Penance For A Dime

Cleatus was a man who was without worth,
or so everyone who knew him claimed,
including the woman who gave him birth
and for whose grandfather he was named.

Gambling and drinking and lazy besides,
he had no merit whatsoever,
and whomsoever he crossed, woe betides
as he would forgive no one never.

Then one day Cleatus had a change of heart,
which is to say, his mean heart stopped dead,
and his mother put him in a mule cart
and took him to town to earn her bread.

“For a penny a hit,” she said aloud,
“I’ll let you get in your vengeful licks!”
There soon formed an eager, carnival crowd,
paying for a baker’s dozen kicks.

Men, women, children of every age
gathered together in giddy glee
as if to watch a famed play on stage
or hear words from a divinity.

The priest in the town held up his Bible,
quite ready to put a stop to it,
but then he remembered well the libel
Cleat had spread about the Jesuit.

Cleatus had said that the Catholic priest
made congress with a bullock each night
and then ate the beast at a pagan feast
with the Devil by Harvest moonlight.

The priest grimly offered a full dollar
and put on his thickest farming boots,
rolled up his sleeves, and loosened his collar,
and kicked Cleatus like the other brutes.

But a kick landed squarely in the chest,
literally kick-starting his heart,
reviving Cleatus, as if he was blessed
by Jesus Christ’s Lazarean art.

“What’s the meaning of all this?” Cleatus cried.
“I feel like I’ve been in a stampede!”
His mother tried to explain, but then sighed—
“Son, you’re more want than you are a need.”

His mother raised her heavy-threaded whip,
ready to beat him unto his death,
but Cleatus cried with a sputtering lip,
and compromised ere his final breath.

Nowadays Cleatus is almost worthless,
still living to lie and cheat and sin
but now the townsfolk can kick him mirthless,
paying his mother a dime for ten.

Caustic

Disclaimer: Adult Content and Gallows Humor.  Some might say this is politically incorrect, but such people are too blinded by career-oriented agendas to read between the lines or to see past their own projection.  It’s all in good fun, even if it is also a little bit, well, caustic.

