Polo Is My Life http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith The Inventor of Burletiquette Wed, 06 Mar 2013 03:59:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Movies Taught Me How to Love by Bastard Keith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2013/03/05/movies-taught-me-how-to-love-by-bastard-keith/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2013/03/05/movies-taught-me-how-to-love-by-bastard-keith/#comments Tue, 05 Mar 2013 16:35:20 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=450 If you want to learn how to fuck, the movies are a terrible place to begin.  They are aesthetically dishonest and often dangerously impractical.  For starters, you will never have a body that tight, your face will always look way more ridiculous when you’re climaxing, and oh, the lighting.  Then on a purely technical level, movies teach you positions in which you are more or less certain to incur an injury.  Film has brought us such punishingly wrong techniques as the Fountain Buck (Showgirls) and the Having Sex With a Chauvinist Alien Duck Man (Howard the Duck).

If, on the other hand, you wish to fall in love, movies have you covered.  On this particularly lovely Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share three of the screen romances I find most resonant.

The first woman I ever fell in love with was Sherry, a character in 1987′s Real Men.  Ostensibly a spy comedy/road movie starring Jim Belushi and John Ritter, Real Men is really just an excuse for loopy schtick and wayward plotting.  But about an hour into this snarky, harmless romp (which played on HBO what felt like every day of my youth) Jim Belushi meets a woman who, though sporting the look and mien of a mousey little librarian, is in fact a whip-cracking, order-barking, leather-clad dominatrix.  You know those feelings you can’t quite explain at the age of 11 or 12?  I began to feel those around 1:04:38 in the clip below (though for context, which is everything to a respectable pervert, watch from 1:01:38).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK-gSIhY01o

Sherry was played by Gail Barle, whose only other significant credit was another waitress role, this one working in the diner in Spaceballs.  She may never have set Hollywood on fire, but she awakened the nascent pervert in me.  Suddenly, after years of wondering why Playboy didn’t really do it for me, here was the ideal feminine creature: seductive, controlling, cajoling, punishing, and, finally, romantic.  Belushi can’t help but fall in love with her.  He needs her.  He’s always needed her, before he even knew she existed.  That’s how I felt the moment the penny dropped, and I began chasing the path that has led me to happiness and fulfillment as a grown man.  Barle can’t possibly know how weirdly meaningful her performance in Real Men was to me (and probably wouldn’t want to know the ways in which I expressed my gratitude), but I’d like to thank her here.  Had I never encountered this silly, flimsy little comedy, I might never have been able to decode my desires.  Imagine that. (Side note: after this film, I would never again empathize with a character played by Jim Belushi)

The next romance is, perhaps, an odd choice to follow what you just saw.  Even divorced from this context, one might choose almost any other duet between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  But I choose this exquisite tap routine from 1936′s Swing Time because of its offhanded elegance, and because of its demonstration of two bodies working in perfect symphony.  These are two souls who may be dashing and beautiful on their own, but put them together and every single move is pure magic.  The fondness they share is palpable in every feathery little nuance.  It is romance at its most urbane.

There’s little else to say.  It’s extraordinary, and it’s how we all wish to feel with our partners.  Perfectly in step.

The final romance is a resonant, eloquent portrait of the young man who still lives snugly within me, hopelessly in love with women, movies and love.  It is a scene from the 2006 Hindi blockbuster Om Shanti Om.  In it, Om, a hopelessly unsuccessful actor, has a surprise brush with Shantipriya, the superstar actress who has been the object of Om’s anguished yearning.

There’s a meta-joke playing out here; the loser is played by Hindi cinema’s most enduring star, Shahrukh Khan, and the superstar is played by then-debutante Deepika Padukone.  The core of the scene, though, is nothing but sincere.  In this one sequence, less than two minutes, we see the purest possible dramatization of a love affair with the movies: anticipation, wonderment, a brush with the sublime, and then a bittersweet deliverance back to reality.  The look on Om’s face as he’s dragged away is one that’s been on mine as the lights came up in a theater after a life-changing piece of cinema, and as I watched a woman I was about to marry approach me dressed in stunning white.

The romance between the two begins as one-sided; Om is an audience member, Shantipriya his unknowing obsession.  Isn’t all romance, though, one-sided at the start?  Is it ever possible to truly share the feelings that overtake us in our greatest raptures?

Movies, unlike people, never change.  They remain as beautiful, as perfect or as flawed as they ever were.  If the relationship changes, it’s because you changed.  But if you can preserve that part of yourself that fell in love way back at your first encounter, the romance will never die.  It should never have to.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with this:

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AUTHENTICITY MONTH: Diane, Chapter Seven by Bastard Keith 10.25.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/25/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-seven-by-bastard-keith-10-25-12/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/25/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-seven-by-bastard-keith-10-25-12/#comments Thu, 25 Oct 2012 06:44:52 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=424

“Now, this is gonna be real simple if you just do what I tell you, okay?”  Rose held the boy’s face in her hands.  He gazed at her with a weak sort of ecstasy and nodded his head.  “These two women are my friends.  And you’re going to show them exactly how you behave with your superiors.  Is that clear?”  A pause.  She gave his face a tight slap.  “Is that clear?”

“Yes, Miss.  It’s perfectly clear.”

“Just say ‘Yes, Miss’ from now on.”

“Yes, Miss.”

Rose stood up from her crouching position and faced Heather and Diane.  She smiled.  “So who wants him first?”

“As host,” said Heather, “I think it only fair of me to offer the first dance to our beautiful guest.”

Diane looked at the boy.  He was so pale that in the dim light of the dungeon he looked almost bloodless.  His hair was a tousled mop of black, his eyes cast down in a very fetching humility, his lips thin and pursed.  He had a little bit of baby fat on him still, but only enough to make him seem faintly cherubic.  She found herself taking pity on him for a moment before catching sight of his penis.  It was awake, alive, stiff, dripping translucent fluid from the tip.  He was very obviously in heaven.

Diane had never simply looked at a penis before.  They were things to experience in the dark.  They weren’t to be looked at, considered, evaluated.  They were to be accepted and submitted to as a matter of course.  Only now, sizing up this sweetly deferential young man, Diane felt perfectly at liberty.  And she giggled.

Heather raised her eyebrows.  “Is our guest amused by this boy?  Is this a laugh of delight or a laugh of derision?”

Diane allowed herself to laugh more freely.  “I’ve just always been intimidated by…by those things.”  She pointed at the boy’s pulsing sex.

“You talking about his cock?” Rose asked.

“Oh, god, can I call it that?”  Diane felt herself loosening up.

“You can call it a goddamn Cadillac,” said Rose, and Heather sniggered.

Diane walked to the boy and knelt down, examining him closely and with total fascination.  “I’m looking at you.  I’m looking at your cock.  And I used to be intimidated by…by cocks.  But you’re so little.”  She giggled.  “You’re just an adorable, shy little thing and your cock isn’t scary at all.”  She began to run her fingers through his hair.  “You’re so shy and small and pretty.  And you’re acting like you’re scared of me.”

She ran her hands down his shoulders, gently dragging her nails over his stiff pink nipples.  He shuddered and his cock seemed to leap, the clear fluid now streaming.  She repeated the action to see if it happened again, and it did.  The boy’s breathing became sharper and shorter.

Rose and Heather, meanwhile, had taken seats on a long table padded with black leather.  Diane looked up at the two of them.  They were close, touching each other’s thighs, smiling, relaxing into each other.

“I can do whatever I want with him?”

Rose nodded and Heather squeezed her thigh.

“I can make him do whatever I want?”

Rose and Heather laughed, and Heather began to kiss Rose’s neck.  Rose spoke, huskily, “He’s my bitch.  And right now, I’m letting him be your bitch.”

Diane turned back to the boy.  She felt a sudden impulse to pinch his nipples.  She did, and the boy began to groan sweetly.  She twisted his nipples and he groaned more.  “You’re like a little puppet boy,” she said.

She kept her fingers holding his right nipple tight and moved her other hand down his abdomen.  Her nails left soft red lines in his flesh.  Finally, after passing through his wispy thatch of black pubic hair, those nails found their way to the base of his cock.  She began stroking it using only her nails, pulling up the length of it and then starting at the base again.  The boy was shaking, and he raised his eyes to meet hers.  He looked hypnotized.

Diane thought about it.  The puppet boy.  She kept the stroking going on his shaft and pinched his nipple harder, studying the intensity of his reaction.  Then she stopped stroking and watched his eyes thud back into some kind of consciousness, pleading with her to continue.  And she started again, and his eyes rolled back again.  She was, she realized, absolutely in control of his every sensation.  It seemed to make him very happy.

The significance of this hit Diane in a couple of ways: she was growing increasingly fond of the boy, she was a little bit frightened by how easily she had taken to manipulating him, and she was undeniably aroused by the prospect of making him dance to her every desire.   That lovely tickling feeling was happening again between her thighs, aching and growling like an unfed stomach.

“Boy,” she said.

“Y…yes, Miss?”

“You’ll do anything I tell you to do, won’t you?”

“Yes, Miss…”  He nodded urgently, breathlessly.

“I want you to do for me what you were doing for Miss Rose.  I want to know what that’s like.”

Diane stood up and looked at Rose and Heather, who were watching, transfixed, hands exploring each other freely.  She took a deep breath, pulled up her skirt and presented her ass to the boy.  She felt his nose and lips softly part her buttocks with little kisses and nuzzles.  Those kisses eventually made their way to her anus, which dilated and pulsed in surprise.  Diane bit her lip, waiting.  She felt the boy’s soft pink tongue trace circles around the hole, a hole she decided from now on would be called her rosebud.  He caressed her rosebud with his tongue, up and down, up and down.

She felt a wetness between her thighs that she’d never known.  And a scent made itself known to her.  She knew, somehow, that this was the smell of the wetness.  It hit her like a freshly remembered dream.

“Do it,” she breathed.

The boy very tenderly worked his tongue past her rosebud’s tight outer circle, sliding quite naturally up inside her.  Diane was hit with a sensation unfamiliar and wonderful, a feeling of being worshiped.  Pleasured.  It was so sweet and perfect that she immediately wanted him deeper.  So she pushed back onto his face, smothering him and forcing his tongue further up.  The itch between her legs was growing intolerable in concert with the boy’s doings.

Diane thought back to the bath.  To her hand, buried between her thighs, as if it were searching for something.  She reflexively repeated the gesture and she found exactly what she was searching for, that little fleshy nub just at the entrance to her pleasure, waiting to be touched.  She began to massage it, gently at first, then with greater pressure, as if some correct touch would make the ache go away.  The ache began to build again, as it had in the studio, flowering into overwhelming joy.  Learning as she went, Diane worked herself until it felt right, until the build to that explosive moment seemed inevitable.

And she felt it again.  The all-encompassing pulse that drove her to the brink of consciousness.  It was upon her.  But she delayed it, pulling away from the boy’s mouth.  There was something she wanted first.  She turned to face him, her entire body on fire with hunger.

“Lie down.  On your back.  Now.  NOW.”

The boy looked frightened by her intensity and hesitated for only a fraction of a second before complying.  He was flat as a board, his cock still standing up straight, eyes closed.  Diane stood over him and quickly lowered herself to her knees.  She rubbed her slit over him until she found his prick perfectly positioned to plunge inside her.  Using her hand, she guided him in and begin to work herself on him, her slippery walls sucking him inside and clenching.  She touched herself again, lost in delirium.

The boy’s hands crept, perhaps out of instinct, up Diane’s thighs.  But she grabbed his wrists and pinned them back on the floor, glaring in his face.

“No.  NO.”

The boy nodded frantically.  “I’m sorry, Miss!”

