I’ve been experimenting with writing from a male POV, trying to get better at it. Click is a fictional short story set in Cambodia. It contains violence and nonconsesual sex and is meant to be quite disturbing. If this sort of content upsets you, please do not read it!
I’d really like to acknowledge two excellent male writers who helped me with the tone and voice of the story. Both I, Sadist and Riccardo Berra of Apostrophe gave me their time, their critical eye and their excellent feedback. Thanks again to both of you.
Prey Chruk, Northern Cambodia, 2003
Lying on his belly in the middle of a rice paddy, Carl showed the new trainee, Sovann, how to come at the anti-personnel mine, partially embedded in the muck, at a 30 degree angle and gently touch the knife tip to the side of the box, feeling for give. The young man, sweating as profusely as Carl inside his protective helmet, grinned and copied him. He had a nice steady hand, wasn’t easily spooked or too superstitious. Carl felt a swell of pride for his student.
The bitch of PMD-6s were their wooden boxes. The metal detectors would often pass them over, and even identifying them could be dangerous. Their housing, often partially rotted away in the moist earth, was unstable and the lightest exploratory prods with a knife tip could set them off.
“Okay, so, we know what it is. We know it’s intact. We know it’s probably still armed. So let’s mark it, map it, and then low order burn the little fucker,” said Carl, pulling back from his prone position.
The trainee marked the mine and followed Carl’s example, sitting back on his haunches and sheathing his probing knife. The cloud of mosquitoes that had settled on them as they worked now buzzed around them with ferocity.
Walking back along the previously cleared corridor, Sovann pulled off his helmet and, stowing it beneath his arm, his thin, brown fingers automatically rose to the small soapstone Buddha at his neck. One hundred meters further up the path, a mother was yelling something at two little boys who where frantically darting around just beyond the well-posted warning signs.
“We use DETA to burn?” asked Sovann.
“Sure we do. No point in trying to defuse those. They can fall apart in your hands as you’re working and turn you into confetti. Liquid Diethylenetriamine is the best way to go. One bottle on either side of the PMD-6 and remote detonation.” Carl swatted at one of the greedy little bloodsuckers that had found its way between his collar and the protective head covering. All he could think about was a nice, long cold shower.
“We do it now or later?”
Before Carl could answer him, the kids came running down the dirt path, chasing a loose and clearly distraught chicken. Sovann reached out an arm, as if in slow motion, catching one of the kids by the shoulder as he passed.
The other rushed onwards as Carl turned around to make a grab for him. Before Carl could take two steps, the child had caught the bird, secured it under his arm, and was turning back, but Sovann struggled with the other who was trying to fight his way free. His helmet fell away, bouncing off hard packed earth as the kid kicked and writhed. Sovann stumbled on a rut in the side of the path and pitched sideways taking the thin plastic marker ribbon to the side of the cleared corridor with him. He released the kid and went down.
Carl heard the crunch. Not of bone, or of gravel. It was the splintering of old, dried wood. Then came the blast.
By a quirk of fate, the shrapnel missed him completely. The kid standing next to him caught a few pieces in the leg and stomach. The chicken catcher came out of it without a scratch. At the hospital in Siem Reap, they removed fourteen shards of the dead trainee’s bone from Carl’s calves and thighs.
After that, he didn’t bother remembering his trainees’ names, or attempting to pronounce the names of the villages he cleared of mines. He didn’t give a shit whether kids with chickens trampled all over his neatly demarcated hot zones.
Carl came to care only for the breathtakingly elegant simplicity of the metallic snick in his head. Every time he defused a mine, he waited for the sound in a deafening vacuum of adrenalin rush that compressed his entire universe down to a pinpoint of white heat. When the click didn’t come, he imagined it vividly, and all the red rain that might follow. Then he moved on to the next marker and the next rush. His life became simple.
FCC, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 2008
Her tongue tip darted out to lick at the salt-rimmed cocktail glass, before sipping some of the bright liquid. She nodded too vigorously and laughed too loud at something her limp-dick colleague whispered in her ear.
Fucking self-satisfied, smug pricks, thought Carl. The sleeping anger curled, flexed and came to life in his belly as he settled onto a stool at the bar. The Aussie Mother Teresa and her sickening entourage of bleeding hearts were having their wholesome Friday night out. Stupid, blind idealists, and she was the worst of the lot; her hospice for diseased whores was the flavour of the month cause celebre. Flavour of the year, in fact.
He could have her easily; there wasn’t a single white female in Phnom Penh who he couldn’t have. They were all just too damned eager for any cock they could get. The vast majority of single white men – many of the married ones too – preferred to spend their time with eyelash batting, simpering little Cambodian whores. Acquiescent, passive, and just simpler to deal with, Carl had fucked his way through most of the whorehouses in Phnom Penh.