It was past midnight by the time Daria pulled into the parking lot below the tall apartment complex. She had taken her time that evening in her photography studio, developing several wedding photos before finally making good on Kyle’s invitation to come over. The wedding photos were not an urgency for her. They were for Mr and Mrs Bentley, whom she had started to call Mr and Mrs Getbentley because of their nagging. She always came up with dismissive names for wedding photography clients. She resented such clients most of all.  Still, Daria did not want to drop what she was doing all at once because a boy had called her over for dinner. No, Daria was taking her time developing the wedding photos for their album, giving them their proofs piecemeal and taking pleasure in cutting their faces up for a collage with which to taunt them, like a kidnapper cutting out letters from various magazine ads for a ransom letter. Or perhaps she was more like a serial killer taunting police. The truth was that Daria held nothing but contempt for couples getting married, and resented having to work for them, especially for their weddings.
Daria did not bother to dress up. She wore a black sweater and blue jeans, a pink shade of lipstick, but no makeup otherwise. She had only started seeing Kyle a month ago and she wanted him thirsty and aware of who held the keys to the libido kingdom in the pseudo-relationship. That wasn’t to say that they never had sex—they had sex the first night they met at a mutual friend’s art exhibit after going to his apartment for wine—but she wanted him to know she had full control over the limited resource of her body and that he was not entitled to any of it even though he was a White cisgender male that made six figures a year trading stocks. The amusement park could close at any time, and often did. Last time she came over to his apartment she left prematurely because he wanted to watch a Jackie Chan movie. Totally boring. Hopefully, she thought, he learned his lesson or she would blue-ball him again.
Kyle had already given her card access to the apartment complex. She used it to get into the lobby and to take the elevator up to his floor. On the way up she felt some pressure on her stomach. She belched, her throat burning with bile, and she was glad she was the only one in the elevator. She carried no purse—being a 10th wave feminist—but she did keep a roll of Tums in her pocket. Her gastroenterologist said that Daria suffered from excessive acidity. She called it acidosis. Her gynecologist claimed the same thing, more or less. Too much alcohol, they said, and not enough alkali to balance it out. She told both of them that she ate plenty of cheese with her wine, but cheese also had lactic acid in it, or so they said. Sometimes her skin blistered and rashes bloomed on her knees, elbows, and forehead. She resented makeup, mostly, but used it whenever she had flare-ups. She felt like she was being dipped in acetic acid by someone who did not know the first thing about film development.
Then again, she also knew the bulimia did not help. Eating a carton of ice-cream and then force-vomiting afterwards left canker sores in her mouth. The sores hurt when she talked, which only made her angrier when she had to talk to people she disliked. And she disliked a lot of people.
Kyle had a posh apartment on the upper side of town. He had no taste for movies or art, Daria reflected, but he did have good taste for amenities and material comforts. There was merit in that, at least. And he had good taste in women, obviously, since he was so hopelessly head-over-heels for Daria. He was like a puppy dog around her. Too bad she was a cat person. Still, she thought him useful for passing the time.
The elevator opened and Daria stepped out, popping another Tums tablet into her mouth and chewing it as she walked the long, high-scale hallway that led to Kyle’s apartment. The silence attested to the quality of the apartment complex. Thick walls and solid doors. Someone could be screaming bloody murder and no one would hear it next door, above or below the apartment.
Daria came to room 512 and swallowed whatever bits remained of the Tums tablet. The acidic heat subsided in her throat and stomach. The bile ebbed. The card Kyle gave her to the lobby and elevator did not work on his room, which irritated her. But it was a ritzy apartment building so they had cards for everything. She hated door buzzers and chose to knock instead. Kyle fumbled with the chain a moment.
“I didn’t think you would show up,” he said, both nervous and giddy with apparent joy as he opened the door.
