At the Ritz!

“One might even argue that if an animal could choose with intelligence, it would opt for living in a zoo, since the major difference between a zoo and the wild is the absence of parasites and enemies and the abundance of food in the first, and their respective abundance and scarcity in the second. Think about it yourself. Would you rather be put up at the Ritz with free room service and unlimited access to a doctor or be homeless without a soul to care for you?”

-Yann Martel, Life of Pi

 

Saturday April 5

I awoke to the delicate, almost berry-like aroma of caviar. Someone here understands life. Breakfast must be hearty, to strengthen you for the day, harden your resolve, not just some piddly fruit in a bowl without the heft of conviction, melon angled to jut out of the cup as though I could be fooled and believe their 5 slim slices were enough for a feast, as though I were an anorexic rabbit. Bah! Leave such tidbits for a pre-sleep bite—like the one they left me last night, on the stand, cut fresh as I checked in. Ah, truly this place is heaven.
I let the caviar burst on my tongue, sweet, salty, and oh so savoury—perfect to ready myself for a full day. But, my dear Diary, I have no more time to write; a healthy person will balance the need for self-reflection with the need for action. I go.

 

The door will not open. How odd. There must be some problem with the automatic lock. The phone is also dead.

No matter. These things happen. The well-prepared mind can thrive in any situation, and I am always prepared—and so, it seems, was the hotel. In the corner of the room, slightly sunken into the plush violet carpet, rests a black mini-fridge. When bringing my breakfast, room service had left meals for the day—and what meals they are! Quality may mostly be an indication of expense, true, but this hotel has not just quality, but sound judgement as well. Finger focaccia sandwiches, laden with the finest glossy, purply-black Amfissa olives and showered with bits of pure white goat’s milk feta cheese and slivers of orange-red sun-dried tomato; and when I look closely (and, Diary, you know I always do) I can see the bright pink of lobster showing through the holes of those glossy olives. These are the work of a master. I can think of no better mid-day meal. The olives give that burst of energy to counter the mid-day slump while the bread, cheese, and meat digest through the day, and keep your brain firing and your body moving until supper.  And what a supper! A perfectly-formed cornish hen, all breast, its skin lightly glazed and its flesh so tender that you know the butter was expertly dispersed beneath the skin, and, yes, Diary, it is stuffed with those delightfully novel and marbled pecan truffles.

With food like this, I could remain in this room for the rest of my life! I have my books, and I have my papers; when I leave, I will walk into the sunlight refreshed. A reflective man can have no better tools to master himself and his surroundings. Diary, I will return to you tomorrow a better man.

Sunday April 6

Ah, Diary, truly the staff here are a wonder of diligence and care. I awoke again to the aura of caviar filling my body and buttressing my emerging consciousness with desire for that subtle gush of flavour, but, as I arose, my eyes settled on the folded note placed next to the laden silver plate. The note profusely expressed the hotel’s sincerest apologies for my inability to leave yesterday, and indicated that not only was my current sojourn here to be free of charge, but that any future stays would also be complimentary. Ah, such service! Diary, if the world were run as this hotel, how could anyone mind the occasional hiccup on their journey of life? Such disturbances as the one yesterday would be mere fodder for a jolly laugh, and never any displeasure.

But the city calls, Diary. Forgive me for leaving you so soon, but I believe you understand.

 

Again, the door opens not. I do not understand. But, Diary, I am true to my word; this bizarre happenstance causes me to only laugh with joy. How could I be distressed by another day in this paradise, resting in this luxurious armchair, my feet caressed by this plush carpet and my tongue delighted by this lavish food? This is truly the life of the Gods.

