Sometimes, he would take the portrait from the folder in which he kept his youthful poetry, and gaze at it for a long time. Doting over it, reminiscing. It was a portrait of his sexual organ. Life-size. The drawing was in the classical style, with each detail drawn to such a refined level of final lines, that the whole shone with the entrancing glow of perfect harmony. And the play of light and shadow had been done with such skill, that the black seemed to undergo an entire spectrum of shade shifting, all imaginary, of course, from an airy, pearly pink, to the slightly more intense pink of a ripening raspberry, then deeper still, until it took on the shade of a red, ripened cherry. Finally, it was the color of congealed blood – the color the head of any male member becomes on the verge of the final moments of ecstasy and ejaculation.
“We need a redesign, a rebrand, we’ve hit a rut.” Clemens flops onto a leather beanbag.
Saul told me that his girlfriend was reaching the end, threatening to throw him out because he was such a lazy piece of crap. What alternatives did he have?
The joy was what caught him and chilled him. To glimpse a three-year-old who has spied a soccer ball rolling across a busy boulevard and is speeding toward it like a war hero’s wife at an airport gate is to meet motivating animal panic as if for the first time. To act or not cannot arise as an issue when horror and its antithesis have already begun a convergence that cannot happen and unquestionably will.
Every story has two centres. In Bradford long ago, under punitive laws, one centre was in North Park Road, where Werner lived. The second was in a district called Daisy Hill, home of Luka. These centres are less than two miles apart, a pleasant walk, tree-lined alongside large houses once inhabited by mill-owners’ families and their servants.
The Fig At the End Of the Palm
He ate her palm like it was a fig till she came with a soft gasping shudder. He’d started by kissing her hand. Then he turned it over and kissed her palm. She smiled and made a little sound of pleasure. He tickled it with the tip of his tongue and began to feel aroused. Kissing it was like kissing a mouth and it suddenly relaxed into something that wasn’t really hand anymore, it was welcoming, like an orifice, he thought.
Her preference was for tall, handsome men. Even more, she preferred men who looked like models. The darker their hair and complexion, the more she was drawn to them. The more chiseled and rugged looking their faces, the more she wanted them. She loved making heavy eye contact with strangers. They would be with wives or girlfriends, and she would get their attention and draw them in until they’d slip a phone number to her. Rain was a woman with no scruples and her promiscuity was famous. What she wanted, she went for, and got it.
Saturday night – 7:30 p.m.
I haven’t had a date in months. Tonight I’m finally going out with Dimitri, the buff Russian with bad teeth. He spotted me at the gym this morning. In the middle of his sweaty, mad run on the treadmill he came to an abrupt stop and approached me.
“What are you doing tonight?” he asked, cornering me up against the leg machine.
“I’m not sure.”
Late in the workday I’m outside my office fetching nicotine gum from my truck, an errand interrupted by a shiny black Lexus that wheels into the parking lot and takes a vacant space among the employee parking. The driver’s door swings open, followed by sandaled feet and familiar, muscular calves beneath a mid-length brown dress, sleeveless and trimmed with white lace like the summertime clothes my mother might have worn though not fitted so closely.
Elsie sits alone on the beach. She knows that she is the most beautiful girl in the town. She strongly resents that this does not do her much good. Her husband is the town magistrate, universally respected, much-loved, even feared – as much as any magistrate should be feared.