Diane touched herself again, celebrating her conquest.  At last, the act of sex wasn’t for anyone’s reasons but her own.  At last, no one was hectoring her about having a child.  At last, she controlled the pace and the force and the feeling.  She savored this for a moment, and then began to feel…relief.  This was the first time in her life that she had enjoyed sex.  And she smiled and her eyes filled with tears and she cried in happiness.  This did not stop her; rather, it drove her to chase that happiness with even more fervor.

The pulse reared its head again, starting to take over Diane’s mind and body.  She writhed and jerked on the boy, drawing power from his submission.  Her eyes traveled to Heather and Rose, who were now locked in an embrace, their hands between each other’s legs, kissing wildly.  Diane lifted out of her body for a brief moment, every sound silent, every object and being in the room bathed in light, and then crashed back into herself and a loud, tearful, joyful climax.

This time she rode it out, controlling its ebb and flow with her fingers, exploring what she could do to make this last as long as possible.  The pulse bucked her again.  And again.  And again.  Until she thought she could handle it no more.

Diane rolled off of the boy and onto her back next to him.  She stared at the ceiling, not even breathing.

The boy quietly begged, “May I…?”

She looked at him, at his still stiff member, deprived of release.  She felt no need to give him that release.

“PLEASE…” he whined.

“NO,” intoned Rose, breaking away from Heather.  “And for asking that, you don’t get to come for a week.”

“I’m sorry, Miss Rose…”

“Shut the hell up,” she said.  Her voice softened in an instant.  “Diane?  You okay?”

Diane sat up slowly, looking with wide, astonished eyes at the two women.  They sat forward, still in each other’s arms.

“I’m…I’m fine,” Diane said.  “I think I need to lie down somewhere.”

“I think,” Heather said, “that you need some place to stay for a while.  And I think that place is here.”

Diane suddenly felt a very familiar urge not to offend or impose.  “I…I don’t…is that all right with you?”

“You look pretty at home here to me.  And if you think I’m letting a prize beauty like you out of my sight for even a second, you’re out of your mind.”

“Hey,” pouted Rose.

Heather grinned at Diane.  “Gimme a minute.”  She pulled Rose in close and the two returned to their interrupted kiss.

Diane lay back down on the floor and looked up at the ceiling again.

“Okay,” she said.  Her eyes closed and she fell asleep right there, wondering if when she woke up it would reveal the evening as a dream.

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AUTHENTICITY MONTH: Diane, Chapter Six by Bastard Keith 10.20.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/20/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-six-by-bastard-keith-10-20-12/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/20/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-six-by-bastard-keith-10-20-12/#comments Sat, 20 Oct 2012 22:07:17 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=415

The walk to Heather’s apartment was not a short one, but it gave Diane a chance to appreciate a neighborhood that, til now, had seemed dark, sinister and forbidding.  Once Rose, Heather and Diane had traveled two blocks from the studio and turned onto MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village seemed to explode into life, a cavalcade of cafes, bars, performance venues…the buildings might have been grey and functional, but the denizens of them had decided to make them as garish and idiosyncratic as possible.  Windows throbbed with music, light, decoration and life.  Buskers littered the street, playing guitars, accordians, harmonicas, spoons, you name it.  Parties seemed to be happening on every floor above ground level on every building.  More than once, Diane had to catch her breath as she thought revelers would start plummeting to their deaths while hanging drunkenly out of their apartment windows.

Diane turned to Rose at one point in astonishment and asked, “Is it always like this?”

Rose only shrugged and said, “It’s Friday.”

And so it was.  Diane didn’t know why it hit her so strongly, but she had honestly lost track of what day it was.  She thought back and wondered how many days she had spent not caring what day it was, and reflected how sad it would be to live one’s whole life that way.  She had been fully prepared to do so.

Heather turned around and stopped Diane in her tracks, ending her contemplation abruptly.  Rose walked around to Heather’s side.  They had arrived at a green metal door at the base of an apartment building.

“Okay,” said Heather, whipping out a couple of keys chained to a rabbit’s foot, “what’s the password?”

Diane pulled her head back.  “Password?”

“If you want to get in, you have to know the password.  If not, I’m afraid I’m going to have to send you home with no fun at all.”

Diane almost laughed.  She thought for a moment, nervous for no terribly good reason.  Heather studied her face closely.

“The password is…”  Diane sucked in breath.  “Pleasure.”

Rose snorted a laugh and buried her head in Heather’s shoulder.  Heather, however, nodded seriously.  “That is one of the passwords.  You may enter.”

She put one of the keys into the lock and yanked the door open.  It spread wide with a screeching whine.  Rose walked in first.

“After you, Miss Pleasure,” Heather said.

Diane walked in and Heather followed.  The door closed behind them with a clang.  They were in a wide concrete hallway lined with a small number of doors.  There was a freight elevator at the end.  Diane was seized with apprehension and delicious anticipation all at once.  One door, seemed to be practically vibrating, light streaming from underneath it.  And that was the door at which Heather inserted the second key.

“Welcome to my party,” Heather said and the door swung open.

Another door, another new world.

Music leaked out.  Jazz.  Fast and hot.  As Diane entered, the music was married to a tremendous hubbub.  This was a loft space, filled with ill-matching furniture, hanging lights (the exact color of the room was hard to distinguish, as the primary impression was one of lots and lots of lights) and LOTS of people, drinking and talking and dancing.  On one of the room’s many couches, Diane saw two men, one well-dressed, older and effete, the other young, slightly rougher, with greased back hair and a leather jacket.  They hovered in front of each other’s faces, the young one planting kisses on the older.  The older fellow seemed hypnotized, weakened, almost pleading.  There were two women in suits dancing with each other, oblivious to the rest of the room.  A bespectacled gentleman with skin darker than Rose’s was sat in an alcove surrounded by young women and one or two men seated on the ground, seemingly explaining something absolutely transfixing.

Heather’s voice cut through the noise and everyone looked up.

“There’s no need to panic, ladies and gentlemen and everyone else, your host is back!”  There was applause from the crowd.  “And I seem to have picked up two beauties on my way!  I think you all know Rose…”  Rose curtsied sweetly to a swell of approval.  “…And this is Diane.  She’s never been to Greenwich Village before, so don’t act like a bunch of animals.”  The crowd made a piteous “awww” noise.  “On second thought, act like a bunch of animals!”

The room exploded with approval and Diane waved shyly.

A young man with a sweet, round face approached Rose, visibly nervous.  “Miss…Miss Rose?”

Rose turned to look at him, her face suddenly cold, looking down her nose at this trembling boy, evaluating him.  “Can I help you with something?”

“I don’t know if you remember me…”

“Oh, I remember you,” she said, a smile beginning to crack through her features.  “You’re the one who wanted to be my little pet white boy, ain’t you?”

The boy looked at Diane and Heather and blushed, looking at the floor.  “I…yes, Miss Rose.  That was me.”

Rose took a hold of the boy’s tie and pulled it taut.  “Well, why don’t you remind me how badly you wanted it?”

The boy looked at her in the eyes, surprised that he’d even gotten this far.  Rose slapped his face, which moved quickly from surprise to astonishment.

“I asked you a question.  How badly do you want to be my little pet white boy?”

“V…very badly, Miss Rose.  If it pleases you.”  He looked down again.

“Well, let’s try you out.”  She turned, made a clicking noise with her tongue and started walking, still holding onto his tie.  He stumbled a bit after her, having to lower his head.

Diane turned to Heather, lips parted, unable to find words.  Heather smiled.  “Rose has admirers.  But when they’re young, they REALLY need training.  I’m sure you know all about that.”

Heather began to wade into the party and Diane followed her.  Everyone was anxious to greet Heather, and to assert to Diane how well they knew her and how far back they went.  Diane had never in her life witnessed a woman being touted as a status symbol in that way.  Certainly, men boasted of conquering women, of having a desirable wife, but they never bragged about simply being friends with a woman.

The parade of faces was endless, and Diane only really managed to keep up with half of what anyone was saying.  It wasn’t that they were saying anything complicated, there were just so many of them.  They were all very sweet, and one woman handed Diane a glass of red wine that she sipped on cautiously, though some of the men and a lot of the women gave her lingering looks that suggested both curiosity and desire.  Here in the city, people didn’t seem to keep much to themselves.

Heather eventually took Diane’s hand and guided her to a small kitchen area on the other side of the room from the entrance.  There were dishes in the sink and innumerable bottles of innumerable varieties of alcohol on the counter.  Some full, some empty, some overturned and staining the wood.  Heather picked up a bottle of beer from the counter, placed the underside of the cap against the counter’s edge and pounded it on top with her fist.  The cap flew off and Heather leaned back against the counter, taking a sip.

Diane watched her and had to laugh, shaking her head.  Heather gave her another of those sidelong looks, her lips pulled into an easy grin.  “Something funny?”

“No.  Well, yes,” Diane said.

“Care to share?”

“I’ve never met a woman who acted like you.”

Heather took another swig from the bottle.  “Like how?”

“Unashamed.  Aggressive.  Almost arrogant.  Like a…”

“Like a man?”

“I wasn’t going to say it,” Diane allowed.

“And who’s to say I’m not acting like a woman?  When did it become a man’s job to enjoy life and a woman’s job to shut up and get out of the way?  You ever read about matriarchal societies?”

“No,” said Diane.

“Well, right now the boys run everything.  They’re fighting and squabbling and bragging and provoking each other to the edge of apocalypse.  But back in the day, there were societies where we ran the show, and frankly, that makes a lot more sense to me.  You ever hear a woman say she wanted to lob a missile at the Russians?”

Diane was silent at this.  She looked at the counter behind her.  “How are you going to clean up all of this mess?”

Heather unleashed a single, caustic snort.  “You think I’m the one who cleans up?  I have people for that.”

“You pay for a maid service?”

“Honey, my maids pay ME.”  Heather stretched and unzipped her leather jacket.  Underneath was a white cotton tank top, and Diane found herself  gazing at the small swell of Heather’s breasts pushing at the cotton.  Heather put her finger under Diane’s chin and brought her eyes back up.  “You see something you like?”

Diane’s eyes fluttered.  “Maybe.”

“Well, I like a little romance before getting down to business.”  Heather finished her beer and chucked the bottle into the kitchen, where it landed with a clunk, unbroken.  She moved in close enough that Diane could feel the heat coming off her skin.  “You know, your lips are giving me ideas.”

Diane, who had begun to feel a mild buzz descend on her, decided to abandon her usual blushing modesty.  She raised an eyebrow.  “You don’t say.”

“I do say.  They’re giving me all kinds of ideas.”

“Care to share?”

Heather inched in closer.  “I’m looking at them thinking that I’d like to suck on them.  Just find out what every inch of them tastes like.  Suck on them until you squeal.”

Diane leaned in further.  “You don’t have to stop at my lips.”

“You want me to keep going?  Maybe suck on those ears of yours?”  Heather brought her lips to Diane’s ear, their cheeks grazing gently.  “It would be positively wanton of you to expect me to suck on these ears.”

Heather’s breath was making Diane’s ear tingle.  It was also causing her to pulse gently down below.  Inside.  “I don’t mean to be wanton.  I’m a nice girl.”  Her words were little more than wisps of breath now.

“Right now, I bet you’re a wet girl.”  Diane almost drew back at the frankness of Heather’s words, but Heather kept her close by snaking a hand along the small of her back.  She dragged her lips along Diane’s neck.  “I can smell you.  I can smell every inch of you.  I can smell what I’m doing to you right now.  Tell me what I’m doing to you.”

“You’re…you’re making me wet.”  Diane looked at the party, which was carrying on without taking much notice.

“But you’re doing something to me, too.”  Heather brought her hand up Diane’s side, thumbing the edge of Diane’s nipple.  “You know what you’re doing to me?”

