and talk myself out of doing anything about it, spent all of the holidays and the first few days of the New Year play-fighting with my conscience, though I was simply delaying rather than really debating my intended actions. Then, lying in bed on the second or third of January and watching Julia get undressed the matter was decided for me. She slipped between sheets squeaky with cold, pinched at my hand, a perfunctory touch, and rolled away onto her side. Once I'd heard her breathing thicken up with sleep, I slipped out of bed again, crept downstairs and began to write a letter.

Julia's undressing had filled me full of hate for her. The grainy pouch of skin that swung from her belly in a sad unfilled fold when she rolled her tights down, her breasts sucked flat, textured like the skin that forms on hot milk, nipples peach stones with a few flecks of gummed flesh furring them. The shape the kids have gnawed and tugged them into. It wasn’t quite disgust I felt, more like a burst of loathing, as though she had been continually and remorselessly insulting me, that her defeated, middle-aged body defamed me somehow. She turned and my eye was sharp with anger, picked over every defect, every blight of age upon her, buttocks bulging out at the back, pitted around the edges, slashes of cellulite in broken rings around the back of her thighs, greenish filigree of varicose veins, her legs unshaven, coarse black bristles against the pale skin. When she glanced over at me, shrouding herself in the dressing gown again, I had to flick my eyes back down on the book before she saw the metal, the malice that was in them.

Time and birth had of course chewed her up in a way that it hadn't yet done to me. That wasn't her fault. Nor was the fact that I had married a woman eight years my senior. But though nobody was to blame the ugly, unfulfilling fact of it squatted in my guts secreting something black and bitter that shriveled up any love I felt for her. I ran a hand over my own chest as Julia came around the bed toward me, winding the clock, setting the alarm for the morning, the first day back at work. Felt how my belly was slackening, my chest beginning to spread and pucker into tits. How much longer before I had no possibilities but Julia, or women of her age? How long did I have left before I couldn’t even dent the senses of the most impressionable teenage girl? Before I faded into the background, into the opaque plain the old occupy, tucked away, invisible to their eyes. Not long. And I knew that here, with Christina, resided my last and most incandescent hope. That we could provide each other with something. My flame guttering, hers just beginning to flare. The last lunge for release before my strength failed, her first sip of strong, stewed juice.

And so I wrote her a letter, fingers numb with cold now the heating had gone off, sitting at the desk in what we optimistically call my study, a cramped little cupboard between the living room and the kitchen that smells of soap powder and kitchen refuse. The letter that dropped through her door a few days later and which she read up in her room, head whirling, the paper dancing in her hands, unable to believe that she could inspire so much intensity in a man as wise and experienced as I was. How he'd granted her a passport to the dizzy, arcane world of the adult. A letter from her father's oldest friend being delivered right under his nose. She felt how single-minded passion was, how its articulation would allow no impediment, that no punishment was greater than leaving desire unexpressed. Well, little did she know how it might ripen and then rot around the edges, inflaming who ever it moldered in. All this desire damned up and left to stagnate. The clean draught I drank from her lips the first night I kissed her has spoiled. My guts are full of brackish water now.

Still, it's ironic that something as banal as that letter should have incited such excitement or taken me so long to write. I was in there for hours, trying to find the right tone, though of course Christina would have been happy with anything, the mere fact that a letter arrived at all was confirmation enough, its content was secondary. It could only mean one thing. Nor am I sorry that my style as such went unrecorded. Really, in those chilly, overwrought hours I was trying to set the tenor of my own feelings, searching for a mode of presentation, for a mask if you like, that I could use to hide the fervor in my face, to find a voice not too raked with need.

It was a letter which, if and when it's made public will mortify me more than anything else. The motives for a rape can make some gesture toward the eternal, speak of the constant overflow of desire that no puny morality can damn or check, but bad style, clinical mawkishness, playing the reluctant admirer, making accusations of coercion in the seduction you are about to begin. These things are truly shameful.

And what will her father say? Will Rob understand? Despite all the experience he's had of what might be termed, the dark side of having a daughter, I doubt he'll really allow himself to. I can imagine that most of Chrissy’s caution has been created by his hesitancy, by his timorous example. Worrying away at staying unperturbed instead of acknowledging that the only real calm can come once the storm has wreaked the worst of its damage. I can sympathise with him. I too have come to this conclusion late. But I have come to it.
Take his attitude toward Marvell for example.

