They had been happy once, Eric thought. Before that primordial pecker monster, that god-fuck-it-all sexual sacrilege, made its entrance. The thought of the damned thing and the word entrance brought bile to his bearded throat, stuck in the craw of this love sick loser in his unwashed attire.
The rolled legs of his jeans smelled of piss and he hadn’t showered in longer than he could remember. What was the point? Ain’t no fuckin’ goin’ down, you can bet on that. Why bother? Truth be told, sex no longer held much fancy for Eric. He felt like chemical castration might be the answer for the human animal as a species. Neuter the damned.
Entrance. That word, goddammit. A reminder of that sick demonic curio’s slow then furious entrance into his wife’s sopping wet slot. And her. His angel. His whole world. The chick who’d sworn to be faithful, pledged to always be his, so easily losing herself in slobbering stupid devotion to something so wretched.
Thinking on it like that transferred Eric’s blind hatred from the thing to her. Elle, that ginger stupid, that harlot.
How had something so magical, so seemingly solid, been quashed out, made moot? Why?! He cried inside his piston of a head as he packed the box of bullets into his gym bag.
The worst part was that he still loved her. That dumb whore, taken in with the snap of a finger or the spurt of an inanimate ugliness by abject evil. What were you thinking? What happened to us?
Only his recollection of the day they decided to try some new kinks on, inject some strange into their lives.
“Doesn’t it just…” Elle sighed, the muscles of her throat contracting where they faced the ceiling.
She was on her back, head hanging off the side of the mattress, still-wet ropes of permed auburn hair tickling the floorboards. Eric sat Indian-style against the wall, watching her delicate neck as what looked like two electric eels writhed beneath the dermis. He was so hot for her, he couldn’t wrap his mind around this.
What was the matter with the way they’d been doing it all along? What she was saying was all Chinese to him. Not a word made any sense.
“Just, I don’t know,” she said, sighing again. She came up on one elbow and fixed her eyes on the man she’d been sleeping with for four years of marital bliss, a marital bliss that had recently run dry, at least in her opinion.
“What?” Eric reiterated, exasperation in his voice this time.
“Come correct,” she said.
Eric threw up his palms. “I’m for real,” he said, wide-eyed, trying to stress how earnest his ignorance was. “I don’t know what you’re trying to say. You’re what? Sayin’ the flame’s burned out? At thirty?”
“No,” Elle cooed, bringing a warm hand to Eric’s cheek.
He resented this gesture, knowing that it was a mock-parental display, that he was, in essence, being placated in the way a small child is placated. Still, the warmth of her palm sent tingles to his loins. He wondered if she was getting moist…decided, balefully, that she wasn’t.
“I’m just sayin,” Elle blurted anticlimactically before taking her hand away from Eric and crossing the room to a Bic and a pack of Nepenthe ® cigarettes. She lit one of the smokes, exhaled a silky purple plume and, with her back to Eric, she said the words she knew she’d regret.
“I don’t get off, I don’t feel anything.” A long pause, penetrating the room the way she wished she could be penetrated, causing an unbearable silence that felt more leaden than any cock.
“You’re saying,” Eric started with painful uncertainty, choking back tears, the word flaccid whirling around in his aching brain.
Elle cut him off, determined to squash her husband’s suffering before it grew any more acute. “I’m saying that I’m in love with you, that I love you as much as I did the first minute, the first millisecond I saw you…but it’s all, the sex, it’s just grown stale. Routine. Ritual…tired.”
Eric contemplated this for a long beat, unable to think of a single sex act they hadn’t engaged in. Without a doubt, their twenties, especially those first two years before tying the knot, had been spent crotch-locked in estrus, tearing motel rooms apart with their intertwined flesh. They’d pissed in each others’ mouths, fucked in every conceivable public and private place, made love in virtually impossible positions. Eric had delivered the fruits of his loins to every inch and orifice of Elle’s body. And she’d thirsted for it! He thought. Hadn’t she hungrily sucked up every drop?
“Okay,” Eric said and watched as Elle turned to him, her eyes brightening with hope. “But,” he continued, and her face dropped.
Elle’s shoulders went slack. She returned to the bed in a state of begrudging resignation, stubbing her cigarette out on the lid of a flat can of beer on her way.
