Why are bad choices so tempting? This short story collection explores the dark side of romance, twisting through bizarro alleyways and diving into the dumpsters of horror, science fiction, and fantasy in search of the answer. Although 23 of the stories within were previously published the remainder were deemed too literary for erotic publications, and too erotic for release elsewhere.
A sample from the collection:
There are ten things he says to me, and all of them are perverted. He sits across from me, barely restrained by the physicality of the table between us and the eyes of bystanders fish-hooking our morals and representatives of the establishment meandering here and there, sure to throw us out onto the sand if we misbehave. His hands lack the cumbersome size of mine, are perfect spider-halves when weaving suture-webs for my wounds. His wrappings were bleached before his time, the genes of his ancestors surrendering to millennia of the frigid North’s merciless fist pressing the wine from their pores. His smile fails to reveal sharpened teeth only because his lips do not part. The cowl of platinum filaments framing his features shifts in the breeze; the hostess planted us on the patio despite our request to be seated inside. Somewhere beyond the rocks a surfer’s agony melds with a shark’s ecstasy, and while other diners pretend not to notice the lips of my man loosen, denuding a fang or three. His breasts harden.
“Ever surf much?” he asks.
I rub my eyes, obsidian fingernails assaulting lashes and brows, straining sensitive skin in the hopes of accentuating the perception of what should be my intellectual sensitivity. “Never had the right stuff to skateboard properly, or even ride a bicycle, much less surf. You seem to be hiding your gills nicely, though.”
He wears a convincing mask as he shifts, doing his best to conceal the sensation undoubtedly threading through his inner thighs and along his belly and up the sides of his ribcage. Cocking his jaw his mask seems more papier mâché than latex, and it is a certainty that my saliva would melt his visage. The pulse-quickening memory of my tongue exploring his gill slits inspires us both to return to the appetizer crime scene staked down between us, tines penetrating arms and legs and lesser digits. The appetizer’s moans barely register; the cooks know their lemon grass and anesthesia. Our averted glances are a pair of predators lowing in the night.
“What, you’re tired of eating with me already?”
“Not at all. I think maybe you’re tired of eating with me.”
“Don’t be goofy. It’s only our first time eating together.”
“Why don’t you go play the whack-a-mole in the lobby if you’re so bored?”
“Are you kidding me? The stupid mole was all bloody and twitching already when we walked in. How much hammering can I manage on a quarter if it’s starting off in that condition?”
Laughter, followed by assertions of seriousness and more laughter. When he looks at me like that–with a sideways glance, smiling–it becomes clear his eyes are boulders rolled over the gaping entrances of sarcophagi filled with ancient secrets. I should pluck them out, suck off the coating concord grape-style, chew on the remains, peer inside the damp confines exposed for the first time to the light of day. There is something worth knowing behind those eyes.
Instead I ask, “So what are we doing here?”
“I wanted to go to the beach without getting sand in my undies.”
“You said you’d be wearing mistletoe on your belt buckle.”
“You’re not. It’s impossible to explain just how disappointing that is. I’m so hungry for you.”
A team of immigrant busboys grab an enormous crank in the wall and heave, slowly raising an anchor from the sand surround the stone outcropping this restaurant is built on. A sunbather, deformed and long-dead, adheres to the anchor’s bottom.
“No tables available!” one of the busboys barks, knocking the corpse free with a mop.
One of his comrades jostles him, his demeanor dominated by fear and anger. “What’re you doing? That might’ve made good pizza cheese!”
“Aw dang.” They lean over the patio wall and stare in concerned silence. “Go get the harpoon.”
Below, a child wails something about them ruining her sandcastle.
“This is all pretty low-rent,” my man says, downing the remainder of his chianti. “Good thing it’s time for the main course.”