Diane brought herself face to face with Heather.  “I’m making you want me.”

“That’s right,” Heather said.

And at that moment, for the first time in her life, Diane kissed a woman.  Her mouth simply opened onto Heather’s.  They pressed their bodies together, and the fit was perfect.  Not like Lance’s hard, unyielding body, a body that seemed to force itself onto hers.  Their tongues explored each other’s mouths instinctively.  Diane tasted beer and sweetness on Heather’s tongue.  Heather made good on her promise and sucked on Diane’s ripe bottom lip, at first gently and then hard enough that Diane groaned.  They pressed together again, and Diane put her hand on Heather’s neck, pulling their faces yet closer.

The kiss didn’t end so much as it dissolved, both participants satisfied that something had been done, and properly.  Diane fell back against the counter as the contact broke.

Heather caught her.  “Careful, young lady.  I’ll send you home if I think you’re liable to hurt yourself.”

Diane smiled sadly.  “I don’t have a home right now.  Or I do, but…I can’t go back there.”

“You’ve got a lot of story, I can tell.”

“I don’t want to tell it right now,” said Diane, feeling melancholy and exhilarated all at once.  “I just want to be here.”

“You don’t have to tell it.  You want to see something?”

“Is it private?”

“Oh, yes.  Only special people get to see this.”

Heather took Diane’s hand again and led her along the outskirts of the crowd to another side of the room.  They arrived at a large wooden door.  On the door was a sign, written in black on red paper: “ONLY IF YOU’RE ALLOWED.”

Heather ran her finger along Diane’s chin.  “What’s the password?”

Diane replied, with not a moment’s hesitation, “Please.”

“You’re good,” smiled Heather, and they both slipped into the room.

This room was something else again.  Wood and leather.  A massive X with cuffs at every point.  Chains hanging from the ceiling.  Cages.  Chests full of secrets.  An assortment of…things lining the walls.  Whips.  Paddles.  Irons.  Masks.  Even having never seen a room like this, Diane had a word for it.  It was a dungeon.

And there, in the center of it all, was Rose and her pet white boy.  Rose had her skirt hiked up and was standing with her legs shoulder width apart.  The boy was on his knees, naked as can be, hands held behind his back.  His face was buried between her buttocks.

“That’s it, that’s it…you nasty little boy.”  Rose’s voice was a purr of alluring self-satisfaction.  “Get that bitch boy tongue up there, don’t be shy.  Worship this ass.  Show your Mistress how much you love this ass.  Pay your respects.”

The boy was groaning into her, lapping deep inside her, penetrating her with his tongue as if his life depended on it.

Diane immediately feared she had walked in on something she was never intended to see.  As if hearing her thoughts, Rose looked up at her.

“Don’t mind me.  I’m just giving this little slut an audition.”  Rose grabbed a fistful of the boy’s hair and pushed his face in deeper.

Heather laughed.  “Well…when you’re done… you mind if we join in?”

“When it comes to obedient little pretty boys like this, I say the more the merrier.  What did you have in mind?”

“I have a few ideas,” Heather said.  “What about you, Diane?  You got any ideas?”

Diane said nothing.  Her head spun pleasantly as she drank in the fine, overpowering scent of leather.

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AUTHENTICITY MONTH: Diane, Chapter Five by Bastard Keith 10.17.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/17/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-five-by-bastard/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/17/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-five-by-bastard/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 09:15:35 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=402

Rose’s eyes creased with questions.  But she turned her head to Teddy and Lou, suddenly as certain as anything.

“I know this lady.  Her name is Diane, and she ain’t no cop.”

Teddy and Lou looked at Diane and then at each other.  Teddy a bit helplessly, Lou rather accusingly.

Teddy broke the silence.  “Well, if Rose knows her, I’m not worried.  We need to shoot, and the new girl never showed up anyway.  We need a submissive for this shot.  I don’t know why we’re even talking about it.”  He walked back to his camera and fiddled with it, still rambling to himself, disassociated.

Lou sucked on her bottom lip before speaking.  “All right, come on.  The costumes are over there.”

“I’ll show her over,” Rose said.

Lou ran over to the lights and began adjusting them.  Rose took Diane’s arm and began to walk her towards the folding screen.  Diane felt her heart pounding.

“Now,” Rose whispered, “I’m gonna show you some things, and we’re gonna help you decide what to wear.”

“I don’t really know what I’m doing here,” Diane breathed.  “I thought I did, but I don’t.”

Rose pulled Diane behind the screen.  They examined each other.  Diane, a slightly ruffled picture of suburban sweetness in her flower dress, and Rose.  Rose, who cocked her hip with a rubber squeak and smirked with an assurance Diane had never seen.

“Is this something you do all the time?” Diane asked.

“I worked for some other places,” Rose said, nodding.  “Nowhere this nice.”

Diane nodded, lost.  “I don’t really know what to say to you.”

Rose smiled. “You wanna tell me what you’re doing here?”

Diane wrung her hands.  “I thought…I thought I could find something here.  Something new.”

“Is that it?”

Diane drew in close to Rose.  “I can’t go home.”

After a moment of watching Diane, feeling her breath heat up in the closeness behind the screen, reading her uncertainty, Rose decided not to ask any more questions.

“So here’s what’s gonna happen.  I’m gonna be spanking you.  You’re gonna be over my lap like a naughty girl, and I’m gonna be cropping your butt.”  Rose smacked her hand with the crop, startling Diane.

“Okay,” nodded Diane.

“Your eyes are wide as hell.  You look terrified.”

“Sorry,” Diane whispered as she looked down.

“No, it’s perfect,” Rose chuckled.  “Now, you wanna be naked, or you want to wear something cute?”

Diane looked at the rack of clothing that stood before them, a riot of colors and fabrics.

“I think I need to wear something.”

Rose flipped through the available garments for a moment before smiling wickedly, an expansion of that smile Diane had seen for a brief moment in the grocery store.  “I think I got it.”

Rose pulled out what seemed to be a collection of adjustable straps, all black leather.  “And we can fit it to you.”

“Is that…are those even clothing?” Diane asked.

Rose rolled her eyes.  “You have to strip down.  They’ll be getting impatient soon.”

Diane decided that by now, the idea of saying “no” to any of this was at least as ludicrous as the idea of saying “yes.”  She gently placed her jacket and the copy of SMACK on the ground and unbuttoned the top of her dress.  She let it slide down, tickling like a breeze against her nipples and crumpling silently at her feet.

Rose’s eyes widened.  “You didn’t wear any underwear?”

“It’s been a very strange day.”

Rose held out the straps and knelt down, the rubber squealing.  “Step into this.”

Diane put her foot through an offered opening, and then her other foot.  Rose  pulled the straps up over her legs until they rested, tight, at the top of her thighs.  Diane blushed and her breath became short.  The straps were so snug that they made her mons veneris bulge.  It was a deeply pleasurable sensation.  Her body pulsed and she pushed her thighs together, arching her back.  She began to see white.

“Damn, you’re sensitive,” Rose chuckled.

“Sorry…sorry,” Diane managed, straightening out, pulling back from the brink.

Rose pulled the straps up Diane’s body until it was clear that this was some sort of harness, clinging to her like a spider’s web.  It wove around her, presenting and lifting her breasts, her stomach, her buttocks, and that area that had felt such a surge as Rose had pulled it tight.  The mound of flesh, dusted with brown hair, blossoming into a pronounced and ripe set of lips, rounding inwards.  Diane had never contemplated the shape of her vagina before.  But then, she’d never thought of it as a nexus of pleasure until recently.

Diane’s breath was pushed out of her again as Rose tightened the straps around her chest and her breasts were lifted and presented, framed as if a work of art.  Her nipples hardened, darkening, and as Rose pulled the straps and buckled them, Diane imagined her holding a set of reins.  And her entire body seemed to blush.

Lou rapped on the screen.  “You gals about ready?”

Diane turned to face Rose.

“Well,” Rose asked, “are you?”

“And you’re…you’re going to be…spanking me?”

“That’s right, Miss Diane.”

Diane looked around for a moment before giving a curt nod and setting her jaw.  “Then let’s not keep them waiting any longer.”

The two women walked out from behind the screen.  The brunette and the two blondes fussed pleasantly over their outfits in a corner of the room but their eyes drew up to see Rose and Diane, and they were obviously fascinated.  Teddy tilted his head and his mouth seemed on the verge of forming words that never came.

Lou whistled.  “Not bad.”

Diane and Rose approached the shooting area, which now included a black wooden bench, standing out like a beauty mark against the red.  Rose sat down on the bench and Diane hesitated.

“How should I…I mean…”

Rose looked up.  “You ever get spanked as a little girl?”

“Well…yes, but it was a long…”

Rose interrupted Diane by pulling her over her lap.  Diane’s hair tumbled over her face and she planted her hands on the floor as she tried to gain her balance.

“That’s excellent, thanks,” said Teddy, who readied himself to take snaps.

“What do I do?” Diane asked, looking back up at Rose.

“Time being, steady yourself.”

Rose gathered a great deal of Diane’s hair in her hand and gave a very gentle tug, pulling Diane’s face up and exposing it to the camera.  Diane nearly protested, but the sureness of Rose’s touch disarmed her.

Then came the first stinging smack.  Diane gave a mortified gasp and looked back at Rose.  Her eyes were a near-caricature of reproach and shock.

Which was when Teddy began snapping shots.

Rose affected a mocking delight in her work, playing to the lens.  She raised an eyebrow.  She smirked, her rouged lips gleaming.  And always she kept a steady rhythm of smacks from the crop, never loosening her grip on Diane’s hair.

Diane, meanwhile, couldn’t even think to put on a performance.  She WAS shocked by the circumstance, WAS innocent to the feelings she was having.  Every impact left an electric sting in its wake, reverberating through Diane’s tautly plumped up buttocks and into her very center.  It wasn’t some unbearable pain, but something else, something insistent and lingering and oddly sweet.  It tickled her.

Her legs kicked behind her helplessly.  And she found herself writhing on Rose’s lap, her hips rising and falling with her breath.  The only noise she made with along with the spankings was her heavy, shuddering breath and those little squeaks of surprise.  The feeling she’d been glimpsing for the last day was welling up inside her, like a billow of clouds rushing up into a storm.

SMACK.  SMACK.  SMACK.

Diane closed her eyes.  And she focused on the feeling.  It swelled and grew and made her body shake.  She felt it in her nipples, in her fingertips, in her toes.  And no sooner had she surrendered to the feeling than she saw something forming in the darkness behind her eyes.  A shrouded form.  A mass of light.

Emerging from the darkness was The Face.  And it moved closer, and Diane’s body seemed to be vibrating all over.  She was no longer conscious of herself.  Closer and closer, it dominated her field of vision, until finally it simply engulfed her.

At which point Diane experienced a feeling she had never before encountered.  Her body cried out and seemed to blossom into a thousand different directions.  All she saw was light as the feeling burst into one huge pulse, which first stunned and then shook her.

Diane cried out and her eyes shot open.  The pulse came back, decreased, and her body felt a smaller tremor.  And then a smaller one.  And then one more and then nothing.

She was sweating.

The clicking stopped.

Diane slumped over Rose’s lap.  “I…I…”

“I think we’re done,” Teddy said.

“I’m sorry,” Diane murmered, recovering her senses.  “I don’t know what happened…”

“No,” Teddy hurried out, “no.  It was…I mean…I’ve never…”

“It was perfect,” Lou piped up.

“Thanks, yes,” Teddy stammered, “perfect.”

Rose helped Diane, unsteady as a newborn foal, to her feet.  They walked in silence to a couch near the folding screen and sat down.

