Just Lie Back and Enjoy By Stephen Faulkner

The woman is young, perhaps in her early to mid-twenties and clad only in a loose fitting, soft linen robe with a sash-tied closure cinched tightly around her slender waist. Her palms are sweaty with anticipation for the service that is soon to be performed for her benefit. She is led through a door marked with a plaque reading “Consummation Room.” The room is long, windowless and furnished with ten identical, specially designed chairs. Stirrups like those employed by gynecologists for pelvic examinations are a part of each chair and gleam brightly in the glare of the overhead lights. The room is white tiled from floor to ceiling; the effect is at once sterile, institutional and uninviting. Apprehensively, the young woman takes the seat indicated to her, the one nearest the far wall, and dutifully places her bare feet in the stirrups before resting her weight against the cushioned back. The chair is very comfortable; she relaxes a little as she tries to calm her anxiety.

At a silent signal the shadow lights came on around her and with them is offered the first illusion of the experience she is about to undergo – that of privacy. It is an illusion because she has been told that in the Consummation Room she will be alone, that the experience will be given her in total solitude. Forget about the other nine chairs with their similarities to the one in which you will be resting, staff members have assured her. You will be all alone is the lie she has been told and which she believes as she unties the sash at her waist and throws open the robe, baring her body to the pleasant warmth of the room. The shadow lights surround her with their enveloping opaqueness, making the small pool of light at its center of the darkness her only reality. Speakers rise from either side of the headrest of the chair and slowly converge on her to cup her ears, encase her in muffled silence. Now she can neither see nor hear the action taking place in the other nine chairs as similarly alluded, willfully gullible women take their appointed seats in the room. Each woman is led in one at a time until each individual set of shadow light comes on to mask the presence of each woman in the room from the others.

The young woman places her hands along the inside of her thighs, sliding them sensuously inward, tracing tickling lines toward her pubis that surrounds and covers her vulva like a feathered mesh as she wonders when it will all begin and what it will be like. She has known the solitary pleasures of masturbation before and so now she focuses on those memories and what she recalls of what her girlfriends had told her of their experiences in the Consummation Room, their descriptions of ecstasy unspeakably wonderful feelings flooding through them and the explosions of emotions coupled with physical reactions never before imagined. Some of the experiences those friends chose to share seemed to hold a rather violent edge with the use of words like “explosive” and “convulsive” and “near to a seizure.” So she had been apprehensive at first, uncertain even when listening to their assurance that the experience was pleasurable, all delirious, wonderful, indescribable orgasmic bliss brought to the nth degree. “Your fingers wouldn’t even know how to begin to do what their machines make you feel,” her best friend insisted. Feel like what? she wanted to know, expecting another horror story of seizures and convulsions. Her friend shook her head as she sank into a private reverie of her own last time in the Consummation Room. She looked up and shrugged. “Best way to describe it,” she said, “is that it’s like going to heaven and coming back again.” With that last, unequivocal assurance the uncertainty that had lodged in the young woman’s mind like the solid, impassible winter ice on a shallow river was broken. The balance of her indecision had been tipped and she agreed to take the chance. So here she is though still understandably apprehensive about the whole thing. And now doubly anxious for it to begin, her curiosity is heightened, nervous shudders vibrating pleasantly through her skin. Nothing to fear, she recalls the words of her friends: no fear of pregnancy or disease and no emotional hang ups. Just the glorious feeling of love (ye, love) surging through you with a flow of incredible orgasms without any emotional obligations owed to anyone.

The womblike warmth of her little private sanctuary sooths her and she closes her eyes as the volume of the speakers slowly rise, encasing her in its own little world of sound. The music she hears as a soft background is that which, on her preliminary questionnaire, she had noted as her favorite band and the voice, whispering from the shadows, ripples through her naked body like an aural caress, a fantasy coming true. Sonorous yet sweet, it speaks to her intimately, knowingly. If asked later what that voice from the speakers had so sweetly and caringly said and promised, she would be unable to recall. It would be like trying to remember a dream that has already begun to fade back into the depths of the subconscious. All she would be able to say, then, would be that it was just wonderful, say that she had the perfect lover. She would say he as if she had been with a real flesh and blood man whose words, caresses and expert ministrations were true and not simply the product of the answers she had given on a printed form – loving, considerate, gentle, deep-voiced, sexy, caring. HE as a person, a man, a human being, a lover known, knowing and real. The illusion, then, gains momentum.

