ithin the twenty-nine
building corporate campus, I drifted expertly, replacing toner, water
jugs—the stuff secretaries used to do before they went largely extinct
in the new economy. In a distant building I closed a conference room door
behind me and set out to tidy up what a large meeting had left in disarray.
As I wiped down the whiteboard, the splatter of multicolored ink struck
me as beautiful, if primitive, like some abstruse art. I tried to make
sense of the Byzantine diagrams, to determine what plans the company was
making, and how they would effect the lives of my fellow employees. There
was a handful of large arrows bent into the shape of a circle, apparently
to represent a cycle of production, marketing, and purchasing. There were
several arrows pointing in and out of the cycle, but these seemed haphazardly
drawn, and purposely confusing. Stick figures in bunches I could easily
interpret as teams of people, like the ones I used to be on, and dollar
signs were whiteboardese for investment or revenue. What appeared to be
a unicorn in a box was reached by a lengthy dotted line. Was this a code
for a secret product or an image symbolic of the magic, ineffable ingredient
in successful business ventures? I threw candy wrappers and coffee cups
in the trash, collected scrap paper to put in the recycling bin, and took
some abandoned office supplies to a supply closet down the hall. Reaching
high above my head to place items on a top shelf, my pinky finger grazed
something almost rubbery. I let a few other fingers seek out its surface,
and this time it felt more like skin than rubber. It was warm. I moved
my hand further and further back, stretching from the tips of my toes
so I could reach so far. I was searching for where the skin—it was skin,
I was sure—ended and hair began, but there was no hair, at least as far
as I could reach, and just then, the supply closet door latch turned,
and my hand recoiled at the feel of a wiggle or a shiver.
A general rustling from the top shelf and
then from different, obscured corners of the closet continued as the closet
door creaked, and it was, oddly, Xena, seated in her motorized wheelchair,
struggling through the doorway. My campus wandering was such that I realized
only then that I was in her building. Once she’d edged her way inside
without help, she stared at me for a few seconds, first placing me, and
then as if I shouldn’t have been there.
“Uh, hi?” she mused.
“Hi, hi,” I replied, still distracted by
the corners of the closet, now ominously quiet.
“Uh, dude, have you seen my dog?” she asked.
“Um, no, I mean, I’m just putting a few
things away. Like pens and stuff, the usual, and I was reaching back there
“Right,” she cut me off. “If you see him,
his name is Joxer. Try not to inflict pain on him this time.” She raised
both eyebrows, motored a 180 degree turn and then out the door.
After she left, I combed through every
inch of that closet but found nothing that felt like skin, that scurried,
that was alive. I left the closet and just a few steps down the hall,
I found a few sheets of paper on the carpet. I picked them up and looked
around to see who might have dropped them. On the front side of each page
was a different email memo, each typical and mundane. But on the opposite
sides were more poems, like the other I’d found.
On this day Len was right- ===========================
sized @3:23PM Sixteen of us are left in vacuum =======
smell area [E] =======================================
@4:00 in Queen Latifah ===============================
b/c Group Managers get to name =======================
Conference Rooms there are two =======================
& one half pizzas Beside parking lot “garden” ========
Len is a miniature through burnt coral Levlor ========
He begat the VULTURE intra-office listserv ===========
@4:03 I will eat w/respect two slices of pesto/ ======
black olive for Len ==================================
His cube is distributed ==============================
among us @4:08 =======================================
I struggle to hold =========================†=========
his ERGOkeyboard Margie ==============================
Sturges now seizures in Cube222 A Ready- =============
Set-Temp goes mouth-to-mouth =========================
til @4:10 I push him off & pull medicine from her ====
beige mini-backpack The time is 4:16 when I walk =====
Out & above Most Beautiful Highway In The World
through my dusty windshield a hawk swings ============
a snake from its talons & I ==========================
nearly dent a Mazda Miata ============================
============ clips as if an impossibly slight asteroid
========== belt Hurled by Cubeman “I’LL NEUTER HIM” In
======== that voice that inflection The cube walls re-
======= Verberate against us 3 other cubemates + him
======= 4 on t/his most sardined of cube floors Just 1
======= tenant in touch with his “MOTHER FUCKER” & any
======= thing he might throw around Slam the phone Yes
======= Get it all out O’er the shard HR parsed out
=======a desk/rage A knock without a door & I say How
======= tragic Yet we forget the Greek: labor = sorrow
======= It’s all work to me O t/his cube is contagious
======= Tempt me to catch it CubemAN&I’LLCARVEYOUNEWHO
===£=== & anger is a ward Or two Baby blues
======= pencil tips point in my direction Snap crackle
======= “YOU GOT A PROBLEM?” he asks but we 3 withdraw
======= to flick our glowing butts outside the lobby &
======= Clear the corral The “AlphaBraille” may recon-
===== cile w/cubic inanimates Another touching moment?