“You sure look like it,” she said, frowning at his boxers, black socks, and white T-shirt. “You getting ready to go to bed? That’s okay. I’ll just go out with some friends if you are tired…”
“No, no,” he said hurriedly. “I just thought it was too late for you to want to come over. I was watching something on tv…”
“Nothing pervy, was it?” she teased, albeit with a tone so flat that he could not tell the difference. Daria disconcerted most people this way, including her own parents when she spoke to them…which was rarely.
“No, just some old sitcoms,” he said. “I like to jump around. MASH. Seinfeld. Frasier…”
“Old White guys sitcoms,” she remarked with a frown. “Whining about their privileged lives.”
Kyle smiled uneasily. He had shaved, which Daria did not like. She preferred him to have stubble on his chin. Since his hair was black it gave him a very Bohemian shade to his look, even if it gave nothing to his milquetoast personality.
“I guess so,” he said. His awkward, nervous laugh died in his throat. “What do you watch for comedy?”
“Nothing before 2010,” she said, walking past him and into his apartment. She went to his living room, which was dark except for the glow of the television and the city beyond the windowpane. “Anything before that is just too Patriarchal for me to stomach.”
“Oh,” he said, closing the door. “I guess I’m not up to date on that stuff.”
She felt bile rising in her throat again.
“Need to use the ladies room,” she said lightly. “Be back in a second.”
Daria went into his bathroom and closed the door behind her. Looking into the mirror she saw, much to her chagrin, that her forehead was broken out with an angry red patch of psoriasis. It was reptilian in its scaliness.
“Should have used makeup after all,” she grumbled.
Her brown hair was pulled back into a stern ponytail. She undid the tie and let her hair fall to her shoulders. Her bangs covered most of the rash. If Kyle kept the lights off then he would not be able to see the rash. She ate another Tums and rinsed down the chalk with some water. The cool water stimulated her bladder. Sitting down on the toilet, she peed. Peeing burned down below and up into her lady bits.
“Great,” she muttered. “Yeast infection. Or a bladder infection. Maybe both, knowing my luck.”
Her gynecologist told her once that condoms could cause infections. Of course, pregnancy was a worse infection—in her estimation anyway—but she really wished men would get more vasectomies. One little snip and that was it. But their pride got in the way of progress. Daria had been known to castrate men with a quip, so it was all a normal procedure for her.
She waited until the burning, and the tinkling, stopped, then washed her hands and went out to the living room. She was annoyed to find that Kyle had turned the lights on.
“No,” she said. “Lights off.”
While Kyle turned the lights off, Daria sat on his leather couch in front of the huge widescreen television. The lights blinked off and Kyle tried to nonchalantly sit beside her—as if he wasn’t under the delusion that Netflix-and-Chill was always a euphemism for sex while throwaway programming cycled in the background.
“No funny business,” she said. “If this was a booty call I’d tell you.”
Kyle eased off of her, leaning toward his side of the sofa.
“Sorry,” he said. “I just…well…I like you a lot.”
“Course you do,” she said. “I am awesome.” She frowned at the television. “This? Not so awesome.” She held her hand up and Kyle surrendered the remote control. She cycled through the Netflix browser. “This looks pretty good,” she said, selecting an Indie art house film.
“I’ve heard the reviews aren’t great,” Kyle said reluctantly.
“Anybody with a keyboard and an internet connection can critique something,” she said, as if explaining to a toddler. “You can’t let other people tell you what to think.” She crossed her legs, kicking impatiently as her nether regions began to burn again. “Now be quiet and watch. You’ll enjoy this.”
But half an hour later and Daria was not enjoying the film anymore than the critics. It was a slow burn— like the burn between her legs and at the back of her throat—and it went nowhere. Yet, Daria’s pride would not let her turn it off. Kyle fell asleep a few times, and she even nodded off once or twice, finally succumbing to sleep at the forty-five minute mark. She woke up later, the credits rolling down the screen. She needed to pee again.