“Everything,” she said.
“Well…” Eric thought. “You already agreed that a threesome or…cuckhold…it would ruin us for each other.”
“So,” Elle spat, sparking a fresh Nepenthe, blowing the smoke in Eric’s direction.
“So we’ve done the facial thing, we went bungee fucking that time.”
Elle blushed with amusement at this last part, a smile cracking defiantly across her grill. “It was bungee jumping. You made it into bungee humping.”
“Yeah,” Eric said, smiling too now, edging down on the mattress to meet his wife’s gaze. “And we made love in the middle of that field with all the houses around. Woke up when the sprinklers went off, fucked in broad daylight for anyone to see.”
“Could’ve gotten arrested,” Elle added.
“Okay, so we could’ve fucked in the back of a police cruiser. I’ll give you that.”
Elle laughed out loud at this one.
“Seriously,” Eric said. “What do we need to spice things up?”
They were at the XXX shop the next day. Except it wasn’t called a marital aid shop. It was called “Spanky’s Erotic Novelty Emporium” and it sparkled with neon-lit glittery shades, a sore thumb sticking way out amidst a complex of cluttered gray industrial factories along the Interstate.
Spanky’s, it turned out, only sounded janky. Truth be told, it was the finest triple X shop operating on Long Island. From its mirrored ceilings hung chandeliers. Its mirrored walls were bordered by ornamental mosaics depicting every variety of Tantra. The shelves, racks and wall hangings were festooned with every high-end product line people read about in lad mags but seldom see in real life.
Browsing Spanky’s aisles, they bore witness to the full canon of fuck possibilities (or so it seemed), marveling at the uber-expensive gadgets—Kia Sorrento-sized Sybians, full body latex replicas of adult film performers, even a $4,000 orgy simulator with six remote-operated dongs—and they yawned as they explored the more cost-efficient apparatuses on display. Whips. Been there. Nipple clamps. Ouch! Ball gags. What for? Ben Wa Balls. Already wearin’ ’em. Cock ring. No thanks. Nobody likes a purple dick going black and begging for an ER visit. Labia stimulant? Done that. Grape-flavored cock cream? Done that too. What’s good, kid? What else you got?
Turned out the answer was nothing, at least as far as Spanky’s was concerned. After forty-five minutes, they’d looked at everything Spanky’s made accessible to the public. When Eric and Elle had exhausted all these options, from crotchless undies and feather boas to home video titles as sophomoric as “Nad Santa” and “DVDA: Black In Black,” they both felt boring and bored. None of this stuff was for them or, if it was, it already had been.
They were about to step out empty-handed when Elle spotted a black door at the rear of the store, on which hung a sign that read: RING STAFF FOR ACCESS, NO FREE ADMITTANCE.
Eric peeped the message and scoffed, “No free admittance. You know who that’s for? Some Williamsburg hipster in khaki pedal pushers and Buddy Holly glasses, comes to visit his relatives on ‘Lawnguyluhnd,’ decides he’ll plunk down all his blog earnings on something priced like a truckload of Ed Hardy swag so he can make some SoHo bar skank think he’s a collector of rare and special shit.”
But Elle wasn’t hearing anything. She was entranced by the door and the sensual scent spewing forth from the slat at their feet.
“Rare and special,” she droned.
“Oh Jesus! Don’t tell me you’re taken in by this hokum. It’s a fetish room dressed up as somethin’ exotic and exclusive. And can’t you smell that? We’re outside a friggin’ head shop!”
The odor, strong enough to provoke olfactory hallucinations of hellish BDSM acts, was one of Teutonic ecstasy, of sexual holocaust. Incense, foreign spices, a faint touch of lavender and sweat, definitely sweat. Oily flesh came to mind, mixed with something more, something ineffable.
“Patchouli and surface cuts,” Eric mocked. “We’re outside some emo kid’s dorm room in Bushwick.”
But he could see Elle wouldn’t let up til they’d glimpsed its presumably bogus wonders. So he flagged down the store manager, a thirty-something guy with a soul patch and a ridiculously receding Rockabilly hairdo.
“How do we get in here?” Eric asked.
