Collections By Stephen Faulkner

__        Josey, you won’t believe what happened to me today, you just can’t. I’m not even sure I believe it myself, it was so unreal.

 

__        You’re right, Marie, I don’t believe it at all. It just can’t be true. Things like that just don’t happen. You must be lying.

 

__        How can you say that when I haven’t even…. Oh, now I get it. “Quit the preamble, Marie, and get to the point.” Right?

 

__        Words right out of my mouth. So tell me; what’s so unreal that you can’t believe that it actually happened? What’s the big revelation?

 

__        “Not a revelation, really, and not even so big as I made it sound. Well, anyway, get this…. I’m on the “preferred list” down at Aaron’s Collectibles, you know. Well, I got their “special issue” catalog for this month in the mail and it was just fantastic. You wouldn’t believe what they have in this month. I don’t know who the buyer had to bribe or sleep with to get all this stuff but whoever it was, it worked. Spode Limiteds, Lladro Numbered Editions, Hummel Originals. Can you imagine? Five complete sets of the Hummel “Band” collection – violinist, flautist, horn player, guitarist, the whole thing. Vintage 30’s – just incredible. And the envelope the catalog came in was only postmarked yesterday. Now, here comes the “you won’t believe it” part – aside from the fact that I almost had an accident in the car on the way down there, Anyway, are you ready?  Four of the band sets, all of them complete, were already gone by the time I got there and someone had bought the bowler hatted violin player out of the one set that was left, I tell you, Josey, I was just devastated.

 

__        Too bad. Did you buy what was left of the last set? Horn, flute, guitar and the rest?

 

__        What would have been the point? The violin makes the set. I just had to settle for something else, that’s all.

 

__        For what? For a Lladro?

 

__        No. All they had left was The Shepherdess and I already have that one. I really need the Goat Girl but all that they had of that one was a three incher with a chip out of the bottom. But let me show you what I did get, though. It’s really….

 

__        Don’t bother, Marie. You know my only interests in your knick-knacks come from your enjoyment of them. For myself, it’s all a waste of time. Just tell me what it is, that’s all. My pleasure is seeing the excitement in your eyes when you describe one of your acquisitions to me.

__        My pleasure is your pleasure, huh? It’s a pity I don’t have your own hobby to get really involved with, Josey. Instead of your always getting a vicarious charge watching my face brighten with the thought of a new piece I’ve just gotten or that I’m about to get, I could be delighting in your little triumphs.

 

__        I have my own triumphs; you know that. My hobby is social rather than material in nature. And for you to see the delight – rapture, really – on my face when one of my “acquisitions” have been truly successful, well, you’d have to have put yourself into something of a compromising position in order to do so.

 

__        Yeah, I imagine that I would. Not that I would want to be in one of your – ahem! – “acquisitions” when it happens. The trouble with your “hobby”” – and I have a hard time thinking of what you do when you collect as a hobby – is that what you have gained in the doing is so transitory that it can’t be enjoyed afterwards. Now look at this. Hey! Don’t make a face about it, just look. See? You can look at it, touch it, handle it, appreciate its beauty. I bought I, know that it’s mine, that it will last. In your “collection,” what do you…?

 

__        “Is that what you bought? A statuette of a naked woman? Marie, I had no idea. I mean, I didn’t realize that you, of all people, swung that….

 

__        Josey, what are you thinking? One track mind, that’ you, as usual. So all right, it’s a naked woman but there is nothing smutty about it. It’s the beauty of it that matters. Here, look at its clean, flowing line. Art Deco, 1920’s. I love it and always will have it to hold and look at….

 

__        Until you need some fast and ready cash. Then I suppose you could get a pretty penny for it, couldn’t you?

 

__        Give it a couple of years and I’m sure I could sell it for a lot more than I paid for it today, though I would hate to part with it. But that is a consideration. As long as the pieces in my collection re in mint or close to mint condition, the return I could realize could really be nearly astronomical.

 

__        The difference between us, then, is that you have to wait for your collection to appreciate in value while what I collect is given freely to me and what I give in return can be pretty damned valuable on its own to a man whose tastes are discriminating and he’s willing to show me how much what we do means to him….