Diane exhaled heavily, wiped her brow and asked Rose, “Does he usually only shoot for five minutes?”

“That…was almost 45 minutes,” Rose replied.

Diane felt her jaw drop.  “That was never….how long?”

Rose narrowed her eyes and laughed throatily.  “You okay, Miss Diane?”

“I think so.  I don’t know what just happened.”

“I do,” chortled Rose.  “That you don’t means you been living in the suburbs for WAY too long.”

Diane laughed and shook her head.  “Please…please just call me Diane.  Not Miss Diane.”

“Force of habit,” Rose shrugged.

“Well, you aren’t bagging groceries for me,” Diane said, “and considering what we’ve just done, I don’t think there’s any reason or need for you to be deferential right now.”

Rose took Diane’s hand in hers.  “Girl, your life is about to get fifty kinds of strange.  Welcome to the city.”

Diane clenched Rose’s hand.

At that moment, the door to the studio burst open with a crash, making Teddy knock over his camera, which he scrambled to pick up.

A woman in head to toe black motorcycle leathers swaggered in.  She was tall, lanky, with unnaturally bright blonde hair shooting out in spiky geysers from her head.

“Evening, campers!” boomed the woman.

Lou marched up to her, irritated.  “Well, that’s a hell of a way to say hello!  Suppose Teddy’d been shooting?”

The woman grabbed Lou’s face with both hands and planted a hard, loud smooch on her.  “But he wasn’t, was he?  Hey, Teddy!”

Teddy looked up as he got his tripod straightened out.  “Heather, hi, hello.  Hi.”

“As loquacious as ever,” Heather grinned.  She turned to Rose.  “So how about it, kiddo?  You done for the night?”

“Gimme five minutes to change,” Rose giggled and hopped up to head behind the curtain.

Heather watched her go before directing her deep, probing, insinuating gaze at Diane.  “Now who…” Heather began, descending onto one knee, “…might this be?”  She took Diane’s hand in hers and smiled.

“New girl, friend of Rose’s,” Lou said, heading over to Teddy.

Heather stroked Diane’s hand with fingers that were surprisingly soft.  “And your name, precious?”

“D…Diane.”

Heather gave Diane a sidelong glance.  “Is that with one D or two?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Never mind,” Heather said and kissed Diane’s hand.  “Now, I’m here to pick up Rose and we were gonna head out and take the town.  And now I look at you, I think it would be a terribly sad night if we didn’t have your company.”

Rose poked her head out from behind the screen.  “Don’t pressure her!”

Heather looked shocked.  “I’m not pressuring you, am I, Diane?”

Diane was almost breathless from her experience in front of the camera, and this gallant, boyish woman finished the job.  She held back a laugh for a moment before it exploded out of her.  “I…no!  I’d love to.”

“Excellent news,” Heather said, kissing Diane’s hand again.  “Now go get changed and we’ll make a night of it.”

Heather pulled Diane to her feet with alarming strength and spun her in the direction of the screen.  Diane scurried back and came face to face with Rose.

“Who IS that?”

“That’s Heather,” Rose replied.

“Is she…your…I mean…”  Diane ran out of ways to ask, largely because she wasn’t sure what she was asking.

“She’s a lot of things.  You’ll get to know her.”  Rose had peeled off much of the rubber outfit, revealing smooth brown skin shining with perspiration.

Diane started undoing the buckles of her outfit.  As she loosened it and pulled it off, she could see the indentations it left all along her body.  She traced her fingers along them, wincing when she found a spot where the strap had cut in due to her wriggling around and pulling it too tight.

Rose grabbed a towel and patted herself down.

Diane watched her for a moment before saying, “Rose, this is crazy…I don’t even have a place to stay in New York…”

“I bet we can work something out,” said Heather, whose face appeared around the side of the screen.  “Now you two girls get a move on.  We got a party to go to.”

Rose laughed aloud and pushed Heather’s face away.  “Five minutes!”

Diane picked up her dress, which suddenly looked terribly drab after the evening’s activities.

She turned to the clothing rack and began to look for other possibilities.

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AUTHENTICITY MONTH: Diane, Chapter Four by Bastard Keith 10.12.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/12/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-four-by-bastard-keith-10-12-12/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/12/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-four-by-bastard-keith-10-12-12/#comments Fri, 12 Oct 2012 20:52:31 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=396 Going by its exterior, the building was nothing special.  Dingier than Diane had expected, perhaps.  Stained with garbage, weather and age.  Only some of the apartments were lit, creating the impression of a mouth missing several teeth.  Was this really where all those pictures were taken, where fantasies were painted with flesh?  Diane did not yet regret taking the train away from the false safety of her home, but this wasn’t inspiring an awful lot of confidence.

The ride into the city had been a blur of exhilaration.  As trees whipped by the window and the black murk of the Hudson reflected a dazzling moon, Diane had been a bag of nerves.  She was alone for much of the journey, the rattling car utterly deserted but for her.  When the conductor had taken her ticket and exited into the next segment, Diane began to pace.  She smoothed out her dress.  She fussed with her hair.  She shook out her hands and massaged them.

She took her isolation as an invitation to sing.  In a quivering soprano, Diane worked through Beyond the Sea no less than five times, wandering from one side of the train car to the other, sometimes walking, sometimes running, sometimes swooping.  Every time she began again, her voice was louder, stronger.  On her fifth attempt, the train stopped and a man in a long coat and hat entered.  She promptly buttoned her lip and sat down.

The man stared at her for the rest of the trip.  When Diane decided that she would turn to look at him, shaming him for being so rude, he just maintained his unruffled stare.  His lips curled into an inscrutable smile.  Diane turned back around and sank into her seat, eyes once again glued to the window.

Once the man had put an end to her celebrations, the time seemed to pass much more slowly.  But this did not turn her melancholy.  Rather, it caused her to bottle her excitement up, each moment an excruciating effort at containing herself.  It was all she could do not to leap out of the window and run ahead of the train.

Disembarking at Grand Central Station, Diane was in awe.  She had been to the city a number of times, but never on her own.  Everything seemed bigger now.  Being under the protection of Lance, she had perhaps never lifted her eyes enough to grasp the sheer hugeness of it all.  Had she really never taken the time to look up at the ceiling in here?

She was delighted to see something that she’d only read about in the newspaper, the Redstone missile in the center of the place.  It was bigger than she could have possibly imagined.  She paced around the base of it taking in its immense scale, and it seemed to go up forever.  But no sooner had she felt sincere awe of its dimensions than she began to wonder: what was the point?  Was America really a nation of boys so insecure that they needed to erect this gargantuan THING just to make people a little less insecure that the Russians had gotten there first?

This was not the sort of thought Diane was used to having, but her mind was abuzz and she couldn’t help it.  After all, nearly every man she’d ever met was the sort of man who’d put up a rocket in the middle of a train station.   A pushy, bullying boy in a suit, desperate to make the better impression.  It was impossible that these could be the men in charge of everything, but Diane reflected that when she’d met him, Lance seemed the finest man she’d ever met.  Could those running the show possibly be any better?

The cab ride proceeded without incident, though the driver asked her what she could possibly want in Greenwich Village.  “Bunch of, excuse me, Miss, bunch of queers and nutjobs down there.  Not your kind of people.”

Diane didn’t know precisely what the man meant by “queers,” but she understood condescension when she heard it.  “And who do you imagine my kind of people are?” she asked, proudly.

The driver chuckled amiably.  “Nice people.  Decent people.”

“Well. Maybe I’m a…a queer.  What do you think of that?”

The driver immediately went silent and focused on the road.

“What about it?” she insisted.

“Miss, it’s none of my business.  But I won’t talk about it in my car.  You wanted a ride, you’re getting one.  Now if you’ll excuse me.”

Midtown, its lights and hubbub, darkened and shrank in the distance, like a dying star.

The rest of the drive was silent.  When they arrived, Diane paid the driver in exact change and made sure to do as Lance always did, giving a little tip besides.

The driver handled her money with a quiet sort of disgust.  “Have fun.  That’s all your type seems to do,” he said before speeding off, leaving Diane looking up at the degraded edifice before her.

What had felt like excitement was suddenly turning cold and hard in the pit of her stomach.

But this was no time for doubt.  Not now.  To give in to doubt now would mean that she had failed somehow, that what she ought to be doing was playing wife.  Giving up.  No, this was the time to press on.  Now more than ever.

She shook her head, took a deep breath and walked up to the door, which was at ground level and had a series of buzzers in a row next to it.  She checked the stained page of the magazine.  Number 5.  She pushed the button and heard a distant buzzing.  And then she waited.

A city bus rolled by.  Somewhere a bottle broke against a wall.

A window shot open some floors above the street, and a head poked out.

“What do you want?” asked a voice both feminine and slightly hard.

“I…hello.  Are you…is this…”  She gave up trying to figure out how to word it and simply held up the magazine, smiling helpfully.

The woman squinted and cocked her head.  “Yeah, that’s us.  Are you Teddy’s new girl?”

Diane thought for about half a second.  “Yes, I’m the new girl.”

The woman nodded.  “I’ll come down and let you up.”

“Thank you!”  Diane felt a bit foolish, but to whatever extent a plan existed, this seemed to be all of a piece with it.

Moments later, the door flew open and Diane was confronted with the woman she’d been speaking to.  She was short and wiry, dressed in a man’s trousers, striped shirt, suspenders and flat cap.  She eyed Diane up and down.  Diane tried her best to seem presentable, smiling and folding her hands.

“Say, you’re all right,” the woman said.  She held out her hand.  “Lou.”

Diane took and shook Lou’s hand.  “Diane.”

“Nice name.  I’ll show you up.”  With a flourish, Lou held the door open and gestured Diane in.  “After you, madame.

Diane walked by the little gargoyle haltingly, keeping her pleasant smile plastered on.

“It’s just two flights up,” Lou chirped.  “On the right.”

The place was falling apart.  The stairs all creaked, the walls seemed to flake off, and the linoleum was peeling from the hallway floor.  Diane tried to keep an open mind.  As she reached their destination, Lou zipped in front of her and put her hand on the doorknob.

“Welcome to SMACK,” Lou smiled, and pushed the door open.

Another world lay inside.

Red.  Red ceiling, red walls.  Red velvet curtains on the windows.  Red carpets on a dark wood floor.  Diane had always been told this was a gaudy, trashy color, but as she entered the studio, it seemed as though a new dimension of perception was opening up.  The room was sizable, certainly deeper and higher than the building looked capable of holding from the outside.

Standing out boldly in front of one of the walls, lit in pools of hot white by two standing lights, there were three women.  One was a handsome, sneering brunette dressed in a long fur coat that hung open to reveal the bulge of two lush, buoyant breasts and a neat thatch of pubic hair.  She was smoking a cigarette in a long holder and grasping two chain leashes.  They led to two seemingly identical blonde women on the floor, both in what looked like immensely uncomfortable positions.  Their wrists had been leather-bound to their biceps, and their ankles to their thighs, forcing them to walk on their elbows and knees.  Both of them wore tightly fitted harnesses on their heads.  The harnesses included black leather puppy ears that flopped this way and that, black leather puppy snouts protruding from underneath eyes flashing with innocent panic, and long leather bits forcing their mouths open and their lips wide.

Their breasts hung beneath them, swaying as they struggled to walk.  Running her eyes along their bodies, Diane noticed a detail that shocked her more than anything: they both had wagging tails attached to…there was no harness, no mechanism to keep them in place.  Whatever they were attached to was INSIDE the women.  In their…

“Oh, my,” Diane said.

“Shh,” Lou whispered.  “He’s working.”