== We toke & vent while SUVs & leather-fed sedans rush
== by Raspy highway sound intervals & tobacco ex/hales
Dude was tailgating through ==========================
six proximity readers No shoot? Yeah six And =========
I notice he doesn’t have an organizer ================
or anything ==========================================
Damn girl it’s him THE PENETRATOR ============§=======
Right that’s what ====================================
I said to myself So after the sixth ==================
he blows like wind into Quadrant I-Love-Lucy =========
Did you bird dog ‘em? Affirmative ====================
Then I see him THE PENETRATOR ========================
duck in a cube and ===================================
fist a wallet maybe some cashews and =================
like this cloth thing ================================
What the F did you ===================================
Do? Well I tail him again I mumble something =========
about a fax to act natural and =======================
he’s all stealing bullshit like ======================
mugs and =============================================
fills up a stolen briefcase ==========================
Girl bright as an LED Uh so in the stairwell =========
I actually ask for ===================================
his ID No bleepin’ way Yeah and ======================
he just looks back at me and =========================
his eyes are sad and =================================
Quiet His mouth has a tiny tic and ===================
he’s got this nick on his ============================
cheek from shaving His neck tan and ==================
a bit creased I reach out Hold his free ==============
hand softly Come again? ==============================
I took these poems back to my cubicle and fished the very first one I’d
found out of the bottom of my recycling bin. I sat at my desk, read the
one on top, placed it beneath the others, read the one on top, placed
it beneath the others, and so forth, until I knew them so well I could
quietly recite large portions of them by memory. Reading about these people,
Len and the employee stuck with Cubeman and, of course, The Penetrator,
I knew none of them, and I knew, for instance, that there was no Building
33, but they were unmistakably my co-workers, and the setting was unmistakably
my office. I’d seen the Queen Latifah conference room in Building 27,
not far from the Rick Ocasek and Bruce Jenner conference rooms, and I’d
used the VULTURE listserv myself, when it was still safe for me to stand
silently eating next to several co-workers. Even in those first run-ins
with the poems, cycling another’s observations through my brain for a
few small moments, I felt buoyed, able to see such things myself, able
to ruminate with greater poignancy about my own condition, my post-employee,
pre-termination status, adrift on my makeshift cubicle craft in a vast
and shifting sea of living, breathing, emotionally operative humans who,
like so much sea water, were indifferent to my very existence. That wasn’t
so bad. “Vast and shifting sea…” I improvised a few more lines before
it sank in that not only I had never known these people in the poems,
but that I’d not known much of anyone here, not even long ago when I attended
meetings, took direction from a manager, and courteously exchanged e-mail
with others whose work intersected with mine. I felt, above all, as if
I had missed something. But the poet didn’t. S/he wrote these poems as
a testament that s/he didn’t. S/he might have become intimate with The
Penetrator, letting him in the building through side doors, together gleefully
exploring other corporate headquarters. Their children might have played
together beside some park picnic table, their spouses finding surprising
commonalities over a beer. Even when s/he went home alone (if s/he ever
did), s/he had the poems, the contented pleasure of knowing s/he had created
them, accomplished them. I noticed I was gnawing on the inside of my cheek;
I held one impulse to light a match and burn the pages and another to
type my name at the top of each and call them my own.
I wandered the halls, lingering in front of cubicles and conference rooms
with new eyes. Each person was a story I hadn’t yet read, a story I might
endeavor to discover and which might, in fact, lead me to this poet. And
then, in the office periphery, I glimpsed a small, possibly furry scampering.
Perhaps another story. If this was the same creature I’d felt in my cubicle,
what was its connection to the poems, to the poet? Was the poet its owner?
Its friend? Its hunter? Maybe their relationship was complicated, where
s/he once fed it and took care of it, but it had wanted to leave the poet,
to live a life of independence here in the office, and yet the poet ceaselessly
pursued it, albeit one step behind, a la reporter Jack McGee and a painted
green Lou Ferrigno. Perhaps it was even the creature’s movements that
dictated the dissemination of the poems themselves, as the poet would
discharge them haphazardly along the path of his quest for the elusive
I zigzagged through the maze of cubicles, and then again saw an ambiguous
form dash through a door swung open by an unwitting accomplice of an employee.