Once, about three months before, she’d blown him off at a charity function at the Royal Palace. She’d looked him over with a glint of attraction in her eye, and Carl hadn’t missed it. But then she rushed off to drape herself over some greasy Italian who worked for the World Bank. For the rest of that evening, while the troll stared at her tits, she hit him up for cash for her glorious house for dying whores.
Of course, he knew all about her. With a resident foreign population of less than five hundred, everyone knew everybody and, for the most part, who was fucking whom. Any information not readily available could be bought. Carl had bought some dirt on her; the landlord of her villa was a slimy little bastard with considerable gambling debts.
This was no Snow White, despite her reputation. She’d been fucking some French photographer working with the Court of International Justice for the duration of the War Crimes Trials. The Frenchman had left and she hadn’t left with him.
It irked him that she’d been here almost as long as he had and still maintained that deluded well-meaning flush of a new arrival. After four years of digging landmines out of the red clay and the rice paddies of Cambodia, Carl had come to the conclusion that these fucking people had done this to themselves. They didn’t want or deserve to be saved from their own particular brand of vicious insanity. You only had to take a tour of Pol Pot’s old S-21 torture chambers to know that. If he had arrived there with hopes of making people’s lives better and safer, it had all dried up years ago. Now there was nothing but the click.
And the whores she cared for had known all about condoms. For fuck’s sake, the government had been giving them away for free by the cartload, but those stupid bitches couldn’t pass up the extra two dollars they could earn riding bareback. Now they had her – the Australian Mother Theresa – to hold their hand while they died of their own ignorance and greed.
Carl shifted angrily on his stool, tapped his empty glass of Chivas, and nodded at the bartender. Within seconds a new shiny glass with new shiny ice and a puddle of the golden liquid appeared before him.
Everyone was a whore here. The NGO fat cats, diplomats, the politicians, the military, and the charity organizations – they were the biggest whores of all. She was one too; she just didn’t know it yet.
When her companions left her at the bar, to go shoot pool in the room next door, she turned around. Carl caught her eye and gave her a bland smile. Lifting her second margarita in a gesture of cheers, she returned it.
“I saw you…? We met at the…” She tapped her finger to her slightly parted lips, searching for the connection and then looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.”
“The Palace. The fundraiser for the Royal Ballet. And it’s Carl. Carl with a C”
“That’s right! Yes!” she said, overly loud and with bit of a slur. The alcohol had hit her bloodstream, probably on an empty stomach, he figured. Sliding off her stool, she walked around the curve of the bar to where he sat. Not exactly drunk, but definitely tipsy, she laid a graceful hand on his shoulder to steady herself. “How’s it going? Don’t you play pool?”
As she spoke, the left corner of her mouth crooked upward in the same devastatingly sexy smile that had caught his eye the first time they’d met. “No, I don’t.”
“Then,” she placed her glass down next to his with exaggerated care, and scrunched her brow, “that makes you my friend. Because I’m shit at it, and no one will play with me.”
Oh, I’d love to play with you, thought Carl. A series of images blossomed and died in his mind’s eye: her naked form, his hand pushing her, bending backwards over the pool table. Pinning her in place by the neck with a pool cue. But Carl smiled his best smile. “Lucky me.”
She laughed. It was a low, earthy sound that made his cock twitch. “Very lucky you. Because you could be the proud patron of my very, very worthy charity. We’re running a…”
“I know what you run, Christina,” he said in a controlled voice.
“Oh.” She closed her mouth, shrugged and took a sip from her glass. “Have I hit you up already? Sorry! I don’t remember doing it.” She laid a hand on his arm in a gesture that was a cross between an apology and a comfort. A cascade of copper bracelets chinked as they slid down her arm and caught at her wrist.
“No. Last time we met, you had bigger fish to fry.” Carl’s eye followed the bracelets. The wrist was delicate, finely boned. It would snap like a twig or look lovely tied.
Getting her to go home with him was the easiest thing he’d ever done.
* * *
In the taxi on the way to his house, she started rambling on about her project, but he shut her up with a kiss, and she responded to it like a bitch in heat. It only took a casual brush of his fingers to bring her nipples to full attention.
They kissed again as they stood at his front gate, rummaging for his keys and she was all over him as they stumbled through the front door.
Where was all her altruism now? She was nothing but a greedy little cunt. But Carl played along with her game, letting her tease him out of his shirt as he led her into his bedroom. He locked the door behind them and stood watching and amused as she giggled and turned coy when he told her to undress.