 

__        Josey! You don’t mean to tell me that you actually…?

 

__        Don’t get all excited about it. It only happened once, and I didn’t even mean to. I just tossed off a silly suggestion while we were undressing each other. Something like, “Monetary considerations would be greatly appreciated.” You know, just a joke, really. I didn’t think the guy would take me seriously. I just did it to see what kind of reaction I’d get and if I could get away with it.

__        And did you…? Did he…?

 

__        Yes, he did. Fifty dollars. I think I must have felt the way an actress who’s in love with the theater feels when she gets her first paying role. Like I was stealing or something. Doing what I love to do and getting paid for it? It didn’t seem right somehow, made me feel kind of guilty. I went right out and gave the whole fifty to a priest at Saint Anselm’s for the church’s poverty drive.

 

__        You didn’t! I would have gone right out and….

 

__        And bought a Hummel violin player with a bowler hat. I know. But like I said, my collection’s free and clear. There’s nothing to buy; no money changes hands. Oh, well, sure, there are some things to buy like make-up, new clothes now and then, trips to my gynecologist and contraceptives. I would have gotten those things anyway. The big expense is alcohol. Six bucks a drink at Hunter’s but with their bartenders making vodka Collinses almost three to one, it’s really not such a bad deal. Six or twelve bucks on a bar tab and I usually get lucky. Like with your fancy bric-a-brac, I do it for the pleasure, so the money spent is worth it to me.

 

__        Bit like I say, Josey, after all is said and done, what do you have to show for it? A half hour or so of foreplay, maybe a full hour for the whole thing. A couple of orgasms and if the guy has something communicable maybe a case of the clap or something exotic that the doctors in the States haven’t found a cure for yet. All that done, your collection‘s all in your head, just some pleasant memories, that’s all. Joe, Jack, Jimmy, Bob, Bill, Tom, Dick, Harry – one has to be pretty much the same as all the others, I would think. All bunched up in your head as one face, one cock, two balls…. Like one man meshed together out of many.

 

__        Oh, no, that’s where you’re wrong. They’re all individuals. Sure, If I just trusted to memory they’d all become a single mass of faces and genitals in my head. But…. Have I you ever shown you this before?

 

__        A high school composition book? No, you never… Wait a sec. Josey; don’t tell me that this is your “little black book”? But why so big?

 

__        Look closer. It’s not a “little black book.” The phone numbers I want to keep I have elsewhere. I call this my “memory aid.” See? About a half page per each…. Well, call them conquests if you want to. I hate that word, Nothing is ever conquered when everything is given and taken freely. Except for that fifty I made that one time and that shouldn’t count.

 

__        Not if you gave it all to charity, I suppose not.

 

__        Anyway, see this sheet here? Two sides, four guys. That was last weekend’s tally of…. Well, of whatever you want to call them. Lover is a good word.

 

__        “Friday: Jason P.; Saturday: Gregory O. and Edgar R.; Sunday: Abdul Q.” Abdul?

 

__        Works for the Saudi Consulate. Young, dark and hairy as a gorilla, even on his back. Recited selections form the Koran as we undressed. Could barely keep it up, no matter what I tried. See the black X? Means loser. Sweet man, a little eccentric, but a loser all the same. Probably had some hang-up about making it with an infidel or maybe a Mommy complex of some sort.

 

__        And the red asterisk next to Edgar R?  What’d you use, a felt tip?

 

__        Edgar…? Ooh, yes, Edgar. Mmmm!  Red anything means definitely contact again. Asterisk is the highest, overall. With a name like Edgar you’d expect a bookish guy with glasses and who whispers instead of talks, shy and retiring, you know? Well, he was like that at Hunter’s – his first time there – but when I got him home…. Wow! Talk about passionate. That man could kiss. And hung like a Clydesdale. Shit, I tell you, Marie, with a shlong like that…. Ai-yi! I’ve never been split open so wide or plowed so deep I’m scared he might have hurt my cervix. If I get pregnant the kid would have to be his. Even with all my precautions – the pill, like always, and a diaphragm – I wouldn’t be surprise if his spermy flood got through and knocked me up somehow.