A cool flat surface lowers and rests across her forehead, molding itself to the forward cranial slope above the eyes and is soon equalized to the temperature of the skin and is quickly forgotten, Sonically, it probes the pleasure centers of the young woman’s brain and, finding their particular wave patterns, it hums softly in waiting as the man-shaped phallic thing rises and patiently poises between her stirrup spread legs. Were her eyes open so she could witness its rise from its holster concealed underneath the specialized chair, she might interpret it intended use as for something vile and wicked, its thickness and length as a weapon of some kind. But her eyes are closed, the tendrils of the high frequency stimulations focusing her attention on the artificially produced sensations which are running through her body and the responses those stimulations cause: the raising of gooseflesh on the skin of her arms, lower abdomen and thighs; the gradual rise in body temperature; the tingling heat that runs like liquid fire in concentric circles around the aureoles of her nipples; the increased rate of her heartbeat; the unexpected panting labor of her breathing; the increased flow of vaginal secretions; the sudden giddy clutch and release of her abdominal and vaginal muscles.

Words are no longer heard as the wet tickle of kisses are felt up and down her naked torso, the strange sensation of a second tongue in her mouth which she accepts, invites, with which she eagerly plays and wrestles with the strength and slippery slide of her own tongue. The face she sees is of her own creation, her own beautiful fantasy lover. The illusion is now so complete that he is no longer just a notion, an idea, but a solid reality to her, a man with a face (no matter how shadowily seen) and a body with heft, texture, heat. She moans in rapturous bliss as he lowers his weight on top of her, his groin pressed to hers, his exited (exciting, inflaming) sex so near her vulva that she is overcome with the intensity of her desire to feel him inside of her. She says something encouraging that no one else hears, something mildly demanding. The stimulator on her brow also senses this and reacts, moves the progression into its next phase.

The small motors that position the dome ended dowel at the splayed pink juncture of her thighs whine and whir, unheard by the young woman who is bathed only in sounds that she has chosen, the lover’s voice which she has described. Subtly, the sonic stimulator adds the new tone which is necessary to bring her to the final, heightened need. As always with new subjects it comes quickly and the stimulator compensates for the young woman’s swift reaction by shifting directly to what the programmers of the machine call the “consummation tone.” Blood floods tiny capillaries, engorging the center of her clitoris and she lets out a weak cry at the unaccustomed sensation before sinking back into the increasing frequency and intensity of the ebb and flow of her building orgasm. “Don’t be alarmed,” says the voice soothingly as the little motors move the pseudo-penis to touch the glistening, sensitive flesh of her labia. “I’ll be gentle,” it says as the thing eases forward, achieves a slow and gradual penetration into her vaginal canal, making her a virgin no more. This is not a thought she has at that moment, only a consideration later brought to mind: virgin no more. Consummation. The upper extension of the device massages and stimulates her clitoris in a way, as her friends had promised, that she could never have managed alone with only her own artful fingers and furiously working wrist. The feeling of fullness, of being lovingly violated along with everything she had been warned to expect in her bodily responses are all there, coming at her, flooding her in a continuous barrage of stimuli and reactions: the convulsive intensity, the rapturous seizures of both body and mind, the explosive tingling running the gamut of nerve endings from head to toe though centering on the genitals, breasts and guts. They whorl and rise, expand and condense within her in an ecstatic dancing rush that seems to go on forever. Eternity must be like this, she thinks with what mind her reeling emotions have left her; heaven and hell gloriously intermixed.

The words are all wrong, she finds herself thinking as the sensations wane, the orgasmic responses lessen and die, the ersatz hard on is slowly removed from her vagina to be sterilized and housed in preparation for its next use. Her private lover of the mind kisses her his last and draws his weight and warmth, his beautiful sexy voice away. Explosions, convulsions, seizures, yes but how to describe it all without frightening away one who has not experienced it. Soft explosions? Loving seizures? Convulsions emptied of fear? Little deaths? Journey beyond self and soul into the enclosing, embracing, protecting arms of…?

A warning sound foretells the end of privacy. She draws the robe closed around her as the various pieces of paraphernalia are drawn away from her skin. She clutches the soft cloth tightly at the throat and navel as she momentarily forgets the sash-tie in her rush to cover her nakedness. The shadow lights dim, then blanch, The Consummation Room, fully illuminated now, is still white tiled and institutionally characterless, holds ten specially designed chairs once more.

She walks down the row to the exit door, is surprised when she touches a seat for balance and feels the warmth, the telltale sticky texture of another woman’s recent “consummation.” She smiles. Illusions are a humorous thing when understood, she thinks, a business after all, one which provides a necessary outlet. Soon. Her mind conjures the word unbidden as she leaves the Room and walks down the hall to the Changing Facility where her clothes and possessions are safely locked away. Soon I will come here again.