“Isn't there something basically odious about a poem where the main aim is to get a woman into bed” He asked me once as we were sitting sipping gin out in his big back garden, watching Christina and her mother larking around a few feet away, flicking bright ropes of water at each other out of the garden hose. Cool in the shade of a sky blue parasol. Perhaps two years ago.

“Language is seductive. That's unavoidable.” I answered, not really listening, my eyes still drawn to the mother and daughter in their shorts and summer tops. Angela no less beautiful now than she had been fifteen years before when they'd met. When I'd introduced the two of them.

“But can't it be a tool of domination too?” His voice was nipped with earnestness and reluctantly I pulled my eyes away from the bright day and squinted at him, fished the lemon from the bottom of my glass, bit into the small semi-circle of bitter flesh. Though I like Rob and though he has always been generous, I do have a certain contempt for him. He's a musician. Has some idea, some vague Paterian notion, woolly as the Argyles he wears in winter, that we all secretly aspire to his art form. I disagree. Music’s a cowardly if beguiling form of expression. The real terrors and ecstasies are to be found in language.

“Well,” I said, crunching up an ice cube, laughter fluttering over to us, rippling the surface of the still day, butterflies against the mouth of the dim cave we sat in. ”Domination. That’s a little strong. Is it domination to disagree with someone, to argue against their belief? I see it rather as a means to enlightenment,” I began to muse out loud, something I have a tendency to do. “I suppose there is a kind of implicit violence, or coercion at least, in reading or listening. It’s the craft of the writer to drag you in and hold you, and in doing so they might present you with ideas you'd rather not encounter, pain, ugly truths: force you to feel things you'd have preferred not to. But domination? You can always put the book down. There has to be some degree of complicity. I prefer the term ravishment. Yes,” I told him, ”I like that.”

Ravishment.

“But not just in books in life we….” he started, sitting up off his lounger, full of boyish energy, ready for a tussle. I knew exactly what he was going to say.

“ Look!” I interrupted. “What forms us? Are we better off if we live a life experiencing only those things we elect to experience, if that's even possible? We're all victims of the world in one sense or another. It confronts us, disposes of us this way and that, obliges us to chose often between equally questionable alternatives. We’re in an impossible position. Caught between the equal agonies of action and passivity, there are consequences to both. We dare not oppress anyone with our own needs or ideas, yet we yearn for things, were full of desire. I say, don’t hide from what you want. Embrace it and take full responsibility for the consequences.”

“Anything you want to do?” he asked.

And then I had said it, and made myself a coward suddenly in my own eyes. Looking at them both, at mother and daughter. “Anything”
“Hmmm. That’s an old idea though isn’t it.” He responded, gazing at wife and child moving solidly through the soft, pollen rich light. “I don’t know. I just don’t know”


Today has been as cold as the day, over a year before, that I sat down to write Christina that first, initiatory letter. Intensely cold and bright, a rare, raw day, the buildings humming beneath a thin skin of frost, vibrating slightly, everything painted with broken strokes, the trees whittled into shadows by the low sun, threads of ink blown against the crisp, white page of the day. A beautiful day to be wandering about in.

“We would sit down and think which way/ to walk and pass our love’s long day.”

Indeed, had we but time enough, my love. More immediately I need to know what I can use to gag her with. It has to be something within easy reach. The pillowcase perhaps. She's normally so quiet, so reticent and attentive to my speech that I really hadn't expected her to protest so vocally. Of course she won’t speak. I realise that now, realise no dialogue is possible. She'll merely scream, make noises, and only then when I force them out of her. She's a well brought-up girl, her mother’s seen to that. Won’t use language crassly, crying for help or begging, let alone ranting and raving at me. But she will scream if I try to touch her, try to dip my fingers into the font between her thighs, this holy sepulcher, this temenos, this sacred and anointed space.

“What are you saving it for? Marriage? I know you don't have any conviction in that.” I tell her walking my fingertips down her belly. ”It has to be breached sometime, why not now? Are you going to stay a virgin forever? No. You're too frightened to let yourself go. I'm going to help you. Some woman have to be taken or they languish, lose their best years.”