His eyes track movement behind me, and soon enough the waiter has arrived. He clears away our appetizer dishes and sets a platter between us. When he removes the cover the platter bears…antiquated surgical equipment, including but not limited to: a circumcision knife with isosceles triangle blade and carved ivory handle, a long, thin silvery lithotome for insertion through the urethra in order to cut bladders, a mahogany tobacco smoke enema kit, a tarnished brass tonsil guillotine, a rusty–or caked-with-blood–trephine for removing circular sections of skull, a wrought iron speculum with hand crank attachment and inexplicable ornamentation, artificial leech with rotating blades, an engraved and bejeweled amputation hand saw, and a curved amputation knife whose plain and well-used nature make it the most intimidating of the tools present.
Assessing the contents of the platter I nod and ask, “Does one of us have an iron deficiency or something?”
“No, silly.” He snaps his fingers at the waiter. “Do it.”
The waiter rips my shirt off. Buttons fly onto other tables, the floor, into potted plants. He pokes my back, ribs, and chest until I slap his fingers away. “Might I suggest madam start with his milk chocolate nipples.”
“Yum. Milk chocolate nipples. Higher calories than chocolate, but a girl only lives once, right?” My man winks at me while selecting a blade and carving fork.
“Um…dude. I didn’t see autophagia on the menu, can you dig it?”
“Sweetheart, I can’t control whether you eat or not. But I’m a’get me some nipple.” The metal pierces my chest. There is a popping sensation as the subcutaneous fat separates from my layers of skin, accompanied by a bursting sound which may or may not be audible outside of my body. “I’m doing your nipple a favor, liberating it from all this wiry hair around your aureole.”
Sucking down a scream I instead utter, “It’s just that not all of us can go to the doctor and hear about having a perfect BMI.”
“Haven’t you been working out?” Then, “Oh God. You really do melt in my mouth.” A fair amount of mastication later, “Your nipples have some al dente action going on. Good. I like a man who resists my pearly whites a little.” His outstretched finger dabs into the rapidly cooling liquid of my quivering hole. Sucking at his finger he coos, “Ooh. Caramel blood.”
“You getting all whipped creamy? ‘Cause I’d like to lather you–”
“Not in public,” he grunts behind a cupped hand. “God. At least pretend you’ve got some class!”
Sharpened metal damages, then removes, a portion from the other side of my chest.
“There is no bong in this reggae song!” One of the patrons flails his arms while the woman accompanying him balks. “There is no bong in this reggae song! Mother-fisters! Get your mother-fisting hands off me!”
Busboys wrangle him to the floor. They share a look. “Pizza cheese?” They share a nod. The shrieking patron is hauled back to the vicinity of the kitchen.
More of my blood passes the ravenous lips across from me, inspiring me to sing: “I’m gonna dress you up in my blood…all over your body.”
“Did I just tell you to shut up with that or what?!” Again from behind a cupped hand, although his fingers cannot hide the grin he attempts to suppress. So I smile, so he smiles more. So I stick out my tongue, to which he responds with, “I’m gonna eat that tongue outta your mouth like some freaky aquatic parasite, baby.”
“You like eating aquatic parasites? Ugh.”
“No, I mean I’ll eat…oh, never mind. You really know how to kill the moment sometimes.”
The Captain power-walks down the stairs onto the patio, bounces from table to table reminding patrons they are to participate in the mandatory deck-scrubbing to commence in fifteen minutes. His starched white suit is radiant in the dying sunlight. When reaching our table he stops, winces, gestures to the hostess. “We’re allowing something like that, now? Idiot!” His palm impacts with her face at ghastly speed, sending her teetering in the diners behind me. The Captain moves on.
The man across from me adjusts his bra, hoping I won’t notice. “Is he gone? The Captain?”
I glance past the velvet jacket draping my man’s shoulders, too distracted by thoughts of licking his tattoos to answer. His angry grunts prod me to responsiveness. “Um, yeah. He just went around the corner.”