 

__        Josey…!

 

__        I know, I talk too much. Just read. Keep the book until I see you next, if you want. I only cruise on weekends, so I won’t be needing it for a couple of days yet.

 

__        Really, Josey, I don’t think I….  Hey, take a look here. What does “pos.” mean?

 

__        Hmn! Oh. That. It means positions. My own short-hand. But it’s all pretty self-explanatory.

 

__        “Pos. – missionary, fem-top-straddle, fem-top-lain, shower-standing-rear-vaginal, doggie-all-fours, wheelbarrow-hands-only-support, front-lain, pillow-raised-middle, side-lay-frontal, side-lay, fem-back/male-front.” Really, Josey, you expect me to believe…?

 

__        The man has staying power. What can I say? How many positions do you count there? Eight? Nine?

 

__        One, two, three…. Umm…. Nine of them.

 

__        I came like rockets with the first four. Broke the monotony with other things; it’s all there, you’ll see. The other five get all rolled together in my head. Like a space shot, all jets open to the max the whole trip, just one continuous orgasm. Notice the numbers in the right hand for Abdul, Jason and so on? I rate my orgasm with them on a one to ten scale – zip for Abdul, five and half for Jason, seven for Gregory, et cetera. With Edgar the scale exploded. I didn’t know what to put. Ten was too cheap. If it was a piece of porcelain you’d probably call it priceless. Anyway, read on; it gets interesting.

 

__        You mean where it says “Sans Int. Pos.”?

 

__        That’s it. “Sans Intercourse Positions.” It means, oh, any position that doesn’t entail actual cock and cunt screwing. You know: foreplay kind of stuff.

 

__        “Sans Int. Pos.: cunn., fell., fingers, hands, 69, athletic 69, G.S., sod. – doggie, sod. – frontal….” Athletic 69?

 

__        He sat up while I was blowing him and hoisted me so that I had my legs wrapped around his head and he tongued me crazy while I sucked him off. I was head down and getting dizzy but I loved every minute of it.

 

__        What about “G.S.”?

 

__        Golden shower.

 

__        He pissed on you or you on him?

 

__        Me on him. It was an accident, really. I was riding him, sitting up – fem.-top-straddle” is how it’s written there. I was playing with my clitty as I was going up and down with him way inside of me. Just as I was getting my first rush of an orgasm…. Well, I pissed on him. I didn’t mean to do it, it just happened. I don’t think he even noticed. He didn’t say anything and even if he did notice, it dried up pretty quickly.

 

__        And “Sod.” means sodomy, right?

 

__        Right. Don’t really like it but by the time he suggested it I’d already been laid three times – I think – and had been both the tongue-er and tongue-ee maybe twice, so I was willing to try just about anything to keep the ball rolling. So to speak.

 

__        Ball rolling. That reminds me – what about him? He was virile all this time. Nine instances of intercourse and however many of fellatio, sixty-nine, sodomy, masturbation….

 

__        What can I say? The man had staying power. I helped, of course – educated hands and an expert tongue. Five hours and he only popped three times. It didn’t seem fair to me but he said he was satisfied.

 

__        Sounds like he’s got you spoiled. Anything less will seem – hmmsh! – anticlimactic. So to speak.

 

__        Yes. So to speak. But it doesn’t stop me from trying to find better, though. Almost a lost cause, when you think about it. A five hour erection on that guy and with only two wilts. Sweet and affectionate almost to a fault when he wasn’t dreaming up some new, untried configurations. And just look at those stats.

 

__        Stats? You mean these? “Ht. 6’ 5”, Wt. 240 lbs.” Big guy, huh?

 

__        More than you know. Keep reading.

 

__        You tape measure them before you make love to them?

 

__        Don’t be silly. Just call it a trained eye. I’ve made it with enough weight lifter types to know a 45 inch chest from a 50. Those numbers are only approximate but I’ll bet if I’d asked I’d have found I wasn’t more than an inch or two off. But keep going, the best is yet to be heard.

 

__        What? Legs and arms?

 

__        They’re there, too. But something else. You know what I mean.

 

__        Oh, that. Yes, of course.

 

[PAUSE – A WHISTLE OF AMAZEMENT]

 

__        Kielbasa! Is your trained eye that good? I mean, couldn’t it possibly have been just eight or eight and a half inches?