There’s a quaver of altruism in my voice. How can I make her understand? Am I trying to persuade her still, make her compliant, break down her reluctance with my logic? Dismiss those ideas, I tell myself. She can't understand it yet, it may take her many more years, a lifetime before the significance of what I’m about to do to her becomes clear. I find myself close to some attempt at self-justification. No. This isn't about me or her, or any kind of ideas or rhetoric. It’s about action, about desire so bright and fierce it has burned all other considerations away.

And yet, even though I'm already one step beyond it, I can’t get that poem out of my mind.

Christina flinches as I slip my thumb under the loose flap of fabric and begin burrowing along through the damp mat of pubic hair down toward that aperture, the portal, the way in, the door, the opening, the gash, the hole. A centimeter or so away from the groove I can sense cutting up into her she begins to fight against me, thrashes around, a few millimeters more movement and she shouting again, no words just a long wail pitched so high it hurts my ear as she lifts her head up of my forearm and brings her screaming mouth closer. Something in my ear twangs sickeningly under the pressure, warps, I pull my head away, crane my neck back to get away from it, push my hand down over her face, feel as though my hand is moving against some thing solid, as though the sound had a body and a substance. In the dim room for a second I imagine I can see it, the column of flayed light I’m forcing back down her throat again, locking in and sealing with my palm. Something ectoplasmic. I can sense it still vibrating in her throat.

For some reason suddenly I’m frightened. I have to gag her somehow. Both of us struggling minutely here on this bed in the semi-dark. I feel as though someone's looking down on us, feel dissociated, not willful at all but merely a puppet of some kind, a conduit for some force greater than myself. I think about all the rapes that have occurred, are occurring now and suddenly the ghost of all of them is incarnating itself here in our grappling flesh, on this damp mattress, in this room among cold, deserted fields.

What am I doing? I look around the room suddenly. No. No-one’s watching. There’s only the two of us. I look back at Chrissy and my eye has been so close to hers, my focus so narrow for the past, how long? hour, two hours, I can’t tell any more, that she suddenly seems impossibly huge, like the edge of a continent I’m clinging to. Disorientation. I wish I could pull away from her and re-align my perspective but it’s impossible. The roots of my eyes throb with compressed sight.

I heave myself up on top of Christina, arms blunt and numb from the strain of keeping her locked on the bed. They start to spasm with the effort, right shoulder jerking around as though there's something frightened trapped under my flesh trying to fight its way out, right arm pinned into a right angle through the elbow by a bolt of dull steel, the hand around her wrist fat with a tingling that’s growing sharper by the second. I yank my arm out from under her head and grasp the underside of the bed, clamping down on her so there’s no escape off the edge. She squirms under me, grappling for a breath and I go for the pillow, grab it at the sealed end, lash my arm out behind me, subduing the muscle trying to rip through the skin below my shoulder, flinging the pillow out of its case, feathery, muffled thump as it hits the wall. The slip hanging limply from my fingers. Chrissy’s free hand slapping ineffectually around on my back. She'd scratch me if she wasn’t one of those nervous girls who bites her nails down to the quick, leaves a ragged edge of varnish nipping into the pink flesh that rings it. In a second I’ve stuffed my fingers into her mouth, the warm, ribbed cave, tongue recoiling from the dusty material, her little teeth on my fingers, sharp even through the protection, nipping tightly for a moment and then springing open again as she gags. I stuff more material in, watch her throat rebelling in thick ripples, too much for her to push out again or swallow, see a yellowish tint wash across her eyes and deaden them. A funnel of crinkly fabric half covering her face. I flatten it out a little, smooth down some of the ridges, so I can see her better.

Now, if I'm careful I could have a free hand and no screaming. Free reign. The liberty to do anything I please.

Dominion. Of course I’ve rehearsed this moment in my mind many times, played out different scenarios. Tying her hands up and having her completely restrained, completely at my disposal and under my power is of course the bed from which the divergent fantasies have sprouted. Some end with her weeping gratefully in my arms having experienced prolonged, painfully intense orgasms, others with my killing her, some even with her exacting her revenge in the final throws of my assault upon her and driving the knife into my heart. All seem equally possible and appealing, but I know that two lives entangling in the real world can never reach the same conclusion as a single idea acted out under the direction of one mind, even if one of those lives, minds, wills is as half-formed as Christina’s. It has its own fledgling strength and slowly, incrementally begins to push the shot away from its intended target, to ease the locomotive off the rails.