I gave chase and saw it bolt past the building receptionist and out the
swinging main entrance door, where I lost it amidst the parked cars. My
cheek to the ground to peek beneath a row of cars, the hot wedge of asphalt
smelled sour, smoky, like a saucepan left empty too long atop a burner.
I wanted to seize this animal at my chest, soothe its oily brain and squirmy
piston legs by gently stroking its baldness, letting it know that I understood,
I was familiar, that we were cousins, brothers linked as misfits in an
unforgiving environment, that together we were safe.
A blur of fur in the distance dashed amongst mufflers and oversized tires;
I rumbled in its direction; there! a tail behind a tire; I lurched, wisps
of fleeting tail fur threaded through my fingers. My legs rounded bumpers,
my hands as pivots on car hoods, my head bobbing up and down for perspective
as I narrowed the gap. It scurried in no particular direction, keenly
aware of my hungry hands, and again, I lost sight of it. The sun’s reflection
off a plane wing in the clear sky above startled me when, elsewhere in
my peripheral vision, the thing was making a move across a gap in the
cars; three charging steps and I was on it, fumbling on the ground with
one leg and then its heaving ribcage, its head rotated unnaturally around,
its incisors a barrage of white on my arms, me up on one knee and another
flash—the sun’s brilliant reflection again—this time off the grille of
a Toyota 4Runner, rapidly advancing on my skull.
When I came to, I was still on my back, on the pavement, mops of female
hair like canopies of Cypress trees looming overhead. I heard a shrill
voice say, “He was just trying to save it,” and another, a deep bass,
“I didn’t even see the dude. I just felt, like, full-on impact. Are you
OK, bud? Is he OK?” A clearing was made and a wheelchair motored up to
“Oh, you poor thing,” Xena said, her square head nicely backlit, the brunt
of her sword peeking out from her side, and for a moment I considered
the scene as a device, a concoction of the television writers aimed at
developing excitement while introducing the Xena character to new characters
and storylines. I looked around to see if anyone else here was in costume.
“Can you hear me?” The Westie was in her arms, and as she leaned close
to me, it growled and then snapped. “Joxer!” She pulled back. “Are you
“Um…” was all I could muster.
“They’ve called an ambulance for you. You might have a concussion.”
I replayed these two sentences over in my head a few times before they
set in. With the vague sense that I should be in anguish, I pulled my
hands up to my skull, feeling immediately a large lump, and then what
seemed a gaining throb and ache. This faded somewhat when it dawned on
me what she had first said: the ambulance. I glanced around: four—no—five
people. All staring at me, a counterfeit employee. I imagined Grandma
in her synthetic satin-y gown, scavenging the medical equipment from the
yard after being evicted because I’d lost my job, because I’d been lying
to them about it for months. She’d pick up the pornographic magazines
that had been thrown onto the grass from my bedroom window, and, limply
holding them in one hand, gaze out at the tract homes on the horizon,
behind which she knew lay the Pacific, and, under her breath, curse my
name awful enough that the wind was the only audience she desired.
I hopped up on my feet, the group looking even more dismayed. “I better
go,” I said. “I’ve got a meeting at, um, at four twelve-teen. I mean quarter
to four o’clock, at the latest.” They tried to shoo me down and I shrieked,
“I don’t have a hospital…” but the guy who’d hit me, a squinter whose
back crept up over his shoulders, his Oakleys sportingly propped on his
forehead, started pushing on my chest with two palms. I bent like a reed,
and, back on the blacktop, motioned for Xena. A look of concern froze
her face. She handed the Westie to one of the women, and leaned in.
“Get me out of here,” I pleaded, but I could see she was about as likely
to stand on her own two legs. I grabbed the back of her neck and whispered,
in desperation, “For Joxer…”
I felt my face flash red at the melodrama. If it wasn’t TV before, it
was now. And there, like the good screen Xena, I saw a recognition in
her eyes, she nodded and said, “He’s OK. He’s OK.” Through what appeared
to be half-hearted protests, murmurings, really, Xena, with her dog in
her lap in the wheelchair, led me far across the lot and into her minivan.