Monday April 7

I begin to suspect that the management here is incompetent. While I can in no way fault the furnishing nor the cleaning staff—the suite was immaculately cleaned during the night, the caviar as fresh as ever, and the furniture refreshed so it feels as though it were untouched by human hand until I brush my fingers against its yielding silken flesh—this morning I awoke to another folded note. Dear Sir, it said, and I will not trouble you with the rest. Suffice to say that despite its profuse apologies and exhortations that this new card they have provided has been extensively tested and is most assuredly going to work, I cannot leave. I cannot leave! Even a thinking man can only take so much abuse from incompetence before he loses his nerve!

I must be calm. I am calm. What do I do now, now that I am calm? I wait for room service. For they enter and leave during the night. They must have some means of opening that damn door. I will wrest it from them if I must! I will lie in wait for them. And when that door opens I will seize them and give them my card and see how they fare when they are stuck in this room while others come and go as though to taunt me, plying me with food and drink as though I were some cheap whore, satisfied to give my life away for a few hedonisms, as though caviar and truffles can make up for this personal affront!

 

Diary, I am sorry. I have disgraced myself to you. My reaction was wholly uncalled for. I still have more thinking to do, and more writing to do, and this suite could not be better suited. Food and books at my fingertips, and my body in such comfort that I lose any sense of it aside from the subtle pleasure that ease brings to all things. In fact, this stay, frustrating as it is, could be very beneficial to me. When else have I had such opportunity to do nothing but better myself? I can be confident that, when this is over, I will be better able to endure hardship with composure and dignity, and with the depth of thought that comes from prolonged reflection.

Nevertheless, my plan—though, I admit, formulated in haste and frustration—seems sensible. I will not retire to my chamber tonight, but continue working here until the staff come in the night to freshen the suite. Then I will explain the situation, and remain by them until I am satisfied that I have may leave and come as I wish.

Tuesday April 8

Tomorrow night, I will not use the washroom. There are glasses here; I will use them if need be! I will brown the carpet and leave these conniving jailers to scrub it out! I thought—no, not even thought—that I would hear them, that they would be here for more than a moment, that there would be the click of the lock or the thud of the door, and not that I would emerge with more than my hands scrubbed clean! I didn’t even notice they had come and gone til a frustrated huff brought the reek of caviar to my nostrils.

I had underestimated the cunning of these “housekeepers,” assumed them to be well-intentioned staff who had simply not been accustomed to such a bizarre circumstance as my own, but no longer! Their ways are known to me now. How could I have been so blind? How had I not realised that a hotel that oils its doors to silence would notice a broken card? It is clear, and their coming at the exact moment I was emptying my bladder leaves no doubt. Yes, I can hear them through the door, laughing at me. I will get you tomorrow. I will.

Wednesday April 9

I did not falter! I did not blink! I had installed myself in this chair and slept until nightfall to prepare myself for your arrival. My butt hardly touched the seat so tense was I! I awaited you until I could smell your nauseating caviar, its disgusting rotten raspberry fumes. Yes, I could smell it—I can smell it—how can the smell be so strong? I turned, and there it was, thousands of glaring eyes boring into me, crushing the anger welling through my body, but too weak! Too weak! My anger exploded into them with a fist, splattering the books with their black putrescence, splashes of blood from my hand soaking into the purple carpet and almost turning it black. Let the room rot from your decay, Caviar!

You know! You have known my every move from the beginning! I do not know how—cameras? holes in the paintings like some cheap thriller?—but I will tear this room apart looking for you! I will find you and beat you! I will!

Thursday April 10

How? How? The pages smushed a fetid black and the floor littered and the walls bare, and now? And now? I…

How could they, without me noticing? I

A Poem

Fishy had a little egg,
Little egg, little egg,
Fishy had a little egg
Whose taste was sweet as pie.

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Metsavennad; a Brother of the Forest

Snow is dangerous,
like thought.

But both provide opportunities.

Dazzle of reflected sunshine,
crunching through waves and banks.
Tried making skis:
ended up waist-deep in powder
as searchlights blasted the trees.

A difficult balance:
think too little and you forget why you’re here
think too much and you forget why you keep going.

Families forced off farms,
replaced by foreigners.
Education now indoctrination.