It's a common enough general experience that people, when they here about such outrages as - teacher rapes young girl- ask themselves this question. What must it be like to loose control? I remember that when a colleague of mine was prosecuted for fondling some ephebe in the changing rooms a number of years ago, everyone else speculated with a shudder what it must be like, to find yourself lost in a fevered red mist, your rational mind a dim nail head among the rust coloured drapes. That was the talk in the staff room. What came over him, was the question, why had he lost control? I wondered too and imagined it in the same way. A mania, a frenzy, the damp brick crumbling, the white flood raging through you.

But it’s not like that at all. Transgression is a rather a self-mastering, a reclamation of the strong and authentic self from the blight of timidity and ethics. There is no rolling of the eyes I've discovered, no transport, no jettisoning or loss of self. It's not a Dionysian moment; it’s intensely concentrated, densely crystalline. A moment where mind and body are one, when there is no more agony or questioning.. No murk but rather a clearing of the fog that shrouds us, the will honed to point, a knife pushing cleanly through doubt. It has a severe, wintry beauty of its own this mindset, stripped clean of life and dazzling in its inhospitability. Landscapes like this remind you that life is a practical affair. All my concerns, from the moment I pinned Chrissy to the bed, have been practical.

This sewer in my guts, this abscess swollen with lust that my mind will lance.

Chrissy tries to pull the pillowcase out of her mouth and as she goes for that I go for her cunt again. For a second she's at a loss and I get my hand onto it, under her knickers, feel it, a sealed, silken crease almost indistinguishable in its texture from the material I've pushed past. This is the closest contact, after a year or more, that I have had with her, though I’ve chewed her flat, resistant nipples up into points and dragged my tongue all over her. My heart swims and then sinks, touching it, feeling how unbroken, how closely sealed she is. Though it has got a little better recently she's told me. She can get a tampon in now, she's announced proudly. Something she could never manage before. I clucked in appreciation at the news, felt a little pity mingle with my anger and desperation. If only she knew how hungrily that mouth can gape. How it can gulp and suckle. With the flat of my fingers pressed against her I’m puzzled for a second, can’t feel any access. Like a knife wound in the trunk of tree polished smooth by time, velveteen but unyielding.

Chrissy's hand, scrunched up into a fist, shudders against my wrist. She half sits up on the bed, taking advantage of my distraction and surprise as I snap it back, feel a bruised point just below my thumb where her ring struck me. I try to jam my hand up between her thighs again and she clasps me around the wrist, arm straight at the elbow. I strain against it but any advance is impossible. Instead I rip my arm back, snap her grip and go in again, Christina’s hand deflecting mine as she tries to protect her cunt, this thing that has become almost like an object, an artifact that neither of us own, a box of jewels, a chalice, something on the bed between us that were fighting for the ownership of.


A year of slow progress then. A year of wheedling and baby steps, small concessions, tentative advances, moving toward the day when she's ready to let herself go. I was so patient all through that year, hanging above her as she squirmed about on the bed, eyes clamped closed, my fingers playing over her, pinching and stroking, my tongue and teeth everywhere. Except there. Here. Even my hand hovering over her groin would make her flinch and twitch away. What’s wrong, I ask her and she tells me, nothing, that she just doesn’t know, that she's not used to having anyone’s hand down there.

And I've lain on top of her, gnawing away, naked, rubbing myself as hard as I've ever been against the thin white fabric webbing her crotch, the friction burning dryly against the head of my cock, a burning I want to salve in the balm I'm a fraction of an inch away from. Dry humping her until it’s unbearable, her breasts balled up in my fists and her legs wrapped around me, lips grazing hungrily. Lying there until it’s unbearable and I have to excuse myself suddenly. Stagger into the bathroom and slump over the sink, corpse-white in the unforgiving strip lights, trying not to look at myself in the mirror as I wank into the sink, spit gobbets of come against the cracked, dank mouth of the overflow, hear something ancient and mournful whistling minutely up from its damp green depths. Squeeze the last semi-translucent residues out and flick them at plughole, the water sluicing around and carrying them away. Down through the intricacies of pipes and plumbing into the fetor of the sewer. Congealed and quivering in the water, flecks of ghost flesh.

The sadness and the bitter burning in my throat at those moments, my face red and rashed with sweat when I finally raised my eyes to my own reflection. The light in that bare bathroom did me few favours and I could see how the flesh was beginning to hang off my bones, greasy creases under my eyes, chin and cheeks losing their definition, skin getting bitty and flawed like cheap paper, coarse and full of grain, the paper on which the lineaments of my own decline were being sketched. From that, back to Christina shining on the bed, her crisp clean lines, arms clasped demurely over her chest as she pulls the quilt up to cover herself.