“Come on, Carl with a C. You have to help me. I’m…I’m all thumbs,” she twittered.
He’d played along with that too, relieving her of her shirt and skirt with all the fawning and ardent whispers she was expecting.
She certainly wasn’t all thumbs once he’d kissed a trail down the side of her neck. She was tongue and hands and hips as she kissed him again and tugged at his belt buckle. Her ass cheeks flexed under his hands, and she alternated between grinding her panty-covered mound against the raging cock in his pants, and fighting with his zipper.
Carl wasn’t sure what turned him on more: her blatant eagerness, the sight the fine sheen of sweat that covered her exposed skin, or his own brilliant performance.
Kicking off his shoes and the last of his clothes, he reached between her legs and cupped her. The thin fabric at her crotch was slimy with need. His hand slid down the front of her panties, pushing fingers into her wet cunt. She gave him a low, lewd moan in return. He anticipated the moment when he would reveal himself, the moment he would hammer home the lesson, with pleasure.
Her hand wandered down his bare chest and curled around his shaft with a grip that was scorching, urgent.
Oh, you fucking sluts are all the same, he thought. But he chose the words he said aloud with care, enjoying the game, stringing her along just a little further. “Show me your breasts, Christine.”
Giving him another coy smile, she released him to reach behind and unhook her bra. She let it slip off her shoulders with the grace of an expensive call girl. Carl gazed at them appreciatively for a moment, and then, with one hand still busy in the depths of her snatch, he used the other to palm her tit. He rolled the stiff nipple between his thumb and index finger.
“You hungry for my cock, Christine?” he asked, so low it was almost a whisper. Carl released her nipple and reached for a condom off the bedside table. He ripped a corner off the sealed square with his teeth and handed it to her.
A red flush crept up over her cheeks and she gave a small nod. Taking the open package, she slid the lubed sheath down onto his prick, but she didn’t answer him.
Allowing a hint of the aggression he was feeling to bleed into his voice, he coaxed her. “Come on, don’t get all shy with me, girl. I know what you are. I know what you want.”
Christine moved to close the gap between their bodies, letting her hand curl around the back of his neck, pulling him down for a kiss. Carl resisted.
“You greedy little whore,” he grunted, spiking his fingers up inside her with a sharp jab.
Carl couldn’t tell if it was the words or the penetration that made her stiffen and pull back. But it made him smile, nonetheless. He felt her hand drop away from his cock. “I’m going to give you what you want, but not the way you wanted.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could get a single word out, he raised his hand and slapped her hard across the face.
“Fuck! Carl! What the hell?” she gasped. Her hand came up to cradle her cheek as the shock registered and she twisted to get away from his fingers.
He pulled his hand from her cunt roughly, chuckling. “Come on, baby? What’s wrong?” he teased. “Want your money up front, bitch?”
Without waiting for an answer, Carl grabbed her shoulder, turned her and pushed her face down onto the bed. She struggled to scramble away, but he had her good and tight by the back of the neck, and forced her legs apart with his knees. In one hard shove, he pushed into her.
“You sick fuck bastard!” She spat the words out into the bedding, surprise and shock, as well as anger, weighing them down.
For a moment, after he’d forced himself into her, there was nothing but the breathtakingly tight, hot interior of her cunt. Her muscles rebelled with autonomic ferocity, constricting around him in sine waves, trying to expel him. Then the rush began to move up his body like immersion in hot water. His grip on the back of her neck tightened, pinning her in place. The hand that so easily kept her two crossed wrists immobile at the small of her back did the same. That first breach of her body felt blindingly good: the taking and holding of forbidden territory.
Had he been younger, the sound she made would have undone him. The frightened and desperate whine of a small animal in pain. He stifled groan as more blood flooded into his cock, swelling him, forcing her open to him.
“It hurts. You’re hurting me,” she warned in strangely detached tone, as if she were telling him something he didn’t already know.
“Yes, I am,” Carl whispered back. He wanted her to realize that he could have let the evening play out the way she had expected. She would have given freely what he was now taking by force, but this was how he wanted it.
Her next word was a puff of breeze. “Why?”
“Because I can.”
That opened the floodgates; she began to cry softly, in short, gasping sobs. Tears pooled in the corner of her eye, where it met the bridge of her nose, and Carl could not look away.
He withdrew and thrust again, hard enough to spill the little well of tears. As much as his body urged him on, it was not his intention to use her quickly. He wanted to make sure she understood that was taking her, not furtively or guiltily, but with the casual pace of an owner secure of his possession. But it wasn’t easy to restrain himself; every muscle, every sinew in her body was locked rigid, making the sensation of pushing into her depths all the more delicious.