Sunset hangs on the horizon,
streaking clouds pink.
Days getting longer.
Soon time for birch wine:
strike spike
seal sap
strap against skin.

The sun wavers:
must be near Paldiski.
Don’t know what’s there–
saved one from Siberia,
but she only knew of screams
and the stomp of boots.

Hard to be angry with the Germans anymore,
but I’d still grab my gun for Uluots.
At least they didn’t scorch us leaving,
but let us bounce bullets off T-34 turrets.

Then again, never did see Vaivara.

Stop
Twig of brown above a bank shifts.
Two elliptical brown ears pop up: A roe.
Haven’t eaten meat in weeks–
Traps can be turned into bait.

Upwind? Yes.
back against bark,
palm against pummel,
hand against heart.

Wait and hope.

Eventually,
quiet.

False hope’s a part of life now:
hoped America’s hatred
might do more than imprison its own people;
watched friends become comrades.

German, Swedish, Russian,
22 brief years of freedom,
Russian, German, Russian.

A difficult balance:
think too much…

Back to bark for food:
slice through Scots
break off bark
cut away crust
roast on rocks.
It lasts as a sweet snack,
good for eating on the run.

The needles for tea
prevent scurvy.

Should get water.
Lost the pot in the last raid:
trudged for hours planting tracks,
braced the stolen rifle on a forked tree.
Guns feel unreal when braced,
like you’re just pushing a magic button.

Only the recoil is solid.

Three dropped,
then I ran.
The pot would have clanked the way back to my hideaway.

Two of them found me anyway,
huddled deep and dark,
but their eyes were still small from sun.

Funny how easy it is to pick guns and knives off soldiers’ bodies,
how hard to find pots.

Funny how killing is easy now–
even not getting caught is easy.

Combining them is still hard.

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Home

Your home of bone and stone is strong,
And it protects you.
In it, you are sheltered:
       Rain raps against the roof;
       Light livens the long night.
Outside, you are wary:
       Cold creeps into your clothes;
       Wolves wait within the woods.
So your home of bone and stone is strong,
And it protects you.
In it, you are sheltered,
       fearful, and alone.
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An Inquiry Concerning the Four Types of Rain

Heat rain falls gently upon your skin;
The small, sparse drops just wafting
Down can’t soak through clothing thin.

Fall rain through summer gathers strength,
Sucks in water, swells to a throng,
Then slushes down through its long length.

Together rain mists while we laugh and run
For refuge, then find some small nook to wait,
Kissing, till our bliss will bait the sun.

Alone rain always pours so hard
nothing can keep it out.

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In the Smithy of My Soul,   Chapter One

Genius means the transcendent capacity of taking trouble.

Thomas Carlyle

 

I

 

Hi.  I’ve always had a hard time introducing myself, so I figured I should start with the basics.  Hi.  Welcome to my book.

I had sent it off to so many big publishers in huge, exotic cities whose names exude wealth, sophistication, and learning—Toronto, New York, Sarnia—that I had almost given up hope that you would ever read this book.  “Look,” one rejection slip read, “you’re not a bad writer, but your life just isn’t autobiography material.  People don’t want to read the autobiography of a young girl unless she’s (a) recovered from being a drug-addicted prostitute, so the readers can live vicariously through the hedonistic pleasures that they never had the gumption to pursue, yet feel superior about their own lives from her eventual rejection of those pleasures, or (b) dying of cancer, AIDS, or (preferably) some unheard of disease, so the readers can marvel at the strength of her spirit while feeling the safe schadenfreude that come from knowing their life is better than hers.  You’ve lived your life in the middle of  nowhere, Ontario, while being relatively happy and well-adjusted: readers  can’t relate to you and they can’t pity you, so they won’t bother.

“Try your hand at fiction, and then, later in life, you can sell this as ‘the development of a writer as a young woman.’”