Diane snapped back into herself and began to listen.  The two puppy girls were whining and whimpering mock-pathetically, and everything was blanketed in a non-stop flurry of clicks and winding noises.  There was a camera capturing everything.  Of course there was.

Behind the camera was a man dressed not unlike Lou, though much taller and with a mess of wild, uncontrollable red hair poking out from underneath his cap.  He said nothing, only nodded uncontrollably and snapped picture after picture.

The brunette yanked the two leashes, and the two blondes were forced up onto only their knees, their elbows waving in front of them as they balanced.  The brunette bared her teeth and arched her eyebrows.

“I think the twins need a break, Teddy,” said Lou.

The redheaded man swiveled around like a shot.  “They’re fine,” he said, not with malice but with a sort of blithe lack of awareness.  He turned to the blondes.  “Aren’t you fine?”

The blondes were still.  The brunette spoke.  “Give them a break, Teddy.  They’ve been doing this for an hour now.”

The blondes looked at each other and then at Teddy.  They nodded simultaneously and murmured through their gags, “Nnng-hnng!”

“Right, sorry.  Sorry, sorry.”  Teddy stood up straight and took off his cap, running his fingers through his tangle of curls.  “Take, uh…take a minute.  Take as long as you need to.”

The brunette began untying the two blondes’ limbs as Teddy approached Lou.

“Teddy,” Lou beamed, “meet the new girl.  Diane.”

Diane looked down.  “Hello.”

“You’re not the new girl,” Teddy said.  Again, there was no confrontation in his voice, just a sort of confused lack of engagement.  “The new girl’s name is Wendy.  And she looks nothing like you.  Who are you?”

Lou looked up at Teddy.  “Wait a second.”

“I…let me explain,” Diane began.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Teddy said, backing away.  “No, no.”

Lou examined Diane skeptically.  “What the hell?  You told me you were the new girl.”

“I can BE the new girl,” Diane said.  “Listen, I just want to explain.  I read your magazines.  And I was…fascinated.”

“Fascinated doesn’t mean you can DO it.  Have you ever done anything like this?” Teddy asked.

“No, but I think I can.”

Teddy scratched his chin.  “You’re very pretty.  You look lush.  You look…I just, I mean, why didn’t you just send some pictures like everyone else?”

“Teddy doesn’t like meeting new people,” Lou said.

“No, no, I mean, wait, now listen, that’s not necessarily…I mean, how do I know WHO the hell you are?” Teddy sputtered.

Lou narrowed her eyes.  “Maybe you’re working with the police.  Maybe you want to get us shut down.”

“What?”  Diane shook her head and held out her hands.  “Oh, no!  That’s the last thing I’d want to do!”

“I don’t know about this, I just don’t know…”  Teddy was pacing and wringing his hands.

“Please,” Diane said, “just let me try.  I don’t…I don’t really have anywhere to go.”

Lou shook her head and grimaced.  “You come in here and lie to us, you never done snaps like this before, for all I know you’re some dame the fuzz hired to nail us on an obscenity charge…who the hell are you?”

“I know her,” said a soft, surprised voice.

Everyone turned to look at the speaker.  Emerging from behind an Oriental folding screen was a face Diane recognized at once.  She was dressed in a full body, skin tight unitard that appeared to be made of black industrial rubber.  It squeaked as she walked.  She held a riding crop in her hand.  Her heels were so high it almost gave Diane a nosebleed to think about it.  Her dark skin seemed to glow against the lurid red of the room.

It was Rose.  The girl who worked in the grocery store.  She smiled warmly as Diane struggled to make sense of this.

“I know her real well.  Don’t I, Miss Diane?”

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AUTHENTICITY MONTH: Diane, Chapter Three by Bastard Keith 10.9.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/09/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-three-by-bastard-keith-10-9-12/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/09/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-three-by-bastard-keith-10-9-12/#comments Tue, 09 Oct 2012 07:06:25 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=383             When Lance opened the door of his own home that night, he was greeted with the sounds of opera.  He winced.  Diane again.  Her ludicrous fascinations.  Her pretensions to culture.  No matter.  She’d probably lost track of the time, and dinner would be on the table within minutes.  But as he trod through the kitchen, there was no evidence that anything had been prepared.  He walked into the living room and was terrified by what he saw.  A mass of magazines, mangled and scattered, coating the floor.

It looked like a burglary.

Lance’s world spun for a moment before his head snapped up.

“Diane?  DIANE?”

Lance launched up the stairs and looked into all the rooms lining the hallway, calling out his wife’s name.  The bathroom, the office, the bedroom…

And there was Diane.  Naked.  Standing in the center of the room, several magazines at her feet.  The secret magazines.  She was holding one of them in her hand.  Lance tried to speak but nothing happened.  His mouth felt dry, impossible.  Diane saw this and decided to kick-start the conversation herself.

“I read them,” Diane said.  “I read all of them.”

“It was a mess downstairs…are you okay?” Lance finally got out, his voice higher and quieter than usual, and his consonants softer.

“I’m fine.  Why didn’t you tell me about these?”  She tilted her head.

“You’re…I…you looked in my personal things?”

Diane nodded.  “I did.”

“Who told you that you could do that?”

“No one did.  I wanted to.” Diane saw Lance struggling.  “I wanted to look and I did.  I know this is hard for you.  Seeing this.”

Lance’s face was a bright red, and it carried a look of childish anger.  Again, Diane felt somewhat sorry for him.  But she began to feel anger, too.   Her voice rose just a little.

“Why didn’t you ever talk to me about the things in these magazines?” she asked.  “How did you think I’d react?”

Lance shook his head and muttered, “Put some clothes on.”

“I’m fine.  What did you think was so wrong that you hid these in a box?”

“Just put some clothes on and come downstairs and we’ll talk.”

“No.”

Lance looked at her with a pained confusion.  It was a look of confusion that she remembered very, very well.  But instead of placating him, Diane decided to press forward.  She walked towards him, still clutching the copy of SMACK.

“I’m not putting on clothes,” she said.  “We can talk like this or we can not talk at all.”

Lance held his ground as she closed in on him.  “Then we won’t talk.  It’s late and I want dinner and then, if you’re feeling a little closer to normal, we can talk.  But in the meantime just put on some GODDAMN CLOTHES.”

“NO!” she shouted, increasing her pace and coming right up to Lance’s face.

To her surprise, and to his, he backed away.  His face registered a moment of deep humiliation and Diane pressed on, walking him out the door of the bedroom and up to the wall on the other side of the hallway.

“You hide things from me.  And you don’t even know why you’re ashamed of them.  You do things to me and you don’t care if I enjoy them.  I’m showing you ME right now, and you don’t know what to say to it.  I mean Jesus Christ, Lance, is there any part of our life that’s CLEAR to you?  Because I’m learning that whatever I thought this was, whatever I thought my life was, it wasn’t ANYTHING.”  Diane’s voice remained steady.  “It’s not even that my life is horrible, I just don’t know what it IS.  When you make love to me, I think of anything.  ANYTHING but you.  And I only realized it yesterday.  And if you’re making love to me when I’m not there, what does that mean?  Who are you making love to?  If I’m not there, you’re making love to NOTHING.  And you don’t even know it.”

After a moment, and with obvious difficulty, Lance finally spoke.  “What’s wrong with you?”

Diane lowered her voice.  “Do you want me to be like those women in the magazine?”

“No.  I don’t.  That’s just for…”

“For what?” she asked.

“It’s different,” he said.

“What’s different about it?”

“Those women are…they’re not like you,” he said.  “You’re my wife.”

“I know.  You wouldn’t want to be married to a woman like the ones you look at in secret?”

“No,” Lance said, his voice going cold.  “I’d like to be married to a woman capable of giving me a child.  But I can’t even have that, can I?  I had to marry the first woman I fell in love with, and she turned out to be barren.”

Silence fell.  Diane felt her face burn, her eyes welling up.  She nodded.  “I’m getting dressed now.”

***

Diane left the house that night with only her dress, a jacket in case the evening got cold (with an apple in one of its pockets), some money she’d squirreled away, and the magazine, which had become an object of serious fascination.

It only occurred to Diane 10 minutes after leaving the house that she was not terribly sure where she was going.  She looked around.  The sky had begun to fade.  Houses were lit from within.  Cars were parked in their driveways, retired for the night.  Muted sounds of music and laughter drifted in and out of earshot.

She examined her options.  She could go back home.  This was not an option she was prepared to entertain.  She could go to her mother’s house and face the inevitable judgment that she had failed in some way.  She could go beg, like a fool, on the doorstep of one of the neighborhood women she detested so much.  Any of these options ended with her going home in shame and accepting as her fate the life she had finally begun to examine and to hate.

Crossing into the park, Diane found a massive old tree, sat at the base of the trunk and began to weep.  Big, loud, shuddering sobs that wracked her body.  And she realized that she was not sobbing because of what Lance had said, nor because she had nowhere she could happily go.  She had no idea why she was sobbing at all, actually.  So she laughed.

It was not lost on Diane that she might have looked like a mad woman, sitting beneath a tree and cackling while her eyes streamed with tears.  So she wiped her eyes and, feeling suddenly quite famished, plucked the apple out of her pocket.

It was still light enough to read, just barely.  Diane placed the magazine on her lap and opened it up to a random page.  What surprised her about the magazine’s barrage of unfamiliar imagery was that she was in no way offended by it.  The acts being portrayed were obviously intended to be, well, dirty, but Diane’s inexperience with them and the general good cheer of the women involved combined to make her reaction one of fascinated delight.  Here was a girl being spanked over the lap of another.  Here was a woman made to dress like a pony in an elaborate lattice of leather straps, gagged with a bit, led around on reins by a classically attired equestrienne.  The “victims” were playing up their distress fetchingly, all wide, pleading eyes, and the aggressors were oddly glamorous.

She took a bite of the apple.  It was so ripe that juice spilled from the sides of her lips and onto the magazine’s thick paper.  She giggled a little, suckling at the bite mark to avoid more mess, and wiped the juice off of the page.  Right below the stain left behind, surrounded by images of a fresh-faced young woman gagged with a large, shiny ball, Diane saw something that gave her pause.  A boldfaced bit of print, surrounded by a cartoon explosion.

“ALWAYS SEEKING NEW MODELS!  THINK YOU’RE A SMACK GIRL?  CONTACT US HERE!”

An address was provided.  No PO box, an actual place of residence.

It was in New York City.

Which was half an hour away by train.

Which was a very inexpensive trip.

Which was ridiculous, of course.

Because what sort of woman just shows up unannounced at a…what would one call such a place, anyway?

It wasn’t the sort of thing one did, certainly not a married woman.  These women were all, obviously, untethered to the real world, where doing things like this would result in total ignominy.  These weren’t women with reputations.  With something to lose.

Not like Diane.

And besides, the last train left just after 8.  Which was in a half an hour.

Diane took another bite of the apple and made a decision.

She stood up and walked in the direction of the train station, the night finally beginning to fall properly and the katydids chorusing in the dark.

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AUTHENTICITY MONTH: Diane, Chapter Two by Bastard Keith 10.5.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/05/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-2-by-bastard-keith-10-5-12/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/05/authenticity-month-diane-chapter-2-by-bastard-keith-10-5-12/#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2012 08:26:46 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=376

Breakfast was prepared the next morning with a kind of bullying haste.  No sooner had Lance sat down and unfolded his newspaper than the plate was slid under his nose, steaming, immaculate.  He looked up at Diane, whose face had an eager, doting smile stretched convincingly over an urgent desire for him to leave.  He tilted his head.

“Not cereal today?” he asked.

“You don’t like eggs?” she squeezed out of her smile.

“I love them.  I just can’t remember the last time you put together a breakfast like this.  This is…”

“Well, dig in,” she urged, “It’s going to get cold.”