Then, suddenly, as if a switch had flipped, she stopped crying, her body went limp.
“Aw, Christine. Giving up so soon?”
She didn’t answer. The room echoed with the ragged exhalations he forced from her as he fucked her. He would have loved to know what was going on inside her head – it irked him he wasn’t sure.
Keeping a firm grip on her wrists and bending over her, he said, “Are you just going to lie there and take it, baby?” His fingers released the back of her neck and pushed up into her tousled brown hair. He fisted them and tugged. “Take it like a whore?”
“Fuck you,” she hissed between clenched teeth.
“I have to say,” he sneered, grinding into her, “You’re a bit of a disappointment, sweetheart. All that passion for your cause…I kind of hoped it would translate, you know?”
Whether she liked it or not, the ease with which he was stroking into her and the wet sounds coming from her cunt were obvious. Carl knew better than to mistake it for a sudden change of heart. It was her body’s way of protecting itself. Nonetheless, it was something he could use against her.
“You like it this way – huh? Because you’re getting pretty juicy down there, baby.”
As the words left his mouth, he knew he’d hit her button. Her body tensed again, she writhed beneath him.
“Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” she screamed, trying to raise her shoulders off the bed. “Just fucking get it over with, you shit!” A flush of rage crept up the sides of her neck and onto her cheek. She was past shocked and into livid now; her back rose and fell frantically as she drew breath. The change pushed a new wave of lust through his veins. This was better.
“What’s wrong with you? Can’t you come?” she spat out. “Not quite the man you thought you were, asshole?”
Carl gave her hair a hard yank, hearing the strands snapping and tearing in his fist. He pushed her joined wrists up her back, knowing exactly what sort of pain it would cause her. She gave a loud, pitched gasp.
“Fuck, sweetheart, I was holding off for you. But…” he growled, “but who knew you were going to be such a frigid bitch?” He delivered the two words with a pair of brutal thrusts.
He felt her rage tighten around him. If he hadn’t slowed down, he would have lost it. But he couldn’t resist baiting her further.
“Is that why the French boy left? Did you disappoint him, too?”
Her body seized. “FUCK…YOU…” she hollered.
Carl laughed. “Come for me, Christine. You can do it!”
“You’re fucking sick.”
“Yeah. Sick of holier than thou bitches like you,” he muttered.
Letting go of the fistful of her hair, he shoved his hand beneath her, fingers plunging between her cunt lips, and found her clit. It was small, smaller than a lot of women he’d been with. But that was, he knew, no measure of its sensitivity. Whatever fight she had put up before paled in comparison to her struggles then. She bucked and writhed, and actually pushed her ass back against him to get away from his fingers.
“You total shit! Don’t you fucking dare!” she roared. “Oh! Don’t you bloody dare!”
“No! Fuck you! No! No! No!”
The words accompanied a concerted effort on her part to fight free, and although he considerably larger, the violence of her struggles almost threw him off. It only took a little more upward pressure on her joined wrists to remind her of just how much pain she could be in it she didn’t stop fighting. She screeched and stilled but it didn’t stop her protestations.
It was her ‘no’s that spurred him on. It’s funny, Carl thinks, the word is meaningless when it came to women. Here she is still trying to talk her way out of out the sensations he was forcing upon her, but it was having no effect at all on her body. Her tensed passage flooded around his cock, making each thrust easier.
The word had no meaning; it became nonsense noise and the meter by which he fucked her, until he knew he couldn’t last any longer. Just as he began to doubt that he would make her orgasm, she went rigid, contracting around his shaft in a rippling sequence that set off what, at first, felt like a sharp metal click. But the sensation expanded at the speed of sound, rushing up his spine, and, like the aftermaths of every click he’d ever imagined, detonated at the back of his skull like a shotgun. He roared and sank his cock one last time into her spasming body, erupting in sharp, scorching spurts.
The minute he caught his breath, Carl rolled off her and got up, disposing of the spent condom. The bitterness of her sobs annoyed him. He tried to ignore it the sound as he pulled his clothes back on.
“Fuck, honey. You are what you are. There’s no point crying about it.”
He laughed, but it felt hollow in his chest. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out the envelope he’d prepared earlier in the day, containing a certified counter check for $10,000 USD, signed over to her charity. He tossed it on the bed beside her.
“There you go, Christine. Don’t spend it all in one place. I’m off to find myself a whore who actually knows her business.”
Carl left the house and caught a cab to the big brothel near Sisowath Quay.
When he returned home shortly before dawn, she was gone, just as he expected. She’d done a pretty good job of tearing up his bedroom, but the maid would take care of that.
And, just as he expected, she’d taken the money.