The Erotic Heritage Museum, Las Vegas

I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.

Sylvia Plath

Tiny and wild, cinched up tight as a rubber band, I watch the woman teeter on outrageous heels to her place beneath the spotlight, in front of the mic, and smooth out a sheaf of paper.

Every good writer makes a promise to take you where you both crave and fear to go. As the audience begins to settle into silence and sits back to enjoy the ride, her voice snakes out into the darkness of the room like a cobra tasting the air for the heat of human frailty. It finds its victims, unhinges its jaws and takes them.

To an unfamiliar bathroom. The heat of the shower’s spray. The hiss of the water. The sound of vapor-heavy exhalations that spiral the tiles. Winged things caught in a shuttered room. This is a place of aching need and an insidious courtship with self-destruction.

But the bathroom is not unfamiliar to me. Nor is that desire. Nor are the arms that surround her. Nor the mouth that kisses her. Nor the name he calls her. Nor the words he whispers into her ear as he penetrates her. The grip that tightens around her neck, the thrusts that fuck her into oblivion. I’ve been in those arms, felt those bruising hips and heard those whispered words. I’ve been her body and the panic of her ten lost breaths. I’ve seen my own surrender reflected in his dark eyes.

The unreadable, impenetrable, untouchable man with an avalanche for a temper, the social conscience of a saint and the appetites of a cannibal. She casts him in flesh, skinning him in well-appointed adjectives and unfathomable motives. The audience shifts in their seats. They have suspended their disbelief and taken their respective roles: him, her, both, or, if voyeurs, the narrator.

But two of us, the reader and I, have no disbelief to suspend. Half a world apart, we have built identical infernos in which to burn. And burn she does. Up there, under the spotlight she’s a medieval witch on a pyre, throwing out one last curse as the flames lick her ankles.

She has summoned him against his will. Brought him here with her deft incantations and pushed him through the veil of illusion. The strength of her desire is his adornment, so he arrives beautiful, wet and erect.

I can hardly breathe. I have to sit down or I’ll fall down.

Jealous, you ask? I’d give anything to feel something as simple as jealousy. Or bitterness. Or anger. I’m pinned, like a dumb dead butterfly on a card. A witness shocked into mute paralysis at a resurrection.

She doesn’t need to describe the noises they make, although she does it with skill. They are there in my head, deafening sounds of ecstasy. Or is that simply me screaming? I have to touch my lips to know for sure.

And are they my lips or hers? Because his mouth is on them now and he’s kissing her, devouring her, pushing himself between her thighs. Mine are wet and I don’t even know why. The cruel oddity of my nature colludes in my humiliation and I know there will be a telling wet spot on the back of my skirt when I can find the wherewithal to stand again.

Perhaps it’s blood. Perhaps my womb has decided to part company with me. Perhaps I’ve been struck incontinent? Or perhaps it’s his semen, warm and slick and thick between my bare legs. After all, if she can bring him into being with just the twist of her pen, then how can the rules of physics or the natural order of the world be trusted at all?

I am eviscerated and aroused. Coming and crying all at once. Holding my breath as his hand tightens around her neck and squeezes. Squeezes. Like my cunt and my thighs and the terrible choking irony that I have travelled 12,000 miles to watch him fuck another woman. But how could I deny her the right to take what I cannot? The liberty of forging him into hard flesh and heat.

And from the first blind caress until the final spasm of her cunt muscles, it is all done right. Perfectly, heartbreakingly right.

She finishes the reading to a momentary silence in which time sags, and then leaves the stage to murderous applause. The sexual fantasy may or may not have been to the audience’s taste, but the passion with which it was written is undeniable.

Before she can disappear into the crowd of spectators, I catch her and wrap her in my arms. “Pet?” I breathe into her ear. Her dark hair brushes against my cheek as she nods. She smells of oranges and of him.

“Thank you.”

What else does one say to a summoner of demons?


For Tess.