“Okay, okay…”

She stood and watched placidly as he ate, while behind her back, her hands were squeezing and rubbing at each other furiously, nearly twisting her fingers off one by one.

“You okay?  You’re watching me like a hawk.”

“What?”  She forced her smile wider.  “I’m fine…I just want to make sure you like it.  If you like it, I can make it like this again.”

“I do, actually,” he said, chewing slowly.  “And there’s the perfect amount of salt on it.  This is just…I mean, good morning!”  He laughed and looked back at her fondly.  “You know, you look absolutely beautiful this morning.  C’mere.”

Diane came over to him.  “You don’t want to be late.”

“Listen, Harris doesn’t tell me what to do anymore.  I make my own hours.”  He patted his lap.  “Have a seat.”

“Oh, I don’t know…you really don’t have time…”

Lance laughed again and pulled her down onto his lap.  “I, uh…I know I haven’t been around as much lately.  It’s a different ballgame now.  They’re asking for a lot more of my time.”

Diane looked away.  “It’s okay.  I’m really fine.”

“But listen.  We’ve got maybe 5 accounts lined up that we need to knock clean out of the park.  And once we do…I think we can finally go on vacation.  Just you and me.  No work, no family, no friends, nothing, just us.”

The idea filled her with a churning anxiety.  There was something unspoken, lurking.  And then he said it.

“And I just think that could be a perfect time to make a really good go of having a kid.”

She took a deep breath and smiled so hard her face hurt.  She shook her head and let out a small, abrupt laugh that she hoped would register as something joyous.  “I think that just sounds wonderful.”

Lance pulled her in close and kissed her.  “Doesn’t it?”  His features took on an impish delight.  “Look, I could take the day off…”

She finally just put her hands on his shoulders.  “Five accounts.  Mister Executive.”

He examined her face with a flicker of effort.  Then he kissed her once more.  And then he was gone.

Diane watched his car roll out of the driveway.  As the car faded from view, she began to shake a little.  And she tore out of the kitchen and into the living room.

There was a small basket of magazines by the armchair, mostly women’s wear and gossip.  Diane pulled every single one out, throwing them into a pile in the middle of the room.  Sweating all over and heaving in breath with difficulty, she started flipping through them.  One at a time.  Trying to focus on every page, every image, every face.

“No, no, no, no…”

Nothing was recalling the face that she had somehow conjured the previous night.  It all looked blurry, indistinct, wrong.  Her hands were now trembling as though possessed.  As she worked her way through the magazines, she left them crumpled and torn, scattered all over the carpet.

Finally, she stopped and looked down at her hands.  There were several paper cuts on them, one or two bleeding daintily.  But she felt no pain.  Only the wild, panicked throb of her own pulse.  She clenched her hands and released them, clenched and released.

Looking around, she barely recognized the room.  The mess she’d created was a slightly ghoulish one; a galaxy of smiling faces, all perfectly coiffed and styled, now creased and ripped.  She pulled herself to her feet, and her head swam.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  None of these were The Face.

Diane took three long breaths, and finally concentrated on her heartbeat.  Only her chest was pounding now.  Everything else swam slowly back into normalcy.  And her hands were suddenly stinging.  She bit her lower lip and her eyes swam with tears.

A bath was run.  And while the gleamingly white bathroom filled with steam, Diane decided that she needed some music.  Something she knew, something beautiful.  Diane stepped back into the living room and opened the cabinet below the record player.  It was a cabinet of records Lance never let her play when he was in the house.  She decided on Nozze Di Figaro.  She set the needle down, undid the buttons at the neck of her dress and dropped it where she stood.  She returned to the bathroom.

The music swelled as her toes dipped into the near-scalding water.  Every molecule on her surface was alive and screaming.  She sank in an inch at a time and decided to watch herself as she did.  Her feet, she thought, were rather cute.  As her legs dipped into the water, she decided that what she had always thought of as a bit thick actually reminded her quite favorably of the Italian women in a film she’d seen with Lance (he’d never forgiven her his boredom, though she was riveted by those insinuating, voluptuous widows).   Her hind quarters touched the water and for a bristling, surprising moment, she felt a hint of the thrill that had come with seeing The Face.  After a brief hesitation, she sank in further.  Her breasts remained buoyant in the water, and her long, brown tresses snaked over them.

Looking to her left, Diane caught a glimpse of herself in Lance’s shaving mirror, which had been abandoned on the side of the tub.  At first concerned with the slight lines around her mouth and eyes, she began to study herself with a clearer mind.  The full, lush lips that had earned her cruel nicknames as a child now struck her as a bit vulgar, and she wasn’t sure she minded.  Her blue eyes, wide enough to project a blank panic even when she didn’t mean to, now looked relaxed.  Deep.  Pretty.  She looked at the whites and began to smile.

Diane was suddenly struck with shame and looked away from the mirror.  There was a word for women who admired themselves at length.  And yet for the first time in years, she had looked at herself without feeling even a hint of revulsion.  This gave her pause.  She closed her eyes and breathed.

“You’re alone.  No one’s here but you.”

It occurred to her that she spent an enormous amount of time alone.  Further, she reflected that she never really thought of it as “real” time.  Real time was time she spent with Lance, with their families, DOING things.  What did she do when she was alone?  Clean?  Listen to records?  She hadn’t done much to endear herself to the other women in the neighborhood, but she resented the idea that she’d had her social life chosen for her.  These women spent much of their time talking about their husbands and clucking over the perceived transgressions of whoever happened to be absent at the time.  Weighing the options, she decided she’d rather be reviled in absence than appalled in company.  They can have me, she thought, and decided to spend her days elsewhere.

There was one woman who’d engaged her interest, but they’d never held a full conversation.  Diane thought of the dark, lovely girl who worked at the grocery store.  Rose.  She was quiet, pretty, modest, with long fingers and the tease of a smile always on her lips.  Diane had nearly embarrassed herself one day when her eyes strayed down Rose’s body and caught sight of an erect nipple announcing itself through the thin fabric of her dress.  Diane immediately redirected her gaze upward, back to Rose’s eyes.  If she’d been caught, Rose hadn’t indicated it, though the hint of a smile had grown almost imperceptibly.

Or had that simply been Diane’s imagination?

If so, why had she imagined it?

And there was The Face again.

Diane’s eyes jolted open.  The record player was now crackling and skipping at the end of side one.  She looked down into the tub.  Inky red tendrils were rising up into the bathwater from a papercut on one of her hands.  And the other was…invisible.  Somewhere.  Buried between her legs.

The offending hand sprang up out of the water and Diane considered very seriously the notion that she might be going mad.

Diane stood, letting the water fall slowly off of her skin.  She was about to reach for a towel, but she realized something; The Face only seemed to show up when she allowed herself to experience a visceral, clear-headed sense of FEELING something.  The awful memory of that drunken night.  The thought of Rose’s breast under her dress.  These were vivid memories that seemed to take over her entire body, for good or for ill.  So she remained quite still, feeling every drop roll off of her in its time.

There was no Face, but there was a great sense of being present in the moment.  Diane closed her eyes again, and in the darkness of her mind began to think about every drop of water on the surface of her body.  She imagined them as beams of light, streaking down and leaving trails that glowed and pulsed.

Her eyes opened.  She stepped out of the tub and, without ever reaching for a towel, she walked down the hall into the master bedroom.  Her feet felt odd, tingly, alien on the hardwood floor.  Diane stood still, beginning to shiver.  What, really, was she looking for?

She took her customary inventory of the room.  The bed, the table by the bed, the vanity, the dressers, the closet, Lance’s chest.  Lance’s chest.

“It’s where I keep some things from my childhood,” Lance would shrug.  “Yearbooks, fishing stuff, knick-knacks.”

Today she was trying all sorts of new things, Diane reasoned.  She might as well snoop.  She walked over to the chest, knelt down, and examined it.  It was all red wood and black metal.  Hinges.  Trim.  A latch on the front.  Diane pulled at the latch, expecting it to be locked.  It was not.  As it gave, everything seemed to stand still.  No noise but the gentle click of the mechanism and the creak of the hinge against wood as it opened.  This was forbidden.  It was also making her body hum.

As she peered into the box, the first thing that met her eye was a picture of Lance as a child.  Next to his obviously smitten father, a 5(?) year old Lance grinned and beamed for the camera.  Behind the two of them, rocks and sea.  Those summers up at Sachem’s Head.  She pulled the picture out, finding more.  Shells from the shore.  Cute handmade lures.  The yearbooks.  4 of them.  The years went backwards.  1948, 1947, 1946, 1945…

A face.  Not The Face, but a new face.  A woman.  Black hair running wild.  Bangs.  She was wearing a leather corset that barely contained her bulging breasts.  Thigh high stockings.  Knee boots.  She smiled with a cherubic sweetness, though she clutched a coiled bullwhip.  At her feet, a faceless figure in chains, head bowed, cowering.

The name of the magazine was SMACK, written in bold, blazing red across the front.  Headlines screamed luridly from the cover.  “Spanking: Still the Path to Domestic Harmony?”  “She Needed To Hurt Him!”  “Candy Has a Secret!”

Diane’s lips were parted in surprise.  She lifted the pulpy volume out of the box and revealed another SMACK magazine right beneath it.  She began to lift that one and revealed another.

There were no less than 15 magazines in the chest.

Diane flipped open the cover of the first one and began to read.

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AUTHENTICITY MONTH: ‘Diane, Chapter One’ by Bastard Keith 10.3.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/03/the-authenticity-issue-diane-chapter-one-by-bastard-keith/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/10/03/the-authenticity-issue-diane-chapter-one-by-bastard-keith/#comments Wed, 03 Oct 2012 05:21:30 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=367              Diane found, finally, that the best thing about having Lance inside her was that it gave her an immense amount of time to think about literally anything else.  It was not that Diane felt nothing, per se.  In fact, she was intensely conscious of the pounding, ramming, invasive THING between her thighs.  But once she had gotten past resenting that this was simply what was expected of her, she felt little emotion towards it at all.   It was merely a thing that happened to her seemingly on schedule and without much consideration for her own interest, a bit like being put on a train bound for a particularly unpleasant school.  Diane reasoned that everyone went to school and that was that, and so Lance did what he did.  So she counted things.  Catalogued colors.  Glimpsed at the pictures on the bedside table.

It had taken a solid year of marriage to get to this state of near-blissful indifference.  Diane had at first complained of intense discomfort.  Lance assured her on numerous occasions that this was normal for a woman only just beginning her journey into the world of physical intimacy.  She’d get used to it eventually.  He would teach her.  There was always a faintly unpleasant glint of the professorial as he said this, a condescending and paternal intimation of “understanding.”  Diane felt something stir in her as he said it, and she tried very hard to ignore it, because it felt like hate.

After all, she had married him, hadn’t she?  And after a courtship of some time.  Lance was handsome; a tall, tousle-haired, apple-cheeked specimen of a man, easy with a smile.  He’d done everything right, from the first tentative request of a date to the polite discussion of his intentions with Diane’s father.  As long as they were going steady, Diane had been fine.  There was something charming about this man who hungered so madly for her attentions.  How he hung on her every word, wiped her chin before anyone noticed the merest speck of ice cream.  He would fix her in some way (a stray hair, a tag sticking out, something in her teeth) and then lean back and smile and whisper only one word: “Perfect.”

“Perfect,” she said to herself in bemusement.

Lance’s face, now red with effort and beginning to gleam with sweat, loomed into her field of vision and displayed a contented grin as she said it.  “Perfect,” he murmured back as he began to intensify his thrusts.