Rushing to the bathroom, Daria relieved herself. It was painful. The bile rose up in her throat again and she spat it into the toilet. Throat, mouth and vagina burning, she examined herself in the mirror. Apart from redness—and the rash on her forehead—she looked fine. She left the bathroom and rejoined Kyle on the couch. They cycled through the browser again, finding nothing. Neither of them was in a mood to watch anything anyway. Kyle yawned, which irritated Daria. She was ready to leave, but then Kyle spoke.
“I met one of your friends today,” he said. “Or ex-friends, I guess. Toni Bower. She’s an intern at the office.”
Daria never laughed, but she did smirk often, and she smirked expansively at this. “I always knew she’d become an office waitress. She sure as hell was a shit photographer.”
Kyle cringed. “Yeah, she seemed nice enough. At first, I mean. But then I told her I was dating you and she looked like I had ran over her cat.”
Why were you talking about me?” she demanded. “And we are not dating. This is just…hanging out with benefits. Sometimes with benefits.”
Kyle raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. “She wanted to grab coffee,” he said. “I told her I had a girlfriend so she wouldn’t feel rejected. I thought I had a girlfriend,” he added, looking at a loss.
“That’s pretty presumptuous,” Daria said. “Of both of you.” She eyed Kyle coolly, quite irritated with him and with Toni. Daria had planned on dumping Kyle sooner or later, but now she couldn’t. She didn’t like the idea that Toni would be Kyle’s rebound girl. Toni, she thought, was a damn scraphound.
Leaning toward Kyle, Daria rested her head on his shoulder. He could not see her face, but she was smirking— smirking at him as much as at the thought of Toni Bower working as an intern.
“That bitch has some serious crabs downtown,” she said. “She sleeps with just about any dude with a guitar. He doesn’t even need to know how to play it. In college her panties would drop if she saw a dude with a pick in his hand. She’s basically just a groupie for loser guitarists.”
“You are so caustic,” he said.
“What can I say?” she said. “I am a soup kitchen of sarcasm, and everybody’s in line for a bowl. And that bitch deserves multiple servings. Shit photographer and a shit feminist, too. 3rd Wave washout. She’ll probably be knocked up by one of the janitors there by the end of the year. No, it will be worse. She’ll probably marry one of the janitors. She deserves as much.”
“Toni seemed nice, though,” Kyle said. “Really, she did.”
Daria shrugged with smug self-assurance, then took off her sweater. “You’d be real nice, too, if you would just fuck me and stop talking about Toni Bower.”
At least Kyle was good at foreplay, she thought. Her panties were gushing by the time he put his rubber on. She ignored the burning downstairs, even after he inserted himself and began to thrust away. He was average in every measure, so the burning was not exacerbated too much. For a while, at least. He even managed to give her a couple of decent orgasms, her vagina tantalized into gushing vengefully against the image of Toni Bower crying in a lonely corner of an office building. Daria hated that bitch so much that it made her horny.
It was just before Daria’s third orgasm that Kyle began to grunt and groan and make painful faces. At first Daria thought he was going to orgasm. That irritated her. How selfish! She considered herself a 10th wave feminist— far ahead of the curve— and she did not want a man to finish inside her without giving her what she wanted first. So, she pushed him off of her and, before he could say anything, grabbed him by his ears and dragged his face down in between her legs. She was so wet now. He began to convulse, but she did not let go; no matter how loudly he screamed into her pelvis. When she had finished shaking from her final orgasm she let him fall back, moaning in agony. She was so taken away by climax that she did not care. If the building was on fire she would have just laid there, satisfied and unconcerned. It was when he began crawling across the floor that she realized something was wrong.
“Don’t be such a baby,” she said. “Eating pussy never killed anyone.”
He mumbled something, weeping and pointing to his face and to his penis.
“I am not going to blow you off,” she said. “Go finish yourself in the bathroom.”
He was shaking with sobs now and she lost patience. Sighing angrily, she stood up from the couch and turned on a light. Blood streaked the floor where he had crawled like a worm. He tried to speak, but could only moan ineffectually. His tongue, and his penis, had been melted to bloody nubs.
“Okay,” Daria said, after considering him for a long time. “I suppose Toni can have you if she wants.  Better than a janitor, I guess.”