Consummation: the word surfaces in her mind as she drops the robe as she stands before the locker. Orgasm, illusion, ecstasy, all for a fixed price. Price: the only obligation and that all had been dealt with at the front desk. Yes, she thinks again, I’ll definitely be back here again. Hadn’t her friends told her that one time wouldn’t be sufficient? Such a harmless addiction, really, they said. And now her own voice would echo their wonder and certainty her face become a mirror to the looks on their faces, softened and frozen in remembered rapture.

She changes into her street clothes in silence. On her face is the same distracted, lost-in-reverie expression exhibited on the faces of the other nine nude and semi-clothed women in the room with her. The Changing Facility – nothing more than a locker room, really, as it always is after individual “consummations” have been completed, a place where modesty is superfluous, a room peopled by women momentarily blinded to their surroundings by their obsessive thoughts.

On the street again the young woman, overcome with a sudden clarity of recall and reason, realizes that the word chosen by her friends to describe the experience meted out in the Consummation Room is quite an apt on: addiction. No wonder the Center for Sexual Fulfillment turns such a handsome profit each year. Ecstasy, once proven to be a safe and available commodity, will always be in demand.

The thought is lost, however, clarity of insight hazed over as she mentally tallies her savings in order to determine when she will have enough in the bank to afford her next :consummation.” The end result quickly calculated, is that she will have to wait a full month. Not soon enough, she tells herself dejectedly as the crosswalk light turns to green.

I don’t know if he will wait that long for me to return.

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Grey By Caitlin Hoffman

“This is the last time,” I insist, and yet even as I speak, I don’t believe the words. Our skin is inches from brushing too close, our mouths seconds away from crossing that line, and neither of us care.

“Isn’t that what you said the night before?” you whisper, trying not to smile. The thrum from my fingertips is holding you hostage, making you ready to pounce.

“I have to go. Right now.”

“The same with me. We have to walk away from this.”

We fall into a kiss instead, a kiss that slaughters all of the finer parts of ourselves. I love the way you destroy all my sensibilities and always leave me craving more. Your hands are travelling too far already, and I have to shove you off.

“No, none of that. Kissing… kissing is enough. It’s not too much. Anything more than that…”

We don’t listen to my words. We tumble in again. The air, once so cold, is already hot enough to make our hair sweat. Your hands go in my ponytail, toying with the band that keeps it all together. Soon it’s falling loose on my shoulder, and then your fingers are playing with the rim of my shirt, daring to go further. I push back against you, clawing onto your hips, hoping to hurt you and scare you away. All it does is make you kiss deeper, make you hold harder, make you moan louder. It’s so dangerous, what we’re doing here. We can’t help ourselves.

A light from a passing car causes us to shirk in terror. I cover my face and as much of my skin as I can with my coat, hoping the light won’t reveal me for what I am. The car passes, the threat subsides, and we find our way into a dim-lit kiss once more, this time completely out of sight and off the road.

“We need to be more careful.” you hiss between breaths, fingers teasing the edge of my skirt. I lurch forward and pull you into me, sure to gyrate my hips against your own.

“Isn’t that what you said before?” I whisper back, finding that the crook of your neck is the perfect place for my tongue. I can feel those nerves of yours screaming underneath, throbbing right into your organs below. The release will come soon, but I want to linger as long as possible. The danger works as an aphrodisiac, making each kiss that much more inflamed. We are engulfed by our desire; it doesn’t matter what society says.

Not for now, at least.

“I should go.” these words come to me in a rush as I suddenly remember what street we’re on and what neighbourhood we’re in, and how much trouble would come to the both of us if we were caught here together. You shush me hurriedly, guiding my hand to the bulge in your pants, trying so hard to ignore the fact that we are so wrong together.

“Stay, just long enough for me to feel you.”

“We can’t…”

“We have to.”

“You have a wife at home. A wife that isn’t coloured.”

“Don’t talk about her, please.”

“But…”

You stop me with another kiss and a hand that presses directly against my mound. At the sudden breach of intimacy I gasp, every nerve paying far too much attention to where you’re going to put your fingers. My wetness is not secret anymore; it’s smothered on your palm. You rub, first slow, then fast enough to weaken my knees. Intoxicated by every grip we hold on each other, I let myself give in. After all, forgiveness is no good if you don’t sin first.