“Good. I need to come up for air and don’t need ‘the man’ hassling me.” There is a tug inside the woman’s mouth he wears, accompanied by a moist zipping sound; the mouth widens and crimson fingers pry the beautiful face back, back, distorting it in the process. A bald guy peers out at me. He is slicked with lubricants over an expression of astonishment. “What are you doing?”
“Don’t look at me.”
“But you’re so adorable.”
The waiter arrives with our second course: deep-fried Vaseline. Vaseline makes me want to gack up all over the place, but it is my man’s favorite dish, so I feed him sizzling lumps of it with my fingers.
“Mmm. Fine vintage. That last bit must’ve been building up at the Vaseline factory since 1985.”
“I hear that’s about how long it takes for the goop to build up on the vats, yeah.” It proves impossible to honor his request and not steal glances at him as I feed him. Denuded of his flesh-suit he is the canary who pecked out the cat’s eyes.
His exposure is only momentary, however, and after devouring only a few morsels he retreats back into his womanhood. “Okay,” he says, zipping himself shut again. “That’s better. I was getting a little cold.”
Tendrils of steel rise from the patio’s periphery, threatening pelicans and flying fish. Languid currents lap at the wall’s base, within throwing distance of our table. Pink and turquoise and purple and red neon swirls flicker to life branding my lover’s skin with demonic henna.
The circumcision knife makes it into his grasp, but upon closer inspection–sniffing, licking, and so forth–is not up to muster. He replaces it on the platter, choosing a saw instead. The saw stutters into my chest, each gleaming tooth catching on the edge of my nipple nullification. Soon enough it tears through muscle, strikes bone. Back, then forward, then back again. His every movement with the saw yanks me forward, thrusts me back against the booth’s cushioned seat. Pinning me against the water-resistant material he thrusts with increasing aggression. Down, around, back up again, across the top, both of us panting and wincing at the effort.
Employing forceps and a meat hook he pries loose the front of my left ribcage. Where ribs throbbed in darkness moments ago a strawberry parfait lung slowly inflates, deflates, repeats. Only a long-handled spoon is required to enjoy the fruits of this bloody labor.
“Hold on a sec.”
He observes me fumbling with my prescription pills. “What’s up?”
“Time…ugh…to dose my anti-‘slut-pressure’ meds.” The medicine goes down well with Kracken black rum. A surreptitious glance around reveals a number of other men and women dosing for the same reason.
“Didn’t you ever learn to drink without smearing your lipstick?” he asks.
I fondle the tube of black lipstick in my pocket, leave it, then contemplate my motivation for not bringing pepper spray. “Where were we? The pain makes it hard to keep track.”
“I think…right about…here.” The tines of his fork dig into the skin of my shoulder, twisting, winding up skin as one might gather spaghetti. His fork withdraws and a sizable chunk of my sheathing tears away. He allows me to rest on his tongue before chewing, eyes closed as he savors me. “I am so glad you’re not vanilla.”
“It’s impolite…argh!…to speak with your…mouth full of the person you’re speaking to…oh mama.”
A scream emanates from the kitchen: “This is a bongless–ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Nobody notices, or cares to pretend they care.
Another patch of my skin disappears, then another. In light of my lack of tattoos these empty spaces will serve as the conversation pieces my personal tapestry has been without all these years. My skin is an edible canvas for his mural of agony.
Somebody on the upper level’s balcony shouts, “Party people up in this bee-otch! Wave your hands in the air one time! Say hey!” There is no rejoinder. “Say ho!” Deafening silence smothers the establishment. “Ho…ho? Um…ho now!” The busboys grab their harpoons and scamper up the stairs.
My man smirks. “Must be one heck of a pizza in the making.”
“That sounds about right.”
The sea’s currents grow more violent, and the waves are ever more insistent against the restaurant’s bow.
The artificial leecher is in my man’s hands now. It is comparable in size to one of those obvious-penis-overcompensation-pepper-mills, cylindrical, and aimed right at me.
“I hear they used these things in eye surgery,” he says, closing in. “Ear surgery too. Kinda like using a blender to get a splinter out of your toe, right?”