 

__        No, it was a nine all right. Actually closer to ten but near enough to the halfway mark to make it iffy.

 

__        And six inches in diameter? Now, really Josey….

 

__        Well, that part was really just an educated guess.

 

__        Nine times in one night….

 

__        Day and night, actually. We got started at about five in the afternoon.

 

__        All right, then. Nine times in one five hour period.  And with that…?  My God, girl, how could you even sit down afterwards? Or even think of trying it later that night with mushy Abdul?

 

__        Hopes of one fantastic success being followed by another. Boy, was I ever wrong.

 

__        Still, though, a red asterisk for Edgar….

 

__        And he deserves every crossed line of it. Turns just about all the others I’ve had – or thought I had – rather pale by comparison.

 

__        You gonna call him? Set a date for the next time you’ll get together?

 

__        That’s what a red asterisk means.

 

__        And it doesn’t make you feel like a… like a….

 

__        A tramp? A slut? Whore? Nympho? Easy lay? Well, Maybe the last two. For myself, though, I prefer to call it simple eagerness.

 

__        Collecting eagernesses, orgasms, men. Quite a hobby you have there. Still, what it all really comes down to are tangibles and abstracts. For all you have written here, the main things you have collected are just memories. Abstracts. Nothing you can touch or see.

 

__        Don’t have to. The doing is the main thing: that seeing, that touching. Like an actress and her craft, once the play is over, the performance is a memory. But one which leaves her with a feeling of something accomplished, something given as well as gained. Anything of an abstract nature has that at its core. With your hobby you gain, but what do you give? Twenty five, fifty, a hundred dollars or more to Aaron’s Collectibles? Does Aaron groan in orgasmic joy and appreciation as you write out the check or place the crisp, new bills into his hand and walk out of the shop with your purchase?

 

__        You’re blowing a smokescreen over the whole thing. What it comes down to is the pleasure we derive from what we collect.

 

__        And as I collect my pleasures I also give pleasure in return. An equal exchange. The pleasure I give to the man – as much as I can find out from him about it – does too double my own. Interaction. You can’t claim that kind of satisfaction from your hobby, no matter how rare the treasure you buy.

 

__        No, I can’t. I really don’t know how to answer that, no matter what kind of defense I could mount to counter what you just said. Makes my own hobby sound like a petty, selfish thing. Get, buy, acquire, collect. All for my own satisfaction and nothing more. And it’s a pleasure which I don’t think that I could amply describe.

 

__        But that’s the whole point, don’t you see? For both of us. Our own satisfaction – owning or doing, it doesn’t matter – the pleasure involved, no matter how we go about attaining it. A shelf full of curios for you, a book full of names, stats, positions and memories for me. “Oh looky look at all that I have. Aren’t I just wonderful?”

 

__        You make it sound so petty and self-indulgent.

 

__        Well, isn’t it? I mean, maybe it is. I don’t like to think of in those terms, but I can see your point. Each of us satisfying some personal obsessive hunger. Material objects and sexual experiences. What’s the difference?

 

__        Matter of preference, I suppose.

 

__        That’s all? Nothing to do with style?

 

__        What does that mean?

 

__        What does that matter, you mean?

 

__        That, too. Style doesn’t mean anything if you’re not content with it. If you’re not content, why even do it? Style doesn’t matter a fig, then, either.

 

__        So there you are.

 

__        Just choices, then. Preferences.

 

__        All right then. That’s settled.

 

__        How about morals? Right and wrong. Something else you don’t think about, I suppose.

 

__        If it’s right for me, I try not to let it bother my conscience.

 

__        And the guys you sleep with?

 

__        Fuck with, you mean. Let’s call a spade a spade, Marie dear. I figure that if they do it and accept my terms – and they are indirectly agreeing from the first flirty glance – then it must be all right with them, too.