“That’s not us, bro.” Soul Patch. “That’s kind of a sub-contractor. Private dealer throws us some dough for loanin’ him some space for his collection, dig?”
“Yeah, I dig it,” Eric said, biting his tongue. “So what’s it gonna cost to ring this dude’s bell?”
“He sets the price, that’s ‘tween him and you. We just get a kick-back. Number’s on the wall, bro.”
Eric looked around and, as if materializing straight from scratch, he saw what he hadn’t seen previously—a business card, laminated but yellowed and peeling, taped to the wall by the door. The black Book Antigua typeface stated no business name, only digits: 632-3232.
Eric took out his cell, stole a glance at Elle, whose eyes remained glued to the door, shook his head and punched in the number. A voice came on the line before the first ring was completed. Naturally, Eric thought. Cat’s so desperate for business, he’s been waiting by the phone, praying for two Rubes to come along as we just have.
“Yeah, what can I do yuh for?” the voice asked in a hoarse guido tone.
“We’re outside your…establishment,” Eric started. “Can we come in and play?”
“I’ll be right witcha.”
“How much?” Eric inquired, but the line was dead. The door was creeping open without an answer. Before them stood a hirsute man of indeterminate age, crow-black hair greasy and gleaming, slicked back severely to reveal an emphatic widows peak. His moon-shaped face was shrouded in a heavy beard, his grotesquely obese midsection ensconced in a thick dark vestment of sorts. His cupped hands could do nothing to conceal the shiny gaudiness of the gold rings that strangled his sausage fingers.
“Come on in,” the man said, waving and grinning at them, wonky eyes taking both of them in at once.
Eric craned his neck and could see that Soul Patch had already returned to stocking out suck pumps by the storefront windows.
“Before we come in, what’s this gonna run us? Dude up front said you determine the price.”
Stan smiled at Eric. “Yes, I base it on whether I like you for my pieces. If you’re suitable for my wares.”
“So lemme ask yuh dis. How’d you say yer relationship is?”
Eric laughed faintly at the absurdity of this dollar store interrogation. But Elle answered straight away without considering him. “It’s great! We love each other very much. We’re just looking for something to key us up.”
The guido’s grin spread wide across the cratered plains of his fat skull.
“Excellent,” he said. He extended a hand. Elle took it. “Name’s Stan A. And you sound like just the type uh clientele I’m after.”
“Hazzat?” Eric interjected.
“Happy couple,” Stan A. said. “That’s what I want.”
“Your customers so happy, why do they need you?” Eric could see, almost feel the daggers Elle’s eyes threw at him.
“Stop it,” she murmured.
Stan guffawed. “You got jokes, huh, kid? That’s all right. You work in this biz, you hear it all. Had a customer once, brung back a butt plug that was, shall we say, drippy. Said, ‘What’s your return policy?’ I shit yuh not.”
Stan howled with laughter at this recollection.
Eric wasn’t having it. “No refunds, I take it?”
“Correct,” Stan said. “You comin’ in?”
“You haven’t priced the admission,” Eric reminded him.
“Fuhgedduhbotit!” Stan insisted. “You’ll pay once you’re in.”
Eric shifted from one foot to the other, wrapping his mind around this, trying to figure the grift. Finally, after some seconds, Elle poked him in the back and they crossed the threshold. Before the darkness of the hallway opened up into a dust mote ruled space of overhead fixtures, Eric was asking about the name.
“Stan A, you said?”
“Don’t people usually abbreviate their first name?”
“You just call me Stan. I abbreviate my last name ’cause you wouldn’t be able to pronounce it. Pretty long and indecipherable.”
“What? Like Ahmadinejad? You’re talkin’ to a career journalist,” Eric lied. “Try me.”
“Fair enough,” Stan said as he found the light switch and allowed his bloated hand to hover over it. “It’s Stan Alilamasabachtani.”
“You were right to abbreviate it,” Eric said.
Stan drew a short laugh then threw the switch. The dull shape of objects previously scanned, unimpressed, by Eric as he grilled Stan in the dimness, jumped to life in the harsh luminescence of the fluorescents. Now they were in a relative museum of awesome attractions. A monolithic statue of Adonis, chiseled features thrust out, stood before them in a stance of glory, a mortal a mere eighth of his size dangling from the shaft of his magnificent erection, gleefully milking the god. And his well-defined arm, flexed for the tension borne of his conquest, was extended to the east, pointing the way to the rest of Stan’s curios, ushering them to indulge their curiosity.