I sat in the passenger seat while the hydraulic lift raised her chair
into the gap left by the sliding door, and as she motored into the spot
where a driver seat had been ripped out. “I’m going to take you somewhere
you can rest, though,” she said, working the modified levers controlling
the gas and brake. I told her I couldn’t go home yet. She drove us to
a chain steakhouse and told me she would buy me a drink and dinner, a
repayment, of sorts. Neither of us spoke again in the van, and although
I didn’t dare look over my shoulder, I felt as though Joxer’s hot wet
breath was directly on my neck from the back seat.
At our booth, my pants made a squeak on the pleather upholstery as I
slid under the table, and I found myself periodically shifting my weight
to the right or left to replicate the sound for Xena’s benefit as much
as for my own.
Her lips inched away from one of her cheeks.
“The…” I said, pointing down with one finger and shifting to make the
She nodded, entirely disinterested.
I ordered a T-bone and a diet lemonade, and she ordered nothing and watched
me eat. Perhaps because of the accident, I had a penetrating hunger and
devoured the food quickly, ordering a shish kebab plate when the T-bone
was depleted. She seemed to be trying to pretend she wasn’t inspecting
me—feigning interest in the other diners or the drink specials encased
in a vertical Plexiglas shield. I began to feel as if she was a homesteader
who had found me, helpless, out of my element in the wilderness, nearly
dead from some gruesome event, and was weighing how much more she wanted
to involve herself.
“So these grandparents of yours are, what, in their seventies?” she asked.
“And you have your own room?”
I snorted a bit of the aspartame-flavored lemonade out of my nose. “Of
course,” I said, wiping it off my lip, trying to act like I wiped lemonade
off my face all the time and it was no big deal, as was living with my
grandparents. When I’d occasionally glance around the restaurant, I’d
catch people looking at us. Maybe it was the wheelchair, maybe the Xena
getup—she was wearing a gray plastic shoulder armor, after all—but she
didn’t seem to care. I was proud, rather than embarrassed, to be with
her. I guessed people thought I had a lot of character, or cared primarily
about character in my acquaintances, to have a friend in a wheelchair,
in a television costume. I suddenly felt like I had the upper hand, like
I was the one sacrificing my time to be out with her, not the other way
When the bill came, she quickly slid it close to her, put a credit card
down. I fumbled through each pocket in approximate earnestness. I knew
I wasn’t paying. “Thanks a lot,” she said, in a tone that made me think
she didn’t appreciate my fumbling. I played dumb. “For today, I mean,”
Out in the parking lot, she slowed her chair and turned toward me.
“What do you want to do?”
What did she mean by that? About the accident, or what did I want to do
tonight? What a fool I would be if she meant tonight and I brought up
the accident. She might take it as a sign I wasn’t interested and never
bring up the subject again. But what more a fool I would be if she meant
the accident or about repaying her for dinner or my career path or who
knows what. I looked at my watch, allowed the thought “Grandma and Grandpa
must be scared to death about me by now” to fire through my synapses only
long enough to decide to purge it, to flush it down the proverbial cranial
toilet. I was thirty-nine, for crying out loud! Did I have to follow my
grandparents’ curfew? Well, yes, as far as they were concerned. But the
job—I’d be a fool to not consider whether I could be overexposing myself
to co-workers. It was impossible to forget that I was not technically
gainfully employed, that my livelihood and that of my grandparents could
be easily, tragically altered.
I noticed she was flicking the joystick on her wheelchair in a way that
many people tap pencils on tables or rapidly bounce their knees.
“Go to your place,” I blurted, trying not to consider the consequences,
the rejection, the shame that might await me.
She just smiled and wheeled to her van.
In my early twenties, I was debugging code for a startup that was destined
to go belly-up, when I met Subajini. She was seventeen, her parents had
just moved to Pacifica from Sri Lanka, and she’d taken a greens maintenance
job at the course behind the house over the summer. The company had leased
a laughably small space in the back of a transaction processing warehouse
and had me and some other hungry young nobodies on the graveyard shift
sharing the daytime computers of regular employees in order to ship product
by deadline. I’d go in at 9PM and come home at 5AM, but could only sleep
until 9AM, when the sunlight and weed whacking would stir me. The rest
of the day, I was borderline narcoleptic. She woke me up one afternoon
on the grass partition that marked the edge of the course property, a
hedge trimmer in her hands.
“That face of yours looks like it’s been covered in underwear its whole
life,” she said.
I looked up at her, but the sun sat on her shoulder like a second, glowing
head, and I had to turn my eyes out to the glade of pink and white flowers
near the seawall.