She really, really hadn’t meant to say it out loud.  Now he’d take this as an indication that he was onto something, that he’d unlocked some secret to bringing her unutterable pleasure.  Now what would have been 10 minutes might stretch into 20 or even more.  Diane closed her eyes and tried to approximate some semblance of ecstasy.  Biting her lip, groaning, even whimpering a little pathetically.  Lance took all of this as praise, and he redoubled his efforts.  Maybe, just maybe, if she spurred him to a frenzy, he might finish sooner.

Diane had voiced an outright objection to their lovemaking exactly once.  It was the night of Lance’s promotion, moving from something or other to executive something or other at his advertising firm.  Lance had returned from the office with breath that stung Diane’s eyes and a headlong stumble in his step.  When he approached her, tie undone, lips twisted into a smug little smirk, eyes glinting with a lust indistinguishable from malice, she found it frightening.

She barely voiced any objections as he railroaded her to the bed, chuckling huskily.  Lance had always been physically demanding.  But when he reached a hand up her skirt and simply groped at the spot between her thighs (she’d never really thought to give it a name), she pulled away.  Lance looked almost pained in his confusion.

“What are you doing?”

“Please stop,” she said, her voice barely above a sigh.

“Sto-op?” he asked, sounding out the word with a sozzled attempt at precision.

“I don’t like it.”

Lance pushed forward yet again, and she pulled away yet again, until she was up against the headboard.  Lance pulled his face close to hers, examining her in a manner so closely resembling a hungry animal that she was surprised he didn’t sniff her.

“Yes, you do,” he finally managed, his eyes creased with more disorientation than ever.

They sat there like that, her huddled against the headboard and him coiled over her, for a good long while as Lance searched her eyes for some sign that he might be right.  She stared back, attempting the Olympian feat of standing her ground without enraging him.  In the seething, pregnant silence, his breath began to wind down and his eyes started to soften.  She began to speak.

“Lance…”

And he punched the headboard so hard that his fist crunched into the wood, splintering it.  “GODDAMNIT!” he bellowed and withdrew his fist, the knuckles of which were covered in blood and carrying more than a few mean slivers of pine.

Diane was still.  He looked at her for a few more seconds, snarling in a way so alien it was as if they were meeting for the first time.  If they were, Diane reflected, she would have walked the other way.

Lance pulled back, stood up and left the room with an almost eerie lack of noise and friction.

Diane waited until she heard a distant door slam shut before beginning to cry.

This was never spoken of again.

“GODDAMNIT…” Lance said, biting his lower lip.

Lance was now beginning to shudder all over, and Diane recognized the signs of impending climax.  He began to drive between her thighs harder and faster now.  Diane ignored the awful, chafing burn he was generating and let her eyes roll back.  And for a split-second, she saw a face behind her lids.  It was an unfamiliar face.  No one she knew, nor anyone she remembered dreaming about.  Lips as delicate as anything, a long, elegant nose, eyes piercingly sensual.  It was only for a moment.  And something began to build in her, something…not happy, and not perhaps the opposite of the numbed exhaustion to which she was accustomed, but something new and not awful at all.  All of a sudden, the thing between her thighs thrusting in and out of her was something she had a vague notion of using for pleasure.  She closed her eyes tight, trying to retrieve the memory of the face, hanging on to as many details as she possibly could, but it began to slip away, and with it, the feeling.  She gritted her teeth and found herself squealing aloud in her attempt to remember.

At her most desperate moment, she felt that familiar hot splash, the pulsing gush of Lance’s member emptying itself into her.  And then he collapsed on top of her.  Diane opened her eyes to look down at her sweat-soaked conqueror and for a moment felt immense pity for him.  She stroked his hair.

“I love you, honey,” she said.

“I just want a kid,” he managed, hoarsely.

“I know.  Me, too.”

She looked around the room in the dim light.  The wallpaper’s flower pattern.  The reflection of the bedside lamp in the window against the black infinity beyond.  The vanity and the lipstick tube she’d left open.  All of this, so familiar and still like it belonged to someone else.

And she thought about the face.

And she decided to make a job out of trying to remember it.

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CONSENT ISSUE: Defying Convention, Part 2 by Bastard Keith 9.20.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/09/20/the-consent-issue-defying-convention-part-2-by-bastard-keith-9-19-12/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/09/20/the-consent-issue-defying-convention-part-2-by-bastard-keith-9-19-12/#comments Thu, 20 Sep 2012 23:48:54 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=348

A Democrat in the middle of an argument.

So let’s talk about the Democrat problem.

Shall we take it as read that we all watched the Republican National Convention and enjoyed it for the mad-as-fuck carnival of gross dishonesty and terrifying jingoism that it was?  Because come on, it was fun!  Isn’t it fun to watch the bullies eat each other, thinning their ranks to a dust-smattering of screaming yahoos and stuffed shirts?

Since I’m evaluating the Conventions as theater, I’d give the RNC high marks for sensation and low marks for content.  It was all empty calorie thrills, the kind you regret the next day.  Sort of a Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen of political conventions.  And just as endless (if you’ve never smoked weed and watched Transformers 2, I’m half-tempted to recommend it; it is an experience that turns your whole perception of narrative, time and sense on its head).

The Democrats have a slightly different problem: because they purport to care about people, they can be extremely boring.  John Kerry was the victim of two things: the utterly ghastly Swift Boat business, and his own agonizing dullness.  He was precisely the sort of worthy snooze that people support because, well, they’re supposed to.  When Howard Dean got carried away during the primaries in 2003 and screamed like a goon out of pure joy, I was thrilled.  Because here, finally, HERE was a liberal politician I could get behind.  The sort of New Deal Democrat who was uncool enough to ACTUALLY LOSE IT.

Of course, that was that.  And John Kerry ran and lost and we all sort of believed in him and sigh.

Adding to this problem is the fact that Democrats, as a group more liable to listen to other viewpoints than the doctrinaire, tend to get so swallowed up in the minutiae of policy and back-and-forth and compromise and this, that and the other thing, that they often have trouble presenting a unified front.  If a congressional supermajority can’t ram through a healthcare bill that doesn’t heavily feature conservative ideas from a decade ago and fat giveaways to the very businesses who profit on denying healthcare to paying customers, then Democrats can’t be said to be terribly good at sucking it up and getting the job done.  There’s a problem of unity here, and it needs to be addressed, because what Peter Barnes once called Slow Lawful Orthodox Progress (S.L.O.P.) is dying in the crib.  Because liberals squabble with each other as much as they do with conservatives.

I thought the Convention was pretty awesome theater in general, specifically Michelle Obama’s roof-raising rebuke to the cynicism and pitiless social Darwinism proposed by the Right…

President Obama’s sober, earnest evaluation of his own performance relative to the performance of the nation in general….

And of course, the master politician. Bill.

Bill represents such a difficult figure.  He’s the consummate politician, a slick, glad-handing dude all too happy to compromise if the ends come close to justifying the means (we can stop pretending he wasn’t complicit in the economic bubble’s eventual pop). But he’s also our foremost policy rock star; a man who can break down nearly every major piece of legislation the Right has used to tar President Obama and explain why it was good, necessary and sensible without sounding like…well…a constitutional law professor. With Barack Obama and Bill Clinton on the same stage (and, finally, on the same side) the DNC boasted more starpower than one could possibly imagine, the spectacle of our two greatest political orators coming together in tough times like the goddamn Wild Bunch.  Joe Biden, of course, dropped by to be the awesome uncle he’s always been (it is fucking impossible to hate biker-flirting, cuss-cussing, doofy joke-telling Joe Biden).

Sure there was some hokey shit, exemplified by the derp-y pandering of Montana Governer Brian Schweitzer.  But what do you want?  There was plenty of dignity to go around, and we can all enjoy the spastic insanity of the speech by Jennifer Granholm.

So there you go.  Rousing, impassioned, silly, nerdy, often inspiring, sometimes inspired.  There’s your DNC 2012 in a nutshell.  This was also the first DNC in a long time where there were some collective balls on display.  The party platform included reproductive choice, healthcare, marriage equality and immigration reforms.  And every single one of them got several mentions at the podium, and they were all applause lines.  Imagine that!  Applause lines!  Sandra Fluke, a women who was subject to cruel punchlines at the RNC, got a chance to speak and put paid to the stupid notion that the War on Women is some construct of the Left.

So it was good theater, the kind of meaty, soaring piece of work Spielberg could put together in his sleep.

But then came the hangnails.

I was rather excited that the DNC platform didn’t mention God.  Why on earth should it?  God’s not an elected official, nor did God write the constitution, no matter how much that psychotic infant Glenn Beck insists that he kinda sorta did.  The primacy of God (specifically the Judeo-Christian God, with an emphasis on Christian) in American political discourse has been a plague.  Of course, the Republicans have made rather good business out of God.  And, like always, the Democrats fall in line because no point is so persuasive that it can’t be argued.

Back went God into the party platform, despite the vociferous disagreement of a large number of delegates present for the vote.  Just look at this video, and cringe in embarrassment:

That was not consensus.  It was the sight of a political party shitting its pants the second it heard “boo.”

Oh, and you may have heard something in there about Jerusalem.  The mere omission of the word from the party platform struck some idiots as an insult to Israel.  The last time I checked on that, we don’t answer to Israel.  They are an ally of ours, but they are run by a xenophobic hawk, the sort of man who doesn’t consider the lives of the Palestinians on the West Bank particularly worthy of concern, and who thinks nothing of driving the world into conflict with Iran.  But hell, enough people have falsely conflated criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, so let’s just bend the knee on that one.

What of the Palestinians?  Did they consent to living on occupied land?  Are we not grown-up enough to have a real talk about the two-state solution?

Never mind.  Don’t want to upset the horses.

The Democrats are only just learning to talk tough (there was a disturbing streak of hawkishness in this year’s Convention; yes, it was great to get bin Laden, no, you are not The Expendables).  If they do well in the 2012 elections, expect to see much more spine on the Progressive movement.  If not, expect further retrenchment and political center limping ever further right.

Hang on, though, stop the presses.

Mitt Romney’s stolen the spotlight again, and for all the wrong reasons.  You’ve already heard his disgraceful comments on the administration’s response to the attacks in Libya (which may not have been from the administration, or in response to the attacks, but let’s not nitpick a Mormon), but if you haven’t seen his astonishing performance for a room of $50,000-a-plate donors, you haven’t lived.

If you ever wanted to see a full, ugly portrait of the plutocracy in bloom, look no further.  Government has a habit of kissing big money ass, but to see it like this is something special.  Mittington Romnecious makes some fine and disturbing comments about foreign policy, but the real meat is in his tone when he talks about people on governmental assistance.  47% of people choose to be victims?  I’m sure veterans, old people and those whose jobs were shipped to China by YOUR FUCKING COMPANY really appreciate the name-calling.  You don’t get to actively work to calcify the class division in America and then tell The Poors what a bunch of lazy sacks of shit they are for not being born rich.

Government assistance makes you a victim by choice, eh?  How about the government assistance that comprises tax breaks for the immensely rich?  That permits them to all but BRIBE politicians while calling it “lobbying?”  Of course that’s different.  After all, the monied class chose to be successful.  In the view of those who benefit from these handouts, these are just the rewards of that choice.

No one chooses poverty.  The idea that anyone does so is a sick, strange Randian fantasy.  It lets the Objectivist strivers who languish in it imagine that somehow they’re better than the others and would get a chance to shine if only the government would get out of the way, and it functions as a sort of conscience-bypass for the immensely rich.  It is a delusion, it is hurtful, and it deprives the underprivileged of dignity.