 

__        So, then there’s no worry what’s right or wrong as long as it’s right for the individual. That’s your story?

 

__        In a nutshell, yes.

 

__        Relativist.

 

__        You want to talk philosophies? Fine, but don’t expect anything earth shattering from me.

 

__        So, then, it’s my Hummels, Spodes, Lladros et cetera and you with your collection of cocks, balls, missionary, doggie straddling sixty niners and what not. Yours is yours and mine is mine and we’re friends because we don’t compete.

 

__        Well, that’s not the only “because,” but it is one factor of our friendship, I guess. We go for different things. Something of a harsh assessment, but fitting, as far as it goes.

 

[PAUSE]

 

__        Still, Josey, with your “hobby,” there’s nothing to see, touch or feel after the – what do you call it? – the transaction is completed.

 

__        Ah shit! Are you still harping on that?  I thought we finished with that point a while ago.

 

__        It’s not a point, it’s the point as far as I’m concerned. Look, here’s the result of my little obsession for this past week. Late 20’s Art Deco, semi-glazed female nude figurine. You can see it, hold it, feel its weight and texture. And what do I have from you? Words on paper, descriptions of penile dimensions and how it cleaved you open upon entry into your vagina. Nine orgasms, whoopee! I wish you had some pictures to show me, at least.

 

__        I’ve got an old Polaroid around here somewhere but that would mean employing a third party as photographer. Changes the whole…. Oh, what is the word I’m looking for? Ambiance? Sounds like a word you’d find in a restaurant guide but I guess it’ll have to do.  A third person changes the whole ambiance of the situation. Spontaneity goes right out the window with a flash going off in your face every so often. You feel like you have to pose instead of just enjoying what you’re doing. And who would be taking the pictures? A woman? I’d be spending half my concentration wondering whether or not she’ll want to get into the action. A strange kind of jealousy when you think about it. A man? I’ll be mentally sizing him up for his possible inclusion thereby causing the guy I’m shtupping to lose his concentration wondering if and when he’ll have to share me with the other guy.

 

__        An odd kind of dilemma. Nothing like that with my hobby. Except when another collector’s got his eye on the same piece as I do. On the whole, though, as soon as the purchase is made, no more worries. The piece is mine, it’s there in my hands, neatly and safely done up in bubble wrap for protection from any accidents. At home, proof of purchase is right there on the shelf or in the hutch. Three-dimensional for all to see. No pictures needed, no description or written notes. There it is, and that’s all.

 

__        Very nice, I agree. Pleasure to the eye – most of them, anyway. Like men, it’s all a matter of taste.

 

__        That’s the final measure then? Just taste?

 

__        Probably not. It’s a good starting point, though. But we’ve been tossing this back and forth now for what? How many years has it been?

 

__        Since high school graduation. You celebrated by going down on Mister Sulgrave, your old tenth grade math teacher – or so the rumors had it and you told me later – and me by buying my first Hummel. “Busy Student.” I still have it in my collection. Seemed appropriate at the time, besides the fact that I’d fallen in love with the sweet chubby face of that little girl concentrating on her ABC’s.

 

__        And you think that “taste” or “style” or any one word you might come up with would do any of it justice? Yours or mine?

 

.__       Well, we could chalk it up to “lifestyle.” Is that better?

 

__        Same terminology. It’s just us, Marie. Each with her own peculiarly personal preferences. Let’s just leave it at that.

 

__        I guess you’re right.

 

[PAUSE]

 

__        Josey? You busy this weekend?

 

__        Hunter’s again, I guess. Or maybe the Red Orange. Their Happy Hour is the best that I’ve found for drinks and their male clientele.

 

__        No chance of your company then, I suppose. Over at Aaron’s Collectibles or at the South County Flea Market.

 

__        It depends. Any cute guys?

 

__        I thought you’d say something like that. Cute guys? Mmm, sometimes at the Flea Market, I guess. I don’t pay that much attention.

 

__        You wouldn’t. I see that you’ve still got that old Bel Aire in the driveway. A regular tank, that car.

 

__        Always was, you know that. So?

 

__        And a back seat that could comfortably sleep two.

 

__        Uh-huh. I’m beginning to get the drift here. Keep talking.

 

__        Tell you what. You’ve got me for Saturday on one condition. Or, at least, one that will sound like two.

 

__        Whatever. Just say it.

 

__        I’ll bring my Polaroid. After the shopping is done and I find myself a likely candidate for the continuation of my “hobby,” you be the photographer.