But One True Law

The Queen of Privulieu said,
as she patted her little mustached Terrier,
“Fluff up Frederick’s carriage bed
to make him comfy and all the merrier.”
The footman did as he was commanded,
fluffing the pillows for that spoiled pet,
but while he did so, all gentle-handed,
he did so knowing there was always a threat
beneath everything the Queen decreed,
and so all the servants indulged that brat
and every whiny whim from that royal breed,
knowing a single word meant “That was that!”
For even the Queen’s dog could abruptly banish
a footman that displeased that little hairy lord
for nothing more than to see him vanish
from the palace because the dog was bored.
Then one day the Queen went to the Royal Park
walking through the woods for fresh air
and she took with her that canine monarch,
carried by a footman allergic to dog hair.
The footman sneezed again and again
until Frederick became furious with him
and growled and snarled and bit at his chin
until the footman ran away from them.
Now the Queen and the royal canine
were left by themselves in the Park
and a hawk shrieked high above the treeline
and Frederick began to bark.
“Worry not, my little blessed beast,”
the Queen said with a loving smile,
“When we return home you shall feast
on tenderloin and mutton while
that naughty man is tied to a tree
and flogged for being so impudent.
He will starve as well, verily,
and learn, indeed, to be more prudent.”
The hawk shrieked again and took to flight,
flying over to the Queen and circling above
and Frederick barked and barked with all his might.
The Queen said, “He shall not hurt you, my love.”
The Queen shouted an order to the hawk
using her fiercest, most regal tone,
and yet the hawk did not heed or baulk
as Frederick fled in fright, all alone.
The hawk shrieked and shot, straight and true,
and took the Queen’s dog in its claws
and, lifting upward, the large bird flew
away to eat, for it obeyed only Nature’s Laws.

Flash Fictions

Naive
“There was once a man who believed ardently in Humanism,” her father said. “He believed so utterly in Humanism that he ventured forth into the wild jungle, where it was said man-eating tigers stalked the shadows. He brought with him no protection except several books on Humanism. Once there, he preached to the jungle on the value of a human life, reading from his many books of all the merits of letting humans live and thrive. Many of the tigers passed him by, indifferently. But a few tigers began to gather around him, watching him very intently as he lectured them. He even preached to their cubs, thinking the next generation of tigers would know better than eating human beings, if only they were taught to be Humanists.
“An expedition discovered what remained of him a few weeks later, his bones surrounded by books and his skull’s sockets gaping wide, as if in abject surprise.”
“He was naive,” his daughter said. “He should have known better. Predators don’t care about that stuff when they’re hungry.”
“True,” her father said. “But you, too, should know that you are living in a jungle. That is why I want you to bring more than just books with you to ward off the tigers.”