Eric’s peepers were naturally poised on Adonis’s ungodly prick, a plaster that put his—and every other human man’s—to shame. Elle’s eyes, on the other hand, had wandered down to grovel at the god’s feet where she could see the gold plate and its engraving, a verse ironically torn verbatim from the King James Bible: “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
As they inched their way along, the clutter of marvels appeared to reveal itself one glorious object at a time, as if every object waited for a spotlight to alight it so that its individual power could be fully appreciated without distraction from its predecessor. There was the Pearl of Anguish, a medieval metallic torture egg meant to be fitted inside an offender’s vagina where it would then open up and ruin the offender’s insides. And by the side of this so-called pearl, legs akimbo, head thrown back in terror recoil or terrible euphoria, was the porcelain effigy of a woman who wouldn’t have been out of place in the Korovo milk bar of Clockwork. Beside this medieval atrocity of eros stood a psychedelic lantern that spun of its own will, hurling mini-silhouettes of sodomy against the back wall. To its left were stacks of literary antiquities, first editions of Bataille’s “The Story of the Eye” and de Sade’s “Juliette,” to name but two.
Eric was chuckling like a dirty old man, gaping at mannequins with blinders on and phallus spilling from their plastic mouths, when Elle declared, “This is what I was.”
“What?” Eric said. He knew what he’d heard, but it made no sense.
Elle corrected herself. “This is what I…want. This is it.”
She delivered the words in a spent voice of sexual agitation, that panting, jittery sound of exasperation. Eric could remember hearing it the first time they’d gotten hot and heavy when, after sucking face for close to forty-five minutes, he’d asked her what she wanted him to do. And her answer was one he hadn’t heard since: “Everything you want.”
His head jerked around from the mannequins to meet the thing head on. His stomach sank at once. Elle stood before a marble table on top of which, dead center, sat a gargantuan…what? Not a big, black cock exactly and not quite a fist and forearm. Something of its vine-like shaft and helmet-like head’s spiky circumference suggested a sea creature from some sci-fi world. A moon snake, that’s what it was! A Mars-roving eel, Eric thought. Most definitely not a replica of any living manhood or other appendage. And was it pulsating underneath the opaque glow of the fluorescents? Sho nuff! But—and then the pulsing was gone, removed from the now inanimate object and placed inside Elle’s heaving chest.
“Fuck no!” Eric exclaimed.
Elle’s head shot around, snapped toward him and, with one eye on him and one never leaving the benighted battering ram beastie on the marble table, she shot Eric a look so cold it could create icicles in a dude’s urethra.
“This is what I want,” she said.
“I’m not using that, whatever it is, I’m not usin’ that on you.”
“Somethin’ funny?” Eric barked.
“Hey, don’t worry about it, kid. Your lady’s box, it contracts, same as her asshole.”
“Excuse me?! You talkin’ about my wife’s vagina?!”
“Easy, sport,” Stan said, holding up a chubby palm. “I’m just sayin.”
“I want it, Eric.” Elle, still staring.
“Nah, this is some bullshit.” Eric was flush with anger and awkwardness. “No.”
“How much?” Elle practically frothing like feral animal at the lips. Presumably at both sets.
“Give it to you for six.” Stan looked beyond Eric, through him, as he said this.
“Six hundred dollars!” Eric cried. “You gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ me!”
“I’ll take it,” Elle replied.
“You’ll…what?!” Eric was on the verge of whiplash now.
“Give him a check, Eric.”
At a loss now, all Eric could muster was, “You gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ me” again.
On the car ride home, Eric watched with unease as Elle peeled back the upper folds of the packaging and fixed her incandescent irises on the toy. “Touch it, Eric,” she cooed.
“What? No! I’m not touching that thing. It’s hideous!”
They drove in silence the rest of the way.
He could see the signs that something bad was happening that first night. Almost at once, Elle regarded him differently than she normally had. As soon as she’d unwrapped the onyx toy and set it down on the glass coffee table in their living room, she’d been unable or unwilling to move from the spot where she sat, on the bearskin throw rug, in front of It. She was adhered there, transfixed, from, the very moment after she’d drawn the venetian blinds and dimmed the recessed lighting.