 

__        I see. I pick up the porcelain, you pick up the guy. No competition.

 

__        You kidding me? With your figure and that adorable face? I’ll expect I’ll have to fight like hell to even get a guy to look at me with you nearby.

 

__        Thank you for that. Now about the photography…. You’re talking about you and whoever in the back seat, pants around his ankles, you pantiles with your skirt hiked up to your belly button, doing the hot and nasty while I’m hanging over the back of the front seat snapping candids…. Have I got the gist of it?

 

__        Very astute girl. That catches it perfectly.

 

__        All right. I’ll do it. But on two conditions.

 

__        I think I saw this coming. One, of course, will be that I’ll have to buy something.

 

__        Right.

 

__        And the second?

 

__        You clean up the back seat afterward of anything that might cause stains.

 

__        Fair enough, I guess. Fairer still would be the old rule of “She who makes sticky mess with man shall be the one who does the cleaning.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if you and I will have to share that little chore equally.

 

__        You mean that you think that I…?  And doing it while you and your guy are in the back seat as I and…?  Oh, please, sister, just don’t hold your breath for that little scenario, that’s all I have to say.

 

__        And don’t you expect me to spring for forty or sixty bucks on a Lladro or a Royal Doulton or something. Not the first time out, at least. Remember, dear, I’ll be a virgin in your little world, too.

 

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The Denaralan Way By Stephen Faulkner

Garrala followed Elsa’s slim, bright form up the darkened stairs to the young woman’s apartment, musing at how little the earthling girl understood of what was soon to transpire between them. From the time the first envoys of Denarala – that would have been Hakara and Nesor so many earth years ago – stepped out of their craft to become the first of their race to set foot on Terran soil, the earthlings had made immediate assumptions about their alien guests. Some were right, Garrala had learned, most were dead wrong.

Elsa turned on the light in the narrow hall so she could rummage in her handbag for the key to her apartment. The bright glare of the bare bulb at the oblique angle she stood to Garrala’s rising-from-the-stairwell height caused the shadow of blonde fuzz on her upper lip to glimmer damply. This, recalled the dark skinned Garrala, had been the first sign of arousal noticed – that of sight. Garrala recalled the warmth of Elsa’s hand as it pressed deeply into the alien’s supple burnished flesh. The quiet exhilaration of conducting the private conversation with a being from another world seemed to increase the earth girl’s seemingly frail strength almost tenfold. The heat of her hand and the pressure of the five fingers then, Garrala remembered as the girl found her key and turned it in its lock with a loud echo of clattering tumblers. The heat of the touch, the hint of salty perspiration transferring from her lined palm to the sensitive Denaralan skin; the second sing – that of touch and delight.

They had found a secluded alcove on the third floor of the newly instituted Denaralan Consulate while the party to welcome the members of the diplomatic mission from beyond the star system perimeter continued on the floors below them. Polite conversation there mixed with talks on trade negotiations and tourism rights; Russian caviar and French pate being served along with Denaralan kish brandy and hairy truffle balls. Garrala’s upstairs conversation with the frail, pretty Elsa lulled on past descriptions of Garrala’s homeworld with its juxtaposition of lush forests, expansive farmlands and sprawling habitats for the small world’s burgeoning population. The lulls grew wider until there was only silence and the electric heat between them like a moist, soft buffer. While Garrala considered whether the “signs” noted earlier might have been misinterpreted, Elsa’s unpremeditated kiss came as something of a shock. She did not understand its true meaning to a Denaralan as her tongue stimulated the sensors in their wet recesses beyond teeth and forward glottis. The signs were now very clear, Garrala realized; there had been no misinterpretation at all. Already the telltale fog was beginning to cover the Denaralan’s sight, removing accountability from both of their shoulders for what would inevitably happen next.

With one last burst of mental clarity Garrala had told her, this girl who was the daughter of the mayor of this pleasant Terran host city, what was known, what was certain. A coupling could be attempted, if that was truly her intention but, by Denaralan standards, there would necessarily have to be some changes for each to adapt to the possible physiological differences. Elsa, misunderstanding, giggled sweetly. Changes were fine with her, she said, as long as they weren’t too kinky.