Fair enough.  But I never was imaginative enough for fiction: when I write a poem, it’s a poem about writing poetry; when I write a story, it’s a story about a girl writing a story.  And by the time you get to a story about a girl writing her tenth story, and how she reflects on the awkward, halting words in her first story, but now the words come assured and confident, well, metafiction gets old.

I figure this leaves four career paths in writing: journalism, academics, ghostwriting, and self-help books.  I’m not smart enough for academics–I’m the type of girl who would have her professors dissmissively write in their notebooks, “Kind, clever, and diligent, but a bit too shallow to ever make it as a student.”  Journalism and ghostwriting would require a degree–or at least some modest success as a writer–but I’m not smart enough for a scholarship, and the idea of graduating with mountains of debt over my head while searching through the sparse classifieds every day to pay the overdue rent just doesn’t appeal to me.  Besides, I can do all the learning I want here–I’ve got a copy of Plato’s republic tucked deep inside this month’s copy of Allure.  This month’s headline?  “53 ways to please your man–and still have time to get supper on the table!”  It’s an appropriate magazine to be seen reading if any customers come in.

You see, instead of being a mediocre editor or teacher, I work as a cashier in what really is best described as a general store.

Here, we sell such modern decadencies as soap, toilet paper, and canned beans.  You can even special-order a colour television!  If you position yourself so you don’t interfere with the signal, you can watch Hockey Night in Canada.

Here, sports are the thing.  The men play them, and the women marry those who do.  We built and maintain our fields without government help.  We have a schedule—the most mathematical thing in town—that dictates when each person must maintain the fields, and it’s a town scandal if you don’t fulfill your duty.  It’s worse than skipping church.

I still have to groom the fields, though I don’t enjoy sports that much  anymore.  Of course I used to enjoy them; I was a cheerleader in High School.  I wrote marvellous poetry for the captain of the hockey team, Daniel, that was sure to win his heart:

Your big, round muscle
Lets you win any tussle
Or even any bustle
Without any fussle.

I once had the chance to kiss Daniel—the second highest honour bestowed on a girl in school.  Those few girls who didn’t get a chance to kiss him were the source of endless pity and sympathy: girls felt so bad for them that, even in the middle of the halls, when everyone was around, they’d stop the girls and tell them how hard it must be to go without being kissed by the captain of the hockey team.

Of course, the highest honour went to those girls who knew how to have a good time; they brought an extra dress (or, if especially rebellious, patches for the knees of their pants) and lipstick everyday.  They got invited to all the cool parties, and not just the boring school formals, when all the adults are around.

Even though the men never end up marrying these girls, everyone sees the married men going to their apartments every day.  Of course, no one really bothers telling the wives about that: the wives are too busy taking care of the kids.

 

Don’t be mistaken; I do not claim any natural greatness in being different from them.  I became different purely by accident.  After kissing Daniel back in grade ten, I was invited out back of the school—but I was hesitant.  Surely, such a move was drastic!  I knew as well as anyone else that the girls who didn’t go out back were doomed to housework, uncaring husbands, and screaming, thankless children, but was I really ready to decide on the life of sin, where the only post-coital cuddling you can get is with a teddy bear?

Luckily, Daniel wasn’t willing to wait.  He had become bored of the same girls out back every day, and wanted me as soon as he could get me.  Since I had written that poem for him, he realised, I must be literary.  Obviously, the best way to convince me would be through a book.   But what book could convince someone to have sex?

The English teacher, Mr. Harris, would know.  He always bragged about how he managed to get through university without reading a single book, so he’d be on Daniel’s side.

Happy to help, Harris told him that Brave New World is filled with sex, and everyone in the book is happy—it’d be sure to convert me.

After an hour of fruitless searching through the maze of numbers—why they couldn’t just put the book under “B,” Daniel would never know—Daniel emerged from the labyrinth with the book, and, after school, thrust it into my arms like he was playing a game of hot potato, convinced that, in a week, I’d join him behind the school, a new dress in my bag to replace the one that dirtied beneath my knees.