Zen Breath
It began so simply, as many things do, and it grew unto complexity, like a sheet of paper, blankly white and smooth and flat, now folded into an origami animal. Miyazaki’s anger burgeoned from workaday irritation to blinding rage as he waited in the subway station at Shinjuku. And the irony of the situation was that as he stood waiting, steeped in his own aggravation, he attempted to take a deep, Zen-centering breath and release the rage in dissipation— he really had tried— only for the nearby commuter to breathe out a cloud of cigarette smoke which Miyazaki inadvertently breathed in, coughing uncontrollably while the other commuters stepped away from him; stepped away from him as if he had some fatal airborne illness for which he needed to be quarantined. It was then, as he coughed and cursed and chewed the grudge of that terrible year spent as a twelve-hour-a-day cubicle jockey— it was then that the yokai possessed him, at long last, and drove his fist through the smoker’s heart, tearing its vermilion core out while bystanders screamed and scrambled to flee from the horrific carnage wrought by the long-horned demon that suddenly stood amongst them, glaring with red eyes as he rushed about, in gorilla-fisted fashion, rampaging throughout silver-edged, neon-lit Shinjuku until later that afternoon, killing many people in his wake until finally finding himself at Hanazono Shrine and, by entering it, expelling the demon so Miyazaki could sit down and empty himself of his negative emotions. Indeed, he emptied himself so completely of negative emotions after that terrible indulgence that he transcended the mortal plane and passed on to a higher plane of Enlightenment. Many people, consequently, have since concluded that Enlightenment could be achieved as much through devastating debauchery, excess, and sin as much as through years of abstinence, purification, and meditation. Zen Buddhists and Shinto Priests cannot reconcile themselves either way and, it is feared, many such esteemed personages were denied Enlightenment because of this troublesome anecdote.

La Petite Mort

“Touch my breasts, not my heart,” she demanded as she gyrated atop him to the crescendo of Stairway To Heaven. Impatiently, her hand sought his, the latter crouching timidly between her breasts like a meek, trembling gerbil, and slammed it over her left nipple; her most sex-sensitive nipple.
“Oh, don’t you fucking finish yet!” she growled, feeling him erupt inside of her.
“Sorry!” he moaned, his face contorting ridiculously with orgasm. “You’re…just…so…beautiful!”
Angry, she grinded down on him harder, trying to reach climax herself. It did not work. He went limp and shriveled, vacating whatever iota of pleasure she felt in tandem measure to his manhood. He was like all of the others, then; selfish in sex, even with all of his kisses and promises of love and his priming cunnilingus foreplay. True, he had attempted to sway her heart with love, but only because he wanted sex. She looked down at him, or what remained of him now. He looked like a mummified corpse over a thousand years old. Beef jerky, like the countless others. The ancient curse, thus, persisted, as it had since Hatshepsut had placed it upon her for fornicating with her priest in her royal temple. And she would not die and go on to the land of Duat until a man had pleased her fully.
“Ammit!” she called.
The bedroom door opened and a fat bulldog entered on stiff-jointed, squat legs.
She dismounted from the leathery corpse, almost crudely, and flicked her hand in a gesture of mild irritation.
“Another one unworthy,” she said. She walked into the adjacent bathroom to take a shower and clean up. The bulldog hopped up onto the bed and looked down at the corpse. There was, faintly, the sound of a scream— as quiet as if it came from a great distance down in the shriveled throat of the inert cadaver, barely audible above the sound of the shower faucet and Robert Plant’s mewling conclusion to his magnum opus. Then again, it could have been a pigeon’s feather brushing against the highrise apartment window. If Ammit heard it, he did not care. He opened his jowl-underlined jaws and swallowed the corpse whole, as if there unfolded in his small, pudgy body a whole dimension of oblivion belied by his ostensible size.
She sighed irritably as she reentered the bedroom, walking briskly to her clothes and scooping them up. She began to dress herself hurriedly; preparing her makeup and her favorite black dress and her golden jewelry with its sapphire scarab.
“Looks like I’m going out tonight, Ammit,” she said, huffing and puffing in princess annoyance. “I feel like the Sisyphean dung beetle, pushing his ball uphill. I will never land a good man.”
She turned off the radio, as it began to play Heart’s What About Love. She sat down in front of a long, ornate mirror, applying mascara to darken her already dark eyes. She had feline eyes, like a lioness, which she inherited from her mother. Her rounded cheeks, too, were feline and inherited from her mother’s blood, as were her full lips which always appeared puckered. Her mother had been an African consort from Ghana. Her Egyptian father gave her his long black hair and dusky skin. He had been a royal priest, much like the man she had coupled with in Hatshepsut’s temple. She wondered, sardonically, if she had daddy issues and whether this whole cursed life had stemmed from a need to fulfill an Electra complex. But she hated the Greeks, and she hated Freud, so she pushed such disgusting thoughts away lest they lead to madness.
She looked glumly into her reflection with a sense of doom. She had been cursed by beauty and desirability. No man, through the centuries, had survived a night with her. Hatshepsut had devised the most consummately ironic punishment for the trespass against her divinity. By cursing her with her boons she had guaranteed a persistent curse, seemingly without deliverance. Consequently, she lived a life of one night stands and hopeless bedside regrets. And while many men willingly died for one night with her, she had hoped one of them would overcome the curse so that she could die, at long last, and escape dull eternity as it stretched out upon the infinite horizon of Time.
She braided her black hair in a complex pattern of knots; quickly, to one side. She then sighed, hissing through clenched teeth.
“The Nile is more than just a river in Egypt,” she said.
She stood up, glancing over her comely curves in profile, beneath the black dress. She ran her fingers down the black sheer gown— over her breasts, down her belly and into the valley of her womanhood. She then slapped her hip. She shook her head and rolled her eyes.
“Seduction has lost all of its savor,” she said.
Ammit barked breathlessly, once. She glanced back at him.
“Oh, I am sure you do not mind my bounty,” she said. “I keep you well fed.”
She fetched a pair of black stilettos from her closet. They were angled like pyramids beneath the arches of her feet, raising her buttocks high with an elevated “come hither” posture. When she walked in them it was with a slow, graceful flamingo poise, even as her eyes flashed with feline predation.
Glancing once more in the long mirror—and appraising herself bodily— she nodded and headed into the hall and toward the front door. Ammit followed her eagerly, breathing laboriously. He was a very old bulldog.
“I’ll be back later,” she said to him. She opened the door and stepped out into the outer hallway. “Here’s to finding Mr. Right.”
She closed the door behind her and set off for another day of hunting for hearts.