I grab back and rub on your jeans, feeling you harden underneath. You’re so thick, so sturdy, so potent in your want for me. There’s no hiding from each other anymore. Then comes the lurch of your zipper, and the spring of your erection now free in the palm of my hand. The slap makes us both ache, longing to cut out all the cold in our world and leave nothing but this sizzling eruption of our love. Is this love? We don’t care. All we know is we need each other, despite the world.

I slam you against the wall, unleashing the rawness in me you always say you adore. You always used to tell me that no women in your own circles was so honest about wants and needs. You always said I was the only person you felt comfortable around. Despite my colour. Despite my race. Despite the rules that choke our society.

I’d be lynched if they found me kissing you. And you’d be disgraced.

“Oh, harder, tighter…” you instruct, your thick, creamy accent melting me more between the legs. I’m numb now, deranged and trickling, mewing like a cat for you to slam into me. For now, you only give me your fingers, slipping a few in even though your penis is inches away from my entrance and its throbbing, soaked juices. Everything is clenched, tight, ripe for the picking, but you don’t yet dare to cross that line. We’re in arrest, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the forbidden fruit to slip off the vine and smother us in delicious, sticky sweetness.

I can only imagine how beautiful we look, surrendered to the dark and the motion in our arms, our tongues entwined with a delicate, translucent force, our bodies moving to the same indecipherable rhythm that has haunted humans since the beginning of time. I always thought the meeting of flesh to be a beautiful thing. Sacred, sanctioned, a gateway to serenity. Ever since my lust crossed the train tracks, however, I have thought of it as nothing but sordid. We do not exchange poetry, but sin. And neither of us care.

“Please, come into me. Before I have to leave.”

You obey, instantly, slipping in while I guide you with my hand. Despite my arousal, I’m still tight, and you force your way in with a lustful precision that makes my head swoon. I love the way you jerk your hips to get it all the way in, to explore me with every inch you’ve been given. I clench tighter and move myself against the wall for support, wrapping one leg around your waist so you can hold on and dive deep. Your moans are too much for me. I slap both hands onto your neck, putting us nose to nose, daring you to keep staring. You can’t meet my eyes for too long, afraid of the intensity within, so instead you put your lips on me, accentuating the wetness below. We rock, and my back is scratching against the brick but I don’t care. I can’t care about anything but the fact that you’re in me. So deep in me, deeper than any other man has been. Do you understand what you do to me in these moments, when we’re rocking back and forth tasting each other’s skin? Do you know that in the nights we can’t meet I rock against my hand, trying to reinvent the cataclysmic bliss in your touch? Do you have any idea that no matter how many men of my own neighbourhood I use to pass the time, not one of them compare to your bright, blonde hair and steamy, blue eyes? Yours is a soul whose colours do not compare. Nothing and no one can distract me from the fact that every minute without you is a minute closer to hell.

“I want this to last forever.” you say.

The quickening in your thrusts and trembling in your abdomen show me that you’re trying to slow your own orgasmic climb down, for the sake of us staying together as long as possible. Despite myself, I take one hand and put it around the base of your cock, squeezing just a little to tempt you with more pressure. You knock your head back, cursing. Your balls tighten up and you spasm, lurching, spraying, fucking me with such intensity as you come that my clit begins to scream in need of its own separate release. That little bulb above my vulva is so sensitive that as you pull out and spill your remaining milk against my skin, the shot of you almost makes me fall into my own peak. Just almost.

You collapse on me, and even though you weigh at least forty pounds more, with your thick farmer arms and runner’s legs, I still manage to hold you up. In my arms, you feel so very much like a child, a child fearsome of his own wants, dreams and insecurities. I know then that you’ll never be as free as me. For, no matter how many times we meet, it’s always in your neighbourhood, not mine.

“This should be the last time.” you say suddenly, as you get a grip on reality again.

I readjust my skirt, not caring about the fact that the stain won’t wash out this time.

“Is that so, my love?”

“We’re kidding ourselves, aren’t we?”

I stick my tongue onto the back of my teeth, not wanting to admit the truth. My mouth betrays me.

“Yes, we are.”

“We’ll never live in a world where this is okay. You and me, together. White and black.”

I blush, but thankfully it’s still dark enough outside so that you won’t notice. My hair is tangled and soppy from our sex, and I curl it about my fingers.

“You’re off then, Mr. Madison?”

It breaks me, the way you fix your tie and zip up your jeans, all without looking at me.

“Indeed I am, Margaret-May.”

The heat from my legs is fading now. The swell itself has receded. All that is left is a tingle in my lips, and the determined pulse of my clitoris.

“Same time tomorrow?” I say, a wry smile played upon my lips.

You don’t answer as you skulk away, and I know that means yes.