Or if it wasn’t the sink I relieved myself into it was, worse still, Julia. Getting her in the bathroom as she cleaned her teeth before bedtime, or as she came out of the shower, silently, both of us grim and desperate, from behind on the bed or bent over the bath so she couldn't see the sickness and fury in my face, see me mouthing Chrissy’s name like a curse at the back of her shuddering head, my nostrils twitching at the slight scent coming from her arsehole, warm rubber and meat.

Now, those moments of enervation and squalor seem pitiful to me. Wretched. I know what I want, have known for a long time and will insist with all my strength on having it. When the realisation came to me that, rather than toying with the idea, I really was going to have her by force, then I felt a huge burden lift from me. Or I should say, a constant and remorseless voice that had been whining away at me all my life suddenly fell silent and the peace, the contentment I felt was a great bliss. A greater bliss than the simpler pleasure of being inside Christina, no doubt, but that act is an inevitable adjunct to it.


Now the knife would make everything simpler I know, but if I let go of her, do I have time to get to it before Chrissy has got to the door and escaped? I can’t imagine her fleeing naked down the hall, yelling for help out into the twilight. She’d probably consider the rape itself a lesser indignity. Her hand is still around my wrist, the knuckle of my thumb against her crotch. A pause, an inrush of breath, dredging up the last of my strength. I yank my hand away, break her grip, feel as though a layer of skin is still clinging to her hot palm. One arm lifted up and back the other flailing around under the bed trying to find the carrier bag with the knife and belt in, a dressing gown sash, toweling, for tying her up with. I rock about on top of her for a second, anchorless, and she uses it to her advantage, bucks up off the bed with all her strength and lifts me up. I teeter, then she bucks her lovely hips up again and sends me slipping off the edge, grabbing for her as I fall, clasping at her left hand, exposed now, oddly pale and squashed flat on the bed, like a root discovered under a rock. My head hits the floor and I feel the impact shudder through me, ripple across my vision. It calms and I can see the bag directly in front of me under the bed, white mouth gaping open, tongue of a silver blade sticking out. I grab at it as Chrissy lunges off the bed and drags me on my side across the coarse carpet, tough fibers brushing the skin into a long purple bruise. I howl and leap to my feet, hand around her right wrist as she pulls the pillowcase out of her mouth and begins coughing. In the soft dusk, naked, distressed, she looks magnificent. I almost loosen my grip on her for a second as we stand there like a couple of dancing partners, frozen in the floodlights.

But I can’t let her go yet. I yank Chrissy toward me and she spins around, stumbles forward, shoulder hitting me at chest height and unbalancing us. We both go over backward, the patchwork bean-bag Angela made for her breaking our fall, the knife spinning out of my grip, pirouetting in the air and dropping down beside Chrissy as our heads hit the wall with a thud and the bean bag shifts under our weight, creates a slope, channeling us into the corner. Something hot against my back. I roll onto her as much as I can trying to get away from the radiator I can feel searing my flesh. Half on top of her again. Somehow in all this frantic swapping of grips we’ve conspired to get ourselves back in exactly the same position. That arm that surfaced for a moment smothered under me again, my hand under her head again, her hand caught in my grip. I try to shift further away from the radiator. I can feel it blistering my skin. The knife, though it must be only a foot away next to the bed, is something I dare not try for. In case she gets there first.

What can I do? “Chrissy, Chrissy, come on, come on,” I whisper, pressing my lips to her ear, head jammed against the wall, she can’t move it this time. Tongue flurrying in and out, trying belatedly, long past the point of no return to turn her on. If not by force then perhaps still by persuasion. The radiator melting its grooves into my back. She’s so beautiful. So young. I look at her again and sob, know there’s nothing else I can do. That my strength’s gone. That my great initiative has failed.

Here I am now. Not where I expected. Of course. And this is how it ends then, though it has ended at last, at least. It ends with my eyes closed, mouth babbling brokenly and wet with the tears that leak through my lids. Ends with my tongue swimming through the vast, cold depths of her ear. With my free hand tugging away numbly at my cock until my brain surges, snuffs and I spatter both our faces, cementing them together forever there against the damp wall.

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