Sweet And Salty

Forewarning: This story is quite graphic, both in terms of sex and violence, and should not be read by anyone at all.  No one whatsoever should read this.  This is your warning.

 

Final warning.

 

I warned you:

Candy sipped from the glass of lemongrass-and-ginseng tea, aswirl with an overabundance of sugar, and occasionally nibbled at an unsalted pretzel. She could not tolerate salt between jobs and, so, worked her hardest to sweeten her breath and wet her throat on days when she was scheduled to meet with her clients. Being a highly sought, highly expensive escort under contract to Madame Stamos, Candy did not have to work often. Still, the “money-shot” cloyed and she had developed a subsequent aversion to salt.
And penises.
But penises were her business, and tonight she had a client coming over for his weekly appointment. She did not mind Stanley, though. His penis was small, quick to expectation, and did not yield much in its output. So to speak. His wallet, on the other hand, was always thickly engorged and ready to erupt like Mt. Vesuvius. (Candy had visited Pompeii during one of Madame Stamos’s employee vacation retreats. Madame Stamos was Greek, and something of a Greek mother to her girls. She had no daughters of her own, and doted and indulged her girls quite extravagantly…if they performed well and pleased the clientele. Candy found it humorous that a whole civilization had been wiped out by what was essentially ejaculation from the earth. She had a dark sense of humor, even if she did have a sweet tooth.)
As a consequence of her sweet tooth, Candy liked candy. She ate it all of the time, alongside sodas and sweet tea and whatever else had unhealthy handfuls of sugar in it. If she started to put on weight in regions where it was unwanted, she simply did a little extra yoga, and induced a lot of vomiting. Madame Stamos demanded top-tier escorts for their top-tier pay, and Candy did not want to risk her profession for a few extra Twizzlers and Kit-Kats. She could have both, anyway: eat sweets and be in tiptop shape. The balance was easy in this business where a throat was willing.
Candy was wearing her cheerleader outfit already, replete with red pompoms and a short skirt with red and white frills. Stanley had a high school hang-up and Candy purchased the uniform especially for him, using his money. She had two or three uniforms for each of her clients, ranging from cavewoman to nurse, from bitchy lawyer to cliche dominatrix. She had only one name for each client, however, and no two were the same. Tonight she was Candy the Cheerleader. Tomorrow she would be Helga the Milkmaid, and the next night she would be Rosemary the Nun.
The hotel room in which she drank her tea and awaited her client was 5 star quality and 10 star expensive. That was fine for her, however, since Stanley had already prepaid for it himself. It came with complimentary champagne, a two-person jacuzzi, King-size bed, and a full-sized bathroom with a shower as expansive as the bed. Her suitcase was in the walk-in closet, already unpacked of its client-specific effects. Candy knew how to please her clients, for that was her job. She took her business very seriously.
Candy had gone to Business School for a year and a half, back when her name was still Sarah Hackman, but she found tuition costly, and time scarce, whereas she found she had quite the knack for the world’s oldest profession. Sex was just business in her mind: labor for wages. Tit for tat and tits for tax. That said, she never thought of herself as a prostitute. There were too many stigmas and too much devaluation in that title. She was a high class concubine, a manager of her own body’s department store.
Or some such euphemistic pretense.
She spooned another heap of sugar into her glass of tea in anticipation of tonight’s work. Stanley, like all of her clients, loved fellatio the most. It was her fault, really, since she was so good at it. She hated it, but it was her specialty and it kept them coming back for more, which meant job security and an expansion of her franchise. Pleasing them pleased her, as any job someone prided herself upon, and it pleased her in letting her enjoy the finer things in life. The sweet life. She may not have graduated Business School, but her clients were always cum-de-loud.
That was her own silly joke she told herself when she was feeling soured or embittered.
There was a knock at the door; a gentle, hesitant knock. Stanley was early. Normally that would have irritated her, but Stanley was such a sweetheart (in his own creepy way) that she did not mind. She downed the rest of her sweet, sweet tea to sweeten her smile, stood up from the edge of the bed, swiped her frills down over her honey-tanned thighs, and then went to the door. She dimmed the room’s lights, with a radial dial, until the room was as dark and as bright as any of the street corners several storeys below, in the heart of New York. She then opened the door, speaking like a bubbly cheerleader still in love with youth and life and the high school quarterback.
“Stan!” she chimed. “Where have you been? I missed you!”
He shuffled inside as if he was expecting to be upbraided. She closed the door and bounded around him excitedly, raising her pompoms in the air and kicking as she always did when beginning their roleplaying session. He turned away from her, though, his sagging shoulders in a greater slump than usual.
“What’s wrong, Stan?” she asked, still maintaining her faux cheerleader effervescence. “Do you need me to give you a pep rally?” She assumed a cheerleader stance, pompoms raised, fisting them into the air. “Stan! Stan! He’s our man! If he can’t do it, no one can! Gooooooo Stan!”
She rolled the pompoms around in a flourish and leapt in the air, arching her back. The excess sugar helped energize the performance. Usually it was enough to have him creaming his pants in a couple of jiffies. Easiest three grand ever.
“I couldn’t come last week,” he said timidly. “Because…because…I went to see…someone else…”
She furrowed her brow in teen-aged histrionic mock-anger. “You cheated on me? Stan! How could you? That’s not keeping with the home-team spirit!”
“I’m so sorry,” he said, staring at the floor.