The fact that I’m lucky enough to have been thrust into the life of somebody who shares my sense of humor does not make the bloodletting painless, but does serve to strip any pain of mundanity. Hot caramel sauce works its way up through the leecher via vacuum action, and there’s no point in trying to hide the smirk on my face as my lover fumbles with the Krazy Straw he forgot to attach beforehand. Mine is a good-natured smirk, after all. He reached into the flames to save me once, at great personal loss. What’s a little flesh and blood in comparison? He found my lost passages in the Book of Life and is a judicious editor, revising every poor plot twist ever forced on me, striking every cliché from my gullet. No sacrifice is beyond reason under such circumstances.
The blood loss renders staying upright a task of Herculean proportions. Or, the world gyrates around me with Herculean strength.
My man’s eyes wander. “I’d pay to watch you get it on with that waitress over there.” I turn to see a tall, lean, cadaverously-complected waitress hastily serving a table on the far side of the patio. She is equipped with a stainless steel spring action/razor-toothed jaw, and has no qualms about returning my man’s leer. “I’d pay to watch her going down on you.”
“I…I think…” I pause to collect myself. “I think it’d be free…if we got some mistletoe for my belt buckle…”
“I swear! You’re such a cheapskate! Okay, never mind then.”
A supplicant approaches on their knees, long hair obscuring their features in the neon-fragmented darkness. “Are you two…you are…you’re the ones!” He/she produces a book from the folds of his/her sleeveless shirt. “You co-authored The Romance of the Year together! Hurry up and give me a mother-fisting autograph already, please!”
The sexy beast sitting opposite me genuflects and makes the sign of the cross; it would seem I am on autograph duty tonight. My pen scars the title page with:
An eclipse is just Halloween
“Now, if you’ll excuse us, people are trying to feed their parasites around here.”
“And you’re gonna die younger than you think. Thanks!” The supplicant shuffles away, wearing their knees thin.
“We shoulda…slipped some tranquilizers in…in our book.”
As dark syrup continues to leak from the various penetrations inflicted on me: an elderly couple attempting to copulate with a giant Humbolt squid are hoisted over the wall in the busboys’ netting and deposited on the restaurant’s deck. The patrons applaud. Despite being late for their reservation the couple are escorted to their table, in all their sepia-stained glory.
That entrance is impressive, but fails to compare to ours: on a crimson clam shell, Aphrodite my man and me an ‘escort’ cherry picked from Mount Olympus. Every other diner can choke on it!
“And now for desert. There’s a rumor on the streets.”
“The ladies say you’ve got a creme filled center. I’m just trying to figure out the most direct route to get at it.”
“You could always try…flowers.”
“Oh…my…gawd. I’m willing to overlook the fact you just said that. Now let’s get to ripping you apart.”
Amputees doing the “come-hither slither” along the floor whilst shaking tambourines clenched in their teeth herald the latest development, that being holiday cheer. Everyone turns to the entrance with a mixture of anticipation for good times to come, and nostalgia for the indignities and abuses of childhood. We are not disappointed when a spotlight is trained on the entrance and evidence of the coming Whipsmas season saunters in. Accompanied by furious tambourining from amputation section are the the human pony girls and boys crawling on all fours, their harnesses chained to the bound wrists of a huge bear of man. The bear traverses the floor on his chest and belly, which are more than adequately protected by layers of brown and gray body hair. He is dressed in a black leather diaper with matching boots and mask. His dental gag does nothing to stultify his cries of agony and rage, reminding us all of so many home cooked holiday meals in the past.
Astride him is Mistress Claw, replete with sharpened talons, and zippered red latex suit with penile extensions, and six-inch stiletto heels digging into the bear’s hair-matted back. Her benevolent sneer passes over every one of us before she whips the human ponies into action. They pull her on a circuit around the restaurant, allowing her to tell every patron what she wants for Whipsmas this year. If she slips into our homes on Whipsmas Eve and does not find her requested items we will suffer the consequences.