  16 comments for “Summoner

  1. September 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    What a beautifully honest insight – a writer wants to leave her audience entranced, involved even – you describe a pleasurable and deeply personal devastation. Entrancing indeed.

  2. September 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    As with our demon, I feel so many mixed emotions reading this. Pained for the way I know it must have affected you and sorry, but also not, for that pain. I know I am not the cause of it and I know that as you don’t get to go through life not being offended, neither do you get to go through life without pain. I just happen to be the one who made this particular illusion real, or wait, made the reality an illusion. At this point, I can’t even tell which or what combination is closest to a truth we’ll never know.

    Even after all this, I want to keep writing those stories. They have a special alchemy as whatever spell I was under as I wrote them, I conveyed with enough magic to momentarily turn vapor into flesh. I’m not sure I can, or should, because each time I think the same way, it dredges up a depth of emotions that swirl like powerful tentacles and threaten to draw me back into those inky depths from which I may not return.

    But there is some sort of miraculous homeostasis at work; I have lost an illusion but I have gained the reality of a friend with whom I share so much, a mirror of my darkest desires. Though I love visiting fantasy from time to time, I’ve never wanted to live an illusion. Long years later, I still struggle to find the line where fantasy and reality separate.

    Semper fi, sister.

    • September 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      No, please don’t be sorry. Life is experience, not painlessness.

  3. Val
    September 15, 2011 at 3:44 am

    I am so, SO happy you are back, and with a vengeance, clearly. One of my favourites 😉

  4. September 15, 2011 at 4:57 am

    This is well done. It was fun to watch there at the reading and even more delightful to read this reaction to it. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Shar
    September 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    How fitting–the only time I’ve had something similar happen was with one of your stories.

    It’s funny, in a way, because I hear a lot on writers’ lists and in discussions about the desirability of drawing your reader in to a familiar experience; the desirability to the reader, I mean. “Write characters and situations a reader could identify with.” We talked about that a bit in your session on setting–the question of whether a reader would prefer a familiar or an unfamiliar setting.

    With your story I had a feeling of… well, “violation” is too strong, but it had that flavor. Exposed without permission. All that ‘being careful,’ gone to naught. “Pinned” was accurate.

    Reading is risky business.

    • September 18, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Hopefully reading IS a risky business.

      Yes, I think violation is a bit to strong a word. Quite honestly, I don’t have a word for what I felt, beyond ‘overwhelmed’.

      Sometimes it takes a while and distance to frame the experience in a sane manner. We want very pat answers in life. Sometimes – when it’s truly real – there just aren’t any.

  6. September 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    This is spectacular. You always seem to write things no one else would… hard to explain. This is such a fantastic comeback.

    (By the by, I no longer get the option to ‘subscribe’ to comments on any of the posts on your blog. Is this just the way you want it, or is it a problem on my end? A little annoying as it means I often miss good discussions… just thought I’d ask.)

    • September 16, 2011 at 2:17 am

      No, it’s my end. Sorry… But the plug in that does that expired and I have to hunt up a new one.

  7. sickkid1972
    September 17, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Like many, I came for the filth, but stayed for the philosophising.
    It seems the Muse has allowed you the clarity to write for us again…. and we *are* appreciative. 😎

  8. September 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I feel so honored to have witnessed the reading, your response, and the ‘after exchange.’ You are remarkable women who perform magic with words. Thank you.

  9. September 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I feel so honored to have witnessed the reading, your response, and the ‘after exchange.’ You are remarkable women who perform magic with words. Thank you.

  10. October 13, 2011 at 5:16 am

    You weave quite the spell with your words. I feel as though I sat beside you, could feel your turmoil, smell your arousal and watch your lips part. Amazing.

  11. Devourer of Words
    October 20, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Many thanks for the words dear Author. They were delicious, and I look forward to consuming more.

  12. Laura
    December 2, 2017 at 8:12 am

    This haunts me … I’m sorry.

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