Friday, April 23, 2004

ole ritin of buddy don:
story the group called a classick


this here story wuz writ to make the group laff, witch i figgerd twuz jus a big joke but they give me a standin ovayshun whenever i red it to em. after ye read it, mayhap ye'll agree bout how ye had to be thar to git the full effeck.


Slave of Desire


I once wrote a pornographic novel. It was an act of pure desperation. I'd spent years trying to capture truth, beauty, and the good with various clever traps of words, but I could find no market for my catch. Great literature such as I was writing simply had no place in the markets of America. I'd made a careful study of the problem by leafing through the stack of the Eye-Browser Bookstore in the City of Science, and my conclusion was inescapable -- the public wants pornography, especially if a little violence can be worked into it. Or is it that they wanted violence, especially if a little sex could be worked into it? That's it. The movies offer further proof.


This was 1974. I was working for Mars Munitions as a computer programmer at the time. This was back in the days when FORTRAN IV with a bit of BASIC and even machine language defined your life. There was no such thing as shelf software. I hated my job. I programmed a computer that monitored a process that made a substance that was combined with other substances to produce a bomb to protect America from an equitable distribution of the wealth, which as everyone knows, the communists are trying to force upon us. I shouldn't complain, though: I made $300 a week, which was big bucks in those days in the City of Science.


Not only was my job boring, however, but I had to share my office with Beverly Pierce, the ugliest woman I have ever known. She was very tall and very white with huge feet. She sweat easily, profusely, continuously. Thus her beak of a nose, from which hung a pair of glasses thicker than those my grandmother wore, often sported a drop of sweat. She carried Kleenex with her wherever she went and could be seen daubing the sweat from her brow constantly. Her huge feet also sweated, and she felt no shame in removing her shoes to air the stinkers.


Of course, true ugliness comes from within, and here Beverly shined: she had the mind of a proud Marine. She'd nailed down a master's degree in mathematics, minor in French, and she knew everything worth knowing. In her case, this meant everything you could do to, with, or about a number (she'd forgotten the French).


Our hatred for one another was, like all great affairs of the heart, instantaneous. It couldn't have been otherwise since she was a member of the Engineering Division and I was a member of Operations, and Mars Munitions, using management techniques perfected by government contractors everywhere, had assigned us to work together programming Max III, our computer. Of course, neither division could place itself under the other, so Beverly and I were "equals," which meant that neither of us would cooperate with the other in any form whatsoever.


To augment the problem, Mars had ordered our computer sans card reader, giving us instead a teletype with which to do our damage to the computer system. This meant that only one person at a time could use the computer. The other person fell back on his or her wits, devising whatever method he or she could invent to appear busy, which of course was the goal at Mars.


So, in desperation, I began writing "Slave of Desire," a piece of porn with purpose. I may as well admit that my desperation went deeper than the boredom of fighting with Beverly for use of the computer. I was desperate for sex myself, having recently separated from my wife in hopes of finding the sexual adventures and satisfaction everyone but me found all over the place. All I could find were tempters and teasers who left my balls aching (the pretty ones) of the occasional one night grease sandwich, which left my pride aching.


I need romance, sexual acrobatics, a woman who did anything a man's little heart could desire: something straight out of a letter to Penthouse magazine, that neither sweat nor leaked nor farted nor said anything about love or the future. I couldn't find her here on earth, so I invented her: Angel d'Hussey, a redhead who willingly wore gartered stockings and high-heeled shoes, painted her nails and lips and face and curled her hair, not to mention mine.


Don't get me wrong. Just because I'd turned to pornography in desperation doesn't mean that I'd given up on truth, beauty, etc. I mean my porn to have punch and to carry with it a message. A brief sketch of the bare bone of its plot will make this clear.


The main character of Slave of Desire, like the main character of most great novels, was my alter-ego. I named him Studs Longbong. The novel opened with Studs lying naked on his back, bound hand and foot and watching Angel d'Hussey doing a striptease. He was then allowed a free right hand with which he could relieve either his aching flesh or his guilty conscience by jerking at either his penis or his pen, respectively. Any of you who sat through the enormous vowel movement known as Private Matter know just what studs did: he grabbed at his pen and began scribbling his sexual autobiography, beginning with Sally Sieg, his sixth grade sweetheart, also a redhead. The trick was that Angel d'Hussey would free him only when he'd completed confessing his long list of carnal crime. The novel consisted of the notes he was making. I intended to arouse the reader and then shame the jerk for making sex cheap and disgusting by reading such filth and jacking off.


But I never got that far. In fact, you might say I got tied up with something else before I finished. I'd scribble my masterpiece as long as I could stand it while Beverly was out of the office trying to figure out how to undo what I had done to the computer so she could replace my system with hers. Then, when I knew that even a sweaty mathematician must be ready for a break or lunch, I'd close and conceal my notebook in my desk below a pile of two month old greenbar. Then I'd go to the computer to check and correct the damage Beverly had wreaked on my system.


This method worked fine for the first thirty pages of Studs Longbong's adventures with perfectly compliant junior high school girls. Then something unexpected happened.


I'd just logged onto the computer and found that, as usual, Beverly had deleted my programs and begun building hers into the system. I easily corrected the problem by halting the computer and replacing the disk memory with a copy of my system. Before rebooting the computer, I began copying my system onto the disk Beverly had nearly ruined. While the copy procedure was taking place, I decided to get a cup of coffee. This brought me back to my office early and unexpected.