“Wow. Whipsmas isn’t for another three months. They’re really starting early this year.”
“I’ve already got what everything I want for Whipsmas.”
A patron howls as Mistress Claw scratches out their eyes. Much applause and tambourining follow, but we don’t allow ourselves to be distracted by Whipsmas spirit. My body requires more in the way of cutting, hacking, and snipping before it will be ready to give up its creamy core.
The neon lights have begun to writhe in a seemingly random circuit along the walls, churning reality in a psychedelic cauldron retrofitting every patron with eye of newt transplants.
The busboys furtively approach, jabbing at my triceps with a mop handle. One whispers to the other, “Pizza cheese?”
Taking firm hold of my crotch I bellow, “Prepare to get acquainted with my pork barrel!”
After considering my size they slink back into the darkness at the restaurant’s periphery, giggling apologetically.
“And there’s nothing cheesy about him, jerkfaces! He’s sweet!” It would be romantic if my lover blackened their eyes Italian style, but that variety of cuisine isn’t served here. Besides, chasing after the busboys would leave my creme filled center vulnerable to female diners whose covetous appetites have been locked on me all evening.
With the application of surgical blades and elbow grease my crab meat money bag comes into sight. It is located north of my spleen and south of my pancreas. Hot creme filling waits within. It would be easy to slice through my money bag’s crab meat exterior for the prize within, but my man opts for doing things “the fun way.” His delicate fingers caress my organ, stroke its length and trace its circumference. The creme begins to boil and my crab meat is close to bursting when we are interrupted, yet again.
“Cancer!” the house witch doctor snarls in my man’s face. “Cancer injections for the lady! It’s the rage! All the rage! Learn how people have been losing weight for centuries! Cancer! That’s how! Now you’ve learned! So give me some money and take your injection like a good girl! Stage 3! You could be at Stage 3 right this very instant, and looking great! But you’re not! I’ve already learned you so hand over that cash! And don’t make me hafta take that bling! Open wide! I’ll shoot cancer all over your face, girlie! Are you deaf or what?! You can’t be happy looking like that! Like a woman! We’ll debone your shoulders and hips for a little extra, make you into a little girl again! Seventy-five pounds or less! That’s our guarantee! Word is bond, home slice! Why are you staring at me?! Gimme some money! Did I mention I’ve got injectable cancer treatments?! Let your body do the dieting for you! Lose weight while you sleep! Next month we’ll remove the cancer for ten million dollars! And you’ll be fine! Better than you are now! Stop looking at me like that!”
Every woman in our line of sight is busy receiving injections from similarly enthusiastic individuals.
“You’re a babe! Babe plus alive equals diet! Don’t make me hurt you!”
I clear my throat, manage to gasp: “Perfect BMI.”
He sizes her up, nods. “Good enough! For now!” He limps away.
“What’s there to worry about? I resisted the doctor’s charms.” His hands are going to town on my money bag. Crab town, meat street, in a ponyboy drawn carriage. Then, off my look, “Oh. You’re not worried about the cancer.”
Pointing to my exposed innards I say, “Woman?”
He’s too busy slurping ejected creme to respond. Minutes later, when he recalls my question and I’ve recovered from my semiconscious stupor, he examines my body cavity with clinical detachment. “There’s enough room for two or three chicks in there, you giant freak, but I don’t even see one.”
“Are…are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. Who’s looking, you or me?”
My disappointment is short-lived, because he places his knuckles under my chin, raises my eyes to meet his, pushes himself across the table, connects his lips with mine. The clattering of metal and glass should perturb me, but the sensation of him slithering into my wet orifice crowds out all other knowledge. My throat swells for him even as his own beautiful vehicle deflates. This is a gift as opposed to being a violation; I will miss the spent form slumping to the floor across from me, but the man I love has nested in my chest cavity, equipping me with the heart absent from my life all along. Together we achieve completion.