In order for people to choose, they have to have the right to do so.  Voter fraud laws, gutting welfare, shipping jobs overseas and draconian immigration laws all deprive the individual of the opportunity to choose.  They make blatant the Conservative inclination to shut out “those people,” whether those people be ethnic, poor or just different.  Those in a de facto position of authority have a responsibility to create the conditions in which consent can even be a factor.  If you’re working for a plutocracy, you don’t care about consent.  If you’re working for a theocracy, you don’t care about consent.  Democracy may be a shitty, ludicrous system prone to breakdowns and absurdities, but it’s the best one we have.  Because it lets us choose.  And that’s a responsibility as much as it is a gift.

So choose wisely.

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CONSENT ISSUE: Defying Convention, Part 1 by Bastard Keith 9.9.12 http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/09/09/the-consent-issue-defying-convention-part-1-by-bastard-keith/ http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/2012/09/09/the-consent-issue-defying-convention-part-1-by-bastard-keith/#comments Sun, 09 Sep 2012 22:10:00 +0000 bastardkeith http://darlinghouse.net/beta/bastardkeith/?p=327

“Suck it, fags!” Your possible next president.

If you, like me, are a voracious political junkie, then you know that there is no sweeter hit than the televised National Conventions of our two major political parties.  This is not to say that it is nourishing; junkies don’t seek nourishment, they seek highs.  And if you want to see the art of politics (which is to say, the art of the sale) practiced on a level of concentrated Jedi magnitude, you have to see what happens when the party of Small Government and the party of We Actually Kind of Give a Shit present their unified fronts.

All politics is, in a sense, theater.  But only once every four years do you get to see the forces that dictate policy in our great nation put on the equivalent of an insanely well-funded school play.  Sure, the debates and election night itself are required viewing.  The debates are stage managed to be great television, and the built-in tension (to say nothing of real-life stakes) of election night keep you up into the wee hours, red eyes glued to the screen, begging for that last district in Ohio to just FUCKING GET ON WITH IT.  But the Conventions are different.  The Conventions are where we most clearly get to see what the parties present rub up against what they’re actually offering, and the friction is magnificent.

Katy Waldman of Slate wrote a wonderfully lucid explanation of why Conventions no longer fulfill the function for which they were invented (http://tinyurl.com/c3svr8c). I say, thank fuck they don’t.  If this year’s RNC had really been about selecting a candidate, we’d have been spared a cavalcade of righteous bullshit spun around the endlessly amusing spectacle of a bunch of angry religious people punching themselves in the face and trying to get psyched about a candidate who couldn’t find a foot-long clitoris with night vision goggles.  The 2012 RNC was not about Mitt Romney, not really (and if it ever was, Clint Eastwood put an end to that).  It was about smacking a hive of bees with an oar and, as they swarmed in attack formation, pointing at the Black guy and saying, “He did it.”

The word “birther” was never uttered, of course.  Nor “birth certificate,” nor “Kenya,” nor any of the obvious buzzwords tossed around by the Tea Party’s most noxious subset.  Still, the message was so obvious that calling any of it subtext seems like a joke: Barack Obama wants to transform America, because he does not love it the way you do.  No, sir, he couldn’t possibly love it the way a hard-working American from America does.  And if you think we’re racist, think again!  Look, all these wonderful minority figures from our party have been given a chance to speak!  Why, some of our best friends are…you know…ethnic.

It was the kind of manic overcompensating that a loudmouth drunk does at a party when he realizes he’s gone too far.  The Republicans know that they have no support among Blacks.  Among Hispanics, they are flatlining.  And they know why.  You don’t spend four years condoning insidious race-baiting (the birth certificate nonsense, the often insane anti-immigrant fervor) without consequences.  The most tragic programming flail was Marco Rubio’s speech on the final night of the convention.  An impassioned, articulate orator, Rubio spent 18 minutes spewing platitudes and soothing the consciences of a bunch of delegates who would never have allowed a story like his to occur in the first place.  The son of two Cuban immigrants, Rubio would be the cherubic face of job-theft in a modern campaign commercial.  And yet there he was, telling a bunch of people who want to keep America pure that anything is possible if you just BELIEVE.

The official party position on immigration boils down to, “Get out and stay out.”  This is not an exaggeration.  The platform encourages welcoming “highly educated immigrants,” while in the case of your garden variety Brown person, “self-deportation” is the ultimate goal. (Here’s the document in full: http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/)

Nice.

It was riveting viewing all around.  Plenty of women were doing PR work for a party that opposes equal pay for equal work.  Ann Romney and Governer Nikki Haley (Indian American AND a woman?  SCORE!) made beautiful work of their speeches.  One a housewife who seems genuinely confused that a woman would want a job outside the house, the other Governer of a state where not meeting the rigorous standards of a “legal abortion” can get a gal a $10,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment.  Girl power!

Paul Ryan gave a speech notable for his creepy resemblance to a marionette, but the real story is his cotton-mouthed inability to make an honest sale.  Watch the speech and you’ll see what I mean.  It’s been fact-checked to death by many (The Times did a customarily nice job of it: http://nyti.ms/UdRfOZ), largely because he’s a massive fucking liar.

Just look at the little prick squirm.  He makes misleading assertions, criticizes policies he voted for, and cannot for the life of him tell us what he might actually DO as Mitt Romney’s VP.  But watch the shortness of breath.  The way his voice trails off.  His intense, unnerving stare.  This is a kid who hasn’t done a lick of fucking research giving his end-of-term presentation.  No, it’s that kid in front of his teacher trying to EXPLAIN.  The RNC was full of these sorts of speeches, flop sweaty declarations that were received as red meat by a bunch of delegates who really, REALLY want to believe.  They cheered louder the less specific and more agitated things got.

Nowhere was this clearer than the speech given by Clint Eastwood, whose utterly insane performance art dominated the news cycle the next day.  If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Let me make this perfectly clear: one of America’s greatest movie stars and filmmakers spent about 11 minutes talking to a fucking chair.  Setting aside the monumental hypocrisy of Republicans who usually think that actors ought to stay out of politics cheering on Clint just because they AGREE on some stuff (though not, notably, on marriage equality and abortion), this was the perfect metaphor for the modern GOP.  An old white man putting words in the mouth of an imaginary Black man.  I don’t think, as many do, that Eastwood was displaying signs of senility.  I think he was doing a bit off the cuff that just wasn’t playing.  You can tell by the long stretches of oxygen-free silence and the forced applause and laughter when he lands a “zinger.”  Some people can improv and some cannot.  UCB is always holding classes, so Eastwood may wish to sign up.

Mitt Romney also spoke, but who gives a shit about him?  It was the usual bunch of calorie-free American exceptionalist claptrap, punctuated by a bunch of near-offensive pandering.  And, of course, the usual policy-free yammering about how HE WILL GIVE US ALL JOBS AND A PONY.  Exactly the speech you’d expect from a guy who looks like he’s auditioning for the Hall of Presidents.

What all of these speeches added up to was the character assassination of a President who only exists in the minds of a dying race, the sick white fantasy of a Black Socialist Kenyan who will drive us all to destruction out of some desire to redress historical wrongs.  Having failed utterly to convince us that one of the most vetted presidents in modern history is hiding something, the GOP has resorted to simply telling us that he CANNOT be a true American because of…I don’t know…something about him.  Something.

There were others, but the overall impression was that the seams had begun to split.  The genteel, fresh-scrubbed face of Conservatism has begun to rot, and the content no longer matches the presentation (Chris Christie was the only speaker who set the merciless social Darwinism of his words to a bracingly mean-spirited delivery).  The RNC was Marat Sade for morons.  Equal parts inane and insane.

Pass the popcorn.

But let’s talk about abortion.  Sorry, no.  THE SANCTITY OF LIFE, the GOP calls it.  Ever notice how when grown-ups try and explain things to children, they use nicer words?  Mommy didn’t die, she went to a better place.  Uncle Jack isn’t drunk, he just had a little too much juice.  We don’t think queers are entitled to fewer rights, we just believe in TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE.  They think we’re children, and they talk to us like we are.  If Conventions are theater, the RNC is one of those pantomimes pitched to babies who like flashy colors and reassuring noises.

The abortion debate (which, unless I’m very much mistaken, was settled by Roe v. Wade) has opened up a can of worms that the GOP cannot easily close up again.  Todd Akin did the unforgivable with his “illegitimate rape” comments.  He spoke the truth about the near-psychotic attitude that modern social conservatives hold toward women and their insides.  These days, a gaffe is not misspeaking, it is saying exactly what you mean out loud.

Many called the abortion issue a “distraction.”  John Boehner, the world’s only orange rectum, said that everyone’s biggest question was, “Where are the jobs?”  And this is true.  But as long as Republicans refuse to cooperate on a simple jobs bill, they’ll be vulnerable to questions that reach into the dark, weird heart of their poisonous fascinations.  The splendid irony of it all is that, while the GOP seems unable to give any specifics on exactly how they’ll boost the economy, they get pretty fucking detailed about why abortions should be illegal and queers shouldn’t marry.

These hooligans have the audacity to build into their party platform specific provisions about marriage equality and reproductive rights and then tell anyone who calls them on it that they’re just “distractions.”  It’s the worst kind of passive-aggressive horseshit.  Because a cursory glance at the last few years of GOP activity reveal a throbbing ulcer of sick desire.  The number of anti-choice initiatives that have sprung up since the Tea Party sprang to prominence have been dazzling in both number and grossness (the invasive ultrasounds business is something out of a horror story).

If women consent to sex, then they consent to shaming, is the basic gist of it.  The GOP, having now strangled the last of Goldwater’s reasonable Conservatism and leapt full-bore into bible-thumping madness, think that if you’re not fucking to make children, you’re violating the American contract.  The contract between God and His favorite country.  But who tries to remedy that by sticking a rod up some poor woman’s hole?  A pervert who cannot satisfy his desires within the social construct to which he has committed and thus turns them into punishment for someone else, is who.

But what of the rape victims?  The incest survivors?  Those who did NOT consent to sex?  Well, apparently, if you get pregnant by rape or incest, you’re no longer a victim but blessed with the joyous gift of life.  The fact that any women can vote for these apes is terrifying.  That any women can shill for them is ghastly.  They are beyond hope, and the best we can do is to let them die.

Religious Conservatives have a skewed notion of consent.  Because they hold so much privilege, they assume that they are entitled to live in a society that reflects their interests and no one else’s.  Here’s where I’ll leave it, because this has become longer and more wide-ranging than I’d intended: Queers getting married when you do not wish them to is NOT a violation of your consent.  Women getting abortions when you feel they shouldn’t is NOT a violation of consent.  A government that reaches out to help the disadvantaged when you feel like you ought to pay less in taxes (at a time when you are paying less in taxes than EVER BEFORE) is not violating your consent.  No matter how much these shit-for-brains scream about it, THEY ARE NOT UNDER ATTACK.

Women are under attack when they cannot safely be in public or private without the specter of assault.  When a teenage girl can be fucked against her will and forced to carry the resulting pregnancy to term.  When elected officials care so little about her well-being that they would rather LET HER DIE than allow an abortion.

People of color are under attack when they can be pulled over and carded because they might be immigrants.  When they are treated as unwelcome guests in the poor house AND the White House.  When they are used as pawns by white power.  When they drown and the government does nothing.

Queers are under attack when they are derided as sick and unwanted by politicians, many of whom are secretly queer themselves.  When they are bullied until suicide seems the happier option.  When they are denied one of America’s most important rights: The Pursuit of Happiness.

The entire point of Conservatism was, really, that the populace was only governed by its own consent.  By narrowing the focus of the party to the interests of white, heteronormative, Christian males, the movement has become draconian.

In the GOP, anyone is welcome.  As long as they don’t publicly disagree (and aren’t Clint Fucking Eastwood).  This is in stark opposition to the main problem of the Democrats.  But we’ll tackle that next time.

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