After taking a shower, buzzing his pubic hair, lathering his crotch and belly in Elle’s favorite body lotion and brushing his teeth, Eric had returned to the living room, expecting to find a randy wife good and worked up and ready for marital intimacy. What he found, instead, was Elle, in moistened panties and nothing else, running her hands up and down the thing, from base to head. Sweat. Not unlike the smell from the black room. Heat. A stifling heat like a furnace.
Although disturbed by this sight, and against his better judgment, Eric disrobed and crept up behind his wife, placing a hand on the back of her neck and bringing his hot mouth to rest over her pulsing carotid artery.
There was no response from her, other than the pulse’s erratic drum beat, but when Eric opened his eyes, he thought he could see the onyx “toy” pulsing too, would swear the thing emitted a tea kettle hiss.
Before he could react to what he hoped was a hallucination, Elle whirled around and smacked him away. Eric was stunned for a beat, then his eyes temporarily brightened.
“You wanna play rough?” He went to kiss her anew.
Elle shot out with both palms to his chest, knocking him off balance and on to his back. He briefly expected her to go cowgirl, but no straddling was forthcoming and, when he chanced a look by burying his chin in his chest, he could see that his wife had returned her attention to the toy, stroking it protectively like a dog that’s been kicked by an abusive boyfriend.
Eric got up and stormed down the hall to the bedroom, grabbed up Elle’s pillow and marched it into the living room, hurling it at her back. She didn’t move, didn’t break her silent vigil before the black Martian eel.
“Here! Sleep with yer fuckin’ toy then! I try to play along and this is what I get? Six hundy in the fuckin’ red and this is what I get?!”
She didn’t answer, clutched the onyx toy instead.
“Fuck you,” he sighed and, seconds later, after he’d slammed the bedroom door and lay in bed, jerking off, he thought he could hear slurping sounds. But was it his wife or that hideous “toy?” The thought haunted him long after he’d reconciled himself to not getting off before slipping into restless sleep.
That night he dreamed of his wedding day. But it wasn’t his real wedding. The proceedings were held in a black lodge, divorced of excitement, imbued with dread. The flower girl slunk, hunched, along the aisle, surrounded by suited freaks in gnarled face masks, her skin melting, bones splintering as she reached the stage. Her little flower girl body wilting as she went and the rings she beared in her arthritic claws turning to ash and water.
On the altar they were not Eric and Elle, they were exoskeletons, aged and broken, ring fingers stuck in their cankered mouths, tears welded to their jowls in a fine crust. And when they stopped sucking their brittle digits and the high priest made his wicked pronouncement, their jaws dropped open and they howled in unison, an ear-shattering outcry of sad babbling hurt.
When Eric awoke, he knew nothing would ever be the same ever again. Entering the living room, ready with an apology for throwing the pillow, he found his wife crouched in the same spot on the now-soiled shag carpet where she’d been seated when he left. A puddle darkened the area of rug right in front of her and condensation had formed on the glass beneath the “toy,” so that it was impossible to tell whether the ejaculate fouling said rug belonged to his wife or her plaything.
The answer to this was, of course, both, something Eric ascertained when he sidled up behind Elle and saw her drenched nether regions and saw, too, the smaller puddle spreading under the toy. It was different from Elle’s effluence. It was thicker. It carried with it a stronger, more pungent scent, something between expired milk and industrial solvent.
Eric’s intense focus on the toy and its effluvia was broken when Elle turned to face him. Time was suspended and life dropped out of Eric when he saw her face. She was panting like a dog, prickly heat ruining her rosy cheeks, blisters scoring her sweat-saturated forehead.
When she opened her mouth, he could see nothing of the perfectly pearly chompers he’d always admired and loved. All that remained in their stead were crimson stalagtites of torn gum, shredded threads of pink-gray skin. That’s when he saw the needle nose splashed in red by her knees and the same red coating the head of the plaything, a head that had swelled, bloated with purple color, the purple of anguish. Or, rather, the purple of ecstasy. Unholy ecstasy!
Read more of the story in HORRGASM