In the fog brought on by sexual arousal that was as much as Garrala could offer before everything clamped down and became lost in the dreamstate of pure indulgent pleasure. Nothing more was said to dispel the earth girl’s misapprehension of Denarala sexuality.

They left the Consulate and the diplomatic party that was still winding its laconic way and their exit was not noticed. Elsa’s apartment was only four blocks and two turns away.

# # #

Garrala heard little of Elsa’s bantering descriptions of human anatomy, the functions and reasons for body parts as they undressed. The protuberant and slightly pendulous globes of smooth flesh used for suckling the newborn meant nothing to the alien. All that Garrala asked were the locations of areas of Elsa’s body that might best benefit from stimulation. She lay down on the bed smiling and offered one of those selfsame child-nourishers (breasts, she called them) as she groped in the general vicinity of the Denaralan’s bared, hairless crotch for signs, to her, that she was indeed desirable to her star-traveling lover.

She found the intricate folds of flesh that concealed the flaccid sheweef and a look of perturbment came across her smooth, lightly haired young face. “The taste,” said Garrala through a haze of abandon, “is what excites.” The Denaralan’s tongue, almost a twin to the hidden sheweef itself when erect though with many more sensor buds covering its long, tubular surface. Slithered over Elsa’s small breasts and pink nipples in search of more than the meager flavor of sweat and the cloying perfume that she wore. Elsa was moaning, her pleasures internalized, not evident to the sensitive tongue, the need fully swollen buds that rimmed and rowed the length and circumference. Kissing her deeply once again for a reminder that the signs had not been wrong or misleading, Garrala ran a four-fingered hand over the slender length of the girl, touching only damp and dry, nothing to corroborate the earlier testimony of sight, tongue and touch. Garrala was confused, the heavy mist of arousal already beginning to lift with the frustration felt. Then, Elsa took the wandering hand, guided it between her legs to the warm, lustfully sliding membrane there, covered with skin and hair. They hide it, thought Garrala, sliding the absorbent tongue hungrily to the spot to dig in the thick patch of blonde hair, find the gathering of richly flavored bodily relishes, all of them piquant and aromatic as a warm Denaralan forest breeze (Oh, those sinful days of youth in the rain moistened, woodsy air with your tongue extended to taste and savor the ambient signs like the fluids exuded from the very essence of a careful and attentive lover!) to lap and absorb the juices that were secreted from her depths as from a concealed spring. The tongue slid and, in its sliding, bumped and moved the malleable parts, found a thin, short button of hardened pink that, when nibbled by the opening in the Denaralan’s tongue, made the girl squeal and bounce her hips on the bed and cry out in spasms of hard breath and strangled voice. The tongue moved, out of control in its perseverance to find more of this heady and invigorating flavor and, with an instinctive lash and turn of its own, found the well of her keeping, the deep fount., the manufactory of her musky, lustful flavors that, with suckings through the tube of Garrala’s tongue, were tasted and held in the mouth and found fit and right. The last sign, the one of truth, was here. The message ran the ganglion paths through the tongue, mouth and neck, traveled at stellar speed to the ball of muscle that was Garrala’s sheweef, causing that muscle-tube of assimilative tissue to disengage from its concealing place to stand free from the Denaralan’s body.

Garrala crawled between the earth girl’s splayed legs, felt the rise and fall of the bellows of her breathing as the sheweef found its home and slid swiftly in to drink deep of her secretions, found good and nourishing the cast-off compounds her body produced only as lubrication and scent. Garrla’s age-old race memory cried out at the near insufficiency of the genetic materials the young woman’s body was offering but the internal complaint was soon stilled when the anterior vesicle behind the sheweef was slowly filled.