I looked at the cover, confused, yet filled with dread.  What magic power could this book contain, capable of forcing me, at Daniel’s whim, to perform nefarious deeds?  What demonic soul would awaken at the crack of the spine, possessing the unwary reader and transforming the purest girl into a wanton whore?

But I had to read it—Daniel had given it to me.  Gathering all my courage, I opened the book.

The words were in English.  They couldn’t be that bad.  Right?

I began to read.

Two pages later, my head had become a swirling mess of disconnected sounds reaching critical mass.  Such words!  Such big words!  Surely they were unnecessary, some ploy to make whoever this Huxley person was sound smart.  He obviously had no idea how to speak like a normal person; he didn’t realise that big words just made him sound like a pompous ass.  I flung the book away, ridding myself of its accursed influence.

And yet, and yet, I could not be known as the girl who was too afraid to go out back, desiring yet unable.  That would be the worst fate imaginable.  Not respectable enough to marry and not cool enough to fornicate with, I would be relegated to spinsterhood.

Spinsterhood is to be avoided like the feminism.

I had to either reject Huxley with every fibre of my being, reasserting my purity, or join Daniel out back. So, with more courage than I thought I possessed, I picked up the book, flattened out the crumpled pages, and began to read again.

After a few more pages, I was even more disgusted by that pathetic person who called himself an author—he had no idea what a book was for.  What’s the point of putting science in a book?  This Huxley person was obviously a moron: didn’t he realise you read a book to forget the world?  That’s why I had never read one before—I was quite happy with the life I had.  Anyone who reads is obviously a malcontent who can’t deal with the real world.  Why else do all these artists attempt suicide?

And this Huxley person was stupider than the bunch.  Because books make you think about things that life can’t provide, he electrocuted children for reaching toward a book, making them hate books for the rest of their lives so they could focus on life and be happy.

What kind of idiot would write that?  Couldn’t he see how dumb that was?  He was showing that books were useless inside a book, which makes a contradiction.  Could he really be so stupid that he didn’t know that?

And then I realised… he was being ironic!  He meant the opposite of what he said, and I had been clever enough to figure it out!  Daniel hadn’t—he thought Huxley meant what he was saying, but no!

My entire body burst with the power of my intellectual brilliance.  I had deciphered the code.  I alone had triumphed.

It took me a week to finish the rest of the book. I worked at it until I understood it.  Huxley wasn’t saying people should have promiscuous sex and be hedonistic; Huxley was saying that being hedonistic prevented you from living life as it should be lived!  I had figured it out!

The next day, glowing with my genius, I walked right up to Daniel in the middle of the hall, shoved the book into his hands, and said, “No, I will not go out back with you.”  Then I walked away, confident in and of my intelligence.

And that, my friend, is how I became a reader.

 

Posted in Fiction, In the Smithy of My Soul | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Of His Flesh the Mystery Sing

Life’s most appropriate questions always come up at life’s most inappropriate times. So it is that I, about to put on a condom and fuck the most gorgeous guy at this bear orgy—he’s thick with muscle and fat, with a soft, cuddly belly framed by broad, powerful shoulders and the cutest face, open and friendly with his babyfaced cheeks and wide, eager smile made manly by his thick ginger beard; oh, and his eyes, attentive and intelligent, quickly taking in my body, then meeting my eyes for a moment of mutual appreciation—think of the Catholic saint and philosopher, Thomas Aquinas. Now, I assure you that I am not yet senile, my brain firing through long-forgotten connections between Aquinas and bear-baiting from my university days. And, no, I did not think about Aquinas because he’s the saint known for his pillowy corpulence—don’t be crude. No, no, I thought of Aquinas because Aquinas was a pervert. He thought a lot about sex, talked a lot about sex, and formed the Catholic Church’s position on sex.