“Have you ever seen a burned hiney? Not pretty.”
She was some shade of brown and wore a preppy striped Izod. I faked falling
asleep the same time the next day, with the yellowjackets sniffing me
out one by one beneath a Cypress tree, and, after a while, she sat down
at my side and nudged me. We had some nervous moments in the course’s
utility closet, gracelessly grabbing at each other. I had no idea what
she saw in me, but we planned a weekend at a hotel in Santa Cruz to escape
her parents, my grandparents, our jobs, our timidity. She told me we would
ride the roller coaster on the boardwalk and count the stars from a corner
of the beach hidden by sandstone cliffs. When I told my grandparents,
they were hysterical—Grandma started hyperventilating and Grandpa was
immediately assuring her I wasn’t going anywhere. I told him I was, and
he began faking a heart attack. It dawned on me then that I hadn’t slept
outside their condo since my parents had left us. I’d been long aware
of their lingering sadness over the disappearance, but in my youth it
had always been subordinate to my own. That was the way they wanted it—it
was textbook parenting. Nevertheless, through some rapid breathing and
fake chest pains under the bleak kitchen light, the tragedy had now been
recast from my parents abandoning me to being their child who had disappeared,
and I felt like holding them, telling them the fate of their new child
was not the same as their last child. But they were wary. I could see
in their eyes that they couldn’t decide whether I was a constant threat
to destroy them, or if I was their consoler, their reassurer; I’d become
the prescription drug of their dreams and nightmares, and, of course,
they had to take me—above all, I was their grandson. Even now, with Grandma
casually threatening to die, she seemed much less worried about abandoning
me than me abandoning her. I detected a faint relief in her voice when
she told me the oncologist had predicted she had only months to live—a
relief that she was protected from abandonment. And then I thought, maybe
this was just me, projecting my own worst fears on her.
I didn’t go to Santa Cruz. We never did ride the roller coaster.
A few weeks later, Subajini stopped meeting me in the utility closet,
and I spotted her several times laughing with a pear-shaped visiting teaching
pro, right there under the fat midday sun of the number eight tee box,
in plain view of my grandparents’ kitchen window. A groundsman later informed
me in Spanish that she had joined a cult in Arizona, but, later, another
named Miguel explained that I had probably misunderstood the first groundsman’s
use of culto or maybe oculto or whatever he had said that I didn’t understand
and that she had in fact begun school at ASU the same time her pro acquaintance
took up at a Scottsdale country club. I told myself I had done the right
thing, that she wasn’t worth it, but that was crap. I knew she was. It
was me who wasn’t worth a shit.
The first thing I noticed about her apartment was that it wasn’t an apartment
at all. It was a condo. If there’s one curiosity I’ve often pondered over,
it’s that however many floors a condo is comprised of, its occupants reside
adjacent to one another, without the schema of basement dwellings and
penthouses, without the necessity, as with apartments, for human stacking.
As neighbors, they are separated only by walls, and never ceilings and
floors. In this way, the condo might be more like a house than is an apartment.
Still, it is a compromise undertaken by builders, realtors, loan officers,
owners, and renters who may, on slow, rainy days, ask themselves if its
human inhabitants are equally more like house-dwellers, with their fully
autonomous dwellings, than apartment people. Or are they, in the final
analysis, not closer to one or the other, but committed centrists, middle
The second thing I noticed was that there was no visible shrine to the
TV Xena, as I had expected. She dropped Joxer behind a door, sat me down
on an orange IKEA-knockoff couch and poured us both several tall glasses
of vodka, straight. I fought back a grimace each time I drew more into
my throat; she seemed to roll the stuff around in her mouth before swallowing.
“Powdered or bear claw?”
“Herpes or warts?”
“Mouth or cock?”
She squinted for a few beats, then poured another glass of vodka.
“You’re strong-willed, aren’t you?” The metal of her orthodonture flashed
now. I hadn’t noticed the braces before. It was a loosening of sorts,
baring the equipment so brazenly.
I wouldn’t have put it exactly as she did—strong-willed—although I had
rescued her dog from being flattened by an uncaring, raw tonnage of tank
rolling across the scorched battlefield of… she interrupted my thoughts,
“I can tell you’re not caught up in the gossip at the office. You don’t
need it. That sort of tripe is beneath you.”
Like a gymnast working the pommel horse, she lifted her entire weight
atop the wheelchair arm rests and pivoted onto the couch. I felt like
applauding and for the first time realized just how thick and defined
Xena’s upper arms were. She slid up close to me.