Stanley looked pale— paler than usual— which would have been impossible in her mind had she had to imagine it. His pallor was always like milk. It was a natural consequence of his lifestyle. He was good with computers, but bad with people, especially girls. A tech company engineer, he spent all day and night in front of a computer screen, his body melting into his chair and never but accidentally glimpsing the sun in between the New York city skyscrapers. His paunch protruded over his pelvis so profusely that Candy believed she had probably seen his penis more in his adult life than he had, concealed as it was by the overhang of his gut.
“A friend recommended a girl to me,” he said, sheepishly. He referred to every woman as a girl. “She was…unique.”
“I’m unique, too, Stanley!” Candy said, pouting and putting her hands on her hips, puffing her cheeks out as if having a bratty high school temper-tantrum.
“You are!” he said, looking away from her and recoiling as if he expected to be struck. “That’s why I came back. This girl…she wasn’t anything like you. She wasn’t like anyone at all…”
Candy could see that he was not into the roleplaying like he should have been. He was distracted, and agitated. In fact, he looked sad and pathetic and lost beneath the dimmed hotel lights. If he had been a child she would have comforted him with a motherly hug, but he was a grown man paying a grown woman for a high quality sexual experience, so she was confused by this maudlin scenario so far. Instinctively, she threw her pompoms aside, walked over to him and started loosening the overstrained belt holding up his brown slacks. The buckle popped open eagerly enough, as the gut slipped forward and fell farther down over his thighs, dragging his pants down with its largess as if to help Candy usher the slacks along.
She paused a moment, reeling.
He smelled of the sea, and of putrid fish.
“Yucky!” she said, staying in character despite her revulsion. “You stink! You need to hit the showers before we can have our extracurricular activities!”
He did not respond, but did not resist as she took him by the hand and led him toward the bathroom.
Entering the bathroom, Candy helped Stanley strip and then led him into the large shower. She took off all of her clothes, too, but left her blonde hair up in its twin pigtails. Using her own honey-and-lavender body wash, she lathered his pudgy body up as the water rained over his porcine rotundity. She had brought the body wash along with her other things, just as she always did when working. It was her necessity to smell sweet and clean after an appointment. Always sweet.
“That is a really strong smell,” he said with a sigh.
“Sweet, isn’t it?” she said, trying not to be irritable as she cleaned him, head to toe. This was too much like menial work. “Sweet just like me. Right, Stan?”
He stood silently in the suds and the water, demure and still looking away from her like a self-conscious teenage boy naked in front of a girl for the first time. Normally she worked him in the dark, to ease his self-consciousness, and she knew she would have to do so tonight, after this embarrassing work was done. Pleasing her client was her primary goal. She had to make him want to return next week, otherwise a sizeable chunk of her income would be lost. That was Business 101: preserve the customer base.
When Candy had finished, and Stanley smelled sufficiently of honey and lavender, she dried him off, and herself, and led him to the bed. She laid him down and began working him with her mouth. Her mouth was a miracle worker, after all, and would salvage him from this melancholy that had hold of him. She did not care that he went to see another girl for sex, just so long as he returned to her, too, with payment. Why would she care about that? They weren’t married. They weren’t anything except businesswoman and consumer.
Stanley was so weird, she thought, and weirder than usual. His penis was also saltier than usual, almost like a pickle, and engorged much larger than the sad four inches that she remembered. Had she not felt it swell in her mouth she would have thought he had slipped an ultra-realistic dildo on in the dark. His penis grew, in her professional estimation, to about eight inches, which was double and, moreover, impossible.
And it tasted like seawater.
She gagged on it, which never happened with her clients, and she started to suffer a case of lockjaw as she worked him. She had to use her hands, to give her mouth a break, but he shoved himself deeper into her throat, pounding away at a faster rhythm toward climax. She started to choke, and suffocate. This was not characteristic of Stan. He was passive; always passive. Bewildered, and breathless, she looked up at him in the half-light as he leaned against the headboard, his face blank of expression; as if everything upstairs was detached from everything that was happening downstairs.
“She was Malaysian,” he said quietly. “Or maybe Taiwanese. I don’t know. She was a thousand years old, but only looked fourteen. She was beautiful and ugly at the same time.”
Candy had heard weirder sex-talk than this, but there was something in Stanley’s tone that disturbed her more than the thought of dying with his newfound penis impaling her throat.
“She said I would help her bear children. She said I would father her line upon a woman. She had a strange body. My Fiji mermaid. It felt so good. I haven’t felt anything like it before, or since. I haven’t felt anything at all since. Even now I don’t feel anything. What are you doing down there?”
His lower body convulsed and Candy felt something give way in her mouth. She fell backward as she came free of him, yet she still could not breathe.
“I’m sorry,” Stanley said softly. His head lolled to one side, onto his shoulder, and remained still.
Candy would have screamed in horror, but Stanley’s penis was still in her mouth and throat, and it began to wiggle and move of its own accord. She stood up, flailing her arms and running around the room, sobbing hysterically. She tried to reach into her mouth and grab it as it slithered further down her esophagus, but it was too slippery and strong. She tried to vomit it out, but years of bulimia and blowjobs had ruined her gag reflex. She clutched at her throat and chest and stomach in vain as the thing traveled further and further into the depths of her body.

***

She could not eat anything now except salty foods. That was what it wanted. It controlled what she ate and what she did and who she fucked and who she implanted while fucking. It devoured their penises and gave them new ones, thus spawning more of its own kind to colonize and propagate. It was an invasive species. The home-team advantage did not help at all against it.
It also did not like sugar.
She never got the salty taste out of her mouth and throat again. No one did.