But this is really not the time to think of St. Tom. Here is this sexy, beefy bear, his legs rising into the air, his eyes looking into mine through his eyebrows, coyly begging for me. Would I ever get a chance with him again? Probably not in a situation like this, surrounded by bears watching me as they enjoy themselves—a major turn-on for an exhibitionist like me. And, before we started making out, when we sat naked on the couch, my hand stroking his round, yielding-yet-firm belly as we discussed politics and art and video games, he mentioned he was just visiting from Vancouver; he could even be going back tomorrow. But, what is even more important, it would be unconscionably rude of me to step away and stop now, and I am nothing if not polite. There is simply no socially-acceptable recourse in a situation like this. I couldn’t just mention Aquinas and say that I needed to think; it sounds hollow, as if I was so turned off that I couldn’t even bother coming up with a good excuse. It could hurt him terribly, make him wonder what he had done to scare me off. I could, of course, think of St. Tom enough that I go soft and then plead erectile dysfunction. Yes, then he would properly blame me for the failure, and, since he is from out of town, my reputation here would be mostly intact. But who else would he go with? All of the other bears have already paired (or triaded, or quarteted) up. He would be left alone in the middle of an orgy, feeling the self-loathing of ostracization. Now, of course, if I saw him eyeing another pair who were also appreciative of him, I could set them up in a threesome, fulfilling my duty to him, but unfortunately, he seems intent on me, and, if you’ll allow me a moment of vanity, I do believe I am one of the better-looking bears here, so anything else might be a letdown to him. Alas, there is no alternative: I must fuck him.

And so, after putting on the condom, placing his legs on my shoulders and then leaning in to lock my lips on his as I grab his wrists and pin them above his head, and push thoughts of St. Tom to the back of my head, I enter him.

He gives out the sweetest sound a man can: the slight hiss from the tinge of pain as he takes me that turns into an unconscious husky breath from the release of anticipation, and then opens into a broad moan of pleasure as his head and eyes roll back and his hips arch up, willing me deeper inside him, but I can’t stop thinking about that damned saint Thomas Aquinas! He is there, watching it all, talking through it all, condemning every moan and every thrust as though he gets off on condemning gay sex as much as I do on gay sex itself.

But don’t you believe I am thinking of Aquinas as part of some latent homophobia from some conservative religious upbringing not yet quashed. No, I have been indulging without guilt for many years, and feel none now. To me, St. Tom’s condemnation is as quaint as the flat Earth preachers are to an astronaut. And yet Tom, for all his silly posturing, for all his conflation of is and ought, had something we do not. And, no, I don’t mean faith; I’m no Matthew Arnold who’s experienced a taste of freedom and recoiled in fear, condemning the world as sterile, vain, and useless instead of recognising that the absence of heaven means that this world is no longer a mere testing-ground for an afterlife, but a beautiful, vibrant, living planet with boundless pleasures and meanings.

No, I am not longing for some ignorant past. But, still, for Saint Thomas Aquinas, sex was something magical, something that brought us closer to the nature of the universe itself. For Aquinas, everything had a purpose, including our genitalia, and, when used according to that purpose, was used morally. Since genitalia is for procreation, moral sex is for procreation, and sex for any other reason is immoral—hence no condoms, and no gay sex.

Of course the very idea is absurd, and remains an embarrassment to the Catholic Church; under Aquinas’s theory, using a golf club to save a person who is about to fall off a cliff would be horribly immoral, as a golf club’s purpose is hitting a ball. How dare you use it to save someone’s life! But there is something about St. Tom’s wacky ideas that just won’t let me focus on this, on my cock deep inside one of the sexiest men ever while surrounded by other gorgeous bears, having my ears filled with the sighs of satisfaction, the slurp of suction, and the slap of skin on skin, and my man’s moans above them all.

But is this it? Is this all? After this, will I simply go home with a fond memory and a phone number, going about my life as if this made no difference to who I am?