“You’re sort of handsome, you know?” There was still such gratitude in
her eyes when she said this, but she seemed truthful enough. My chest
swelled. My mother used to call me handsome.
Her body was turned toward mine, and her shoulders and arms looked so
muscular, I thought she would kiss me, but she seemed to be waiting, allowing
me to be the pursuer. I was terrified, but told myself that she was a
crippled television fanatic with fat legs and bulky orthodonture, and
that I had saved her dog—write on the whiteboard fifty times, fucker:
I’m the catch, I’m the catch, I’m the catch. I clumsily kissed her lips,
feeling the metal braces poke through the skin. Our tongues slapped at
each other for several minutes when she took my hand and put it to her
chest. I moved my thumb and tweaked the pudge of her left nipple.
“Not here,” she whispered, as if I was the one who had come on to her.
I followed the wake her chair wheels left in the carpet through a doorway.
Under dim candlelight, her bedroom revealed itself as the altar to TV’s
Xena that I’d expected in the rest of the condo. The wallpaper was jungle
print and the plants lining the floor and hanging from ceiling hooks,
in this light, blended neatly with the jungle depths. A stone shrine in
the corner rose to the ceiling; shields and armor rested on its iron pegs;
swords crowded a sheath. An imitation jaguar skin covered the bed, a heavy
tangle of something indistinguishable hung from a cluster of more heavy-duty
ceiling hooks, and above the bed pillows, perhaps four feet by three feet,
lay a framed poster of Xena: Warrior Princess, at a distance on a jungle
path, striking a pose with her fists atop a sword handle. Whether it was
the Xena I knew or the television version, I couldn’t quite make it out.
She pivoted to the bed maintaining eye contact with me. One by one, she
popped the buttons on her shirt, and then slipped it off her shoulders.
Her biceps were so large they pushed her elbows out, framing her pecs,
and the tiny udders that sagged at their tips. She dropped her chin, examining
her chest, making each pec pop independently—this made her smile a broad
“Take your clothes off,” she said.
“I’m OK. It’s kind of cold in here.”
“No it’s not. C’mon, let’s see that dick of yours.”
“It’s, uh, good. I’m thinking–” and she reached out, grabbed my belt and
pulled me onto the bed. Before I could object, she had my shirt off. I
felt flabby. I had always been fleshy, but beside her cut abs I felt Fat
Camp flabby, like the retarded kid on my block who all the other kids
used to catch and make jump up and down behind the drug store. I remember
one of those days picking up laxatives for Grandma at the counter when
the kids hollered from across the street to block the door from the “tilt”,
as they called him, who was advancing, aiming for the sanctity of the
drug store. I held tight the handles and his sweaty face and palms left
streaks on the glass as they dragged him around the corner. At least it
wasn’t me, I’d thought.
It was too late to pull my gut in now—Xena had already seen it all pale
and moley and dribbling over my belt buckle. My best bet was to pretend
that I was comfortable with it. That could be impressive in and of itself.
She’d pulled my pants down around my knees and was manhandling my wiener.
It got hard quick, surprising me. Her hands were so furious and hot, it
felt like she was whittling a stick, and then she was saying, “Yeah, good,
cum baby, cum,” and I guess I’d done it—a mucousy glob tangled in my thigh
hair. As confirmation, my muscles relaxed, and a shudder sprang through
me as it always does.
“Donnie, do you like to try new things?” Xena asked, wiping the semen
from her knuckles onto the bed sheet.
“Wha?” My head was cloudy. I felt like sleeping.
“Okay, yeah, sure. I like doing that sort of thing.”
“Oh, good,” she said. “I was hoping you’d say that.”
She flipped me onto my front with ease. I heard some strapping and then
some jangling, my neck craned to see that she was in a harness, hanging
from the ceiling.
“This might feel awkward at first, but as exhilarating as it will be for
me, I’ve known men who swear their pleasure is unrivaled.”
Her dead knees anchored in the bed, her sure hands raised my ass, and
I felt it thick and rubbery bully its way in. My arms flapped lamely and
I wondered if the period of repayment for saving her dog, if that’s what
tonight was, was coming to an end, or had in fact ended before the sex
entirely, if the relationship had effortlessly been shifted to other,
less favorable terms, and this, my nose now being smushed into the cold
plasterboard wall papered like a jungle as she panted and growled, was
how it would be from now on.