In a few moments, Elsa was unconscious and, as natural reflex demanded, Garrala pulled out of the girl before any real damage could be done. Through culture and evolution Garrala was decidedly one of the race of people of Denarala, this frightening aspect of love making was something that had always been difficult to fathom. “Why,” she thought as she lay resting beside her earthling lover. “Why must the male lose consciousness at the very moment that clarity returns?” Garrala looked at Elsa, the girl’s jaw under slung in her near-comatose sleep to open the small mouth in the shape of the “uh” vowel. Wistfully watching the girl’s even breathing, Garrala noted how much like the males of her own species – differences notwithstanding – these females of the Terran race seemed. Running a thick finger under the girl’s nose to gather the last of the perspiration drying in the light fuzz of Elsa’s incipient moustache, the Denaralan sighed. “Now that I can think clearly once again,” she whispered. “There would be so much that we would have had to say to one another. So much that I would have you know…. And which you probably would not want to hear.

# # #

Rumors of the incredible sexual prowess of the visitors from Denarala radiated through the diplomatic corps. Elsa, however, was not the original source of the stories that circulated about the dark skinned, four fingered race from across the galaxy. She was of an extremely discreet nature, given to keeping her own counsel. The singular occurrences leading up to and culminating in the orgasm received at the porous end of the Denaralan’s tongue were her own secrets to keep.  Add to this the fact that, after her climax, she remembered nothing of the coitus that she presumed had followed, her silence becomes even more understandable. The few times she saw Garrala later on she made no mention of their love making, not wanting to hurt the gentle Denaralan’s feelings with the admission of her apparent amnesia about the most important aspect of their time together.

The rumors that circulated came from other sources, other incidents, similar and dissimilar to the one which Elsa and Garrala had shared. Women spoke of the artful cunnilingus of the Denaralan “men,” of orgasms so intense that all senses were lost; men spoke of vaginas so vibratingly active and juicy that the man needed do nothing more than slip his pecker in and let the “girl’s” body do all the rest.

Garrala laughed when she heard that about Denaralan “women.” Those were the men of the species and that profusion of viscous juiciness was the stuff of their genetic offering to the sheweef to sip and absorb. What a backward place this is, she thought, where the females entice and receive the males, the males who possess the protuberant penis (the word rang falsely in her mind) which spits the seed of life rather than is used as a means to absorb that seed, the genetic soup of all reproductive possibility, into it.

Garrala lay on her bed in her room at the Consulate and placed her cumbersome four fingers to her abdomen, felt the almost gaseous rumblings of the new cells dividing and being created within her from the influx of Elsa’s vaginal discharges that the Denaralan’s sheweef had gathered. The four fingered hand snuck beneath the loose fitting cloth of her trousers to fiddle among the swirling folds of flesh to her crotch, then removed the hand when she was satisfied that the thickness of her sheweef had already shrunk to an imperceptible nodule in her body’s preparation for the birth of the growing child inside of her. Starting well, she contemplated approvingly; nature following its predestined course with clock like precision.

A gargling sounded behind her second navel and she smiled. Her interior sensitivities were sharp; she felt the child’s face forming nicely; the fingers where just beginning to grow away from the already well defined arm ends. It would be a boy, Garrala knew. Or, she mused giddily, a girl as the earth people would label it. Oh the strange wonders of the new world.

Suddenly a nerve twitched and her mind turned back to the fetus filling out its destiny in her womb. A definite movement there, a new, unexpected growth. The sensing mechanisms were clear, there was no mistake: a fifth finger on each tiny hand. “Earthling?” she asked the child within, listened with every nerve for an answer. “Are you to be an earthling, then? A Terran? If it is true, then what shall you be? A boy? A girl? Or some sort of strange hybrid freak?”

From deep within the Denaralan’s womb came a squeaking, querulous sound. “Oh my,” said Garrala, lying back to allow her mind to drift and fog in the third of her seven gestation cycles. “What will your father think?” she muttered, all sense leaving her as nature had devised it should be at this very moment. “My, oh my my my, oh what will she say?”

The mere mention of the female pronoun in association with the word father caused Garrala to shudder with the feeling of nature having gone irrevocably insane within her womb. Even her unborn child – whether male or female; even with her remarkably acute nervous system, she could no longer be certain which it would be – gave a mewling cry from within her that was most irregular for a fetus at such an early stage of development. Dread, that subtle blending of fears into one black, irresolvable ball – quite an extraordinary emotion for any Denaralan – began to crease pale shadows across Garrala’s richly colored brow.

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.