My nose noticed immediately that something was wrong. Beverly was sweating more profusely than ever, and her usually red face was literally steaming. I made a cup of instant Maxwell House and, purely on instinct, pretended to be searching through old program listings. Just as I'd expected, my manuscript was missing. Beverly, as usual had not looked up from her work when I entered, and she still sat, chin resting on her hands, studying a program listing as if it contained the secret to life. My notebook peeked at me from below the listing. I grabbed one of the old listings as if it were exactly what I'd been searching for and went back to the computer room to plan my next move.


Actually, in spite of her invading my privacy so blatantly, I was rather pleased to find that Beverly had glands other than those that produce sweat. I even felt pity for her, thinking how far some people will go for sexual excitement. She probably had never seen anything like my book. It, no doubt, was the first bright spot in her long, sweat-stained life. I began immediately to plan my next chapter, Studs Longbong's next adventure. At last, I thought, I'd found an audience.


Thus Beverly and I fell into a curious pattern. I'd write a chapter of increasingly disgusting and violent sex, only to find myself with an aching groin. I'd wrap up the chapter, put the book back into its place and go to the men's room to abuse myself into ecstasy . . . or at least, relief. Then I'd watch carefully from the computer room until I saw Beverly heading for the Ladies' Lounge, which was my signal to return to my office and check my novel for new sweat stains. As careful as Beverly was with her secretions, I could usually smell, if not see and feel, evidence that she'd been into my drawers again.


I tried not to dwell on what a pathetic creature Beverly was. Imagine getting your kicks by reading pornography on the sly! She'd obviously never had a boyfriend, certainly not a lover. She was simply too disgusting. I began to feel almost like her big brother and even began to like her in a big-brotherly, keep-your-distance way. After all, I was introducing her to the real world, where people are more than numbers and obedient employees of Mars Munitions, where people do all kinds of nasty things with all kinds of nasty people while saying all kinds of nasty words.


In my efforts to entertain and shock my innocent little office mate, I invented more and more perverted scenes of lust and loin. Two women? She licked it up. Three men and one woman? Her sweat poured. Rape? Incest? Child molestation? Bestiality? Necrophilia? The pages came back drenched with sweat. Soon I could think of nothing else to write: Studs Longbong had done it to and with anybody and anything, from Jackie Kennedy to the Pope to Miss Piggy, from vacuum cleaners to egg beaters to electrical outlets. It was disgusting to imagine the kind of mind that was attracted to such filth, but there it sat, bathed in sweat and reeking of excitement, as mutely militant as the first day I'd met her.


Yes, we were still enemies. We spoke only about computers, and that we did as rarely as possible. She never once thanked me for introducing her to the X-rated world of healthy adulthood. I never once alluded, even obliquely, to my magnum opus. We ate lunch alone. We programmed the computer taking turns. We didn't even leave the office together at the end of the day.


Finally I decided to teach her a lesson. I introduced a new character into the novel: Beverly Pierce. I put Pierce through all the perverted pastimes I could devise. I made her an abject whore, replacing her tendency to sweat with the tendency to secrete the lubricant of lust. Then, having left Beverly alone with the chapter just long enough to get good and outraged, I returned to the office, slammed the door and demanded an explanation.


She wiped her brow and closed the notebook. I leaned against my desk with my hands in my pockets. She began searching through her purse. Finally she fished out a key, stuffed my manuscript into her desk drawer and locked. It.


"What the fuck do you think—"


"Gregory, let me tell you something," she said, still blushing and breathing with difficulty.


"Yes, Beverly?"


"I've read every word of your filthy little notebook. I can't say it isn't well-written trash. Highly effective, actually."


"Thank you."


"But you were a fool to let me go on reading it for so long. And you were a bigger fool to put me into it. I know of only one honorable thing to do."


"Yes?"


"I simply must take it to the head of operations and show him what you've been doing with your time."


"But! Beverly, I—"


"I'm sure he'll understand then exactly why this project has had such trouble getting on-line."


"But. But."


She began patting her forehead with a Kleenex. When it was saturated, she pulled out a new one and began patting her neck. She undid the top buttons of her blouse and began drying her arm pits, saturating two Kleenex per pit.


"So what are you really going to do?" I asked.


"That's really up to you."


"What do you mean?"


"Meet me at my apartment at eight this evening if you ever hope to see your notebook again."


"What the—"


"You just be there."


She left, obviously agitated, heading no doubt for the Ladies' Lounge. I tried to force her drawer open, but the lock turned out to be one of the few things at Mars Munitions that worked.


I arrived promptly at eight. I'd cleaned and polished and dressed myself to perfection—polyester double-knit three piece and black wing tips. I knew what she had in mind. She wanted the real thing. Well, here I was, ready and curiously willing. After all, I'd been without any myself since I'd started writing Slave of Desire.


She met me at the door, dressed like Angel d'Hussey, wearing a black transparent negligee, black garter belt, crotchless black panties, black silks stockings, and six inch pumps. And carrying a whip.


Do what?


She directed me to the bed, made me strip and bound me hand and foot.


"But Beverly—"


"The name's Angel," she said before she gagged me with a red ball gag. Then she began dancing.


I escaped three weeks later. By then, I'd lost not only my job but my sense of smell as well. I knew I was not prepared to do any real work, so I applied to the graduate program in English. What else could I do? I needed something to do with my time. Besides, I obviously had a lot to learn about the dangers of writing literature.

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