I cannot accept that. I cannot accept that a person’s life can be diced up and served in little digestible chunks—each bite a different flavour! It’s like trying to discover the taste of a sandwich by eating a slice of bread, moistening it with your saliva so it doesn’t scratch on the way down, and then, afterwards, eating a teaspoon of margarine, then a leaf of lettuce, then a slice of cheese, then a slice of meat. Disgusting.

Some subconscious part of my brain notices that the lust is starting to go out of his eyes. Fuck, I’ve been too wrapped up in my thoughts to be a good top—I’ve just been mechanically thrusting like some fucking machine—and now I’m letting him down. I try again to find a way to pass him off without hurting his feelings or ruining his evening, but there’s still no way. I have to redeem myself. What did he say before we started? Right, he likes being put in his place by a big strong bear—like me, I flatter myself. I bring his arms together above his head, placing his palms against his elbows so I can pin his arms with one hand while my other hand strokes his body down to his balls, and squeezes, bringing him to the verge of pain, but not over—I squeezed just hard enough for him to know that I could hurt him, if I wanted. That he is under my control.

“That sexy ass of yours is all mine, boy, and you better remember that” I growl, but I forced it. My voice came out too raspy to be anything but an affectation; I sound like one of those pathetic, insecure leather daddys who’s too shy to be a proper top, and so overacts his dominance, as though people wouldn’t notice that someone who only barks orders and growls is overcompensating.

“Oh, yes, Daddy,” He breathes, and that’s a sexy voice, all husky because his vocal chords have relaxed, “Use your son hard!”

He is a kinky one, isn’t he? Mmm, that is the way I like them. I squeeze his balls again, this time a touch harder—just enough to make him gasp and know his place—and then, as I pull my hips back leaving just the tip of my cock in his ass, I spank him hard, my years of rugby and strength training coming in handy as the sound echoes through the room, and I see a few heads turn our way, impressed by the loud smack and that exquisite cry of pleasure and pain, and, yes, of course it is true that pleasure is an important part of life—ascetics trade pleasure for the vices of folly and pride. I’m not one to wear a hair shirt to inoculate myself against the temptations of life: there are enough real evils to practice resisting that I need not invent my own. But it cannot be that this is merely for pleasure, all the clothes, the pleather, the gym memberships, the lube, the condoms, the grunting workouts, the smartphone apps, hours spent going through online profiles for a few minutes fumbling in the half-light. Can it?

I live for those moments when my body, my mind, my essence are all one, there’s the uninterrupted flow from feeling to thought to action. And of course we can’t have it all the time, and even I, pompous pedant that I am, play mindless video games to relax more often than I should. But that pleasure is more akin to masturbation, lying back after a long hard day to reward yourself with an explosion of pleasure, or taking a break to relieve the built-up stress and then go back to work refocussed. No, sex is something I put work into, and as much as the aftermath is relieving, it’s the type of relief I get when I finish a project or a short story: accomplishment.

So I’m still at square one. Sex feels so important, but all I can point to is pleasure. And, no, you monogamous people don’t escape this problem, you who think that sex is so important it needs to be controlled like a weapon: if sex weren’t so important, why would you care who you or your lover fucks, as long as you are willing to die for each other?

Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way. What would I miss, if I were to stop having sex, if I devoted all my time instead to my writing and education and political activism? If I sublimated my sexual desire into more tangible goals? Of course, recent politics shows the danger of such an attitude, with the reams of social-conservative politicians who condemn gays as pedophiles, but are then caught touching pubescent dick. But let’s assume that I sublimate my desires successfully. That I could give up fucking such a gorgeous bear and watching his belly swell as his legs squeeze my shoulders, and my God look at his face, his eyes gorging themselves on my big strong body, his gaze interrupted by those spasms of pleasure that crank his neck back and his mouth open and make another spurt of precome soak the soft fur of his belly and I see my hand has unconsciously reached out and rubbed it into that strong, wide torso, and dammit, I’m supposed to be thinking of Aquinas and the meaning of life, not this guy—or, wait, no, didn’t I want to forget about Aquinas until later and enjoy the moment? Or, I… I… Oh, fuck it all!

In a fit of frustration, I grab his left leg and swing it over my head so that, for a moment, he pirouettes on my cock before I pop out, leaving him on all fours with a cry of shock and arousal at my strength. I then seize him by the back of his neck and force him down into the pillows, his head turning at the last second so that his cheek crashes down, and keeping my hand there with enough force that he can’t move, I grab his hip with my other hand and hold his ass in the air. I go to one knee, and say, “Ready for Daddy to really pound that ass, son?” And, dammit, I fucked up again: I tried to fix my previous overacting by being calm and ended up sounding like I was asking for the time, but his sweet moan makes me hope he’s too far gone to notice, and I start fucking him again, this time thrusting harder as my hips and hand work together to slam my cock into that ass.

OK, now where was I again? Oh, right, if I could be successful, what would I lose? I would certainly gain a lot more time and energy to put into my other goals, but I feel that I just wouldn’t be as good, that my judgement would be compromised. But how? My mind would be just as sharp, or even sharper with more time to study and learn. I must consider the possibility that my feelings are misguided, and all this effort really is just for a few moments of hedonistic pleasure; that the only real downside to sublimating sex is the danger of our bottled-up desires exploding out in immoral ways. But why is that such a danger? The rage against gay sex indicates that there’s something else, that these people who want to do and be good get so caught up in something that hurts no one. If the choice to sublimate sexual desires were truly a good and fulfilling one, why would they care? Why were the Victorians, the generation of abnegation, also the generation of oppressors, who lost all compassion for a fallen woman?

I remember when I first started having sex, when I was a shy and awkward teenager, I always bottomed because I foolishly assumed everyone wanted to top simply because I did. I thought the proper, the moral thing to do was to let the other person have the better position—to do otherwise would be selfish. Of course that is all ridiculous, but, logically, isn’t that what morality looks like: making sacrifices for the good of another? But happiness isn’t a zero-sum game; it is a game of matching desire to desire. When logic has control, morality becomes about restraining our desires for our goals or our morals, and our life becomes a battle between our feelings and our reason—and our feelings become a thing of evil. But it is from our feelings that we have passion, joy, and love.

How could logic appreciate this chaotic, unpredictable, crazy world? How can the logical search for perfection and harmony understand that it is only by abandoning the ideal that we have the chance to fulfill ourselves? It is this very chaos that gives us the space to follow our passions and desires and make the world a better place for it. And there is no better place to learn that than here, where the clash of desires means not that I am stymied, not that it is a competition between us for happiness, but that it is our diversity that allows us to all be satisfied. I want to abuse this gorgeous bear, and he wants to be abused. What could be better, more moral than each of us finding a way to get what we want and make the other happier for it?

“Oh, Daddy, I’m going to come!”

He snaps me out of my thoughts and his panting breaths are getting heavier and heavier. Then, with a long, deep, broken moan, he comes, his sphincter gripping my cock in his pleasure and oh my god that feels good and suddenly I’m on the edge, and a few thrusts and a shudder later, I come, my nails digging deep into his hip as my other hand grinds his cheek into the pillows. As the pleasure rolls through my body, my hips keep bucking involuntarily, the feeling of my oversensitive cockhead against his sphincter so intense it’s painful, and interrupts my breathing with sudden hard exhalations. Slowly, I stop, and his hips sink to the floor, bringing me down with him, our bodies pressed tight together. There, we rest.

My cock still in his ass, though shrinking and soon to slip out, I roll us both to the left, spooning him as I rub his belly and feel the thick wetness there from his come. I feel a conceited joy knowing that I made him come from my fucking, and I smile. He cranes his neck back to look at me, and sees my selfish smile. His lip twitches up into a happy smirk, and we kiss.

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